Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD,
         Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. 
For the LORD is a great God
And a great King above all gods 
Psalm 95: 1-3

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Paperless Society

We have health insurance through my husband's work, including access to a nice  Flexible Spending Account plan whereby we contribute to the plan based on our expected costs for co-pays and other non-reimbursed medical expenses.  In our case, that includes dental, orthodontic, and visual expenses we approximate.  Then we submit receipts and are reimbursed the $, and realize some tax advantages.  We think the plan, which is administered by a large well-known company, is mostly just...ducky. 

When we have had an issue, I have always been able to work it out through their pleasant customer service reps.  Since they are based near my hometown, we talk the same talk.

Just today I dealt with them on a couple of claims, one of which we worked out over the phone.  You will be glad to know my October 1 payment to the orthodotist will be reimbursed at midnight tonight.  Happy Thanksgiving!

They had also denied a $10 receipt because, their very helpful customer rep explained, "It's a Walmart receipt, and Walmart prints the store name on the back, so you have to copy front and back."  I asked how he knew it was Walmart, and he said, "ummm...from the bar code."

Then we laughed, because though he could read from the car code that it is Walmart, he cannot pay it without seeing the printed, "Walmart."

So why do we have this technology?  So much for the paperless society!

Just a little note - I have worked for the power company before, and have a good idea of how a customer can explode over program rules and requirements.  I could tell my rep today feared I might blow up over the submission requirements - he was braced for impact!  Part of his laughter was just plain relief that I did not give him a hard time.  The rep on the phone (or the little gal doing the energy audit) has no control over POLICY, and cussing him/her out will not make the day go better for either of you.  When you talk to someone who works for a large company with rules and regulations, be kind.  I have never regretted speaking kindly.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Recreating history

I am awash in a sea of brown fleece today, making a cape for a Spanish serving girl.

Our young friend goes to St. Augustine to take part in recreating history.  I'm embarrassed to admit that though we live less than 2 hours away from this historical city, we have yet to really do a history fieldtrip to St. Augustine.  

She'll have the cape at bottom right, but calf-length.

Our friend goes to St. Augustine every year to carry a lantern and be a part of history.  Her brother, a re-enactor since age 6, even gets to fire a musket! Since I did a little dress-up-and-play-history when I was young, I think it is really cool.  Because of the time I spent being an 1850's girl, I feel very confident about that period of history in south Georgia, at least, the everyday history of the doctor, the lady who spun cotton and wove it, the quilter, the potter, the syrup-maker, the shoemaker - I spent time in all their houses, showing them to visitors.  From age 9 until I was grown, I always had a long 1850's dress or skirt. 

We lit real candles on the tree in this stagecoach inn at Christmastime.  Over the years, we drank wassail, hung the greens, ate the yulelog cake (I never was the one who found the good luck pea), and in spring, danced around the Maypole.  I did not chase the greased pig on July 4th, though. 

Thinking about what I learned through my involvement there and how it enriched my life makes me wonder where and how I can help my daughter have some of this kind of experience. 

I hope to post a picture of the Spanish serving girl (a well-dressed serving girl), and maybe her brother the soldier in a few weeks.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Blessed are the peacemakers

"Yes!  You're both MY friends, and you're BOTH invited to My birthday party, and it's going to be a PRINCESS party!"
- quote from a little peacemaker, age 5                

I'm pondering how to best be a peacemaker when my friends are in conflict.  I'm not a natural at it.

Right now is a good time to ponder this, because right now I am NOT in the middle of such a conflict.  But one could pop up anytime, being sinners like we are.  And being a cowardly-type sinner, I am loathe to help out.  I just want to duck out of the way and wait until it's over.  Actually, I just don't want it to happen. But if it does, I want to be NOT involved. Can't we all just get along?

A few weeks ago, 2 little BFFs had a conflict at church; the kind that is important to little girls.  The kind that ended with two little pouty friends saying to me, "She's not my friend anymore, and she's not invited to my birthday party,"  and "Well, she's not my friend anymore either, and she's not invited to MY party either."   {DISCLAIMER: It was two little bitty girls; not Earthgirl}

Sigh.  Even with little girls, I'd rather back away.  But I waded in, pulled them to me, and reminded them that they have been friends for a long time - as long as they can remember, which is maybe three years.  I told them that it would be sad to say things like this to each other and hurt feelings when they were such good friends. 

And then I looked at their sweet, sunny friend, who was looking on with interest and concern, and said something like, "Maybe since you are friends with them both you can help them get along."  She agreed with me, put her arms around both waists, and sang out the joyous promise above.  What delight greeted her!  Princesses were discussed, smiles beamed, and invitations by all three to all three were exchanged.

I was astonished. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God. (Matt. 5:9)   I know a little girl I call daughter of God.

I wish it could be just that easy, but with adults it's always complicated.   Or is it?  Always?  How often have I missed a chance to be the peacemaker because I feared that it was complicated?  How often have I feared they might both turn on me?  Maybe sometimes I could just wade in, get in the middle and be sweet, and maybe, just maybe, discover that they want to be friends more than they want to nurse their hurt feelings. 

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
                                                          James 3:17-18
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