Saturday, January 31, 2009

Connecting with people

I was asked to post something about work. As stated in earlier post, I started on Tuesday at Casey’s. The first night I met someone that I graduated from high school with. My brother, cousin and her daughter came in. We had a young man trying to steal a dollar bag of candy. He was told not to come into the store again.

Learning the cash register was easy for me as I have been on cash register before. The cleaning was more difficult, because I have not done physical work other then around the house in a long time. Most of my previous employment involved mental work, little to none physical work whatsoever. However, the second night at Casey's became easier as my feet and muscles were not as sore as the night before.

It feels great to get out in the public again. Meeting old and new people from all walk of life. I enjoy talking to each one of my customers.

One night an elderly lady came in buying dry cat food for a gentleman. She knew that the cat food was more than the person wanted to pay. But it was snowing outside and she did not want to go to the other side of town to Wal-mart. Therefore she bought the cat food. The next night, she came in again. I asked, “How the cat food work out last night?” She laughed and was surprised I remembered. We connected through communication.

I have worked with the elderly for a number of years. Some of them are very lonely and want connection with a person. Last year, I worked in a nursing home. Many of these elderly only have the staff to comfort them because their family does not come by as often due to living out of town or out of state. Which make some of the elderly feel like they are forgotten.

These elderly does not know what the computer is about, let alone know how to turn one on. But they do know what a card or letter is. Before the time of computer, I used to write to Grandma Whitcher, who lived in a very small town in Kansas. In the beginning, I wrote to her weekly. Over time it turned into monthly and then maybe six times a year before it trailed off to a letter with a Christmas card before she died. Busyness and time can take away what is really important, being connected with the ones you care about.

Earlier this week, I went to get the mail. Of course the mail consisted of a bank statement, advertisement and a couple of bills. I turned to Brad and said, “You know what I missed?” “I missed getting letters in the mail and writing them back.” In today’s world, we communicate with emails, text messages on phones, and other technology that I’m not aware of. (maybe I’m getting old too :-) ) Is this way of communicating as personal as writing a letter with a paper and an ink pen?

I watch my son, Brad, who is in his twenty, glide over the phone text messaging to friends. I see him laugh and make expressions on his face when that person responds back. It seems that he is as much connected to the person he is writing to as I am connected to the person when I write a letter with an paper and a pen. Those who knows me that my favorite aisle is office supply. I love pens! Those stationaries are pretty too.

On the news, they said that teenagers text hundreds to thousands of messages a day. When I heard this, I thought that there is no way, people my age would text that much until I saw my friend, Kim texting several messages to her spouse, children, and friends. (maybe not hundreds, but a lot). At first she was slow in texting back. Today, she whipped messages back to me in no time. I am sure it helped when she got a new phone with a qwerty keyboard.

Connecting with people by technology can be personal. But I have seen it become a relationship hinder to the person sitting next to you. I remember being at Apple Bees having dinner. Behind me in a booth, a man was talking on his cell phone while his wife was eating dinner across from him. The man talked on the phone the whole time they were at Apple Bees and did not talk to his wife. No wonder relationships are failing. I wanted to turn around and say, “Put that phone away and pay attention to your wife!” But I didn’t.

Connection with people is very important in building a relationship. Whether it is customer relation, client relation, friends or family relation, we all need to feel connected with someone else. God wants us to build a healthy relationship with others not destroy relationships with people.

If you have been feeling disconnected or if you disconnected yourself with someone over time because of busyness or other reasons, maybe it’s time re-evaluate that relationship and get connected again. Put away that cell phone and get away from the computer and have a meaningful night (quality time) with a special friend, spouse, children. If you cannot visit your grandparents, great aunt or uncle, then write them a personal letter or send a card. I promise you, that will be the highlight of their day. By doing this, you will be able to grow stronger in a relationship with that person and stay connected.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Starting Over or Second Chances

Yesterday I got a call from the Manager of Casey’s General Store. She offered me a job as a cashier. I was so happy that I got the call and called three other people to let them know. Within the hour, I went in and filled out the necessary paperwork for employment. My hours will be 4-11:15 pm Tues – Saturday this week for training.

