Fiction Fix

Fiction Fix: One Simple Act of Kindness

“Look,” Melissa ran a hand over her damp brow and swallowed back a growing lump of desperation, “I don’t want to beg, but honestly, you’re my last chance at this point. If you don’t hire me, I’ll be reduced to …” she rapidly blinked tears from her eyes, “I’ll have to,” she continued with a firmer tone, “file for government assistance.”

She resisted the urge to shudder. She had always been fiercely independent and had always taken great pride in the fact that she had never once asked for help, even when she was homeless and living out of her car shortly after high school graduation. Her parents had tried to help her but she had refused, wanting to make it on her own. And after several long years of being hungry and dead tired, she had finally made it – she was a successful Real Estate agent.

Life had been great, she had been on top of her game … until the market crashed and suddenly, she couldn’t give her houses away or find a lender that would actually lend anyone any money.

She had earned her Real Estate license shortly after she kicked Timothy out of the door. Of course, the economy took a nosedive shortly thereafter and since she was one of the last to be hired, she was one of the first to be fired.

It was bad timing. The story of her life, actually.

“But,” the woman squirmed uncomfortably in her chair while looking back down at her resume, “you made so much money at your previous job. I’m afraid there is no way I could offer you anything even remotely close to the same figure …”

Melissa leaned forward, sensing the woman’s reluctance to turn her away. “That’s okay. I’m willing to take anything you can offer me. I …” she cleared her throat before continuing, “I have two children at home.” She shrugged lightly and appealed to her, woman-to-woman, mother-to-mother, “I don’t really have a choice. You understand, don’t you?”

She felt bad for playing the mother card, but she was beyond caring about nursing her pride at this point – her children were hungry, the mortgage was due and if she skipped one more car payment, they would likely take it away from her. She had been in difficult situations before; she would dig her way out of this one, too.

The woman smiled and Melissa allowed herself to relax, but only a little. She was making headway, but she wasn’t in the clear yet.

“Well,” the woman hedged and Melissa tensed right back up again. “You don’t really have any managerial experience.”

“Actually, I do,” she responded back with a smile. “Well, indirectly,” she hurriedly continued as she noted the woman’s brows arch. “I’m very used to dealing with people, all sorts of people. And I’m very good at reading people. I can sell them something before they even realize they want it.”

The woman chuckled and nodded her agreement. “I’m sure you can. You’ve sold me, that’s for sure.”

Melissa sat up straight and looked the woman in the eye. “Does this mean …?”

The interviewer stood up and Melissa followed her lead by also standing.

“Alright, Ms. Snodgrass, we’ll give you a shot.”

“Oh, thank you, Mrs. Tindle. You won’t be sorry, I guarantee it.” She firmly clasped the woman’s hand and placed her other hand on top of the woman’s wrist to show her gratitude. “When do you want me to start?”

“Can you come in tomorrow? I know it’s short notice …”

Melissa held up a hand. “Done. I’m at your disposal.”

Mrs. Tindle nodded her satisfaction and pushed a fat manila envelope across the desk top. “Here is your paperwork. I’ll need you to return these to me when you come in tomorrow. I’m afraid I can only offer you $25,000 to begin with.”

Melissa could feel her grateful smile freezing at the corners upon hearing the amount, but she pushed her disappointment to the back of her mind. That was a whole $30,000 dollars less than she had been making at her previous job. She did a quick mental calculation, it would be very difficult to make ends meet, especially at first, but she would make it work.

She had to. What choice did she have?

****

“If everyone who worked for me was like you, I could retire.”

Melissa smiled before placing her pen down and glancing over her shoulder to look at her boss. She could feel a slow, pleased blush filling her pale cheeks.

“Well, thanks,” she chuckled.

“I’m serious,” Ruth Tindle took the chair at the end of the counter and stretched out her legs. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all of your hard work, Melissa. Hiring you was the best decision I ever made.”

With her face now burning brightly, she held up a hand and pretended to check a quick fact on her sheet so she wouldn’t start tearing up. She didn’t know what was wrong with her these days – every little thing made her cry.

“I’m just grateful for the job, Ruth. You’ve saved my family.”

It was Ruth’s turn to wave a flippant hand. “You’re smart. You would have figured something out. I’m not …” she paused for long seconds and Melissa looked over at her. Ruth wet her lips before continuing. “I just wish I could pay you more. You’re worth so much more than the peanuts I pay you now.”

Melissa also wished she could get paid more. Her life was so stressful now. She had to cut out so many luxuries and though she didn’t really mind for herself, it killed her to have to say no to the children all the time. She had never been one to spoil her children to begin with, but now, she found she couldn’t even afford to take them out for ice cream any more. Money was simply too tight. Every last cent she made went to her house payment. If something didn’t happen soon, she would be forced to sell their home and move to a different part of town. She had listed her car in the paper just that morning, perhaps that would buy her a bit more time. She would be relying on public transportation for a while.

Melissa placed a hand over her nervous stomach and pasted a brave smile on her face. “At least I have a job. There are so many more people I know who are still looking.”

“True,” Ruth agreed sadly.

The phone rang and both women jumped before giving self-depreciating chuckles.

“I’ll get it,” Ruth said and reached for the receiver.

Melissa nodded and returned her attention back to her paperwork. She heard her boss speaking, but she wasn’t really paying attention. She was concentrating on whether they would have enough food to make a fresh meal that night, or if they would need to eat leftovers, again.

“Uh, Melissa?”

“Yes?” She pushed the food worry from her mind and turned her attention back to the job at hand.

“It’s for you.”

“Oh?”

“It’s the school.”

Continue reading “Fiction Fix: One Simple Act of Kindness”

Tuesday Stuff

Being Cavalier About It

See GD’s new car?

Blake's New Car

It’s a 1999 Chevy Cavalier and as you can see, the body is in pretty good shape. It runs pretty good – Kevin drove it to work today and said it did really well on the highway. It needs to be aligned and the back defroster doesn’t work (we can worry about that in the Fall) but other than that, it seems to be pretty solid.

After we picked it up last night, the guys ran it through a car wash, so the exterior looks pretty good, but it’s filthy on the inside. I’m going to give it a good inside washing later this week. The interior smells a bit like smoke and GD says he LIKES the smell – Hhmm … a little worried about that. 🙂 But I’m sure it’s nothing that a little Febreeze can’t fix.

Posing with Pa-pa

My father-in-law dropped by to pick up some tax forms that Kevin worked up for him and he left some high-duty car wax with us, so Kevin and GD are going to give it a good wax job this weekend. Kevin also showed GD how to check the oil and other things concerning the motor last night.

