Friday, October 25, 2013

A Spiritual Meditation on Oatmeal Cookies

I took a young lady shopping today.

It wasn't a planned exercise.  I don't know her name or how old she was.  But when you meet somebody who's sobbing outside the post office because she is absolutely indigent, hasn't eaten for two days, and can't even find the bus stop to beg for a ride, you start to re-evaluate some things.

Anyway, we ran a couple of errands, and once we got the essential bases covered, we stopped at the CVS so she could pick up a few extra supplies.

It wasn't very much.  Shampoo.  Advil.  A box of feminine things.  Some juice.  Red candles, because as she said to me, she loves to read, and lighting a candle makes it special.  A bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and a tray of oatmeal cookies.

Looking back on it, it's interesting to me that little chocolate candies and oatmeal cookies counted as needful things.  And the more I think about it, the more I appreciate that.

Because really, sweets are literally bonus calories.  They are by their very nature something extra, something custom-made to please you.  And when we give them to ourselves, or to someone else, we're sending a message.  You are valuable.  You deserve to feel good.  You are more than a body to be kept alive.  You are a human being, and you are loved.

That's not really news, of course.  I don't know of any culture that doesn't have treat-sharing occasions encoded into its social calendar.  But when you are on the giving end of the cookie, it seems like the more distance there is between you and the recipient, the harder it is to do the giving.

You know what I'm talking about.  Helping out somebody in your family, office, church - that's easy.  You know them.  Of course they're Good People.  Ditto those adorable tots on the angel tree at the mall.  How much less enthusiastically would we buy trucks and dolls and paint-sets every year if the little card didn't come with names and ages to humanize the recipients - or if we were just asked to put money in a slot, and didn't even get the benevolent-patron vibes that come with picking out the toy ourselves?

And more than that, how easy it is to resent systematic, institutionalized giving - where you don't even get to choose what money you put into the slot, because Uncle Sam's taking it straight out of your paycheck.  How easy it becomes to grind your teeth at the thought of those ungrateful takers spending your money on candy and alcohol and things they don't even need!

And so we tighten the rules for welfare and food stamps.

Appoint ourselves judges for who deserves what and when, or outsource the judging to worthy trustees - churches, charities, politicians.

Stuff the care packages ourselves, give the bum food instead of money (who knows what he'd spend it on?), meticulously organize can drives so everyone can enjoy the warm fuzzy feeling of deciding for themselves whether the shelter-people will have chili with or without beans.  Because we are responsible individuals proven capable of managing things, and they will have our generosity on our terms or not at all.

To be clear - I don't mean to imply that we fortunate folks are closet assholes.  I truly believe that humanity as a whole trends toward radness.  And charity organizers would be silly not to use whatever techniques yield the best possible results for their cause.

But I do feel like we (in America at least) pour an awful lot of anxiety and effort into making sure that no anonymous moocher ever gets an undeserved cookie... when we would just as passionately, instantly, eagerly give them a whole entire box, if only we could meet them in person, as a person. 

And I wonder if the cookie's not actually an extra goodie at all - if treats, and having the means and freedom to treat your own self, aren't really, critically essential to the entire idea of caring for another human being. 

Apologies if this post comes off as self-aggrandizing backpattery, by the way.  Or a thinly-veiled political screed, or indulgent privileged hand-wringing.  I don't mean it.  Sometimes this blog is just a repository for thoughts that I would like people to know that I had, just so you can pick up my slack in case I get hit by a truck before I have a chance to act on them.

On that note: must look up French hip-hop artists, there ought to be an Angie's List for freelance manuscript editors, and haggis nachos need to be a thing.


All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.

138 comments:

  1. My first time here and I love it. Sent here to BLITZ you and loving the new found awesomeness right here. Excellent post, which amused me and made me (cringe) think! And hungry for cookies, damn it! :)

    Have a great day while I abuse your linkage. :D

    shahwharton.com

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    1. Hey, Shah - thanks so much for stopping by! Sorry about putting the Pepperidge Farm monkey on your back, but please do feel free to cruise through my one-horse town - I will look forward to returning the favor!

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  2. I'm back...and this time I've brought a few of my friends to congratulate you for winning WRiTE CLUB...and as a chance for them to get to know what a talented writer you are.

