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No Soliciting…. Again… and Again….

fd-no-soliciting-sign-classicWhen you enter our neighborhood there is a “No Soliciting” sign. It doesn’t work.  Beyond the neighborhood kids selling things for school fundraisers, which, by the way, don’t count, we have people come to our door who have tried to sell me magazines, books, security systems, religion, meat and candy.   It is not so bad if you are craving chocolate and someone steps on your doorstep selling M&M’s. That’s more like a miracle. However, it becomes annoying when you really don’t want the truck load of meat at a bargain price.

At our house, when we experience someone selling at our door, we point them to the neighbor across the street and say, “She usually buys things. You might want to check with her.”  Actually, she is the neighbor who gets so angry with them that she will call the police or at least threaten it. Okay, we don’t really send them her way, but when the seller interrupts something, the thought does occur.  It is not that I don’t want to help them, it is just I don’t like feeling like prey and so often that is the feeling.  However, soliciting doesn’t always involve a transaction of goods.  It can just be about asking for money.

It is not only at home and work that this “prey” feeling is often rendered, but I have been approached in public shopping areas by people with the same stories and asking for money.  I have been alone, with my husband, with my children, my co-workers and even with my mother when approached and again, the stories are all very similar.  I have had several just ask for $6 or $7 dollars and numerous ones have offered their cell phone as collateral of sorts.  There has not ever been an expensive cell phone offered but rather a pay as you go inexpensive one.  Regardless of the approach, stories and offers, so many are so close in nature that, again, they seem fabricated.

Also, in my line of work, people stop by or call our office often asking for financial help.  Each story is usually different, but oddly close enough in circumstance that it is easy to become desensitized.  It is not that I think each one is telling a false story, but when you hear the same story over and over, you begin to wonder how they all have experienced the same thing and what is real.  Naturally, we treat each story as if they are true, but also have a plan to help them get the help they need though valid resources and not so much us.

Now you know where my cynicism about these situations was born, but there is more; enter young lady.

Several years ago, after dark, a young lady approached me in a store parking lot.    She was appropriately dressed for the weather, but it was cold, rainy so I had her follow me to the store door. There was something about her that was a little different than the typical person who had asked me for help in the past.   She told me she was from a town in the region and was in town and ended up with a flat tire and didn’t have the money to get it fixed.  She gave great detail to her story which made me skeptical (yes, skeptical) but I decided to help her anyway.  I gave her $20. She thanked me and left.  I’m not sure if she asked others after me or not, but after I gave her the money, I just hoped it was legitimate.

I didn’t think anything about the situation again until one day while I was getting something inside a convenience store, my teenage daughter, who was waiting in the car,  was approached. When I returned to the car, as my daughter was telling me the story, a young lady approached my side of the car.  I quickly recognized her mannerisms and her look and I knew it was the same girl.  Her story was the same… in need of a new tire… mother-in-law and son are at the car… she had priced tires and was short 40 dollars… she had a cell phone she could give me….  I remember thinking that she probably had more money than me and that I should ask her for money… I don’t remember what I said exactly to her but I do remember that, though a bit out of character for me, I was miffed and didn’t help her.

I later shared my reunion story on Facebook with pride as I told of my refusal to help. Several comments made me begin to think about my treatment of this young lady.  Had I been too rude?  Had I shown love?  Had I helped her in any way?  I thought that what I had done was the right thing and maybe not giving her money was the right thing but I didn’t handle it with care.  Having been made highly aware of the ignorance of human trafficking, I began wondering….What if she was trapped in a lifestyle that she felt she deserved.  What if she was at one time a runaway.   What if she had been sold to someone and was working for them.  I really wish I done and said things differently.penywise_100_1480

Fast forward about 18 months to the other day.  I was in a parking lot looking for a place to park when someone flagged me down.  When I saw her face, I knew at that very moment it was the same young lady.  When she approached my car she began telling me the same story… she mentioned a flat tire, a child, offered me a cell phone…  It was then that I decided to really talk to her.  My first question to her was, “Are you okay?”   She looked at me and answered, “Yes, ma’am.”  Then I asked her, “Are you doing this for someone else?”  She said, “No ma’am”.  I asked her, “Are you safe?” She nodded.  I then said, “The reason that I ask you this is because this is not the first time we’ve met.”  She was speechless. I continued, ” You have approached me before and told me the same story.’  She apologized with an, “I am so sorry.”  I also told her that I didn’t have money to help her but I was concerned that she was not in a safe place.  With a confused look, she again apologized, said, “God bless you” and walked away.

A part of me was pretty excited that I had the opportunity to meet her again.  I could hardly wait to tell my family.  However, in the reeling of my pride, that still small voice spoke and said, “You didn’t tell her that I love her.”  He’s right.  She may have walked away thinking that someone “caught” her.  She may have walked away thinking that was a close call.  Still yet, she may have walked away thinking that someone actually did care about her, but she didn’t walk away knowing what prompted me to ask her.  She didn’t walk away knowing that God loves her right where she is.  She didn’t walk away knowing that her Creator made her and loves his creation.

Maybe I’ll get another chance.  In the meantime, if you see her, don’t forget to tell her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Life Stories

 

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I’ve Created a Monster… actually, just some Bobbleheads….

