Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Texan

Today was one of those hybrid half days off. 

We got up fairly early and went to our favorite taqueria for breakfast.  I got the "Tocino y Huevos tacos, con maiz" (corn tortilla bacon and egg taco).  Ron got machacado tacos.  They appear to have shredded beef, onions, eggs, and tomato.  Ron loves them. 

I always take the "Ignorance is bliss" approach when it comes to ingredients.  I ate some red sauce, extra burn today. 

I have a theory they are dialing up the heat on my hot sauce, served with chips.  It started very mild and now leaves my lips tingly and numb.  I am starting to crave it more and more.  I thought about putting some on my tacos. 

I find that funny.  I am a Texan.

We came home for a little bit and then went to Sam's Club.  I needed full sized Snickers bars for the trick or treaters.  I also wanted something else to throw in the candy bags. 

I didn't see any gum (option 1), so I went with Now and Laters.  Those have always been popular in the bags of candy I hand out.  People often go for the Now and Later, first. 

I got 96 Snickers and a jar of 100 count Now and Laters.  Just a couple years ago, it was 120, and cheaper too.  Oh, well.

My fantastic husband is bagging up candy right now.  What a keeper! 

We also got work supplies, which leads me to the hybrid comment.  Work and home get very mingled in our business.  We talk about work at home, and home at work.  God help us if we're fighting (that hasn't happened in ages, thank God). 

I'm pretty tired, I think I'm just recharging my battery.  My throat isn't hurting any more but, if it follows my usual pattern, I will battle sinus issues and a post nasal cough for a while. 

I'm just glad I'm not contagious.  I don't want to get the kids sick. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Received.

If you're squeamish or have abuse triggers you've been warned. 

When I was 12, I was attacked and bitten, on my chest.  It left a scar about the size of a nickel.  Everytime I get ready to shower, I see the scar.  Whenever I look at my chest, I see the scar.  If Ron could, he would see the scar every time we made love. 

However, Ron's blind.  He said it felt a little different, texturally, but it didn't bother him.  It bothers me because it is clearly a bite mark. 

God is bigger than abuse, and I think I have pretty much recovered from my issues.  The scar does make me sad, though.  It hurts to think I went through that.  It hurts to think that people can do that and walk away thinking it was no big deal. 

So, this year, I seriously considered getting some kind of tattoo to cover it up.  No one would see it but me and my doctor. 

As I try to do, I prayed about it, and asked God to make it clear if this was something He condoned.  He answered. 

I kept getting abcesses.  I had several on my upper thigh.  I had them on my chest (other side), bra strap line, and on my underwear line.  It was ridiculous, but I got the point. 

If I got the abscesses for "no reason" how bad could it get if I paid someone to put many small holes into my skin?  What kind of scar would ensue? 

Message received.  God does not want me to get a tatoo. 

I am strong

Today we went into work and found 2 vending machines out of order; no electricity.  It's scary and aggravating to have all these electrical issues! 

Then I remind myself they could have just booted us, and we need to thank God they are accomodating us as much as possible.  However, we had 2 vending machines out of order, which is scary when sales are already pretty bad. 

A dead machine makes no money. 

I also reminded myself of this: 
2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (NKJV)
 
2 Corinthians 9:8
New International Version (NIV)
8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

You get the idea: God can, and will, ensure we get what we need.  I can't forget this one: 
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
New King James Version (NKJV)
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I am strong.  The business has poor sales and major electrical issues; but the God who built the universe can, and will, overcome that. 

Am I saying I can "Declare prosperity" and get it?  Hell, no.  God promises to take care of my needs.  He doesn't say I'm going to keep making $300 every 2 weeks.  He says my needs will be met.  That's a big difference from "Proclaiming that I will not make $1000 a week". 

I can't quote a lot of verses, chapter and verse, right off the top of my head.  I know them, I just don't know the "handle". 

I can quote this one: 
Psalm 37:25
New King James Version (NKJV)
25 I have been young, and now am old;
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his descendants begging bread.
 
In fact, after Ron's accident, I quoted that one at my Dad when he asked if I needed anything.  I knew, somehow, God would provide.  He did, in amazing ways. 
 
Example:  Before Ron's accident, he slept on a mattress on the floor.  It helped his back.  I slept in a twin bed.  After the accident, it was clear I would have to surrender my bed so Ron would have a place to sleep. 
 
"Don't sleep on the floor" his family told me.  "We'll get him a hospital bed, wheelchair, shower chair.  We'll get you groceries and pay for his medication."  So, I trusted them.  I have a hard time delegating; but I did. 
 
12 hours before discharge they disowned us because Ron told them they had to treat me with respect.  The thought of caring for Ron, forever, had just been drilled into them by a social worker.  They leapt at the opportunity to cut ties. 
 
Which left me with a mattress on the floor, no wheelchair, no ride home, no medication, and no groceries.  You can imagine my horror.  I cried all over Ron's good shoulder as he told me all he needed was my love. 
 
"That's about all I've got!" I blubbered. 
 
Then I sat in my chair next to Ron's bedside and turned it over to God.  "OK, Lord," I told him "I need a wheelchair for Ron.  I need a shower bench.  I need a bedpan.  I need groceries, medication, and the money to pay for all of this.  Please provide for us, I only want to do Your will."  Then I got some lunch. 
 
When I got back Home Health was measuring for the wheelchair and shower bench to be delivered tomorrow.  Yes!  One down, some to go.  I got on the internet and recruited an online friend to give us a ride.  Done.  Then a friend from work surprised me by announcing they'd taken up a collection.  They had hundreds of dollars for us, and he wanted to take me to Walmart to get groceries that very night!  Praise HIM! 
 
I got the medication on the way home, with my friend, using some of the money from the collection. 
 
So, you see, I know God will provide.  It's just the drama!  AGH! 
 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Out of me

Things are pretty tight right now. 

Sales have been dreadful; but that's been a blessing.  We sure didn't have time to shop and stock! 

I pray they get better; until then we are pretty strapped financially.  We need to buy candy for Halloween; I have some small wrapped stuff but we "always" hand out full sized candy bars. 

Ron was very despondent, but I prayed about it and remembered something.  I produced the jar of change and we rolled that up.  Now we have enough money to buy the candy. 

I wish life were a lot less dramatic, but thank God all the drama is out of my head.  It's around me, but not in me. 

I cannot express the immensity of this; it's such a joy to me.  The drama is outside of me. 

Such a gift. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Hell Day

We were evicted from our stockroom with very little notice. 

Ron made a begging phone call and got us a temporary stockroom.  We are sharing it with the other vendor.  We were also told they are going to build us a stockroom now, where they wouldn't before.  Thank you, God, for favor.  They told us our vending area will be ready in a few months. 

The Blind Vendors program came and took all our large equipment (I had large metal racks, a huge table, stuff like that).  They also took away an unwanted vending machine and a promise-to-give-it-back large refrigerator. 

The movers got lost.  :frust  Then I cleaned what I could out of the stockroom (I had done about 80% already), and ran a couple dumpster loads. 

When the movers showed up, they got everything moved.  As I walked behind a thousand pound food machine on a pallet jack, I thought, if this thing calls backward it's all over for me.  But it didn't. 

We had power issues.  The fuse would blow, sending all the machines down.  Thank God I put surge protectors on the ones I could. 
I wasn't surprised.  They had:
6 microwaves
3 soda machines
3 large refrigerators
2 food machines
2 snack machines
2 bill changers
1 bottled vendor
All sharing 2 circuits.  I *figured* we would have to take a machine or two, out of the equation. 

The electricians took the bottled soda vendor off and everything else is working OK.  That machine can be problematic, we named it "The Beast" for a reason. 

We did lost a couple of sandwiches due to the health time expiring.  When that happens we have to throw them out. 

Today I cleaned out the empty stockrooms.  (we had 2).   I have some stuff to go home. 

Scrambled a bit, my aunt and uncle are helping with a U-haul.  "Just sit there and look cute" I told them.  I will load everything and go in and out of the building.  I have a security pass, they don't. 
Once that is done Ron and I will focus on last minute cleanup and stocking the new machines. 
Thank you for praying.  Yesterday was hellish.  God gave me medication, and the grace to deal, everything went well. 

We have some pull with our repairman; he came right over when we needed him to do something. 
This whole thing has taught me what I can do with God inside me; the wonderful people I know; and the favor both God and man continue to show our business. 

Ron's feeling completely submerged.  He can't even get to our new vending area on his own.  I will have to help him a lot more than I have in the past. 

This morning he yelled at me for "losing something".  When he realized he was wrong, he came to me, stricken, and apologized.  He tried to get down on his knees but he got stuck and I had to help him up.  (he gave me permission to share this)  Of course I forgave him.  We've been under tremendous stress. 

However, I told Ron, I can see so much good in the people around us: someone who holds the door.  A kindly, professional, driver.  I value them so much more than I used to.

I love that about my medication. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ambitious

Yesterday we had a very ambitious driver.  He told me his plans to open a group home (15 residents, and $13,000 net profit a month - or so he thinks) and eventually move onto a business empire, including hotels. 

