Thursday, December 04, 2008

Unexpected costs of a large family

As the mother of six, I understand very well that large families are expensive. It costs more to feed them, to clothe them, and to get into a theater or zoo. We have to drive a bigger car with enough seats for everyone, so we have to spend more on gas. And, a large family requires more time, for everything from eating breakfast to getting the laundry done.

Because of the size of our family and our donation-based income, we are very careful with finances. It is a good thing right now, because we're not feeling the economic crunch too much. We never go out to eat, so we can't really cut back on that. We don't travel during the holidays (and our family is all in town), and have been watching mileage for years, so we can't really cut back on driving. We don't spend much money on various forms of entertainment (the last movie my family went to see was "Prince Caspian" and it was the only movie we went to last year), so we can't really cut back on that. The only domestic help I have is what my children give me. They are VERY helpful, but at this point they are still in "training" and I can afford to invest the time to train them.

Over all, we do pretty well managing finances, especially considering our large family. One area, though, no one warned me to watch out for, and that is postage. When you have a large family, especially one with lots of girls, you tend to have lots of relationships. Now, don't get me wrong; I want my children to have friends. And, since we've moved recently, my girls all want to stay in touch with the friends they left behind.

It isn't quite the same to send or receive e-mail, as convenient as it may be. Nothing compares to the thrill of opening the mailbox and finding a personal letter with your name on it. So, my girls all like to write letters. And, those letters require stamps. When you multiply 43 cents by five girls who average up to a letter a week, it adds up quickly! Instead of planning ahead for college, we have to figure out creative ways to fund the "mail habit" so we can continue to pay for postage.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Budget Breakthrough

My husband and I serve with a non-profit organization in the US. Our paychecks come from donations and because we would much rather help people understand how they can know God personally than anything else, finances are usually tight. We've budgeted for years, operating on an envelope system (when the envelope is empty, you can't spend anymore) and paying cash for whatever we buy, including cars, doing without what most Americans consider necessities. It hasn't been too bad; we live very simply and are mostly content with the simplicity.

I must be honest, I do get frustrated with having to always be so careful with every penny, especially when it doesn't seem to make any difference at all. We've been married for 14 years and on staff with the non-profit organization for most of that time, so finances have been tight for a long time. I've learned lots about being frugal, and how important quality is to successfully practicing a frugal lifestyle. I've learned the value of a dollar; a lesson I did not learn at home or when working as an RN in the hospital. The lessons are good, but it doesn't seem to matter what I've learned, we never get ahead.

This week, though, I've been greatly encouraged with the benefits of our budgeting. We're buying a house! It is a fixer-upper that lacks all major appliances except a vintage 1951 stove. The carpets are going to be ripped out as soon as we get keys. So, I went shopping (not a favorite past time) to find a refridgerator, a dishwasher and new flooring. At the end of the day, I'd spent more money than I usually spend in three months but scored fantastic deals that will bless our family every time we use them and will add value to the home when we get ready to sell. Knowing that our previous frugality made it possible to make those purchases helped me see; being careful WAS paying off! We're getting ready to move into a house that we'd never be able to buy if we hadn't budgeted for so long. It is exciting, and as I walk through the door, I'll be reminded of the value of budgeting.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Secret to Success

I have figured out the secret to my success as a domestic engineer/family manager/mom and wife. Admittedly, some people will question whether I'm being successful (and I'm often one of those people) but I had an epiphany that just had to be shared. This may not make sense at first, but hang in there with me because (I hope) it will.

We've all heard that failure is the key to success. Successful people fail, sometimes many times and miserably. But, what makes them successful is that they don't give up. Successful people don't discount themselves as failures because they make a mistake. They simply try again. The old adage, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again" seems to characterize most successful people. Thomas Edison, not to belabor the point too much, is reported to have said (in response to how he felt about failing so many times before fining something that worked for the light bulb), "I didn't fail, I simply discovered (however many different ways) that didn't work." You might say, as I have before, that it is a matter of perspective.

