She Spit on The Table!

 image courtesy photobucket
The world of microbiology was opened up to me in college.  Bacteria!  They were everywhere, especially in the mouth!
Through the years, I have worked in a few different disciplines, but have always gravitated back to the dental field. Needless to say, I developed a penchant for cleanliness!
I was one of those mothers who made sure my children’s hands and faces were always clean. While five little noses were judiciously wiped, and coughs or sneezes covered, it was unthinkable that other mothers could be so totally oblivious to the snot-bubbles sliming their children’s faces. 
Others had no problem whatsoever picking up their baby’s pacifier from the ground, putting it in their own mouths and sucking it clean, before delivering it to a screaming baby!  Didn’t they see what was on that thing? Ugh!  My germ-alert immediately roared and my stomach rebelled!  Of course, spit-washing a kid’s face was totally out of the question for me!
Not that I turned my children in to clean-freaks or anything, but a healthy appreciation for a more hygienic environment was developed.  I must say, we suffered fewer incidents of illness than many of my friends’ children.
Even with our favorite game of bowling, we were careful to wipe down the borrowed balls and shoes handled or worn by anyone who had to rent equipment. 
One evening, after a hard day at home-schooling, I rewarded my children with a surprise trip to the bowling alley!  Excitement ensued when they found out that we’d be eating there as well. Busy as it was, we all crowded around one little table in the restaurant area.  It was a mess!  We cleared it the best we could and waited for one of the high-school girls to come over. Nuts!  It appeared that they were all getting off at the same time.  Finally, when no one came, we went to the counter and requested a wipe-down. 
Minutes later, a scruffy, frizzy-haired lady with rounded shoulders, sporting the overall look of an unkempt backwoods mama, sauntered up to our table.
image courtesy photobucket

“S-matter”, she croaked as the putrid smell of stale smoke offended our nostrils.
We showed her the table.   Struck with horror at what happened next, my kids’ faces froze in disgusted revolt.  You know, I could have sold those looks to a sci-fi show!  
Our scroungy waitress whipped out an old, well-used red kerchief from her backside, spit on the table and began to wipe!  She really worked at it.  She spit again!
Gasping, the kids instinctively drew back, eyebrows raised!  The woman studied the table, turned on her heel headed for the kitchen doors as if everything was okay now!   
“Maaawwmmmm —- Ewwww….”, was all the kids could say.  I was dumbfounded.  Was that lady for real?
Poor thing.  I think she was!  I also think that it was probably the only job she could get.  It distressed greatly me to think that she might also be handling food.
Appetites gone, the kids and I lost no time.  We gathered our stuff and bolted down to our reserved alley!   A few minutes into the game, they forgot all about the incident.  Not me! I kept rolling it over in my mind.  Cootie-lady could certainly use some prayer.  I wondered if God asked me to hug her right then, if I could do it.  I concluded that I could, but I would have to run right home and shower.  It’s funny now, but those were serious thoughts for me then!
For years, it was a joke at our house whenever someone was asked to wipe down the table before a meal. 
“Sure”, they’d say!   “I’ll just spit on it!”
Jesus healed a blind man’s eyes.  He spat in the dirt, made mud, put it on the man’s eyes and then told him to go wash.   You know, I’ll admit, I have really had to consider whether or not I would have allowed Him to do that to me.
Spit?  Dirty mud?  On me?

That would have taken some concerted effort on my part!  We all have filters through which we view things.

God has brought this simple incident to my mind many times when  I faced a challenge that abused my senses
…..or even my sense of civility.
Once, while I was handing out food and clothing, a very smelly woman staggered in front of me and woman purged herself on my shoes.  Later, some people mentioned to me that the way I handled myself, and her, showed God’s Grace to everyone else waiting in line. Honestly, it was all I could to keep my own lunch down.
Years ago, a pastor declared, “Nancy you will hug the leper.”
Shuddering at the thought, I recoiled from his words.   I never did well with putrefying smells!   Have I learned?  Yes.   That doesn’t mean that it ever gets easier, but obeying God does, and He provides His Grace for the situation.  
So you may wonder……Have I relaxed a little since then?
Not on your life! 
I like things clean and sterile!  BUT…God has energized both my husband and I to enter the lives of the not-so-lovely, so that they can see Jesus.   
I just keep the baby wipes handy!!

This post was also shared at: http://www.elizabethesther.com/ Saturday Evening Post.  Sharing the favorite post for the month of June with other bloggers.  Do view the site.

