Thursday, June 28, 2012

Compassion--Don't ask. Just DON'T ASK!

My phone rang the familiar Stuck on You ringtone. I knew it was hubby on the other end and I knew what his first words to me would be. "What'r ya doin'?" He has asked me that question every time he has called me for over thirty years. He is so dependable. I love that man. But sometimes, when he asks me that question, I want to tell him, "Don't ask. Just DON'T ASK!"

At first I thought about making up some good story, but I try to make it a practice not to lie to the man I love, and I knew I'd have to come clean about my activity eventually. So, "I'm sitting down resting."

No big deal, right? But then I had to explain why I needed to sit down and rest. Ohhh, I did not want to do that!

It really all started the night before when I took one of those ease your pain PM pills. I slept like a dead log and even overslept a few minutes. A text message got me out of bed and I jumped into the day full steam ahead.
Well, not really. I kind of stumbled into the day with a head full of furry cobwebs. You see, when I packed all my junk back into the camper (those are details I haven't mention here in my blog that I may have to do as a flash-back post) I packed the coffee beans, the grinder, and the white mocha creamer, but failed to put in the french press. Consequently, all day long I fought the effects of the little blue pill that made me rest so well the night before. So what happened later was not my fault. Really. Sort of...not...anyway...

When you live in an RV you have this thing called a holding tank. We've got three of them in our rig. One catches the water drained from the kitchen sink. One catches the water from the shower and bathroom sink. These two are called gray water tanks. And the third tank catches the water from the toilet and is known as the black water tank. (ewww) I don't want to get too boring technical here, but just so you will understand--we leave the valves on the two gray water tanks open all the time we are camped so they consistently drain into the campground sewer system. We allow the black water tank to hold the...well...the...STUFF...until it gets pretty full, then we empty it by pulling a little handle thingy which opens a valve. Then SWOOSH, most of the STUFF goes down a big hose and into the sewer system. Some STUFF will lag behind and has to be rinsed out. No big deal. There's a little dohicky where you attach a garden hose, and when you turn on the water, it runs into the tank.

The procedure goes like this: Attach hose to the dohicky. Open valve. STUFF starts to drain. Turn on water faucet, wait for STUFF draining from tank to...well...look less like STUFF and more like light brown water. (There's a section of the drain hose that is clear so you can see without smelling. Pretty cool.) Close valve and allow water to continue to fill holding tank until you hear a squeely noise (air being pushed up around the seal in the toilet) that lets you know the tank is full. This usually takes a while, especially when you are staying at a place where the water pressure is low. You can do other things while you wait like fold clothes, sweep the floor, talk on the phone, look at cool stuff on Pinterest, read blogs, etc. When you hear the squeely noise, DASH back outside, (try not to fall down the steps in your haste or whack your head on the bedroom slide as you run round the corner) open the valve, SWOOSH, turn off water, wait for tank to finish draining, close valve, remove hose from dohicky, and you're done.

It's a simple routine that works well. Pretty well...except when...

Hey! Is it MY fault that the water pressure was SO low that it took the tank SO long to fill that I totally forgot about it? And it really wasn't MY fault that my head was full of fuzzy cobwebs because I had taken a pill and hadn't had any coffee for a whole WEEK so it was easy to forget that I had left water running! And it sure wasn't my fault that this one time, for reasons unknown, the toilet didn't make it's usual squeely noise when the tank got full! Maybe I shouldn't have been so focused on folding clothes and sweeping floors (that part about reading blogs, talking on the phone, and checking out Pinterest was just examples of what one COULD do, if she wanted to, while she waited) that I didn't recognize the sound of water splashing from the toilet rim to the floor at the very first drop, but I was trying to do a good job! Okay?

After my guardian angel pulled some fuzzy web out of my ear and I realized what the splashing noise was, I rushed to the bathroom and found the toilet trying to imitate the falls of the great Niagara. The water pressure had miraculously increase several gallons per minute. That black water tank was clean now!

I'm sorry I didn't take pictures for you to see. It was something to behold!

Back to why I needed to sit down to rest. When the toilet overflows, its contents makes its way into the heater duct work and through slight openings in the floor around the plumbing and into the "basement" of the RV. The basement is full of things like lawn chairs, fishing waders, bird feeders, you name it. Emptying all that out and cleaning up the flood made me tired. Very hot and tired.

