Friday, August 26, 2011

Don't ever tell me there's no God!

Although I'm not a religious person, I am very close to the God of my understanding. And there are times when I get an undeniable sense, or awareness, of "something or someone" walking in front of me to open my doors for me like a true gentleman. The last couple days have been one of those times. Here's the story. Follow close now because this is one of my stories that has some twists and turns. Like life!
A couple weeks ago, my beloved old Jeep Cherokee started having yet another little quirk. It got to where I couldn't turn the key far enough to start the car. At first, I could jiggle it or play with it a little and it would turn. But the problem quickly became more frequent and quite aggravating. Being the slacker that I am, I made a couple phone calls about it but did nothing to get it repaired.

Yesterday, the problem occurred several times. The last time it happened was, well, the last time it happened! That's because when I stopped off at the grocery store, the key wouldn't turn at all no matter what I did. I was stranded!!!! I had planned to go straight home after I cleaned my last house so that if I got stranded, at least I'd be stranded at home. But I just had to have some sodas for the weekend so I decided to chance it. That's when the switch died and I knew I would have to get towed. The first problem was, I only had $38 to my name! I have AAA so I knew the tow wouldn't cost me. But I also knew $38 wasn't going to cover a repair. What to do???? Think! Think! Wait! No! Don't think, you big dummy! Thinking is what gets you in trouble! Be still. Breathe. Let the answers come to you.

After breathing and listening to that still, small voice inside me, I realized I was only a couple miles from the customer whose house I needed to clean today. I've been with them for years so I was comfortable calling them to ask if they'd consider paying me a day early for their cleaning so I can have the money for the car repair. They didn't mind a bit and they brought the money to me. Then I remembered that the customer whose house I had JUST cleaned had not left me a check, because I had told her to wait till the end of the month and write me one big check. I was only half a mile from her house. I called her and asked her to go ahead and write me the check. They brought the money to me too. Now I had about $148 instead of just the $38 I had before. That felt better but I still wasn't sure it would be enough. All I could do was wait and see. It's worth noting that if I hadn't stopped for the sodas, I would have been stranded at home instead of being stranded closeby the two customers who brought me money!

While I was on the phone with my customer, a AAA tow truck drove right by me!!! I wanted to jump out of the car and yell for him. But I knew I'd have to call AAA and go through the process. So I did. And while I was still on the phone with AAA, I saw in my rear view mirror that same tow truck that had just gone by. Wow! Great service! :) Out of the tow truck hopped this really hot guy. He looked like a tin soldier!!! But I guess that's not relavent to my story, huh? It WAS a nice little treat though in the midst of this situation. LOL! Jonathan put my car up on his truck and drove me to my house and dropped me off. I live on a main street and I had told him just to stop in front of the house and not try to get into my driveway. When I got out of the tow truck to cross the street to my house, he noticed that the traffic kept coming and I couldn't get across the street. Sometimes it takes me several minutes to get across the street when I go for my walk. Well, Jonathan pulled his big ole tow truck right out into the street and blocked the traffic so I could get across. My hero!!!! Did I mention he was really hot and looked like a tin soldier??? :D

Anyway, I digress! :D

After I got home and settled in for the evening, I starting thinking about what I was going to do today. My car was at the shop but I was not! How was I going to get over to pick up my car? I am such a loner that I don't have, or didn't think I had, any friends I could call to help me out. (Note to self: Quit being a loner or else buy a new car! LOL!)

The challenge of how to get to my car was solved this morning with the poor service from my mechanic, or should I say my FORMER mechanic! I'd had my car towed to his shop because he'd helped me in the past. His shop was about ten miles from my house. The last time I stopped by there for some help, he was not helpful like before but I thought maybe he was just having a bad day. I could see he was busy with a big job and didn't want to be bothered with my little issue. So I let him slide on that one. But this morning when I called him, he said he didn't know what was wrong with the car and wasn't sure if he could look at it today. And even though I told him what I thought the problem was, he still wouldn't give me any idea about the price or whether he could fix it. My little voice told me I'd had my car towed to the wrong place. I won't be going back to him any more.