I don't know about you, but hotels seem to be a pretty thankless and difficult way of making money.  You have to hustle, you have to have dozens of very dedicated employees, a large amount of operating capital, connections, you have to have excellent maintainence men... you get the idea. 

He was clearly talking about a hotel, not my favorite $40 a night motel-on-the-Seawall. 

We had a lot of trips today, supposed to be our day off.  Laugh with me for a second.  Yeah, "Day Off".  Good laugh; not when you're self-employed. 

It may seem odd for me, working on my day off, to rant about ambition, but it's my blog.  We had to go to work to put in our Dr Pepper order; we had to get some muffins for work.  The trip to Walmart was "ours" because we were out of groceries. 

Ron is slow coming out of the house.  I remind him and remind him, and he is never ready when the ride pulls up.  When he is, it freaks me out. 

We waited for a minute and the driver pulled out his cell phone, making a phone call.  Apparently he is planning to open up a sheltered workshop.  From what I have seen, the "programs" in Houston would more accurately be termed "adult daycare".  The participants can play on a computer, chat, whatever.

Ron, in his teens, worked in a broom factory operated by the Lighthouse for the Blind.  He said it was very dangerous; one day he heard terrible screams as a man lost a thumb. 

Now, our program is state/federal.  We can't operate without their help and they don't have a program without our participation, but the Blind Vendor Program gives us gainful employment and the freedom to run our own business. 

Anyway, the second driver was making big plans to operate his own day program for the developmentally disabled.  Very ambitious, hustling. 

Ron and I were pretty disgusted.  It's hard not to feel like both drivers are exploiting people with developmental delays; especially the first guy.  How are you going to pack 15 residents into a typical house?  In fact, the guy actually investigated the purchase of a house in our neighborhood, only to be told the deed restrictions forbade it. 

I love you, deed restrictions. 

Ron asked driver 1 when he'd like God to come back, which is a great question.  When would you?  If you're saved, so's your family, any minute. 

Not this guy.  He wants to do something "meaningful" with his life.  I asked him what that meant; it equates to empire building, getting status, and making a lot of money.  I reminded him he is helping people with disabilities to live independent lives, but that wasn't good enough for him.  He was ambitious.

Ron and I asked ourselves how ambition would matter in eternity.  We only take our actions with us; and some of them will be burned up.  1 Corinthians Chapter 3  I know some of mine will; because I did them out of the wrong motivation. 

Honestly above all else. 

We decided (Ron and I) that the men were using ambition and the desire for money and status, to fill the God-sized hole inside of them.  We agreed we didn't need much if we had God.

We will do whatever possible to prosper our business and make our customers happy.  I left fully stocked vending machines waiting for hungry customers.  The glass fronts are clean and everyone looked great. 

I don't have to be an ascetic to be holy; to live a rightous life, as much as possible; to repent when I sin, to enjoy the life I've been given. 

I don't have to be ambitious, either. 

No one wants to hear that

I find it sad and frustrating when other Christians start attacking the unreached. 

Take welfare for instance.  "Those people can work, but they don't, and they're bleeding us dry." 

Maybe they can.  Maybe they can't.  You're awfully upset, but didn't Jesus say things would get bad at the end?  Matthew 24  So why are you upset that prophecy is coming to pass? 

We are supposed to suffer in the end times.  Blaming someone else doesn't fix anything.  Trying to create your own system so "fix" things doesn't, either.  That's the whole problem. 

How about this?  I have begged, begged, as in I would get down on my knees and crawl: take half the energy you are investing in this debate and pray for the unreached.  Pray for them to meet God in a meaningful way.  Take half the time you spend reading news stories and posting comments; and share your testimony.  Hand out Bibles or tracts, but don't just attack the unreached.  Save them.  That's what we're here to do. 

It's like a bunch of hecklers on the deck, watching people drown.  These people are going to hell!  Am I the only one who cares? 

We humans think we can manage on our own, without God. That's why we're in this hideous mess. I only found peace and meaning in my life when I turned to God and admitted I couldn't do anything without Him. 

Which brings up another point; one of our drivers wants to "Do something meaningful".  He wants to own a chain of slumlord-sounding (15 to a house???) group homes, hotels, and have a fancy car.  What meaning does that have?  He's about Ron's age.  Not young. 

I'd say the most meaningful thing a person could do is turn to God, seek Him through prayer and Bible study every day.  Get up early if you must.  That will have the most meaningful and lasting impact on your life, and eternity.  You might even meet a few people you helped along the road to Heaven. 

But no one wants to hear that. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My eggs are going out of code

I almost vomited on the way home today. 

I believe I was toxic from my medication. When I'm sick, I run a fever, I have no desire to eat or drink, and my levels get too high.  Then I get weak, wobbly, and sick. 

I just made it to the driveway before I started spitting.  I did not puke in my yard; I didn't puke. 

I checked my blood sugar and it was fine, 95.  I ate something and laid down - I had a pounding headache, so I figured maybe I was migrainey. 

I still have the headache so maybe I'm right.  I took something so that ought to help. 

Yesterday, I concluded I am most likely in premenopause, if not full blown.  The Wellbutrin causes more of a facial flush, these are full blown hot flashes. 

Do I plan to "do anything"?  Not really. 

Estrogen has a heart protective effect, so I need to eat more veggies and get my weight down.  That's about it. 

I wouldn't take prescriptions, or even the OTC stuff, because the last time I took an OTC supplement my liver enzymes came back wierd.  Doc and I agreed I should stop it. 

Mood swings?  Well, that's the funny thing.  My whole life has been mood swings, now well regulated.  My moods have never been better. I still have my cycles and all so I'm not "done" yet, but if and when, great. 

I have always had horrendous cramps.  I would love for that to end. 

Oh, and I need to start working out so I don't lose bone - although I really am big-boned.  I know the very petite ladies need help; but I doubt I will. 

I am, if nothing else, very active in my work and personal lives. 

I know he loves me

I don't often hate my mother for drinking while pregnant, and when I do it's fleeting.

Yesterday:
Ron - "You have the money, right?" 
Me - "What?" 
Ron - "I don't have the money, so you do, right?" 
Me - [censored]
Ron - [Censored]

Today, praise God, I found it.  It could have gotten ugly very fast. 

Ron, to his credit, was completely awesome.  He was clearly stressed but he didn't yell at me.  I was highly impressed with him, more so when we could both relax with the money in his hand.  I made a point to let him know I appreciated it, and I'd seen a huge change from the old Ron.

Ugh.  Yeah, that is the world of brain damage. 

Yes, I know "I did that too... I always lose my keys, and I'm fine... " but this is severe and ongoing.  Nothing terrifies me like an important piece of paper. 

I am sleeping OK but wake up feeling dreadful.  A shower helps, I'm rubbing some eucalyptus oil on my chest and throat (diluted in grapeseed oil) every morning, cough drops, tons of teas,

I have to work: I don't have the luxury of sick leave or someone to cover my work.   We went in today (mainly to find the money, but we had some stocking).  We stocked everything and I took out the dumpster.  Ron cleaned the coffee machine, a horrible and thankless job.  I was glad I was sick and got out of that. 

I also know Ron loves me a great deal to do that himself.   I reminded him this is the last time he'd have to do it for at least a year.  He was thrilled. 

Our new location does not have a water line.  No water - no coffee.  We are giving the machine to the other vendor (well, the state is because we only own the inventory).  The other vendor bartered for the coffee inventory.  Everyone wins. 

We get out of servicing a complicated beast for a year.  Yay. 

Speaking of beasts, the bottled soda vendor is apparently taking change now.  Huh.  It has been pretty naughty in that regard, stealing coins and jamming. 

Thank you Jesus for that gift. 

I noticed they *are* cleaning out our new area, so the move is on for Thursday and Friday.  It will be interesting. 

I just hope I'm feeling a little better.  This cold is miserable. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

I just want Bibles

I'm on a Bible kick today.  It must be the cold meds. 

I was thinking about the perfect gift: a case of cheap evangelism Bibles. 

I am sure a few I know would love to get me a really fancy leather bound Bible.  I'd be terrified of hurting it; in fact, when I hand out my cheap paperback Bibles, I often hear "Oh, this is a great Bible for my car!" 

What I'd love for Christmas: a big case of Bibles on the porch.  That's what I'd like.  Then I could go do an awesome handout in the ghetto. 

That's my idea of the perfect gift.  Now, Ron listens: he's bought me a case of Bibles on more than one occasion.  I loved them while I had them, loved it even more handing them out, and loved it best breaking down the empty cardboard when the Handout was finished. 

Even better, Ron goes with with me on the Handout; I love the company and he makes the trip easier. 

I don't need soap and candles.  Really.  I don't need things because I have to organize them.  I just want Bibles. 

I do, however, plan to "request" a Bible cover so Mom has a goal for Christmas. 

