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THE BEST YOU KNOW HOW



Scotty Van Craig



Copyright © 2017 Scotty Van Craig

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Table of Contents

Foreword

Cheaters

Fly

Get On The Ball

Give Thanks

Grandpa Robin

Independence Day

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Mangy Stray Cat

My Pleasure

Post

Praise Through The Pain

Right Around The Corner

The Great Race

Worth The Risk?

When The Wind Blows

No Pain No Gain, What Time Is It? Time To Grow

A Moment In Life

Signs, Signs, Everywhere There's Signs

The Game Called Life

Squirrel In A Tree

Flap And Fly, Shine And Glow

Get Your Ducks In A Row

There Shall Be Light

Need A Spot?

Nicholas

Oak Don't Float

The Real Deal, So Happy It Tickles

Right Where You're Supposed To Be

Scotty, Time To Come Home”

Stomping On Leaves And Kicking Rocks

The Comforting Squeeze

My Prayer One Dark Night


Foreword

Hi folks! I'm really nobody special; just a country boy sharing my thoughts and feelings about life and God. All of my stories are true and I sincerely believe God directed my hand writing them. I am so blessed that the Good Lord gave me this work to do. As you read my stories, you will laugh and you may very well cry. But my hope and prayer is that they will greatly inspire you as they have me. It's funny how God leads us down the right paths to where we are supposed to be and doing what He intends for us to do. Why, I'm living in a homeless shelter right now, having lost everything trying to live life my way. But I have realized it is where God brought me to complete this work; His assignment for me. And I am so very grateful for it all. These are the first thirty two stories of many to come. Come along with me on this journey of discovering how to live, laugh, pray, have faith, and seek God by simply doing the best we know how. Let's just have a good time while seeking God's purpose for our lives.

All my love friends,

Scotty Van Craig


Cheaters

When I was around eight or nine years old my church was going to have a youth turtle race. Well living in the country, I went out into the woods and gathered up about a dozen turtles. I kept them in one of those round plastic kiddie pools. I spent a week finding the fastest one in the whole lot and let the others go free. Boy was this turtle fast! I mean lightning fast for a turtle. If you recall I have a habit of giving amusing or obvious names to my pets. So here we had Speedy. And I knew Speedy was going to win that race. Absolutely. Not a shred of doubt in my mind. After all, he literally was the fastest turtle on earth! So, the big day came. I got Speedy out of the pool, put him in a cardboard box and we and my family were off to the church.

Shortly after we arrived the other contestants [ about ten or twelve] and I gathered in the middle of an empty parking lot with our turtles in hand and formed a circle. I looked around at the competition and scoffed. They and their puny turtles didn't have a chance. And I bet none of them had gone to the lengths I had in finding the fastest turtle that ever lived! Ready. Set. We all bent over with hands on turtles ready to release them. Speedy was raring to go thrashing his legs as I held him in place. Go. I let go of Speedy and he took off like a racehorse out of the starting gate! He was easily outrunning the others by a long shot. I was so excited. It was in the bag. The roar of the crowd fueled my confidence that we were racing to victory. Speedy was way, way out front of the pack when the two kids on either side of me got down on their hands and knees and began yelling and slapping the concrete behind their turtles. Well, of course, their turtles wanted to get away from all of that and sped up.

" They're cheating," I thought. Well, I wasn't going to cheat. It's not right. Speedy will still win. And fairly! Well, one of the" cheaters" turtles passed Speedy at the very last moment and crossed the finish line first! They won. All because they cheated. I was furious. And mind you now: I have had a very explosive bad temper ever since I was little. I picked Speedy up and slid him across the parking lot! I did make sure he was on his back so he wouldn't get hurt. But there he went spinning on his back and sliding all the way across the parking lot. I'd never seen him go so fast!

The next thing I remember is arguing with a lady who was sitting on the driver's side of a pickup truck. She had Speedy and was going to take him with her because of my turtle abuse! " Give me back my turtle" I kept yelling at her. After getting me to calm down and promising not to abuse Speedy in any way ever again she reluctantly returned him to me. I was broken, defeated, devastated by the loss of the race. But on the way home I was consumed by regret and remorse more so for what I had done to Speedy. I loved him so very much.

When we got home I took him to the back yard. The race was finished and I wasn't going to keep him, prisoner, as much as I hated to let him go. With tears in my eyes, I told him he was the fastest turtle on earth, that I loved him and was so very sorry for what I had done. I sat him down in the grass and he naturally sped off to freedom.