Well, tonight, as I was getting ready to tumble into bed, I noticed clothes on my clothes line. Since it was after dark and I was already in pajamas, I decided it was too late to worry about it and we'd take care of it in the morning. Then I started thinking of all the ways I fail as a mom. I could list them for you, but it would get boring quickly. Anyway, I realized that the reason I keep trying at this task set before me is that I recognize that I'm a failure, in MANY ways. Again, I could list them, but you would probably be thinking of your own list anyway. If you want to get right down to it, all of us fail; the Bible says so and I don't anyone really disagrees.

Isn't great that entrance into Heaven is not dependent on our perfection? I'm especially grateful, since I'm so VERY far from being perfect! Psalm 103:8, one of my favorite verses, says "The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love." His patience, graciousness and compassion make it possible for me to keep failing without giving up. Later in the same Psalm it says that God knows how weak we are (He should since He created us). He has made provision for our weakness through His Son, Jesus Christ. That is the reason that I can be "successful," at least as far as not giving up on being a mom. My precious Savior, Jesus, loves me in spite of my failings (of which there are MANY), He accepts me and gives me what it takes to put one foot after the other, even on days when my laundry still hangs on the line as I get into bed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

After baby bodies

As the mother of six children, I know a little about how babies change bodies. Parts of me will never be the same again! So, it was not with a little interest that I noticed a story on mothers having plastic surgery to regain their pre-baby bodies. Part of me was curious; just what could be done? Part of me, though, was sad, and a little frustrated with plastic surgeons.

The part of me that was curious got pretty obvious answers pretty quickly; surgeons can augment things that have shrunk and shrink things that have gotten bigger, suck out fat from places no self-respecting woman wants fat and put it back where any self-respecting woman knows it goes.
I didn't get any hints as to a dollar amount such surgery must translate into, but you know it has to be expensive and I'm pretty sure insurance won't pay for it. The dollar amount is also the reason I'm a little frustrated with plastic surgeons. We already have enough problems with airbrushed supermodels setting an impossible standard; we don't need rich surgeons getting richer from our artifically induced insecurities!

The part of me that was sad, though, was sad because of what this new trend says about our culture and how much (or little) we truly value moms. I've had six children, and like I said, parts of me will never be the same. My 5' almost 11" frame won't see the inside of my size 10 wedding dress ever again. I probably won't see the inside of a size 10 period. My hips and my feet both are much wider than they used to be, and no plastic surgeon is going to be able to help that.

Parts of me are much smaller than before I had children. Other parts have folds that haven't gone away in spite of regular daily sit ups. Yet, my husband tells me how beautiful he thinks I am and how much he enjoys the parts that are smaller and the parts that aren't. I've never felt insecure or ugly because of what happened to my body as a result of becoming a mom. Indeed, I consider it a tremendous privilege and know many women who would give almost anything to see what their post-baby body would look like because they can't have children.

Perhaps we need a gentle reminder that life brings change. For any of us who live into old age, gravity will not be thwarted; we will have parts that sag and bag, with or without plastic surgery. We can do some things to help, to be sure, but nothing can stop the march of time. And perhaps such a goal is misdirected. The hand who rocks the cradle, it is said, is the hand who rules the world. Mothers of all sizes rock cradles holding future presidents, priests and kings. Women who mother children are beautiful, not because of what size they wear or how quickly they fit back into their pre-pregnancy clothes, but because of WHO they are and WHAT they are doing!! Perhaps the best thing we can do for post-baby body blues is not to turn to plastic surgeons, but to re-evaluate what we see as beautiful and to remember what a gift being a mother really is.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Adventure Continues (or, Parenting is Never Dull)

The children and I were at a restaurant recently, for lunch; without my husband. Now, if you have children, you know why parents don't take children out to eat very often (especially at "real" restaurants, as opposed to McDonald's or Wendy's) and you can imagine the scene that played out before me. But, it was a special occasion and I was not going to be deterred from my appointed task

After we'd ordered, I herded everyone to a table. Of course, children had to wrestle over who would sit where and someone was unhappy, though not too loudly. My son fell off the bench he was sitting on, but wasn't injured seriously enough to keep him from climbing back into his seat for food. Then, a glass of water (only filled half way) was spilled. By now the other patrons in the restaurant are looking at me with raised eyebrows, undoubtedly wondering what psychotic maniac actually takes seven children 12 and under (we were borrowing one for the day) to a restaurant, alone. When the food was delivered, it took several minutes to dish out to everyone what they needed, only to hear "I don't like that," or "I wanted the other one." In the midst of dealing with dishing out food and filling cups and getting replacement silverware for kids who dropped theirs, life got really interesting. My son threw up.

