I was (rightfully!) chastised this week for getting so far behind on my blog postings, so here goes…….

This post is much different than it was originally intended to be. F. Oliver’s was so busy in July and August that it was all I could do to keep up with the business. Since then we have been actively preparing for Christmas, and now the season is upon us. So, in short, it’s been busy busy busy. After months of not posting, my first post back was going to be some cute, hopefully clever post about being so busy. But some other things have happened and cute and clever are not what come to mind.

During the last several weeks serious life situations have been on my mind. I learned that two of my friends’ husbands have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. Another friend’s family mourned the tragic suicide of a young family member. Then yesterday a customer told me that the husband of a Kodak colleague (and friend) is fighting to keep working while untreatable cancer invades his body.

Hearing about these sad “real-life” situations always serves up a healthy dose of perspective and leaves life lessons to be learned and relearned. Today is only here today, so this is our chance to work, play, live, and love as we want our lives to be; this is it – no do-overs! The things that seem big are incredibly small in the scheme of things; not to overuse the tired, “don’t sweat the small things,” but….

Another lesson taught by these sad life situations is that we can all be oases of warmth and kindness in a high-tech, increasingly de-humanized world. While running the business well is important, F. Oliver’s is blessed with a kind and sensitive staff who respect and care for each other and who truly enjoy warmly hosting store visitors. Who knows what another person is dealing with in their life? If in the course of each of our daily business we can add a little warmth and happiness isn’t it our place in life to do so?

Yesterday, within an hour of hearing the latest sad news, a woman came into the shop carrying a baby carrier. While the mother tasted oils and vinegars, the baby slept peacefully. After I tried casually to catch a glimpse of the sleeping infant the mother unzipped the tiny sleeping bag for me to get a better look. I saw a perfect TINY little girl with fingers the size of a doll’s, a full head of dark shiny hair, and a lovingly placed pink ribbon around her small round head. The mother told me that she didn’t know until three days after the baby’s birth that the baby would be theirs to adopt and that the baby was truly an unexpected gift. At that moment I was struck by how happy life can be. How nice to work in an environment where people who were previously strangers can share these happy events with us.

So what about the oils and vinegars? Well, not to be preachy, but FRESH extra virgin olive oil is VERY good for you. It helps prevent heart disease and some forms of cancer. Vinegar aids digestion and builds our bodies in countless other ways. Beyond the health benefits though, repeatedly our customers share with us what they made with F. Oliver’s products and how much their family and/or friends enjoyed their creations. What could be more warm, loving, and nourishing than for a family or group of friends to share delicious healthy food and friendship around the dinner table?

Seize the day – it is only here today!