Thursday, January 29, 2009

Good ole PA for all YOU GUYS out there

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

God and Printers

Quite a few years ago Dave was given a brand new Brother Laser Printer. It was wonderful and made the most beautiful copies. day the toner ran out and when we went to price it -- YIKES!! -- over $80.00!! Time passed -- lots of time passed -- and because we had an hp Deskjet before the incredible laser, and because you could purchase cartridges for about $25.00 we never bothered with the Brother and it's pricey cartridge.

About two weeks ago the $25.00 cartridge ran dry. Dave and I have revamped our living style which simply means - no cash - no purchase. God has been working me over -- (and I REALLY mean that) -- about living debt free and trusting Him for our "daily bread." (Brother Durr preached a message about this about a month or so ago -- He will probably never know how much the message was for me!)

At any rate -- there was no cash available for the cartridge so we lived without and I began to pray for the money to purchase one. Yes, I pray about anything and everything. I was sooo tempted to buy one with a credit card -- you sort of need a printer when you are a student/teacher -- but my conscience would not let me. I was to trust my Heavenly Father for everything -- my daily bread. When He saw that I really, truly needed that cartridge He would provide. (My God SHALL SUPPLY ALL your NEED).

Well, yesterday my girls "begged" me to take them to the Goodwill. After a good day of homeschooling we headed off. I was determined not to purchase anything that wasn't a genuine need therefore I didn't do too much browsing, therefore avoiding temptation. I distinctly remember making the decision to make one quick trip through the "stuff aisles". A particular box caught my eye -- on any other day I know I would have completely missed it. Yes, the box pictured above.
Now you have to understand, I am totally incompetent and uneducated when it comes to anything on the tech side, no matter how simple. But I KNEW this was the right cartridge. I called home to confirm it would fit but I already KNEW it would. A thousand questions raced through my mind -- Should I spend the $9.00? Was it a waste? Would the printer work after 3-4 years of no use? Do cartridges expire? Had this box been opened and repackaged? Was there ink still inside?...
The manager at the store was more than helpful when I asked about the possibility of returning it if I found that it didn't work or had been opened or even expired. She even went to google to get more info.!! They opened the box and we discovered it was still sealed in the silver packaging. I knew for sure it was mine and I wasn't wasting money.

So I got it appeared to be the wrong size! How?!
Today is a glorious snow day -- a few extra hours available. I set to work on the printer, asking God to help me figure it out.
First, the cartridge did fit! Second, I had just purchased the top of the line for this model and it was good for 6,000 pages! I have yet to see what they retail for.

But...when I printed the first page this is what I got.

Obviously, that would never work!!!
So, I began to pray again. "Dear God, I have no idea how to fix this printer. You led me to the cartridge, please lead me now."

Say what you want -- I knew to go get rags and alcohol. Perhaps I vaguely remember a certain smell when they come to fix the copier at school. Who knows. Sooo .. I gathered my equipment and went to work cleaning the inside of the printer. A picture clued me that there is a glass lense that needed to be swiped clean.

Copy after copy the mess remained! I was wasting toner and paper!! "Please Lord, help me!!"
After reasoning how the paper goes through, I decided that it must not be the shell of the printer but there must be a roller or something that has toner smeared over it. UH-HUH!! There is!!!
After try after try, chipped nails from turning tiny wheels, toner on hands and clothing, LOTS of patience (at least for me - the one who hates "fix it" projects) and prayer I almost had it. By now I had been working for over an hour. But there were still a few smears and the printing was inconsistent - sometimes almost a clean page other times horrible.
"Please Lord -- show me what to do!!"

Q-TIPS!! There was one spot I hadn't cleaned well. Clean there again - use Q-tips!

"Alright Lord, I have done literally all I can think of to do. Unless you show me somthing else I am finished. You didn't lead me to that cartridge for me to have smeary pages to hand in to my professor. I need clean, white, consistent pages. This is my last try."

