From Anger to Tears

One struggles in pain
Hurts nurture fears
Living is bane…
From anger to tears…
The “Self” is chastised
When judgment nears
Existence despised.
From anger to tears…
Embitterment grows
Nothing endears
Caustic thought flows
From anger to tears…
When Love is denied  
An ugly head rears
Then Hate is applied,
From anger to tears…
A cycle indeed
Adversity steers
Inward we bleed
From anger to tears…

God beckons within

Somebody hears
Enlivens again
From anger to tears…
True Life is in Him
Love conquers fears
Let Healing begin!
From anger to tears…

A Muddied, Mushy Mess!

Honestly, I don’t know what it is about our society, but a good majority of people just can’t seem to keep their word!
I had been waiting since early morning for the construction crew to arrive.  My husband had done minor demolition on the outside of our house, but today was the day that all the old siding and rotten wood were to be removed. – gutted, might more appropriate.  Even the windows have to come out!  No fun!
Things are askew in nearly every room. Now somewhat bare, my whole office had to be displaced.  The computer is in one room, the copier in another, files elsewhere, and so on.
No phone call!  No crew by 1pm!   Without the window coverings, the room stayed frigid.  Of all months for these needed repairs, January!  This was supposed to have been started last October and kept getting pushed back because the previous contractors chose not to keep their word.  Even the animals’ continual pacing from room to room marked my own edgy, restless feelings.
Why isn’t that phone ringing?  In the past week, every time the phone has rung, it has been bad news for my pocketbook!
The next session of my small Dental Assisting School is scheduled to run in just four weeks and the only people calling either want to attend for free, need free dental work, or the worst….are withdrawing from the class!   Without enough sign-ups, I won’t be able to run the class as planned.  Worry nagged at me.
A knock at the door – finally!  Only one guy, leaving supplies for tomorrow.  I open the garage and he tells me, to move this and that.  In heeled, slip-on boots, I was sent scurrying, lifting and pushing things way too bulky and heavy for me.   Lugging a huge tote out of the garage, I stepped onto the mushy lawn.  My shoe sank in the mire.  My foot came out of the shoe and I continued moving, falling over!  Sore and soaked, I was also a muddied, mushy mess!
I was aware of frustration trying to overtake me.   I knew I had to get it in check!!   Thank God, prayer came easily and so did peace.  Putting things back into perspective is good exercise.
I headed for the bathroom to clean up.  The phone rang, so I hobbled to grab it.  A small voice asked if she could make an appointment.  Here we go again!
Mustering patience, I asked if she was calling about the school or if she was looking for a dentist.  She needed a dentist who worked on a sliding scale.  I explained about the dental assisting school, and discouragement was evident on her end.  Slimy stuff fell from my clothes. I desperately wanted to get back to what I was doing, but something grabbed at my gut, so I reached for my chair.
Hesitantly, she answered my questions. This young lady had been released from a hospital where she received care for a skin condition that could be fatal if left untreated. Multiple hospitalizations and meds had left her teeth in a weakened condition. They were broken and decayed; one was badly abscessed.  She had no job, no money, and no dental insurance.  Children screeched in the background while she explained that she was not complaining but was willing to step up and do her part.  That’s why the call.
Ideas for a letter campaign to her local dentists flooded my thoughts.  She loved them!  Then there’s Craigslist.  We put together info for an ad.   We talked about Barter.  Other ideas came up.  Her voice started to tremor.  She thanked me over and over for taking time with her.
A pause, a deep breath and then she confided in me a little more about her disorder. Did she say she was only 27?  Stunned for a moment, I realize that I have lived more than twice as long as she is old.  She may not make it to twice her age!
I studied my muddy feet as I listened; aching muscles and joints started to scream. My thoughts drifted. A few of my own teeth have compromised crowns, and expensive issues that won’t be covered by insurance.  And now?  I don’t have a new student prospect either!
Smacked by a good dose of humiliation, I snapped out of my self-preoccupation!  Of course, I couldn’t fix all her problems, but I DO know her name, and……..she was sent to ME!
The One who can get in the middle of Carly’s situation is a good friend of mine!  After all, we just talked about my attitude and problems earlier, and He gave me his full attention and assured me that He had it all under control.
I listened for a break.  She ended with, “I’ll keep trying and guess I’ll have to trust God to take care of me”.  Well….lots of people say that.  I don’t know if she really believed her owns words or not, but I took it as my que!
God was waiting for me to keep His Word! I told her to bow her head and close her eyes for just a minute.  All was quiet.  Sudden warmth engulfed me and power-filled words streamed forth as I prayed over her body and situation.  If asked to do it, I couldn’t begin to reconstruct that moment or say the same words if I tried!   The energy that swirled around my cold, little office was there – for both of us!  God has lots of coping methods for this life.
What a vivid reminder of just what a muddied-out MESS we all are without our Creator.
My life rarely goes along as I expect or even hope, but I can tap into a steady stream of strength and rest – anytime! 
Carly’s tear-filled voice was stronger as we parted our phone encounter. I promised to look into possible free-clinics and to keep her in my prayers.  Nothing had changed with my own circumstances, but my outlook did.   God promised to never leave me or forsake me.  By the way, I can do no less.  I will keep my word to Carly. 