    You've been BLITZED! :)

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    1. Oh my LORD, DL - I can't even breathe! It's like being in a mosh pit with 200 best friends I hadn't even met yet! Thank you so much for siccing your posse on me, sir - it's a wind-tunnel of love!

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  3. Congrats on winning Write Club. Such a great accomplishment.

    I'm an advocate for helping those in need, who are willing to help themselves. It feels right to help, and not expect anything in return.

    Happy blitz day!

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  4. Congrats on winning Write Club and interesting blog post. Happy #BlitzDay.

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  5. Happy Blitz Day well deserved.
    Yvonne.

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  6. You raise some interesting points, here. We all deserve a cookie now and then! Happy Blitz Day!

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  7. Hello, Tex! Congrats on winning Write Club!

    Helping others is why we're here. It would be a much better place if more people would admit that and then help others. It doesn't have to be anything huge; little gestures here and there is all it takes.

    Happy Blitz Day!!

    I didn't know there was a hashtag! Very cool. Congrats on the recognition!

    This book looks cute. I always like holiday-themed picture books.

    Have a great weekend, Susanna!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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    1. Hi Laura - and thank you so much! I agree absolutely: it's so hard to feel like a small thing can make any difference, but all the small things together are enormous indeed!

      Thanks very much for stopping by (and if you know of any good holiday-themed picture books, please pass them along!)

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  8. Happy Blitz Day, Tex, and congratulations on winning fight club.

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  9. Beautiful post! I couldn't agree with you more. I love the last line A little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt. Made me smile.

    Have a great Blitz Day and a better weekend!

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  10. Great post! Maybe we should sponsor a "cookie day" where we hand out cookies to random people. I haven't done it yet, but I thought it would be nice to give cookies to our local police department, I guess I'll have to act on that now. Thanks for the extra inspiration. :)

    Happy Blitz Day!

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    1. Oh, what a great idea! There are three super ladies I know, and every time I go to a convention, they are walking the halls with tubs of home-baked cookies. It's no exaggeration to say that they have become everyone's favorite people!

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  11. Happy Blitz Day and great post topic. A small act of kindness can put a smile on both the recipient's and the giver's face. When you put good out you get good back!

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  12. A wonderfully thoughtful post. Thank you. And happy blitz day.

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  13. A wonderful post. Sometimes a little chocolate does make all the difference. Happy Blitz Day!

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  14. Oatmeal cookies are spiritual! Happy blitz day :-)

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  15. Giving with conditions is not giving.

    "He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses." (Proverbs 28:27)

    And giving a cookie is absolutely a loving and generous thing.

    Unless you Give a Mouse a Cookie, because that leads to problems -- the mouse always wants more! ;^)

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    1. Haha, yes - if there's one thing I learned from that book, it's that mice are needy ungrateful SOBs who should never, ever be invited to parties. Talk about mooching!

      Love the quote, by the way - that one's new to me, and so apt today.

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  16. Too true! I love this piece as I remember all too well being on food stamps as a kid and having an aunt say to my mother that she shouldn't get Twinkies for us kids because she should have more respect from where that money came from. That she should put it to better use with another box of powdered milk or cans of beets.

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    1. Oh, that must have been so hard. I don't know if it's true or not, but I feel like the people who DO respect the gift are going to feel that uncomfortable indebtedness no matter what they buy, and the ones who don't won't be made more grateful, moral, or motivated by withholding the Twinkie. (And it's not as if you-the-child had anything to be ashamed of - it's not as if you were neglecting your responsibility by not perusing the want ads!)

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  17. What a beautiful post. Have been on the receiving end wishing for a cookie rather than the chili w/o beans. Glad to hear that you recognize the value in it!
    Happy Blitz Day and congrats on your WRiTE CLUB win!

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    1. Thank you so much! I've been so fortunate in my own life, and it's so easy to live day-to-day without ever stepping outside your own experience. Thank you for stopping by and adding to it!

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  18. Hi, Absolutely love this post - I've been thinking about how difficult/popular would it be to an ARK/RAK blogfest/hop and this post really resonated with me.
    Read a few other posts - now your newest follower :)
    Congratulations on the Write Club and happy Blitz Day!
    Suzanne @ Suzannes Tribe
    x

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    1. Hi Suzanne - and thanks so much for stopping by and following! That sounds like a GREAT idea for bloggers (RAK = Random Acts of Kindness?) Please let me know if you set up anything like that - I am stacked to the rafters these days, but would love to participate and encourage others to do the same, and will look forward to visiting your site, regardless!

