Take My Smile Repost

Take My Smile 

Take my smile…

I can always find another

Anyway, yours seems lost

 ~~

Joy will come

Each morning and forever

One Precious Life it cost

 ~~

Take His comfort

You can’t find One better;

Cease from downcast heart

 ~~

Exchange your life

For true Life, unfettered

God’s smile chases the dark!

 ~~

Take my smile…


This post is linked with Tell Me a Story
Also shared with Joan Davis at: Sharing His Beauty

I Felt Like Pavlov’s Dog!

Pavlov’s Dog
courtesy E-Bay

I passed The Company’s personality/honesty test with ninety-eight percent.  The Company’s representatives didn’t believe anyone could score so high, so I took another version.   It was as consistent as the first.  Next, I aced the polygraph test, personal interviews and finally, demonstrated mechanical ability, so the job was mine!

It started out as great part-time work where I wore a pager and worked on-call.  That first year, the $50 weekly pager-pay bought our groceries, and I rarely had more than two service calls per week.  The calls meant extra money too.  Sha-zaam!

ATM courtesy
photobucket

That was many years ago when my kids were young and I worked for a company that did first-line repair of ATM machines.

Everything changed when the company signed contracts with a few large banking institutions. My bosses were new in this game and not very cultured in business savvy.  They liked the way I found resolutions for a number of contract, training and employee issues.

Soon I became a manager for much of Northern California and dealt with some of the other Northwest contract installations as well.  When an ATM was down, getting it back into service ASAP was important!  Every non-op minute meant lost revenue for the bank. 

Just one hour, that’s all we had. As contractors for various banks, a Field Servicer’s clock began ticking the moment they were paged.    An ATM Servicer was obliged to drive to a troubled machine, get into the bank, deal with security and alarms, access the ATM room, disarm the ATM itself, add money or make small repairs to the ATM and close the call.    all in one hour.   Goodness!  Some bank sites were so remote that travel to the location alone, took most of the response time allotted. It was always a fight!

My job kept me on-edge.  Although I wasn’t exactly aware of it until much later, it caused sleep issues along with other physical problems. During the hours of 7 a.m. – 11p.m., that pager sang about every 15-20 minutes.  I’d no sooner resolve one issue than another was plopped on my plate.  When no other field servicer was available, the managers had to run service calls too.  My poor car averaged 800 miles a week at times, especially in the summer.  

Before cell phones, phone booths were a familiar sight.  No matter where I was on the road, if the pager peeped, I’d have pull over to find a phone and call into my dispatch.   If I was lucky enough to be at home, I could track calls from my computer.  That I liked!

Forever on the phone, the job did allow me to work from home most of the time during the day.  This was important to me since I had a new baby and other small children.   In the evening, after the banks closed, I was expected to be part the field service team and resolve calls when needed.  

One year grew into ten before I was able to move on.  I coped, but that type of work really took its toll on my body AND my mind. Honestly, I hadn’t realized just how much it had affected me.  It seems I had been inadvertently trained to always be on alert!  Always ON, never OFF – seven days a week!

Eventually, I rejoined the dental field and felt pretty good after a few months away from ATMs, pagers and road-trips.  To celebrate, my kids and I dropped into a fast food place for a relaxing lunch.

Sitting with the family felt good and I was doing just fine until….until that blasted french-fry machine went off signaling that the French fries were ready!!!! 

The shrill beep-beep-beep-beep-beep caused me to tense up immediately! I fairly jumped out of my seat and bolted for the car.   The kids laughed and laughed when I sheepishly made my way back to the table.  

Just like Pavlov’s dog!  Yes, I was a trained puppy!  The noise of that machine was so similar to my previous pager’s tone,  that I responded like I was going to a fire!

Unsettling, that’s what it was, and I was not happy with my reaction.  It was not a good reminder of years of long-haul travel and always being on-call!

It took a while of reconditioning and lots of prayer for me to settle back into a more peaceful lifestyle.

Similarly, each one of us is exercised.  From birth, a variety of reinforcements exert influence, either subconsciously or consciously.  Some good, some bad. 

Our broken world is ruled by a wisdom that brings no peace but continually steals from us.  Why?  Because it is earthly sensual and demonic, holding us at bay, yanking our chains to elicit the required behavioral responses.