Rollin’ Dough

My day hadn’t been going particularly well and I felt very behind in terms of accomplishment. Some days are just better than others!
It is during those times that it never ceases to amaze me how I can lose something on my desk, right in front of my face!  Yes! Right in front of my own face!
Some of these little nuances of habit just drive me nuts.  My forté is organization, and I hate it when my own little bit of sloppiness gets me in trouble!  Such a time-waster!
Over the years, I have learned NOT to do certain things while talking on the phone.  The reason?  I end up with segmented memories that won’t allow me to put my finger on where I might have “filed” something.  It could be anything, but my rings are a good example!  My rule is to never take off my rings while I’m on the phone, especially if I am walking around.  Who knows where they’ll end up? 
This time it was my checkbook, and a supply list.  I had just handled both items, so where could they be??  I needed that checkbook! 
Because I know myself, I have created a few “neutral” areas in my office and home where I can dump things, and still be sure to find them later.  While this usually works out well, it was not working today.  I checked all my spots – nothing!
My doorbell had been busy all morning.  In the middle of all my searching, these interruptions tend to make me fretful when I need to concentrate on something.
Then there was the phone. The phone was another story!  This particular morning held the record for the world’s best-and-brightest asking dim-witted questions, and then calling back again because they didn’t listen the first time. 
I was in a snit and knew it. 
Honestly, I have asked God to help me recognize when things are off- kilter so I don’t sit in a pit for very long.  I picked up the signal!  It was time to back off and give things a prayer break.
No sooner had I finished than the phone range again.
I answered my phone, “National School of Dental Assisting.”
The guy on the other end says, “Is this the Rollin Dough Pizza?”
Annoyance tried to creep up my back. 
“No sir.” I replied.   “This is the National School of Dental Assisting”  I said, in the nicest voice I could muster.
He hung up.
A few minutes later, he called again and asked the same question.  I guess he couldn’t hear or wasn’t paying attention ….twice!  He sounded a little miffed, like it was MY fault that HE did not reach the correct number.
My phone rang again. I noticed it was the same number.  This time I was ready.  I answered with my usual greeting and he asked about Rollin’ Dough once more.
I told him this was not the number he wanted, but that I had a number for him.
The internet is such a lovely research tool!   I had already looked up the pizza place and pulled up the website with all the information.
He burst out laughing. . . and so did I! 
Once I gave him the number, he thanked me profusely.  I was no longer feeling overwrought, nor was I the least bit irritated by the interruption.  In fact, I was feeling rather liberated.   No circumstance was going to hold me hostage.
As I was sharing with a few friends, one mentioned that I had provided a lot better service than 411. 
Another said, “You’re always there to help someone out!”
Still another mentioned, “That is such a “Nancy” thing to do! You are ALWAYS SO kind to others.”
After hearing these comments, for just a moment, I felt a little guilty because I knew how I had initially reacted, and it wasn’t so wonderful or kind!
My daughter responded, “That’s my mama…always prepared.  That guy will always remember the dental lady connecting him with the pizza number”
I hope he does.  He must have reached the pizza place because he didn’t call again.
There is a proverb that talks about a person who shows mercy.  It says that mercy will also be shown to that person.  I know I need mercy … and lots of it. In fact, I cannot do without it!  God has certainly been merciful to my ignorance and stubbornness, and I want to be sure to extend it to others.
Well, I found my checkbook.  It was right there on my desk all the time, hidden by a skewed piece of paper.  Even though I could have sworn that I searched everywhere, it suddenly became visible.  I decided not to contemplate that any further.
Thank God for prayer, and for a change of heart.  
Maybe all that was a test?  Maybe it was!
I think I passed.

