Wednesday, March 28, 2007

good grief

ive been thinking of that little phrase a lot lately and wondering how it started and what moron thought any grief was good. surely not someone who was caught in the midst of it, or left crawling out from its heavy undertow. as i have watched my best friend lose her first baby and father in a matter of short weeks, i am at a loss for words to console or to comfort. i want nothing more than to ease the pain, loosen the grip of the grief and reassure her that her Father in heaven is weeping with her and holding her close. i want to make sense of this elusive thing that is difficult to understand and yet has no trouble finding us. it is at these moments as with so many others, i am reminded of a faith that is steadfast and reassuring. not because i think i am a weak person as bill maher would have you believe, but because i know i am weak. not because i think i am lost without it, but because i need to look no further than the lost to see that i, too, was lost before i found it. and certainly not because ive been spoon fed my faith my entire life and have yet to really discover why i believe what i believe. rather, my faith is real and it is personal. not just to me and for me in a world absent of absolute truths, but for you and anyone else willing to accept it. so this brings me back from a tangent and to what ive been thinking about, when is grief good? and how did that dumb phrase begin? i wont take the time to trace the history of it, i took a nightmarish class in college for my english degree called "history of the english language". i called it hell for short and after tracing back countless words into the dark ages, i am done. however, i am intrigued by the notion of 'good grief'. i know that He promises that "all things work for the good of those who love Him" and by all things, i am fairly certain He knew what that would entail. we have that divine promise that even when we are in the haze of darkness and in the midst of unspeakable sadness, good is taking place. and not just random 'good', but good that is orchestrated by the Creator of the universe as He faithfully fulfills His promise to us is happening amid the pain. there are times when you wouldnt recognize the touch of God Himself if you werent in complete and desperate need of it. there are times when the only way to be on your knees in prayer is when the weight of your burdens robs you of the strength to stand. how often are we allowed to struggle and endure only to experience His compassion, grace, comfort, presence and peace throughout it? how many times have we come through the fire and been closer to Him than we were on the other side? i would not choose grief for myself or for anyone, but i do take my Father at His word when He says that "all things" work for good. and while this is of little comfort to most when we are being held captive by the pain and lacking the will and the strength to hold on, we can know that not just even then, but especially then He is meeting us where we are at and wrapping us in His arms with a comfort and a peace that is unlike any other. and to my best friend, hang on and know that you are cherished, loved and closer to your Father than you may feel.

for grandma moore

so, gk's grandma moore sent her this outfit and we finally had warm enough weather for her to wear it this weekend. she was so proud of herself and proceeded to dance around the yard, making it difficult to capture her on film...but certainly not impossible. anyway, mom, she isnt the only one who loves the outfit. thanks. :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

because we feel so darn lucky

here is our cutest and greatest blessing...we dont really believe in luck, just the goodness and greatness of His gifts to us. that being said, if we did believe in luck, we would feel like the luckiest people on the planet to have the peach as our little charm. instead, we just feel overwhelmingly blessed. here is gk celebrating her dads holiday.

Monday, March 12, 2007

feeding the ducks and gk

the weather here has been amazing, sunny and warm with a perfect breeze. we thought we would celebrate the end of our dakota winter hibernation and head out to one of our favorite parks so the peach could experience feeding the ducks. while she enjoyed the ducks, she clearly enjoyed feeding herself and the freedom that this massive board walk offered her even more. she did not want to hold our hands, be picked up or for that matter be touched. nope, just her and the open park which happened to be covered in duck/geese poop. yep, found that, too.