This is exactly what came out of that printer!!
I gulped back tears -- our Almighty God -- creator of heaven and earth, who KNOWS all things - including types, styles, and working of printers ----- had just directed my thoughts and actions in the most incredible way!!!

I did not even have $25.00 for the deskjet.
He provided the top of the line for $9.00.

I had absolutely no clue how to put the cartridge in when I started much less clean it!!!

Soooo ...why do we limit God? Why do we confine Him to a box of what He can or cannot do, will or will not do????

I don't know about you but I just learned a huge lesson in the last 24 hours.
"Now unto Him who is able to exceeding, abundantly above all that we can ask or think."

P.S. It was only after the work was all done and I marveled at what had just taken place, that I took the pictures and decided to blog. Perhaps it will encourage you with what you are facing. God is enough!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Gotta love the Cheap Stuff

So... I'm still doing the Grocery Game...
Not that any one really gets all excited ...
but anyway - thought I'd post just a few of my lovely bargains...
At the hometown Kroger today they had 3 bargain tables of which I sifted through for quite a while
Cough Drops - .50
Lithium Batteries - 1.99
Children's Dimetapp - .99
Legg's Hose - 1.50
Tylenol Cold - 2.29
Lots of other stuff which I hid for Valentine Day gifts for the children
I must have saved at least $30.00 at these tables!

The half gallons of milk were 50 cents!
The expiration date was today -- the dept. manager said he had received an extra skid of half gallons and had to move them. We're not big milk drinkers so I was happy to give 3 away to my surrounding neighbors.
The Rice Snacks were free!

People ask if it's worth it to cut, sort, compare store prices, etc.
The answer - yes! Today, just at Kroger, I saved over $72.00. Some of the purchases were stockpiling while others were just refills.

I save time in cutting by "paying" Christi to help or I cut in the car (while Dave is driving!). Once a month I clean out the dead and soon to expire coupons. If you stay on the job and file every week it's not so time consuming.

Other things I've learned:

Kroger will honor coupons on a receipt where you have purchased items but didn't have, or forgot, the coupon (up to one week).

Bed, Bath and Beyond will honor their expired mail coupons. I've used two expired $10.00 off coupons in the last 2 months. Both cashiers have told me, "Never throw out your mailer coupon. We'll honor it."

The girls and I were shopping at the DSW shoe store and I had a $10.00 off coupon.
It had expired 2 days earlier but thought it wouldn't hurt to ask - they could say, "no."
She put it in the computer and sure enough it accepted it!! Since it was Alicia's purchase she was quite happy! It never hurts to ask!!

Costco usually has better deals than Sam's Club.

So as not to bore you...Good Night.

My children are all home now. I am happy.
(How many mom's of teen-agers understand that statement?!!)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Organ and the Organist

I met Michael when I was in 3rd or 4th grade. One of the church families had gone calling and stopped to call at a home near the foot of one of the Appalachian Mountains "back in PA." Michael was their first born son. Andy, their second son, was in my grade at the local public school. Only Michael chose to attend the services regularly. He brought his own entertainment. Slightly mentally challenged, Michael was a constant amazement or amusement. As I recall, he always wanted to be a part of the action and loved to play any role as designated helper.
One of the things Michael wanted to do was play the organ. Somehow he obtained a beginner organ - a little plastic organ that came with the notes of the keyboard attached, a book with easy to read instructions and simple songs. OH, WAS HE EVER EXCITED!!!
He played, he practiced, he played, he get my point...he would carry it to church so he could play the special!! THAT was interesting!

Years and years have passed....
This past summer I held a VBS for a church near the little town of Roxbury, PA where Michael still lives...
who do you suppose was one of the first to meet me? Uh huh, Mike.
Ever the helpful, he carried my things, helped me set up, turned on the fans, suggested I move my car -- would have moved it for me but I was driving a rental, therefore a very logical reason why he shouldn't - and then came the moment, "Charlotte, let me show you the organ. I'm the organist here." THE ORGANIST??? Really???? Proudly he took me over to the organ and lovingly pushed back the lid. He began to play .... I was amazed! Michael could play, I mean really, truly play the organ!! Not only could he play, but he was playing the very song I had just taught the children a few days ago --- with the Mexican sound and rhythm -- by ear!