Note from Nancy:  On him that has mercy, mercy will be shown…I believe it!
Thanks for stopping by!

She’s on Empty!

Lively singing and clapping engulfed us!  Nearly everyone around was fully engaged in the music.  
We were visiting a church out of town, and although the music was new to us, it was not difficult to catch on.  Just a wonderful day to worship God, spirits were high!
Ornamented with high dollar clothing, expensive purse and boots, the woman next to me was in full motion – whooping and hollering at the top of her voice.  Okay – – so she was making her form of a “joyful noise”.  The fact that she kept bumping into me was a bit distracting here and there, but I lived!
Once we were all seated, and the Pastor began speaking, she commenced fanning herself with her hand, as if she were about to faint!   She nodded her head vigorously and rocked back and forth while muttering , “Oh yes” – – – ”MMMM-hmmm!”
The more the pastor spoke about the importance of leading a calm, unhindered life and exercising self-restraint, the more she rocked and agreed. 
The admonishment was for people to be alert and watch how we respond to situations so that we are not pressured, or scared, out of our purpose in life.
The woman’s rocking motion intensified!  Her head shook and her “MMMM-Hmmm’s” got louder!  She was hilarious and downright entertaining.  I had to work to restrain a laugh.
“Wow”, I thought to myself.  “She is one on-fire ball of energy!”
While I am not quite that demonstrative, I realize that there are all kinds of personalities out there.  Overall, it seemed like this woman had a handle on the whole wide world!
After being startled by one of Action-Woman’s whoops, I tried to turn my attention back to what was being addressed and take a few notes.  With all her rocking, I think I was suffering a little from motion sickness myself! 
I said a small prayer for her. Maybe it was more for me, I don’t know….
Just before the service ended, I had a chance to give this woman a hug and spoke a few encouraging words in her ear. She seemed surprised!  That’s when I knew.
A strange feeling crept over me and I felt a gentle nudge inside – – – ”She’s on empty!” 
The pastor voice punctuated the moment as he asked if anyone needed prayer.  When he elaborated about needing prayer for the removal of bad influences, inappropriate associations, or other hindrances to a peaceful life, the “MMMMM-Hmmmm“ lady about fell all over her son, stumbling past the people next to him as she beat a path to the front!  Startled family members and friends stared at her in amazement!
I chuckled to myself for a moment, and then I was hit with a thought. I had felt a little silly giving her the type of encouragement that I had, but I did it just the same.  All things being considered, I guess one can never really know just how much the effect of gracious words might have on someone else – – – even if they don’t “seem” to need it.
As I gazed around, I wondered just how many other people were sitting there looking like they had it all together, but were actually riding along on fumes because they were “Sitting on EMPTY!”

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Quit Passing on the Pain!