So just what is the moral of all this? Well, I didn't win but I didn't cheat either. Now I know they were just kids and didn't know any better but, a lot of people do cheat their way through life. To get promoted, to gain friends, to win any way they can. They cheat, cheat, cheat their way through their entire lives. Now I'm sure we've all cheated at something at some time in our lives, but honesty really is the best policy. I would rather be an honest loser than a winning cheater. God does not like cheating anyway. If we want to live Godly lives, we must live lives of integrity the very best we know how. So, pray to God to help you win the race of life honestly. Pray that you won't end up being one of the " cheaters!"



Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men

2 Corinthians 7:14 KJV

To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Proverbs 21:3NIV


Fly

Well, so this is my last day posting at the Senior Care Center folks. As you may recall I sit in the enclosed entry which has a small area stretching from the outside door to the door leading inside. Now there is this pesky fly in here with me and I do not want this thing buzzing around me for the next nine hours!

Much to my delight, however, it keeps landing on the door to the outside as if to say, " let me out." So, I excitedly get up and very slowly move to push open the door. And as I creak open the door giving the fly ample room to make its exit; to be free, the darn thing flies the wrong way right back into this area instead of out the door! Not only denying itself its freedom but still bugging me! It keeps landing on that door. I keep getting back up and cautiously opening it. It keeps flying back in. Every time. We've already been through this a dozen times! Geez. A door to freedom being opened for it and it keeps going the wrong way. Hmmm. We'll get back to the fly in just a bit.

So, as I have said before I realized after working this post for a few days that this was right where I was supposed to be at the time. Because of the fact that I was so bored, I started reading inspiring materials and reconnecting with God. Getting back into the word. Rediscovering God's promises. Seeing Him working in my life. Remembering how very much He wants to bestow blessings on us all. Learning how to pray better. Learning how to walk with him instead of away from him. Learning how through Him we can all be free of the things that plague us. Keep us down. Enslave us.

Okay, now back to that fly. It's making me think of God opening doors for us. It can be a door to whatever you will imagine. To whatever you want or need that you pray for the best you know how. Right now, to me, it is a door to freedom from some personal issues I have been struggling with. And a door to new opportunities I now know God has in store for me. So, I'll tell you this much folks. When God begins opening new doors of opportunity, healing, blessings or wherever they lead to; I'm going to fly them as fast as I possibly can! I'm not turning around and going backward allowing those doors to close on me anymore. I'm going to start going His way. Not the wrong way. I'm moving on. Pressing forwards. I'm ready to fly through whatever doors God opens for me.

Don't do as I have most of my life. Being that fly not even recognizing an open door to freedom and going the wrong way. When God opens doors for you don't be afraid, apprehensive, procrastinating. Don't go backward. Don't go the wrong way. Fly! Fly through those doors with all your might. As fast as you can. To all the goodness and blessings that await you on the other side. Praise the Lord?! Praise the Lord!…… now I just hope that this pesky fly learns as I have and flies through that open door!



Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Matthew 7:7-8 KJV


Get On The Ball

Folks I just haven't been myself lately. Why I haven't written a story in a week. I have been averaging about one a day. Well, I had to root canals done, been working seven days a week, it's fall and you know how the weather changes affect me. But it's more than that. I came to a fork in my path and went the wrong way. Luckily God finally grabbed me by the collar, spinning me around saying," you are going the wrong way! Come on, you have work to do. Get on the ball!"

So here I am in my car at work getting back on track the best I know how. By talking to you my friends. So why did I go the wrong way? Well, let me tell you what folks; the enemy will tempt you and do everything possible to lead you away from God! We have to continuously keep our guard up against Satan. I let my guard down and Bam! There I went down the wrong path.

So, how do we keep our guard up exactly? By using God as our shield. Pray every day. Man, I mean every day! Keep your focus on God! And he will keep you on the right path. If you come to a fork in your path and feel you might be going the wrong way, pray. If you are tempted to fall back into old patterns, pray the very best you know how! " Dear God. I am asking you to direct my steps. Guide me. Keep me on the straight and narrow. Lead me down the right path. Show me what must be done". Then when He does show you and believe me He will. Don't dilly dally.

You may be a bit confused but don't you dare ignore what God is showing and telling you to do! I am telling you from my own experience, it will not turn out well. You will fall. When God directs you, which way to go. When God gives you something to do. You had better get on the ball!



If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.

Job 36:11 NIV


Give Thanks

I haven't written you for a few months and quite a bit has happened since then. About a month ago, I left the adult rehabilitation center and moved to the homeless shelter. Remember how I had great reservations about coming here, but I slowly began coming to acceptance of it?

Well, let me tell you something I absolutely love it! I am so happy here. The morning I left the ARC to come here I was very nervous. But as I rolled my suitcase down the streets I felt a great sense of freedom and the excitement. Freedom because I was out on my own and on my way; to where I did not know. Just that I was on my way. Excited about my future. My new walk with the Lord. Getting back on my feet. Closer to publishing my stories.

