There is an activity I do with my young yoga students. I give each child an orange. We talk about where the fruit came from--where it really came from--from a seed in a farmers field, to a blossom waiting to be pollinated to a ripe fruit ready to picked. And we talk about how it got into our hands--it was shipped and unboxed and displayed and purchased and driven and then finally placed in their hands.
During these exercises, I notice the kids getting excited about all the steps and all the work that goes into a ripe orange. They remember things I forget--like how did the farm worker get to the farm? Or what kind of truck drove the fruit to market? Or how big was the bee that pollinated it? Was there lots of rain or lots of sun? Was there a bird's nest in the orange tree? For kids, the details are limitless and they can truly imagine the journey of the orange.
After we talk, we all say a blessing to thank everyone and everything for their part in getting the orange to us. Then we eat. We eat slowly; mindful that each bite is precious. We eat with gratitude. And we eat the sun, the rain, the hard work of the farmer, the work of the bees and the energy it took to bring that orange to us.
This morning I made my favorite-hot water with lemon or as Lily calls it, Lemonade Tea. As I waited for the water to boil, I thought about lemonade and Lily's Lemonade Stand. I thought about every person who devoted their energies and generosity to make it a smashing success. Lemonade Tea will always be mindful drinking for me--an exercise in gratitude and joy. It will always be a sip of all the people who made Lily's Lemonade Stand. It will be each of you--
- Sweet Alex Scott, who was smart and had a plan. Sweet Alex who in so many ways saved me from fear
- Liz and Jay Scott, who work everyday to end pediatric cancer, so that other children may live
- Kicking off the weekend by almost reaching our goal with online donations--and ending the weekend knowing we nearly doubled our goal
- Jackie painting faces for hours in the hot sun
- Sleeping Beauty reading Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand to the girls
- Miss Theresa smiling and tearing up and watching with true joy
- The Lindenwold Fire Department surprising us with the fire trucks and putting the call out to everyone to come buy Lily's Lemonade
- The Laurel Springs Fire Department who was just out for a drive and stopped by
- Toasting pink lemonade with Aidan
- Rachel and Joe serving up cups
- Olivia and Maddie serving lemonade
- New friends, old friends, friends to be all spending part of their weekend with us
- Seeing our neuro-oncology social worker, outside of CHOP, on our front lawn and hearing him remind me that he is always our social worker
- Kimana asking everyone to put another $1 in the jar
- Lily running and laughing and being a kid without limits
- The beautiful lemonade stand Mike built
- Chloe as a toddler-when last year she was an infant-sipping lemonade with her sister
- Katie who devoted hours and dollars to our stand and created the most beautiful Lily Stepper
- Julie and her beautiful Lemonade Hair Clips
- Jon for his endless ideas and support and outreach
- Balsamo's pizza, Betsy Brody and the Battleship NJ for gift certificate donations
- The beautiful blog Megan wrote
- The endless support from Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation-particularly Gillian, Shirley and Melissa
- Lily painting Brittney and Kellee
- Amelia and Colin hosting a satellite lemonade stand
- Friends and family driving for hours to make it and buy a cup
- Karen and her beautiful yellow hair clips
- Lily's teacher Ms. Shepherd, taking up the cause and bringing it to School 5
- All of Lily's teachers, current and past, who came to the Lemonade stand
- Our Temple family--the Lacrosse team and their parents and our Temple Football family--for making long, long drives for us
- All the Facebook shout outs--logging on each day and seeing the Newsfeed filled with Lily's Lemonade posts
- Radio shout outs thanks to Tina and Danielle
- The beautiful photography of Amy, Tami and Sheri
- All of Lily's friends who came and helped and played
- Meeting Owen, another young survivor, who's light and brilliance is blinding
Most of all, I'll drink the love and the hope.
With endless gratitude and love.