Grace: undeserved merit or favor 

I never intended to post anything on our birthdays, but I have to go back on that intention, and you’ll understand why.

Dunk That Free Donut!

Ross and I took the day off from work today to celebrate year #35. Sophia REALLY wanted to skip school to spend the day with us, but since I never cut class until my sophomore year of high school because I got stood up to a banquet and I was too embarrassed to face the Jerkface who stood me up, I figured she couldn’t skip class until then, either (but let me be clear that I hope that NEVER happens to her). So, I suggested we all go to Dunkn’ Donuts before dropping her off to school this morning for “birthday Donuts”—-and because Sophia recently has outgrown her gluten allergy and Donuts is not a novelty that has worn off on her, yet.

Ross came over to pick us up. When we got to Dunkn’, we chose our Donuts: me, a Bavarian cream-filled one; Sophia, a chocolate-covered one; and Ross, a coconut-flaked one. Without any effort of Ross’ own, the cashier ended up giving him his donut for FREE.

Dessert’s On Us!

After dropping Sophia off to school, we decided to get some coffee from Portola Coffee Lab and grab some breakfast at GreenLeaf, both at SoCo. 

After eating our breakfast, our waiter approaches us and offers us a dessert each….for FREE. 

Drinks on us!

After breakfast, we get pedicures done and a massage, each, at Venus Spa.  

(He tolerates this. He will do anything I want to)
After pedicures and massages, we decide to go to Downtown Disney. 

We end up at an outdoor restaurant/bar called Catal, for a celebratory drink. 

Here, we meet a couple in their 60’s full of spunk and joy. After they inquired about the reason for our celebratory drinks, we told them we were celebrating our birthdays. We get the usual response most people give us when they don’t know us: “Are…you twins??” Sometimes, In response, Ross will plant a big kiss on my mouth in front of them and say, “YEP!” In this case, we tell them instead that we are engaged and plan to marry later this year.

They shared with us some marital wisdom: “Life is full of twists and turns—be playful. Oh, and if you decide to have any children, a home-birth is best.” My mother gave birth to me at home in the presence of a midwife: could this be a sign???! Ha! 

They generously paid for our drinks. Cheers!!


After thanking the sweet couple for their generosity, we approach Jazz Kitchen. Being it a Monday night, we fully expected not to have to wait for a table, which is why we didn’t book a reservation. However, when we reached the hostess, they told us the wait was approximately an hour long. We really wanted to sit inside next to the piano like we did last year, so I had no problem waiting. The hostess, Anita, asked what we were celebrating. We told her it was our birthdays and that we were born on the same month of the same day in the same year, and that we celebrated our birthdays here last year, as well.

Her response: “My fellow host, Brian, is actually going to make an exception for you two—we will be able to sit you both right away. Right this way, please.”  Ross and I look at each other in disbelief: between the free donut, the free desserts at GreenLeaf, the free drinks at Catal, and now being seated immediately while we were fully content waiting for another hour was a SCORE! 

We get seated, and our waitress comes over.

“Welcome to Jazz Kitchen. My name is SOPHIA and I’ll be your server tonight.” 

I lost it. I just did. Little graces so undeserving.

Oh – and it doesn’t end there. 

The family at the table behind us was celebrating a birthday as well. When we finished our meal, Sophia came by with two plates of angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream for both Ross and I. “The table behind you wanted to gift these to you. Enjoy. Happy Birthday!”

(Brian, Anita, me, and Ross at Jazz Kitchen) 

We left Jazz Kitchen in high spirits, thanking Sophia, Brian, and Anita for exceptional service and for making our night. 

Ross unexpectedly gifted me with a Fossil Watch at the Fossil Store. Their engraving machine was out of commission tonight, so I was told I could come back another time after they fix their machine to get one done….for FREE. What I plan to engrave on it: Grace 5/15/17.

Tune My Heart To Sing Thy Grace…

Ross does a great job in challenging me to orient my heart and mind to be grateful. Every day is an exercise to see the little things that point to God—every day occurrences that often times get overlooked. All day today, we saw undeserved, unexpected graces. It reminds me of the grace of God—-fully undeserved, and completely abundant. 

At church last week I learned what the word “prodigal” meant. Most people think of the parable in the Bible: “The Prodigal Son” when they hear that word, and they associate the word with the idea of being “lost”, “wayward”, or “drifting astray.” I learned it actually means “wasteful.” It makes the title of Tim Keller’s book “The Prodigal God” make sense. How wonderful it is to have a prodigal God—a God who wastefully lavishes His children with undeserved grace and mercy. 

Keep your eyes open to the little moments of blessings. You’ll miss them otherwise. 

Come thou fount of every blessing

Tune my heart to sing Thy grace

Streams of mercy never ceasing

Calls for songs of loudest praise



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