Friday, February 29, 2008

We Got Taken Part 2

If you haven't read my post about our furnace incident, please scroll down and read it first. For those of you who are up to date, here is the latest.

I filed a complaint with the Better Business bureau and told them about what happened. I told them I wanted a refund of $44.95 and also $65.00 to cover the expense of having Air Conditioning Engineers come out to fix what was happening. I received a call today from the company who caused the problems in the beginning this afternoon. The man wanted me to explain what happened and then in the middle of my explanation he handed the phone to the manager. I had to rehash what happened and then listen to him tell me what a great company they were and how he honestly thought this was a scam. I wanted to say "who would scam someone for $100?!" Instead, I told him I had pictures of the damages and that all I could go by is what happened and what Air Conditioning Engineers told me had happened. He seemed to want to get the conversation over because he continued to interrupt me and asked "How can we make this go away?". I told him he can reimburse me what we paid his company and that I would be satisfied. Then I agreed to report to the BBB that they had resolved the issue. He agreed to send me a $50 check tomorrow.

What irritated me the most, was not only his accusation but that he tried to make it appear that his company has a perfect record and that he wasn't responsible for what happened. I might have believe him except that they had 11 complaints against them on the BBB website as well as only negative feedback on That alone made me believe that he is not as legit as he tried to make himself. Especially when his repeated argument was that they had been in business for 5 years. Five years does not make your business reputable and does not make you an expert in furnaces.

With all that said, we are suppose to receive a check in the next few days and I have made my own personal decision not to post any more bad reviews on them. However, I certainly won't recommend them just in case my intuition is correct.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Growing up and old

Tonight I had the surreal privilege of previewing the "Always Changing" video. I just happened to see in the school monthly publications a small note about an informational meeting for 5th and 6th grade parents regarding the information the students would be learning this year. I suppose I was one of the few parents who noticed it because their were only a handful of parents from our school and only a small amount even gathered that somehow represented the Utica School districts 5th and 6th grade parents. I was pleased to recognize our friends, Ruth and Dave, so I took a seat in the second row next to them and nervously glanced at the papers I picked up. The word "masturbation" jumped off the page and I quickly switched another paper on top. As I glanced around the room I felt about 18 years old compared to many of the grown ups present. It was hard to believe that these parents were experiencing this same stage of life that we were. I couldn't imagine that any of them would be anxious about the information their child would be learning soon. Many of them looked at least 10 years older and having experienced parents questioning my "youth" before, I tried to act "mature" and calm. (Whatever that means).

They separated the 5th grade parents from the 6th grade and then a very soft spoken but confident nurse took center stage and explained what we would be seeing. She told us that the 5th graders would be split by gender and would only be taught what they needed to know about their own bodies. (This was the first time I exhaled.)

Then, she told us that any questions regarding sex and related things would be affirmed, but then the student would be directed to talk to his/her parent regarding those things. (Second exhale).

After the movie (which was very informative yet appropriate for a 10 or 11 year old), she opened it up for questions. I wasn't sure what I wanted to know, because most of what was in the movie I had been talking to Hannah about when the need arose. It was such a relief to know that "sex" would not be a topic discussed yet. Then came the moment that made me feel that I wasn't so out of place as I had felt when I walked in. A mom asked simply, "If your child asks you about sex and reproduction, how would you respond if you were the parent?"

The nurse replied with a very safe and honest answer about how a man and a woman have a relationship in which the sperm travels to the woman and left it open for parents to decide when it was appropriate for this process to take place.
(Did I mention how much I liked her?)

I know some parents would be upset that she did not preach abstinence, but I am honestly happy that they instead leave the "preaching" to the parents so that the children are not faced with opposing views from different sides. I would rather Hannah to receive no answer, than to be told "when the mood is right". I was even happier when the nurse told us that very rarely did she ever get a question about sex. She said that 5th graders are much too worried about what is going on in their own bodies then to worry about where babies come from.