The issue with my car was related to the key so it occurred to me that maybe a locksmith could do the job. So I called one and, sure enough, it was something he could do. But I had to get the car to him which meant another tow. So, again, I called AAA and told them where to tow it to. But I still had the issue of how to get myself to where the car was. But the locksmith place was only about three miles from my house so I knew I could walk if I had to. So it was getting better!

As soon as I hung up the phone from AAA, I got a text message telling me the minutes on my prepaid cellphone had run out and I needed to reload. Grrrrr. I had no money in the account I usually use for that so I had to walk up to the drug store, only one mile away, and buy a reload card. While I was at the drug store, I was telling one of the employees there about my situation with my car. Well, turned out she was getting off work early and she offered to drive me over to where my car was. Whew! Thank God! Of course! :)

It seemed like everything was coming together, just as I knew it would. But there was still one issue that was unresolved. He had told me over the phone that the repair, if I was right about what was wrong, would be about $165. I only had $148. A tiny shortage but still. But even that worked itself out because I was NOT right about what was wrong and the repair ended up only costing $100!

I am now mobile again and I even had some money to buy some groceries for the weekend. I am totally amazed sometimes at how things fall into place when I get still and quiet and just have faith that it will work out. So to all those people who took part in helping me get through this little challenge with my car, I say thank you sooo much! And to that "somebody or something" that always seems to be watching over me, no words can express how thankful I am to know I'm taken care of. Oh, and sorry about being such a drama queen when I forget I'm taken care of. :)

I have in my wallet a tattered and worn old card that has printed on it the Prayer for Protection. I received it in the mail years ago when I requested prayer from Silent Unity and I have carried it with me ever since. It goes like this.

"The light of God surrounds me;
The love of God enfolds me;
The power of God protects me;
The presence of God watches over me;
Wherever I am, God is! "

Wherever I am, God is. And that's a very very good thing! Keep looking for the good!!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Latest Angel

For months now, my business has been down and I've really struggled financially. The stress from that has triggered some depression and anxiety which has triggered more stress. And the cycle continues. I've been caught up in that cycle before and I'm ashamed to say that this time I was giving in to it. I felt very defeated and helpless. In addition to the financial issues, I had some personal issues that were weighing on me and I seriously felt like I was down for the count. I felt like I had lost my power.

As far as my income goes, the housecleaning business is a high demand business even during economic down times. So I can always find new customers and increase my income.....if I try. To get new business, I typically distribute fliers in the neighborhoods I like to work in. But my income has been so low that I haven't been able to afford to get any fliers printed up. I should have put out fliers when I didn't need any new business so that I'd have a waiting list of customers instead of a waiting list of bills to be paid. But I didn't.

Finally, it occurred to me that I had accumulated some points on my Wachovia Rewards program and might be able to redeem the points for a gift card at Staples and use that to get some fliers printed up. After checking my account, I saw that I had enough points to get a $25 card. I knew that wouldn't buy me too many fliers but it would buy SOME and if I just got even one job from those fliers then I'd have some money to print up some more fliers. So yesterday I went to Staples to get the fliers made.

The guy at the copy shop was not very friendly and moved in slow motion. I found myself getting annoyed with him because it was taking him so long to wait on me. We had to work out how many copies I could afford to get with my $25 and he was taking forever to figure it out. I wanted to get two fliers per sheet but the photo on my flier didn't look very good that way so he was trying to fix that for me. Finally he got it looking good enough, though not as good as I had hoped. I told him to go ahead and print them like that. I also asked for colored paper, which costs more and he had to cut the sheets in half since there were two fliers per sheet. That was another additional charge. I knew that from when I've had fliers printed up before. I told him to just print up as many fliers as he could for the $25 I had to spend. He said he'd do them while I waited and I went and walked around the store for a while.