Empty out, vacuum out,...
and let the hot wind blow through!

After I explained why I was sitting and resting, hubby was silent for a moment. Then, "So I guess I'll have to replace the floor in the bathroom when we get home."

I was silent for a briefer moment, then I started trying to break the world's record for how many times a woman can apologize for a single offense.

Hubby seemed less upset with me than I thought he should be, especially since he was sitting outside in 102 degree temperature waiting for a tow truck to come get his broken down pickup. When he got home that evening, he remarked, "The time I did that, water came out the vent pipe on the roof."

Did I tell you how much I love that man? He didn't tell me it was all okay, (I kind of wish he would have) but he didn't yell or scold me either. He had clemency for me. Though he didn't know it, and he might not have meant to, or maybe he did, he reminded me why sometimes we have trials, bad days, and tough times.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
May we remember to show compassion and comfort with the comfort we have received.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Self-discovery #2

Posting two days in a row? Somebody, get me a cold rag for my forehead!

I really am going to get around to telling you what I've been up to lately--one of these days--but be warned, it will be old news. Today, I need, and I mean NEED some help. I need help from people who know me well or are very perceptive. If you are related to me, have worked with me, have served beside me in church, or watched me work and serve from a distance, or have had deep enough conversations with me to feel like you know me well, I need your input. And if you know me only through my blog and want to chime in, you also are welcomed to do so.

Do you remember that I am on a self-discovery journey? I first mentioned it back in January. Then I told you about my first discovery: I'd make a good pet. Now today, I think I've made another discovery, but I need confirmation. Let me explain.

I've been participating in an online Bible study by Renee Swope called A Confident Heart. It has been a blessing to me, and I recommend it to any woman who is going through a bit, or a bunch, of negative and discouraging days filled with doubts and fears. I'm behind on my lessons (naturally) and have been trying to play catch up. Today I am working on about three chapters because I have read ahead in the book farther than the extra assignments I've completed. Yeah, I'm a mess. Anyway, one of the "extras" I did today was a Spiritual Gift Assessment.

I've been a Christian for a bunch of years. And for the majority of those years, I've been very active in an organized body of believers aka a church. I've done a little bit of just about everything there is for a church member to do. I've served in almost every kind of ministry and worn many different hats. But one thing I don't recall doing is taking a Spiritual Gift Assessment to determine where I should be serving and what I should be doing. I've heard about them and looked at other people's results and read over assessment question, but I don't recall taking one myself. (Maybe I have and my memory is kaput.)

Now let me say that I think God can, and does, give us the gifts we need to do the jobs placed before us. And I believe that sometimes He gifts us with temporary strengths, abilities, and power to accomplish His work. He has the right and the ability to give and take away gifts as He sees fit.  But I also believe that there are certain areas, or gifts, that He has given each of us that remain consistently dominate throughout our Christian lives. It's the way He wired us at the time of our rebirth. (I'm not talking personality types here. I've done one of those tests and decided I'm schitzo, so I don't want to talk about that at the moment.) *grin*

The assessment I took today has 96 statements preceded by an instructional paragraph that includes this sentence. "Respond to each statement below according to who you are, not who you would like to be or think you ought to be."  *furrowed brow* (hmm...Maybe that's why I failed the personality test.)

I'm going to share my assessment results with you (it's almost like letting you look through my dresser drawers) and this is where I need your help. I want to make sure I responded to the statements according to who I am and not who I want to be or who I think I should be. So, if you don't agree with the results based on what you know about me, speak up! If you do agree, it's okay to say so as well. So here goes. I will list the gifts in order of how I scored, highest to lowest.

  1. Tied Teaching and Wisdom (I do have a lot of gray hair for my less than 50 years but I'm not so sure about the wisdom part.)
  2. Discernment
  3. Tied Knowledge and Faith
  4. Exhortation
  5. Tied Administration/Ruling and Mercy (Now that's an interesting mix.)
  6. Pastor
  7. Helps/Serving/Ministering
  8. Evangelism
  9. Giving (Now isn't that sad? I'm embarrassed.)

Here is an explanation of my top three. If you would like to see explanations of the rest, then you can check out the assessment for yourself. (Click here) Scroll on down past the 96 statements to find the explanations.

Wisdom This is the spiritual gift where the Spirit empowers particular Christians with a supernatural understanding of God's Word and the will to apply it to life situations. See I Corinthians 12:8,James 3:13-17.

