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Strolling the Grocery Store


I was grocery shopping with two boys. You know. My favorite. The usual acrobatic routine of the wrestling brothers, the tipping cart, the try to remember the list, the race to the finish.

We turned a corner to find our neighbor, Miss Jenny. She was making the rounds herself, although she was flying solo. Her daughter is one of our favorite babysitters, and generosity and nurturing runs in their family.

She took one look at us, surveyed the situation, and said, “Hi, guys! You know what? I need a shopping helper. I’m all by myself today, and I need someone to do my shopping with me. Tuck, would you come along?”

Tuck was a little nervous, as he tends to hover closely to his Queen Bee. I convinced him I wouldn’t leave the store without him, Miss Jenny promised him great joy as she would teach him to scooter along the side of her cart, and he conceded with a smile. Off he went with Miss Jenny.

And off I went, with just Tyler. It was a whole new world; he had nobody to wrestle with, no perpetual comedy routine, and instead he simply resorted to delightful conversations with me, friendly debates over yogurt or Gogurt, string cheese or cheese cubes.

Pure bliss.

We met up with Tuck and Miss Jenny at the checkout lane. She and Tuck had perused the aisles, and he shown her some of our family’s favorite things. She had loaded a grocery bag with gifts for us.

She purchased the food and place it in my cart, and just before we parted, she said, “Guys, The Dollar Store is our favorite. Sarah and I want to take you there. Here is two dollars for each of you, as a promise that we’ll go so you can spend them there.”

My boys were delighted. I was beyond blessed. She had given me food, time, and patience.

I later learned: Jenny was simply strolling the grocery store while the pharmacy filled her prescription. She didn’t really have a list or a goal.

And then she bumped into us, and she created a list and a goal on the spot: to serve and love us.

Thank you, Jenny. Of all the homes in all the world, God led you to live in our neighborhood. This is no small gift to me.

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. This warms my heart………

  2. I love love love that Jenny just stepped in and DID what she knew needed to be done. She didn’t ask your permission or even let you object; she just followed her heart and the Holy Spirit and blessed you greatly.

    I have found so often that those in need of a “Jenny” just need someone to step in and DO–not ask, not hesitate, not give choices, just DO what you know needs to be done. It is often such a relief and a blessing to the person for whom you are caring.

    LOVE your blog Tricia. Your honesty and strength amaze and bless me. I “landed” here by somehow doing a Google search on Cedarville University (my alma mater) and finding your mother in law (did she attend CU too?) and subsequently finding you. Thanks for sharing a bit of YOU-and Tuck and Ty and your husband-with us.

    • Jen,

      That is a round-about way to find me! 🙂 Yes, both of Robb’s parents graduated from Cedarville, and I attended for two years in the late nineties.
      Thank you for reading my words – I too am challenged my Jenny’s jump-in mentality. May I serve others that way, too.

      Thank you for your words today. 🙂


  3. What a special gift from the Lord she is! Everyone needs a servant friend like that.

  4. In past blog entries, you have said that you refer to some authors by their first names because you feel like you really know them. You are just “Tricia” to me. I refer to you that way when I talk to my friends “Oh Tricia said such and such the other day.” Ha! I really wish we were neighbors. I have twin girls….and they would love your sweet boys.

    • This really, really makes me smile, Andrea. 🙂

  5. Dear God,
    Help me to look for ways to be a Jenny to my world.

    • Amen, Kim. Me, too.

  6. Reminds me of how the simple can be the most profound.

  7. Tricia,
    I love this blog for two reasons:
    1) It is put well together and looks very professional. It is organized and is everything a blog should be.
    2) It still show the true you that your old blog showed. A fun, loving mom who loves to write and is great at it.
    I love coming home and seeing that you have posted. I enjoy getting a glimpse every single day at your chaotic, yet stupendous life. Thank you so much for taking the time to write everyday because I can tell that I’m not the only one loving it. Love you!

    • These are tremendous words, Miss QoU. Thank you. 🙂

  8. Thank God for good neighbors

  9. Our Sermon at church this week was titled “How to be Great” and Jenny fits that title. Your story has been an inspiration to me and even this post has reminded me that ultimately we are here to Serve God, which comes from serving others. Praying for you and your little guys daily.

  10. My mom would always send us off to get things she’d missed. We were homeschooled so we went grocery shopping a lot. When I was a kid I was excited because I thought she wanted me to help, but now I know better.

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