Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Letter to Chick-fil-A

Dear Chick-fil-A,

Since you've been on my heart (and in my tummy) lately, I thought I'd jot down a few words just for you today.

You're right.  You didn't invent the chicken.  But, you certainly perfected the chicken sandwich.  No contest.  Best out there.  Whatever you do, don't lose the recipe.

Your regular waffle fries are very tasty.  But...I have a small confession to make.  I am still mourning the loss of your even tastier sweet potato fries.  Maybe, just maybe, you'll consider bringing them back in the future, especially for us Southerners who can't seem to get enough of those orange taters.

The cow calendar you put out each year totally rocks.  The detachable coupons at the bottom of each month are wonderful.  And what's even more wonderful is that expiration dates really don't exist in your world.  Some of us just naturally run late.  In all things.  In all times.  Especially in redeeming our coupons.

How sweet is the option of exchanging the toy or book in the kids' meal for ice cream!  Options are great and even necessary to have in life.  Thank you for giving them to us and our kiddos.

Your character days are a blast.  No other fast-food restaurant I know welcomes its customers in costume and even rewards them with free food.  Brilliant marketing, people.  Just brilliant.

Love the fact that humble service is key in your company.  You teach, train and model that people are always more important than things.  We see it.  We appreciate it.

Keeping my fingers crossed you'll have a couple of openings in 8-10 years.  You see, I have two adorable girls who have their hearts set on working for your company when they join the ranks of the employed.  Keep up the good work, because their little eyes are taking it all in right now, even from the slide in the indoor play area.

Last, it seems you've hit a bit of scrutiny lately.  Seems some people were poised and ready to pounce on you.  And now they have.  Just because you expressed a belief, an opinion.  Last time I checked it was okay to do that in the land of the red, white and blue.  Just keep being you, Chick-fil-A.  Just keep doing what you do.  It's good stuff.  All of it. 

So, I leave you with these words.  The words of Jesus.  You know Him.  I know you do. 

For without Him, you wouldn't have your deliciously famous chicken sandwich, Him being the inventor of the first chicken and all. 

Anyway.  As I was saying,

"Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me.
What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable.
You can be glad when that happens—skip like a lamb, if you like!—for even though they don't like it, I do
 . . . and all heaven applauds.
And know that you are in good company;
my preachers and witnesses have always been treated like this." 
Luke 6:22-23 (The Message)

Thank you, Chick-fil-A, for many things.  So many more than I've even touched in this brief, unofficial letter here. 

You purposefully end each of our conversations with, "My pleasure".

The reality is that in being your frequent patron, the pleasure is all mine.


Friday, July 13, 2012

The Blessing of Cows

Today I've been thinking about cows.

Not because of Chick-fil-A's national Cow Appreciation Day as one around here might assume. 
Not because so many of my friends have dressed up like cows and earned themselves free chicken as we've done in the past. 
Not because I couldn't quite conjure up the cow couture and "herd" my family out the door to do the same today. 

No.  I've been thinking about cows for an entirely different reason.

(But before I continue and for the sake of reminiscing, here are a couple of pictures showing our appreciation to those beautiful bovines in summers past):

My thoughts of cows stem from this verse: 

"For all the animals of the forest are mine,
and I own the cattle on a thousand hills."
Psalm 50:10 (NLT)

As you know, we are adopting a little girl from India.  And just like I've written about in the past, one of the major hurdles in an inter-country adoption is raising the funds to carry you through the entire adoption process.

Earlier this year, when I first learned the estimated cost of this journey, my initial reaction was, "What the what?!?"

Since then, I've come to a place of complete trust and belief that our Heavenly Father, who has always taken care of our every need, will do no less in this situation.  

Scratch "no less."
He actually takes great pleasure in doing much more for His children as I am coming to find out each day.

You see, one of my older, wiser, mentoring sisters in the faith reminded me of Psalm 50:10 months ago when she first heard our news...and my concerns.  More or less, her words of reassurance went something like this: 

"He owns it all.  Every cow.  On every hill.  It's all His.  He knows every need of every one of His children.  Don't worry.  Sometimes I just pray, 'Lord, would you sell a cow or two on those hills You own to help us out?'  And when He does, you'll have exactly what you need."

Sell a cow?  Or two? 

Well, in our situation it would appear He's done just that.

In less than five months, through fundraisers we've organized, fundraisers our friends and family have organized, and through GENEROUS monetary donations from our loved ones, we have three-fourths of what we need. 

You might want to go back and reread that last sentence.  Three-fourths, people.  How awesome is that? 

I guess the going rate for cows is pretty high these days.

So what do we do with this blessing? 

Because we have been blessed, we get the chance to bless others. 

In her book, One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp writes, "This is what will determine a fulfilling, meaningful life, a life that behind all the facades, every one of us longs to live: gratitude for the blessings that expresses itself by becoming a blessing."

With enormous gratitude and open hands, we receive His gifts and then, in turn, will extend those same open hands to give to others. 

So many of you have given us your unparalleled support, your joyful encouragement, your heart-felt prayers, your helping hands, your creative minds, and your monetary donations.  May God extravagantly bless you because you've blessed us!

And as we pray and work toward accomplishing the rest of our financial goals, don't be surprised if another cow turns up missing in the fields.  It might be that the Owner decided it was high time to sell another blessing.

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