The previous owners replaced the brake drums in the back, but didn’t paint them, so they are rusted and nasty looking right now, the guys are also going to paint those this weekend, too.

GD and I took it for a short drive.

Excited to Take it Out for First Time

He was excited to drive it and he drove MUCH better this go-around. He was a lot more confident and his turning was much smoother this time around. I was amazed at the change in his attitude. He was fired up. And this car really seems to suit him – he loves it.

He’s been bitten by the driving bug.

God help us.

It has a moonroof. Here he is gloating at me because I just told him I was jealous.

Gloating through Moonroof

And I am. The stinker.

We teased him quite a bit about the moonroof.

“Think how romantic that will be when you’re on a date and you guys can sit back and admire the stars while holding hands.”

*snicker* We love teasing him about girls because he gets so embarrassed.

We do wish we had asked a few more questions initially though. For instance, we should have asked to take a look at the title so we could get the VIN number and look up the vehicle’s history on Carfax. (You may have to pay a small fee in order to see the full report on Carfax, but if you’re serious about buying the car, it’s a good idea to invest that money and take a look.)

After we got home and started looking at the title, we noticed two things:

— there’s an odometer discrepancy and
— there are beneficiaries

We put in the vehicle identification number at Carfax and it appears there’s an odometer discrepancy. The mileage is not it’s true mileage – and right now, it’s showing about 95,000 miles. This discrepancy could be one of two reasons: either it’s been tampered with, or it’s a vehicle with a 5 digit odometer and can’t accurately track mileage over 99,999.

So … we don’t really know. We’re hoping the mileage is not ACTUALLY 195,000 miles, but it’s sort of too late – we paid cash for the car, it’s our problem now.

But we’re not overly worried. It’s a Chevy, and Cavaliers are pretty common which means we shouldn’t have any problem getting parts for it and they should be fairly cheap to buy (this is always a factor whenever we buy a car – foreign cars are great, but if they break down, just HOW much is it going to cost in parts and labor? For example: one of my nephews used to drive a Jetta, which gave him problems all the time. And it cost him an insane amount of money to get it fixed each time. He finally traded it in because it was such a money pit).

Kevin is also pretty good with cars and in fact, enjoys working on them, so it’s likely he’ll be able to do most of any work that needs to be done on it.

Still though, it’s disappointing that the previous owners didn’t bring the odometer discrepancy to our attention. We certainly would, and will, when it comes time to sell this car. (I just hope it doesn’t hinder us from selling it). But ultimately, it’s our fault for not checking into things a bit more thoroughly before handing over the money and signing the Bill of Sale.

Though both sellers on the title signed off the title, there are some beneficiaries. I’m hoping this just means she put the car in her children’s names or something and doesn’t mean they have to sign the title. I don’t think it’ll be a problem, but again, we should have saved our star-struck enthusiasm for after we bought the car and asked a few more questions before proceeding with the transaction.

Learn from our mistakes, people.

Save for these little hiccups, we’re happy with the car and we certainly didn’t expect it to be perfect – it’s 10-years old, after all. We’ll deal with any problems that come up.

Now GD has plenty of time to get used to his car before taking his driver’s test. The procedures have changed since I was a teenager. He has to practice a minimum of six months and have logged in at least 40 hours of drive time (yes, we’re keeping a log). This INCLUDES 10 hours of night driving – I’m NOT looking forward to that. But that will be the last thing we attempt so he’ll be pretty confident by then.

I hope.

He can only have a licensed driver, over 21, in the car with him. This means little brother can not ride with him. GD wanted MK to ride along last night, but I said no, it wasn’t allowed and I didn’t want him to be distracted by MK. (Not to mention, he’s just not ready to have passengers yet, anyway).

So, six months from his permit issue date is September 25th. This means he should have his Intermediate license before his 17th birthday.

(I know this is probably boring for some of you, but just wait, driving becomes a BIG DEAL later. Especially with your first!)

After he passes his driver’s test, then he’ll receive an Intermediate license. This just means he can drive, but there are restrictions.

Such as:

— During the first six months, he can’t have more than one passenger, under 19-years old and who is not a member of the immediate family.

No problem with that. In fact, we’ve already told him that he is not allowed to have ANY passengers in the car with him until he’s had one solid year of driving experience under his belt.

— He can’t drive alone between 1:00 and 5:00 in the morning unless it’s to and from a school activity, a job, or an emergency.

No worries there. He shouldn’t be out at that time of night, anyway.

Then, when he turns 21 18, all he has to do is take another vision test and he can apply for a full license.

I’m really glad to see there are steps and restrictions on our young drivers, nowadays. It doesn’t seem like it was nearly this stringent when I was a kid and honestly, it needs to be. I sometimes think kids under 18 are too young to drive to begin with. But I suppose it depends on the kid.

The plan, as of now, is not to let him drive to school after he gets his license. We have a couple of reasons for that:

1. His high school is land-locked. So this means, not only is there a lot of traffic when coming and going to school, but that there isn’t a lot of room to maneuver: it’s like threading a needle sometimes and it’s nerve-wracking for me, I can’t imagine how GD would handle it.

And to top it off, his peers take risks and show off in front of each other so we’ve witnessed quite a few fender benders in just the two years he’s been going there. GD sees all of this and has told me he has no desire to drive in the middle of that. He might change his mind later, as he matures, and when that happens, we’ll re-evaluate the pros and cons of driving himself to school.

2. I don’t want to give him the opportunity to skip school. I’m not saying GD would ever do that, but it would be tempting. I should know, because I got myself into trouble, several times, for skipping school when I started driving. This way, I know he’s there and I don’t have to worry about him.

I wish ya’ll could have seen the way GD acted last night. He walked straighter, his shoulders were back, his head was held high and he just talked … differently. He took an active interest in his car and actually looked interested in what his dad was telling him about the car. We’ve turned a corner in GD’s life – he’s not a boy anymore, he’s a man.

And he’s embracing a man’s responsibility.

I’m suddenly finding it hard to breathe.

heads-or-tails-large

Heads or Tails is hosted by Barb a.k.a. Skittles. Thanks Barb!

This week’s prompt: Heads – See

Monday Stuff

And Your Point Is …

thought-bubble1 … there really isn’t a point. This is just me, trying to make sense of my jumbled thoughts. Bear with me …

***1***

I went to bed at 2:00 a.m. this morning. And my alarm went off at 6:00 a.m., jerking me so hard out of a deep sleep it felt like someone had attached my heart to the back of a pick up truck and went from zero to 70 mph in 2.2 seconds – I’m STILL waiting for it to resume a normal beat.

