Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Honesty is the best policy

We just bought a car, and I'm also trying to sell my car right now (a 1994 Pontiac Grand Am GT Sport if you're interested). I really can't wait for this entire process to be over.

When we went to the car dealership, we found out the car had hail damage that we weren't aware of. They said the car had been decreased $3,000 because of the damage. However, they also said the damage would cost $5,000 to fix. They offered us a $2,000 discount or they would fix it for $3,000. Either way, it wasn't a good deal.

We said we would pay $500 for the hail damage to be fixed. They said, "No," until I walked away, and then they started working with us. It just frustrates me, that playing process. It's like they want to screw you over until you won't let them. I wish they were just honest.

I feel the same way selling my car. I want to get the most out of it, but I also want to get rid of it. Someone approached me today and offered half of what I have the car advertised for. I said no, but would give a little discount. He then he said that would be OK. I could have gotten screwed over if I had accepted that lowball offer.

I am not good at bargaining, and I really don't enjoy the back-and-forth process. Everyone is just out to get what they want, and I understand that. However, I wish people were just honest. Honesty is always the best policy.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Beautiful little gift

So, usually I don't mind living away from my hometown. There's times when it would be nice to hang out with the family, but we have built a life a few hours away, and I'm OK with that.

However, this week I wanted to be home really bad, and I think you can see why from the pictures above!

My niece was born!

Ella's slanty little eyes look a lot like my brother's when he was just born. He also had a little baby hair, but neither he or I were graced with quite as much hair as this little girl has. In fact, we both were quite bald for the first couple years of our lives. Let's hope Ella takes after her momma in that department.

A few thoughts popped into my mind when my brother texted me a picture of her right after she was born. She was grasping his thick finger in her tiny little hand, already realizing who her daddy was, and it brought tears to my eyes. I was sitting in church, and my mind quickly left the sermon, but I closed my eyes and started praying.

I thanked God that Ella finally made her appearance, and that she did it grandly and with a healthy cry. I asked for wisdom for her parents and for a passion for faith as she grows. I even asked God to start preparing her entire life, including her husband, right now. I always thought that was a little extravagant to start thinking about husbands and wives for kids, but I hope that her husband is being raised correctly right now as well.

As I have thought about being an aunt, I have thought a lot about my Aunt Linda who passed away. As I've mentioned before, I don't know about my aunt's faith, and I know that she didn't have the perfect life. However, she was a wonderful aunt. She came to all my dance recitals, brought me flowers and always made me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world growing up. I never questioned how much she loved me.

I want to be an aunt like that. I want my nieces, both Ella and my soon-to-be niece Adalyn, to always feels like they are extremely special and loved around me. I want to be a good example for them, someone that they look up to and even run to for favors and advice. I may not live in the same town, but technology really brings people closer today, and I hope that I get to see everything they do growing up.

I haven't met either Ella or Adalyn yet, but I already love them :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Don't lose your temper

I was watching "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman" on Youtube today - once again, just having fun bringing back the memories from watching it as a kid.

The saloon owner was getting mad at the blacksmith when the blacksmith held up a hot iron horseshoe.

"You're like iron. When you get hot, you get weak."

That is true for anyone. When we lose our tempers, we often lose control of our actions and our mouths. We get weak. The people who are strongest in spirit, and often those who are strongest in faith, have great control of their tempers. They realize that getting angry and losing control does not make them strong. It makes them weak.

Anger itself is not necessarily weak. However, the Bible says, "The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made."

Since God is our model for perfection, we should realize that anger is sometimes necessary. However, we should be slow to anger and rich in love.

I don't have the quickest temper, so I can't say that I struggle with this issue - at least not at this point in my life. (I've learned that once I say I don't struggle with something, it usually comes to tempt me). However, when I heard the quote about anger making us weak, I thought it was an important lesson to pass on.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The power of positive thinking

Life is all about how you look at it.

For our premarital counseling, Nate and I are reading Alistair Begg's book "Lasting Love." The subtitle is "How to Avoid Marital Failure." Now, I just started the book, and I'm sure it's going to be great, but the title kind of threw me. It's great to have lasting love, but why do we have to look at it from such a pessimistic standpoint? I would much rather the book have the subtitle "How to have a successful marriage."

Marriages fail all the time - the divorce rate in this country is about 50 percent. Then how many more people are living in unhappiness? My grandparents have been married for 58 years, but they sure aren't happy about it. I would call that successful in one way, but sure not in most.

