Saturday, February 17, 2007

Rambling Thoughts

I can't believe it has been so long since I last posted. I have written many entries in my thoughts, but I haven't had time to put them on paper. Last Sunday one of my dear friends came to visit with 3 of her 7 children. It was suppose to be a short visit, but her van broke down on the trip to our house. I got to enjoy three more days with her. ( I promise I didn't pray for the van to break down). However, it was nice to have an extended time of fellowship with her and her children. So instead of computing, I spent time fellowshiping with good conversation, eating much food, and loving on her children.

Before Valentine's Day, I had meant to post a tradition that we celebrate in our home. As I have mentioned before, we have 4 boys and 1 girl. Several years ago, Michael was at the grocery store on Valentine's Day and happened to pick up a small box of chocolates for our daughter. (We have never celebrated Valentine's Day as a couple so this was truly a spontaneous purchase for Hope). He brought it home just for her, and she lit up with such joy. She was amazed that her Daddy would buy her something WITHOUT buying something for the boys. She immediately realized that this was a special moment between her and her Daddy. Michael has continued this tradition ever since. She looks forward to his gifts of love, and she works hard to return a handmade card for him. This is their special day...a time to share their special father/daughter love for each other. I truly love watching her as she spends those special moments with her Daddy.

We went to a local cell phone store today to purchase new cell phones due to a job change that is on the horizon for Michael. I was amazed at all the information that was available, and the choices were mind boggling. (And yes, we had already done our homework...just think how we would have felt had we gone in there unprepared). We quickly chose our plan as well as our phones. We then went to the checkout to pay for our purchase and to start our new plan. As the man was checking us out, I noticed the receipt kept growing very long. (I am thinking they could lower the phone service if they made the receipts a bit shorter to save on costs). Then came the kicker....yes, the price that was posted for ALL of the phones in the store already included the rebate. If the price was $79, that was the price AFTER the mail in rebate. Michael and I are intelligent people who read the fine print. We somehow missed this part of the deal. So instead of the phone costing $79 minus the mail in rebate the phone cost $79 including the mail in rebate. This brought the price of the phone to $129 minus the mail in rebate. (I am thinking the phone will cost a total of $29 instead of $79). I am feeling a bit "taken" at this point, but at the same time I am making a mental note to READ all fine print BEFORE purchase even if it requires a magnifying glass. I notice the receipt kept growing longer. This is NEVER a good sign to me. I kept thinking that my cow money was getting smaller and smaller with every passing moment! The clerk took the receipt and read it to us so we would know exactly what we had purchased. (What ever happened to knowing what you purchased ahead of time)? I thought we knew, but this is where we were told about the REAL cost of the phone. Also we were charged $50 to activate our first phone and $25 to activate all other phones. Those chargers were NOT in any fine print that I saw. I guess I was expected to know that after purchasing a phone and signing a 2 year contract that I would then have to pay to turn the phone on. Something isn't adding up with me here. Due to the fact that the phone was needed for business, we went ahead and agreed to all of their extra charges. I couldn't help but coming away feeling a bit disgruntled. I would have never allowed my children to manipulate me in this manner. If my kids presented me with information like this, I would have told them they were twisting truths and in my book that is the same as lieing. I truly wish companies would deal with the public honestly. I still bought their package, but I felt like I had been manipulated and cheated somewhat. I would have felt a lot better about the deal had everything been handled more honestly.

This story of our encounters today wasn't added just so I could whine about my new cell phone plan. However, I thought about how frustrated I felt today standing in the store. I also thought about buying and selling from good honest Christian people. That is such a much better transaction. I KNOW what I am buying. Michael and I have a dream to one day make this farm one that earns an income for our family. I pray that I always remember the way I felt today standing in that store. I felt cheated and manipulated. My heart is to provide people with a service that they want and feel good about when the transaction is completed. I was also reminded that this is the reason that Michael and I buy from Christian sources whenever possible. If that had been a Christian store, I would have called them on their manipulative tactics. I would have confronted it for what it was, and I would have had the Bible to make my case. I hold Christian businesses at a higher standard than I hold secular businesses. I
haven't' been disappointed very often with this method.

As I said earlier, Michael is making a job change. I will let him tell more about what he is leaving and where he is going. One thing we haven't addressed on our blog is the fact that Michael has been working shift work. (We didn't want complete strangers to know that he was gone all night). Michael had worked shift work when he was in the Navy, but for the last 10 years he had been on a regular shift. When Michael was on night shifts, his entire weekend was shot because he slept all day and stayed awake all night. As you can imagine, our kids were not seeing much of him. About the time his body had adjusted to that schedule, it was time to shift back to day shifts. He would have to leave the house by 5:15 a.m. His physical body didn't know whether it was coming or going. He would fall asleep any time he sat down for any length of time. He was grumpy because he hates to sleep in the first place, and he felt like all he ever did was sleep. Our entire family is celebrating because Michael will not be working shift work any longer. (His prayer is that he will NEVER have to work 3rd shift again). This is a huge deal for our family. I am so thankful that God gave us the desire of our heart in this area.

My children just informed me that the snow is actually accumulating so I am going to check it out for myself. We haven't had any snow this year other than a few dustings so I am anxious to see the beauty of it for myself. Until next time...

grace and peace,

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