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  19. You may be over thinking the cookie thing.

    Congrats on your success.

    BAZINGA! You've been blitzed. Enjoy your day.
    Heather

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  20. What a beautiful post, and a wonderful, loving and kind human being you are. Today is Blitz Day, I am happy I visited your blog!

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    1. Haha, oh, I don't know about that - I mean, I do volunteer on the weekends as a puppy-kicker and part-time pediatric candy-stealer :)

      But thank you so much for visiting - not to be competitive, but I think my happiness might even beat yours!

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  21. Stopping by to blitz you- hope you have a wonderful day.

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  22. Excellent post and very thoughtful sentiments expressed.

    FWIW, similar sentiments towards those on benefits (the UK term for welfare) are being expressed in Britain. As somebody who's been out of work for 3 years through no fault of my own, I can sympathise immensely with those in a similar position. Benefit claimants seem to be demonised by governments keen on making savings, branding all of us as fraudsters, scroungers and freeloaders. I don't wish unemployment on anyone but I sometimes wish that those making trite statements about their fellow humans could see things from the other side of the fence.

    And by the way, I love cookies. Raisin and oatmeal particularly.

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    1. Oh, that must be immensely difficult - I am so sorry to hear it. (Being out of work, I mean. Being pro-cookie isn't so bad :)

      My in-laws live right outside of Glasgow, actually, and when I visit, I am always amazed at the combination of anti-welfare and anti-immigrant sentiment. (I mean, it's no worse than here, but Texas is nobody's idea of a socialist paradise in the first place.) It's got to be fear that's fueling it - you know, the worry that there isn't enough money or work or space to go around, and we have to ration them out only to those we deem sufficiently deserving - but that doesn't make it any easier to live with, or do anything to help the people who have fallen through those cracks get back out again.

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  23. Happy Blitz day. No doubt you were an angel to that young lady. She will always remember your kindness.

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  24. How wonderful. It is true, there is a stigma attached to people who are falling on rough times and buy sweets...but really, why is it such a big deal? We buy sweets to satisfy our sadness sometimes. They make us happier for a little while at least...and that's okay.

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    1. Well said! Maybe there is a spectrum of self-medication here - cookies on one end, heroin on the other - that runs up into the whole idea of "you take this to make yourself feel better, but why do you deserve to feel better? What have you done to earn your happiness?"

      It's a hell of a thing, but for whatever it's worth, I agree with you!

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  25. Yeah, chocolate never hurts. ;) Happy blitzing.

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  26. Happy Blitz Day! Love the last line! I think that may be my motto for the day.

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    1. Thanks! Charles Schulz wrote it for his Peanuts comic strip - better wisdom there never was!

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  27. How great you took some time and care with her. Sweets sure help me keep going! Happy blitz day!

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  28. This sort of reminds me of the ending to Stranger Than Fiction. If you haven't seen it...wonderful movie. Happy Blitz Day!!!

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  29. That is a fabulous post. I am cheering you on because what you've said is important and beautiful, and I'm following you now because I can't wait to see what you've said next.

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    1. Thanks so much, Cathy - that is a tremendous compliment, and I will look forward to paying you a return visit!

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  30. What a thoughtful post. And you make very good points.

    I'm so glad to meet you through the Blitz. Congratulations on winning the Write Club!

    Happy Blitz Day. :)

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  31. I think anyone who doesn't treat themselves now and then has a serious problem. This is a wonderful post!

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  32. how could chocolate hurt? ever! :)
    a very thoughtful post!

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  33. Happy Blitz Day. I love cookies of any kind. We need to humanize the poor and give them all kinds of things they need. I never forget the time I was organizing a Christmas drive for a family. An 11 year old dared to ask for a Ninetendo Gameboy. He was poor and didn't have the right to want a Ninetendo for Christmas. He should have just asked for clothes. We raised close to $200 and got them lots of clothes too. I don't know if the family got a Ninetendo though. I hope so.

