Saturday, June 23, 2012

Meet the people, next phase

7:23 p.m. Today's project was to join Cara at a Mary Kay table so we could publicize our product line and gather leads for the next month.  The best part of this opportunity is that the small shopping center where host Grove Dental is located, is only about 3 miles from my house. It won't faze a potential customer to set an appointment in my home, or if we meet in her home, it's close by for me. Since the Orangecrest, Woodcrest and Mission Grove were targeted, all of the vendors had to be part of the community and most of the families who attended were too. I was actually asked by a few vendors and some of the attendees, are you local here? And I happily replied, "Yep! My kids went to Taft and Rivera Elementary schools, Amelia Earhart Middle, and 3 graduated from King High."  So I do have genuine street cred in the community! Amusingly, I was a member of the Board of Education when a good many of the schools out there were planned and built.

The Lord pointed out to me, as I went over my impressions of the day, that I didn't see anyone I knew except an elementary school friend of Heidi's, among the considerable crowd. But in Phase I of my reaching out and seeking public connections in Riverside neighborhood,s I was a parent of 5 children ranging in ages from preschool to high school, reaching out to voters. And the thousands of voters who put me into elective office from 1992-2005, 13 years, were parents as well.. It was so evident that the Lord ordained Phase I of my public life, because when I answered His call to run for office, He used me to change the entire school district to one that was much more pleasing to Him! As I shared with the Bible study ladies Thursday, Proverbs 16:7 says,

When a man's ways please the LORD, even His enemies will be at peace with him.

In this later phase, II, there have been at least two reasons to reach out to the public: seven years ago, I began a Bible study for the summer with 5 women studying Colossians at Barbara McConaghy's house. We met on Fridays, because I was teaching summer school at a middle school in Jurupa USD Monday through Thursday, 9-1 p.m. (Imagine an economy healthy enough to finance elementary summer school)! In the next years, we switched to Thursdays, doubled in size, and studied Ephesians two years, with notes the LORD gave me. Then we used the completed Galatians study, which was published the following year. Next came I Samuel with the study that was written in the 1980's for two years; and now we are in II Samuel, first half.

In this phase, my ministry, public service and teaching career, and the kids' post-high school educations continued to flourish, with support for their on-campus and near-campus living arrangements definitely affordable for Steve and me, both at the peak of our earning power. We had our ups and downs, conflict and consternation as a family, but the Lord, as Ephesians 4:6 says, was above all, and through all, and in us all.

But this phase also saw Steve come down with early-onset dementia and the loss of his beloved and successful career in plastics. One lesser job followed another, until he was unable to work. Truck driving school was a fine effort, but he was dismissed at the end of the course for his inability to memorize the 200+ point safety protocol before you can even turn on the engine of a big rig. Poor guy, he studied so hard, and now we are left with a $6,000 debt. Our family rallied. Those living at home chipped in towards the bills, Then the Lord put His plan for me, birthed before the foundation of the earth, into motion. In 2009, I had attained the correct age and had worked the exact number of years needed to be able to retire. This seemed like an odd move logically and financially, when Steve was on State and then Social Security disability. But in Isaiah 55:8, 9 God says of Himself and us,

...neither are your ways My ways... so are My ways higher than your ways.

Retirement brought 2 fine years of travel, Disneyland passes, and camping fun with friends. we traveled with grandsons and our dogs in our RV around southern California and all the way to Yellowstone National Park. Retirement made it  possible for me to edit my Galatians study and have it published by Tate, while Steve spent time with friends, working in an orchard, working on cars or seeing the $2.00 movie. We also enjoyed celebrations and dinners out with our kids and their spouses.

As Steve's condition deteriorated, and our savings ran out, I became much more serious about my Mary Kay business, and found it enjoyable, people-oriented, and profitable, paying bills and bringing cheer to others. The hours are part time, and actually create employment for the caregivers who stay with Steve here, and adds to the income of the the adult daycare he attends 5 days a week, and the special bus drivers who get him there. And special fun events like boutiques, expos and health fairs like today's event in Orangecrest add to my incentive to work hard and introduce the product and service to every woman. I also desire to help women reach their business goals.

The free In & Out cheeseburger, chips and sodas made for a nice "sweetener" from the Lord for our service to the people in the Orangecrest community. I pray my witness was solid and attractive to the ladies we talked to!  John 3:16:

For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  

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