I don’t know. I simply wasn’t tired last night. I spent the majority of my night watching TV and toggling between two shows: Striking Distance (and may I just say Sarah Jessica Parker looked hideous in this movie – sorry Sarah) and The Prince and Me (which I confess, I spent most of my time watching because hello?! Cute, romantic and sweet).

I finally forced myself to turn the TV off at 2:00 – I could have stayed up longer.

I don’t have insomnia. In fact, it’s safe to say, I’m a great sleeper. I think the reason I couldn’t sleep last night was because of two things:

1. I took an iron pill.
2. I drank a Red Bull at around 4:00 in the afternoon.

The Red Bull is pretty self-explanatory (though I shouldn’t have drank it so late in the afternoon, more on that later), but the iron pill?

Yeah, I’m anemic, severely anemic, if you want the truth. So I’m tired pretty much all the time. I take frequent “power” naps (defined as anywhere between 30 minutes to one hour a day) because there are some days I literally can not keep my eyes open. When I worked outside the home, I took naps in my car. I kept a wind-up timer in my glove compartment and took power naps with my seat reclined because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have the energy to work out the rest of my shift.

I’ve accepted this about me. And I take iron supplements as a result. But I don’t take them nearly as often as I should, so when I do, it’s like someone plugged me in to a higher voltage outlet than I’m designed for and I end up walking around with an energy buzz for 24-hours.

Think watching a movie on fast forward – that would be me when my energy levels are high.

And then I drank a Red Bull on top of that – it’s really no wonder I couldn’t sleep last night.

But the crash is coming, mark my words. I just hope I time my crash so that I get this post published, finish the short story I’m planning to post for tomorrow, mop my very dirty kitchen floor, take my husband’s dry cleaning in, go to the bank and withdraw a few thousand in cash, fold laundry and still have enough time to catch a 20-minute snooze before it’s time to pick the boys up from school.

***2***

What’s up with the plans to make a cash withdrawal?

I’m glad you asked.

GD has his driving permit now. And I’ve taken it upon myself to teach him to drive, as opposed to Kevin teaching him how to drive. Why? Because believe it or not, (and if you know me, you’re going to roll your eyes), I think I would have more patience with the boy than Kevin would.

I know. Crazy, right?

But seriously, I know my son. He’s a timid personality who likes to worry in his spare time. He’s scared to death of causing a wreck and though I understand his fear on a basic level – who DIDN’T feel like that when they first started to drive – his fear borders on a phobia, I think.

We’ve had long talks about cutting out the negative comments. Comments like, “I’m going to crash,” or “what if I cause a wreck,” or “what if I hit a pedestrian.” Etc.

First of all, we’re FIRM BELIEVERS in the power of believing. It’s real and it’s powerful. Believing is a combination of trusting God and in sub-consciously/consciously making yourself make whatever it is you’re believing come true.

This can be a good thing – it can be a bad thing – it all depends on where your believing takes you.

For instance, people who SAY, or PREDICT something bad is going to happen in their lives usually have something bad happen in their lives. Don’t believe me? Pay attention. Listen. Observe. Have you ever noticed how many bad things happen to doom and gloom people? It’s partly because they believe it’s going to happen and they’re not taking proactive steps to turn their situation around.

But this post isn’t about that, it’s about teaching my son to be more positive – to trust God and himself.

Because of his fear of driving, I feel like I can be a little more patient with him as opposed to Kevin, who really doesn’t understand where he’s coming from. And though I’m not really like GD in that respect either, I do understand him – he comes from a family of worriers.

GD and I have been out driving twice so far. The first time, I took him to a parking lot and we practiced starting, stopping, turning and parking. We spent about fifteen minutes doing all of that when I instructed him to drive down a side street.

I could actually SEE the boy’s heart beating against his chest.

But we took it slow, and he did it. We drove down a few streets before making our way back to the parking lot. He has a tendency to hug the right side of the road and I found myself gently, but firmly steering him back to the center of the road (we nearly hit a mailbox or two) but overall, he did very well.

The second time I took him out to drive, Kevin sat in the back seat, but with strict instructions not to criticize or yell. (I only had to shush him a few times). We drove down around our neighborhood and again, he did very well, except he keeps wanting to hug that curb.

I surprised myself. We test drove in my car and I thought I would be all freaked out and nervous but honestly? I wasn’t. I trusted him. I KNEW he could do it and I KNEW God would protect us.

And they didn’t let me down.

Now, back to the cash withdrawal.

Kevin has been haunting Craigslist this whole weekend. We went out and looked at a 1999 cherry red Mercury Cougar, complete with sports’ bra, on Saturday. The owners were a bit … creepy, and she had a folder stuffed full of receipts and kept calling Kevin “sir” – “sir, I didn’t put that scratch there. Sir, I had put this much work into the car. Sir, I’m an honest person, I wouldn’t screw you over.”

Etc. She was a nice lady but just a tad too eager … something wasn’t quite right. And her asking price was about $1,500 over the blue book value.

However, the car ran great and we figured she was asking a bit more because of all the work she had had done on it so we could understand her position.

GD liked it. I did not. It was a nice looking car, and as I said, it ran great, but wow, sitting in that thing was like sitting on the road with a steering wheel in your hand – it was that low to the ground. And it was really hard to get in and out of.

But this wasn’t really about me, it was about what GD wanted, so, we put it on our “maybe” list.

Kevin then stumbled across an ad for a car in Clever, Missouri. That’s about 30 minutes from where we live. It was for a ’99 Cavalier, 99,000 miles and in good shape. And that’s about all the ad said. No picture, nothing.

He called the guy. And I was annoyed. We were going to drive 30-minutes out of our way to see a car that may not even meet our initial criteria?

Why yes, yes we were.

We drove out there and got lost. Grr. We finally met the guy at a gas station where he promptly told us to follow him.

Huh?

It was his daughter’s car and he didn’t know the address so he thought it would be easier for us to follow him out to her house. Swell. Now I’m really thinking this is a wild goose chase at this point and we’re going to end up in the boonies somewhere with strangers.

The Blair Witch Project briefly flashes through my mind.

But the daughter didn’t live very far and when we drove up to her house, I was VERY relieved to see it was a black Cavalier – GD had been pretty specific on the color – blue, black or red, no white, silver or anything “girly.”