I had to sneak out a bit early in order to get home so Todd could make a game night, but overall I was extremely pleased at what I saw and heard. I know I am nervous to be at this stage with our daughter, yet I am truly excited for her to experience all that life has to offer.

And this "puberty" thing is just the start.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

When forgiving means "forgetting"

Have you ever struggled with forgetting? Recently the art of forgiving and forgetting has played a very real role in our lives. A family member recently reunited with an ex and announced to the family they were "dating".
The emotions I have been experiencing have been both positive and negative. On one hand, I believe God's true desire is that married couples remain as "one" so I begin to feel that maybe this is God's way of restoring what was broken. On the other side, I can't forget the deep wounds that were brought about during the divorce and I worry whether the ex can be trusted. Strangely, enough, I don't feel angry or malicious towards her. Anyone who has heard the story knows that our family would have every "right" to not accept her. But somewhere in the pain, God brought about a healing and a forgiveness. We have all forgiven the offenses. We just can't seem to forget. I think our biggest fear is that she will hurt our family member again.

In the Bible, Peter asks Jesus the hard questions about forgiveness.

"At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, "Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?"

Jesus replied, "Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.

The Message version

As hard as it is for us to forget, I am learning that our goal should be to forgive by building a relationship once again. Even though it feels like we are blindly holding our hand out, I think it is an important step for us to take. I know we will all feel cautious in the beginning, but perhaps God WILL do something beautiful in the midst of the confusion. We can never know until we follow His example and love without condition.

Friday, February 22, 2008

We Got Taken

We had American Quality Temperature come yesterday to clean the furnace because we found a coupon for $44.95 and thought it was about time to get it cleaned. I was a bit nervous when I realized the man that came didn't speak English well, but he seemed to know what he was doing. He was here under 30 minutes and when he was done, he turned the furnace back on and the smoke alarm went off and ashes blew out of the furnace. He said it was just dust. When he left the ashes continued to come out every time the furnace kicked on. In addition to the ashes now ALL OVER our laundry room, the smoke alarm went off at least 5 to 6 times at night waking us up. We had to go open the door each time and it was exhausting! The furnace at times would sound like it was EXPLODING as well. I jumped out of bed the first time because it sounded like one of our kids fell out of bed. Thats how loud it was. I called this morning and of course they didn't answer. In addition, they cashed my check already so I couldn't put a stop to it. We called another company that has a good reputation and have to pay more to have the same service performed. I am so frustrated and angry at being scammed. I left bad reviews on yellowpages I have also emailed the company telling them I have pictures of the mess and requesting our money back. I don't expect them to even respond, but I thought I'd try anyway. My lesson learned? "Cheaper is not always better".

Thursday, February 21, 2008

123 Meme Challenge

Todd tagged me so here's the rules:

Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more (no cheating!)

* Find page 123
* Find the first five sentences
* Post the next three sentences
* Tag five people

So my nearest book was "The Way of a Worshipper" by Buddy Owens. I added the sentence that began the paragraph so it actually makes sense.

(When I started to read the Bible meditatively, I began to experience tremendous changes in my life:)
My outlook changed. I began to see circumstances, challenges and opportunities through a lens of Scripture. I found that the Scriptures were taking root so deeply in my soul through meditative reading that they became the filters for my point of view.

I tag Shari, Kristen, and Stephanie (yes, I ran out of people to tag.)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Releasing the Bird