What responses?  Yank!  Worry…  Yank!  Fear…  Yank! Unrest…  Yank! Torment ….  Yank! Foreboding 

It reminds me of how I was chained to that pager and phone for work!  Although I liked the work and appreciated a certain amount of flexibility, part of me cringed each time my pager activated or the phone rang.

Well, my brain has been retrained and so have most of my reactions, both physically and spiritually!  That goes for work and living life, in general.

Now, my first response to “crisis” is to hold myself calm with The Peace that passes all understanding.  That keeps my mind restrained so it won’t respond to the chain-yanks of my flesh while I check in with Father God for instructions.

Notice,  I didn’t say it was always easy to hold myself calm, but it does open the door for Wisdom  from above to take over. 

That Wisdom is pure. It is gentle and brings peace!  It teaches me how to obey God’s will while filling me with mercy and good fruit.  He is The Good Shepherd and I am His sheep. 
I hear His voice and the voice of a stranger I will not choose to follow.

Yep! Outside triggers and unfavorable responses are no longer my taskmaster.   Ring that Bell all you want!  

I CAN’T HEAR YOU! ! !

 
This post has been linked with Joan Davis at: Sharing His Beauty
Also linked to Tell Me a True Story at:  http://letmetelluastory.blogspot.com/ 

Listening Skills? Repost

Cashier
courtesy photobucket.com

Listening Skills?  Lack of Knowledge? Or, Is It a Bit of “I Don’t Care”!

I was one of the few in the line of shoppers checking out in my local Target last night around 9:45 p.m.   Starbucks had closed and the usual hum of the store had all but died down.

Our little cashier looked otherwise pre-occupied as she mechanically ran product through her scanner.  Putting on my cheer-leader hat, I tried to engage her and lift her spirits.    SI learned that she had only been working 4 hours, but didn’t seem to care for her job.  At least she was inside, out of the inclement weather!  (Other employees were not.)

She expressed few plans for her future once she graduated.  She WAS, however, engaged by the apparent cell phone activity in her pocket.   She kept gazing in the direction of her pocket!

As I plopped my stuff onto the conveyor belt, I was horrified to see that my bag of flour had been “sliced” by a box-cutting tool.  A little poof of flour emerged as I set it down!  Some had already settled on to the belt.  Oh-Oh!

Calling this to the cashier’s attention was another thing.  I tried to alert her, but she just wasn’t listening. 

“The bag of flour is open,” I chided.

“Excuse me…“I don’t want that bag…I need another one…that one’s cut open,” I continued.

Nothing!  What was on her mind?  She grabbed at the flour, turned it and began to scan.   A blooming flour-bomb exploded.   She suddenly started back to reality!

“Oh!  That’s what you were saying”, she exclaimed sheepishly. 

Too late.  SHE had done the damage, not me.  Flour was all over her counter and her scanner.  She began to madly brush it off her clothes.  Then she started in on the counter and scanner areas just embedding in places it should not be.  All in all, she made matters worse.  I had to wonder about her lack of simple wisdom as well as her lack of employee training!!! 

“Look out for the scanner,” I said.  “You don’t want that stuff getting inside there, or you’ll really have some problems.” 

“Oh yeah”, muttered my husband.   “Got any canned air?”

There went her cell phone again.  Well it seemed she knew a little about one piece of electronics, at least!   Her phone! 

Was she deaf?  The girl actually cleaned up her counter by brushing that flour-powder into the cracks where her scanner was located!   I couldn’t believe she had no clue!!!   My husband, who installs, repairs, and maintains all this type of equipment for a pharmacy chain just shook his head!

When that piece of expensive equipment goes down – and it will    where will she be?    Probably at home in bed not even aware that SHE might have been the cause of a future problem.   

Apathy.  That about covers it.  It IS curable!

This post is Linked with Jen’s Soli Deo Gloria
Also was shared at my mom Hazel’s  Tell Me a Story

Amazing Grace through Tears

Amazing Grace
courtesy photobucket.com

I could hardly do it!   Sing “Amazing Grace”, that is.

I dearly love that song, but when hear it or I sing it, it’s hard to shoo away some of the memories to which it has become attached.