The next day after I moved in I began to work part time at the thrift store here. I'm finally getting a paycheck again! And as a meager as the pay is: it is a small fortune to me. And I'm so thankful for it. Today is Thanksgiving Day and you know what? I, we have so much to be thankful for. Everyday! Things might be tough but we all have things to be thankful for.

Remember how I had mentioned that all I wanted out of life at the moment was to be able to get up in the morning, make my own cup of coffee with milk the way I wanted it, and drink it in peace and quiet? Well let me tell you, I am living then dream folks! Yes, I have to go out into the cold to have a morning cigarette with it, but I am so very thankful. And I am so thankful for the privilege of being able to work. Now I do have to walk 10 blocks in the cold; then wait about an hour to take the bus ride to the store and repeat the process on the way back after work. Yet I am so thankful to God for the blessings He has given me.

So, I sat down and had thanksgiving dinner with the homeless today. There was one particular gentleman sitting to my left that I struck up a conversation with. At one point I jokingly asked him," Is this and all you can eat dinner?" He jokingly replied with, I sure hope so!" And we both laughed. I am very young in my new walk with Jesus and saw this as an opportunity to minister for Him. " Do you know Jesus?" I asked the man." Yes, I do" was his excited answer." He is your Lord and Savior" I interrogated." Oh, yes he is" the hungry, homeless man replied. We'll obviously, the man needed no ministering from me. So, we continued the rest of the meal to talk about the bible and the Glory and blessings of God. What a delight it was.

So here I am living and eating with the homeless [of which I am one] and being happier and more thankful than I have to be in many years. Here are at this point in time I am so blessed and so very thankful. Think of about yourself and your life. Everyone can think of things they have the to be thankful to God for. It's Thanksgiving Day folks, and in this day and all days, and in all things; always Give Thanks!



You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.

Psalm 30:11-12 NIV


Grandpa Robin

You know I believe that after a loved one passes away and crosses over God sends them to us as an angel; in a form or manner that was significant to us and them. To assure us of the afterlife and to let us know they are fine. Let me tell you why I believe this to be so.

My Grandpa was a wonderful man. A humble man. He was a deacon in our church and every Sunday when I got there he would greet me with a loving smile and produce some candy from his pocket for me to have during the service. [ Smarties they were] He drove a tank under Patton in WW11. Got two purple hearts after having his tank blown up twice and all; killing some of his comrades in the process. I think all that he went through in the war contributed to his humble, peaceful demeanor.

My mother was his only child and I believe he thought of me like the son he never had. The way I feel about Nicholas. Grandpa was and is still my role model of how a man should be. I love him so very much. When I was nine or so he taught me how to mow his yard which became my weekly job as he was in his seventies and not really capable having had a couple of heart attacks in recent years. I loved doing it for him; I cherished any time spent with him and Grandma. They paid me four dollars for the mow which was a good sum of money for a kid back then. It bought a lot of comic books!

After doing this for a couple of years or so we were all three in their living room one day after I had mowed the yard; it was time to get paid. Grandpa went to hand me the money and I said " No. I'm through taking money from you for this. I just want to do it for you because I love you." As long as I live I'll never forget their faces as they turned and smiled at each other so full of pride and joy.

Every year as spring is approaching I look for Robin Red Breasts because Grandpa told me when I was still a little boy that when they start appearing after the winter, spring is just around the corner. And I rejoice when they do. I have a special affinity for these beautiful, humble acting birds. Not just because they foretell the coming of spring, but for another very special reason.

When I was twenty Grandpa passed away. Of course, I was devastated. I mourned and went about life as we must do. I'll miss him till we're reunited naturally. I know he's anticipating it as do I. So, I spent time with Grandma and of course kept up the yard work. And one day as I was finishing up in the back yard the most wonderful thing happened. A Robin appeared seemingly out of nowhere. A young Robin. It hadn't been a Robin all that long. It came hopping right up to me; stopped about three feet directly in front of me and looked up straight into my eyes. Immediately I felt and knew the truth as I looked down meeting his gaze with mine. " Grandpa? " I inquired. I felt he had a question for me. I answered " Don't worry about Grandma. I'll take care of her. And I love you and I miss you so much. But everything is going to be okay Grandpa."

Then the young Robin Red Breast moved his head to one side then the other as if looking around the yard to see that all was in order. I believe he was satisfied that Grandma and the yard were being well looked after by me. And with that; my Grandpa turned and flew away.



Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14


Independence Day

So, here I am back at the ARC and after having a particularly horrible day and a mediocre dinner I went outside and sat down. As I sat there pondering my situation being very angry and trying to figure out how in the world I was to get out of this mess I have gotten myself into.

Then I noticed something. There were too small sparrows hopping around not far from me. It is the time of the year that the parent birds let the baby birds know they are no longer welcome in the nest and it's time to fend for themselves. I could tell this was the case because they were fluttering their wings, chirping and looking around like they do when they want to be fed. I'm sure they were feeling quite alone, lost, and afraid. I watched as they would momentarily give up, look at the ground, and peck at it just doing what came naturally. At not having acquired any food by the aimless pecking at the ground they again began fluttering their wings, chirping and looking to the sky for help. I could almost interpret their chirps as they cried," I don't want to do this! I'm lost and alone! I'm afraid!"

Boy, I'll tell you what folks. I feel exactly the same way as those baby birds. An outcast. Homesick. Scared. Wondering what will become of me. Left to fend for myself. Well, I don't want to do this!!! But I have no choice. Just like those baby birds, it's all a matter of survival now. My survival is dependent on my ability to learn from all this. To grow through this. To develop an immeasurable supply of patience so that I can deal with it all.

I too look to the sky for help. For of the only way I'm going to get through this is with God's help. So, friends, if you feel like those abandoned baby birds don't just aimlessly peck at the ground. Fall to your knees. Pray the very best you know how. Look to the sky. Cry out for God. He will come to your aid. He has been waiting for you to call on him all this time. He will provide food for you, shelter for you, teach you what it is you need to learn to survive, to live an amazing life. He will never abandon you or leave you to fend for yourself.

Today is July the fourth. I may not be at the river watching the fireworks with everybody else, but I am celebrating my Independence. Independence from the earthly, evil things that try to bind and enslave me. Join with me! Celebrate your salvation! Your freedom from bondage! Your new life with God! Make this your Independence day!!!



Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “ I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.”

Psalm 91:14-15 NIV


Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

My father, mother, older brother and sister did not graduate from High School. So, when I barely did, it was a really big deal. And when all the celebrating was over it was time to, well….. get a job. My family didn't really have any money or much ambition for that matter. There wasn't any aspiring to go to college, get a career. We pretty much just worked. So. That's about all I've done throughout my life; get jobs!

And for some reason, I've always had a hard time keeping them. Why up to this point there have only been two times in my life that I kept a job for up to two years. For one thing; I don't like jobs. Sure, some I thought I could make a career of but something would always happen. Their management training program ended, I would get laid off, fired or I just wouldn't like it and quit. Did I mention I don't like jobs?

Well throughout my twenties I moved in and out of my mother's house several times. I just couldn't make things work. Starting in my thirties mom was tired of all that and I ended up homeless having to move into an adult rehabilitation center. It was a nice place. I was always successful there. I would work my way up into good positions with them; save up enough money to move out having acquired a better job on the outside. But as if inevitably I would lose the job, my place and end up right back at the ARC. Something was very wrong with my life. Me!

I'll tell you something. My upbringing didn't exactly nurture success. For instance, my mother, God rest her soul, literally told me that dreams are just that. Dreams. Not to be pursued. One simply worked till they died trying to pay bills. It wasn't her fault. She just didn't know better. She had become a very negative, depressed, hopeless person during my adolescent years. So, forget any desires of the heart, grandiose dreams, or thoughts of being something great.

Now let's get back to the ARC. It was a spiritual place if you let it be. We were required to go to chapel and life classes most every day. It had a very structured environment. Maybe that's why I was always successful there. I believe God put me there to learn how to live. To reconnect with Him. To learn that with and through Him was the only way that I could succeed. I found an old piece of paper the other day. I remembered lying in my bunk at the ARC writing what was to be a journal. I was astonished when I read it. On that paper some twenty years ago, I wrote what was pretty much an accurate, complete outline for my recent writings!

You know, when I was sixteen I had a fleeting thought that I would like to be a writer. I even wrote a couple of short stories. When I was in the third-grade I wrote a poem that my teacher was so impressed with she said she was going to try to have it published. My heart had been telling me all along what to do. God had been telling my heart. So, one night about four years ago, God put a pen in my hand; paper in front of me and said " WRITE!”

So, I did. And I have been amazed ever since then at how He has guided my hand. I also now see how the events of the past several years have led me step by step, person by person, circumstance by circumstance to writing. Writing my story. Honoring God. I had a fleeting thought when I was sixteen. Now here I am. Writing.