My job

It's not a good day when I sleep in and skip my God Time (I got it later).  After I got out of the shower, I made up an essential oil rub with eucalyptus and a drop of teatree oil, in some grapeseed oil.  I rubbed it on my upper chest and throat, above the bra line so I wouldn't wreck it.  The jury's out but it didn't do any harm. 

I am so, so, glad I got those 12 hour guiafenesen tablets.  They really seem to help.  I got the ones with the cough suppressant, which I need.  I do get a little dizzy now and then. 

Today I lost something at work.  I pray I find it.  I'm just really mentally foggy, weak, and tired.  Ugh. 

I have no appetite, I never do when I'm sick.  It really used to disturb my adoptive mother. She'd keep pushing me to eat and I'd say no, no.  Then bam, I was better and eating everything.  I just run that way. 

Today I gave away a couple of Bibles.  It got me thinking; I wouldn't want an expensive Bible. 

I think the nicest Bible I own was one Dad bought me for Christmas in 2002, right before Ron's accident.  It cost about $30, hardcover. I bought a nice leather cover for it; it was my constant companion after Ron's accident. 

My personal Bible was a NKJV softcover, marked up and highlighted.  I rehomed it.  The recipient needed it a lot more than I did, and I was out of whole Bibles.  Yes, I will and have given away my "personal" Bibles on many, many occasions. 

That's why my "newest" Bible cost $12. I wanted a hardcover, NKJV, concordance, reading plan in the back, words of Jesus in red.  Got all that.  I might have gotten a larger print.  I think next time I would. 

While I was getting "my" Bible (for now!), I also picked up a paperback NKJV Bible for my deliveryman. 

Years ago I read a very sad post by a lady on a messsage board.  A coworker had taken a leave of absence, and she found out he was dying.  She felt very compelled to share her faith, but he died.  She was heartbroken, wishing she had shared her faith. 

I only have 2 deliverymen now, my Dr Pepper guy and my sandwich guy.  The sandwich man is named Mark. 

I try to be a little more subtle, sharing my faith at work.  I gave him some candy, on a few occasions, with a scripture booklet.  The gospel was there if he wanted it. 

I found out last week Mark has brain cancer.  I sent him a Bible today, along with a card and some other things.  I had the thought "Why give one Bible to one deliveryman when I can give one to each?"  Because, of course, Mark has a replacement now. 

The replacement was a little creeped out, I think, but he took it.  If he doesn't want it he can throw it away.  But I gave it to him.

That's my job. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

What a weekend

We had the blind vendor conference this weekend.  I didn't mention it because, well, my name is out there and I thought it would be pretty dumb to say "We'll be gone all day tomorrow!". 

Friday after work, we went home and took a nap.  Then we went to the meet and greet.  The director saw us - I knew he'd be looking for each vending couple.  Nearly every vendor is married. 

It was a little odd, Ron was not the only blind man in a wheelchair.  I saw 2 others, and a couple of walkers also.  Ron was the only totally blind person in a wheelchair, though. 

Friday we came home, got a few hours sleep, got up, and went in for our "training".  I can honestly say the vending repairman lecture was the most interesting, I did learn a few things (mainly validating what I already do).  The rest was just politics and such. 

Saturday they were scheduled to have a big dinner, which I heard was not that impressive.  Ron was pretty beat so we found our supervisor and asked if we could skip dinner and the party.  He said he didn't care, but we'd have to ask the director, who was sitting nearby, in a conversation. 

Ron and I said nevermind.  Our supervisor suggested we ask him anyway, and said, no, that's OK.  We didn't want to go home early and get a nasty letter from Austin saying This is the end! 

The director (now listening to us) said he wouldn't do that, and kidded he was trying to get rid of Ron anyway.  "It'll smell so much better, too!" I laughed, and we had a good moment.  The director said it was fine to go home, as long as we came back in the morning (we did and he saw us). 

So, we left!  Yay!  I got 8 hours of sleep! 

I needed it, with this cold.  The 12 hour guiafenesen is working pretty well, some benadryl now and then.  I felt bad coming to the conference sick, even though it would have been the end of our business if I hadn't. 

However, half the other attendees appeared to have the same cold.  I felt a lot better.  I have no appetite and I'm tired but it's over. 

After the conference ended, we went to Sam's to get more pastry.  This is copied from my Facebook:  Today I hugged a policeman.

Ron and I were at Sam's Club. A toddler had fallen out of a shopping cart, onto her head, and was wailing as various store personel milled about. A policeman, on duty as the security guard, walked by and did a double-take at Ron.

He walked right up to Ron and got into his face, gaping in astonishment. I introduced us. He said "I know him!" I mentioned the accident and the officer kept saying YES YES. I WAS THERE! ...

Officer H (not the bad one I have mentioned previously) was also dispatched to Ron's accident and witnessed the paremedics working on Ron as he lay DEAD IN THE ROAD. He saw the totalled pickup, all the damage to Ron, and heard all the predictions Ron would never make it. I could tell the accident had haunted officer H for a very long time.

"I've been to a lot of accidents" he said "And this was one of the worst". He gaped at Ron again, as he ate a hot dog. It was one of those "Glory To God" moments I seem to experience now and then.

"I never expected to see him alive one day" he murmured. That's when I asked if I could give him a hug, and he said yes.

Oh, and I gave him a Bible.


What a weekend. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

"The 12 hour stuff"

I have a cold. 

I know I'm sick - because my appetite is one of the first things to go.  Several people have been hacking all around me, this past week.  I guess it was inevitable. 

Ron always has a theory that high-stress will predispose you to illness; I agree.  It was just my turn. 

It's funny because I hardly ever get sick.  I haven't had a cold in years, and then I was sick with a cold/sinus infection back in February.  So I guess it's been a hell of  a year. 

More likely it is bad eating, low protien, higher sugar intake.  That's never beneficial for the immune system. 

I have the sniffly sore throat thing going right now.  My nose isn't running but I'm sneezing. 

Did I mention I have to attend the vending conference this weekend?  [moan]  This will not be fun. 

I'll be contagious.  I hate to go out in the public, contagious.  If I *have* to go to work (I don't have sick leave, and no one to replace me), I'll do it but I try to avoid all other public venues. 

I did go to Walmart today.  I wanted to get some shelf stable meals for the conference.  I got a couple of these.  Hormel Compleats  Ron refused them, "Too expensive" (a lot cheaper than $35 a plate for Saturday night dinner!), and opted for this instead:  Armour Bourbon BBQ Vienna Sausage .  They're 50 cents, filling, and good.  He loves them. 

He was pretty upset when the store ran out, actually. 

They aren't bad; I have a few cans of regular vienna sausage in my stockroom - well, not for long.  If he has that with a V8 he'll be doing pretty well. 

I also had to get some remedies.  I found a few guiafenesen type items at the Dollar Store yesterday, and a Guia/antihistamine/cough suppressant product I can take if I get really miserable.  I have to be careful; I've talked about this before but if I take a decongestant I could have a fatal seizure.  It interacts with my antidepressant. 

Almost every cold remedy contains an antidepressant, so it took me a while.  Last year, when I had the viral sinus thing (right after Christmas), I desperately wished for a 12 hour guiafenesin product.  When I got sick again, a few months later, I really slapped myself because I still needed it. 

Today, I got the 12 hour stuff; I can take it before bed.  I won't wake up hacking.  Ron won't find me seizing on the floor.  I have the 4 hour stuff, purchased at the dollar store, for daytime. 

I just wish I didn't need it. 

I may not, I may wake up tomorrow feeling fine.  I pray I do.  I don't want to be sick because I have no time to slow down.  If we don't get a new storage area, we will have to rent a unit because we are not allowed (per deed restrictions or state regulations) to store inventory at the house. 

How in the world are we going to manage the business like that?  We have to use paratransit.  We have a very limited amount of room on the vehicle. 

Anyway, I can't stress about that right now.  Look what stressing about the money got me - sick.  And we got it back.  So I got sick for nothing. 

Ugh. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ministry

Lately, I've found myself passionately defending "The least of these"  Matthew 25:30-46  

It's become popular to bash the poor and ignorant.  I'm called to minister to them, so I have a different perspective.  Where some people seem to see hateful leeches, I see hurting, frightened souls crying alone at night.  I want to minister. 

Every day for about 4 years I have asked God to put His love into my heart, and He has certainly given me empathy for those most white women would find "scary".  I'm called.  I feel their pain, I want to salve it.  I know Jesus can make it all better and I so want to share Him. 

Is this another round of "I'm so holy" - no.  God in me is doing all of this.  I pray He can use me.  I'm a tool, nothing more.  Anything I do can be done by others.  God can use anyone for "my" work.  It's an honor to be used at all. 

It really bothered me at first when people talked about "My ministry".  I felt very uncomfortable.  However, God does use me.  I'm glad. 

God's transformed me from a bitter, fearful, person, into someone who's amazingly brave, venturing into a scary ghetto, standing on a busy median (I have a traffic phobia), and loving on the gangbangers.  It's an honor. 