Teaching This is the spiritual gift where the Spirit enables particular Christians to communicate and clarify the details and truths of God's Word for others to learn.See Romans 12:7, Ephesians 4:11

Discernment This is the spiritual gift where the Spirit enables certain Christians to know without a doubt whether a statement or behavior is of God, Satan, or man. See I Corinthians 12:10,Acts 5:3-6, Acts 16:16-18, I John 4:1

 I am serious about this self-discovery thing, and you have no idea how much I would like feedback here. Consider it help with vital research. If you all think that I've really missed the mark and that I don't have a clue who I really am, at least you know who I want to be!

Please leave your comments. You don't have to have any kind of an account, just sign in as anonymous (if you don't already have a listed id), but let me know who you are if you don't mind. If you know someone who knows me, please pass a link to this blog post on to them. Thank you so much!

Now if I can get over feeling like I just hung my unmentionables out on the line to dry in Time Square, I'll work on a blog post about what I've been up to lately. Maybe.

Monday, June 25, 2012


I'm so far behind on posting, it almost seems pointless to try to continue on. Most of my readers have stopped reading, and I fear that all my "followers" have wondered on down the road without me. So I ask myself, and my audience of chirping crickets, should I continue to try to blog or should I just hit the big ol' delete button and call it quits? (This is not the first time I've struggled with this thought.)
Hmm. When I started this blog I didn't care if anyone read it or not, and I didn't understand the term "followers" as it related to my writing.  I started blogging just so I would have a place and a reason to write, and it was an assignment in a course I was taking at the time. Now I'm more informed and it is very easy to get bummed out because somehow, what I now know makes me see myself as a bit of a failure. I think I can relate to Adam and Eve after they gained knowledge of good and evil. They were completely happy, naked, hanging out in the garden, chatting with God... Then BOOM! All of a sudden, when they ate the fruit from the knowledge tree, things changed, and they were ashamed. (You can read the story for yourself here.) Sometimes what you know can hurt you. Yeah, you can call me Eve.

The good news is, the God they were hanging and chatting with is a redeeming God who, believe it or not, had never ending, more than enough, blow your mind mercy, and He dumped it all over them. And guess what? I hang out and chat with the same God, so I think I'll give Him my blog and let Him redeem it. (Sorry delete button, not now, not yet.) And I'll return to the reason I began: I want a place and reason to write.

Just for kicks, I looked up the word redeem. I already know what it means but sometimes I can get a fresh outlook on life just by studying words--what they mean and what they don't mean.

Mostly it means to buy something back that was lost, pay a ransom for something, regain possession of, or to liberate. I like that one. If my blog is liberated by God, then it doesn't have to be bound up by followers, web crawlers, search engines, reader stats, etc. I continued to search and found an antonym for redeem. What it DOES NOT mean: abandon.

Did you just get goosebumps? I did.

Let's savor that for a moment in the shade of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. When someone (or something) is redeemed, they (or it) cannot be abandoned. Eve messed up big time. She totally failed in obedience. What she did changed the relationship between man and God forever. In blog terms she had only one follower, Adam, and he participated in her sick and destructive meme--trying to be as smart as God--when he should have known better. Together they just about destroyed the whole human race. No more posting, no more readers, no more comments, just crickets--so to speak.

Shame had them hiding in the bushes when God found them. He never stopped checking in or stopping by to see what they were up to. He followed them even when they stopped following Him. That's what a redeemer does. He does not abandon. God pulled them from their hiding places, clothed them with fine furs, & made a way for them, and us, to get things right again. Jesus--the new meme.

So, I continue to try to write here from time to time and I guess I will continue to come up short of readers, followers, comments, hits--all those measuring sticks that make a blog a "success." But no matter how low my stat numbers fall or how big of a mess or a mistake I make, I know God won't abandon me because I have been redeemed. I will not be ashamed.


When I sat down here to write a post, I had no intention on writing about redemption. I was going to try to tell you what I have been doing since the last time I posted anything. (Like you really want to know. Ha!) But that's what happens when God refuses to abandon us and regains possession of us and our stuff. He changes our thoughts and intentions and actions to bring attention and praise...and himself.

Do you have a redemption story? Please share it. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!