When I went back to the copy shop, the guy seemed to be ignoring me and was waiting on everyone else instead of me. Again I got annoyed with him but didn't say anything. Boy was I glad I didn't open my stupid mouth and make a fool of myself. After all the other customers were gone and the manager was not around, the guy leaned over to me and, in a quiet voice, said "Today is my last day on the job here so I made you 500 copies for the price of 250." And he put his finger to his mouth to say "Shhh". Well, you better believe I shhhhh'ed!!!  I thanked him very  much and took my fliers and left. When I got to the car, I looked at the receipt and saw that he also didn't charge me for cutting the sheets or for the colored paper. I ended up with 1000 fliers for $25! Once I get them distributed, I will probably get all the customers I need to fill my calendar back up and get my income where it needs to be!

I was kind of uncomfortable with this copy shop guy at first because of his physical appearance and because he never once looked up at me and was so slow moving and unfriendly and never smiled a single time. But what he did for me will make a tremendous difference in my life in the way of helping me get control of my finances and in giving me back my power that I felt I had lost. So he's on my angel list now and, once again, I've learned that angels don't usually have blond hair and wings. Some of them have ear gages and big sideburns. And I've learned that you never know what kind of heart a person has inside them regardless of how they look or act on the outside.

I doubt if that guy realized how much he helped me and he probably didn't think one bit more about me after I left the store. So I think another thing I've learned is that we never really know how our actions affect others and how we might be making a big difference in someone's life without even realizing it. And that's a good thing. I found some good! :D

Monday, August 8, 2011

Finding Good in the Sad Stuff

This morning I had to have my cat, Hailey, put to sleep after a long illness. I thought I would be relieved after she was gone. Hailey and I had a love/hate relationship. I adopted Hailey after seeing her at the SPCA where I was doing some volunteer work. She was there for months and months and never got adopted. Whenever I would see her, she'd be sitting over in a corner by herself not socializing with the other cats or with any of the people. She just seemed to want to be alone. She was fat, had no tail and wasn't very pretty. And wasn't very friendly. She wasn't really mean, except when you had to give her a pill or trim her nails or bathe her. Then she was mean. But the rest of the time, she just stayed to herself. She never would let me hold her much or even pet her really. When I first brought her home, I hoped that being in a home instead of a shelter would bring her out and she'd become a loving cat. But that was not to be. All she seemed to want to do was eat and be left alone. After a while, I gave up trying to get her to be affectionate and just accepted her like she was.

In recent weeks, as Hailey got sicker, she was more willing to let me pet her and sometimes hold her. Maybe she just let me hold her because she was too tired to squirm out of my arms. Today as I sat in the vets office waiting for them to come in and put Hailey to sleep, I held Hailey really tight and she laid her head on my shoulder. And I cried and cried and cried. And I talked to her and told her I loved her and I realized that it was probably the first time I had ever told her that. She just wouldn't let me love her until right in the end.

I believe that everything that comes into our lives is there to teach us something. That includes our pets. And I think that Hailey came to teach me that I need to let people love me and I need to try harder to love them. Hailey rejected me all those years I had her and it was hurtful to me sometimes. After a while I just tuned her out. I fed her and gave her a home but didn't try to really be involved with her because she made it clear she didn't want that. Turns out she was nothing more than a mirror of me. I cry my guts out sometimes because I'm so lonely. People just don't want to include me in their lives. But maybe that's because I am sending out messages that I don't want to be bothered. So people don't bother me. And I'm by myself all the time. And my heart hurts a lot. I want to try to be more open to people now and let people care about me and I want to try to care more about them instead of always isolating myself from the rest of the world.

I miss Hailey more than I thought I would. She had become a part of my life more than I realized. But she is in a better place now and I'm very grateful for what she helped me to see about myself. In the midst of the sad stuff of losing a pet, I found some good.

Rest in peace sweet girl. Thank you for all you taught me. I love you.