See, that's the thing so many don't get, even the Christians.  Even a few Christians I respect: God created everyone.  Even the person on welfare in the ghetto.  What, an EBT card means you can't get saved?  Huh? 

Is it a Christian thing to say "Well, I don't care if your children starve to death, if you steal from the system you should lose your benefits for life?"  It wasn't said, but strongly implied.  I was horrified. 

We, as Christians, have to watch our witness!  Are we showing God's love? 

I am the first to admit I fail dismally.  I get bitter, angry, paranoid.  I gossip, I judge.  I have pity parties.  I am impatient, rude, and selfish. 

God wants EVERYONE at the feast in Heaven.  Matthew 22.  The "wedding garment" represents salvation, by the way.  No one is admitted to the feast (Heaven) without salvation. 

How can people get saved if no one reaches them?   Romans 10 
14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
 
Someone has to go.  For Acres Homes, that person is me.  I will continue to go until God stops me or I die.  Simple as that. 
 
People are hurting.  Someone is in such pain they want to end their life.  Others are overwhelmed and desperately seeking Someone to help carry their burdens.  They need Him; and they need me to make an introduction. 
 
One of my Facebook friends asked a question tonight: how many pairs of shoes do you own.  I looked: I have 4.  My slip on steel toed work loafers; a pair of cheap sneakers for days off; sandals for church (I can wear them pretty much any day of the year); and a pair of plastic slip ons I got at the Dollar store over 4 years ago - used for yardwork. 
 
If I had the extra money, I'd use it to buy Bibles.  I don't need stuff.  I find myself increasingly content with my cheap men's t-shirts, a pair of jeans or two, basic undergarments, and a case of Bibles.  I've got a loving husband, a steady job, and two wonderful cats. 
 
Best of all, today God restored the lost money.  Someone turned it in. 
 
PRAISES! 

"Just"

If someone had our money, and wanted to give it back, Ron and I concluded they'd give it back on Tuesday.  No one did; we gave up. 

Today we went to our other location and stocked it.  I got a few things from the dollar store (fingernail clippers), snacks, etc. 

We got picked up and went to work.  As we walked in the credit union, Ron's phone rang.  It was the other vendor.  He began by grilling Ron, asking him about the missing money.  Ron, terrified our boss would find out, stammered out replies. 

"What would you do to get it back?" the man teased.  "I have it." 

Ron groped frantically along a wall as his knees gave out, sinking into a chair.  "Someone found my guy today and gave him the money.  You can get it if you want," revealing the hidey hole "Be more careful next time, OK?" 

We immediately got the money.  Ron says it's all there. 

Praise God.  I knew He'd take care of us but I did not expect to get the money back. 

I guess the guilty-acting man "just" stole some candy. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Paranoid

Because I was paranoid for so long, I hate even the thought of sounding paranoid. 

However, the man I suspect of stealing from us went out of his way to avoid us.  He didn't get within 100 feet of us at any time, and went out of his way to avoid us. 

For an "innocent" man, he's sure acting guilty. 

I watch "Criminal Minds", so I have seen how they profile the bad guy.  I never, ever, thought, I could profile a thief by the foods they stole, yet I did and he's acting very suspicious. 

He normally walks across the room to say hello and ask about the cats, but today he wouldn't even meet my eyes from 100 feet away.  Well, if he's guilty God will get him. 

Years ago we had another theft.  Ron had left a large bucket of quarters in the stockroom.  The stockroom was robbed and half the quarters stolen.  We didn't tell anyone that detail; we only said we had been robbed and had a lot of choice things to say about someone who'd rob a blind man in a wheelchair.  I wasn't very tight with Jesus, back then. 

We suspected an employee of the other vendor.  He had stolen money from us before and returned it.  This time, he kept getting more and more annoyed as we ranted about the criminal. 

"What are you bitchin' about?" he said angrily "They only took half."  A fact only the thief would know.  We told the other vendors who told us to stick it. 

We told the Postal Inspectors who came out and filed a report. 

We turned it over to God, and resolved to never keep cash in the stockroom (we don't).  A few weeks later, the man came in, very shaken. 

He had invested a lot of time and money into pimping out his car, making it very fancy.  He had a custom, monogrammed, dashboard cover; nice rims, custom paint job, and expensive seat covers. 

"My car burned up" he gulped.  "Right on the freeway.  I barely had time to pull over before the whole thing went up in flames."  He was very angry about it and raved for a while. 

"Now you know" I said sharply "How we felt, when we were robbed."  He glared at me and never really spoke to us again.  He was later fired by his employers, for, wait for it - stealing. 

We TOLD them. 

So, I know God will deal with the criminal - sharply.  When you break God's law you will suffer consequences. 

I just hate wondering which Postal Worker is holding the bloody knife they stuck in our backs. 

You are not a dog

I have read a lot of comments about the food stamp-ede this weekend when the cards appeared to have no limits.  One woman bought over $700 worth of merchandise on a card with less than a dollar. 

It got me thinking.  Yesterday, on the way to work, the other client on board our van got very excited when she saw me loading the junk food.  I have developed an eye for the people who ask for "freebies". 

One driver, for instance said "Oh, I'd like to TASTE that!" and looked at me expectantly.  I took the box out of the van and said "I need to sell it".  She got angry. 

I consider myself a generous person but the inventory belongs to Ron's business.  It does not belong to me; it's not mine to give away. 

Other clients just beg.  "Oh, that looks so good!  Can I have one?"  I always give the same response "Sorry, I need it for work."  One woman we rode with twice, both times I happened to have snickers.  She was legally blind, had a talking blood sugar meter, on dialysis, and she wanted a snickers.  I think the time for candy is past. After I say no they whine for a bit and then glare at me, the big meanie.   Hopefully after that they ignore me. 

I need it for work!  I'm not giving away Ron's merchandise!  If I wouldn't give it away to a customer I'm not going to hand it out to random, whining, strangers.  Whining is for 2 year olds, not a mature adult.  Whining is for dogs and you are not a dog. 

Every week, with Ron's permission, I give away a single can of cold soda to my deliveryman.  If I want to give away anything else I buy or make it myself. 

So, yesterday, she saw me loading it all up and looked at me expectantly.  She could tell I knew she wanted something.  I ignored her.  I did note the dialysis bag.  People on dialysis are not supposed to eat junk food.  I got on board and sat with the merchandise (partly, to protect it from other clients). 

"Where are you taking it?" she asked.  I told her, we're taking it to work.  To sell. 

Her face fell.  "I thought you were taking it to a food bank".  Why would I take over $100 in junk food to a food bank?  When I donate food, I donate things like pasta, beans, chili, and tuna.  I don't "donate" chocolate cupcakes. 

I guess, if I had been "donating", it would have been OK to beg. 

After all, wasn't she entitled?  She was disabled! 

So am I. 

That's the problem these days, every feels entitled to take things that belong to other people.  Because I'm white and working, I should be handing out Ron's merchandise to everyone who asks.  Because I don't appear to be disabled, it's OK to pester, whine, beg, and get an attitude when you realize no means no. 

That's the problem at work, someone felt entitled to help themselves to money Ron had saved for three months instead of doing the honest thing.  I'm sure they have a very good justification; but they robbed a blind man in a wheelchair of a month's profit. 

Way to go. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Luxuries

I do have some weaknesses, little luxuries I enjoy. 

Years ago, I used to work at a linen shop.  They got me addicted to really nice quality sheets.  I could never afford the top of the line, or even a pretty basic wool blanket, even with my discount, but the classes (I had about a week of training) taught me the value of a nice cotton sheet. 

I love cotton sheets.  I have a poly-blend on the computer room fold out, because I seldom use it, and I figure if anyone else used it they'd just be happy to have a soft bed. 

I think the most indulgent thing I ever did for myself was buying the queen sized cotton blanket.  I felt like I was living in a hotel, with a nice big blanket (I had been using a twin sized cotton blanket on the bed).  I still have it, over 9 years later.  It has a few snags but it's lovely. 

On occasion, I like a really nice cup of tea, but these days I'm pretty lazy and probably don't have the energy to make it. 

"You're crazy about smells" Ron tells me.  "It must be a woman thing." 

I do like a nice air freshener or candle.  I bought the largest Yankee Candle, rose scented, last year.  I made it last about 9 months.  I hated to say goodbye.  I loved burning it. 

I used my Christmas gift card to buy some Walmart candles, which are pretty decent.  I got 2 florals and a food one (one of those "I must have been manic" purchases - I don't really like food smells in candles).  I enjoy those. 

I used to get incense, but the import store stopped carrying the good stuff.  I also felt a little wierd burning it.  The ash makes a lot of mess and Ron's allergies are hair-trigger.  If he smells the wrong thing he has a massive attack, with sneezing and nose-blowing.  I don't want to vex him. 

So, I work around the allergies with various air fresheners, when I can afford them.  If you read my other post you know things will be very tight for a bit. 