Saturday, April 14, 2012

The ultimate bucket list

The past month has flown by! The last time I posted we were in Michigan. That assignment was short lived. In fact only about a week after that post, we were finished and on the road again. The storm event didn't pay well, and with fuel costing way over $4.00 a gallon, we couldn't afford to do much sightseeing, but we did take the last two days to poke around Detroit just a tiny bit.

We visited The Henry Ford. I recommend the museum, especially if you have kids, boys in particular, and especially if those boys are interested in planes, trains, cars, ... pretty much anything with an engine or having to do with industry. It is a wonderful field trip covering the industrial revolution.  The F-150 assembly plant was interesting as well. I think my hubby enjoyed it more than I, but that's okay. It was his day. Mine would follow.
I HAD to take hubby's picture after we ate hot dogs at the Wienermobile Cafe inside the museum.
The next day was my day to do something I really wanted to do.

I guess the concept of a bucket list has been around for a long time, maybe since the beginning of time. I think it was made more popular though by the 2007 movie starting Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. It is about two guys who make a list of all the things they want to do before they kick the bucket, and then set out to do them. If you haven't see it, you should. I think the idea of making a bucket list and accomplishing each of those things must be growing in popularity. I even found a website, another social media place, completely devoted to just that. It's called, no doubt, Bucketlist.

I don't have a formal bucket list. I've never actually sat down and written out a list of things I want to accomplish before I die. But I do have one, of sorts, tucked away in one of the back corners of my mind. I think I've mentioned here before that one of the things on that mental list is that I want to put my feet into all the major bodies of water surrounding the good ol' US of A.

So, since we were so close, hubby was kind enough to drive me to the edge of Lake Erie.
There's my feet in the water of Lake Erie.

Even though we experienced record heat for Michigan many of the days we were there, it was a cool, windy, and dreary day when we had opportunity to go to the lake. Naturally.
I know you are asking...Was the water cold? YOU BET YOUR BOTTOM BUTTON IT WAS! It took only a few seconds for my brain to register, "Girl, you are crazy!" And just a couple of seconds later my feet started  hurting. And then the sensation went a little past hurt into a bone deep OWWEEE! It's strange how quickly sharp cold pains can rush up your legs and force you to decide that, "Okay, I've been here long enough to put a big check mark on that bucket list!"
So now I've checked off:

  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Gulf of Mexico
  • Lake Michigan
  • Lake Ontario
  • Lake Erie
When I look at that photo and see how much gray hair is on that head, it makes me think maybe I should start writing my bucket list down--before I get REALLY old and forget what it is that I want to do before I die. It's obvious from those gray locks that I am running out of time.

I have decided there are a few problems with the whole bucket list idea. First, the longer I live, the more things I think of that I want to add to the list. That could be a good thing, I guess, because it can be motivation to keep on breathing. I can just hear myself telling St. Peter at the gate, "I can't die now! I still have seven things on my bucket list! No wait. Make that eight!"

If I am going for that feeling of accomplishment, you know, like, "Whew! Glad to have THAT to-do list done!" then constantly adding one more thing to the bottom of the list can get discouraging after a while. When it's time for me to go, I'm sure I'll have to go, ready or not. I would hate to spend eternity disappointed that I failed in getting 100% of my bucket list checked off. But if I keep it short, and I do get it all done before my time, what will I do to entertain myself for the rest of my life?

Another thing that is troublesome about a bucket list is that as I accomplish those feats, check off those dreams realized, I am forced to admit and embrace the fact that I am one day closer to the end of my earthly life. 

That's not so bad if you have stuff on your bucket list like, step in dog poo, have a tooth pulled without the use of any pain killers, or get hit by a speeding locomotive. (Make that the last thing on the list.) Those type things can make a person happy to see one more day gone by and be one step closer to the end. But no! We put fun and enjoyable things on that list. At least I do. Things that make me want to keep on living so I can add more stuff to the end of my list! It's a maddening cycle.

All this makes me think of what I would call the ultimate bucket list. It belonged to a man named Simeon. As far as I know he had at least one very awesome thing on his list.
Luke 2:25-27 (NLT)
25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him
26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
Wow! Can you imagine?

God's people were in the clutches and service of the Romans. They longed to be free and to live once again as a nation favored by God. And here is an old man who wanted to see only one thing before he died. He wanted to see the Savior. He wanted to know that God was finally going to come and rescue his people.

