Our Lady of Weight Loss

Our Lady of Weight Loss

Grace Eventually: The Mozzarella Stuffed Pretzel Story (God works in mysterious ways.)

Yesterday was one of those days. At approximately 7:30 a.m. my 92 year-young mother, Harriet, called me and said, “I’m going to the hospital in about twenty minutes. I called the super to take me; I’m not up to driving myself. He’s taking his kids to school first, and then he’ll come and get me.”
She continued. “My heart has been racing for a few days, and now my whole body is shaking too. … No. Don’t come. No, I won’t call an ambulance. I don’t like the noise, and I don’t want ‘them’ to be coming for ‘me.’ Everyone will be talking about it. No! Do not come. It’s nothing. I’ll call you when I know something.”
We hang up. I sit and stare at the wall for a good 15 minutes. I’m not a panicky, fast to react type of person. Since I was a little kid … it’s just how I’m hard-wired. My mind goes blank, and I stare for a bit before I move into reaction mode.
And THEN I move into action mode. In this particular case, I wrote out a check list of things to do and I was on it: Call the hospital; see if she’s arrived (in one alive piece); get a doctor on the phone; access what’s happening; clear my calendar; check the train schedule. (We live in NYC; no car! Imagine that!! We would have liked one yesterday, although driving when you are preoccupied with your mother’s demise isn’t a good idea.)
Thankfully, my husband is home. I say to him, “What book are you bringing for the train.” He tells me, and I think I’ll bring something that is going to make me feel good, something I bought some time ago and haven’t had the time to read (I figure this is no time to be reading hard-core hypnosis or coaching books; maybe something light – maybe something that will get me through the day). Grace (Eventually) Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott is my pick. I adore Anne Lamott and have even gone to hear her speak! (I’m picky about my authors.)
We head off … and when we get to the train station, I am in charge of purchasing the train tickets and Peter, my sweet and supportive husband, is in charge of breakfast. I tell him to just “pick me up a plain bagel.” (NYC bagels (due to their ridiculous super-size) – without butter or cream cheese – are about 552 calories (about! HA!). But if you gut the bread out of them, you can enjoy a relatively fat-free 400 calories, which at the end of the day is not a bad breakfast when on the run.)
When we get to the hospital, we find my mother in her emergency room cubicle, and she is having the time of her life. The hospital is a teaching hospital, and my mother is being examined by 3 ‘newbie’ doctors. She is flirting with each and every one and giving wise-crackin’ answers to their overly serious (as she sees it) queries.
Doctor A (for Adorable) asks, “Are you taking any drugs, illegal or otherwise?” And my mother says, “You mean aside from the fifth of scotch I drink every day?” He is writing down, 1/5 of Scotch (blank faced; practicing his non-judgmental doctor face.)
My mother smells wine and gets drunk. I’ve never seen her have more than a glass of Manischewitz grape wine. She spies me walking in and starts laughing so hard, that she starts to cry, as do I. The ‘newbie’ doctor is concerned that she’s having an ‘attack.’ “No,” I explain. “It’s a mother/daughter moment. And by the way, scratch off that scotch from your list.”
We visit in the ER for hours and hours. More doctors, more laughs. They are adjusting her high blood pressure medication and, at the end of the day, since she won’t allow anything more than that, we are hoping that the adjustments are enough to carry her through another 92 years.
It is at that moment that I realize that I am hungry and ask for the bagel. My husband is a hard-core Brooklynite from the old days and his family (old school) used to call pretzels bagels. Yup, he bought a bag of NYC pretzels from a fancy bakery at the train station.
I bite into the pretzel and much to my surprise, I find that it is stuffed with Mozzarella cheese.
I go nutzo … “What’s in this? I wanted a bagel and had to settle for a pretzel! Saboteur!!!” I continue on my tirade, “How could YOU buy ME a Mozzarella Stuffed Pretzel? How many calories, how much fat is in it? Could ‘they’ make anything worse for us (the American public).”
At which point my husband cuts me off and says calmly and slowly, “Grace, my dear … eventually.”
This IS a moment of grace. God has provided me an opportunity to express my upset about my mother, indirectly. An opportunity to yell and scream about Mozzarella Stuffed Pretzels. An opportunity break the damn pretzel in half and eat it, slowly, savoring the fat (by the way, knowing that I’d missed both breakfast and lunch – so really, no harm done, and the protein and fat would probably do me some good).
And I smile, Anne Lamott is right. Grace arrives Eventually (in this case, 3/4 of the way through the day … not such a long wait); and it arrives in unexpected forms. No angels singing. Just me yelling in the face of a mozzarella stuffed pretzel!!!
Sometimes a Stuffed Mozzarella Pretzel is a God-send, packed full of unexpected grace in an unpredictable form! And my husband – a form of grace, as well – shining the light on this miraculous moment of ‘grace.’
I wonder what unpredictable moments of grace will avail itself today. Long live the ‘Mozzarella Stuffed Pretzel.”
Spread the word … NOT the icing!
PS: Anyone want to leave a comment for my mother, please do so. When I put the first video of her on the site and read her your comments, she got such a huge kick. With each and every entry, she laughed, and said … “Are these your friends?” “Yes,” I responded, “although I’ve not met most of them.” Peels of laughter … “Oh,” she said, “This is a funny new world. … Read me more.”
Janice Taylor is a Life & Wellness Coach, author, seminar leader and 50-pound-BIG-Time-LOSER!
For more motivation and inspiration, join the Kick in the Tush Club: Beliefnet Chapter.
Pick up a copy of Janice’s latest: All Is Forgiven, Move ON ~ Our Lady of Weight Loss’s 101 Fat-Burning Steps on Your Journey to Sveltesville!
” . . . . kooky genius ~ see if her idiosyncratic diet plan will work for you.” ~ O, The Oprah Magazine
ART heart.jpg about Janice

  • Barbara

    This is for Harriet…..
    Congratulations for getting through this experience with such courage and grace. You are an inspiration to women like me who live alone. However, as a mother and a daughter, too, I think you should have called Janice sooner. But this is just my opinion. I truly admire your indomitable spirit. Be well!!!

