Monday, August 8, 2011

The Prize

I just love surprises and nothing is more fun than getting one in the mail. I recently competed in a blogging contest through the Korean Department of Tourism's website (  During the contest, I contributed posts about Korean food.  These posts were then judged by a panel and voted on by you.  In the end, I placed third among so many great writers that I feel as though I have won a Pulitzer! 
The Third Place competitors received a prize and so, I eagerly waited for my "trophy" to arrive.  Last week, the prize commmittee (aka the mail lady) arrived with a package from was here!  I proudly took the package as though I were receiving an Oscar, shouting the,"Thank you. Thank you," which is part of any great acceptance speech.  Then quickly shut the door.

I  placed the box on the counter then stared at it with curious excitement. Can I open it? Should I wait for my family? What is the protocol for such an honor? Momentarily glancing at reality, I tell myself that this is just like all of the other mail that I open every day and begin to delicately pull back the shipping paper.

"There it is!  How pretty!"  A lovely box with a gold bow shown through the wrapping.  "This is so exciting." I grab the camera and begin snapping pictures like the paparatzi.

"My readers will want to see this!" I tell myself, and I quickly snap a few more shots. Many layers of packaging and a few seconds later, I lay eyes upon a small object wrapped in pretty tissue. It is a stand  to cradle my trophy. I continue digging until .... I see it - a shiny, black plate covered in mother-of-pearl, with its inticate patterns glistening in the light. "How beautiful!" I pull the plate from its box and stand it upon its throne.  I stare in awe as the sunlight rains down upon this symbol of greatness -its cranes, flowers, and waterfalls shimmering like diamonds.  It is prettier than I imagined. I can't believe that I won something for my writing.  Wow!

As I return to reality, I know that my plate is not an Oscar and I am not silly enough to think that I compare to a Pulitzer author.  I know that my recipes do not qualify me for IronChef.  I only won third place and they only gave me a plate.  I know this truth.  But, for me this recognition is much more. In the midst of my daily routines, as I struggle with the challenges that are part of living life with severe food allergies, this plate is my reminder, my encouragement.  I was recognized for what I do.  Someone valued the time that I spend documenting this labor of love called motherhood.  And, each day,when I see this plate, it reminds me to keep going, to persevere. When days are tough and I am tired, it reminds me that I am more than just the maid or the cook.  This plate reminds me that I have a voice.  It reminds me that what I do stretches beyond these walls, now and in the future.  It reminds me that, to my angel, I am Mom.  And to her, Mom is everything!


  1. I randomly stumbled upon this blog looking for ways to cook goguma (thanks for the steaming idea, btw.)
    As a med student, I only hear about the difficulties of living with food allergies. You're providing a great resource for other people out there and your "angel" is happy and healthy because of YOU. Keep up the good work!

  2. Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Lucy. Living with food allergies can be tough but we all have something that challenges us. Ours just happens to be with food! Keep studying hard; we can always use more great doctors! I hope you will continue following us and pass our link along.