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The Amazing Race – Anniversary Edition: Part Two

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If you haven’t had a chance to read part one of this story this past Relational Tuesday, please read this post first:  The Amazing Race – Anniversary Edition.  

I wanted to finish this story on Happy Thursday because I believe J & N have figured it out.  What you ask?  What have they figured out and how’d they figure it out?  I won’t leave you in suspense.  They figured out the key to happiness.  They figured out a guaranteed way to bring joy into their own lives…by bring joy to others.  Let me explain…

They were sneaky…

They knew our wedding anniversary and my birthday was this past weekend.  So they started working weeks, or dare I say months before on this gift.  N knows how much my wife and I liked The Amazing Race on CBS, so she came up with the idea months ago and J is just the guy to help her deliver on it.  The Amazing Race idea is great, but they didn’t stop there.  They wanted to make us an anniversary dinner too.  But they couldn’t just come out and ask us what we wanted, so here’s how they did it…

We’re all involved in a monthly challenge group, along with a few others, where we communicate progress and achievements over a group text message.  Well, in that group, they started asking about what foods everyone in the group missed the most during these COVID times.  We missed chips and salsa, fajitas, and margaritas from our favorite Mexican restaurant.  We also missed great crab dip and enjoying all these things with our friends.

J also made some great cupcakes for a little get together at my house around the pool a few weeks ago, while practicing social distancing.  They were delicious.  He truly has a gift for cooking.  He made three different ones, and I ripped through all three of them.  A couple weeks later, they were asking everyone which was their favorite.  We all chimed in, me saying that my favorite was the lemon one.

They also asked about favorite ice creams.  Mine, of course, being chocolate peanut butter cup.  They even asked what drinks everyone was missing at their favorite bars and restaurants.  We mentioned margaritas, Old Fashioned’s with friends, and Sex on the Beach.  No, not the act, the drink!!!

All of these were asked in a group setting, not to any one individual, but to everyone.  All while they were gathering information about what our favorites were and what we were missing the most.  With that information in hand, they did the most important thing for happiness…

The were selfless…

They gave of themselves.  It takes a lot of work to plan something like this in advance.  They had to know the right questions to ask, where to ask them, and then remember the answers to deliver on them later.  They had to go out and buy everything they needed.  They didn’t ask for help from anyone for anything.  They made it all themselves.

After we finished The Amazing Race – Anniversary Edition, it was on to dinner time.  It started with chips and salsa, and homemade crab dip accompanied by margaritas.  J had squeezed like 20 limes to make the margaritas.  They were delicious.  I liked where this was going.  We sat, sipped on drinks, talked and destroyed some crab dip.  N made the crab dip.  I don’t think she noticed, but I ate my whole bowl and half of my wife’s.  (hehe)

Next were the chicken wings.  There were mild and, my personal favorite, sweet chili.  They were awesome.  They were so good that the next day we tried to recapture the joy by ordering pizza and sweet chili wings from Grottos.  They were pretty good, but not as good as J’s.

Once we finished the chicken wings, here came the fajitas with chicken, shrimp, and all the fixings.  I believe the wraps were homemade too.  They were a little thin, but they were delicious.  I ate like six of them, all while continuing sipping on margaritas.

Once we had finished eating, we were going to move to the patio for a fire when N comes out with a cake with candles on it for my birthday.  Everyone sang to me.  It was pretty great!!!  And guess what kind of cake???  A homemade lemon cake, just like the cupcake that I said was my favorite of the three I ripped through just weeks before.  Way to go J!!!

We then moved out to the patio for a fire where J & N delivered to us a cocktail, mine an Old Fashioned, and my wife’s a mix between a Sex on the Beach and a Malibu Bay Breeze.  J & N had the same respectively.  They then brought out a big piece of cake for us and, you guessed it, homemade chocolate peanut butter cup custard.  J made it from scratch!!!  Did he buy peanut butter to put into it?  NOPE!!!  He made that too.

They were humble…

They did all of this without being asked or bragging about it.  They didn’t go out and advertise what they did.  When we thanked them for it, they said that they were doing it for themselves too, which makes it seem less selfless, but I see through that.  This was a lot of work and cost on their part, fully expecting nothing in return.  But I do believe they got something out of it…

Chicken Soup for the Soul

When you do something like J & N did, with no expectation of thanks or anything back, you are truly giving of yourselves, showing love for others.  And when you do that kind of thing, you’re eating the Chicken Soup for the Soul.  This type of altruism and selflessness is the key to happiness and joy.  The giving of yourself with no expectation of anything in return is truly being selfless.  This is the type of love our God asks us to show every day.

The Takeaway

If you want to bring joy into your life, one of the best thing to do is provide joy to others.  J & N provided my family and I with so much joy this past weekend with all the memories, good food, and time together, they can’t help but to be happy themselves.  They did something great for someone else and that’s just good living right there.

Oh, and who won The Amazing Race – Anniversary Edition?  Drum roll please….The Kids!!!  Yes, our boys beat us.  Though we were more creative by creating our own Wilson volleyball, they actually re-watched the scene and did an almost perfect rendition of the scene with camera angles, props, and drama.  And they finished the challenges before us too.  They deserved the win.

I know this sounds cheesy, but we all won.  We truly did.  And that’s because J & N decided to serve themselves something to eat too.  They eat the Chicken Soup for the Soul and I think they just put Campbell’s out of business.

My deepest and most heartfelt thanks goes out to you, J & N, for touching our lives and creating memories we will have forever.  We love you both dearly.  God bless.

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