People, People Everywhere

They brushed past us, hurrying on their way to the bookstore… …to the coffee cart….to the restrooms… to the parking lot!
A few smiles and hasty “excuse-me’s” were the only limited links of exchange we received.
Getting to know anyone in a large church is challenging, and after we had attended our church for a few months, we were still feeling isolated.  We had reached out, given out our phone number, made invitations to our home, to lunch, to coffee – you name it.  No takers.  I attended a guitar class for women and my husband went to the men’s meeting.  People seemed to be wrapped up in their own lives.  It was very odd – nothing was clicking!
After a several Sundays, I decided to begin by making friends with a couple of the greeters. I stood back and observed one Sunday, and although I am not sure just how, they seemed to know or recognize a great number of the people coming into the church.
After discussing things with God, in prayer, an idea struck and I was on a mission!  Stopping by a name brand coffee shop, I picked up several $5 gift cards with nice covers. In some small blank greeting cards, I wrote:
            Let’s have coffee!  Met me at Starbuck’s – I’m buying.
            Be sure to bring your Bible!  Can’t wait!
            Love,
            God
I prayed over them, and then I tucked a gift card inside, sealed the envelopes and handed some cards to one of the greeters. I let her know what was inside and asked her to hand them out to people who looked like they needed encouragement. The only thing I asked her to say was, “Someone left this for you
After a few weeks of this, one of the greeters pulled me aside. Excitedly relaying some unbelievable stories and encounters with the people who had received the gift cards, she was almost beside herself!  She was happy and breathless all at once. The greeter was amazed at the blessing this small action on my part had evoked in others. The other greeters wanted to help too!
I kept it up with two to three cards a week, for while.  One week, the greeter refused to take the cards. She told me she wasn’t allowed to do this any longer.  She looked sullen, eyes downcast; She didn’t offer any explanation, so I didn’t ask.  I noticed one of the pastors watching her.  Hmmmm…..
After that moment, this particular greeter was only stiffly friendly toward me.  Needless to say, I was saddened.  What happened?  I don’t’ know for sure. For me, discouragement was hard to avoid.
I came to grips with the fact that even if it was only for a small season, I did what I felt, led by God, to do.  The outcome is in His hands. 
All in all, I was comforted just knowing that many people had been the recipients of God’s love in the form of an unexpected surprise accompanied by encouragement. 
God has Plan B and I will wait for His directive.  He always gives me clever plans for making investments in people’s lives.
 In the meantime, my advice to anyone else would be not to over-think, otherwise nothing will be accomplished!     Go ahead and do what your hand finds to do!
This post has been entered on Play dates with God at the Well Spring.  Go there to view other awesome posts: 
http://www.lauraboggess.com/2011/06/playdates-with-god-lettuce.html 

Recognition

        
image courtesy PhotoBucket
Recognition

The voice of wisdom, a lion’s heart      
His smile of strength, does comfort impart;
His eyes so intense, with keen insight,
A sagacious force, a silent might;
Discerning leader – in mentor’s frame
Imparting lessons, a father’s fame;
The love of life, energy churning,
Tenacious spirit – ever discerning;
Sound of principle, in steadfast faith,
In Life’s stride, he’s keeping pace;
Vigorous and able, effective – fit,
He pushes on, when others quit; 
He took the good times, along with bad 
Who is “HE” – He’s one special DAD!

image courtesy PhotoBucket

It’s All Your Fault – Daddy-Bob!

 image courtesy Photo Bucket
Dear Daddy-Bob…
I just wanted you to know, “It’s all your fault!”
Randy and I were driving along the highway and he, rather mindlessly, tuned in a Christian radio station for some background music.  Because it was Saturday, their play list differed from the usually weekday splash of Christian artists.
We were talking about everything and nothing, when my ear alerted at various familiar snippets of music.
“Oh, I know this one,”  I’d interrupt.
Or, “I haven’t heard that one in a lot of years. “
I sang along to all of them and knew practically every verse.  A smattering of old hymns, some gospel, and a little modern music filled the mix.  Randy always shakes his head and says how he is amazed that all this stuff is stuck in my brain! 
The DJ had quit talking and a strong, acappella voice resonated as someone sang the words, ‘He’s God on the platform, He’s God way back at the door, He’s God in the Amen corner, He’s God all over the floor!.’ Then a quartet picked up the arrangement and the song amplified the rhythm and volume!
I started to laugh!  Randy asked if I knew that one TOO!  Of course I did.  “He’s God when the lightening flashes….He’s God when the thunder rolls…” Yep…right to that closing verse!  
Echoing my sentiments exactly, the final words, “I know that God is God and He will never change ….and He always will be GOD!” punctuated the end of the song.
We got to talking about the confidence we DO have in our God.  I expressed the love I have for worship and how much I appreciate worship as an avenue for fellowship with my God. 
I told Randy I really have to blame you!  Many years in my childhood are a blank, but there are a few memories instilled in me that never leave.
I remember you assembling a line of unruly kids and patiently working with them so that they could sing on the radio.  Was it Larry Huggins?    Is that the name of the fellow that had contacts to the radio station?    That part is a bit dim.
Then there was the Easter Cantata where you tirelessly wrote songs for us kids to sing.  Your banjo accompaniment was a highlight for me!  You brought out the best in us for a church presentation.  With YOU, it was always “Can-do”! 
Although I wish I had been more formally trained in the music realm, however I am so grateful for the seeds you sowed in me when my young mind, yet unwarped by social negativity, just soaked it all up!!
I have passed on these little stories to my own children and encouraged them in worship.  Now, it’s on to the granddaughters!  All of them love praise and worship!  They don’t hesitate a minute but jump in with both feet (and voice) when the music begins!
My granddaughter, Hannah, has even begun her own songbook.  She closes her little eyes and raises her hand.  Her unwavering voice connects with the Holy Spirit immediately. 
Watching her sends me back in time.  Back to you and the banjo…..  Back to the songs we learned…. back when a Daddy’s heart fostered a love for worship in many children, but especially in one young girl – me.
It’s all your fault and I love you for it !

