#DebbiesDrinks: Blessings in a Cup

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"Debbie's Drinks" by Andrea Bear (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2019 Andrea Bear. All rights reserved.

The expression, “my cup runneth over” has an abundance of meanings. In its biblical sense, it originates from Psalm 23:5. But even in secular terms, it express the idea that one has abundant blessings beyond what they can carry. Having a Catholic community, in my opinion, is one of the greatest blessings of my life. Sharing a faith filled community centered around those who share the same ideals and values, but not only in their faith but in their actions and friendships. For me, that centered around the blessings of my mom and in her interaction with others.

Growing up in Catholic school I had the same 30+ kids in my classroom and at the time I didn’t really consider its specialness. My mom was an employee of our school and would do various tasks, such as helping as a teacher’s aide or helping with development (as in many Catholic schools, funding is tight and you wear many hats). My brother and I use to get annoyed at all the people my mother would talk to (in and out of school). Going on an errand would take half an hour  longer than most peoples because she would talk and start up a conversation.

When we moved on to high school and college, my mom continued to work in our Catholic elementary school( and others schools in the Stockton Diocese) forging many friendships with parents, employees, and even students. It was no secret that she was a foodie and always wanted to bring desserts from the local bakery or be caught with a Starbucks in her hand. She was often late to work because she had to get her coffee and in some way got away with being late because she would always bring a drink for someone to share. I don’t know how she did it, but she could justify it through some act of kindness. She always thought of others. As years passed, we would run into former families who attended the school and they would always comment, “I remember when your mom made pumpkin pancakes for our class,” or “I remember how you always had your Starbucks iced tea at your desk.” Her little stories of love were special to those she came in contact with. If someone didn’t have a lunch, she would make sure they would be provided. If a student had a hard day, she would distract them with a story to change their mood.

"Debbie's Drinks" by Andrea Bear (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2019 Andrea Bear. All rights reserved.

What I didn’t realize (in those times) is that these comments or these little daily interactions were my mom’s way of spreading her joy to others. She had an amazing way of interacting with people that would make them feel so special, almost as if they were the only important person in the world. She didn’t do anything spectacular. She just listened to what they would say. She would sometimes buy them a cookie or a coffee — just her presence was very comforting. You felt like you had a friend. One of my mom’s favorite saints, Mother Teresa, put it best: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” And that, in a nutshell, summed up my mom.

In January 2016, my mom was diagnosed with glioblastoma grade 4 brain cancer. The prognosis of this type of cancer was incurable and our time with her was unknown. My mom went through surgery to extend her life and multiple rounds of chemo and radiation. We were blessed to have her 26 extra months from her diagnosis.

The day after she died and the news of her passing started to spread among our friends and acquaintances, a friend of hers from one of the schools in our diocese started a hashtag called #Debbiesdrinks and posted on social media. The goal was to pass along the kindness and buy the next person’s drink in line at Starbucks, and share their story of kindness about Debbie: to pay it forward.  Within 24 hours of her posting, stories popped up on Instagram and Facebook, and people from Los Angeles, Fresno, even Chicago were posting images of their Starbucks cups with the logo #Debbiesdrinks on the sides. While most of the people were those we knew, there were people I didn’t know posting the #Debbiesdrinks and paying it forward beyond her Catholic community. Even in death, my mom was spreading kindness. The local Starbucks that my mom frequented were writing the phrase on drinks and posted an image of a cup and a flower in honor of my mom.

As her daughter I can’t tell you how amazing this was. I knew my mom was a special lady and loved making others feel special, but I was blown away at the sincere generosity of others, friendliness, and kindness. Making someone’s day special and just talking to strangers and buying their drinks, all because she enjoyed talking and sharing her coffee and love for others. My mom was a convert to the Catholic faith but she was always inspired by Mother Teresa and the love of those who shared Jesus. She always felt called to help others, and now in her passing she was sharing that love and others were continuing it. Now, a year after her death, I continue to see social media posts of #debbiesdrinks pop up from friends and coworkers.

My mother is my own saint. While she is not officially canonized by the Vatican, her memory shares the small simple ways of human kindness: that’s exactly what my mom did in her life. An abundance of small kind things is what she offered this world. Her cup truly ran over to others and shared those blessings with them.

So what can we learn from this lesson? You don’t need to move mountains to show love and kindness. But if you give from your heart and show sincerity (as my mom did)  even the small things will continue to come and your cup will be full of blessings that pour onto others.

How can you share your cup of blessings with others?

 

In loving memory of Debbie Kapina

December 19, 1951- April 4, 2018

"Debbie's Drinks" by Andrea Bear (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2019 Andrea Bear. All rights reserved.


Copyright 2019 Andrea Bear

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About Author

Andrea Bear is a wife, mom, and teacher in Northern California. She runs a blog called Life in the Grace Lane and also contributes to Catholic Stand and Today's Catholic Teacher magazine. When she's not writing or taking her kids to volleyball practice you can find her sipping coffee from the neighborhood coffee establishments or tasting wine from the local vineyards.

5 Comments

    • Andrea Bear on

      Michelle I’m so happy to hear that your mothers treatments have been positive. I will pray for her contributed success.
      Our mothers are our reminders of Marys love for Jesus. They share so much of themselves to others.

  1. Michele Baker on

    Thanks for sharing your story, Andrea! It is wonderful that kindness is being spread in her name. I can she why she is your own personal saint. As I began to read your story, I was reminded of my own mom who has always loved to volunteer at her parish. She was diagnosed with Glioblastoma last Spring. After surgery and one round of radiation and chemo, she is now on a trial which is showing promise. I hope to learn all I can about sharing kindness and love from her example.

    • Andrea Bear on

      Michelle my prayers for your mom that the trial is successful. I’m glad to hear that it looks positive.
      Our mothers are our reminder of Mary’s love for Jesus and how they spread their love to others.

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