About Me

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I am a Christian. I am a loving wife to my Army-National-Guard-Recruiter-Husband of 15 years. I am a stay-at-home-mother to our four handsome sons. I am a photographer. My blog is about as erratic, eclectic and random as I am, painted with rainbows of photos and words that are hills and valleys you travel; so lovely sometimes that they hurt you. These are the stories of how far we've come in the last 15 years as Christians, as a family and as individuals.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

apPARENT win

A follow up to this post. 

As a parent, I consider this a WIN.

Also, I've been hearing things like, "Thanks for making my bed every day, it's nice to come home to my room all organized when I have a lot of homework to do." and "I've noticed you do laundry just about very day now.  I like it better this way; there may be clothes to put away more frequently, but there's less at once.  Plus I always know I have clean socks." 
--These are direct quotes, from boys young men of the teenage persuasion!

My cup runneth over.

Friday, August 22, 2014


How do you get your children to behave? 

I find that leaving little notes filled with words of affirmation go a long way.

Punishing your child for doing something wrong gives them the same amount of attention as praising them for doing something right.  Most parents are well versed in disciplining wrong behavior, but do you encourage them to continue their good behavior when you recognize it?  What it all boils down to is receiving attention, in any form.  I challenge you to pay attention to the good as much as the bad, focus on building them up with encouraging words every time you notice them behaving the way you want them to behave.  Don't get me wrong, punishment is necessary to correct bad behavior, so don't allow it to continue, just pay closer mind to the positive actions and be sure to let them know you noticed.   
You may be surprised at how far that takes you!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Not Cool, Bro

I'm not very good at routine. 
Well, let me amend that statement to, I'm not very good at routinely being routine. 
I start strong and fizzle fast.  My longest routine has probably lasted 3 months. But I am no quitter!  I began yet another routine 3 weeks ago and have stuck to it whole heartedly, so far.  One of the items on this routine is to wash/dry/separate/distribute one load of laundry each weekday --you know, to keep up with Mt. Washmore.  My part ends with leaving a neatly stacked pile (eliminates the need for ironing) of clean, dry clothes belonging to the individuals who live here on their respective beds for them to properly put away.  This is not difficult nor is it time consuming.  Yet, this morning while making my rounds, I found this in one of my four son's rooms (who can guess which one?).
As you can see, there are merely two clean shirts that he was expected to hang and put away, but instead he chose to toss them into a bundled mess in a corner.

Since this is a new routine for all of us -and I'm fully aware of how often those change- I will give the boy grace.  This time.
How would you handle this situation?

If the same or in a similar way as I've chosen to, what would you do if it happens again? 

Also, I should let you know that I am a believer in giving those who can, a chance to learn from other's mistakes, so my intentions are to make an example out of this incident and not accept it from anyone else in the future -or for as long as I keep up with this routine ;-)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An unwelcome continuum

I am unthrilled to report that my miracle story has a not-so-happy continuum.