The car was in surprisingly good shape. The girl had two car seats in the back (it’s a two-door) and I didn’t want her to have to mess with taking one out so I could sit in the back, so I stayed behind while Kevin and GD took it for a test drive.

I stayed in my car and Twittered. 😀

They came back and since I wasn’t with them, I tried to gauge their thoughts by their facial expressions – they were both stone masks. Kevin asked a few more questions about the car, told them we were very interested, we left and I immediately bombarded them with questions as soon as the door was closed.

“Did it run good? The brakes didn’t scrape or squeak when you applied them, did they? I didn’t see any rust, did you? How did it feel? GD, what did you think?”

Both of the guys liked the car. It was exactly what GD wanted and the price was reasonable and in the blue book range.

We called them when we got home and told them we wanted it.

So, I’m making a trip to the bank today to get the cash and a bill of sale and we’re driving back out there to pick it up at 6:30 tonight.

I’d like to say GD is excited, but he’s not. It’s disappointing, but not really surprising. I honestly think the boy thought he was just going to be able to stay a kid his entire life and have nothing more taxing to do than sit in his room and play video games all day. Though I hate to push him too hard, I think he needs to be pushed just a bit.

It’s time to be man, dude. Suck it up.

I’ll post pictures, and more about this driving thing, tomorrow.

***3***

twitterisaddictive I’ve become a Twitter junkie.

I have so much fun tweeting the links I stumble across during the day and responding to other people’s tweets. It’s like I stumbled across this huge conversation and I’m free to come and go as much as I like and I don’t have to worry about appearing rude for leaving early, or over eager for jumping into the middle of it.

In fact, Twitter is taking up too much time. I’m finding myself checking it about a bazillon times every day and I’m not getting anything else done.

It’s time to put the brakes on this latest obsession and only allow myself to check it three (four, five?) times a day – max.

***4***

reliv Have you heard of Reliv?

My in-laws are ALL about Reliv and they take every opportunity to talk about it whenever we see them.

*SIGH*

I like my in-laws, I honestly do, but it drives me crazy when they get involved in this sort of thing – they were HEAVY into Amway for years and years and then later into something else, but the name escapes me.

Now, it’s Reliv. They’re sellers, or whatever the buzzword is (I think the site calls them ambassadors?) So, we hear about the wonders of Reliv every time we get near them.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it’s a great product, but it sounds just a bit too good to be true to me. And besides, who’s to say that the main reason this product is so successful, to have “healed” so many people is because people are believing it to work?

See? Back to that believing thing again.

But honestly? Who knows. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. The thing I can’t get past is … it’s so FREAKING EXPENSIVE!

Case in point: When my in-laws found out Kevin hasn’t been sleeping well (remember the whole going to the doctor for his sleep problem thing?), they jumped all over it.

“Oh. You really must try this product. It’ll change your life. You’ll start to feel so much better and you’ll be sleeping like a baby!”

Pardon my skepticism, but I’m a pretty hard-core critic of stuff like this.

However, because it’s his parents, and he loathes disappointing them, AND he’s willing to try nearly anything at this point to get a good night’s sleep, he said okay, he’d try some.

They came over last night with FOUR cans of this stuff. Each serves a different purpose and you mix various scoopfuls into your very own life-changing concoction.

Can you note the sarcasm?

I don’t mean to be a butt about this, and if I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to eat my words, but honestly? I think this whole thing is a scam. And when my MIL told me the price we needed to pay her (she was selling it to us at cost, you understand) that sort of solidified the whole scam thing for me.

We ended up keeping three of the cans and it cost us a whopping $73.00. For a month’s supply.

Kevin nearly had a cow.

This stuff, this vitamin cocktail that is supposed to change your life, is supposed to be mixed with water, or milk, and drank three times a day. You use a heaping scoopful from two of the cans and you gradually increase the scoopage from the third can over the course of four weeks.

My MIL said that results vary (of course), but that he should start noticing a difference in how he feels in about a week.

I have to tell you, for $73.00 a pop, it better be a significant difference and not something that simply changes his pee from yellow to say, green, for instance.

But again, we’ll see how it goes. And if it really does help him sleep, then by God, we’ll fork over the money because the man NEEDS to get a decent night’s sleep.

I guess it can’t hurt to try it. Unless you count it hurting our wallet.

***5***

Uh oh. I can feel sleep tapping me on the shoulder. I better get up and move around or I’m going to ….. ZzZZzZzZZZzzzzZZZzZZZ

Book Corner

Pick a Book, Any Book

Guess what time it is?

It’s time for another Buy A Friend a Book week!

Yep, I’m going to randomly pick a reader out of a hat and send him/her a book of his/her choice from Amazon. No, no, not right now. April 9th.

Okay wait, instead of explaining it all over again, just click over here and read more about it.

In the meantime, mark your calendars and be sure to come back April 2nd and put your name in the comment “pot”. It’s not everyday someone offers to buy you a book for no good reason!

(I’m sorry, this is only open to U.S. addresses only).

Please help spread the word! Copy the code below and paste it into your blog today!

Banner Code:

Win a FREE book at writefromkaren.com

To include this button (130 pixels wide) in your post or sidebar, copy and paste this code:

<a href="https://writefromkaren.wordpress.com/free-book/"><img
src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3084/2338927374_6bcac880da_o.jpg&quot; alt="Win a FREE book at writefromkaren.com" /></a>
Monday Morning Meme

Monday Morning Meme: March 30th

All you have to do is answer the questions below either in the comment section, or on your blog. And elaborate! Make these questions show your unique and special personalities. This meme entry will post at 12:01 every Monday morning and will be the first postentry listed on WFK all day Monday. (This is an all-day Monday meme, so please, play all day!)

Monday Morning Meme at writefromkaren.com

March 30th Questions:

1. Who would you rather be seated next to on a daylong bus trip: an irritating talker or a quiet starer? What’s your rationale? Tell us about your most horrifying and/or uncomfortable travel trip.

2. If time wasn’t a factor or your physical health weren’t an issue, would you rather be a member of a world championship sports’ team or be the champion of an individual sport? Why? Which sport would you choose? Why?

3. Would you accept $1,000,000 to leave the country and never set foot in it again? Explain, please. Is money or love more important to you? How much money would it take for you to step away from your current life?

4. Which sex do you think has it easier in our culture? Have you ever wished you were of the opposite sex? If so, list your reasons. If not, tell us why you like being the male/female you are now?

________________________

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T minus 36 hours until the next In My Opinion!