    Mary-andering Creatively

    Mary-andering Among the Pages

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    1. Oh, I hope so - I had so much fun with mine when I was a kid. I would hate to think of someone missing out because it wasn't the right thing to want. Thanks so much for stopping by - I will look forward to returning the favor!

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  34. I stopped by to blitz, but I'm staying to follow. Mostly because I can't wait to see how poor Elim makes out in One Night In Sixes. Congrats on escaping from the dark side (academia) and good luck with the book.

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    1. Aw, thanks so much, Barb - there's part of me that's immensely glad that I still have 10 months left to get my stuff straight before the book comes out, and another BIG part that wishes August were already here so you could it RIGHT THE HECK NOW. Thank you so much for the happy thought in the meantime - you make my whole week!

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  35. Interesting views. I think people are quiet giving, even more so than we see outright. Just becasue certain organizations aren't necessarily getting funds doesn't mean people aren't opening their hearts and their wallets. I think they are, even if it's not on their own terms. Anyway, I don't want to get political, so I'll just leave it at that. I do love the way you've laid this out though, kind of a fun story :)

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    1. Oh, I agree absolutely - I definitely don't think this is a case of people being intentionally stingy, or even stingy at all. The reality is that all of us have limited resources, so we DO have to think carefully to make sure that they are put to the best possible use. That's what the political part is all about (or should be about) - the conversation about how to best allocate the resources we have available. (And thanks for the compliment - I'm so glad you liked it!)

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  36. I do what I can, but I am always reminded to do more. I just read a book about The Invisible Thread and you remind me of this...giving, doing, recognizing the human condition! I am happy to meet you and glad I stopped by~

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    1. Oh, is that the one by Laura Schroff? I looked up the title just now, and it sounds phenomenal - I am going to have to check that out. Thanks so much for visiting - likewise delighted to make your acquaintance!

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  37. This is a great post, congratulations on winning write club!
    Happy Blog Blitz :)

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  38. Giving should definitely be personal, if possible. We need to invest ourselves in the lives of others, even when it's messy or difficult.

    Happy Blog Blitz Day.

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  39. Thoughtful post, a little kindness goes a long way. Happy Blitz Day!

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  40. So that's why we eat comfort food - great post! Congrats on winning the Write Club and Happy Blitz Day to you!

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  41. As a person who has been in the situation as that young woman I have to say thank you for being such a blessing to her. Those blessings will shower back your way, maybe with some cookies :) Happy Blog Blitz!

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    1. Thanks so much, Elise - that means even more coming from someone like you. And it's heartening to be reminded that happy endings happen all of the time!

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  42. Mm. Love it. I'm also a blitz participant and one of your newest followers. It's far too easy to forget those in need--just as it's easier to glare at the person SLOWLY unloading their grocery cart onto the conveyor belt rather than stepping forward to offer a hand. We have to look for opportunities, eh?

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    1. Hi Crystal - and thanks so much for following! You are absolutely right: it is SO easy to assume that anyone currently annoying us (in line, on the road, whatever) is either hopelessly stupid or actively malicious, just because we only have 15 seconds' worth of information to go on. Much harder to put our own selves aside and look for what needs to be done!

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  43. Lovely! Thanks for the meditation. Happy Blitz Day...you know you love it. ;-)

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    1. YES I DO - though I never, ever expected it! Thanks so much for piling on - it's a whole huge heap of love I may never crawl out from!

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  44. So I came here for a blog blitz, and then you made me cry! In a good way of course, but my heart goes out to that girl and others in her situation. Sometimes I feel so helpless to help, but I'm glad there are people out there who are willing to actually *look* around them, *talk* to people and find ways to be their Good Samaritan. It's true- those added "goodies" help people feel like they are worth it, and I feel like if I can enjoy them, everyone deserves it. Thanks for your insights, and congrats on Write Club.

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    1. Thanks, ma'am - sorry about making you reach for the kleenex! It's funny, you know: we moved to uptown Dallas just this year, where everything is within walking distance. I'm not sure if this would have happened back out in the suburbs... because you can be the best person in the world, but it's hard to notice the rest of the world when you are contained almost 24/7 in your house, your office, or your car. Funny how mechanical things like that make a difference.

      Anyway, thanks so much for your good wishes and congratulations - they mean all that much more, coming from the inaugural champion herself!

