Thursday, June 30, 2011

We Buy Gold. . .

Have you ever seen those signs that say "WE BUY GOLD" and wondered how that works? Well, I used to wonder. . . now I know.

Let me preface this by saying I don't particularly like jewelry. And I especially dislike gold. I prefer silver and always have. All of which my husband knew. And yet, somehow I wound up with a pile of jewelry -- most of which was gold. I guess that should have been a sign right there that something was wrong, but when you don't WANT something to be wrong, you don't look for signs that something is wrong. And now, I'm kind of glad that he got it for me.

Last Friday, I got sick of seeing it. I'm never going to wear it again and there is NO WAY I would jinx my kids with it, so I decided to get rid of it. Well, that's easier said than done and I couldn't afford to get cheated since I have 4 kids to raise and next to no help from their father, so I decided to visit a couple places before making my decision on who to sell it to.

The first place I went to had the "We Buy Gold" sign. It was Southeast Gold Buyers. It seemed legit. They had to buzz you in the door, paid you via check, and they even do "gold selling parties" which are like tupperware parties, only you get a bunch of your friends and their gold together and you all sell your gold. . . and that's when it started looking pyramidal. See, if you have a gold party, you get a percentage and bonuses, etc, etc, etc. . . So I sat down with a nice, pretty, friendly sales associate named "Kaley G." (at least, that's what she wrote on my card that she gave me). First, she waved a magnet over my jewelry to make sure none of it was magnetic (which would mean it was mixed metals and not pure gold/whatever). Then, she separated out the different types (10k, 12k, 14k, and sterling silver), then she weighed each (I had 6.6 of 10k, 4.8 of 14k, and 28.4 of sterling silver according to her scales) and gave me a price. Her first price was $148 which was including a 20% add on coupon from online. I said thanks, but I'm going to get another offer or two before I sell to anyone. At which point and time, she became a car salesman --er car saleswoman. She called her boss "to see if she could offer me a better price and save me gas and time driving around town to get better offers." Her boss said she could go up to $175. I said thanks again, but I was still going to get some other offers and she made a last ditch offer of $200 and told me that she could beat anyone else's offer by 10% as long as that didn't bring the price up more than $50 from where it was now (so max of $250) and she could still give me the $200 if I came back before 6 pm that day. At this point, I have a screaming baby and a very bad taste in my mouth from the whole experience because, let's face it, "selling" to me seems synonymous with "lying" and I'm not a big fan of that. Don't tell me you can only give me $148 and that's a good deal because that is including 20% more than your usual pricing and then turn around and tell me well actually you can go $175 then well, actually $200, then well, actually 10% more than anyone else up to $185. I'm not going to bite and I'm probably going to get angry with you for being full of bull. So I leave, hoping that I can find someone else that will give me more and I won't have to deal with her bull again.

Then I go to a jewelry store. Its apparently called "Gold Rush", but the sign just says "Jeweler" in big, green letters. Very creative. The man who worked there (I didn't get his name) did the same routine, checked for magnetism, verified the weights and types (Southeast Gold Buyers had actually put a 10k gold ring in the 14k gold pile), checked the stock market to see the current price of gold and gave me a price of $285. No haggling, no bull. I told him thank you very much, I am going to go a few more places, but I'm sure I'll be back because this is the best price so far. He was nice, polite, kind and he gave me a price of $35 more than Southeast Gold's "top price" -- even with Southeast Gold counting me as having more 14k than I actually had -- right off the bat without making me have to deal with a bunch of bull first. It was very refreshing and I thought it was cool that he used real time stock market info to figure out pricing.

Then I went to A&M Gold Company. They did the same routine as everyone else and offered me $300. So I told them I was going one more place and then would probably be back because they were the best price I'd gotten so far. The man was nice and polite, kind of a throwback, though. He used a calculator to figure out the offering price and he used it like my dad does (pressing enter a bunch of times when he's done LOL).

Then I went to Kaminski Jewelery. . . You know, "You wantski good priceski come in and see Kaminski." That was a really cool experience. I got to meet Carol Kaminski. She's the owner of the company and has been on billboards and in her own commercials for as long as I can remember. Meeting her was kind of like meeting a celebrity. She was so nice and down to earth, though. It was refreshing. They took my jewelry behind the scenes, but I'm sure they did the same procedure everyone else did, check for mixed metals, separate and weigh. They offered me $295.