I used to love to buy "Pure and Natural" soap when I was a kid.  I'd buy it with my allowance and use it in preference to the "family soap".  I don't mind sharing a bar of soap, but I didn't like the fragrance.  The Pure and Natural had a lovely honesuckle fragrance I enjoyed.  I recently found something by Dial that works very well. 

Ron's not a huge fan of lavender so I tend to avoid it.  I'm using some Orange & Honeysuckle soap I got a while back.  I always try to keep some soap, female products, and toilet paper on hand. 

I loved making my own soap but it got expensive, and Ron didn't want me to sell it for fear of liability issues.  I agreed.  I usually get some kind of bar soap off the shelf these days. 

I have a lovely bottle of a very indulgent vanilla body wash, by Softsoap.  I like the moisturizing aspects, even though I don't have dry skin. 

That's it for now... 

Treasure

Sometimes I wonder about God's sense of humor. 

I had planned to wake up at 2:30 this morning; we had a lot of inventory to go to work and the trips are easier in the VERY early morning.   As a result, everything was turned off, dark, and quiet by 6:30, I'm lying in bed.  Ron's lying in his bed reading a talking book on headphones. 

7:30 the neighbor decides to knock on our door, because all the lights are off and we are clearly in bed.  I got up, put on my bathrobe, clearly just emerged from bed.  He was trying to sell candy with the kids.  I told him "I have to get up at 2!" He was "sorry" but I was pretty pissed.   Why would you knock on a door when it is apparent everyone is trying to sleep? 

I don't have a lot of treasures, but one thing I do treasure is a good sleep.  With my illness, a nice restorative sleep, without nightmares, is a gift from God.  I cherish it.  I covet it.  And now it was gone. 

I was so annoyed it took me another hour to fall back asleep.  "God" I begged "Please take my mind off this.  I don't want to obsess about it for days." 

I had to rethink that request when I found our vending machine wide open and ALL the sales tax money gone.  Well.  That certainly took my mind off the neighbor. 

Someone must have a key.  The only thing I can think is that the theiving repairman went to the store, told them "Ron B. needs another key for his vending machine", ordered it, and paid for it.  Now I guess he is using it to access our machines. 

The machine DOES have a tricky lock but Ron swears he "got it" and I believe him.  At the end of the day, the sales tax money is gone and it's due this weekend. 

OK, Lord, I don't know how You'll do it but I know You will. 

After that... wow.  We reported it of course.  There is a miniscule chance that someone took the money out and put it away for safekeeping.  We will see tomorrow. 

I stocked my new snack inventory.  The machines look very good. 

We will not have a stockroom in 2 weeks, so I did some cleanup.  I hauled a huge piece of metal junk out to recycling, and showed Ron, generally, our new area (right now it is full of junk, but it has outlets and that's all that matters).  I also took out a dumpster full of cardboard. 

To top it all, my favorite delivery guy has brain cancer.  I am pretty upset.  I really like him, he's such a sweet, quiet, man.  

I intend to give him my personal Bible (with highlights and stuff, I think that will have more meaning - I am also OUT of whole Bibles and I want him to have a whole.  I have God, I can surrender a Bible.  He will provide new ones), homemade brownies.  I asked Ron for advice and he suggested "Where Will You Spend Eternity" for the tract.  I will also include Ron's typed out testimony about how he died in the accident and all. 

I came home, totally depleted, and took a nap.  I am so glad I did get my God Time this morning. 

Torbie slept with me and I woke up feeling better for a little while, but events got me down again.  Ron suggested we go to Foodtown; I need to get some merchandise. 

I have one customer who will walk past two of the other vending stands to buy Special Dark from me.  Foodtown had it at a very reasonable price.  I bought a few and told him, he ate them all.  So, as promised, I got him more (30).  That made me feel better thinking about his happiness as he eats his favorite candy.  I couldn't find the chocolate chickys so the customers will just have to deal. 

Then we came home (we did all this with the wheelchair on the bus).  Ron was very appreciative about "my efforts" which I really see as nothing. 

But it's nice to be valued. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Strong Black Woman

Today in church I saw a guy pumping his fist in the air to the music.  I thought that was so cool.

If we were both single I would have given him my number.  :)  As it is, I've got Ron singing in the next room. 

God made it pretty clear recently that I need to work on envy.  I think I have a pretty good grip on my sins; pride, unforgiveness, anger, self pity, etc. 

I didn't really think envy was an issue.  Oddly, I had come around to realizing that about the same time Ron told me "That's envy!" when I was ranting about someone on the internet. 

I figured out one answer to the anger; and have gotten more assertive about blocking those who push my buttons.  One button being people who complain when they have so much good in their lives.  I want to slap them into gratitude (the anger).  I also desperately wish I had "those" problems.  (envy).  God has a way of using Ron on me; it's hard to describe but some things that come out of his mouth are not Ron. 

That's happened before; Ron was very depressed and angry about 20 years ago.  He was basically unemployed, I worked at Target, and it wasn't where he thought he'd end up.  He was struggling with some bitterness. 

One night, in frustration, I "rode the loop"  with a bus driver friend of ours.  He gave me a lecture:  I had to be a "Strong Black Woman" and support Ron.  A white woman would run off; a strong black woman would stay and support him, understanding his moods stemmed from the fear he wouldn't be a good provider. 

It was just what I wanted to hear. 

I don't like to think of myself as an envious person, but I know I am.  When I hear a friend talking about buying a designer thing and it "only" cost a thousand dollars, something in me cries "Do you know how many Bibles I could buy for that?"  "How many bills I could pay?"  "That would pay our property tax!" 

That's envy.  Gotta work on that. 

First step, admitting I have the problem (confession leads to repentence, in the Bible). 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

More interesting

Battling depression today.  I don't "feel" great but I did a lot considering. 

We went to the warehouse store and bought some inventory, brought it home.  I took a nap. 

When I got up around 12, I mowed the yard.  It took a while, but I finished it right as it began to rain.  That's happened a couple times now.  God is gracious. 

Also, I think He still needs me on Handout dut; not electrocuted and living in my heavenly mansion.

I took my meds early, and I'm glad I did.  I just wish I could lick this. 

I wish I could be more interesting. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Tomorrow

We got some news I can share, and some I cannot, about work. 

I told you I'd share when I had it. 

Good news; while they are demolishing our vending area and stockroom, they ARE allowing us to move 9 vending machines to a new location in "The Retail Room".  I suspected they would use that area. 

3 vending machines are staying for the construction workers (my old snack machine and 2 canned soda vendors), and a few are going back to the State warehouse. 

Yay!  No more coffee machine.  I will miss the double-door refrigerator, it is very old but incredibly reliable.  We have never had a speck of trouble... sigh.  I'll miss it, but I accept it, I have to give something up. 

It is more important to have our "combo unit" - one half fridge, one half freezer, smaller, and easier to move.  It's alright. 

Dad once suggested I had an attachment disorder.  Everything I read agrees.  As a result, I get very attached to "my" machines.  They aren't just things, they are friends and coworkers.  I generally refuse to give them up (my Snack #2 is the only Rowe Snack vendor left in the program), unless they are malfunctioning. 

I had no problem giving up the old snack 3 because it was "biting" customers, and even the repairman said the door was FUBAR.  I was happy to see it go.  I love my new snack machine.  It has lovely LED lighting and really draws the customers. 

Here's an interesting point, every machine has a positive, and a negative.  Snack one is a great machine but the motherboard is glitchy; the bill acceptor can go down pretty easily.  Snack 2 is wonderful, but very old and impossible to find parts (praise God I haven't needed them).  Food one has a difficult door to open, but other than that it's great.  Food 2 has an glitchy door and the vending doors can be easily broken.  Snack 3 is all around great, but very hard to open the door.  I have to turn and turn the lockbar for at least a minute.  Soda 3 is a good machine but you can't stock it completely, the sodas will jam. 

So, we were also told we can leave 2 sodas and a snack.  Since Soda one is our high-volume machine, we are taking it.   2 and 3 are staying.  You'll laugh, but I feel like Snack 2 wants to stay.  It's also very reliable and rugged; it's a good choice. 

We have another issue, but I can't talk about it yet.  It is a problem; but God can handle it. 

I'll be glad when this is all over.  It has been a hell of a ride the last month. 

Tomorrow we buy more inventory. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Leave it on the shelf.

I find this humiliating, writing this more difficult than confessing a sexual indiscretion. 

Speaking of, a lot of people with bipolar disorder can get into horrible sins if the illness gets out of hand; one reason I am vigilant. 

I like to talk when I'm manic.  I get hostile and irritable.  I also shop.  A lot. 

When the money is tight, you'll find me at the Dollar Store, buying 4 boxes of garbage bags because "I'll need them".  I will buy cheap things in abundance, get home, and leave most of them in bags on the floor. 

Later on, if I'm blessed, God will grant me a nice cleaning and organizing urge.  I'll go through the bags and put everything away. 

I think my highest paycheck was about $900, twice a month.  I'm trying to think of the most expensive thing I bought myself.  I know I spent a lot of money on craft and soap making supplies, probably a hundred or so an order; which is a lot when you're making what I did. 