Nan

A Survival Plan for the Home

Photo by Nancy
At our home, we are extremely interested in being frugal, in stretching our hard-earned dollars, and last, but not least, in survival.  How many people are really prepared when disaster strikes?   So many people are caught off-guard, and are devastated.
California recently experienced some unexpected tornadoes!  Who would have thought?  Yes, calamity can hit anywhere, including one’s home.
There are things WE can do NOW to avert future challenges!   Proverbs tells us that the sluggard used the lion-in-the-street story as an excuse to do nothing.   We are given the example of the ant.  Obviously, God expects us to “take a lesson.”
People whine that they don’t have the funds to buy expensive foods that store for 30 years, or they don’t have the time to research what to do.  Yet, they manage to plan for Direct TV or acquire the latest Smartphone.
Planning is actually much simpler that it seems.  If a person puts aside a few things month after month, soon he will have what he did not have previously!
Rubbermaid containers, 5-gallon pail buckets, freezer bags or a seal-a-meal, are handy helpers.  It’s a learn-as-you-go type of thing!
Numerous resources on the Web are available to help, and they examine many scenarios. This is especially good for those with small to moderate finances to invest.
Apart from having to vacate premises because of a storm threat or other catastrophe, a person’s home is their dearest asset.  In the future, it may be necessary for large numbers of people to be able to exist in place – in their own home – in an emergency.
What if power or water were unavailable for several days?  Given that stores only stock a two to three-day inventory, what happens if catastrophic circumstances, occurring elsewhere, impede services at home? It is worth considering.
It is difficult to know exactly where to begin.  So, start here. Take a few minutes and check out this site and view its many different suggestions.  A Survival Plan – Develop a Plan to Survive and Thrive http://t.co/AJul91b
Be sure to bookmark this site for later reference.   Save it to your favorites.
Some items for consideration may be:
  • Garden:  Build a raised Planter Box
  • Budget:  Money does matter and this will help
  • Disaster: (hope not) but good to be prepared.
  • Security: at home and on the road
  • Physical fitness:
  • A list of other informative sites you will want to visit.
Home is where the heart is, and may your home be safe and prepared.


This post has been entered in “Changing the World One Word at a Time” Please visit and check out the other great posts at:  http://peterpollock.com/  The word for This post is “HOME”

No Bake – Turtles with Fresh Blueberries

Food articles touting healthy ingredients are always appealing to me.
I work in the dental field, and contrary to what a person might think, Dentists and staff consume just about as much sugary junk as the next person. The big difference is that they know how to remove the residue from their teeth and mouths so it won’t linger around for the bacteria to feast upon and then create acids which cause decay!
What always got to me though, is that the stuff they didn’t want in their mouths went into their bodies.  What happens to THAT residue?
Most everything on the market is modified in some way or has harmful additives, so I try to come up with ways to have a little decadence with fewer of the drawbacks – which means a lot fewer artificial ingredients!   In these Turtles I use Xylitol instead of sugar. 

Xylitol is available at: http://www.vitacost.com/

I honestly can’t provide the exact proportions because I did a pretty good job of eyeballing it until the texture was right.
3/4 bag semi sweet Chocolate chips  (melted in a bowl in the Microwave)
2-3 Tablespoons your favorite liquid coffee (stir in)
About 2 cups Organic granola w flax seeds and pumpkin seeds
Flax meal – just a few pinches
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 Tsp Xylitol   (a natural alternative to sugar)
1+ cups of fresh blueberries
Soften the chocolate chips in large glass bowl in microwave
Add Xylitol and cranberries
Begin adding granola.
Sir in, and add some coffee liquid when needed to soften the mix.
Mix everything together gently – add blueberries last
Drop by spoonfuls on cutting board or cookie sheet to set and harden – about 20 minutes.
This post has been entered in Ann Kroeker’s, Food on Fridays at:  http://annkroeker.com/
Do visit her site and gather up some delicious and nutritious recipes.

