Sunday, December 11, 2011
I like to get a good deal as well as the next person.Coupons and discounts and bargains are fun. But I think we have to be careful because sometimes a 'deal' for us comes at a price for someone else. I'll use two personal experiences as examples.
A couple of years ago - right at Christmas time - Grace and Aaron were living in an apartment and they had to pay their rent with a money order. Aaron went to Walmart and paid cash for a money order. He was in a hurry to get to the rent office before they closed so he didn't take the time to write the name of the apartment complex on the money order while still in Walmart. And he put the receipt in the envelope with the money order. It was cold and raining, so he rushed out to his car and drove home. He stopped at the office to pay the rent and when he got out of the car he had the envelope in his pants pocket. But somewhere between his car and the office, it fell out. By the time he got into the office - realized he didn't have the envelope and went back out to look for it - the envelope and the money order were gone. He said another guy was getting out of his car at the same time and he figures the guy saw him drop the envelope and picked it up. Then instead of giving it to Aaron - he kept it. And since the receipt was in the envelope - there was no way to cancel it. Of course we were all sick about it. They had to pay a late fee since they didn't get the rent there on time. Aaron's mother loaned him the money to pay the rent and then they paid her back with Grace's Christmas bonus. Grace said for weeks after that when driving through the apartment complex she would look at each door and wonder if the person who stole the money lived there. Even though it was a bad experience, it's in the past. It was just money and we have all moved on. But I wonder sometimes what the guy who took their money did with it. And I wonder how different things would have been if he would have given the money order back to Aaron. If he could have been a part of a Christmas miracle instead of a little Christmas tragedy.
Another story. Emily is leaving Rexburg after the Fall term and she won't be going back until the Spring term. Almost two years ago she bought a 1988 Honda Accord with a lot of miles on it. The car is nothing to look at and it's a stick shift - but overall it has been a good dependable car for her. Since Andy has a newer, somewhat nicer car that she will inherit while he's on his mission, she decided to sell her car. She's been living on about $50 a week since September so the prospect of having a lot of money all at once was wonderful. She has been dreaming of all the things she would do with the money - rent a storage room to store her stuff until Spring, buy a few new clothes including a heavy coat, and buy lots of Christmas presents. She was asking $650 - which was below the blue book value - and hoping for a quick sale. Yesterday a man came to see it. He test drove it and then proceeded to tell her what an awful car it was. Finally he said he would not pay one penny more than $500 for it. She needed the money and so she took the $500. Maybe the car wasn't worth any more than that or maybe the man couldn't afford more than that. If he couldn't afford more, I wish he had said that so she could have gone away from the experience feeling like she helped someone. If the car wasn't worth more, I wish he had just said that - in a nice way. But I'm afraid that he saw an opportunity to take advantage and probably drove away proud of himself for getting such a good deal. Emily still has enough money to accomplish most of the things on her dream list, but it could have been such a different experience for her if the 'buyer' had used a different approach. Emily could have concentrated on the miracle of having $500 instead of feeling like she'd been cheated.
Praying that miracles will overcome human nature in your life this Christmas season!!!!
Thursday, November 24, 2011
My new goal is to post every week. But I know myself (and my life) well enough not to promise!
The year is almost gone and I have no idea where it went! Since it's been a year since I posted - I'm going to run through the highlights. In February we were able to have the whole family together for a few days in Nauvoo, Illinois.