Luke 2:27-32 (NLT)
27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required,
28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised.
30 I have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared for all people.
32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”  
 With the help of the Holy Spirit, Simeon was able to put a big check mark on his bucket list. He was happy. He was satisfied that there was nothing else to add to the bottom of his list.  He was ready to die in peace, knowing what he had eagerly waited for would come to pass even beyond what he had imagined. He knew he had seen God's salvation for ALL people, not just the people of Israel.

I hope, some how, that the days ordained for me and my ever growing bucket list will work out evenly. But even if they do not, I know I will still be able die in peace because, with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, I will be able to say that I have known God's Salvation. THAT, my friends, is the ultimate bucket list!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lake Chemung Outdoor Resort

Okay, I know you have been waiting to read all about the bold, dashing, adventurous stuff I've been doing. *snicker snicker* I don't want to disappoint you, so please, right this minute, lower your expectations a notch or two, or 36.

I'll start by telling you a bit about the resort where we are staying. Don't let the term "resort" mislead you down some fantasy filled path. I'm not getting spa treatments every day, and I don't have room service. But I'm not complaining one little bit. Remember the resort in Ohio a long time ago?

This place is not buried in snow (I give thanks to God for the BEAUTIFUL weather) and it is a pretty nice place. We are here in the off season so I won't judge anybody for calling it a resort. I have a feeling that once all the Snow Birds fly up from Florida, it will be a jumpin' jivin' place. Relative to the extent to which retirees can jump and jive that is. After all, there is a miniature golf course, a shuffleboard deck, horseshoe pits, and a clubhouse. There is a mini grocery store with empty shelves and coolers where I stop in from time to time and wish for a jug of milk. Why, this place even has an indoor pool, which is currently empty and is being used as a place to store lawn mowers! In a couple of months, I'm quite sure it really will be a resort! And I'm quite sure we will probably be moved on by then. *sigh*

There is a nice lake nearby, and a golf course right next door. I'll bet that is why almost every house has a boat or a golf cart, or both, parked in the driveway.
See all the tarps covering all the fun-making machines?
I wonder if the people use their carts when they play miniature golf too?

There is a pond on the property and we were fortunate to get assigned a lot right at the water's edge. One day while on my stroll I took a few pictures. Just random, pointless, or maybe not so pointless, pictures.

I was almost mesmerized by the leaves in the pond.

Under water and undisturbed, peacefully rotting away.

Some float. Some sink. Neither by their own choice.
I think this would make a cool puzzle.
There are fish in the pond, so when I get tired of beating myself at shuffleboard, I can try some catch and release. 
This one looks like he wants me to take him home.

When the wind is calm the pond is like a mirror.

Which way's up? (Another one with cool puzzle potential.)

 And one day it snowed like crazy, for about ten minutes. 
One last look at those amazing leaves. (I would have put this picture up with the rest of them, but I got tired of trying to arrange them all just so. I never can seem to get the photos to stay where I want them. Sorry.)
So there you have it, my first two weeks in Michigan. I don't know if you can tell or not, but my stress level continues to drop a little each day. I've almost stopped grinding my teeth!
Now my poor hubby is the one with stress. His job is not easy, and I so admire him for what he does. He really is one of my biggest and most heroic heroes!

I really must rush off now, to another adventure: a trip to the grocery store!                                    


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Recovery mode

It is time for another blog post. Past time. Honestly, I've had very little to say that anyone would want to read. Lately I have mumbled a lot about work, and believe me, you don't want to hear about that! The one thing I will say about my job, or any job, is that when it doesn't fit who you are, it can be a miserable place to spend your time. My job fits me about as well as skinny jeans fit a sumo wrestler.

Hubby was at home, working his "at home" job for five, going on six months. It doesn't pay much so I try to be very thankful for my job that helps fill in the financial gaps. But after a while, (13 months of that bad fit) I started to flip. Seriously! I could hardly recognize myself. It was as if I could feel a little of my person, who I am, being stolen from me every day. I felt like a prisoner in some awful sci-fi experiment having my personality slowly altered by brain sucking aliens. I think I was dying on the inside.