I would work on my projects with great relish until the mania burned out, collapse into depression, and climb out again, enthralled with my next project. 

Gardening.
Soapmaking
Aromatherapy
Cooking (everything)
Nutrition (resulting in the consumption of until supplements). 
Spinning
Crochet
Knitting

You name it, if it related I probably bought it. 

Oh, I forgot my wood finishing binge.  I bought some unfinished wood furniture from Ikea.  I purchased, over time, a bedside table (finished in rosewood and now resides in my bathroom), a huge bookcase system (all in use), a wood and metal frame bed (I finished that with a pine finish, a really obnoxious laquer that provoked several migraines during the process), and a cabinet.  I had a lot of fun making it, and they look great, but I am done.  I did all that back in 2005-6 right before my diagnosis. 

After my diagnosis I still did my craft binges now and then, up until a few years ago.  One follower complained that I wasn't as much fun as I used to be, I didn't have anything going in the garden or any other projects. 

To that, I said, THANK GOD.  I felt like a slave to them. 

Yes, the pendulum has swung.  I blog, I do Bible Handouts and God time.  I don't do much else.  I rarely cook or organize during a mania; but that's it.  I've "lost" a lot of interests but I still have $30 in my pocket. 

I really appreciated the value of my medication while browsing a sales rack at Walmart today.  I found some adorable purple denim capris, none in my size. 

I would probably look like the fruit of the loom grape in 22W purple pants, but I love purple so much I wouldn't care. 

Back in the day, if I'd had the money, I would have bought a pair in every possible size, just "knowing" how much I'd love them once I lost the weight. 

I made that mistake, a lot, at thrift stores, for years.  Nearly every item ended up in a donation bag on the front porch.  Only recently I determined it's better to save my skinny clothes and "shop" them as I lose weight, running to the store or thrift shop for any additional items needed. 

I also try to include items like a broomstick skirt.  You can work that puppy through any weight.  I have the largest size, it will "small" down easily as I lose.  I won't need to buy new ones. 

If I find something adorable, something completely my style, and under $10 or so, I might buy it.  I have some nice things waiting in my closet, one reason I'm not worried about adding to my "smaller" wardrobe. 

I worry more about my current wardrobe.  I have one pair of 22WP (I have short legs) jeans in medium blue; one pair in a darker blue at 20WP, a pair of 18P, some sweats, etc.  If I need to buy any clothes it will be the next couple sizes down; not a 16 or so. 

I had an easy time saying goodbye to the purple jeans.  I am on the lookout for a cute top to be worn with jeans, to church, ideally a half sleeve, purple, with some lace involved.  I had a great purple rayon tunic top but I wore it out, it got pretty pilly so I donated it.  When I find it, I'll tell you.  I might even post a photo. 

I also concluded that I am a t-shirt woman, and 100% cotton at that.  I get hot flashes due to medication, and I live in a subtropical climate.  A t-shirt is also very practical for my line of work, cheap, and easily repurposed as a rag when it's time to retire.  Recently, I had a lot of fun tie-dying some t-shirts. 

I have some blouses, maybe 7 or so, in various sizes.  I'm pretty sure that's all I will need.  I work in vending, a very active stocking job.  The caregiving also works well with a t-shirt.  Evangelism?  Nothing better than a black t-shirt layered under my trusty handout vest. 

I avoid the blouse racks as a result.  They may be cute but most are not 100% cotton.  I will not wear them anywhere, so it's better to just leave it on the shelf. 

Socks - I did buy a lot of socks recently, and I'm glad.  I wear white, quarter crew socks in the larger women's foot size.  I have big feet.  Same with underwear.  If I like it and it's comfortable I will buy a couple 10-packs.  I hate running out of clean things when I am depressed and too tired for laundry. 

That's about it.  I make my "big buy" on the socks and undies once a year during the back to school sale.

I do tend to buy odd foods when manic.  I have a sausage and egg breakfast bowl in the freezer.  I also have a marinara chicken tv dinner.  I hate marinara, and I hate chicken.  I usually hate eggs.  I can only conclude I must have been pretty manic. 

I only wish I had the $900 twice a month, again.  I'd buy fun things like a new kitchen faucet, a better toilet, and maybe an adjustable bed for Ron.  Ron and I might go to the store and get some wood to make a couple of cat shelves by the window. 

Happily, I don't have a long "want" list anymore. 

I have brain damage

Oh, thank you M! 

However, I like to keep it cheap when I "represent".  It keeps me from getting mugged when I work in the ghetto.  [laugh] 

I'm pretty happy; I'm totally ready for winter.  I got out my afghans, fleece blankets, Ron's feather comforter (he adores it, I got it for our 15th anniversary), sweats, hooded sweatshirts (that's all I seem to need now in the winter), etc. 

I have some wool blend socks running around in my dresser.  I can chase them down when it gets really cold.   I am not ashamed to bring my fake snuggie when it gets really cold.  I put it on when I'm waiting outside on paratransit or the regular bus. 

I've washed everything but the snuggies, my knit afghan, and the crochet afghan.  I made both afghans (I'm taking a small bow). I made Ron one, too.  His is solid garter stitch and 5 feet square.  Mine is also 5 feet square, garter stitch, made of brightly colored scraps framed in black.  I like it a lot.  Most of the time, I am utterly sick of the colorway, pattern, and afghan by the time I finish.  Most have been given away. 

I don't know if I mentioned this, but I made dozens of granny square afghans after Ron's accident, handing them out to everyone from surgeons to the lady who brought his meal trays.  I was pretty manic; it was a good release for my tension. 

I don't have the concentration; and I have a very active and mischievous kitten.  I wouldn't be able to do my needlework even if I could.  [chuckle]  I'm OK with that - Baby Girl is pretty special. 

I have no doubts Torbie would be right in on the action, claws flashing and biting away. She may be an "old lady" but she's spunky. 

Bubba's the only one who ever left my "knitting" alone.  I miss him. 

So, no new projects.  I still have a pretty good yarn stash (about a 33 gallon garbage bag) in the garage if inspiration strikes. 

I've read a lot of books on preparing oneself for disaster, and I've taken what I think are reasonable measures (extra cat food, 3 month refills).  I was pretty much stuck at home for days on end with no electricity. 

I was pretty bored.  I finished Ron's afghan, sat around, and desperately wished for something to read.  After things got back to normal, I got some puzzle books and such.  I have also tried to get things I can read to Ron or do with Ron (like dominoes). 

It's a small thing but believe me it makes a big difference after a disaster (happily no disaster since 2008).  The way things are going I could see people asked to stay home for a week or so until things settled down. 

If so, we'd be OK.  Well, I need to pay the water bill.  I am terrible about that.  Ron pays everything over the phone or through autopay (the mortgage) but the water bill is "mine". 

I guess I just prove I have brain damage sometimes. 



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Already

From my online experience, I'd say a fair amount of Christians are walking around with a very fearful, angry, spirit, waiting to see what the god of this world has in store. 

I'm not.  Why?

1 John 4:4
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
 
Someone I respect greatly, who had battles with anxiety, told me this was their life verse: 
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
 
But "they" could come to get us!  Take our food, and put us in a FEMA camp!  (Boy, I just know I went on a list for just typing that). 
 
Huh!  I just paid FEMA $1,155 for flood insurance.  So I'm funding the camps?  [laughing]  That's pretty funny.  Ron was so happy it wasn't $1200 because we each had a $20 left. 
 
So, what if it does happen? 
 
Jesus said:
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.”
 
Be at peace. 
Be of good cheer.
Jesus has overcome already. 

Video Blog

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I love what I do

Oh, I am beat.  My alarm went off at 2:30, I hit the snooze a few times.  That meant I did half my God time first thing and the rest before I turned on the computer. 

I got up, showered, and ate.  I forgot to take my morning medication but I did get it later. 

We went to work, taking a lot of merchandise.  I stocked as much as I could, and then we left work and went to 2 stores to buy more merchandise. 

"Fill your machines" They say.  We did.  We worked 10 hours straight doing it; quite a feat for our disabilities. 

When we got back to work, from the stores, I stocked everything.  That took quite a while. 

The pastry takes the longest because I have to tag each item with an expiration date.  Your average frozen pastry item is good for a month to 35 days, once thawed. 

While working, I thought about my blog and what items I use for work.  I thought it might be fun to make a list. 

Things I need at work: 
  • Steel toed loafers, because I have a blind man in a wheelchair running over my feet. 
  • Jeans.  I need something with a little elastic because I do a lot of squatting, lifting, reaching, etc. 
  • Pocket-t shirt.  I prefer black for work.  When picking up items, I can put my security badge and keys into the pocket so they don't bang on the items. 
  • Lanyard for security badge.  Additional lanyard for keys (many, many, keys). 
  • Label gun.  For tagging pastry. 
  • 3 shelf handcart.  Used for transporting sodas, mainly.  Ron uses it most. 
  • Mag-liner folding hand cart.  When I stock, I put ALL the inventory on the cart and roll it out to the machines.  Then I'm not running to and from the stockroom to get additional items. 
  • Ponytail holder.  I can't have hair in my face when I'm working, not to mention it's a violation of health laws. 
  • Thermometer for the fridge.  Health laws again.  Do you really want your tuna sandwhich hanging out at 50 degrees? 
  • Diet Dr Pepper.  Ron buys me a case of cans every month and I am usually found stocking, with a Diet Dr nearby. 
You get the idea.  I got everything stocked. 