Of course the salary will be almost half of what I was making before I became unemployed. With the economic in recession and tumbling towards depression, unemployment rate increasing every month, and consumer prices at it’s highest then ever before, I am happy that I am able to get employment. Unfortunately, this will not pay all my bills, but it’s a start.

My first job was at Andris Waunee Farm as a busgirl. I worked most Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night. I enjoyed the work there because I enjoy interacting with people. I was looking at my ring this morning and remembered that I bought this ring for $59 with my first paycheck from Waunee Farm. I am glad I bought this ring, because it bring back wonderful memories which I can cherish for a life time.

This morning as you may have read in Steve’s post, he found out that he is a diabetic. He will be on medication and learn a healthy lifestyle of eating and exercises. Although this is not the news anyone want to hear, but if we all can change our lifestyles then we can live a long life for us and our family.

Recently, there has been a new saying in the media, advertisements, and spiritual messages. That saying is: “I am putting ME back on the list.” When we learn to put ME back on the list by taking care of ourselves first, then we can extend ourselves in serving others.

As we take a good look at ourselves in the mirror, sometimes we asked why am I not happy or I am the luckiest person in the world. What do you see when you look in the mirror? What are the questions will you ask? Do you focus on the negative or the positive?

If we go after our dreams, our purpose in life, then we are able to look in the mirror and see how much we love who we are. If we don’t love who we are after we look in the mirror, then how we see ourselves will reflect on how others see us too.

Many of us have the notion that it takes someone or the material things to make us happy. If only I could be with so and so....If I can win the lottery, then my troubles will go away...If I buy a new car, then people will love and respect me....(reminds you of the what ifs I wrote :-)) These things or person will only provide instant gratification or temporary happiness (conditional). It is not up to someone else to make us happy, it is up to “ME” by loving and accepting who we are as a person.

As you reflect on your life or maybe find yourself in a place of "deja vu", maybe it's your second chance in life to make the right choices. Have you ever had a relationship with someone and moved on and later in life they show up again? It is usually a person that had a significant impact on who you are as a person. That is what I call the circle of life.

When I was young, I had a babysitter named, Hazel. Both my parents worked to make ends meet. I was with Hazel until I was able to stay at home alone. My brothers continued to stay there until it was time for them to move on. The times I visited Hazel were the numbers I could count on one hand. Then one day as I was working as a social work for the elderly population, Hazel's name came up as my client. At one time she served as a babysitter, then I was able to give back by serving to help her with her needs. The full circle of life.

Sometimes the deja vu mean to start over and get a second chance in life. A chance to see if you have learned from your past mistakes. A chance to make the right choices so you are able to love what you see in the mirror.

So what does this have to do with getting a job at Casey’s. It’s finally getting a chance to do what I enjoy doing. Being with people and interacting with them. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed working with my clients in social work. But working at Casey's will enable me to be humble and enjoy relationships with others rather than material things.

If you are going through life that is not where you want to be or going through a deja vu for the second, third or even fourth time in your life, maybe this is your second chance to start over by looking at your situation in a new perspective. Maybe this is your chance to make the right choice that will put you on track to loving that person you see in the mirror.