General

Freaky Car Accident, on Video

Remember that picture I posted of the woman who had a seizure and drove headlong into a music store?

Well, here’s the store video of that accident:

Pretty wild, eh? Can you imagine being the dude at the counter and seeing everything collapse right in front of you?!

Pay attention to the last shot, when the other employees come running from the back when the car crashes through. On the left-hand side of the screen, you can see a bunch of saxophones hanging on the wall. Me, Kevin and MK were standing there only the day before this accident happened.

This video gives me goosebumps every time I see it.

Abundant Life

Teaching: The Last Week of Christ’s Life

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.

Let’s get started:

[The following article is an edited transcription of our March/April 1995 audio tape, The Last Week of Christ’s Life by John Schoenheit.]

Hello and God bless you!

I am John Schoenheit, and I will be teaching on The Last Week of Christ’s Life. Please turn with me in your Bible to 1 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 7.

1 Corinthians 5:7
Get rid of the old yeast, that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

Christ’s sacrifice was essential. Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, mankind has needed a redeemer—needed a sacrifice. We have needed a sacrifice with sinless blood but yet one from the flock. That sacrifice was the Man, Jesus Christ.

It is very important to realize the importance to God of the last week of Jesus Christ’s life and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It has been, is, and will be unavailable for anyone to save himself. We cannot save ourselves by our good works. We need the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in order to have eternal life, in order to have life in the age to come. Jesus Christ is that sacrifice, and he was prophesied all the way from Genesis 3:15 when God said that a seed of the woman would have his heel crushed but would crush the head of the serpent.

If we do not understand the importance of the sacrifice and the need for the sacrifice, then we will fall short in our thankfulness to God for what He has done for us. If I think that some how or another through my good works that I am going to make myself good enough to be acceptable to God, then what God has done for me will have less meaning.

Oswald Chambers, from his daily devotional book My Utmost For His Highest, writes about the need for the sacrifice of Christ. I am going to read from November 20 and November 21.

“Beware of the pleasant view of the Fatherhood of God. God is so kind and loving that of course He will forgive us. That sentiment has no place whatever in the New Testament. The only ground on which God can forgive us is the tremendous tragedy of the Cross of Christ. To put forgiveness on any other ground is unconscious blaspheme. The only ground on which God can forgive sin and reinstate us in His favor is through Christ and in no other way. Forgiveness, which is so easy for us to accept, cost the agony of Calvary. It is possible to take the forgiveness of sin and our sanctification with simplicity of faith and to forget at what enormous cost to God that it was all made ours. Forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace. It cost God the Cross of Jesus Christ before He could forgive sin and remain a Holy God. When once you realize all that it cost God to forgive you, you will be held as in vice, constrained by the love of God.”

He goes on to say on November 21:

“Never build your preaching or forgiveness on the fact that God is our Father and that He will forgive us because He loves us. It is untrue to Jesus Christ’s revelation of God. It makes the cross unnecessary and the redemption ‘much ado about nothing.’ If God does forgive sin, it is because of the death of Christ.”

That is exactly correct. God loves everybody, but He is not going to save everybody. Love does not save. Sin required a payment, and that payment was in the person of Jesus Christ, the Lamb, the Passover, the one from among the flock, the Man who died instead of us so that we could have everlasting life, so that we could have life in the age to come.

If you have heard our teaching on The Kingdom of God: Paradise Regained, the picture of how we are going to be in the Paradise to come is so wonderful that I cannot imagine that every single human being alive would not want to be there. Yet, how do we get there? How do we attain life in the age to come? We get there through the sacrifice—the death of Jesus Christ. Because of that, the days leading up to the death of Jesus Christ are very important. The last week of Christ’s life, and the chronology of the last week of Christ’s life is very important. It is so important, in fact, that in the Gospel of John forty percent of the book concerns the last 6 days of Christ’s life here on earth—please, check this out for yourself. Forty percent of the book of John is just those last 6 days. Surely, it behooves us to pick up on what God is telling us by this and to spend some time in the last week of Christ’s life and in the concept of Christ our Passover.

Now that I have said that, I will say that in this teaching I am going to give a lot of chronological material. I am going to give a lot of detailed information. You might want to make a chart to help you line up this information. If you make up a chart on this information, then make it just like a calendar—vertical columns, a Thursday column, Friday column, Saturday column, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. After you make your vertical columns for the days, take and split the page down the middle in half horizontally because our days start at midnight, but the Judean day started at sunset. This is very important to remember as we get into the Bible itself in a few minutes because to us, you are moving along on Thursday, and Thursday does not become Friday until midnight. In the Judean calendar, the next day started at sunset, so Nisan eight would become Nisan nine, not at midnight but at sunset; thus, you make your calendar days Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, etc. and split it horizontally left to right. Your top half would be the daytime and the bottom half would be your nighttime and the start of the new Judean day. That is a very simple way to make a calendar, so that you can more easily keep track of some of the chronological information.

I would also like to say that some of the chronological information that I am going to present is detailed and often actually appears contradictory, and for that reason various Bible scholars have come up with different interpretations and different ideas of the last week of Christ’s life. I would encourage you not to get involved in all those contradictions, unless you particularly feel like you want to, but rather to see the heart of Christ in these days that God lines out. The heart of Christ is going to be very visible and very apparent, and we will watch for that.

Turn to Exodus chapter 12 because the Passover Lamb of Exodus chapter 12 was the type of which Jesus Christ was the true antitype. The Passover Lamb in Exodus was the type, and Jesus Christ THE Passover Lamb was the reality. Let us see what we can learn about the Passover Lamb and the Passover sacrifice from Exodus chapter 12 that will then help us when we get into the chronology of the New Testament and the last six days of Christ’s life here on earth.

Exodus 12:1-2
(1) The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt.
(2) “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.

What you should be aware of here is that the first month of the Judean year had started with Tishri. God moves the first month by just telling Moses, “This month is going to be the first month of your year.” That would be the equivalent today of God speaking to you and saying, “January is not going to be the first month any more – September will.” He would just move the calendar forward by six months. That is exactly what happened here.

Exodus 12:3-5
(3) Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.
(4) If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat.
(5) The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect,

Of course, we know that Christ was without spot or blemish.

Exodus 12:5
and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.

This is not a well-known fact, but the Passover animal could be a sheep or goat. Later, tradition will fix it as a sheep.

Exodus 12:6
Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.