God plants the seeds of our wants, dreams, and talents within all of us. He breathes them into us the very moment He creates us. It's up to us to water them. Nurture them. Grow with them. Bring them into reality. No wonder I never liked the jobs I had. I wasn't listening to my heart; to God. I wasn't fulfilling His plan for my life. My purpose. My destiny. Guess what Folks. He has all these things in store for you too. Those seeds are already there. Start watering them. Follow your heart. It's His will for you. His plan for you. Your purpose. Your destiny. Do not listen to the naysayers! The devil is a LIAR! If you want to live a happy, peaceful, prosperous life; go with your gut. Pay attention to what God is telling you to do. Then do it. He will lead you down the right path to happiness, fulfillment, and success. Do these things and you won't have to live the life I have lead; just getting jobs, jobs, jobs!



May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.

Psalm 20:4-5 NIV

Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop-a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.

Matthew 13:8-9 NIV


Mangy Stray Cat

Much to my mother's chagrin, I was always bringing home stray animals. Why at one point I had five cats and two dogs! Most were injured in some way when I found them. I would take them to the veterinarian who had a complete file of me and my animals. I would nurse them back to health, my mother would warm up to them and they would become a part of the family.

I would give them an obvious or odd name. Such as Cleopatra whom I found missing one eye. She had two kittens. One of them had a bobtail. His name? What else? Bobcat [Bobby for short.] The other kitten; Leo the lion. The first and largest of the bunch was a big yellow tomcat, Tom of course.

So, one day as I and my oak raft building friend were coming back from his house in the country, we stopped at a small-town convenience store. At the entrance to the store sitting on a trash can was this mangy looking white cat. I mean this cat had some serious kind of skin condition! He was clearly looking for a good home as he purred and rubbed up against me. Of very loving, mild mannered fellow. I could not resist. We put him in the truck and off we went to present my new-found joy to my mother!

" Get that mangy looking thing out of here!" was her first exclamation. Needless to say, I always got my way when it came to my strays. The veterinarian diagnosed him with some kind of skin fungus and gave me a solution to bathe him in which would rid him of it. He did not like those baths! It must have been very painful. Mind you now he was nearly hairless as well. As docile as he was he would howl and try to bite me with his decaying teeth during bath time. Well, as time went by, he healed up quite nicely and grew all his hair back. He was so loving. Such a good cat that naturally mom grew to love him. Oh! And his name; what else but Whitecat He was so happy to have been rescued, healed and very loved. He had beaten down his paths to his warm and, cozy place.

Hmmm. So where is this all leading to? Well, I guess a lot of us are like stray children of God and some of us can get pretty mangy too. We wander around the proverbial alleys of life, beating down paths, lost, looking for a purpose to our lives. Looking for a place to call home. Until one day the greatest rescuer of all finds us.

I will tell you what folks; this is a perfect analogy for my life! I have strayed around lost most of my life. Not knowing how to live, where to go, what to do. Wandering around in the proverbial alleys of life crying inside like an anguished, worn out, tired stray cat. I do believe I have found a home in God's loving, caring arms. I'm still shaking off fungus from the healing baths that's he has been giving me. And it has been very painful for his healing baths clean from the inside out.

And with His care, I am getting so much better. I can purr now. I feel warm and cozy in God's rescuing arms. Ha! Let me tell you. If God will take in a mangy stray like me who has been roaming aimlessly around for years; begin cleaning me up, healing and caring for me He will do it for anyone. His grace is for everybody. So, if you can relate to this, stop being a stray.

Simply ask God to take you in and begin working on you. It may be painful at first, but it will get better. You won't have to wonder around, lost in the alleys of life anymore. He will clean you up, give you purpose and unconditional love. Believe me when I say you will find your warm and cozy place with God. So please, stop being a mangy stray cat!



I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.

Ezekiel 34:15-16 NIV

And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.

Matthew 18:13 NIV


My Pleasure

While I was working at the hotel at the airport this lady started working there as the new Sales Director. Well, I guess it went to her head as I felt she was on a bit of a power trip. She was living there since she moved in from out of state for the position. She also tended to sit around consuming a fair amount of wine during the evenings.

Well, one particular night she was the Manager On Duty and just as I had finished work and was literally heading out the door she called out my name. I was almost out of the door. Should I keep going as if I did not hear her I thought. I was so close. Rats! I turned around and acknowledged that I did indeed hear her. She knew I was off the clock as well as leaving and still asked me to do something very insignificant just to usurp her authority. Apparently, she knew nothing about my explosive temper. I quickly and very angrily performed the task and stormed out.

Well, obviously, from then on, we clashed. So then one night she was again at the front desk as I brought in a guest and their luggage as usual. The guest thanked me for my assistance to which I responded: " You're welcome." Later in the evening, my coworker at the desk handed me a piece of folded paper. Now, this girl was my friend and knew me pretty well…. thus, the look of concern on her face. I unfolded the paper to see a note from the sales director lady informing me that I was to explicitly respond to the guests by saying " my pleasure."