Aug 13, 2014 - a mere five days after claiming our newly serviced vehicle from the dealership, I got in my van parked all cozy-like inside our garage to head out for a day of errand running before the three older boys' first day of school the following day.  To my utter shock, the engine wouldn't start.  It was acting the exact same way as when I got stranded at Encore the Thursday before.  I contacted the dealership's service department and was advised to have it towed in.  Upon his arrival, Jay, the same tow truck driver who helped me out the previous week, attempted his magic on the gear shift before troubling himself with pushing the van into a proper towing or jump start position.  Yep, you guessed it!  The engine roared to life after scrolling the gear stick through all the gears and giggling it back and forth while the key was turned in the ignition.  A little less amazed than I was the first time, I began to see that I was in for a fight with the dealership who claimed to have found the solution to this problem and already fixed it (and charged me to do so as what they claimed to be the problem was not covered under my warranty). 
Once again I drove to the dealership, this time they were not as helpful.  The service man, Jeff, who wrote up my original order, had gone home for the day as had the service manager, Lela.  I was directed to speak to Sylvia, the customer service liaison who listened to my entire story complete with new ending including what I would like to have accomplished.  I stated that I would like a further diagnosis for no additional cost and now that school is back in session, I'd be needing a rental to accommodate no less than 6 passengers, also for no cost to me.  She took down my requests and promised to call me first thing in the morning after sharing all of that with Lela.  The next morning she called around 9:30 telling me to bring back the vehicle and they'd be happy to take another look at it.
Aug 14, 2014 I wasn't able to take the van in until after I got the boys home from school because they would not put me in a loaner or rental until after they could properly diagnose the problem and find out if warranty would cover it so I drove over around 3:30 that afternoon just to have the service manager, Lela look at me like the stranger I was to her having not spoken to Sylvia at all about my case.  After hearing the story from me, complete with Sylvia telling me that Lela had asked me to bring the van back in, she proceeded to tell me there's nothing she can do to fix the problem if it was not currently malfunctioning.  First she told me that it sounded like I was experiencing a whole different problem and then she called me a liar; claimed I never said the tow truck driver wiggled the gear stick around before initially getting it to run prior to the first service and her proof was that Jeff didn't document that in his notes.  I promised her that I did tell them and she proceeded to inform me that the service department is equipped with audio surveillance for this very reason and that she'd have to review their files to verify. WHAT!?!  In the meantime, she told me to tow the van back (do not mess with the gear shift, do not attempt to jump start) the next time it wouldn't start.  In my experience this would happen again in about 3-5 days so I just had to sit tight and carry on, waiting to inevitably get stranded again.
Aug 16, 2014 A Saturday evening run to Wal-Mart with my husband found us stranded.  On the weekend.  At 6;30PM.  No one works the service department on the weekends.  I called the dealership attempting to communicate with some sort of manager with no luck.  What was I to do?  So I gimmied with the gear shift, started my van and drove to the dealership.  Sure, I was given the run around but I politely refused to leave without speaking to a manager.  In comes sales manager, Brent who listened to my tale and in true salesman fashion promised to personally get behind the issue first this Monday morning.
Aug 18, 2014 9:30AM sharp I arrived in front of Brent who acted for a moment as if he had no recollection of who I was, then I pulled out the business card he'd given me with his hand-written name on it.  His memory light shown on his face and he offered me a beverage as he suggested I make myself comfortable in the lounge while he took care of business back in the service department.  After about 30 minutes he glides up to me assuring me that he will personally be covering the $110.00 diagnostic fee as well as the $100.00 deductible (if applicable) once a true diagnosis has been found and assuming the problem is covered under warranty.  Sure.  I argued with them about a rental and got a similar reply as before -no rental until we have a diagnosis (which was promised to me by noon).  So once again, I'm stranded.  I called Jeff in service around 1PM since I'd not yet heard anything and learned that they now believed the cause to be the sensor - transmission range which is covered under warranty as is the leaky seal or broken pump (they'd know for sure once they're in).  Now we're getting somewhere!  I authorize the work get started immediately and they inform me that my warranty also covers a rental for up to three days.  I then head over to Enterprise to pick up the rental before gathering my four sons and Maria from their first full day of school (two different schools, two different cities).  I then find they want to put me in a sedan.  Had I not made them aware that I have a family of six and needed nothing less than a six passenger rental? Well, that's going to cost extra... to which I replied, who is going to pay the extra?  After some debating and running back and forth between the dealership and Enterprise I was given a 6 passenger Dodge Ram at no additional cost to me. 
 I was late picking up my precious cargo, on their first full day. :-( 
They were very gracious and understanding.

Aug 19, 2014  I get a call around 2PM from Jeff letting me know that the leak was in fact just a hose/o-ring not the pump (to which I shouted my thanks to God since the pump was on backorder and would cost me a lot more time without my vehicle!).  He then tells me that I could have my van back as early as tomorrow (yay, because getting in and out of that huge truck felt like the equivalent of hours of squats, lunges and pull-ups -I'm sore!)
Aug 20, 2014 7:30AM I receive a call from Jeff telling me I can come get my van.  The dealership was my first stop after taking the boys to school.  I went straight in to the cashier, signed (no balance due) and exchanged the rental keys for my own.  More grateful than I can express, I drove off the lot. 
Alas, it was not for the last time, you see, there's still the subject of that payment I made for the misdiagnosis and the removal of a perfectly good alarm.  I've attempted three times now to contact Marshall in the next level up, the District Manager.  He has failed to respond in any way and never seems to be in the office.
'Til next time...
Be praying for our situation.  Thank you.

