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Several years ago when I first started out at my work as a substitute, I was called to work at numerous places.  Most I thoroughly enjoyed and a couple I didn’t really like much, but only one I refused to return to after the initial assignment.  It didn’t have so much to do with the work involved as it did with a particular person who, maybe unknowingly but maybe not, tripped my PTSD trigger.  And she did it not just once but twice.  This person seemed to enjoy letting me know that I wasn’t up to her standards, and when she came up behind me and whispered in my ear “You’re nooot wooorrrkkkinng faassst ennnnooougghh” (I can still hear her), the hairs on the back of my neck raised up and with it, that old fight or flight feeling.

 There was also a piece of equipment that kept shifting out of place while I worked and she would slam it back into place with a smirk.  Finally, another kind employee actually took the piece completely out so I could work without dislodging it.  I told myself I would never go back there again and I never told my supervisor why I wouldn’t go back even when she asked. 

Eight years later, I was sent back to that location under a new training program and she was still there. I don’t think she remembered me but I remembered her and stayed as far away as possible until lunch time when it was unavoidable.  She noticed the sticker I had on my water bottle which was from my church and proceeded, unprovoked, to criticize the church I attend.  On and on she went.  I just said no one church is for everybody, which is true, and continued to eat my lunch.

So many lessons!

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First of all, always be kind.

We never know what another person has been through in their life, what triggers they may have, and how certain words and behaviors might negatively affect them.  Sometimes it’s not so much the actual words but the tone of voice and delivery.  If we are not sure, it’s best to remain silent or let the person in charge handle it. 

Second, be honest.

I regret not having told my supervisor the reason I didn’t want to work at that place.  Perhaps this person could have been retrained to be more sensitive to others.  There have been others who have shared about this problem and while I know it’s frustrating when staff is short and we have to teach each new helper over and over again, that doesn’t justify a communication style that is curt or could even be interpreted as menacing. 

Third, don’t forget to look at your own behavior.

A few years ago, I found myself in almost the same situation but the tables were turned.  I was the permanent employee, my manager was absent for several days, and my coworker was a sweet man in his mid 70’s who was meticulous but very slow.  I loved him, but the pressure made me less than professional and I was remorseful later.  The next day I apologized to him and asked for forgiveness and he smiled and said “Of course.  We all have bad days”.  The next year, Bill died of cancer and I wrote a tribute to him which detailed how we worked well together despite having some difficult moments. I try to remember his example as I continue to work as if God is watching, because He is. 

Finally, realize that we all have bad days but most can be corrected.

The important thing is to be responsible and accountable. Pick yourself up and make things right again. And if you are the victim of someone else’s bad day? If you feel safe, speak to them about it. If you have to, go to a person in charge. If there is another open door, walk through it. Just do your part and let God do the rest. He has your back.

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We are all in this together.

T.

 

Special occasions call for special attention.

Way back in the 1960’s grocery stores commonly had promotions to get you to buy your groceries at their establishment.  They gave away “Green Stamps” for each dollar you spent and these were usually pasted into stamp books which after saving up enough could be redeemed at designated stores that had catalogs from which you could choose whatever merchandise you wanted.  This was a great way to get the kids to help.  Give them a sponge to wet the stamps and press into the books and let the fun begin.

Grocery stores also gave away or sold at a small cost, cookware or dish sets with a certain dollar amount of purchased groceries.   This was how my mother obtained her set of china.  I don’t remember how long it took but with each weekly purchase she would bring home a piece of china to add to her set.  The pattern was “Blue Garland” by Haviland and it had dainty blue flowers with silver trim.

Mom collected her china until she had eight full place settings which included dinner plates, salad plates, soup bowls, cups and saucers, serving pieces, and a coffee pot with sugar and creamer.  I don’t know if she quit collecting them because she had all she wanted or if they finally stopped offering them and moved on to some other promotion, but she had her set and carefully packed them away for safe keeping.

Mind you, we were not fancy people.  We lived in a trailer on my grandparent’s farm and family dinners were at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  We used paper plates and cups because the crowd was so big and who wants to spend the afternoon doing all those dishes? Those holiday dinners were filled with laughter and fun and delicious food that would have tasted good served on anything! I miss those large family dinners with the paper plates and TV trays.

Over the years, the china was loaned out to friends for their own special occasions but I don’t ever remember it being used by our family, and after a while I forgot about it until years later when my parents downsized and the set was offered to me. I was happy to receive it.  It was very special but not so special I wasn’t ever going to put it to use!  I enjoy using the dishes at least once a year and not only does it remind me of Mom, but it reminds me that it’s nice to bring out the best for the best!