Quit passing on the pain! So many hearts you’ve torn!
Like fatal force of hurricane, filled with hate and scorn
Quit passing on the pain! You chose the path you’re on
It brought you to a place unkind –  Vice’s little pawn
Quit passing on the pain!  You’re mired with satan’s snare
Spewing blame, accepting none, he’ll always keep you there!
Quit passing on the pain! Livid words foment regret
Hate and spite proliferate, and keep YOU in their debt
Quit passing on the pain! You live behind a curtain
God said that we don’t clearly see what’s going on, that’s certain
Quit passing on the pain!  Insight is what you lack…..
Shut the door, don’t give it strength or allow it to come back
Quit passing on the pain! The choice was yours alone
Responsibility yours to take, the problems yours to own
Quit passing on the pain! Stand for it no more.
Don’t fault another situation, Sin crouches at YOUR door!
Quit passing on the pain! In this generation, stop!
The lies of decades put to shame, their servant you are not!
Quit passing on the pain! There is no perfect life.
This broken world has left us all disparity and strife
Quit passing on the pain! It’s time for it to cease
Don’t embrace the devil’s nasty lies, let Jesus bring you peace
Quit passing on the pain! Let healing come right now
Put aside the emptiness, before your Savior bow!
So pass along the pain, to Jesus who has died
To end the pain and set you free, He was crucified!
Pass to Him the Pain!  Already He endured
The condition of humanity. In Him we can be cured!

Adventure, Redefined!

My Dental Assisting School over for the Day, I was still hoping to grab a bit of the afternoon! The traffic suddenly picked up, forcing me to increase my speed of travel.  Cars zoomed in and out of my lane; some flashing their lights at me! 
With wind and the breeze in my hair, I soon found myself flying along at 70 miles per hour!  Whoa!  Even that was not fast enough for most of the drivers on the road, so I forced myself to the farthest right lane and reduced my speed, regaining my sense of peace! 
Rumbling up the on-ramp just ahead of me, loaded with bales and bales of hay, was a very large truck.  I marveled at just how many bales had been piled onto that rig, and wondered to myself how they all stayed put.
The aroma of the alfalfa was calming though, and I was enjoying not being cutoff by other cars.  I started to go around, but without a signal, the big truck made a lane change in front of me.
It’s not as though I had some big a vision or anything, but my senses went on “high alert!”
Suddenly, the URGE to “step on it” overwhelmed me!  I get those gut-levels every now and then, and I usually follow them with good results.
I punched it and all the ponies under the hood rose to the occasion!  As I whooshed past that truck, I checked my rear-view mirror just in time to see a HUGE bale of hay fall off! The cars behind had to do some creative driving!
Had I not “stepped on it,” I would have been right there in the path of that hay bale! Thanks goes to my husband for having that snappy rear-end put in my truck!  It really helps me scoot at times! Thank you, God, for the “nudge.”  I’m so glad I listened!
Forty minutes to home, I opted to detour to a highway with less traffic.  My heart finally recovered its normal rhythm while my eyes scanned the countryside. The play of the afternoon sun was absolutely gorgeous!  Gratefulness bathed my soul.  I settled back with a swell of fulfillment.
Then, outlined by the sun’s glow and shimmer, appeared the silhouette of a massive cross.  Was I seeing what I thought I was seeing?  Yes, a cross…on its side…and it was moving.
Once I had a better perspective, I could see a man on the other side of the road, shouldering this large cross, aided only by a small wheel at the bottom. As this solitary individual plodded along without fanfare, the sun’s position lighted up everything around him!  Such a marvelous presentation made me catch my breath.  I was elated. My mouth was stuck in a permanent smile for the next five miles! I felt like I had just been hiking.
Other small things caught my attention as I drove.  Near the freeway entrance, some amusing signs provoked a hearty giggle.  I was feeling good!
People search for adventure in their lives to bring meaning or to garner self-worth. They long for the fantastic, the incredible, the amazing, and the spectacular.  These awe-inspiring feats are stimulating, both psychologically and physically.
Adventure is certainly not limited to whitewater rafting, extreme sports, mountain climbing, racing or skydiving and the like.  All those things signal the idea of a rush, or of some sensationalistic pump! 
Certain people say they are “really living” when they are doing these things.  Not to be snarky, but what are they doing at other times, “Not really living?”
My whole perception concerning a number of things, has been redefined over time. Adventure is one of them.
Flicker, flash, twinkle!  God has provided us with out-of-the ordinary experiences on a daily basis.  They unfold all around us!  Yet, eyes wide open, we tend to miss, or totally dismiss, some of the most stimulating events that cross our paths.
My drive home kept me stirred up!  I listened to the Holy Spirit’s nudge and got to miss an impending accident.  That was sensational!
Pumped with incredible joy and gratitude over the sun-and-the-cross scene, I’m sure my endorphins were doing back flips!  Still, other roadside stuff struck me in the funny-bone.
Adventure?  You bet!  I was engaged and entertained . . . all the way home!
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Something Always Needs Repair!