Beer-Guzzling Baby!

 

It was noontime and the hungry horde of kids clamored for their food and cake! 
We were at a friend’s house for her son’s third birthday party, but, where was she?  All these kids and no hostess! 
It appeared that adults were having a better time than the kids. They had congregated outside to carry on and enjoy the summer afternoon and invigorating ocean breeze.
I wanted to be out in the sunshine too, but since my kids were inside and there was no supervision, I stayed with all the kids!  As usual, I was left to make sure the little ones were taken care of.  Somehow, she just expected it, and I always managed to fulfill her expectations.  Not so much for her, you see, but more for the children.  
A myriad of unattended beer cans scattered the living room.   The three year-old birthday-boy wandered, systematically, from one to the other, sucking down the suds.  He went for my can of sprite, but I swiftly grabbed it.  He ignored his lunch, and the other kids. 
When I finally got his mom’s attention to let her know what he was doing, she just laughed and said, “Oh, he does that all the time”…. like that was normal for a three-year old.  “Beer for breakfast,” was her motto.
 “What about…”  I started, but she was gone again! 
Some party.    My own kids sat there befuddled, because everyone else was running around wildly, throwing food and getting into things they shouldn’t.  Clapping my hands, while starting up a funny song to gain the children’s attention, I passed out paper plates and tried to figure out which food-stuffs were for the kids.   
Settling down that large group of little ones down definitely drew on all my mom-tricks, songs, and expectant parental directives.  What a drain; I just wanted to go home!
The little birthday-boy had eaten three bowls of applesauce, candy and a huge glass of sugary Kool-Aid.   He refused any other food and started acting exceptionally strange.
I think he was drunk! 
Why this didn’t seem to upset his mother, I’ll never understand!  She was just happy that he had eaten his applesauce.  Three bowls of applesauce. . .  and nothing else substantive.
“He never wants to eat,”  she said, “and I don’t force him”
“No he just lives on beer,” I said emphatically!   Irritated, I continued,
“No wonder he doesn’t want to eat, he’s got a sugar-rush from his daily beer-bash!  …and you wonder why he’s always sick?  A body needs food!  Who’s the Mother here?”
Oh boy ! Her face turned violet. She was MAD!
Lashing out at me about how my kids were repressed and too controlled, she railed on.  Didn’t I know they needed to be less restrained and free to be “kids”?
Really?  As though children come loaded with an inward GPS that makes sure they will always go in the right direction.  Indeed!  Who was the parent here? 
This child had her trained – trained to coddle his every whim; not to do what was good for his well-being.
Less restraint!! That type of logic worked so well that this must be why this kid now in his 30’s, has been in trouble more times than not, and has never held down a job!
Earlier, in his teens, rather than getting involved with real hands-on parenting, it was easier for the parents to load this poor kid with Ritalin. Later, he was caught selling it to classmates.   What a super plan for parenting and child-training! 
At another party for kids, my little half-sister kept running by the candy bowl and had filled up on candy and chips before lunch.  I tried to intervene but her mom pulled at my arm,  “I just have to pick my battles,”   was her limp excuse. 
I couldn’t believe my ears.  Pick her battles?  My ears perked up at the injection of personal selfishness in her tone.    She was an older mom and this was her only child.
Admit it – she just didn’t want the conflict that confrontation might bring.  She closed her eyes when supervision was needed most.
She had one child; I had five.  I don’t remember ever getting off that easy.
These children, no longer, small and cute, are unable to control their thoughts, their words, their relationships, their spending etc, and  are running headlong into disaster. One has been in jail, and the other has been in rehab two times. 
These parents all professed a relationship with God, yet they tended to pick and choose what part of The Word of God they would embrace.
One woman told me that she thought her children would just pick up Christianity by an “osmosis” of sorts.  She figured that since they grew up in her household, they would automatically just “Get it”.  People used to refer to it as “Apron-strings salvation”. 
Although many Christian kids seem to be nice kids on the outside, because of a lack of restraint, they feel “entitled,” and become very sneaky and divisive.  The parents have no clue, as they are wrapped up in their own drama and weariness.
God has been very clear about one thing.  Our flesh needs restraining. Our minds need to be continually trained and renewed, otherwise mind and flesh won’t behave properly!
In short……..God has a lot to say about this in Proverbs 29:18.  Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he!
Parents or children,  the only thing we have to help our minds stay on track is The Living Word of God. 
We won’t pick it up by osmosis, that’s for sure.