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This kind of special treatment doesn’t signify love as much as it shows honor.  The kind of honor that says “I love you and I want you to know I want the best for you. Thank you!” Isn’t that how it is in our relationship with God?  We trust Him and thank Him, and want to give Him the best and do our best in honor and love.  Sometimes we make sacrifices for those we love, not like burnt offerings, but the kind that of sacrifice that involves a giving of ourselves and our time.  Like lovingly washing and drying those special china pieces by hand, and storing them away for the next opportunity of honor.

Love each other.  Honor each other.

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We enjoy a lot of freedom in this world.

 

It is our choices... that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. - J. K. Rowling

 

We can choose how we live by making choices that set the ball rolling to achieve our goals…or not.  That “or not” is also a choice.

We can choose our emotions and how we will react to the things that happen in life; the words said that sting and hurt, the seeming unfairness of the way life has a habit of going its own way…God’s way instead of our way, the actions of others who will not acquiesce to our plans, and the injustice of those who get away with far more than they should without consequence.

We can choose our mate and when to let them into our heart forever.

We can choose our words, or whether to say anything in any given situation.

We can choose how we treat people. We can treat them with respect, forgiveness, compassion and decency, like Jesus, or we can treat them with disdain, distrust, abuse and hatred, like the world would have us.  God gives us the choice.

 

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When we first believe, God changes us from the inside out but if we do not make the choice to act upon those changes, we will stagnate right where we are and wonder why nothing is happening.  We pray for years for God to change our hearts so we can see people as He does and love them as He does, not realizing that He already has, but we haven’t made the choice to put that change into action!

Making a choice is as simple as a prayer seeking God’s will and the willingness to put ourselves out there to be His hands, feet, and heart in service to our fellow man with a reverence for God that honors His Will over our rights.  Even then, it takes time.

I’m so thankful for God’s patience.

 

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 And He said to him, “‘You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  Matthew 22:37-39

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Lately I’ve been having trouble sleeping.

For the last two weeks I’ve been waking up around 3:30 AM and having to get out of bed to go to the restroom.  I try not to because I know I’ll not go back to sleep, especially since the alarm is set for 4:05 anyway.  So I’d lie in bed stewing.

Every day I complained about having to get up a half hour before an already outrageously early wake up call.  I don’t have to be at work until 6:00 but I don’t like rushing around in the morning, and I like spending time with the Lord and doing devotional time in the morning because after work I’m too tired to focus properly, and it is a much needed down time. Sometimes I fall asleep.

But lately for various reasons, it seems like I can’t get enough done in the time before work to feel like I’ve properly honored God; the dog is having stomach issues and needs a longer walk, I need to finish something I started the previous evening, I need to prepare something for work, take out something to thaw, or I’m searching for something I need to take with me.  It’s been a mad dash to get out on time.

A few days ago as I was lying in bed waiting for the alarm to buzz and feeling aggravated once again at the inhumanity of it all, the Holy Spirit pressed a thought upon my mind.

“Why don’t you use this extra time to pray?”

Wow.

I can pray before my feet even hit the floor! It was a simple but sweet message from the Lord.

And so it goes.

 

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We should always take our pain to the Lord.

Have you ever seen a person who had so much pain in their heart that they were grasping for whatever help they could find and they said some things they shouldn’t have? They just wanted the pain to stop.

More than likely, the people who love them understood and tried to help them. They knew how that kind of pain can dull a person’s ability to make rational and appropriate choices and words. They knew this wasn’t a reflection of a hard heart; this was a reflection of a hurting heart.

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Later, when the pain lessened from the passage of time or the situation that caused it was resolved, it should have been better but it wasn’t, because not everyone loved the person in pain and not everyone understood. Some people judged and held resentment, spread gossip, and blamed the very person who was hurting in the first place.

What is the answer is in this situation?

Is it to be distrustful even of those who seem to care? Should we lock ourselves in a closet when we are distraught so we won’t say anything that is inappropriate or others can’t handle? What happens when the after-effects of this weakness seem to linger far longer than the unfortunate event that caused them, even after the necessary amends have been made, and the person now sees things from a higher perspective, but is unable to move forward as if being held back by invisible hands of condemnation?

Sometimes it’s not invisible.  It shows: on their faces, in their eyes, disapproving looks, intentional disregard and rejection.

It shouldn’t be so.

The answer is…

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Not everyone has the ability to empathize, comfort, and overlook an offense. It’s okay because that’s between them and God.  But it’s a sad day when unbelievers love people better than believers do.  That’s a hard-core reality to accept at times.  Not all the time  Just sometimes.

The answer is…

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Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  Colossians 3:12-14

May I do Thy Will always.

 

 

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Stewardship:  the job of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property.

I looked this word up because I want to be a good steward of the resources and gifts that God entrusts and blesses to me.  The more He gives, the more responsibility we have to use and take care for His good intentions.  What an honor!