So, all in all, it was a great experience. I probably could have haggled and got a the $300 out of Kaminski, but I didn't feel like playing games and had to drive right by A & M to get where I was going anyways, so I took the jewelry back to A & M and got my $300.

BTW, in GA you have to present a photo ID, sign your name and place your thumb print on the page with a copy of your ID and your signature on it to sell gold. Its a law apparently. I guess it makes sense as far as deterring people from selling stolen jewelry, but whether it makes sense or not, that is the process.

So if you are selling jewelry in the Woodstock area, I would recommend A&M Gold Company first, then Kaminski Jewelry, then Gold Rush. . . but don't go to Southeast Gold Company. They will low-ball you, lie to you and sweet talk you into thinking you're getting a great deal in the process. Sure, they have a A+ BBB rating. . . because their customers don't know any better. Don't be that customer and don't waste your time. A & M will give you twice what Southeast initially offers you, but really pretty much anywhere is better than Southeast Gold Company. And the sad thing is, they are all doing the exact same thing, melting down the gold and selling it to someone else. I guess that means the PSA of the day is be careful who you sell to. . .

Anyways, good luck and happy gold sales.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Shrek Forever After

What a mess I am, that a child's movie upsets me, but I guess the adult version (Its A Wonderful Life) would, too, at this point. Since men wishing they had never been born due to the pressures of having a family to provide for and life becoming "routine" has been a movie topic since at least 1946, then it must have been a societal issue for at least that long, but its just become one for me. I used to laugh at my mom crying while she watched Its A Wonderful Life, but I almost cried watching Shrek Forever After and that is so much sadder in my opinion. I mean, who cries at a cartoon?

I guess we all come to a point in our life when we wonder why and how people could do what they do. And I'm there now. I wonder why anyone would ever abandon their children and how they could walk away and never look back. I wonder how long greener pastures seem greener and how they could seem greener when you have to leave what is yours behind to try to take something you've already given up.

I'm sad, but that's nothing compared to what my children feel. In their eyes, even if he was an ugly color, he's a color that's no longer in their world and its a empty spot. And anything that reminds them of that color has the capability to make them sad. And I can't do anything to fix it. I never wanted this to happen and I don't ever want him back in my life, but I wish he was in theirs because at least then they would not have that lack.

I know God is omniscient and I know he loves me and my children and wants what's best for us. So I know there is a reason for him to be gone from their lives. But its still hard. And apparently makes me apt to cry at cartoons.

My PSA for today goes out to all males. Please do not start a family unless you want it for the rest of your life. Please do not give up when it gets tedious and routine and stressful and hard. If you do anything for an extended period of time, there will be hard times and if you give up, you miss out on all the good times that will come when you get through the hard times. And you leave your family vulnerable and hurting while you chase elusive and nonexistent greener pastures. And one day you may regret it. Bottom line -- this ain't no fairy tale. You don't get 24 hours to do what you will and then you can change your mind and say the magic words and its like it never happened. There will be pivotal moments in your lives and your decisions at that point will not just affect you, but everyone around you. If you have a family who loves you, good friends, a good job and a promising future, please do not abandon that. Please do not quit. Please. The world needs more men that stick around, not more little boys that chase their own selfish whims. Thanks to all the males who are men. This world does not have enough men. And way too many boys that refuse to grow up.

Stepping off my soap box now. Have a lovely day :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Father's Day PSA

First of all, I hope all the great dads out there had a fantastic Father's Day because they deserved it -- they are priceless and there aren't enough of them to go around. Case in point, my kids are missing one. . .

I especially hope my father, my FIL and my BIL (my children's "uncle-daddy") had a fantastic father's day and that they know how much I and my children love them and thank God for them.

Also, I hope all the single moms out there who serve as both mom and dad for their kids and do a fantastic job in both capacities had a great father's day and felt special and important, not just regretful that their kids don't have a good father in their lives. ♥

That having been said, my Father's Day PSA (Public Service Announcement, and yes, I did just have to look that up because I had NO IDEA what PSA stood for and I don't like to post acronyms when I don't know what they mean even if I've seen them used in the same context before) is this: Father's Day is a day set aside for children to honor their fathers for the positive impact they have on their lives, to thank and celebrate their fathers, NOT a day for deadbeat sperm donors to demand attention and undeserved accolades. If you are a father who abandoned your kids and don't make any effort to speak to them or spend time with them on a regular basis, its pretty rude to call and leave a message requesting to speak to your children "after all, its father's day" and you probably won't get a call back. Grow up and be a FATHER or give up on being celebrated on FATHER'S DAY. Just sayin'. . .