What?! How dare she! I had been there a year and a half. I was the best driver they had. And this new wine consuming sales lady was telling me how to do my job by telling me word for word what to say?! Oh, my gosh; I said your welcome. Heavens to Betsy that wasn't good enough! Clearly, this lady was messing with me. And I say my pleasure sometimes anyway; I think.

Then after about two months, she got fired. What a relief. I wasn't under the gun anymore! And as time went on I found that when guests thanked me I found myself more and more responding with " my pleasure " instead of " your welcome. " And you know what? It made me feel good. So, good in fact I completely replaced " your welcome " with " my pleasure." Huh?! How could something so good and positive come from such adversity?!

To top it off I even began using the phrase in my daily life. No matter how small a service I perform such as cooking someone dinner, opening a door for a complete stranger, answering a question; whatever. I just go around saying my pleasure all day. Do you want to know why? Because I have discovered that it is truly a pleasure to serve others. In any capacity. Any way I can.

Hmm. God might give us some advice that we may not be so keen on. We especially may not like how or through whom it is given to us. Well, I'll tell you what if It's from God; if it's His will we had best pay heed to it! And it will turn out for the good. Doing God's will certainly gives Him pleasure and I'm sure He wants us to serve each other with extreme pleasure!

I hope things turned out well for that lady. From what I've heard since she didn't really even deserve to get fired from there. And as I look back I see that it was my temper that actually began our conflict. If I ever see her again and get the opportunity to do something for her such as opening a door; after she thanks me I will respectfully respond with " Ma'am. It is indeed my pleasure!"



Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Galatians 5:9-10 NIV

And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, “If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.”

Mark 9:35 KJV


Post

I've had a lot of posts in the three and a half years I've been a Security Officer. None of them have been exactly what I would call thrilling. The one I am at now requires me to make a log entry every twenty minutes showing exactly what I had done during that time. Well, I don't do anything but sit in an entryway to a senior care center. So, every twenty minutes my log entry consists of " Posted at entrance." Every twenty minutes for eight long hours. Day after day. Boring! I thought I was going to lose my mind!

Until if you recall from " Right Where You're Supposed to Be", I took an inspirational book written by a Pastor with me. Remember how reading that book reconnected me with God and writing stories again? Well then, when I was being moved to another post I had grown to love where I was and didn't even want to leave! It had become like my little Church, sanctuary, my writing office. But I had no choice. I had to go. And as if that wasn't enough; I did not like my new post either. Maybe I'm just hard to please. Heh. Most everyone who knows me would probably agree!

But thankfully God once again began inspiring me to continue writing. At this post, I sat in my car most of the time. So, I thought I would write in my car as God continued giving me ideas for stories. You know what? He keeps putting me right where I'm supposed to be at just the right times. Why I've been writing like there's no tomorrow! Writing like I could never have ever imagined I was capable of doing! Story after story. Day after day. Week after week. All summer long! In extreme heat. While it poured down rain. When I was sick. When I was in a bad mood. Through a terrible toothache. Most people would say " I don't know what came over me." But I know. The Holy Spirit. That's what came over me!

God had turned this unpleasant circumstance into a tremendous blessing as well! I had a very painful stiff neck from cocking my head down and to the side writing, writing, writing. So, let me tell you what Folks. I've had several posts but these last two have meant so very much to me. Through these blessings, I'm learning to " post" with God.

Hmmm. Let me ask you;" Where are you posted?" Are you in a cubicle working on a computer? Shut it down once in a while. Pray. No one has to know. You can pray in your head with your eyes open if need be! Are you in a fast-paced environment such as a restaurant, hotel, etc.? Take five minutes. Three if that's all you can spare. Go to the bathroom or wherever you can get a moment alone. Be quiet, breathe, and focus on the Lord. Just be with God for a few moments. Are you working in a hospital in some capacity? Pray for all of the patients. It will come back to you. Are you at home with the kids? Tell them YOU need a time out. If you have to stick your nose in the corner of the wall to be with God and get some peace and quiet; do it! Delivering pizzas? Man, ask God to bless those pizzas with warmth as you pray to find the address on time!

What I'm saying here is that no matter what you do for a living; keep God in your mind and in your day. He will the provide strength, guidance, patience and perseverance you need to get through your day. One day at a time. Every day. Put these efforts into practice consistently and you will be happier. You will be more vibrant. You will be more productive. You will have a better peace and calm about you. You will be blessed! So, what I have to say about all this is " Wherever you are posted; post with God!



