Brightening the World from the Basket of A Shopping Cart, One Isle at a Time

The major meal-planning run for our family of four usually occurs on the weekend.

My wife and I are still playing man-to-man offense (or is it defense most of the time?) with our two kids. This past weekend, I took my nine-month old daughter to the grocery store. And those of you who’ve done it in 30 degree weather know that saying this can be a lot of work is an understatement.

Bundling her into the car seat. Taking her out of the seat. Wrap her in her jacket to get inside the grocery store. (The jacket itself is too large and bulky to securely wrap her in her seat.) Insert grocery cart cover. Jam diaper bag under the cart. And now we’re ready to tackle the list thanks to my favorite shopping list app.


I can still quote Charles Swindoll’s “Attitude” poem, about life being 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. So depending on what I call my spiritual connectedness, I can see this list in front of me as a chore or as a learning, day brightening opportunity.

My daughter is comfortably riding in this seat for only the second time. It’s almost as if I can see this new experience feed her ego, thinking she’s made it to the big time now.

Her whole body excites when I hold an orange out to her and clearly pronounce the name. She’s taking it all in.

I quickly learn that my phone propping method of the device nestling next to her doesn’t work. She of course wants to grab at it and play. So I’m driving the cart with one hand, holding the list with the other and checking things off the list as I set them in the cart. I laugh at myself.

It’s quite an orchestration. And there are certain times where my head fills with overwhelming thoughts, but then certain people light up when they see my engaged nine-month old daughter.

The woman behind the deli counter smiles, waves and offers a teething tip involving freezing apple sauce on freezer paper.

A neighbor of mine asks to take a photo of my daughter to send to her husband.

Now there are plenty of people who take no interest and maybe they’re even annoyed at my unfiltered baby talk. But let them be. Focus on the joy.

The way I see it, loving my daughter and supporting her love for life spreads joy to others. I’m the type of guy who can easily focus on wanting to do “the big things” in life, but when I think about this in perspective, how much bigger can you get than spreading love and joy through simple everyday acts.


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