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A letter to my 26 year old self. . .

Oh, you arrogant creature. Oh, you passive-aggressive creation of God. Are you really as foolish as you seem? Do you really think you are just a cosmic anomaly that developed over millions of years from nothing? How? How did something like you come from nothing? You can't make something from nothing, you know. If you don't believe me, try it for yourself. Or even better, sit for a million years and see if the nothing in your hands turns into something. . .

So if we've established that we cannot make something from nothing and the universe can't either, then there must be Someone who can make something from nothing. And He made us. Knowing exactly what we would be like, He made us. Knowing exactly what the world would be like when we came to be in it, He made us. He knit us together in our mothers bodies. And for what? To sit passive-aggressively (although mostly passively) on our bums, wondering why we are here, wondering how we got here, but never doing anything with the here because "we aren't supposed to be here"? I think not.

You were lovingly and purposefully made just the way you are for a reason, intended to be in this place at this time for a purpose. This is your season. Are you fulfilling your purpose? Are you doing what you do to the best of your ability? Or are you playing the waiting game, waiting for a different season - the ever elusive "right time"?

Well, stop waiting. Now is the only time you have and you are not guaranteed to have more. You are not guaranteed to ever reach what you perceive to be "the right time". Do not waste the now, the only time you do have, waiting for another time. There are things you can do now. So do it while you are waiting. Worship while you are waiting. Serve while you are waiting. Fulfill your function, whether that be employee, wife, mother, friend, child. . . whatever you are, be what you are to the best of your ability while you are waiting. Live purposefully and prosper. Fulfill your potential now. Because now is all you have.

STOP BEING WASTEFUL AND BE WHAT YOU WERE INTENDED TO BE. And if you don't know what that is, find out. And while you are finding out, do what you can to help yourself and those around you so that if you never find out, you did not waste your time and your potential. Sometimes its not the destination, but the journey, that is significant. God did not bring you to this place and time so that you could coast to the next place and time. He brought you here to surf, to skate, to be active, purposeful and useful, to journey to the next place and time. What do you think you are waiting for? Pick a direction and GO. DO. SERVE. JOURNEY. Whatever you do, do it on purpose. That way, when you get wherever you are going, you will know how you got there instead of continuing to say "how did I get here? I am not supposed to be here" and other such drivel.

Don't forget to smile :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Book Review and A Goodbye

I just finished reading The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity by William P. Young 3 days ago and let me tell you, it was timely reading indeed. The book follows a father through the grieving process when his child is senselessly murdered. It is a book about his healing by Papa, who we know as Abba, Lord, God the Father. It talks about how he feels throughout the process, doesn't mince words, is raw and honest and offers a different view of the Trinity and Abba and helped me to see God in a way I hadn't previously. Obviously, with our human eyes, human vantage point and human concept of time, space, reality and purpose, we can never truly understand God completely, but I feel this book deepened my understanding.

Well, its one thing to conceptually understand and quite another to be given a real life example. Its one thing to read a book about a senseless tragedy and quite another to be confronted by a senseless tragedy yourself. Its so easy to hear about horrible crimes on the news and think "that's awful" and then go about your life like nothing happened and then tragedy strikes in your people-sphere and you realize that deep down you always had this erroneous, childish belief that tragedies were things that happened to "others." I'm sure we all have things that we think only happen to "others." Well, now I am sad to say I have one less thing in that category. And its funny to me that I had anything in that category at all. I have not lived a charmed life. In fact, this is probably the best time of my life. But I have never known anyone who was murdered.

Until now. Sunday, June 5, 2011, Shannon Marie Lawrence met her ex in a bank parking lot to bring him their children for his visitation time with them. There, in front of their 2 young children, he shot her 4 times in the face. Then he drove the children to his parents house and took her to the hospital where she was pronounces dead upon arrival.