I think the reason that a lot of marriages fail is that people focus on the failures. Everyone has flaws, some big and some little. The beginning of the "Lasting Love" book gave two fictional scenarios, both with married people falling for someone else. They fell because they started to compare their spouse to someone else and focused on all their spouse's flaws. The best way to be unhappy is to focus on flaws.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but if I have, it bears repeating. I read in another book about a couple that was the happiest the author had ever seen. That was because in a conversation they had, everyone was bringing up their least favorite part about their spouse. This couple honestly couldn't think of anything, because they had decided to think only on the positives about their spouse. They had done it for so long that they didn't notice the flaws anymore. How can you be unhappy when you don't realize the other person has problems?

Life, and marriage, are all about how you look at things. Focus on the positive and you don't have anything to complain about.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dreary days

Today is a dreary day.

I can't complain about the weather, because this winter has been mild and gorgeous. It's March, and we already have the windows open to let in the warm, fresh air.

The only thing I hate about dreary days is how unmotivated I am. Even my dog slept in today until 11:30 a.m., when she is usually up and at em about 8 or 8:30 a.m.

After a week of vacation, I had stuff to work on for work, but I was just kind of slow and didn't get a lot of my list done.

I think it's kind of like life. Sometimes we have dreary times, when life just seems kind of dark and rainy, and we just want to hunker down and seclude ourselves. Maybe those are the times when we need to actually go outside and be the sunshine in someone else's life.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Changes ahead

We just got home from a beautiful week spent in Colorado, which is why I didn’t get much blogging done these past few days!

It’s an interesting time in our lives as we talk about the future and possible huge changes ahead. First, of course, we have our wedding and marriage which may change life, a little.

Second, we left early on Tuesday to go check out a car at a dealership a few hours away. My car broke down a few months ago, and Nate and I have been patiently sharing his car. However, last time my dad looked at the car he said he wasn’t sure how long it was going to last. We plan to keep Nate’s car as a back-up, but we need a new vehicle so we don’t get stranded.

Car shopping is interesting. I am not a very good barterer, and I didn’t realize just how much a dealership will barter with you if you don’t want to buy something at a certain price. I’m glad that I have a man that will take charge so I don’t have to get conned into something I don’t want to do.

Then we left for Colorado - still thinking on the vehicle purchase. Oh man, it is such a beautiful state, at least when you get far enough that you can see the mountains.

Usually cities are not considered beautiful, except for some interesting architecture or public art here and there. Denver is not that way. The entire city looks beautiful, because over top of the rows of taillights in traffic jams, you see the sun glinting off or shadowing rows of majestic peaks. Who couldn’t love a place like that?

It has been Nate’s dream for a long time to live in Colorado, in the shadow of the mountains. As we drove around, we thought about places we would like to live. It was fun to think about moving to a new place, and one with such beauty.

While in Colorado, we stayed at a friend’s house. It was a cute little town house with two master suites and even a pond right outside, complete with ducks and geese. I’ll tell you, Novie loved having a house. She trotted up and down the stairs, exploring like the place was her own. Although we want a house we can fix up to really be our own, I think both Nate and I enjoyed experiencing what it would be like to have a home of our own.

The trip wasn’t exactly eventful - we did simple things like drive into the mountains, eat dinner at local restaurants and take engagement photos - but it was fun. It was nice to get away, and it was fun thinking on all the changes we have ahead of us.

Sometimes change isn’t good. Whatever changes we have in store though, I’m excited for. I can’t wait to spend whatever the future brings with Nate. Sorry, cheesy, I know :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Preparing for the future

The church we are getting married at requires at least premarital counseling sessions before the ceremony.

Nate and I started going tonight, and although it was more a get-to-know-you session, it was an interesting experience.

Since we got engaged, most of the concern has been about the wedding. We've picked a date, a reception venue, a dress, bridesmaids and flower girl outfits, flowers, colors and more. We have spent hours thinking about the day of our wedding, and years thinking about what the day will be like.

Although the wedding day is definitely an important milestone and celebration, people all need to remember that the marriage is the most important part. On this day, Nate and I are going to connect our lives forever. From that day on, there's no turning back.

We think after being together for eight years that we are completely ready to get married. It seems like life should transition pretty easily into marriage. However, in the sermon this morning our pastor talked about how the single life prepares us in selfishness when marriage is all about serving.

