Every Chickfila Needs a Ms Jane

 

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I’ll admit it. We eat at Chickfila way. too. much, Although there are many to pick from, I typically go to the same location. With three small children, I aim for the closest parking space, and sit in the same booth. We order the same thing and I count on the smile of one person to make our visit a little brighter.

I can’t be sure the first time I saw her but I remember vividly the day I truly met her. I was sitting in a booth at Chickila with my oldest son: Dominic. He wasn’t feeling well and we were waiting for a return call from the pediatrician to schedule an appointment. We were mesmerized by the flowers as they reminded us of our current favorite book of the same name: Chrysanthemum! As we talked, a lovely lady who works at CFA approached. She noticed our interest in the flowers and we explained that they were the same flowers as in the book we had been reading all week. As we talked, the lady commented that Dom did not look himself and asked about our other two children. I explained that we were waiting on a phone call from the doctor. She was truly sympathetic. Dom asked her name and so began our friendship with Ms.Jane.

That he is a natural encourager

A week later, we saw Ms Jane again. She commented that Dom was looking better and asked what we had found out at the doctor. I was surprised that she remembered but also thankful for her concern.

Flash forward a few months to a day where I had an exceptionally rough morning with my children. It was after nine and we still hadn’t eaten breakfast. I made it through the doors of Chickfila with my children ages 4,2 and 6 months. I pushed the newborn in the stroller while praying the other two would follow my instructions. We ordered our food and I collapsed in our regular booth facing the playland. I was so very tired and trying to keep all three kids happy seemed a daunting task. Before I knew it we were late for my women’s bible study and I had not eaten at all. I frantically worked on getting everyone out the door only to spill coffee on the stroller and on the floor. I felt so defeated but then Ms.Jane came to the rescue to help. A small gesture with a big impact. “I got it honey” is what she said.

On a particularly stressful day, at Chickfila {again}, my daughter decided that she’d rather stay at the top of the playland than come home and take a nap. After countless attempts of love and logic, idle threats and pleas, I left my 9 month old at the base of the playland with my almost 5 year old to climb the playland that I am way too big to be climbing to retrieve my stubborn 2 ½ year old. She was not happy. I strapped her into the stroller, put my baby on my hip and as I reached for my 5 year old’s hand, cringed at his words, “Mommy, I’m really thirsty.” We exited the playland only to happen upon the busy-ness of the lunch crowd. The line was literally snaking right back to the playland door. I tried to deflect his request with a promise of water when we got home. The humiliation of the playland, the sleep deprivation, the stubborn two year old, the 5 year old’s request for water, the anxiety-inducing crowd. It was all a little much for me. Somehow Ms Jane heard my son’s request, and even in the midst of a very busy time, took the time to bring my son a cup of water. My overwhelmed mind and discouraged heart was so thankful.

Over and over Ms Jane has been the smile or placemat or drink refill or presence that this tired and overwhelmed momma so desperately needed.

I know service with kindness and a smile is the Chickfila way, but Ms Jane does more. She’ll never fully know the impact her kindness has had on me. My children call her by name. She is always so thrilled to see us and in inkind calls her chickfila grandbabies by name.

My children are now a little older and I’m getting better sleep at night as a result. Taking them out into public on my own is not so scary anymore.

When we go to Chickfila, however, I still aim for the closest parking spot and I often strap at least one child in the stroller while carrying another. And I always feel so much better about my adventure when Ms Jane is there. She is not my mom but when I’m at CFA I feel like she looks out for me like my mom would and for a moment taking three high energy kids out to eat by myself is not so bad. Not if Ms. Jane is around.

blessings

Our Tiny House Experience or How I Flooded the House {Part Two}

 

Its been nearly 2 months since we had our lovely bathtub flooding mistake. The renovations and repairs are complete but a home that feels like home is still in the making. As I look at the picture below I am thankful the crazy sleeping arrangements are behind us. We’ve all returned to our beds and are sleeping much more peacefully. Even Devin seems to get the idea that sleeping through the night is a good idea.

blessings

 

Although we have lots more to do to get to a place where I am happy with our home. {Wait a minute I think I felt that way before everything happened} I am so pleased with the improvements that came as a result of the water damage!

For starters, check out these beautiful floors! They are in Marshall’s office and the foyer. I hope one of these days to have this flooring in the living room as well. floors

 

Insurance companies are interesting entities. As a result of the bathtub overflowing, we were approved to make a lot of repairs but other than drying out the cabinets in the bathroom, there were no other repairs approved IN the bathroom. Ironic, right?! We did, however get to touch up the paint , replace carpet padding and clean carpets in the kids rooms, completely paint the hallway, our foyer, and Marshall’s office in addition to replacing the flooring in the foyer/office area. I’ll take it!

Below is the color palette we chose.

color choices

Marshall’s office was already that pretty green but painting the foyer walls blue was a bold step for me. Anyone who knows me well knows that I love blue but I was still nervous about putting this color up. And…I love it!
new colors

Here’s the kid’s rooms paint touched up. And the carpets freshly cleaned.

This is Dom’s room (I totally flaked on taking pictures with my camera so all I have are phone pics)
boy room

Here’s Charlotte’s room. girl room

Last night we finally started putting pictures up on the walls. Here’s a few in Marshall’s office.
mars office

Here’s some decor we put up in the foyer area.

foyer

My thoughts right now:

The process of getting the house in order sure is taking longer than I could have expected. There are pockets of our home that still feel in huge disarray. It is not all because of the flooding but that definitely compounded things. We still have so much stuff. How do we have so much? Kids is the short answer. The amount of stuff they require and accumulate is insane.

Although it is taking a long time to get back to where I’d like to be, I am so thankful for the places of beauty we do have.

And I am even more thankful for my family. This process brought us closer together (both literally and figuratively). I’m still not laughing about it but many of the memories made, as a result, were great blessings that we’d never have experienced otherwise.

Life is Beautiful!

 

World Party

 

People from all nationsYesterday, the English Language program that meets at our church hosted a World Party. It felt like a market place. Bustling with people and excitement. Delicious smells and chatter.

Flags from every nation hanging from the ceiling. Beautiful faces young and old representing over 30 different countries. It was amazing.

I met a girl named Shruthie. She’s from India and her name means Melody. Her parents knew what they were doing naming her such a musical name. This gal loves music!

I met another lady who called herself Linda. She was from China and told me I should visit.

Another man from China pointed to a rectangular pan of white and insisted I give it a try. So I did. Delicious!

I helped Samia move her display board to the right table. Samia loves art. I think she was from Bangladesh!

I met a lady who grew up in the U.K. She explained to me the beautiful story behind a Love Spoon and shared some high tea delicacies.

I talked momentarily to our church’s resident Australian and came back for seconds of his wife’s sausage rolls.

My co-worker Mary gave me some of the tastiest rice I’ve ever consumed. An Iranian dish. Rice, lima beans, and persian spices. So good!

I talked with one of the founders of Marissa’s House who has orphanages in both Ethiopia and Uganda.

I walked back and forth through that atrium retracing my steps dozens of times but each time crossing paths with different faces, trying new foods, hearing joyful conversations in languages I could not begin to translate.

It was magical. Glorious. Wonderful.

The nations all gathering under one roof. Celebrating their differences and how those differences brought us all to the same place.

It was heaven on earth for two hours. Pictures were taken. Songs were sung. A giant reunion.

I couldn’t communicate very well with most of the people I encountered but we exchanged a universal smile.

All the nations under one roof. Heavenly.