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  45. Excellent post. I came here on the blitz, and I'm walking away a subscriber.

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    1. Thanks, Giles - that is the best compliment there is!

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  46. I have nothing against helping others even if I don't know them. I prefer to feed and house people than have them on the streets. I prefer to be a civilized and humane society. I don't get the attacks on the poor.

    Happy Blitz. Loved the post.

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    1. Absolutely! I think most of us feel that way. Maybe it's just harder to feel generous when you're worried that there's not enough for everyone, or that people won't help themselves if they can have charity too easily. (And thanks for the compliment - I so appreciate your stopping by!)

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  47. What a lovely story. I'm glad that you helped this woman in need. New follower from the blitz!!

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  48. This is an absolutely beautiful post. Although I'd fall short, I'll happily pick up your slack ANYTIME. Perhaps if we all would do this there would be no need for the 'third paeties'.

    I am grateful to have had the opportunity to enjoy your fine writing during Write Club, likewise to be a part of this Blitz!

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    1. Aw, thanks so much - that is a hell of a compliment! I'm sorry I missed out on the latest Battle of the Bands, but for what it's worth, I would TOTALLY have voted for Iz. Great idea for a contest, by the way!

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  49. When my son was in kindergarten, the teacher asked children to donate some of their extra sweets. She brought them to a homeless shelter. The volunteers added a treat to each person's meal.
    Happy Blitz Day!

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    1. Oh, that is so nice! What a great project - that must have been such an unexpected joy.

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  50. Agree %100! Nothing like a cookie!

    Happy Blitz day!!

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  51. Congrats on winning Write Club! If I can help a stranger, I will, without needing/wanting anything in return. Lovely post and happy Blitz day. (:

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  52. Hi, Tex. Nice blog. Great post. CONGRATS on winning Write Club! HAPPY BLITZ DAY! : )

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  53. Congrats on your win! Sweets are food for the soul :-) Happy Blitz Day!

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  54. There's not such thing as an undeserved cookie in my world view. Comfort comes in many forms. You were a hero in more ways than just giving a ride to a stranger.

    I forgot to go back and check out who won WRITE Club. Congrats on the win. I was Gordon Holmes :)

    ........dhole

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    1. Oh, man - I NEVER would have guessed! That is so cool - I love the whole idea of, like, The Flash, running through the set of Starship Troopers, trying to hold the world together. Please keep at it - I would love to read it one day!

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  55. Congrats on winning and Happy Blitz Day. You are true Good Samaritan and thanks for sharing something so good and inspiring.

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  56. Happy Blog Blitz! Very thought provoking post. I may be the opposite case of what you described because my overactive author imagination makes me WAY too suspicious of any person at the side of the road asking for help to actually let them inside my car with me. But I gladly donate to United Way, trusting they will use the funds they receive to help that same homeless person in the most cost effective way possible.

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    1. Oh, absolutely. I don't think I would have done the same thing if I hadn't been walking to the post office around the corner from my house, and if she hadn't met me right outside a big public building like that. It's very different, meeting somebody on equal ground that way, than having them approach your safe space (car). And your United Way donation means that you can help people who aren't lucky enough to bump into you on the street, which is even better!

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  57. Happy Blitz Day! A great thought provoking post

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  58. Congrats on winning Write Club! Happy unofficial blitz day!

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  59. Hello from the Blitz! Congratulations on your Write Club win!

    Such a lovely post. Thank you for sharing it.

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  60. Thank you for this! Very interesting read. Happy Blitz day!
    With great respect!
    Ambrozya

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  61. Exactly so. Thanks for writing down your meditations. Though all you need is love, and a little chocolate never hurt, we all deserve a little blitz in our lives!

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  62. What a beautiful things you did and have written. I wonderful reason for you the have been BLIZTED!

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  63. There are such things as the corporal works of mercy ... as a matter of fact my current WIP is first in a series based on them. They are: Feed the hungry, Give drink to the thirsty, Clothe the naked, Shelter the homeless, Visit the sick, Visit the imprisoned, Bury the dead . We are obligated to do these things. And I think a very special kind of grace gets channeled both ways when we are involved in an interaction like the one you described in this post. I don't want to live in an America where we judge the deservedness of someone who wants a cookie. "Let he who has never eaten a cookie or some other frivolous foodstuff when they should have eaten a sensible meal cast the first block of government WIC cheese."