My sister drove by the bank yesterday. There was a small part of the parking lot corded off by crime scene tape and nothing else. Nothing to mark that piece of ground as cursed. Nothing to show that that spot is the spot where the light of one of the world's most beautiful smiles was brutally, senselessly extinguished. Nothing to differentiate that part of the parking lot as different from the rest of the parking lot with the exception of crime scene tape that will be removed far too soon. People will park there again, never knowing. It sickens me. It baffles me. It derails me.

There are no words. No words to express what I feel. I alternate between wanting to barf and wanting to cry and in the meantime, I have done neither and I continue to feel terrible.

There are too many questions and not enough answers. Like why did this person still have visitation when he was arrested last year and charged with stalking, assault and battery? Father or not, why expose the children and Shannon to this type of danger? Why did they meet at a bank? Banks are closed on Sundays, parking lots empty, secluded. And then there are harder questions. Like why do the good die young? That stupid song has been stuck in my head for the past 2 days. I thought it was a stupid song before, but I somehow think it even stupider now that it makes more sense to me. . . and now that its stuck in my head. Why would anyone kill the mother of their children in front of their children? Even if you don't care about their mother, you should care about your own children. Why did he have a gun with him to pick up his children? That doesn't seem like a necessary tool for that job. . . Why bother to take her to the hospital at all after you shot her 4 times in the head? Clearly he wasn't thinking logically, but that only makes it harder for people who do think logically to comprehend what he did. And the questions get harder still. . . Like has this world always been this corrupt and full of evil? Or is this just part of a continuous downward spiral? And the hardest question of all -- Why? Just why?

I knew Shannon in high school. She was in my sister's grade. I was friends with her brother. I wasn't very nice in general in high school and I wasn't close friends with her, but I did like her and thinking about her now, every memory I have of her is of her smiling. She always had a smile on her face and she could light up a room. Her smile was infectious. It was hard to see her smiling face and not smile back, but I was goth/emoish so I tried. . . sometimes even a goth like me couldn't help but smile when I saw her. She was genuine, honest, and sweet. She was confident and beautiful. Looking at pictures of her since high school, it looks like she only got better. She was a beautiful mother. When she was with her children, her face glowed.

I haven't seen Shannon since high school and I was much different then. Becoming a mom changed me, made me a more positive person, brought me closer to God. I got back in touch with her brother, Justin, on FB and I found out she had children and still lived in this area. I thought we might enjoy hanging out with our kids, so I tried to friend her on FB a couple months ago. But she never got around to accepting my friend invite on FB. And now she never will. :*(

I feel helpless and awful and inadequate. I wish there was something I could do to help anyone. I know nothing will make this better, but I wish I could help just a little bit. Selfishly, I think helping someone else would probably help me, too. But I just don't know what to do. What do you do to counteract that magnitude of evil? I don't know. I feel like a sad, lost, little child. So I pray. I pray and I pray and I pray. I pray that good will come in the wake of this tragedy. I pray that Emma and Peter were protected from what happened, that even though they were there they somehow were spared from seeing it and thereby protected from having to deal with those images in the future. I pray that Shannon's mom will get custody of them because she loves them and they love her and they already lived with her, so I think it would be in the best interest of her and them. I pray for her family, for her friends, for me. I pray for her ex. Sometimes I pray for him in a Jaron and the Long Road to Love sense of the word, sometimes I pray for justice, I pray the book gets thrown at him and prison is a horrible experience. And then I pray for me. That I will understand that I can't understand everything. That I will get through this. That I will learn from this and not be completely derailed by this. That I will learn to take more pictures, to spend more time with my kids playing and less time worrying about how clean the floor is, that every moment is precious. Life is far too short and none of us know when our time is through. I pray. A lot.

I don't know how to express how I feel any better than I have and I know I have not done it justice. And I know I need to read that book again. But right now, I'm going to pick up Rory and give her and Addy and Evie and Izzy a hug and a kiss. . . and maybe ice cream with their lunch.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Garbanzo Pasta recipe

Preface: This is delicious, addictive, super easy to make and - GASP - healthy. I could eat this 2 times a day for a week and still not get sick of it.