That's why, when hubby suddenly got a deployment call, I decided to pack a bag and get out of town. I called my manager when I was about a thousand miles from home and told him I wouldn't be coming in to work for a while. That was probably one of the most irresponsible things I have ever done in my whole life. I don't know if I did it because I was trying to avoid mental illness, or if I did it because I've already lost the last marble and should be locked up in a puffy room somewhere. Truth is, I don't really want to know the answer. I'm happy just to wonder.

Anyway, here I am, on another adventure, in Michigan. (Check out my little map in the side bar. I haven't been able to change that in WAY over a year, and I'm so excited to do so!)

We had a good trip with no problems. We did run into a little snow along the way, but it was very little and served as a reminder that in some places, winter is hanging on for a while.

The new truck (I haven't mentioned the new truck here have I?) performed very well and the camper followed along quite obediently and never blew a tire or anything. I began to feel a little more like myself with every mile. It's been a long time since I got excited over anything. So when this crazy little thing made me smile and made me want to take it's picture, I knew I was entering recovery mode.

But this is no ordinary spork. 

It's a spork. (Half spoon, half fork)
It's a folding spork!

How cool is that?!
There are perks to buying "to go" grapefruit from a truck stop. I know you're jealous. How many of you can say you own a folding spork?

Now, I'd love to make some deep spiritual point here, you know, like what God taught me through a foldaway plastic eating utensil,  but I'm still a bit numb from the personality stealing, brain sucking aliens. And for some reason, I find it hard to hear the voice of the Lord when I am in such a state. I seek Him, but full recovery is going to take a while. I pray that my "adventure" will last long enough for it to happen.

I appreciate your prayers.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Self-discovery #1: I'd make someone a great pet.

I told you I am on a self-discovery journey. Yesterday I discovered something about myself quite serendipitously. I had to do some heavy thinking in order to burrow through the fodder on the surface to get down to the roots of the Who Am I revelation. I hope my stupid little story and discoveries might help you discover something about yourself as well. If not, I hope to at least leave you amused and wondering what in the world God was thinking when He fashioned me.

I think I've mentioned that I work at Sears as a large appliance sales associate. That's NOT WHO I am. I hate the job. Don't ask me why I do it. That's a whole different post. But it is important for you to know that I work on commission. If I don't sell, I don't make money. And if I am not pacing the floor in the department of the store, I can't hound approach customers, and I can't sell anything. So, success partly depends on simple presence.

I have a co-worker--I'll withhold his real name just in case he is innocent of my accusations, but I'm quite sure he is not, so we'll just call him Pavlov--who loves to get me out of the department and away from any potential customers. He's been successful more than once. The first time he committed such a dastardly deed--shame on him. His repeated offences--well--*

One other thing you need to know about Pavlov: his wife makes some really yummy, and I mean REALLY YUMMY homemade caramels. And he brings these things to work.

A few evenings ago, Pavlov and I had to "close" together. Anybody ,including Pavlov, that has ever closed up shop with me knows that I don't like to drag my feet. When the front door locks at 9:00 p.m. I want to be ready to walk out the back at 9:01. (If the manager will let me, but it has not happened yet.) Co-workers also know that if they decide to piddle around and not participate in closing duties that I will do them all by myself, just so I can get out of there and hurry home.

There are several closing duties that can go undone and unnoticed by management, but one that can't is the closing of the cash registers. Obviously.

When a register closes down, it prints out a closing receipt. If there is no paper, or "tape" in the little printer, the register won't close down, and if the register won't close down, I can't go home. That's why, when Pavlov walked up to me with a helpless and sad look on his face and said, "Lavonda, do you know where there might be some more register tape? I can't find any. ANYWHERE!" I quickly and without thought replied, "Sure. I'll go get some." (Pavlov has worked at Sears over 20 years. Strange that he doesn't know where they keep the new rolls of register tape don't ya think?)

That little errand took me off the floor for several minutes even though I went at a high trot. When I returned with a half dozen rolls of paper, Pavlov was closing a sale. He grinned as I, out of breath, rushed past him on my way to load a roll into the disabled register and finish up the closing chores.

After his customers left the store, he pulled a zip lock bag out of his pocket and so sweetly offered me one of his wife's YUMMY caramels.

Okay, you are probably way ahead of me here, but be patient with me. Self-discovery sometimes take a while.