We were able to participate in the commemorative walk to the River representing our pioneer ancestors and it was fun to be together - although it almost got cancelled before it even started because of weather. Most people would be nervous about trying gather 20 people from Idaho, Utah, Alabama and Mississippi in Nauvoo in February because of possible weather problems. But I am an optimist (and we had done it for the past 2 years without any problems). So we invested a small fortune in plane tickets and rented the Hyrum Smith Farmhouse and rented vans and bought groceries and then - the worst blizzard in a long time (maybe FOREVER) hit. It was predicted to really hit the St. Louis area - which was where we were flying our college kids in, thinking we could save them a lot of travel time by picking them up on our way through. So we changed their plane tickets to Birmingham which meant they missed an extra day of school, had to fly all the way here from Salt Lake, and then drive all the way to Nauvoo. Laura and Josh were leaving from Idaho and they were behind the storm. Our hope was that they could stay that way and follow it into Nauvoo. So after some soul searching and discussion and tears and praying - we decided to delay one day (not really a choice since the interstates were closed) and then head out and hope we made it. My prayer was that the St. Louis area might be spared so that we could travel through. I knew that 20 people and their vacation plans were not the most important consideration for the Lord. People died in the blizzard. But it was very important to us and for our family. Vacation days had been taken, school excuses given, money spent - if we didn't go now, we couldn't go. As we were packing to leave we saw a weather report from St. Louis. The reporter was standing in about a foot of snow, the night was clear and calm behind her. And she said that while St. Louis had been predicted to bear the major brunt of the storm, it had been amazingly spared and most major roads were open. I'm sure many people prayed during that storm, but when she said those words I knew the Lord had heard and answered my prayer. My husband looked at me and said, "You got your miracle." So we all headed out and all had our share of scares and adventures - but finally we all made it to Nauvoo. Because of the snow we had to make some alterations to our schedule. The kids got to walk out on the frozen river and they got to go sledding (Alabama-style with tubes). The snow and the cold and even the adversity we faced just getting there made the walk to the river, thinking of our ancestors and all the other pioneers who made the original trip, extra special.
In March we were able to rent a house on Smith Lake during spring break and all our 'local' children and grandchildren were able to spend at least part of the week with us there. With every spare minute I had to be working on the re-write of Proceed with Caution - a semi-sequel to the Duty Series. I should have enjoyed the vacation more and written the book less because when I submitted it - the readers weren't thrilled with it (for the second time) and I was told they were going to shelve it and for me to start working on something else. I had an idea for the 3rd Kennedy Murder book - but it is very hard for me to shift gears like that. And my confidence was shaken - I'll admit. I wondered if I had finally reached the end of what had been a wonderful and wild book-writing ride.
In May Andy graduated from McAdory High School and had been accepted to BYU-Idaho, so he was working 2 jobs and preparing for that.
As soon as school ended for the summer Cathy and her family moved to Mississippi. I had been promising my grandmother for weeks that I would come to Headland and bring Grace and Scarlett with me. So in the middle of June we went down and visited for a few days. Then on June 28th Thad was born.
Two weeks later I was at Jamie and Paris's house babysitting when I got the call from my father saying that my grandmother - who was 91 years old at the time - had been taken to the hospital for emergency gall bladder surgery. She spent the next two months in either the hospital or an extended-care facility. There were times when I thought she was not going to survive the ordeal and there were times when I thought she might never see her home again. But she fought a difficult battle and is now home and doing almost everything she was able to do before the surgery. She turned 92 in September and is unquestionably one of the greatest blessings in my life. The only good thing about her ordeal is that it gave me a lot of opportunities to be in her company and I treasure every moment.
I'm sure that I am forgetting some important things that have happened. My job changed at school - I am now the Library Aide and loving that.
In October Andy submitted his mission papers and got a call to the North Carolina Raleigh Mission. We are all so excited for him and the people he will meet and serve! He reports to the MTC on February 15th.
And somewhere in the middle of my duties and opportunities as wife, mother, and granddaughter - I have been trying to write a book. It seemed that the harder I worked the farther I got from being finished. I just couldn't settle on some of the major aspects of the plot. But finally - at long last - I completed the manuscript I am calling Murder by Association. I submitted it to my editor at Covenant this past Tuesday (and I will give more updates on how it is received by the 'test readers' and whether or not it will be coming out in the spring/summer!) Then I had a root-canal on Weds...and I'm fixing Thanksgiving dinner today (in between website posts...) Tomorrow I'll be babysitting for my children who plan to be out all night tonight getting Black Friday deals... But on Sat I plan to start working on Proceed with Caution again and hopefully can get it reworked so that it can come out next fall. We'll see.
Thanks to all of you who read my books and care about me and my life! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!!!