  • Your Name

    Hi Janice, I’m so sorry your mom is not feeling well. I hope she feels better. Thank you for sharing your story. I thought I was the only person who went numb in the face of disaster. It takes me time to process a crisis, and I guess I go into shock for a while. I think I worry that if I react too quickly I will do the wrong thing, so that’s probably why I hesitate. I take a beta blocker to lower my blood pressure too, and that slows me down even more! I wish you and Harriet all the best. Happy Holidays.

  • Your Name

    Hello Janice and Harriet! Janice, the daily messages from you, as OLWL, give me smiles every day, plus inspiration to stick to being watchful of what I eat. Harriet, whenever your daughter mentions you on her daily messages. I am inspired to keep my attitude positive. You sound like a terrific lady. I wish I lived in NYC, so I could meet you!

  • Your Name

    I thought I had added my name to my comment, but no such luck. The message to Janice and Harriet was from me.

  • Renee Drew

    Dang it! Okay, take 3!

  • Kathi From INDY

    Harriet we all need your spirit to survive this world. May god bless you another 92 yrs… and Don’t ever loose your sense of humor.
    May you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year and Maybe you should not wait so long the next time to be checked.
    Gods speed to you,

  • Richard M. Ask

    my mother is also 92. She no longer drives but does live on her own. She has survived cancer twice and had spinal fusion when i was in Viet Nam. She and i have our challenges. We are also challenged by each other.
    May God bless the two of you. Thank you for the lesson on Grace. I needed it this morning

  • mary

    God Bless you, Harriet. My own mom turns 90 in January and is still a trooper at everything she does. You are an inspiration and a blessing; and, whatever you do, don’t let this world slow you down. May I be lucky enough to live to be your age;after all,it’s your spirit and optimistic attitude that have kept you so young for so long. Merry Christmas, mary

  • Your Name

    I love your sense of humor. I would have responded the same way in the hospital. I am a nurse and try to make light of hospital situations. Keep up whatever you are doing to have survied for 92 yrs.!!! Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!

  • Elise Gore

    Forgot to post my name. Too early in the morning. Janice good luck eith your Mom. Merry Christmas and a Happy New year also.

  • Abigail

    Oh dear…Janice, knowing you and Peter and New York City just makes this story even better! I’m glad things turned out ok…and it is quite true that sometimes we all need a little mozzarella cheese to get through :) muah! miss you tons!!!

  • Pix

    This is the first time I’ve actually read this column and I must say the sense of humor here is fantastic! I can only wish I got along with my mother as well as most of the people who have left comments unfortunately she thinks I’m nuts for being the way I am, so I will continue to pray that God will lighten her heart and show her the way I have been so blessed to find. Yes Grace do show up in mysterious places as does God.
    Wishing you both the Merriest Christmas and Happeist New Year of all, my dear Cherish your Mother you have no idea what a gem you have there, the kind of mother I try to be with my own children now I have found the way.
    God Bless

  • Robin

    Hope your mom is doing well after the trip to the ER. She sounds just as amazing as her daughter! Grace…eventually will become one of my new mantras! Happy Holidays!

  • Your Name

    Hi, this is also my first time of reaeding your article….and what a great one to read. I lost my Mother last Dec.31st and then my husband on April 29th (he was only 58). Your Mother sounds so neat, with the kind of spirit my Mom had. This Christmas has been hard for me, but reading this has made me laugh and know that there are other great Mother/daughter relationships out there like the one I had with my Mom and the kind I have with my daughter too. Merry Christmas to you all.

  • Cathy

    Wonderful story, thank you for sharing! Your mother sounds to be a jewel! It’s good to hear of a close family relationship with times as they are. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  • Sue

    I loved your story, and YES you deserved that pretzel with all the fat and all…. Your mom sounds quite fun.

  • Your Name

    Hi! Kim (as in the Kim in Kim & Scott’s Gourmet Pretzels) saw this blog entry and loved it! She asked me (her wonderful Customer Service rep) to write to you and offer you a coupon for a free box of our DELICIOUS stuffed gourmet pretzels!! She’d love it if you would try either our yummy Stuffed Grilled Cheese Pretzels or our Stuffed Mozzarella Pizza Pretzel!! Write me at the above email address including your mailing address, and we’ll pop the coupon in the mail to you. After trying our pretzels, we’d LOVE to hear your comments!! Happy Holidays!!
    Brenda Mulhern
    Customer Service
    Kim & Scott’s Gourmet Pretzels

  • Brenda

    My email address is

  • Mom’s Susie

    Dear Janice and Mom,
    I loved the cake video! It made me happy and sad – my mom and I were very close until she died at 60 – I miss her every day. We both struggled with our weight our whole lives. Now I struggle, but have had successful results instead of unsuccessful ones for the last 5 years. Some days are easier and some days are harder. Your web site helps (love the puzzles-I think it gets my brain working for me instead of against me), I read a bit from one of your books every morning, I go to WW every week. Though cake and other Christmas joy has added 2 pounds to the scale this week, I know I can get back down with Our Lady’s help!
    Happy new year to you both, thanks for sharing your stories!

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