Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Becoming Seasoned

You know when you’re younger and you call your Dad to tell him that you just got a flat tire? Or when you call your Dad to say your cell phone just got ran over by a car? Or when you call your Mom and say that your favorite pants got a stain that won’t come out? All those ups and downs never seem to rattle parents. I know that they don’t like to hear rough things like that - but my parents were always such steady people that never let the ups and downs of life “ruffle their feathers”. There’s much to be learned from this. When Brandon and I were talking about this concept this week - he went on to say, “Parents are seasoned. They have seen it the normal little things that get our emotions more than others don’t seem to phase them as much.” 
I started off with that background so that it would make sense when I say that this week has been one of those “becoming seasoned” weeks for B and I. One of those where you look at each other and say, “If it’s not one thing it’s another”!! This is the first month where only one of the two of us are working instead of both of us. As you know, we are praying daily for a buyer to come along and buy our precious home in Nashville - so we are paying our Nashville home mortgage and our Birmingham apartment rent. On top of that, it’s nearing the end of the month so we’re taking a closer look into our pantry before running out to pick up something to eat. We’re really trying to be mindful of our budget. The day before we moved to Birmingham back in June, our camera (of many years) bit the dust. The camera peeps told us we’d be better off to just buy a new one rather than even try to get ours fixed. The time finally came to go camera shopping and find our new family camera. We were so excited about our camera decision and got it just in time for me to take it on my Mother/Daughter trip to California!! When the camera was only 48 hours, it was dropped by someone taking a photo and it skidded across the concrete flooring. The lens chipped and hasn’t been the same since - but it did make it OK through the end of the trip. Yesterday was my first day back in Birmingham since the trip, so I took it to the Best Buy to get them to take a look. Much to my dismay, I found out from the Geek Squad that this kind of accident is not covered in the 14 day warranty and that we’d have to buy a new camera. I thought I was going to croak. To make a very long story short (I asked many questions just to make SURE this was our only option!!) ... I purchased  new camera. The advice I had been given was to just bite the bullet because we couldn’t just use a broken camera for the next couple of years when it has all these issues just after ten days. Needless to say, I bit the bullet...bought the new camera (de ja vue!) and bought the extended warranty this doubt about it. That way this kind of accident will be covered no matter what - the only thing it doesn’t cover is if it’s stolen or lost. So now we’ve purchased two new cameras in less than two weeks.

Cameras & Phones...Oh My!!
(Note: The camera in this photo is not the new family camera - this camera was on loan to us
from a sweet friend while we were in "camera limbo"!!)
Moving on to “Becoming Seasoned Part Two” of the story! When we bought Brandon’s iPhone back in May, we made sure to switch to the unlimited plan so that we would not go over on our minutes - since we knew we’d be accruing more minutes now that he was going to be using it so much more with his new job. When we got our phone bill at the end of June, we noticed that it was $600 something dollars. We couldn’t believe it. I spent over an hour one day on the phone with the phone peeps - trying to get to the bottom of the issue. Turns out that the guy we worked with back in May never switched us to the unlimited plan. Well, we are now on the unlimited plan - and after hours (literally!) of phone conversations - we are trying to get the overage amount credited to our account. Meanwhile back at the ranch, my phone has been doing this weird thing where it will die if I am talking longer than 10 seconds (not minutes...seconds!!) and so I can only talk on my phone if it’s plugged into a charger (in the wall or in the car). Needless to say, it was a blessing in disguise on my relaxing trip to California to not even have the option of visiting on the phone during the day when I was buy the pool or walking around - truly disconnected!! Now being back on the home turf, I needed a phone that worked. A friend in Birmingham connected me with the most helpful representative at the phone company - and I went there yesterday and this sweet lady gave me a new phone battery and my phone is much better. It will hold me over rather nicely until September when I will be an owner of the long awaited iPhone - more on that whole story later on!! When I was getting my phone fixed - I was able to talk with the woman about getting the credit to our account. Even though we are making progress with this, it seems like it’s going slow as Christmas. When I came home to update Brandon on this yesterday, that’s when it seemed like we were getting hit from every angle. $400+ charged to our phone account, buying two cameras in less than two weeks, on top of trying to watch each and every place we’re spending right now while I am looking for a job and while we’re praying for a buyer for our Nashville home. Whoooo! At the end of all these updates and conversations, we looked at each other and were truly asking ourselves, “How does this kind of thing seem to not even get a rise out of our parents?” OHH...’cause they are seasoned! They’ve been through these ups and downs before and seen that it’s part of life. 
We were able to step back from all these frustrating moments and just thank the Lord for eyes to see how blessed we are. Thank Him for stretching us and growing us. Thank Him for making us more like Him and not just keeping us the way we’ve always been. Thank Him for convicting us when we can feel the negative thoughts and words flooding our head and mouths. We want our mouths to be an overflow of the truth that is hidden in our hearts. [“For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45b] Thankful that we have each other to walk this road with and hold each other accountable to our words and actions. 
Closing statement from the man of the house: It’s a battle out there in the ‘real’ world. You gotta fight to stay ahead. Setbacks will come - that’s a guarantee. You’ve seen two of ours! ... It’s never enjoyable but it’s part of the ‘seasoning’ process. In this case, Whit and I are trying to be good stewards with the money God has given us - we really want to handle it wisely.”

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