Friday, August 8, 2014

I'm baaack!!

I know, I know! I've been on a loooong vacation from blogging! I'm blaming it on the ease of Facebook (although if I'm 100% honest, I have to admit that being busy with my family -and laziness- had something to do with my extended hiatus).   Please welcome me back with the love you used to have for me and I will thrive once again on your motivation, support and encouragement, aka: comments! ;-)

First, I'd like to say that I hope to fill in some of the missing months with random posts that (for the sake of my OCD) will be back dated, so I hope you don't miss them. In the meantime,  read on about the last two days in my life and the wonderful miracle that I experienced.

Rewind to Thursday, the first day of junior high (jump start) at Encore for my third son, Garrett.  You may not know this, but this young man suffers from severe anxiety (that's important to the story). After an hour-long parent meeting my friend and I (who’d rode together) met up with our sons at 1:00 PM and headed to the parking lot expecting to hear all about their “jump start” experience, what they thought of the campus and how they felt about being in junior high on our way home.  Instead, the car wouldn’t start.  Garrett began to panic but somehow found the strength to search the parking lot for good Samaritans with jumper cables to try and give us a jump.  He found a group of volunteers and after attempting to jump the van from two different vehicles without success we came to the conclusion that something other than a dead battery was ailing our primary means of transportation.  Quite frankly I’ve never really been in this situation before so I had no idea what to do. So I prayed.  As I was praying, I found myself rummaging through the glove box and found my insurance card.  I dialed the number and found out that our insurance includes towing; they dispatched the tow truck driver who was a mere two blocks away.  He arrived swiftly and got right to work doing things in his routine order.  He checked the battery and it tested good (it should!  Did I mention we’d just replaced it with a brand new battery Sunday, only 4 days earlier?).  After, although he’d heard of the good Samaritans’ previous failed attempts, he hooked up his cables and gave it a whirl.  Nothing.   He tried multiple times with the same disappointing result.  Refusing to give up, knowing that if he had to tow the car, three of us would be left behind because his tow truck was only a two-seater, he began fiddling with the gear shift, scrolling the stick through all the gears and shoving it back into park followed by some wiggling and turning the key in the ignition.  Still nothing.  He tried twice more to no avail, I was beginning to stress.  He then slowly turned the key in the ignition one last time and a miracle occurred: the engine roared to life!   As he and I stood frozen with amazement we finally shouted out simultaneously, (me) “That was God!  Praise God!” (him) “Whoa!  There is no reason that should’ve worked!  I can’t believe this car just started!”  As the others cooled off in the glorious air conditioning the tow truck driver and I handled the paperwork before parting ways.  As he walked toward his truck to leave us I heard him snicker, “The next time I’m in a bind, I’m calling you!”  I told him not to call me but to call on God to which he responded, “Thanks for the reminder,” and then jokingly concluded with “but I think you might have a stronger, more direct connection!”  After dropping the boys off and getting my friend’s car she followed me to the dealership's service department to find out where the malfunction originated and begin the repair process.

Now, fast forward to today. I'm not even going to get into the details of how stressful of a day it was aside from not having my own transportation, putting someone else out, not knowing what's wrong with my van, if it's covered under the added protection plan we purchased or if not, how much this was going to cost us and how we planned to pay!  We find out that the vehicle had a secondary alarm installed by the previous owner that was pulling too much power from the battery and needed to be removed. This was not covered. After some other unnecessary-to-go-into-details-about conversations, I found myself frustrated with no way out of this financial bind. But once again, I was given favor by my Father and the dealer discounted the service cost to a number just barely (but) affordable -and less than 24 hours later, I was behind the wheel of my own van once more.

Aside from God who sustained me in every way,  I must give secondary thanks to my husband for suggesting I add towing to my insurance policy, to my friend for sharing in my burden and carrying me through and to my son who set aside his fear and implored strangers for help. I love you all!