The Secret Ingredient

Annah Elizabeth1 Comment


This Memorial Day weekend finds my family on the road, again.

Big Guy’s soccer team is participating in a two-to-three-day tournament in Erie.

By a brilliant stroke of luck, one member’s family owns a home near the competition complex and invited everyone for a team get-together.

As you know, I’m sort of known for my homemade cookies, at least in my kids’ circles.

So, of course, when a sign-up list came around, I plugged that little dessert into our contribution slot.

During my break between work shifts on Thursday, I pulled flour and sugar and vanilla and eggs and sheet trays and cooling racks from their cupboards and began the process.

While the first two trays baked and the delicious smell wafted across my kitchen, I smiled.

Most of the time I just make ordinary chocolate chip, but occasionally I’ve added a little something extra, like peanut butter and a few dashes of oats.

Those little changes always seem to bring even more enthusiasm.

This time, I grinned when I added heaping mounds of M&Ms to the batter, because I could imagine the boys’ excitement. 

 And I smiled as I remembered the delighted exclamations the kids have made during past devourings.

As I continued rolling dough into balls, I wondered what it is about this simple recipe that elicits so much animation from the people I’ve served.

I’d love to be able to tell you that I have some secret family recipe, handed down from mothers to daughters, one that a great-great-great grandmother carried on her person during the long boat ride to America.

Who knows, maybe it did…

Though the recipe has been around for generations, it is none other than the one that’s been baked in countless kitchens across the globe, the one printed on the back of every Nestle Tollhouse morsels bag.

The secret ingredient is love, I thought.


As that thought flitted through my brain and this week’s Happy Happens presented itself to me, I thought about that Love and all it represents.

The secret ingredient to almost everything is love, really.

Think about it.

Love is in our appreciation for the people around us and is in the foundation of teambuilding and teamwork…
 Big Guy’s soccer team, taking a break between wins at a Wegman’s, is one big, amazing, extended family who seem to be bound by a genuine love for each fellow man.

Love is what builds relationships and binds people together during hard times.

Love is in our joy, it’s in our gratitude for the people and places and things that stir in us awe and aspiration and wonder and warmth…

I love the scent and sight of the Spring lilacs that line my driveway 
You can always tell when a person loves her work, for the emotion emotes through in every detail and resonates in people who are somehow associated.

This also holds true in corporate customer service, that old “service with a smile.”
Those details can be seen in the Wegman’s photo above, where fresh flowers adorned each table that welcomed its guests and invited us in as with open arms.
The Hampton Inn we stayed at this weekend takes that adage to a whole new level.
To the person(s) responsible for these morning messages of hope and inspiration, THANK YOU FOR HELPING FEED YOUR GUESTS’ HAPPY!! YOU ROCK!!!
My random selection from the fruit basket.

This country was built on the backs of all those who loved the idea of freedom and then loved one another enough to fight for our independence.

Love for our country could be found in the faces of these two veterans as they saluted the American flag at the beginning of the Padres’ game I recentlyattended with my sons.

Love for this dedication moved me to go and thank these two men for their service.

I try to remember to always thank our military men and women who have served and protected us, who have loved with their blood, sweat, tears, and their time, what many call the ultimate sacrifice.

Reconnecting with that piece, I was reminded of my last Happy Happens post, Mountains of love.

I’ve been running in so many circles this past week that I didn’t even realize how this post and the last were connected until I saw that little link luv phrase “Annah Elizabeth last wrote…”

“Love, even when you don’t feel like it.” The words of wisdom I created to share with my nephew and his new bride.

That’s how relationships survive trauma and tired and how they tenure on.

That’s what our service men and women do day in and day out.

They love when they are heartbroken and hurt and away from home and family.

Love is the secret ingredient that makes the world go round.

Love is the secret ingredient that keeps us safe and sound.
Love is the secret ingredient that leads us to acceptance and peace and compassion and forgiveness…

And Love is the secret ingredient that supports us in our sadnesses…

Thank you, Servicemen and Service Women, past and present and future for loving me and my family and every single one of your countrymen.

Thank you to my nephew and Fave’s longtime childhood friends who are watching over our country celebration in honor of them today.

Thank you, everyone, for your part in protecting your neighbor, for showing love for one another…

Even when you don’t feel like it…

What about you, Journeyer? What is your secret ingredient?

Until next we meet again, yours in healing and hope and happiness…


One Comment on “The Secret Ingredient”

  1. Pingback: Not My Mom’s Pot Roast | The Five Facets

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