Friday, March 09, 2007

(lack of ) customer service

i wish i needed to embellish this story to make it better. i wish it wasnt actually this ridiculous. i wish i had a dollar for everytime i called one of our providers whether it be our bank, credit union, credit card company, cable company, tivo, verizon account, insurance or any other one of our many "monthly" bills and was transferred to a different department. and this would naturally be many minutes after listening to any one of the 15 different menu options from an all too pleasant automated voice that really sounds like she is dying to say, "press this and watch me take you nowhere". i would be loaded. last weekend, pat and i found ourselves in a house divided. his beloved aggies were hosting mizzou in college station for a basketball game. we debated on whether or not to order this on pay per view and decided half an hour before it started that we would like to find out how much it is to order a game and then decide. we were planning on probably ordering it, we just wanted to know the price. sounds simple enough, right? yeah, simple to you, simple to me, simple to countless other individuals with an ounce of sense and a brain. however, you would have thought that i was asking for someone to talk me through open heart surgery over the phone. we attempted to just find the price on the tv, you know go to the screen to order and see what it said. it had these options "order" "do not order". hmm. sounds simple enough, but what if we select "order" and then find out its like $25 for a 2 hour game that i secretly knew would probably end with the tigers leaving with their tail between their legs. we decided to call the cable company, prairiewave, to ask the question. i called and listened to the menu choices for 5 minutes, and then waited on hold for another few minutes before laura in customer service answered. she asked what she could help me with of course after asking my name so we could be polite friends for our 30 seconds together. i asked how much it was for a college game that was starting in 25 minutes. silence. "um, let me check. i dont have that screen. just a minute while i get to the right screen. im sorry my computer is so slow. um. we are showing weekend and season packages. would you like one of those?" i answered, "no, laura, just really wanted to know the price of one game, not the season pass". "oh. um, let me ask someone else." at this point, i thought we had caught her on her first day after training and all she needed to do was ask another customer service rep for the answer. when she comes back to me she says, "um, let me transfer you to technical support. theres no way for me to find out here." fine. technical support, here i come. im on hold for a short while when jeff answers, again requests my name and offers to help. i asked the same question of jeff that i had asked of laura noting that the game i was inquiring about was tipping off in now 10-15 minutes. jeff, the technical support genius sounded baffled, "um, thats done through customer service". yes, jeff, i, too am thoroughly confused as to why you in technical support would know the prices of pay per view games, but laura sent me over. he explained that he use to know how to find this apparently elusive information, but with a brand new system, he no longer knew how. hmm. he put me on hold, checked or pretended to check with fellow tech support people before offering to send me back to customer service. sure. again, hold for a minute, listen to crappy hits from the 70's and wait for someone to pick up. what are the odds, laura picked up again. "hi, laura, its me, katie, again. yeah, jeff over in tech support didnt know and wants me to ask you again. did i mention the game starts in 5 minutes?" defeated, laura says "i dont have that information. hang on and let me try something." harumph. i am now questioning the drug testing policy at prairiewave. a few minutes later the phone just starts ringing and low and behold its my friend, jeff. are you joking and does anyone else work there?? jeff, now sounding like an idiot apologizes for his lack of help and transfers me back to none other than laura, who at this point is im sure wishing there was some form of caller id on her call center phone. i said, "laura, hey, its katie. funniest thing, jeff still cant help me, but the game has started. any idea on how to find the price of this game??" she told me that if i would go back to that original screen on the tv that gave me the two choices, that once i selected "order" it would give me the price and the opportunity to finalize my order. "thank you, so much, laura, for cracking the code, ba-bye". i go to the screen, i select order and guess what wasnt on the next screen? certainly not a price, but a phone number to call to place the order. hmm, lets hit redial. yep, same number. laura answers again after the 5-10 minute hold time at which time im checking scores online and it is a tie game. you have got to be kidding me. "hi laura, its katie. again. that plan with the screen didnt work." she offers a half hearted apology while im sure simultaneously wishing i would drop dead and then transfers me to none other than jeff. im beginning to wonder if i am the pawn in a love affair gone sour. pushing me back and forth until i snap on one of them. just a thought. jeff again explains the new system issues to me in great detail and says when he finds the bleeding artery, i mean price of the game he will call me. i kid you not, 30 minutes later jeff calls, not to offer us the remainder of the game free, but to tell me he has located the holy grail. and it is $16.00. thanks, jeff, but mizzou is now losing, we are past half time and i refuse to give prairiewave any of my money today. they have already robbed me of 45 minutes of my life i will never get back and inspite of our first name basis, we are clearly no better friends than when we started this journey nearly an hour ago. i didnt actually say all of it, but certainly my inside voice was having some major dialogue while i wished jeff well and told him to tell laura hi for me. i love customer service, i just wish it came with some actual help.