In 1999, we inherited my Mother-In-Law’s 1992 Toyota Corolla.  I drove that car around town for another 15 years and it had about 120,000 miles on it when we finally sold it and bought a two year old Kia Soul.  I took care of the Toyota with regular maintenance and it probably will last for thousands more miles for its new owner even though it was twenty-two years old!

So why did I want a new car?  Simply, I was tired of driving around an old car. I was ready for something a little more up to date and hopefully, just as dependable.  Vanity!

I baby my Soul.  I keep her clean and tidy.  She gets regular maintenance and has upgraded tires to prevent flats.  I hand wax her once a year and I paint any little scratches and dings with paint made especially for that purpose.  For Christmas, I asked for fleece seat covers that only cover the bottom of the seat since that is the area that shows the most wear and dirt.  And I indulgently spent a little extra to get personalized license plates.  My car wasn’t new but she was new to me and I wanted her to look nice as long as possible.  She’s almost seven years old now and only has 39,000 miles.  Needless to say, the dealership would love to have her back to sell a third time!

The point is when we take care of the things and people God gives to us, we often get immeasurable benefits and blessings as a result of our effort.   Misuse or abuse often brings heartache and confusion.  I’ve been there.  In those times when I was so eager to please and make what I thought would be an impression on God, I misused his gifts, my  earnings, to try and bless someone else when that money should have gone to provide for the needs of my own family. It didn’t dawn on me until much later that only when I started taking care of my own family would my territory increase to bless others.  There is no honor in going into great debt just to look good.  That is how pride works and it’s sinful.

I’m a firm believer in good stewardship of all God gives us, and that includes people, money, things, animals, and the good old earth on which we live.  May I live responsibly.

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I love keeping track of the ways God takes care of me.  It’s a joy to know He hears my pleas and then seeing how He creatively answers.

Today was one of those days.

I’m a kitchen manager in an elementary school. Our walk-in freezer has a ceiling light that the ballast needed to be replaced.  The work order had been put in several weeks prior but we were waiting for a part.  Anyway, it was pretty dark in there with just one bulb on the door end of the freezer.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Today was pizza day and it was discovered that apparently I mislabeled a case of cheese pizza as pepperoni during a delivery so on a subsequent order I under-ordered pepperoni thinking I already had a case, when in actuality, it was cheese.   It was too late to try to find the pizza at another school. I actually prayed that God would intervene and make the kids hungry for cheese pizza instead of pepperoni.

Halfway through serving, with two grades left to go, one of the gals in the kitchen accidentally dropped a precious pepperoni pizza on the floor!  Oh my goodness! It was getting very worrisome but all we could do was laugh at the circumstances and keep on going.

Indeed, we didn’t have to worry as God was in control.  At the end of serving, we had nine pieces of cheese pizza left and zero pepperoni BUT not one child that wanted pepperoni pizza was denied.  We had the exact amount that we needed even after dropping a whole pizza.  It truly was amazing. GOD IS SO GOOD!

 

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Micah 7:7

 

UPDATE 9/27/18–We have light in the freezer!

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My husband is an avid biker.  He has all the gear, a nice bike, and can ride for tens of miles at a time…fast. For years he has tried to get me to ride a bike but I did not want to do it out in public!
I am a couch potato.
“What if I fall? Right in the middle of an intersection surrounded by traffic”? Last time I rode a bike, I keeled over in the grassy area by the sidewalk while going up a long hill as traffic passed by.  I’m sure glad I wasn’t in dire need of assistance because no one was stopping!
“If I break a bone I will be out of a job for several weeks”.
“My bike is too clunky and heavy”.
“You go too fast and I will never keep up so what is the point?” were my responses too many times.
The real excuse was I just don’t like to exercise and I don’t like the feeling of my heart pounding out of my chest, face, and fingers when I exert myself.
The real reason was fear.
I wasn’t actually looking, I mean, that definitely wasn’t a priority, but this summer I happened upon a bike for sale on the local Facebook marketplace.  I knew enough about bikes to know it was a good brand and a little research online found the exact same bike for $350, new. It was selling for $25.  Too good to be true?  I went to look at it and although it had obviously been in an accident as it had numerous scratches, the tires were almost new.  It also had some rust on the handlebars.  I took pictures and sent them to my husband to look over and he thought it looked like it needed very little work to get it in good shape so I bought it. I couldn’t believe that I was excited!
I found a neat little trick to get rid of the rust using vinegar and aluminum foil.
https://www.wikihow.com/Remove-Rust-from-Chrome
The vinegar prepares the rust for easy removal and the wet aluminum foil is balled up and used to rub the rust off with very little effort.  It took about 10 minutes and looked great afterward.  I finished the job with a little bit of car wax for protection.
Marty had to replace a brake cable and do a tune up, and after I bought a good helmet and a pair of cargo shorts to hold my phone so I could use an app to map and track my miles, I was ready to go.