I am reading from the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. We read at twilight. The Hebrew text reads, “between the evenings.” In Hebrew, two evenings occurred; just like today in America, we have an evening. It is usually just when the sun is setting. It is a very nice time to go out on your porch or be in a park. It is evening; the cooler winds are starting to blow. The earlier evening in Hebrew reckoning was when the sun just began to fall. You could noticeably see the sun beginning to fall, so if you look up, and it is high noon or around high noon, then that is too early. If you look up, and you say, “Yeah, I can see that the sun is noticeably beginning to fall,” that was the early evening. To kill the Passover Lamb between the evenings, tradition fixes the slaughter of the Passover Lamb at about three in the afternoon.

Exodus 12:7
Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs.

We know that the blood was placed on the doorframes so that the destroying angel would pass by and not kill the first born of the children in that house. The angel was to pass over, and that is the type of Jesus Christ. Without the blood of Christ, we are consigned to die, but the blood of Jesus Christ saves us from eternal death. He is the true Passover Lamb.

Exodus 12:8-9
(8) That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast.
(9) Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire—head, legs, and inner parts.

Head, legs, and inner parts, some things need to be identified about this. It is not supposed to be a wonderful, enjoyable, and good tasting meal. It is eaten with bitter herbs; it is eaten with bread made without yeast, and yeast, of course, as you that cook know, is a sweetener that raises the bread and gives it loft and gives it a sweeter flavor. As far as cooking the animal, any animal that has been cooked with its guts intact will ruin the taste of the meat.

The Passover sacrifice was to leave an impression upon the people; it was an impressionable meal. Surely, that is the way that we should feel about the death of Christ. When we study the last six days of Christ’s life and when we study his beatings and when we look at what he went through, it should impress us that it was not a fun time and that a cost was there. It is almost ironic is it not, that in Romans chapter 5, salvation is called a free gift. Free to whom—it is free to us! It cost God the death of His son, and it cost Jesus Christ, also. We should be aware of that and thankful for that. That is one of the reasons for studying this last week of Christ’s life, so that we better see what that cost was.

Read the rest of the article here.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page.

Truth or Tradition now has a YouTube Channel!

Thanks for reading.

ADDED: I noticed that this post is getting a lot of views lately – WELCOME! If you’re interested in learning more about our wonderful Lord and Savior, please check out my Abundant Life category.

More from Write From Karen

Blogger's Best

Blogger’s Best Carnival – March 2009

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Welcome! Take a load off. It’s Saturday and you have my permission (as if you need it!) to be lazy. Here are some Girl Scout cookies to dip in your milk. Open the blinds, look out the window and appreciate the fact that Spring is nearly here and get ready to click on some really great articles. Thanks for dropping by and Happy Reading!

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ø Erin Pavlina presents Are You Afraid to Be Rich? posted at Erin Pavlina’s Blog, saying, “Many years ago I had this odd mentality about money and wealth. I thought that rich people were all greedy, and that most of them had probably sold their soul to the devil in order to attain their wealth. I assumed that rich people were conniving miscreants who took advantage of others. I assumed that corporations were evil, because it seemed to me like they always used clever marketing and subliminal advertising to coerce people into buying their products. Rich people who inherited their wealth seemed lazy to me.”

ø kathryn presents You Can Afford to Be Generous posted at Out of Debt Christian, saying, “This morning I decided to swing through the Dunkin Donuts drive thru to pick up a coffee and a bagel. As I pulled up to the window to pay for my breakfast the cashier told me, “The lady in front of you already paid for your order. She wanted me to tell you to have a nice day.” Stunned, I tried to get a glimpse of the lady in the minivan pulling out onto the road. I waved at her, but I’m not sure she saw me. Within seconds she was gone.”

ø Shawn Bryan presents If You Spend 1/3 of Your Life Sleeping, How Much of it is Spent At Wal-Mart? posted at The Shark Tank.
(Editor’s Note: *sputter* HAHA! *cough*)

ø run4change presents My Journey: From obesity to now! « My angle on weight loss posted at My Angle, saying, “The story of a soon to be dad who lost 130 pounds to live a happier and healthier life with his family.”
(Editor’s Note: Inspirational! Congratulations!)

ø Debbie presents Not a Davaoanian by blood but by heart. posted at Devoutly Davao.

ø Mudslide Mama presents A Beach Vacation in La Jolla, California posted at Traveling Mamas, saying, “I’m proud of this blog post because I video’ed myself, holding camera myself. Even though it’s not ready for prime time, I think it’s a nice first effort.”

ø LaterBetty presents I’ll tell you later Betty…: Then one day he was shootin’ at some food… posted at I’ll tell you later Betty…

ø Cydni presents Metro Rail Alert!! posted at Cydni Lenae’s Blog.

ø Kaiton Berkley presents Things NOT to do in a home invasion posted at RockstarMama, saying, “Curious noises. An unhelpful husband. A cat. Stupidity. A near ass-kicking. An all-powerful Supermom and a suspected home invasion gone awry.”
(Editor’s Note: HAHAHA!!!)

ø QiQi presents True Gruesome Stories posted at Celebrating Me, saying, “This wacky story is an unforgettable memory that’s rounded up rounds of laughter from family and friends”

ø Wayne Cross presents My First Scuba Diving Vacation posted at First Scuba Diving Vacation, saying, “Everybody who dives has to have a first diving experience. Mine was about twenty years ago of the Big Island of Hawaii with a group of my friends. None of us were certified. How could we be, since it was our first time? If we had been certified, at least we could have said we had previously dived to the bottom of some community pool back on the mainland.”

ø Victor Schultz presents St. Peters Square and Plaza | St. Peters Square, Vatican City posted at St. Peters Square, Vatican City, saying, “I had the great pleasure on touring the Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel. I wanted to give you just a glimpse of what you might see, if you were to visit the Holy See in Vatican City, Rome, Italy. Obviously, any tour of the Vatican is best in person. If you cannot go there, then a tour with pictures is perhaps the second best approach to seeing the Vatican and all the beauty and splendor that it has to offer.”

ø soldave presents Whatever happened to the minute’s silence? | Big in Japan posted at Big in Japan, saying, “Was watching a recent sporting event and before the match they requested everyone take part in a minute’s applause in commemoration of the passing of someone coonnected with the home club. As this went on it got me thinking: when and why did the minute’s applause turn into a fitting alternative to the minute’s silence?”

ø Mary H. presents Paden Smells his Tail posted at Stale Cheerios, saying, “I have a fun little rescue horse I’ve been working with this month. He’s got some issues, and has a lot of trouble relaxing. We’ve been working on stretching exercises, so one of the things I taught him this month was to bend his neck around to smell his tail! This is my experience teaching Paden this skill, including a short video clip.”

