Jackie Gingrich Cushman
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Last night, after traveling from Atlanta, my family and I arrived -- hungry and tired -- in Des Moines, Iowa. We are staying in the home of a friend who is out of town and decided to order pizza. I found a restaurant on Google Maps and called to place the order, only to be informed that I had reached the wrong location. The man on the other end of the line gave me the number of a different location, which I called. The promised delivery time was 45 minutes to an hour. Not too speedy, I thought, but good enough. I began to unpack for my husband, two children and myself.

About an hour later, driven by my daughter's pleas for food, I called the restaurant back to check on our order. The news that we were not in their delivery area and they could not/ would not deliver was, let's just say, not welcome.

A call letting me know earlier would have been helpful -- but oh, well.

I next called Pizza Hut and, just in case, put on water to boil for pasta.

Pizza Hut delivered two medium pizzas 30 minutes later, the same time that the pasta was ready. It was 8:45 our time, way past our normal dinnertime, but I was thankful that, at last, we could eat.

Did I mention that I don't do well when I'm very hungry? My husband laughs that, at the first mention of my hunger, he will immediately halt whatever he is doing to make sure that I have food. My mother carried crackers in her purse for me when I was young. I can literally feel my body stiffen and my mood darken as my hunger grows.

One of my favorite stories is from my 20's, when I was working in a small company in finance. After a particularly tough meeting with me, one of the executives began bringing me snacks prior to our meetings to make sure that my tendency to low blood sugar did not create any unintended consequences.

As for last night's pizza debacle, I'm just happy that we all made it through this hunger crisis with relative ease. This is real progress.

This simple example of pizza not being delivered provides a window into how life often works: We make plans and then life happens. It is at these junctures that we get to determine how to react.

My goal this year has been to let God's grace shine through me under difficult circumstances. I've had plenty of opportunities to do just that. This year, we lost a beloved family member, my mother has been in and out of the hospital more times than I can count, and my dad (Newt Gingrich) is running for president. Sometimes I achieve my goal of letting God's grace shine through me, but not always. Still, I keep trying.

The opportunities keep cropping up, and they go beyond pizza. For example, people sometimes make assumptions and jump to wrong conclusions.

One example is a column in which I wrote about my mother asking for a divorce from my father. My column was based on my mother's recollection and our recent discussions (my sister Kathy reviewed as well). Recent news reports note that he filed the paperwork for the divorce, and they questioned my mother's recollection and my recounting of the events.

The truth is simple: They had a troubled marriage; she asked for the divorce; he filed for divorce; they got divorced.

Our family has moved on. After all, it's more than 30 years later.

Most of my life, I've been able to use my God-given gifts of intelligence, stamina and hard-headedness (from both my parents) to get things to work.

Now, I'm learning that God is calling for less me and more him. More prayer, more patience. Less my gifts, more God's grace.

My resolution for this coming year is to spend more time in prayer and to continually ask for patience.

May God hear my plea, help me accept his grace and allow it to shine through me.

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Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.