 

It’s funny how motivated and prepared you are when the time is right and you actually want to do something.  Sometimes everything just seems to fall together to make the wheels turn.

 

Bible Verses About God's Timing

 

I’ve been riding two or three times a week now, by myself, for two months and can honestly say I enjoy it. Not only do I get some good cardio but it is easy to see my progress, not like walking or running on the treadmill where I never go anywhere.
When you ride a bike you notice things you might not when you are in a car or walking because any little thing on the road or around you can potentially become a hazard; sticks, rocks, cut grass, leaves, animals, holes in the road, cracks in the pavement, and distracted drivers all could cause an accident if I am not paying attention to my surroundings, and because of this hyper-vigilance, I get to see the world from a different perspective.
Flowers, trees, other riders and walkers, fresh air, smoky air, children playing, homeless on the street corner, dogs  running and barking, Prairie Dogs along the trail, snakes on the sidewalk, neighborhoods I’ve never been in before, birds singing, and sunshine on my shoulders.  And the wind.  Sometimes it’s for me and sometimes it’s working against me, but it’s all good for a better workout and an enjoyable experience that takes my mind off my fear of getting hurt because I’m proactively preventing it.
There’s something cathartic about a physical purge through strenuous activity.  It cleanses the mind and body and even the spirit when I use that time to commune with the Lord while I’m riding.  I listen to Christian music from my phone and can praise God the whole time.  I pray.  I love it.
Recently I read that exercise can help to prevent Azheimers which my Mother suffered and died from last November.  God certainly does work in mysterious ways.  I love Him.
May I always listen.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3;11

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Truth shouldn’t be avoided but it is.  The truth of the Bible is avoided by many believers and unbelievers alike.  Truth that opposes political correctness is also avoided.  So is the truth of someones past; their sins, lifestyle, bad choices…all are avoided in a room where everyone knows the truth but don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or ruin the mood of the gathering.

People just kind of look sideways at each other, or roll their eyes, or turn away to hide their facial expression from the person to whom the elephant belongs.  Everyone wonders how long the elephant in the room can stay hidden when it is SO big and for some…SO juicy.

Most people leave the elephant alone out of care and courtesy, but occasionally a person might innocently “out” the elephant; like the little child in Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes” who let him know he didn’t actually have any clothes on at all!  More often, a conflict can cause people to draw attention to the elephant out of spite and ill will. They want to embarrass and try to hurt the elephant owner.  Here’s the deal:

Most elephant owners know they have elephants.  The elephant may not even belong to them but to someone close to them.  The real owner may be present or not, alive or not, but the person in the room is the one who is held accountable.  This is okay, because accountability is part of healing.  Believe me, the healing process is long and arduous and few other than the sociopath can avoid accountability of the heart, mind, and mouth.

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What is NOT okay is using your knowledge of another person’s elephant to maliciously try to hurt them or other people.  It matters not how big the elephant is, what color it is, how much it cost, where it came from, if there are other elephants in the closet, if they are males or females, or whatever. No one has the right to attack someone with their own elephant.

NEWSFLASH:  EVERYONE has an elephant.  Every single person on the face of this earth has at least one part of themselves that they wouldn’t want broadcast to the world.

 

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Having said that, I forgive the Elephant Thieves of the world who use them to attack others to get the focus off their own inadequacies.  I actually marvel their ability to stalk and patiently wait for the right moment to crack the whip and send the elephant stampeding.  The thing is, when a person has repented and is healed from the injuries previously incurred by the elephant, nothing you can do will harm them again.

 

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So…if you have an elephant in your room, acknowledge it, and repent.  That way you can look your elephant in the eye and see it for what it is:  A gift. God can take all things and turn them into something good.

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Prayer for Repentance

Heavenly Father, thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for waiting for me and helping me to acknowledge my sin.  Please help me to accept your forgiveness, mercy, and love without shame. Help me to leave that sin behind and live my life as a person who follows You. Thank you for your abounding love, Lord.   I pray in Jesus’s name, Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After decades of being told children need to be kept busy to keep them out of trouble and enable them to live a happy, healthy life, it seems as if we now have generations of people who have never learned to relish the quiet stillness that God requires for relationship with Him. Turn off the radio, television, and computer, set your phone aside, find a comfy chair, pray, and listen. Your life will take a much more meaningful turn for the better despite what is going on in it and the world. If only I had learned this earlier and taught my children the same. No regrets, only lessons learned.

Proverbs 16:7
“When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

Isaiah 26:3
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

John 14:27
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

John 16:33
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Philippians 4:6-7
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

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