Why not take the time to look in the mirror and ask yourself questions. No one is looking, no one can hear you. This is the time to answer honestly. When you are able to answer honestly, then pray and listen. Listen to that still small voice. The answer is within you.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

“What If” In Life

How many times do we go through the “What if” moments in our life? I believe that we go through the “What if” moment daily and sometimes several times a day, either consciously or unconsciously. Yesterday Dad and I were reflecting on life in general. We talked about his beginning relationships with mom (how and when they met) to her death. I talked about my relationship with Everett, the boys, and we also talked about my brothers and their relationships with their spouses or significant others. Todd was in the other room listening, I’m sure. (Hi Todd)

What brought on this converstation? Today's date mark the 52nd (not 53rd dad :-)) wedding anniversary for my mom and dad. You see, Mom recently passed away last August and we are still mourning. As dates appear that mark an important anniversary or events, we asked ourselves questions like; “What If” either of us had been there when she fell and broke her arms. In our mind, we both know that a fall happens so quickly and unless we were constantly by her side, which mom would have hollered at us to let her be, there was no way we could have prevented the fall. But in our heart, we continue to ask, "What If", because we miss her dearly.

As stated in my last post, I told you that I got a divorce. I asked myself, “What if” I didn’t get married at such a young age. “What If” I had been given the chance to go out on my own and find out what Rena like and disliked (autonomy) and so forth…. “What If”...

When we have the “What If” in our lives, we are also having regrets. It is so easy to put the blame on everyone else, then ourselves (Sometimes we do blame ourselves as well). Believe me, I have done my share of blaming. I blamed everyone close to me, but me. I did not take the responsibility of the choices I had made. Even when my Spirit told me to do otherwise.

You say, what about when someone in authority or one who we trusted did harm to us, whether as a child, a spouse, or as and elderly parent. Yes, there were moments when that can happen and we have a hard time forgiving that person. I tell you the truth, unless we forgive, we will never be free.

So, how do we get beyond blaming and start healing? One way is Acceptance. Accept that the choices you made were your choice and not the fault of someone else. How you feel about an event that was beyond your control is still a choice. A choice to stay angry and bitter, which eats away at your soul or a choice to forgive and have peace with self and God.

Once we are able to accept, then we can forgive. Once we forgive, then we can move on in our life. It will not go away completely, because it had an imprint on your life. But we can move on and become a better person because of it.

As in the case of the death of my mom, it takes time to grieve. As in the mistakes I have made in life, which were many, its time to accept, forgive and move on with my life.

How about you? Is this the day you accept, forgive and move on?

“What if”…

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

God’s plan

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

One of the most popular verses in the Bible of God’s promises. In March of this year will mark my five year divorce anniversary from my second husband and in May of this year will mark my ten year divorce anniversary from my first husband. So much has happened in the last ten years and I have seen God’s hand in all of this even though I have not listened to God and His plan has been altered by the choices I have made.

During my separation for divorce, I was on a destructive path. A path that was hitting rock bottom straight to hell with no chance for eternal life. No one in my family could even get through to me. I was involved with a married person who drove a Schneider truck and lived a life as a PK (pastor’s kid). Little did I know that God had a plan in place. Because this person shown me a Christian College he attended, which was the beginning of my path to the Lord. In November of this year, mark the tenth anniversary in which I had last seen this person. I heard he turned his life around. I hope this is true for this has been my prayer for him all these years.

In the meantime I married a person that lasted less then four years. To be honest with myself, I knew this was a marriage that was not in God’s plan. Yet, God did not waste any of this. For I am able to pass on what I had learned from this marriage.

In the last year I have experienced many losses; my job, my ministerial license, letting go of past relationships, my mother who passed away, and a new friend who passed on. Many have said I am in the best place to do God’s will. Yet, God allowed the time for me to mourn. For this is one of the season of life.

This year marks a new beginning. I know God has a plan for me. It’s up to me to listen to the Spirit. If you are reading this, my prayer is for you to stop trying to take control and listen to God’s Spirit. When we don’t listen, things go awry and spiral downward and we suffer many consequences. When we listen to God, he gives us a peace that is beyond understanding. God’s plan is to prosper you and not to harm you. God’s plans it to give you hope and a future that is aligned in His will. Where are you on this journey?

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I am going through the initiation of my first blog posting.  My son, Steve, had to install a new hard drive and updated my computer programs.  At this point, we are going to see if this will post.  More to come later.