When I was dating, I had broken up with a young man because his Christian commitment kept taking a backseat to reckless and not-so-Godly desires.  They eventually killed him in his early 20’s.   Intoxicated and driving too fast, he crashed into the side of a bridge after partying at a wedding. His brother and friend survived, but his already-compromised lungs began to collapse.  He was DOA at the hospital.

We had been apart for a while and he had a new girlfriend, but, in the ambulance, he made his brother promise to have me sing  “Amazing Grace”. 

Once at the church, I could hardly do it!  Feeling like I could crumble at any minute, I sang through tears.  My heart ached!! Thankfully, the casket was closed and I didn’t have to see his face.

Except for the Lord, I honestly, I don’t know how I would have managed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fast forward a few years, a family called me and asked me to lead worship at their mother’s funeral.  Of course, they also wanted me to sing, “Amazing Grace.” 

My sweet friend, Fran, discovered that she had an incurable form of cancer.   Twenty years older than me, she always exuded extreme energy and liveliness!  After the diagnosis, a laughingly, bright face suddenly gave way to sullenness.  She lost her joy and just seemed to give up.  All too quickly, she passed!

She had recently given her life to the Lord.  I know she loved God,  but there had been little time to lay a strong foundation in the knowledge of His Word or His promises.  The bible says that a lack of knowledge ( therefore a weak foundation) may help determine some of our not-so-good outcomes.

On my knees, my heart struggled with God.   Then, Fran’s husband called.  He explained that many of their children were unsaved and needed to see real worship and thanksgiving.   He wanted a celebration!

It was settled.  God gave me the proper songs to present.  Upheld by HIS strength, apparently things went well.   With lumps in my throat and a crackling, husky voice, I managed to belt out “Amazing Grace” in such a way that I was keenly aware of God’s special anointing for that time.  It was all from Him. 

Afterward, the kids, who were about my age, ran right up to me, heartily thanking me.

I understand that some of them gave their lives to the Lord later on. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yesterday was yet another funeral.  That makes four in the past three years.

 He was very close to the age one of my youngest children.   I still remember him as “Baby Daniel”, and now they were laying him to rest.

With people packed like sardines into a small mortuary chapel, the humid room was almost a warm as the summer afternoon outside.

My heart turned on the faucets to my eyes and all I could do was pray throughout the service. 

That his family was still very raw was an understatement.

People who shared memories recounted the funny stuff and the mischievous stuff.  They remembered a Daniel’s heart of gold. 

So many people mentioned stupid things like,  “God takes his best angels first.”  I guess they didn’t now how else to explain these things. 

There were a myriad of other stories, but I was sharply aware that there was little mention of Daniel’s faith or trust in God.  CDs provided trending music but no worship. Then, some lady began explaining chanting and how it was necessary in order to release a person’s soul to God.  Weird music and voices began.  Oh really? Given me a break! I prayed that stuff wouldn’t get a foothold on anyone.

My gut hurt by then.   I wished I could open their eyes.

As a young child, Daniel had given his life to God.  The home situation had been rough with an abusive father who finally abdicated his role and took off.   Our families, which had grown close over several years, were separated by my friend’s move to different state.  After that, various struggles continued for my friend and her four boys.  Daniel’s mother grew apart from the faith and her boys went various directions. 

Over the years, I have found myself praying over them, intensely. Now, a moment of poor judgment and the ensuing fatal motorcycle accident had taken one of those boys.

At the service, the Pastor did a good job acknowledging God’s goodness, His love, and His forgiveness.  In the prayer he stated, “I know YOU didn’t take him”.  He talked about establishing a relationship with God before it’s too late.   He mentioned that mistakes are made that may cost us in this life, but the one BIG mistake is to reject God’s Grace.

Suddenly, I WANTED to belt out “Amazing Grace” with all my heart!  I wanted to SING!  I wanted to tell everyone there just how amazing GOD is and that there is always HOPE – now – while we are yet alive! 

The faucets are still running and I’m out of tissues.   I don’t know for sure, but I am hopeful that the amazing Grace of My God met Daniel, as he left this life, and carried him to heaven. 

I am trusting that the same Grace will bring comfort to my friend and her family….and bring them back to The One and ONLY 

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound.

This post is shared at:  “Tell Me a True Story” http://letmetelluastory.blogspot.com/

Also Sharing at His Beauty Monday    http://www.thebeautyinhisgrip.com/