    I think what you're getting at here is the idea of human scale. The government is not capable of dispensing (or receiving!) mercy. Great post, Tex.

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    1. That is SUCH a cool idea, madam. What a phenomenal premise for a series - I will look forward to following your progress! (And I love your new, modern proverb - those suckers would HURT, too.)

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  64. A wonderful post you've written here. It was very thought provoking and I agree with just about all of what you've written. The young lady you wrote about was blessed to have crossed paths with you. You were definitely her guardian angel that day. BTW, congrats on your win and you've just been BLITZED!!!

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    1. Thank you for blitzing me! (Is that the correct term?) I don't count myself especially heroic on this front (it's really pretty hard NOT to help out when there's a person crying right in front of you), but I hope it will serve as a good kick in the pants for doing more for the people who aren't right in front of my face. I appreciate your thoughtfulness, regardless!

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  65. Congrats on your win during write club! Oh, and happy blitz day!!

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  66. Congrats on winning with WRITE club. Loved your post today, by the way. Very thoughtful and thought-provoking.

    Happy Blitz Day!
    Lyre @ Lyre's Musings

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  67. You really have touched on a good point there. Happy Blitz!

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  68. Congrats on WRiTE CLUB!! You've been blitzed!!

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  69. Your post was beautiful!! I absolutely love your attitude! I too have had such thoughts about giving to other, deciding that I'd rather give them what I can and let them make the decision on how to spend, because maybe to them a day at the hair salon is an essential. They deserve to feel good just as much as the rest of us. Beautiful, beautiful words :) Happy Blitz Day

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    1. It's amazing, is it not? We are so good at working to cover the basics (a place to sleep, clothing, food), but those higher-order needs are hard to quantify, and harder still to justify giving for when you've been trained to think of the starving children in Africa. It's a heck of a thing, and I am so glad you think so too! Thanks for stopping by!

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  70. Congrats on winning Write Club!
    You have been BLITZED! Enjoy!

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  71. Hi there! I'm stopping by from the Blitz as well :D

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  72. What a wonderful post. I totally agree with you. Thanks so much for depositing these particular thoughts in your "repository." I stopped by with the Blitz team to offer my congratulations for winning the Write Club competition... and I'm staying long enough to sign on as your newest groupie. Nice to meetcha!

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    1. Hi Susan - and thanks so much for joining my little posse! I did not know what the Blitz was until I was on the receiving end of it, but I've already met so many fantastic folks, and will look forward to returning the favor!

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  73. Congratulations on winning the Write Club. Happy Blitz Day!

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  74. This is such a lovely post! I shall have to share it far and wide! Congratulations on winning the Write Club and Happy Blitz Day!

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    1. Aw, thanks, Amanda - that is so kind of you!

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  75. That's spooky talk. Chili without beans? No such thing, unless it's on a hot dog, of course. :) (Oddly enough, I was eating just that when I read the line!)

    I heard congrats were in order and I can see why. May success continue to find you. Enjoy the blitz. :-)

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    1. I know, right! What is this 'no beans' BS - I thought this was America!

      (But it is, of course, and I am so lucky to be here - your stopping by just makes it all the better!)

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  76. Awesome post! Congrats on winning Write Club!
    Happy Blitz Day

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  77. Powerful words. Moving. You're absolutely right. It makes all the difference in the world to go from thinking about "those needy people" to the sobbing girl or the man sitting there in the rain because he's desperate for a little food. Happy Blitz Day to you. I can see why you won that writing contest!

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    1. Thanks so much, Lillian - I have actually been following your blog for months (since the April challenge), and that kind of compliment means so much more coming from someone as connected to the challenges of daily human care and compassion as you are. I don't know how you do it, and yet you keep on getting it done!

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  78. Nice to meet you, Tex and Happy Blitz to you!

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  79. Happy Blitz Day, and congratulations on winning Write Club!

    My parents were on welfare when I was born, so this post really resonates with me. I think a lot of people have been surprised when I've shared this, since I don't strike them as the type of person who was on welfare during my first few months. When you know a person as an individual, you're less likely to stereotype or assume things about the cause of poverty.