It wasn't until I was home, sound asleep in my bed, that revelation, like a bucket of cold water in the face, happened. As I slept, the events of that day replayed on the big screen of my sleeping brain, as did several other instances in which Pavlov had done something to take advantage of WHO I am and then tried to "reward" me with something. Sometimes his wife's YUMMY caramels, sometimes a meaningless compliment, sometimes a useless piece of advice. (The compliments and advice never make my mouth water, but those caramels...)

Suddenly out of sleep I was yanked when I shouted to myself, "He's treating you like a dog!"

Yeah, Pavlov has figured out my temperament. He has observed my involuntary reflexes. He gives the command, I obey, and then he offers a reward. --*Shame on me.

So what have I discovered about myself? Yes, I'd make someone a pretty good pet.

  • I do what ever I can to help people even when they mistreat me or take advantage of me. (I obey commands.)
  • I'm slow to recognize when someone is taking advantage of me because I don't take advantage of others. (I come back, wagging my tail after I've been kicked.)
  • Apparently I like rewards. (especially if the reward is a hunk of homemade caramel)
  • I don't make a mess in the floor. (But that has nothing to do with this post.)
I felt so angry and ashamed that I let this guy treat me like this. I lay there in my bed thinking about what I ought to do the next time Pavlov decides to use who I am against me. I ought to tell him to go get the paper himself. I ought to make him answer the phone and deal with the angry customer while I sell to the lady who just walked through the door. I ought to get right in Pavlov's face and ...

Then the Holy Spirit spoke silently yet so certainly, "But that's not WHO you are. You are made in the image of God with a heart bent toward grace. You are a reflection of Jesus Christ, an obedient servant who does what's right, no matter what others do to you. You are filled with, yes, God's Holy Spirit, a helper. And remember those fruits: love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?"

So what will I do the next time Pavlov does something to get me off the floor or takes a customer from me? I'll probably, as usual, act instinctively, without thought. I will help, serve, minister, and do what is right--with grace and kindness--because that's who I am.

But when he pulls those caramels out of his pocket and my mouth starts to water, I'm going to firmly say, No! Thank! You! (I'll wait for my reward.)


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Dumps

"THE HOLIDAYS" are over. All of them. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, and now even MLK Day, and I didn't blog a word about any of them. We didn't do much celebrating around here. In fact, we hardly noticed that any of the holidays came and went. "Bla" sums it up.

Now that we are halfway through the month of January, you'd think I'd be all bright eyed and bushy tailed, filled with new resolves, and bubbling over with hope for the year ahead. Strangely though, I am, well, still very much "Bla."

I'm not sure why I'm down in the dumps and out of such dumps I can't seem to drag myself. I don't believe any one particular thing has put me in this condition. No, it has been a combination of a whole bunch of stuff.  As my sweet and pious (and I mean that in a good way) sister put it, "2011 was the year from HELL." And for some unknown reason, there were enough sparks and embers left over to make the start of 2012 seem dark, scary, and smokey at best!

I know, this doesn't sound like me. I usually try to look on the bright side, right? So someone go head and slap me! Please! (Just don't everybody start ringing my door bell at once, okay?) I'm ready to feel happy about something, get excited about something, celebrate, and sing about something good! Oh HOW I'm ready! Unfortunately,  I've not been able to find that something.

I'm not ungrateful and I don't think I'm having a full blown pity party even though I do have a list of gripes. I know there are a lot of good things in my life. I am very blessed. Part of my dumpiness comes from sharing the hurts, disappointments, and burdens of others, not just my own.

If you feel like commenting and giving me all the pat answers that should fix my attitude problems, go right ahead. I'll consider that your "slap". (Insert smiley face.)

But what I really want to know from my readers is:
Honestly Now,
  • How do you deal with major disappointment? (especially if you are honest enough to admit that you feel that disappointed came from the hand of God)
  • Are you ever in the dumps and if so, what puts you there and how do you get out? 
  • Do you ever see hope in every one's future but yours? How do you deal with that?
  • Anything else you want to add here?

I really do want 2012 to be a better year. I'm praying for that. I'm praying for hope. Rain. Joy. Encouragement. Answers. Blessings. Vision. Direction. ....And discernment--to know what I should do to be in the middle of God's work and what I should NOT do so as not to get in His way!
Pray with me won't you?

Maybe I will get back before three more month waste away. You can anticipate a post about a  journey of self-discovery a friend of mine has encouraged me to take. I'll post more about it later because now I need to rush out the door to work. (#1 on my list of gripes).