As I went to comment that it looked very delicious, I saw this friend had typed: "Fresh peach pie to highest bidder next. Cash goes to Texas for Rey and Liz Sanchez and their little baby girl soon to be born. Peaches coming Aug. 21. Let the bidding begin. P.S. let's make it the top two bidders and you can bid until Aug. 20th. Let's have fun!." Tears sprang to my eyes-- what??! How sweet was that?
I thanked her, and then Rey and I just marveled together at this gesture of love and kindness. You see, that's all this friend (and her lovely family) have shown us. Back even before there was an "us", a "Rey and Liz Incorporated", she believed in us. She encouraged Rey to pursue me, and giggled with me over "Rey tidbits" at her kitchen table during our long-distance dating. She prayed for us and often served as a conduit of information for us. She would vouch for Rey's character when I was unsure... and pass along to Rey whatever giddiness I may have "happened" to share with her. She insisted we call her "Grandma" and invited us to many family functions; they even let Rey live with them on 2 separate occasions.
For our wedding that took place in the U.S... she and her husband stood in for Rey's parents, since they couldn't make it. I don't just mean they stood up at the wedding. Nope. She went with me to check out the wedding venue and give her perspective on it. They also found the perfect spot for our rehearsal dinner and footed the bill.
When we lived in Mexico, she didn't forget to send us birthday cards and holiday greetings. She even sent gifts for the kids. They often supported us when we were on the mission field. One Christmas, she actually told her family that she and her husband had all they needed, so to send whatever they would've spend on gifts to us! Who does that??
All these memories and more came flooding back to Rey and I as we shook our heads at how she--yet again--had thought of another way to bless us.
A month or so went by, and I had pretty much forgotten about the pie comment, since we had heard no further details. One day, an unexpected bill arrived in the mail. By this point, we were living off of what Rey could earn working part time at a car wash, and the bill was much larger than we could afford. I walked to the mail box the next day, hoping no more surprise bills were waiting and wondering what we should do about the one that had arrived.
What I instead found was a note from a person who I didn't know... with a check for a little more than what the bill had been... stating they had ordered some delicious pies from our friend and this financial gift was because of those pies. The sender included some sweet words of encouragement as well. Can you say amazing??
I called our friend first thing the next morning, and we exclaimed together over this amazing event-- she said she called things like that "pennies from heaven" and was just as ecstatic over it as I was. I thought this check was from the "winner of the auction"--as detailed on the Facebook comment. But, then... our friend told us that news of her pies was spreading like wildfire and orders were pouring in.
I asked, "What??! I thought it was just the one pie! How many pies have you sent out so far?"
She counted them up. Twelve. "And, with each pie, I send an enveloped pre-addressed to you guys with a note saying they can send however much they like." We were dumbfounded. 12 pies? And, she had more orders coming in.
She made so many pies, she ran out of peaches and had to switch to apples. I think she made 23 pies total. And, more checks kept arriving in our mailbox. Most from people we'd never met. Many with sweet notes of encouragement. Each check caused me to envision those dear hands preparing the fruit, slicing it, rolling out the dough, watching to make sure the pie was baked to perfection. Bringing more tears to our eyes. A true, complete labor of love.
In the end, our friend's pies (along with their own generosity) brought us over $1300. Overwhelming. And, honestly. When we needed it most. The last check arrived September 8. Rey was hired September 19. How fun it was to share the joy with her!
There are many things about our friend that are note-worthy. That are imitable. In this particular instance, I loved that she didn't just see a need and try to fill it herself. She found a way to pull in her community around her to help us also--and I think that is extra special. God has placed amazing people in our lives like this one. I always try to absorb as much from them as I can, pass on what they have been to us to others. To learn how to truly give and love as they do. It is truly humbling. Our people are our biggest blessing.
Why do I share this woman with you all? I don't share her name because I know she didn't do it for fame. Those who know her already know all that I am writing... and more! I write it because each of us are daily confronted with needs around us. It can seem so hard to know what to do. Maybe we don't feel we have anything that could help.
Maybe we don't. But, maybe. Just maybe, we could bake a pie. Or... 23. And be just what it takes to get a family through a rough spot.
"Love you, grandma & grandpa!"
**Several photos used with permission from Everyday Charming. She snapped these pictures of our friend-- because our "pie lady" happens to be her grandma! Check her out--she's super talented!**