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ø More than just a mother presents Boys don’t wear hair clips posted at More than just a mother.

ø Jacquelyn presents Family Visit to the Dentist posted at WParent.com – Wise Parenting Guide, saying, “Going to the dentist does not have to be a scary experience for your child if you go as a family.”

ø Shen-Li Lee presents Early Childhood Education – Formal Classes or Home School? posted at Babylicious.

ø Dana presents A letter to my newborn son posted at Simple Pleasures.

ø Tracey presents Glimpses of Hope posted at GIRLS TO GROW.

ø Modern Parent presents Our 2009 Walt Disney World Vacation posted at Modernparent.org, saying, “The story of our Walt Disney World trip with my 18 month old son!”

ø Sarah Coller presents Hope posted at Blogging While Waiting, saying, “This was written several months after a devastating miscarriage. God gave me this picture of where my baby is and what may be going on there. I hope it is encouraging to others who may have experienced a similar loss.”
(Editor’s Note: Beautiful, Sarah).

ø Era Sundar presents F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-O-N posted at Today’s Thought.

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ø thebarefootbadger presents Simple Living: Lessons from Grandma?s House posted at The Barefoot Badger, saying, “Your grandparents may be able to teach you more than you think about “going green.””

ø Omawarisan presents How low can you go, do you have to go? posted at Blurt.
(Editor’s Note: I can relate).

ø Dana presents Shall we buy some chickens, dear? posted at A Very Nearly Tea.

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ø Cyndi presents A boat called freedom part 1 posted at Evolution Ezine – Collect your free mind power and self growth gifts, saying, “A beautifully written, inspirational fiction highlighting humankind’s current state of consciousness. A piece that makes you think.”

ø Shiv Dravid presents A New End posted at The Viewspaper, saying, “A New End”

ø Neighbor Nancy presents Camping in the Country; A Read Aloud Story for Little Ones posted at Recession Depression Therapy, saying, “What scares you in the dark?”

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Mommy’s Martini: The Agony of Defeat

Bad Mommy Moments: Time to Make Donuts

Don’t Make Drugs: Death Goo Dialogues

Spoiled Mommy: Lesson Learned

Mothergoosemouse: Grow Old Gracefully or Fight it Every Step of the Way?

Chookooloonks: Love, Relationships and Men’s Shoes

Chicken and Cheese: You Can’t Say I Didn’t Warn You

Thursday Drive: First Light

Caffeinated Mom: I Am Blessed

Summer’s Nook: Seeking Out the Positive

Is There Any Mommy Out There? Not That Different

nienie: No Request is Too Extreme

Okay, Fine, Dammit: Would You Read Your Kid’s Diary?

A Modern Mother: A Fleeting Moment … or Just Mummy Rot?

Expat Mums Blog: Wishing to Know

Laptops to Countertops: Preach It, Sister

Her Bad Mother: What Does a Body Good

Type-A Moms: Feminine Ways and the Conservative Mother

Idiot’s Stew: There is Something Seriously Wrong …

The Catherinette Chronicles: Dot Com Dating: A Horror Story

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This concludes the March 2009 edition of the Blogger’s Best Carnival. THANK YOU for submitting your links! If you would like to see your work showcased in the April 2009 edition, please submit your links here. (Please, one link per blog. If you submit more than one link per blog, I will only use the first link submitted.)

If you submitted your link and don’t see it here, that probably means I received it after the deadline or you didn’t follow the guidelines.

If you’ve read an outstanding article on another blog and would like to add it to the “Reader’s Choice” section of the next carnival, please let me know by using my contact form.

Thanks for visiting the carnival participants and don’t forget to check back April 25th for the next Blogger’s Best Carnival!

Photo Story Friday

Photo Story Friday: Three Blind Mice

Oh look! Another wonderful excuse to scan old pictures and bore you to tears!! Yay!

I’m the mouse in the middle. WHY I felt compelled to wear funky shorty-shorts with multi-colored geometric shapes on them AND black tights, is beyond me. I’m sure we had some sort of plan in mind when we decided to go that route.

Three Blind Mice - circa 1988

This was back when I worked at the bank … 1988 maybe? I remember the gal’s name on my right, Diane, but I can’t for the life of me remember the gal on my left.

We all three worked the lobby windows so we became fast friends. Since we all worked together, we thought it would be cute to dress up as a threesome: the customers loved it! We were three blind mice behind bars so it was quite a sight when people walked into the lobby.

Kevin worked the drive-thru and he dressed up as an older gentleman. He was so convincing, our older lady customers hit on him!!! We all gave him such a hard time about that for weeks afterward! It was truly hilarious.

The rest of the bank dressed up as: Raggedy Ann and Andy, Charlie Chaplin, clown, wicked witch of the west, the bride of Frankenstein, joker, catwoman, and a spider (complete with eight creepy arms!)

We had so much fun working together – I miss those days.

Friday Fun

Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 7)

7_quick_takes_sm Seven Quick Takes Friday is hosted at Conversion Diary.

Let’s get started …

—1—

I think I’ve found a solution to our dog issue.

You have to admit, it’s a pretty cute solution.

Now any time the guys get the urge to have a dog, I’ll just direct them to the above link. 😉

—2—

We don’t go to the doctor very often, but when we go, it’s always interesting to hear what they have to say as opposed to what we THOUGHT was wrong – because we’re the sort of people who exhaust all natural alternatives before breaking down and seeing a doctor.

Case in point: Kevin has had sleep issues his entire life. And it’s quite safe to say, he’s tried everything under the sun to try and make himself sleep better.

But nothing has worked.

He finally, after the 22 years I’ve known him, admitted defeat and made an appointment to see a doctor. He wanted to bypass the general doctor and go straight to a sleep clinic, but the way our health care industry is set up, we have to jump through several hoops before that can happen.

His doctor did a complete physical on him and declared him very healthy. (Thank you, God). Kevin told the doctor my suspicion of him possibly having sleep apnea – there are periods of time the man stops breathing.

But the doctor disagreed given his physical build. He suggested, instead, it might be his sinuses. So, he’s supposed to schedule an appointment for him with an Ears, Nose and Throat doctor.

Fine. We’ll see. I HOPE it actually ends up being something to do with his sinuses as opposed to an apnea condition – that just sounds less serious. But what do I know, I’m no doctor.