But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not whither. Whatever he does prospers.

Psalm 1:2-3 NIV


Praise Through The Pain

The other night I was lying on the couch staring at the TV and feeling, well just very blah. Physical, and emotionally drained. So, I started praying as best I could at the moment. Saying" God I am hurting but I know it's because you are working on me. Changing me." I prayed for the inspiration to write something and was reminded of an idea that came to me the other day.

Now, I'm a pretty tough nut to crack and I've been set in my ways of living for so many years. I see now how God has been changing me little by little for many years. But boy howdy! Lately, he's really cranked it up. Changing me a lot by a lot! It's uncomfortable and it hurts. He has had me working on all of my bad habits including laziness, pessimism and a whole host of mental and emotional issues. Why, I've even been exercising in the heat, keeping my apartment and car clean so that I will feel better about myself and because I am now representing Him. We must take and show pride in what we have and who we are if we are to represent God.

I even took a lesser paying job because I was going on a straight downhill slope at the other one. And I don't mean a path. I'm talking a steep slope. Thus, the financial struggles began once again. But I'll tell you what; it is all worth it. When we ask God to run our lives because we can't and to change us because we don't like who we've become, look out!

Because He will go to work on you and you will experience discomfort, emotional and possibly even physical pain. This is the best time to say "Praise God. Thank you, God, for working in my life. Though it is painful I thank You for changing me. Because I know that it's all for my own good, your Glory, and your will for my life." That's what I do. I praise Him through the pain.

And I really, really pray that He will turn things around soon when I'm feeling just terrible. At these times, he usually does make me feel at least somewhat better in some way. Sometimes by sending me a song that uplifts me, or a phone call from someone, time with Nicholas or Jenny. I might find myself on the tennis court, exercising. Or get inspiration to write a story. Over time this all has an accumulative effect making me feel better and better. Stronger. Happier. More faithful. Closer to Him. More knowing that this is all to turn me into an eagle so that I may fly. To soar above and over all the problems and woes, to the realization of my dreams and His purpose for my life of prosperity, love, joy and peace. Oh sweet, wonderful peace.

So, listen up my newly found friends for this is extremely important. If you begin finding yourself in some sort of physical, mental, or emotional discomfort; ponder. Ponder whether or not it is God at work. Especially if you've been praying the best you know how for a better, more prosperous, more rewarding, more meaningful life. Ponder the possibility that He is working on you. Ask Him if he is changing you. If you feel that the answer to that question is yes, give thanks like you never have before! Thank Him for proving himself. Thank Him for working on you. Thank Him for changing you. Thank him for putting you on the path to a better life. Praise Him, praise Him, praise Him! He will see and hear your faith, thanks, and appreciation for His great works. Then with all this, he will comfort, reward, and bless you if and as you Praise Through the Pain!



For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Romans 8:18 KJV

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:10-11 NIV


Right Around The Corner

One evening just a couple of years ago, I was having a particularly bad night. I was a van driver for a hotel at the Airport. At 49 years, old I had only been there about a year and a half. It was a job for younger person, a college student. But it was all I could get at my age. It wasn't all that bad but I was pretty down about the whole thing. So, I was working this night and I was feeling pretty depressed, wondering how I was going to get out of this situation, better myself, do something with my life. Just feeling a bit lost.

So, anyway I pick up a man from the terminal and having a hard time putting on my happy sales face I cracked a weak smile and asked how he was doing as he got into the van. A bit depressingly he said" OK I guess"." I'm working, that's what it's all about, right?" Under my breath, I managed to respond with" I suppose." It was clear we were both feeling very down. I could feel his sadness as we made the short 5-minute circle back to the hotel, as the hotel was just right around the corner. We didn't say another word to each other during the ride.

As we pulled into the hotel drive, trying to come up with something positive to say to work a tip from the man, I said," well at least it's Friday". He said," that's right and this week and I'm going to see my granddaughter," as a spark of hope came into is eyes. I felt a rise in myself as I said excitedly," and I'm going to be with my grandboy this weekend!" The man became increasingly excited as he pointed his finger towards me and joyfully said," that's what it is all about!" I pointed my hand back towards him and said thrillingly," that's exactly right!" At that moment, we were lifted out of our depressions and felt a surge of happiness. Together we had found hope and meaning in our lives!

The man gave me a $5.00 tip which was a good one for the short drive. We shook hands smilingly appreciating each other as he walked into the hotel. I felt so relieved and uplifted for the rest of my shift. You see, we never walk alone, even during the bad times. And when all seems hopeless and lost God will put someone or something into our lives at exactly the right moment. Just as He did for me and that nice gentleman. So, when you think it can't get any worse, try not to fret too much. God has someone or something to pick you up right around the corner.



Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Romans 5:3-5 NIV


The Great Race

I remember one time when I was about nine or ten years old my mother took me to the local strip mall. To the shoe store, we always went to when I needed a new pair of tennis shoes. Well after picking out my new tennies, [ which I was very proud of], I went outside to try them out while my mother paid for them. There was another boy there who had just gotten a brand-new pair himself.

I'll tell you; I have NEVER seen anyone so excited about a new pair of tennis shoes. I mean this kid was jumping up and down and all around exclaiming " These are the greatest shoes I've ever had! They are so awesome!" As he joyously bounced up and down. " I'm going to be able to run faster than ever now" he beamed. " I bet I can beat you in a race. Wanna race me? Huh? Come on race me! Bet I beat you! Come on," he challenged. I simply said " Okay."

Now I was a pretty small kid but I was fast. He was a little taller than me and carrying a bit too much extra weight. I felt like I could win the race. " From this pole to that one," he said lining out the race course. I would say the distance was about forty feet or so. We both crouched down in a starting position as he counted down. " On three! One, two, three, Go!" Off we went! We took off like a couple of rockets! We were neck and neck! When we reached about the halfway mark I realized that I was pulling away and would easily win even though he was giving it all he had; full bore, full steam ahead, pedal to the metal!

At this very moment, something came over me. " I have to let him win. I cannot burst this kid's bubble", I quickly thought. So, I backed off a bit to make it look like he was catching up. Getting his second wind! And as he gave it his all I felt like I was in a light jog. So, there we were; neck and neck coming to the finish line! It was so close! And just when we reached the finish line I backed off just enough more so that he triumphantly finished first.

Man, he was ecstatic. " I did it! I did it! I won! I beat you! I told you these were the fastest shoes ever!" he gloatingly rejoiced. " They sure are," I said not even feeling winded. Then he happily waved goodbye to me as our mothers gathered us up. What had happened to me? I had the most wonderful sensation having let him win because he would have been so bummed if he would have lost the race. Devastated probably. I mean after all he did have the fastest shoes on earth, right? I didn't really know it then, but perhaps for the first time, I had felt true compassion and empathy for my fellow man.

" What are you doing? Do you know that boy?" my mother asked inquisitively. " Ah, nothing. He's just some kid who got new tennis shoes too" I replied. I'll never forget how good I felt that I had thrown the race and let him win. It totally made his day.

So, what I'm thinking is that if you are better at something than others; Be proud and thankful for this talent. But don't be a showoff. You don't have to prove your the best every time. Definitely do not go around gloatingly about your above average ability at something. Live humbly. That's one thing the Good Lord wants from all of us. Show kindness, compassion and empathy everywhere you go. God will make sure it all comes full circle back to you.

You know folks; I was actually feeling really down for several reasons when I started writing this and now I feel so uplifted and pleased. I think God just sent some of that compassion back to me full circle! So here it is: Be proud. Be humble. Be kind. Don't gloat. And heck; maybe even throw a great race once in a while!



Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.

1 Peter 3:8 NIV


Worth The Risk?

Yesterday Jenny and I tried a new restaurant. We were a bit disappointed and won't go back. And it was my 53rd birthday dinner at that! I wanted a great big, juicy steak and baked potato. All I was able to get was a small steak and fries. We were talking about it as we were driving back to my apartment. At one point, I said, "well that's the risk you take when you try something new." Hmmm", I thought.

You know, every time we try something we take a risk. A risk of being disappointed. A risk of not succeeding. A risk of getting hurt. On the other hand, in taking a risk we may receive great rewards, success, love, blessings. Why without taking a risk we could never accomplish anything. If we never took a risk, we would be nowhere man! If we never tried new things the world would be a very different place. All the singers, actors, authors, politicians, every famous person we know of would simply not have accomplished greatness. We wouldn't even know they ever existed.

You don't have to be famous to enjoy success by taking risks. Commonplace people such as you and me have accomplished many great things by taking risks. And I'll tell you what else folks, God is waiting on each and every one of us to take a risk on him! Becoming spiritual is not without its risks. The risk of discovering our flaws. The risk of bringing up old wounds and pain. Even the risk of losing relationships. But the risks of establishing a relationship with God are well worth it.

By taking the risks of believing in and having faith in the Lord, we will be well rewarded. Success, love, and blessings beyond our imaginations are simply waiting for us. It's not much of a gamble really. It's promised by God! So, my question to you is," do you want to settle for a small steak and fries, or do you want a great big, juicy steak and baked potato?" Then stop settling and take a risk on God, you'll receive what you really deserve! He is well worth the risk!




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