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January 2009
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March 2009

Peace, glorious peace!

    I am, at this very moment, sitting in a completely quiet house.  At 1:37 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon.  Do you know how often that happens?   Oh, about - um - never!  This is pure bliss. 
    For the most part I'm a pretty social person.  I like to have people over, hang out with friends and family, chat with the hubby...but sometimes, I just want to be left alone.  Really alone.  It's almost as if I need to recharge my batteries periodically, and the only way I can do that is to get away from all the noise and activity that usually defines my life and just be still for a little bit. 
    This weekend is a bit quieter than usual anyway, because youngest son is on a winter youth retreat with the church.  Since Seth is the source of much of the noise in our house (God bless him), his absence makes quite a difference.  Luke and Faith are much more low-key than Seth, and they like to wander off and do their own thing.  So it's already more peaceful.  But Jon just took both of them off to do some running around and very sweetly left me home ALL ALONE.   No music playing, no-one asking me random questions, no weird noises from the Wii or one of their other game systems....just peace.  Aaaaahhhhh....and the sun is shining, too.  Bliss!

Give a little love

    I'm sure that some of you may not have noticed, but our economy really stinks right now.  (Yes, I'm being sarcastic.)  For most of us, that means really tightening up on our spending; holding on to every dollar we can, putting off unnecessary purchases, squeezing those pennies until Lincoln squeals like a little girl!  Nothing wrong with that, either.  This is certainly not the time to be foolish with your money.  Still, it's easy to let frugality and caution slide into selfishness and hoarding, which are not good things at any time. 
   A couple weeks ago we'd learned that one of the older ladies in our church had given money that was earmarked to replace her glasses to her grandkids, to help with some unexpected college costs.  Both lenses of her glasses were cracked, but she still sacrificed that money to help family.  That really bothered Seth (youngest son).  He'd fussed and fumed for days, but yesterday he took action.  He took $50 from his savings and took it to Lila at church yesterday morning.  At first she thought it was from Jon and I and tried to give it back to him, but when she understood that it was from Seth, she burst into tears. 
    Now, $50 may not sound like a lot of money, but for a 13-year-old who's been saving for months, that was a big chunk of change.  That meant that the RC airplane he'd been saving for was once more out of reach.  Does he need that airplane?  Of course not, but he sure wants it!  So it was a real sacrifice for him.  How often do I give up something I really want, just to help someone else?  Not very often.
    So today, I'm not only proud of Seth for having such a generous heart, I'm challenged to be more giving myself.  If you want to show love, giving is a good way to go.  As I've said before, we aren't rich, but we can sure share what we have. 


    Jon found out yesterday that his job is not being cut, at least at this time.  While there are definitely still rough waters ahead, for now his position is secure.  We are more than grateful for the to make the best possible use of the time God's given us! 
    Something that's really been weighing on us is the idea of using what we have to help others, especially in times like these.  We're far from rich by the world's standards, but we have a comfortable home, clothes to wear, food to eat, and lots of other stuff we don't need but definitely enjoy.  So we're looking for ways to share, whether that be loaning a vehicle we aren't using, letting someone stay here while they look for a job or place to live, etc.  Our feeling is, God didn't allow us to have all this just so we can selfishly hoard it; we have it so we can share.  And while we're sharing our "stuff", maybe a little love will rub off too. 

The waiting game

    One thing I've learned about myself over the years is that I don't like uncertainty or surprises.  I'm fine with making changes, but I want to at least have a starting point, a baseline.  If something's going to happen, I like to know as much as possible before the event occurs.  I have told my husband many times that if he really wants to know what it's like to sleep on the couch, all he has to do is throw a surprise party for me.  He'd be in the living room in a heartbeat.  I realize that my level of control over most of what happens in my life is minimal at best, but I like to be as prepared as possible.  Sometimes, though, that's just not happening.  Like now.
    Last week Jon came home and told me that his company is going to be making more personnel cuts sometime this month.  We don't know who will be cut; how they're deciding who to cut; when, exactly, the cuts will take place; or if the company is going to continue to give severance packages to those who lose their jobs.  Since he is the least-experienced member of his team, we're pretty much expecting that he will be the one to go, but we don't know that yet, and it's driving me crazy.  There are so many variables involved that I feel as if I can't make any sort of cohesive plan, and I HATE that!  Is he getting cut?  Don't know.  Who is?  Don't know.  Will he get severance?  Don't know!  Not to mention all the other questions...will we have to move?  Will we be able to sell our house?  What happens if Jon can't find another job?  How are we going to manage without health insurance?  ('Cause we sure as heck can't afford Cobra!)   What if we can't sell the house - are we going to be forced into foreclosure?    Argh! 
    Obviously we have very little - okay, no - control over this situation.  Jon doesn't get to decide if he keeps his job, we can't make anyone buy our house, etc.  I realize that.  I just want to know if this is really going to happen, you know?  Just give me a few more facts to work with, and at least I'll feel like I can be acting rather than  reacting.  There really is a difference, and it can a very important difference.  We cannot sit and wait for someone to come along and bail us out.  I firmly believe that God does have a plan, and that all will be well in the end; however, I also firmly believe that God expects us to get off our rumps and do what we need to do with whatever tools He's given us.  I'm just waiting to see what tools we'll have, and the waiting is hard. 

Good grief, not again

    I'm having another one of those shake your head, mumble disbelievingly, hope it's just a dream Mondays.  Saturday morning our heating system pooped out - again.  You may remember that it died in early November and was finally resurrected, after a lengthy and somewhat frustrating round of exchanges with our home warranty's technician of choice.  Of course the same guy came out again (oh joy) and this time, he informed us that the boiler system is toast and needs to be replaced.  Yay.
    Now, in our minds this would mean that our home warranty would cover said replacement.  After all, isn't that the purpose of the thing?  But NOOOOOO, they will not!  Apparently replacing the system would cost more than our policy limit.  (Let it be noted here that our policy limit wouldn't cover any type of boiler system, as far as we can determine.  Nice, eh?)   So here we are, Feb. 2, 2009, with no heat, no hot water, and no idea what we're going to do to replace our heating system.  Okay, we have space heaters and a gas fireplace that works, and when this happened last time Jon installed a point-of-use water heater in our bathroom so we can at least get hot showers.  But good grief, people, we live in Michigan!!  Those are temporary solutions at best. 
    Supposedly our home warranty is going to offer us some sort of "buy-out" option, which I think means they throw some money at us and then wash their hands of us, at least as far as our heating system is concerned.  Of course, they told us this on Saturday and I'm still waiting for a call, so my level of optimism is dropping fast.  This is getting old, folks. 
    Truly, I'm grateful the situation is no worse than it is.  I know we're fortunate to have a house at all, heated or otherwise.  I'm just a wee bit frustrated at the moment.  On the other hand, we're definitely hanging out as a family more!  Trivial Pursuit, anyone?