In the meantime, the doctor prescribed Kevin some sleep aids, something called Zolpidem. Listen to these side effects;

Diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness (duh), “drugged” feeling, dry mouth, headache, nausea, nose/throat irritation, sluggishness, behavior changes, chest pain, confusion, difficulty swallowing, fainting, fast or irregular heartbeat, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts.

Good Lord.

He was off work Monday and Tuesday so he went ahead and took half of a pill Monday night. Tuesday, he was a different person. I didn’t even know him, his personality was completely changed. He later told me, when he was somewhat back to normal later Tuesday,after the drug had worn off, that had a severe headache, had a dry mouth and he definitely felt like he had a hangover, but he DID sleep.

But the side effects weren’t worth it to him and he hasn’t taken anymore since that episode. He said he would rather be sleepy all the time than feel like that.

—3—

Did you read about the massive computer worm that is set to be released April 1st?

Yeah, as in April Fool’s day? Is this a hoax? Or is it real?

All I know is, don’t give these a-holes the satisfaction of scaring you. Just make sure you have your anti-virus software running in the background, all of your Windows updates are current, you’ve made backups of precious files and be very careful where you click and what you download.

Knowledge and preparation is 3/4 of the battle.

—4—

I finally made the decision to make a separate blog for my fiction. It’s called Fiction Fix.

One of the biggest reasons I decided to go ahead and do a separate blog is because my fiction voice is often nothing like my Write From Karen voice. Whenever I write a story, I stay true to my characters. So, if the characters would curse in real life, they’re going to curse in my story. If the story demands physical intimacy between the characters, then it’s going to happen.

I often times feel apprehensive about posting my fiction here on this blog because I don’t want to offend anyone. And I will certainly continue posting stories on this blog, but I’m going to save the more risque stories for Fiction Fix. If you would like to keep track of Fiction Fix, you can find the RSS feed here, or sign up to receive the stories in your email box here.

I must warn you though, if salty language or mild to risque (not x-rated) sex scenes make you uncomfortable, Fiction Fix is probably not for you.

—5—

The service guys came and fixed our gas leak. For those just tuning in, Kevin went under the house to seal some new pipes he put in for our sump pump and while down there, smelled gas. He used his gas detector tool and pinpointed where it was coming from – a joint had come loose and it was spewing gas every time the hot water heater or the dryer kicked on.

They were in and out in two hours but at $60.00 an hour, per person, we had to pay the rather hefty price tag.

But in a situation like that, what can you do? It’s better to fork over the cash and have it fixed than to have our house blow up at some point.

Safety first, right?

—6—

I took GD down to the Department of Motor Vehicles to take his driver’s permit test Wednesday. He was pretty nervous, especially as he didn’t feel like he was adequately prepared but I had warned the boy, several times, that we were going to go down there this week so he had plenty of time to read the manual.

He looked it over, but didn’t really read it.

So, we get there. And we walk through the waiting room, full of other nervous parents, and enter a room. GD fills out his information (we had to sort of guess on his height and weight, but the officer helped us out – he’s about 5’8, 120 pounds and has hazel eyes – what?! His eyes are almost so dark brown, they are black, we’ll have to get that corrected on his permanent license) and he gets his picture taken by a webcam.

The officer then says to me, “Okay mom, you can wait out outside.” He then turns to GD and says, “And you can grab an open computer and begin the test.”

*gulp*

I wait out in the waiting room for about twenty minutes. And in that time span, several other kids come and go, one gal is pretty depressed because she didn’t pass the written test. Another kid comes back from the actual driving test – he failed. So, I half-heartedly listen to other parents either console, or rejoice, with their children.

For a small pocket of time, I felt like a member of a small, and exclusive, parents’ club.

I noted that the kids who passed, all came out carrying a piece of paper. The kids who did not pass, were empty-handed.

GD finally emerged from the room. He looked shell-shocked, but he was carrying a piece of paper. He passed the test. He only missed two of the questions.

We were instructed to go up to the second floor. So, we endured the impossibly small elevator and stepped out onto the second floor and into a group of smelly people. (Why do government buildings always smell like sour body odor?)

We grabbed a number (we were 92 – it was currently on 77) and sat down to wait.

I always hate this part because the entire time we’re waiting I’m wondering if we’re even in the right area to begin with. Government buildings, at least in my limited experience, are never really clearly marked so you end up sort of following the crowd and hoping everyone else is there for the same reasons you are.

I noticed that a lot of people had the same piece of paper as GD, so I forced myself to appear confident in front of GD (when I really wasn’t) and we waited our turn.

Thirty minutes later, our number was called. We presented his passport, his social security card and his savings account bank statement (remember that, mom?) to prove his residence.

He signed some papers, I vouched for him and he got his picture taken. Two minutes later, we left with his very first, and very official looking, driver’s permit.

GD is not a very emotional being. At least, he’s pretty good at keeping his emotions inside. But I could tell, by the way he kept touching the card and looking at it, he was excited. He was an “official” member of society. When I asked him if he “felt” any older, he gently smiled and said, “yes.”

We had debated on whether we should “make” GD do this – if he wasn’t ready, he wasn’t ready. But when I saw how he conducted himself throughout the process and saw how proud he was of himself after it was over, I’m convinced, we did the right thing.

We had to go to Wal-Mart to buy ice cream for MK’s party later that night anyway, so while there, we bought GD his very first “official” wallet.

He walked out of the store with his head held just a little bit higher. He’s growing up before my very eyes.

Stay tuned for some hairy driving experiences – I’m sure it’ll be interesting blog fodder.

—7—

We took MK to a Japanese restaurant for his birthday. It was one of those where they cook in front of you and give you WAY more than you can eat. But I was shocked to see MK devour everything on his plate.

He’s always been a very picky eater and has never really eaten that much his entire life, but here lately, he’s been eating more than me and sleeping a lot more, too. His voice has gotten lower as well and … well … he’s becoming a man.

After paying the tip, our bill came to $82.00. *BLINKBLINK* THIS is the very reason we don’t eat out very often. It just sickens me to spend that much money on food – we literally ate $82.00. I can’t believe some people spend that much money on food every night – it’s insane. But it was a special occasion and MK’s such a great kid that it was worth it.

My in-laws went out to dinner with us. After dinner, we all came back to our house and we had cookie cake and ice cream. MK took his brand new saxophone out and played several songs for the grandparents – they were duly impressed. I know I keep saying this, but the kid’s a natural, he really is. It’s hard to believe he’s only been playing for 2 1/2 years.

birthday

Happy birthday, you big goofball. *kisskiss*