Michael humbles me. He does his best to serve God in the way he can understand. He openly acknowledges his past failure and sin but assures me God has forgiven him. No job is too big and no task too small for him. And the details he remembers!!!! He brought back to mind things that I had long ago forgotten. He knew all my siblings names and most of the spouses, where we had lived, occupations....stuff that we did as children! He has held the same job at the Lighthouse Restaurant in Chambersburg for over 20 years -- serving in the dishroom -- knowing full well that his pay is still minimum wage but should be sooo much higher because of his years there. Yet he goes back - he needs a job, he knows the people -- LOTS of people.
Probably some of you have run into Mike. Once you meet him, you don't forget.

At any rate, tonight I happened to find these pictures...those of you that know Mike, know that you gotta love him. He is one of God's very special people.
Michael, you'll never read this, but thanks for putting your special touch on your corner of the world.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Random Blessings

I have sooooo much to be thankful many gifts from God.
Here's a few of the blessings God has given...
There is such a very long story behind these pictures concerning God's work in my life and His teaching me to pray, trust, believe, accept, quit worry, daily bread, faith...
For over 2 months our family had been without a vehicle...(we borrowed David's car - smile), God, through the help of one of His other children, provided this 2001 Crown Victoria for us.
What an incredible blessing it has been!!

Not only does God supply our needs, He delights in giving us gifts just because.
Although I understand the unspeakable joy I receive when I am able to give one of my own children a gift - something I know they've had their eye on, something I know will make them happy and bring a big smile -- I still find it hard to believe that God, my heavenly Father, also finds that great joy in giving to me! Yet His Word speaks of this.

When I arrived home from our trip to VA and PA -- this Keurig coffee maker was waiting for me just inside my door. You cannot imagine how absolutely surprised and DELIGHTED I was!! I kept asking my family who bought it for me. I checked the address over and over and my name stayed right there on the label!! But no one knew where it had come from. Upon opening the box I found the name of the giver and kind words -- they had wished to remain unanimous but the company had made a mistake and added it. Tears were streaming down my cheeks as I lifted this gift - a coffee maker - but not just any one - THE ONE I had been wanting...
It sounds so simple, almost silly, but I love (enjoy) coffee. God has seen to it that I will have coffee -- (a long story of how I had run out of coffee and budget money and through my mail slot on 2 different occasions, (each time as I had used the last grind), coffee samples (Millstone and then Folgers) dropped through my mailslot. The neighbors tell me they received none!).
Then the Keurig coffee maker with 18 pods.
Then $20.00 gift certificate to Starbucks.
Then 2 packets of flavored coffee = 4 pots.
Then a 1 pound bag of Millstone Cinnabon flavored coffee.
All gifts!!

As I write I am gulping back tears..."if you like to give good gifts to your children, how much more do I love to give gifts to mine" - Char's paraphrase. Unless you have been walking the road where I have been the last 4 months none of the above will make a lick of sense. That's ok -- it's between my Heavenly Father and me.

Another blessing -- Kenwood Kidz.
This year's Joseph (Daniel Neff) and Mary (Emily Welsh).
God's call to Children's Ministry has been one of my biggest blessings. You just gotta love children!!!

Remember the pretzels? -- another of life's joys -- Wawa Tea -- nothing like it. Only in Philadelphia!

Christi found this Coach purse at a Mennonite Care and Share.
Brand new, all tags....$8.50!
We're going to list it on e-bay and split the profit. Right now they're selling for well over $100.00. Yippee!!

That's about it...
Count your blessings, name them one by one...
You can NEVER outgive God!!!