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    1. That is so true! It seems like we are conditioned to think of "THOSE people" - that there is a "type" of person who needs welfare, rather than a million different people with a million different sets of circumstances. I am so glad to e-meet you - that is the best cure for stereotypes I know!

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  80. Apologies for coming late to the party, but I hope you had a great Blitz Day.

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  81. I've always thought that giving to others should be from a generous heart--not a judgmental one. A hard twist of circumstances can create hardship in just about anyone's life and really I don't think many are far from that place in today's economy.

    I have a small group of friends that love to bake. The gifts from this group will always be those special extras like cookies, cupcakes, pies, etc. Some in our group make special meals like lasagna, casseroles, or a baked chicken to take to the senior apartments and a few others on the list.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

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    1. That is so cool, Sia! What a great project - and a terrific way to combine talent, interest, and generosity! It's so true, too - "there but for the grace of God and Wall Street..."

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  82. This is a very inspiration post. My oldest son is just getting to the age where he can comprehend that some people have, and some people don't, and I might just use your post as part of our example! Bless you for helping this woman. I'd like to think of those treats as what humanizes ourselves. What keeps us connected to the earth.

    And on your other note, and desperately not trying to self-plug, but am on this terribly profound post and feeling like a derp over it, but I do freelance editing under Jones Editorial and Proofreading Services. www.jonesediting.blogspot.com If you're interested and such. Heh.

    Hope your blitz day was a great success! Looking forward to adding your blog to my frequent check list. :)

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    1. Oh, not at all - I am so glad you mentioned it! I haven't researched it thoroughly, but it seems like there are a lot of great editors out there, along with some not-so-great ones, and no easy way to sift through them. I would love to add you to my Rolodex - maybe it can be something more one day!

      (And boy, way to raise your kid right. He must be hugely lucky to have you for a mom.)

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  83. Cookies are important, as is making someone feel special. Sounds like you did a good thing, good on you.

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  84. You've been blitzed! And love and chocolate make it all the much better!

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  85. Okay, you got me...signed up to follow. Hope you're always this interesting! Are you the rare Texas liberal? Happy Blitz Day!

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    1. Ha! I dunno if I'm always this interesting, but I like to think that Mr. Rogers would approve of my value system :) (And we're not really that rare, actually - just look at what we've done to DFW in the last ten years!) Thanks for following, regardless - I will do my best to fly the flag for interesting!

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  86. Congratulations on winning WRiTE CLUB. I hope you enjoyed your blog blitz :)

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    1. I DID - it was so amazing that I'm still crawling out from underneath! Thanks so much for adding to the fun - I will look forward to returning the favor!

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  87. There seem to be lots of well-meaning comments that missed the point of the post, I'm afraid. "Amen" to this bit --

    "And I wonder if the cookie's not actually an extra goodie at all - if treats, and having the means and freedom to treat your own self, aren't really, critically essential to the entire idea of caring for another human being. "

    Apologies for the churchy talk (I'm usually not all that comfortable with it myself), but all the judging that usually accompanies "charity" is a reflection of people wanting to BE God, instead of DOING God's work - part of which is to share the abundance that exists in the world. "Shortages" are almost always a product of fear/greed.

    BTW, sorry I don't know about this "Blitz" thing, but congrats anyway. ;)

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    1. Hey, Jason - thanks so much for the deep thought! (I don't believe "churchy" is a bad thing, either.)

      Here's the part that gets me, though: it's true that "judge not, lest ye be judged" is a big cornerstone for a lot of faiths. However, if we were truly to give without judging *at all*, we'd be dropping hundred-dollar bills in random aisles at the grocery store. The fact that each one of us has limited resources means that we have to do SOME judging in order to be good stewards of what we have - to try to allocate our time and money to doing the most possible good. So then the question becomes, where does the good/necessary judging cross the line into the negative/fearful kind?

      (I don't know the answer to that, but I'm sure there are plenty of people who've thought it through more fully than I have - I have no doubt that you are one of them!)

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  88. What a lovely post! I feel like handing out cookies now :-)
    Or books! - it is Neil Gaiman's All Hallows Read time, anyway.
    Happy belated blitz!

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    1. Oh shoot - I am so glad you said so; I did not even know he was doing that!

      (So needless to say, thank you for the belated blitz - your timing was just perfect!)

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