Something always needs repair!  Just so,  after dinner, it was off to Home Depot to get some ideas and, possibly, a solution! I wanted to try to save some money too!
It seems like the day is never quite long enough and something else, unexpected, always crops up to slice out yet another piece!  I had to get a variety of things accomplished before the next day showed up! My weary, achy husband tagged along with a good attitude. 
On the way out of the parking lot, from a distance, I spied two young people sitting with a small sign.  My eye caught sight of them immediately even before we came close.  The girl had her head down and the fellow has his arm around her.  I began scrounging for dollar bills. 
Suddenly, we were at the turn.  We had only moments to open the window, thrust out the money with a quick “God Bless you”, and then turn because of the traffic behind us.  I hate leaving that quickly!
As we drove, I sat musing.  Having been partners in time and dealing with countless homeless together, my husband,  familiar with my pensive behavior by now, said,
“Okay, what do you want to do?”
I knew he was hot and his knees were hurting, so I determined to head over to the Grocery outlet across the street, run through the store and pick up whatever God directed.  
Hermetically sealed foods and drink, personal care items and such were thrown into a “to-go” cold-sak and we left. 
They were gone!  Randy knew better than to accept their absence as the final word and began driving up and down the close-by streets. In and out of the business and fast food areas we searched.  There they were! I needed to talk with them so he parked and waited. 
As I approached with a ‘What’s-up-guys?’, two very sun-burned faces eyed me suspiciously, but their story began spilling forth.  Their plans and dreams of working and living in the Bay area had fallen through. They lost everything. Their spirits were broken and humbled.  All they wanted to do was to go back home!
It seems that a church had provided a recently donated van and one tank of gas but now they were stuck in Manteca trying to get enough money to finish the trip home to Colorado Springs.  
They were hungry!   I handed over the cold-sak and they pounced upon the ready-to-eat containers.  My rule is that if I feed you, I get to pray with you! 
Both of their heads bowed hastily and the food dropped into their laps.  These two young ones grabbed hands willingly and stopped for prayer. They were weary, but hopeful. 
Their room was waiting at home in Colorado Springs along with their TV and PlayStation!  All they had to do was get there!  They almost had enough gas money to begin and finish their trip.
Well, that was a good launching place for my next comment!  I reminded them that there was a place waiting for them in Heaven too – all they had to do was get there!  They nodded.
Yes, they were strays from the fold!  They knew the way, but had lost sight of who was really supposed to be in charge.
Hugging them like a mama, they hugged back – hard!  I told them to do right, live right and turn away from sin.  Mentioning that I might never see them again in this life, I made it clear that I wanted to be able to see them after this life was over.  They nodded and promised.  
Certainly, many things need repair, but none so much as the lives to which we are sent to influence.   It’s never convenient and it’s always costly!
Intervention in time?  Only God knows.  I am just a piece of the puzzle, but given what He’s done for me, can I respond in a lesser fashion?