Well, almost.  Sam's did not have the Austin Variety pack crackers.  The cheese on cheese, peanut butter on cheese type variety pack.  All they had was a pretty iffy looking Lance variety pack (I just don't see my population going for cream cheese with chives, which is an included flavor selection).  [wince]  I just don't see them selling. 

So, I either have to buy the 40 pack PB on cheese, the PB on toast cracker; the "Whole Grain" variety pack with has 2 different kinds of cheese on whole grain, plus a peanut butter on whole grain.  The latter has a higher food cost but does appeal to the ever-picky "healthy" crowd.  They also sell decently; so I will probably stock the whole grain at minium. 

Worst case I will get the 40 counts of the other guys, but I liked the Austin Variety better.  So did the customers! 

Other than crackers, everything is awesome.  I even scored some Special Dark and told a longtime customer (he walks 5 minutes each way to buy these) they were back.  "If you buy them, I'll sell them!"  He was delighted. 

I also made sure other regulars knew I had their favorites in abundance.  A customer bought 2 items; I told him a third purchase would be a home run.  I really love what I do. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Feral Children

I had a long day and a longer day tomorrow. 

However, I thought I would share a few things that will probably make me look bad. 

I hate the sound of children playing.

Maybe it's a parental thing, hearing your kids play, you know they are happy, safe, and well fed.  For me, the sound of children playing means property damage, sleep deprivation, and incursions onto my property.  The yelling and banging (at least from the kids I've met) also trigger my PTSD.  I don't talk about it, but I have it.  I've had it for over 20 years. 

Doc says the meds I take any way help with that, and I believe him.  But nothing grates more than screaming and irregular loud thumps coming from next door. 

I vow to be honest here.  I know I look terrible; the monster neighbor screaming "Get off my grass!" - which is another issue.  I pay a lot of money to live here.  If I wanted kids in my yard I'd have had them.  We have a playground right down the street.  You have your own yard.  Why get into mine? 

They always, ALWAYS, seem to want to play when I need to sleep.  They keep me up as a result and I can't even sleep in my own home because some kid is kicking a soccer ball into the fence.  They are more careful with the soccer ball since I cut off backyard access.  They were running wild in my yard, screaming, and I found a 3 year old by himself in the yard unsupervised.  I also had the older boy slamming the gate and making loudly disparaging comments about how our gate was designed to "trick" children into thinking we had a dog.  How is what happens on my property your business, child? 

After that I sent the letter cutting off access, and the kids stayed out of the yard.  A few months back they came by and said they had lost their ball. 

They "lose" the ball by throwing it on my roof and trying to catch it as it rolls back, but more often it rolls into my backyard. 

My roof is not your toy.  I doubt the soccer ball hurt the roof any but is disrespectful to throw a ball on our roof at all.  I never told them "If you get bored throw the ball on my roof, roll it into my yard, and come get it." 

So, they came by and looked at me expectantly.  I am certain they expected me to say "Go ahead and get it".  I didn't.  I gave an annoyed sigh and told them I would get it, as they waited on the porch.  I got the ball and gave it back. 

When I looked out the window a few minutes later, they were throwing the ball on their own roof and playing "the game".  I think they got the point: access revoked. 

Frankly, I can't take the chance of a child getting hurt on my property.  I also don't like children running around in my space.  They are loud, like I said, it triggers my PTSD.  I have severe mental illness; and I have told Ron more than once I need to sit down with the father and tell him "Keep the kids out of my yard because I am extremely mentally ill".  Ron says one of two things will happen: the kids will really bother me, trying to see the specimen in action; or the family will move.  We could end up with someone much worse. 

It's just frustrating. 

When I was at the warehouse club today (during business hours) I had a problem with two little boys, poorly supervised by their father as the mother waited in line for the deli. 

They got very excited when they saw all the junk and sugar foods on my flatbed.  I had several types of pastry, candy, etc.  They kept drifting over towards me.  I'd give them a look and they'd back off.  When I turned my back, one little boy started running his hand along a box.  I glared at him and he ran off, and the apathetic father just gave me dead eyes.  I absolutely believe they would have ripped the plastic off a case and started eating my merchandise, if I had left that cart unattended next to Ron. 

{No they were not autistic.  I am familiar with those mannerisms.}

If I had put my hands on someone else's merchandise, gone into their yard without permission, thrown a ball on their roof, or talked rudely about them, I would have been beaten.  I would have understood exactly why they did it - because I was not being respectful to adults and their property. 

Sadly, that is lacking today.  My friend calls it "Feral Children". 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Uncle Sam

A few days ago, a driver left the vehicle in reverse, creating a very shrill backup beep.  I asked her to turn it off, because "My neighbor has a baby". 

She told me she had a baby, too, and got it in drive instead.  We waited for Ron to come out. 

"I need to talk to her" the driver murmured.  "About formula".  About that time Ron came out so we ended that and left. 

[Side note: neighbor mom only speaks Spanish.  I caught Baby Girl on her car one day and she said "Is OK!  Is cute!"  That's about it.]

I realized, though, that the driver must have been using WIC to feed her baby.  The government shut down the WIC program.  They wanted to starve babies.  Way to go.  [sarcasm]

The driver is trying to find a way for someone to feed the baby.

Now, I doubt any babies are actually starving, but parents, accustomed to having Uncle Sam buy the baby food, now have to buy it themselves.  And, they realize, it's expensive. 

One lady told me her mother used to feed her a homemade baby formula, back in the old days.  It was comprised of corn syrup, water, and evaporated milk.  Yum.  I wonder how many old timers are whipping it up right now. 

It's just sad that we've gotten to the point where Uncle Sam feeds the baby, instead of the parents.  I don't have a problem with WIC.  Babies need good nutrition. 

I just find it alarming the parents thought it would never end.  I imagine a lot of budgets are getting redone right about now.  Formula isn't cheap. 

Now, for an older baby things get easier.  Milk, happily, is a lot cheaper than formula.  My parents used to put dinner in the blender and feed it to me.  No baby food.  My mother was very proud of that.  "I never fed you baby food.  I cooked it all myself."  You have to eat anyway.  Blenders are cheap.  Easy fix. 

Just don't use a lot of salt and spices. 

Second service

Whooo.  I have a vicious headache.  If I didn't have the Excedrin, it would be a full grown migraine.  I admit I ate some bad things yesterday, but boy am I paying for it! 

It's raining.  I haven't told Ron because he will get cranky.  We are planning to go to church in about an hour.  Second service. 

The church is planning a Bible handout (grin).  The team (those who want to do it) are attending first service, praying in the lobby, and then heading out to the handout.  I wish them well. 

I absolutely could not do it with this headache, even if Ron was up for it.  He isn't.  He is pretty wobbly today.  I don't know if it's inactivity, I suspect so.  I might encourage him to get on the exercise bike. 

Besides, God has made it pretty clear He wants me working with my drivers, and in the ghetto.  Happy to serve.  I am definitely praying for them and the recipients. 

They're going to a book fair, setting up a table, and handing out Free Bibles.  That's a good starter modality for a Handout. 

I kind of went off the cliff into the deep end (with amazing results) "my" first handout. 

Oh I wish I could lick this headache.  I will take some phenergan (helps) before church so the clapping and all doesn't kill. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Camel

I have gotten variations of the same question for the past few days. 

"Why don't you do outreach for middle class and wealthy people?" 

Well, first of all, I do.  Last summer I did an outreach at 290 and 1960, a pretty wealthy neighborhood.  I did hand out 40 Bibles.  I was almost run over 3 times and people kept trying to give me money.  Frankly, it got annoying.  I don't want money.   They freaked out if I offered them a Bible, but they wanted to give me money, like the money would make God happy without the committment of an actual Bible. 

Jesus said: Matthew 19:24
And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

He wasn't kidding. 

I found that frustrating.  It was clear to both of us that isn't my mission field. 

Then Ron (give the man his props) suggested we go to the ghetto.  He grew up in a ghetto in Houston.  We used to visit his parents frequently. 

One nice thing, ghettoes have great bus service.  I always felt safe.  God's given me a huge heart for my recipients.  I just want to hug them. 

When I got started doing Bible Handouts, I went to a middle class area, Antoine and Veterans.  First handout.  I did handouts there, on occasion, off and on for years, including one this year (where Mom took the slideshow photos of me doing the handout in the orange vest). 

My primary handout spot was 249 and Antoine, again, another middle-class area.  I worked that corner for 3 years.  One day God made it clear I was done. 

