There’s been a flurry about the air these beginning weeks of November and we haven’t even seen our first snow fall.

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With endless lists to complete of gift giving, meal planning, and travel arrangements, we have stirred up a snowstorm of busyness and crowded the streets, the stores, and aisles of all kinds, and the weather of our holiday conquering isn’t letting up anytime soon.

With mere days until we families take our seat at the Thanksgiving table, I dared walking thru the doors of the local grocery store for last minute items on my part of the menu just yesterday, not dressing appropriately for those flurries inside.

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It was just a few days earlier when the weather was calm and quiet inside the Uptown coffee house where I regularly share a café mocha extra hot with a dear friend over conversation for two.

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With not a snowflake in sight, the still and quiet of the morning greeted me as I walked thru the doors and took my place in line; noticing my friend of over thirty years already seated at our familiar place by the window overlooking the streets of our town.

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Placing my café order and about to insert my debit card, the barista stopped me before I could as Thanksgiving came early from an unknown patron paying it forward to complete strangers for the duration I was sitting there and beyond.


This unexpected kindness caught me off guard, and for the remainder of the day, my thoughts kept returning to a stranger who chose to slow down, notice and touch the smiling, the hurting, the unemployed, and the numb during a season we are meant to enjoy and celebrate, while some are just trying to get through.

Returning back to the snowstorm of buggies jammed up in traffic of the grocery store aisles, I thought of my sister and her family trying to get through their first Thanksgiving dinner with the empty seat of her husband and their father / grandfather pulling their heartstrings for another meal with him.

Did anyone slow down long enough in the grocery aisles to notice my sister’s heaviness of heart in the meat section struggling in her first attempts to find the turkey her husband used to select?

What about the other first-time widows or widowers?

What about those recently losing a child or job?

What about those with a newly discovered diagnosis?

Did anyone look up from their scribbled grocery list and notice these just getting thru the holidays and pay it forward with a smile, a comforting word from a stranger, or maybe even a swipe of their debit card for a customer who’s struggling at the register with insufficient funds.

Sometimes those paying it forward come when you least expect, yet at a time when you need it the most…

My sister Debbie in her own words.
 Today I decided to go shopping for Thanksgiving and get my turkey.

 This was the first time I ever bought a turkey without Andy.  Picking out the turkey, cooking it, and slicing it up, has always been his job.

 You think you are fine for the moment, but grief just creeps up on you out of nowhere.  I was fighting the tears, and my heart was getting heavy as I was trying to pick out a turkey.  I was just feeling lonely and alone.  I found what I was looking for and headed home.
 When I got home there was something waiting for me by my front door.  A fall flower arrangement from two dear people in my life; almost made me cry.

 Thank you both so much for loving and caring about me on a difficult day. 

 God ALWAYS knows.

 Somebody thought of and paid it forward to my sister and made a tangible difference in her Thanksgiving holiday.

During the snowstorms of November and December when the season might not be merry and bright for a complete stranger in the traffic jams of the grocery aisles, oh that we would notice and take off our mittens to be a hand of hope and pay it forward a joyous act of our kindness for someone struggling just trying to get thru.

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Author Lori A Alicea and her beloved husband David of 29 years thank you for sharing a moment of your day with them at Apples of Gold Encouragement. It is their desire you experience their heart for family, love, encouragement and God through the words God has put on Lori’s heart to write. They are hopeful you discover a few treasures of encouragement, realizing we all share common threads in our lives. Be blessed in your day.

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