Sometimes I get really frustrated because I fight the gifts that God gave me… what I mean is, often times the grass is greener on the other side.  Still yet what I mean is, yes, I know I have certain abilities but sometimes I think I’d rather be okay at something a bit more important… like being organized rather than being able to paint.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the gifts that God has given me… just being honest here… and when I really think about it, I am thankful for creativity but wishful at the same time…. therefore enters the frustration.   However, last night while watching American Idol and seeing the many gifted and  not so gifted people, I was reminded about the vast differences in people and how creative God is.  We are a part of a fantastic potpourri of an incredible Creator.  So, since the gentleman (General Larry Platt)  unveiled to the world his masterpiece, “Pants on the Ground”, on American Idol last night, I felt it might be a good time for me to share my creations.

Where I work, within the staff, I have been known to add a little laughter to our yearly Christmas parties.  First it was the year of “photoshopped” heads on bodies magnets.  Then it was the never forgotten clever little scheme to get loads of gifts for Christmas and  I placed my name, “Nancy”, on every slip of paper in the hat to be drawn for gift giving… and everyone on staff got my name for Christmas…though it sounds like a great plan, it backfired a tiny bit…   definitely a story for another blog sometime… Then there was the year of shirts (actually onsies for a soon to be dad on staff) that had my photo covering it and said, “I love Pastor Nancy”.  Yes, those were all good years, but this past year just may have topped them all.

In the fall my daughter reintroduced me to a medium that I hadn’t played with in quite some time, polymer clay.  After playing around with it for a few weeks I thought it might be fun to make bobbleheads for my co-workers… bobbleheads of their caricatured likenesses, that is….  so I went to work.  Though I ran out of time and couldn’t complete an actual bobblehead… they did get figurines…. caricatured figurines of themselves…. we had a great laugh this year.

Maybe this will encourage you to embrace your creativity…. it is a gift from the original Creator.

Philippians 1:3-6

3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Thanks for the reminder, Grant)

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2010 in Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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Mother’s Day… all my troubles seem so far away…oh, I believe in Mother’s Day

Anna Jarvis

Anna Jarvis

Anna Jarvis was on to something when she came up with the idea to dedicate a day to honor moms once a year.  Smart thinking… I wonder what her motives where….. You know, I wonder if she was a stinker in her childhood and finally grew up to realize that her mother put up with a lot and she was extremely grateful or maybe she did something really wrong and her mother liked to hold it over her head but was softened each year by the day long celebration or possibly Ms. Jarvis was a mother to a bunch of kids and felt like she needed the appreciation and started the day to get some. Actually, that sounds like something I might do.  I’m guessing that Anna’s motives were pure and she truly appreciated her mother… I would guess her mother was one who resembled a Proverbs 31:28-31 mother, (her children call her blessed) therefore she wanted to celebrate her life and love.

I’m a believer in Mother’s Day and I think a day to honor Mom is great.  Although my family is pretty great about letting me know I’m loved, I think there is something missing from Mother’s Day.  My family may be good about it but there are many mothers out there whose kids or husbands need that reminder to give mom a little of their appreciation.  Commercials on television, posters or sales in stores are reminders to some, but I’m thinking out of the box here… I think that when Ms. Jarvis began her day of celebrating Mom she forgot the ever important gift toting mascot.  You know,  Christmas has Santa, Easter has the bunny…. I think Mother’s Day, a very credible day to honor Mom, needs someone that moms can make requests to.  Now, I’m not advocating gifts of materialism as a sign of love…. in fact, lets make this Mother’s Day mascot have a financial limit… I’m thinking more on the lines of gifts of meaning… Like this would be my list:

  1. Sleep in Late (not happening)
  2. A two-hour long massage…okay, I’ll even take 10 minutes
  3. A restaurant or meal that I choose- even if it no one else wants it
  4. No one in the house argues… everyone is sickening sweet to each other
  5. Everyone watches Cold Case Files or American Justice on A&E and loves it
  6. The house is quiet unless requested otherwise

MotherGooseSee what I mean?  Those things aren’t costly… mothers_dayat least not costly in monetary terms and Mother’s Day would seem so trouble free.   So now who do we take them to?  What should this mascot be?  A goose, maybe?  (very motherly like)   How about a kangaroo? (Another motherly figure) Possibly even some rough looking muscle guy?  Or how about a little bird?  ( “A little bird told me….”)  I don’t know.  And what about the name?  Maybe “Mother’s Day Mother Goose” or “Mama Flyer” or “Mother’s Day Sparrow”… Or better yet.. It would be someone who could really get the job done…. Super Nanny Jo!

Supernanny Jo Frost

Supernanny Jo Frost

Okay, I realize that appreciation comes from the heart… there is not someone, or some mascot, who can create appreciation for a mom or anyone else for that matter.  It has to come from within for it to be true.  So if I want any of these things, it might not hurt to ask, but that will not be my true sign of appreciation.  For my kids to one day say, ” Thanks, Mom.  You’ve helped me be the person I am today by setting an example of how to be giving, loving and true follower of our Creator,”that would be a great gift of appreciation and that would be the Mother’s Day when I would truly feel that my troubles were far away.

(A special Thank You to my mom for setting a wonderful example!)

Proverbs 31

28 Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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