Talk about a new experience; working Retail during the approaching holiday season is insane! It isn’t that the work is hard—just routine—it is the attitude and temperament of the people we are assisting. The fact that you do that for such a small amount of pay causes my appreciation for those who do this to grow by leaps and bounds. Our current situation is still touch-and-go at best; but it is moving forward—ever so slowly. This picture might help you understand. Imagine yourself underwater; your head craned as far back as you can manage. Imagine your nostrils are just above the waterline enough so that you can breathe. As long as the water stays calm you are able to catch a breath. However the water is seldom calm. The little ripples of life come along rolling over your exposed nostrils with no regard of where you are in the breathing process—inhaling or exhaling. On the inhale, you chock and desperately attempt to raise yourself to find some air—quite the challenge. On the exhale you hold your breath as long as you can, waiting for the ripple to pass. I had a couple of these episodes this week. Everything works as long as there are no ripples. As I have mentioned before, I donate plasma in order to make this time in our lives work—keeping our nostrils above water. I wasn’t able to donate on my regular schedule—to no fault of my own. This money is my gas money. This “ripple” meant that I would have to wait another day—burning more gas—which meant I be behind in keeping enough gas in the car—catching the ripple on the inhale. To my surprise my donation the next day paid an extra $10—enough to cover the extra gas and keep everything on track. For me, this is where I turn my eyes toward heaven and say, “Thank you Father.” The second ripple occurred when my first part-time job changed my hours thus interfering with the schedule of my second part-time job. I went into my first part-time job prepared to give them my two-week notice—something I could not afford to do, but they offered the least amount of hours. I explained the situation to the HR person who—to my surprise—said, “No problem,” and corrected the hours. This was the second time that I turned my eyes toward heaven and said, “Thank you Father.” I convey the stories because for me they speak of the care—albeit small—that my God is giving me in the midst of this situation. I can rant and rave, cuss and fuss or kick and scream at God and everyone in my path; which gets me what? It will get people around me—those who are on my side—upset with me as well as enable me to have a rotten day. It will cause bitterness and resentment to be planted in my heart concerning God; which will only serve to draw me away from him rather than toward him. I can spend my time shouting that I don’t understand, or how unfair it is, or even shaking my fist in the air as if I could strike God with it. None of that will assist me in moving forward in the midst of an ugly situation. Psychologists will tell you that you need to express your angry emotions rather than bury them within yourself—I agree completely. There must be someone you can “dump” on who will not take it personally. For me I write; which means—I suppose—that you who read this are the ones that I “dump” on. So thank you for helping me stay on track and continue to move forward in the great water of life!