I think that Nate and I will go through premarital counseling pretty easily. I don't think it's going to dig up any problems that we aren't aware of. However, I also think this is going to be good for us, to think on the future more than maybe we ever have and deal with some issues before we encounter them. I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The sweetest thing

Yesterday, I was covering a presentation by a naturalist at a local library.

There, a group from a home for people with mental disabilities sat in chairs, excited to learn about bees from the naturalist.

An older man in the group, with clear hearing aids in both ears, looked like he cared a lot about the people around him. At one point, he waved one of the group leaders over because another man next to him fell asleep on the comfy couch during the presentation.

A younger man next to me had Down Syndrome, and I watched as he pulled one of his feet up to push on a tennis shoe that had fallen off his heel. A few minutes later, I looked over and saw the man with Down Syndrome had put his foot up on the lap of the man with the hearing aid.

The sweet older man was slowly tying the other man's shoe as they both listened quietly to the presentation. When the shoe was tied, the older man leaned over and patted the younger man on the shoulder.

It was so sweet and brought a smile to my face as I temporarily stopped listening to the presentation and soaked in the scene before me.

I have always had a soft spot for people with Down Syndrome, because my great uncle has the condition. Sometimes people with mental disabilities are looked down upon, but I think they often have a capability to love more than the rest of us, because their emotions are unimpeded.

This was just a sweet scene of unconditional care.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Beautiful weekend

This weekend was a beautiful celebration of family.

I went back to my hometown on Friday and spent about five hours baking and cooking for my sister-in-law, Darcie's, baby shower. We made fruit salsa, cake, cupcakes, chicken dip, a meat and cheese tray, a veggie tray and punch.

The next morning I finished my duck cake and then we went to the church to decorate. I thought we did a pretty good job if I do say so myself, and about 50 people came to celebrate my new niece. I was amazing to see family and friends, some who didn't even know Darcie but knew me or my brother or my mom, come to support her in this new phase of life.

The next day my parents and I went shopping for a wedding dress, and I didn't expect to find anything. However the third dress was it! I can't say much about it in case Nate reads this, but it is beautiful. It was nice to be able to share that with both of my parents.

Although it was nice to come home, it was a nice weekend spent with loved ones.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Oh what a beautiful day

Wow, what gorgeous weather outside today.

It's only about 65 degrees, but after a few months of winter people have broken out the short sleeves, and I think several people have gone for walks today. This afternoon I took a half hour off, working a little bit later than usual, to go for a walk in the sunshine with Nate and Novie.

Having a puppy is so much fun, because she can turn even a simple walk into an excursion. We love just to watch her flappy skin wiggle as she takes steps with her wide-set paws. She loves to run after us - well, when I say run maybe I should say lope, because she doesn't go very fast. Her little paws made plinking sounds in the puddles along the way.

I commented during the walk how funny it was that 65 degrees felt so warm. When you're used to 90-degree weather in the summer, 65 feels cold as fall approaches. After windy days and cold snow in the winter, 65 degrees feels so warm.

I guess that's a little bit like life. How we feel about our situation often depends on what we compare it to. Take money for instance. If our family makes $60,000 a year, that sounds like a small amount compared to the C.E.O.s that pull in a million or more. However, if you compare it to people who struggle to get along with a couple hundred a month - or even a year in Third World countries - then it seems like a lot.

It's like looking at the glass half full or half empty; we can look at the thermometer as going up or going down.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

People person

I'm so not a people person in one way. However, in another I really am.

In one way, I could hole up in my apartment - as long as Nate was there - and not talk to anyone else for a month. I honestly don't think it would bother me if I didn't feel like a terrible person for cutting myself off.

On the other hand, I love listening to people's stories. I am a firm believer that everyone has a story to tell, and a worthy one at that. However, it is uncomfortable for me to go up to people and start talking to them. So I miss out on a lot of that.

Being a reporter really gets me out of my comfort zone. I love it when I get to meet neat people and sit down and really listen to them - not talk, but listen.

I met with a woman today, and we talked for two hours. Well, she did. I didn't need all of it for the interview, but it was nice just to chat and connect. And I think it makes people feel important when you listen to them.

I just wish that I had that personality that I could get to know everyone so I could hear everyone's beautiful stories. Even if it is someone who thinks they didn't do anything while being a wife and mother, everyone has a beautiful story to tell.