Last night, before I turned out the living room light, I glanced into our parakeet's cage to say goodnight. He was sitting on his perch watching me with his tiny black eyes and quietly listening to my whispers. I feel very guilty that he has to live in this tiny wire cage all the time. Before we had Zoey, our 2 year old Silky-Chon dog, we would leave the cage open sometimes and let him fly around the room. Now, Zoey lives for the day when she can get a hold of the bird. As I observed his bright yellow tail and elegant wings, I felt sad that he didn't get to use them. There have been moments when I have had compassion on this small creature and wished I could release him out doors to fly with true freedom, the way he was intended to live. Then I look at the snow, and remember that not only would he freeze to death, but that he would not know how to build a shelter, find food or water and that his life would probably be cut short because he wasn't made to live in Michigan. He was created to flourish in warmer climates. As those thoughts went through my head, I began to apologize for giving him this life. Strangely, I became very deeply sorry for his imprisonment and with tears rolling down my cheeks, I began to pray a different prayer of revelation. I began to picture my husband, Todd, who was designed to minister to people. He heard God's calling as a young man, and went to college to become a pastor. He served in volunteer positions and later a part time job as a youth minister. Now, he is caught in a wire cage of life where he is working in a manufacturing business. Its not what he was designed to do. I know he is dying inside to go beyond his current situation and spread his wings and fulfill the Designer's Plan. I prayed that God would not let him forget what he was made for, that this cage he is in now, is only temporary. I prayed that God would prepare the proper place for Todd to begin ministering, not send him out into an environment that would not suit him. As I finished my prayer, it seemed like an envelope of peace surrounded me. Its as if I could feel God's arms there reassuring me that it was all temporary. Its funny how God can use simple things like a bird, to remind us of His faithfulness.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

All I Need is Him

Today, while having lunch with my mom at Big Boy's, we met a young woman who was very enthusiastic about the holiday. Apparently, for the first time, she had a boyfriend on Valentine's Day and she couldn't wait until tonight. Her boyfriend had actually pursued her for two years and she finally gave in. Now she is being overwhelmed with flowers, fancy dinners and so on. I had to smile as she went on about what their plans were tonight. Not because I had any big plans myself. Todd is actually going to a get together to celebrate his friend's birthday and I will be at home relaxing after a crazy day. We will be celebrating together next weekend while the kids go to my parents house. I was smiling because inside I know what it is like to feel so excited about new romance. I know what it feels like to receive 2 dozen roses, go to fancy dinners and feel so much anticipation leading up to seeing the man I love. I've never been one to really care about getting roses or fancy dinners, it was the anticipation that I lived for. Now, after being married over 12 years, I find that those gifts still are not important to be. Being married with kids, the practical side tends to take over and spending $50 on flowers seems too wasteful. Even though we may not celebrate the way we used to, the anticipation I have to spend an evening with Todd ALONE is still just as great. I had heard that love grows founder as the years go by, but now I know just how true that really is. I could never imagine loving someone the way that I love Todd. I know he is not perfect and I love that about him. I don't want someone who never makes mistakes because I would feel completely inadequate next to him. I love that his commitment to me goes beyond the vows we said or the rings we wear. I love that he still adores me and calls me "Beautiful". I look forward to each passing year because I know that no matter what obstacles we have to face, we will do it together.

This Valentine's Day, I don't need candy, flowers or even a card. I just need him.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Side business

My friend, Mary, and I are going to be selling at a Mom 2 Mom sale soon. Thinking it would be close to Easter, I came up with the idea to create little girl necklace and bracelet sets to sell. Mary has a site she recently created to sell various children products and she listed a few there. If you want to take a look, here is the link. Its a great site, so look around!

Clara's Corner

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A little bit of winter magic

Last night Hannah received a phone call from a friend who instructed her that "now" was the time to take action. All children in our home were to turn their pajamas inside out and put them on immediately. Then a spoon was to be placed under their pillows. That alone, would guarantee a "snow day". Somehow, in God's humor, He honored their silly ritual and we awoke this morning to just that.

It took a little convincing, but I finally coaxed Hannah and Caleb out into the snow. They invited a few friends over to build an igloo (though somewhere in the middle they gave up and had a snow ball fight instead). Here are a few pictures of their joyous afternoon.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

In case you were wondering...

For those who have asked, I have posted this picture of my new hair cut. I love it. Its not incredibly different, but it is much shorter than I have worn in a while.

More later!