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    by Susan McGrath

Popcorn Joy (did not post yet - redated)
Date Posted: August 19, 2006

            My kids love popcorn. (So do I, but I try to distance myself from the food illustrations - I'm afraid the calories will rub off!)

            Popcorn is a happy food - that thumping sound it makes as it strains against the bag in the microwave or the pinging sound as it high-jumps into the lid of the pan on the stove are distinctive and everyone knows immediately what will follow. If the sound doesn't get you, the aroma will. Whether topped with salt, butter or, my favorite, Parmesan cheese, popcorn makes your senses smile.

            Even the associations of popcorn - movie theaters, carnivals, circuses, ballgames and slumber parties - can bring a smile stemming from nostalgia.

            Popcorn has another association besides fun and flavor - something exploding and expanding in an instant. In our Kindergarten class we learn sight words written on what look like giant pieces of popcorn. We call them our "popcorn words" because when we see them they pop right into our heads. This association helps the kids visualize the word literally popping out of their brains and onto their lips so they can read the word.

            There are many moments of each day which resemble both traits of popcorn - happy and exploding in an instant. This is "popcorn joy": the driver who motions you ahead of him into the turn lane you missed; the power bill that was $50 less than you expected; the B+ your son got on his social studies test; the frozen pizza that you dig out of the bottom of the freezer when you're running late for soccer practice and can't stomach one more Big Mac; the song you hear on the radio that reminds you God will take care of everything; the new blooms on the geraniums you forgot to water last week; the dishwasher that someone turned on after you went to bed; the Bible verse you learned at camp that keeps running through your head and seems so appropriate for the day.

            Moments often not even noted can be little bursts of joy in our days. When you hear a pop or a ping don't assume the car is falling apart, just think of it as joy exploding into your day.

            "Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul." - Psalm 86:4

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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