G is for Granola...and for Grace April 22 2014, 8 Comments
As I walked into Sun National Arena in Trenton, New Jersey for my daughter, Fiona’s, cheer competition, I was keenly aware that one of us would leave that night crying.
Either they’d lose, and she would be devastated, or they’d win, and I’d find myself in a bind I wasn’t sure how to fix.
The next round of competition would be the nationals, plane rides, meals, hotel rooms, expenses that at that moment in my life, I could not justify.
My marriage had ended four months prior. I was in the middle of a hard re-set with my finances. The money I brought in barely covered our basic living expenses, and extracurricular activities were not included in my calculations for “basic living.”
Yet I was not about to tell her coaches she couldn’t go.
If they placed high enough to qualify for nationals, I knew I’d have to find a way to support this.
I had been baking granola for years and there was one particular recipe that had become a crowd favorite. Maybe it was the “good” maple syrup I sought and used or the dehydrated cane sugar that gave it a smokier flavor than the brown sugar I had tried in other batches. Maybe it was the crunch of the coconut flakes or the crispiness that a touch of brown rice flour added to the recipe. It took years of trial and error but it worked well. It became my “go-to” hostess gift or teacher’s gift. I wrapped it up in mason jars and tied big bows around the rim. People loved it, yet I never took their suggestions for me to sell it seriously, at least not until Cheer Nationals.
I advertised to family and friends that I was selling granola through social media. I talked about it outside school at dismissal time. Sometimes, if I had a bag on hand, I showed friends how I packaged it.
The timing was perfect, as it was right before the holidays. Word got around. I took orders through Facebook messages and emails and kept a spreadsheet of who ordered and required delivery date. The kids and I drove around in the evenings making deliveries, every bag, bringing us $8.00 closer to getting Fiona to her competition. In the end, it paid for us to go to Nationals and then some. And then after nationals, the unexpected happened.
People kept knocking on my door for more.
And then, a year later, *this* happened.
May this be a reminder to all of us that there is opportunity in the most unexpected places, if we look hard enough, and that the crisis may not really be a “crisis” at all.
Maybe it’s grace in disguise.
This blog post and this granola is dedicated to my fierce and mighty daughter Fiona, the one who “started it all.”