As I stood there with the sign, I had 3 people tell me "You already gave me a Bible".  I was saturated.  I have done a few handouts in that location this year but only as led by God. 

Safe to say the middle class have gotten at least a couple thousand Bibles. 

God's made it clear (like people chasing me down and pleading for a Bible) He wants me in the ghetto.  Acres Homes.  The fo-fo.  I go, happy to do it. 

I just have to make sure Ron is wearing a neutral shirt.  No red or blue. 

I also figured out why they kept yelling "Free Bibles" and waving hello as they drove by.  It's our street name. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bible Handout update

I forgot, Bible Handout update posts "always" crash on Facebook.  I don't know if it's the old computer, a software issue, or what, but it's very annoying.  If I type more than one sentence it starts moving very slowly and then crashing on me. 

OK, onto the Handout. 

Our pickup ride was nearly an hour late, leaving me 45 minutes of working time.  I was a little frustrated until I saw the HUGE dead rat in the median, right where I walk. 

Oh, it was huge, and had an awful odor.  It had bugs so I couldn't touch it even if I'd wanted to.  God, however, had provided a nice, sturdy, stick.  I didn't want to flick it in the road because someone would run over it and get the stench on their car.  I flicked it under a bush.  However, everytime I walked by the bush I kept thinking I saw it move.  Too many zombie movies, Heather. 

It didn't bother me as much as you'd think, because Bubba Cat used to bring me all kinds of huge dead rats.  He must have brought me at least 3 dozen.  He was always so proud, and they were always so big!  Many times I'm the one who had to handle disposal.  I've had some experience. 

I never thought God could use dead rat disposal as preparation for evangelism; but there you have it. 

So, we're on the median.  I am wearing my capris, orange shirt, and orange safety vest.  I don't even have the sign and a guy starts yelling FREE BIBLES! 

I had to tell him last time, after the handout, I'd run out.  This time I was freshly stocked with about 170 items.  I got him set up and the lady behind him wanted some, and another guy.  I handed out 6 in the first 30 seconds. 

All told, we distributed about 100 items in 45 minutes.  A Spanish cab driver begged me for "Whatever Spanish you got" after I had handed out all (about 10) the Spanish New Testaments.  I had a 25 pack of Spanish Gospels of John, rubber banded.  By now another car was stuck behind him, honking madly, so I shoved the whole pack at him as he thanked me. 

"Heather" Ron told me "He can reach so many people with that."  He just happened to drive by as I was handing out Bibles? 

Another Spanish speaker, a lady with 7 adult kids, saw my sign right as the light changed.  I shouted "Come back!" and she did.  I gave her the remaining Spanish and some English New Testaments (I was out of whole Bibles by then). 

I'm getting a few pedestrians every time.  They walk by, gaping, and I wave them over and smile.  They do a double take and I point at them, the sign, wave a Bible, and beckon them with a big grin.  One lady got 3 whole Bibles out of it. 

Now, if I have a carload with 4 adults, I automatically hand them 4 Bibles.  I will also ask them "Do you need more than __?"  Sometimes they say yes, and I give them however many extra they need. 

A carload of gangbangers pretended to swerve towards us, but to their chagrin they got stuck at the light with me "stalking" them, smiling and waving a Bible, pointing at the "Free" part of my sign.  They kept waving me off and I kept grinning at them.  [giggle] 

A very expensive SUV with an affluent white couple very pointedly ignored me.  I felt sorry for them.  "They already have a God" I told Ron "And it's in their wallet." 

I had some fun people.  One guy pulled up and said, "I have a Bible".  I asked him if he had a car Bible.  He said no.  I told him "That's a sin!  We gotta fix that!" and I handed him 2.  (He had a friend with him). 

Another guy honked at me from way back in the line, and I ran over.  He had a woman with him, and said he only wanted one Bible.  "But what about her?  She needs one too!"  He laughed as she reached out for one, herself. 

I had a woman with a couple of older teens in the car.  She glared at me and yelled "We have Bibles!"  It has been my experience that sometimes Satan will twist what I do, and people hear "I think you are a filthy, sinning, pagan, too stupid to get your own Bible" and they react accordingly. 

"That's great!" I yelled back (it was loud).  "Can you pray for everyone who gets a Bible today?"  She gaped at me.  "What?"  I repeated myself.  She was shocked, but said yes.  That was not what she expected to hear. 

Ron thinks she might have been in a cult. 

I had a couple of gang bangers, and the guy covered in tattoos.  They were all happy to get Bibles. 

I feel so sorry for the "wealthy" couple in their SUV, though. 

Garment of praise

Years ago, I found an orange safety vest, in original packaging, at the Salvation Army.  I have always thought of it as my "garment of praise".  I didn't really know why, but it just seemed right. 

One day, I read this in Isaiah: 
Isaiah 61:3
To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
 
How appropriate.  If I had a mission statement it would be very similar. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

10/2

Today I'm featuring another episode of Heather's wierd, wierd, day. 

Monday, we had a very large driver, wearing smooth soled loafers, do a belly flop into my case of potato chips.  God protected the chips, and the driver. 

Today, the driver scolded me about "taking my blood pressure pills at the wrong time, which made (me?) fall onto my chips."  I didn't correct him.  I was rather alarmed.  He thought I took blood pressure medication, had taken it at the wrong time, and he couldn't remember he fell 48 hours ago? 

He got to talking about a client who died.  Now, when people discuss death I can generally tell the Christians from the non-Christians.  The non-Christian carries on about how terrible, what a tragedy, etc.  The woman who died was profoundly disabled.  The Christian would celebrate her life and say "She's in a better place, she isn't hurting anymore".  That's how Ron and I view it.  He carried on for a while about the tragedy and all and I was getting a little tired. 

I don't see death as a bad thing.  Not for a believer and she certainly claimed it. 

Then we got to talking about really large people.  I said, the really sad thing, when they get too big, they have trouble cleaning, so you get the odor. 

I forgot the driver is very large.  "No you don't" he replied.  "You just have to get in the bath with the epsom salts, lift up the folds, and clean them real good."  I had a horrid image in my head of this man doing that very thing. 

He almost ran over a pedestrian, walking on the verge, because he was fiddling with the climate control.  I had to alert him.  "You're going to hit him!  On the right!"  He started complaining about people "walking in the middle of the road".   The guy was as far off the road as he could get. 

I have seen the aftermath of 3 auto versus pedestrian accidents.  One, Ron on another road; two others, on that very road.  The last thing I want is the guy flying up on MY side of the windshield and now he's maimed for life.  Because the driver wanted to fiddle with the A/C. 

OK, wierd or what? 

Then it gets sad.  We went to work and the machines were stuffed.  I mean stuffed as if we had just stocked them.  I would be shocked if we made $10 between them all. 

Then the other vendor's employee came by "Oh, Heather, I'm hearing really bad things about your business.  What are you going to do?  Things are really bad.  Everyone says so.Everyone being a bunch of low level, uninformed, gossips. 

I don't accept gossip as fact and I told him that.  [I did NOT tell him I didn't appreciate him gossiping about us.]  I am viewing this as a test of faith; and an opportuinity to be a silent witness.  Everyone knows Ron and I are on the chopping block.  Do we believe in God, or not?  If we believe, then He has our back. 

I told him Ron and I can live cheaply, and then he told me "Oh, yeah, my wife and I could live off our retirement checks." 

I don't know what it is with guys on the other side of the hall (the other business).  They feel compelled to tell me they are rolling in prosperity, and don't really need to work.  Maybe they think if they say it enough it will be.  Maybe it's the case. 

Either way, how is that going to make me feel better, when my vending machines only made $10 in a day?  Then he tells me their sales are up, they will be adding another workday for him, etc.  Like I said, how does that make me feel better?   Doesn't a friend do that?  Console you? 

I told him, well, your boss will be happy.  I know he was worried about losing sales, but instead he's gaining them.  That should make him happy. 

He said yeah, he supposed it would.  Then he tried to get me freaking out about healthcare.  I told him I wasn't worried. 

He went back to "What are you going to do?  It's all going to end!" and I told him only God knew what would happen.  I was putting my faith in God and not gossip.  He tried to start again and I told him "I have enough on my plate, I'm not accepting this" and I walked out.

Ron was irked when I told him about this.  "Why are they bothering you?"  I told him, maybe it's a pick on the weak thing.  They know I have a history of depression so they assume they can scare me. I don't see what purpose that would serve, though. 

Like I said, the machines looked great.  That's my job. 

Ron and I agree we will try to avoid them as much as possible.  I don't need this in my life. 

I know the devil wants to drag me down.  He uses different things to do it.  Depression.  Problems with Ron.  Money problems.  Health problems (my hands have been kind of shaky, not huge but annoying).   Cat problems, even.  Scaring me with fourth-hand, low-level gossip?  Right up his alley. 

The devil wants to drag me down and defeat me. 

I will not allow that to happen. 

I will carry on. 



Consolation

Ron needs to realize, not everyone is consoled by his "Don't worry, the end of the world is coming soon" speech.  Agh.