1 pkg spiral noodles, either whole wheat or multicolored (I like multicolored because they have a serving of veggies in the noodles and that's pretty cool to me)
Wishbone House Italian dressing
1 cucumber
4 spines of celery
1/2 onion
2-3 chives or scallions
1 cup shredded carrots

Boil noodles according to package directions and rinse with cold water.
Finely chop veggies.
Mix all ingredients together in bowl with top, reserving some dressing for when serving.
Place in fridge to chill.
Spoon into bowl, add a little more dressing and top with parmesan cheese if you would like or salt if you're like me ;)
Enjoy and repeat often :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cleanliness is next to Godliness?

I have recently decided to read my Bible cover to cover. I had started reading in the New Testament and was going to read the entire New Testament and then read the Old Testament because the New Testament seems easier to understand. And then I went to Secret Church. And found out that Secret Church has online media resources allowing me to watch all the old Secret Church sessions. And then I watched the Old Testament session of Secret Church, thinking "Well, if I watch that, I won't have to read the Old Testament because that will teach me all I need to know about the Old Testament. . ." and instead, it made me want to read the Old Testament. The best laid plans LOL. . .

So I started at the beginning and I'm in Leviticus now and I'm of the opinion that the catch phrase "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" originated from the book of Leviticus. See, Leviticus is all about the guidelines the Israelites were given at that time period, what made them unclean, how to reattain cleanliness, and why it was bad to be "unclean". If you were "unclean" you could not go into the temple. You could not be in the presence of the Lord. If you were unclean and went in the presence of the Lord, you would die. You had to be clean to be next to God. So in the book of Leviticus, cleanliness was quite literally next to Godliness.

I highly recommend you check out Secret Church. It is a phenomenal resource in my quest to continuously learn more about God. If you have never heard of Secret Church, that's partially my fault as I have been meaning to blog about it for a couple months now and just haven't gotten around to it. You can all thank my cousin, Beth, for reminding me to blog. Its sad that I needed the reminder, but I did.

I attended Secret Church telecast session at FBCW this April. Secret Church is a in depth Bible Study. It lasts 6 hours, during which time the study is focused on persecution in a specific area of the world as well as a specific topic in scripture. Previous topics covered are "Survey of the Old Testament", "Survey of the New Testament", "How to Study the Bible", "Who is God?", "Exploring the Holy Spirit", "The Cross of Christ", "Angels, Demons, and Spiritual Warfare", "The Gospel, Possessions and Prosperity", "The Body of Christ", and "Crucifixion, Salvation and the Glory of God", which is the session I attended.

Secret Church sessions are held with the intention that those of us who attend or watch online will take what we learn and teach it to others, which is the intention of secret churches all over the world. The only difference is, we are blessed to live in a country where we are not persecuted for gathering together to learn about God.

I am so glad I attended in April and I hope to be at the next session in November. And between now and then, I hope to make it through all the other sessions. I have watched the Survey of the Old Testament and started to watch the Survey of the New Testament, got about halfway through and decided I really wanted to read through the Old Testament before going any further, so hopefully I will also have finished reading through my Bible cover to cover by the November session as well. I am really looking forward to being at the next session and learning more about God through his Word. Check out Secret Church yourself, watch a couple sessions and you'll see why I'm so excited about it. Happy Bible reading :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Beth, this blog's for you :)

Happy birthday, Beth. I am very happy that you reminded me to blog as its something that constantly slips my mind. I am flattered that you like to read it so much you would ask me to blog on your birthday, so here I am. . . 24 minutes of your birthday remaining. I hope you got your license.

Did you know that I didn't get my license until I was 18. Actually, I was almost 19, had already graduated high school. It was the May or June before the September I turned 19. I was SOOOO not ready. I hope if you got your license that you are ready. And don't drive when you're mad. Pull off the road and scream or slam the door or do whatever it takes to stop being mad, but don't drive mad. That's how my mom's explorer died. Sorry Mom.

If I was to give you a piece of advice for your birthday, Beth, it would be this: Live purposefully. I know that sounds simple and maybe even silly, but I regret the time I wasted coasting through life. Not that I'm saying you coast through life, but if you do, don't ;). Think about what you are doing. Research before you make decisions. Live a life that you will not regret when you are older. Learn about yourself, your likes and dislikes, your strengths and weaknesses. Love yourself so that you can better love others. Even though the world does not consider you to be an adult yet, your present determines the path your future takes. I hope you have had a fantastic birthday and I pray you have many wonderful future birthdays ahead of you.