I can only imagine that he ate something that didn't quite agree with his taste buds, who engaged in an all-out assault and refused to allow the offending food to proceed further. What the problem was, I have no idea. All I know is that one minute he was eating and the next he was puking on the table.

Having grabbed a small mountain of napkins, I quickly cleaned up the rejected food and disposed of it before anyone else noticed. Caleb, having dealt with the problem, proceeded to eat the rest of what was on his tray, with hardly a moment's hesitation. Whatever the problem was, it didn't affect his appetite in any noticeable way. And, none of the girls noticed anything, for which I can only be humbly thankful! The meal was finished without further incident. In all, it was a definite success, even if we might not be welcome back to that restaurant. We don't go out to eat often, it will be ok.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Real Estate Gauntlet

Our house is for sale. Unfortunately for us, it isn't a great time to sell a house. Even so, our house is "on the market." If you've ever sold a house, you know the drill; the house has to be magazine photo shoot perfect all the time. Do you know how impossible that is with six children?

Because not many people are buying homes right now, we haven't had too many people looking. On average, about once a week a realtor calls about bringing someone through. Well, that leaves at least six days where people AREN'T walking through. That means that we have at least six days of being lax about cleaning the house and a few hours of mad, frantic cleaning to get it ready to be looked at. It also means everytime the phone rings, I hold my breath until the voice on the other line says something besides, "Hello, my name is Lilly with Big House Realty Co. I have a client that wants to look at your house."

When the voice on the other line says anything about realty companies or house showings, we go into alert. As soon as I find out the deadline, we start the drill. Initially, we're intent but not hurried. As time goes by, though, we get more and more frantic until at last, with only minutes to spare, I'm barking out orders:

"Put all that stuff in that laundry basket!
"Wait, where is the basket? OH NO! It's full? Well, get another basket.

"Take that stuff to the car. No, the other car. It won't fit in that car. Take it to the other car.

"No, you can't hide anything in the shower, they can see the shower. No, don't put it in the oven, either. Someone will look in the oven. Yes, you can hide those piles in the dryer; we're not selling the dryer!

Don't forget to light the candle. And the other candle. Did anyone shut the upstairs window?"

Then, we run to the car and drive away, sometimes with laundry baskets in hand and sometimes with bags because we've run out of baskets. The realtor and client(s) walk through the house and leave. We've spent hours getting ready so they can look at our house for a few minutes. Then, we have to undo all the "cleaning" we've just done and put everything away. Of course, not everything gets put away. Then someone is saying, "Mom, do you know where my maggot collection is?" My reply, "Of course, dear. Check the back of the car. Oh no. Not that car. The other car. It should be in the third basket on the left, under the power bill and the letter from the attorney about Aunt Mable's will."

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Perspective is Everything, part III

Food is expensive right now. Yesterday I paid almost $3 a pound for "cheap" hamburger! Rice is rationed at Wal-Mart and Costco. The grain I buy is getting more expensive almost daily. Now, we don't have much money by American standards. Our children don't go to ballet, play soccer or take piano lessons. I feed my family of eight on about $100 a week. Though we live pretty comfortably, I'm feeling the pinch of increased prices. I thought I had something to complain about. Reading an article in World Magazine ( gave me some much needed perspective.

We can grouse about paying through the nose for gas and the high cost of food. But, we can complain. That is a gift. It may hurt to fill the gas tank and maybe you are thinking about not driving as much; we're not driving as much. Still, most of us can buy gas and food; we just can't buy as much. For people in many other parts of the world, though, there are no cars to buy gas for and buying food isn't an option right now; there is no food to buy.

We are complaining about the price of food and the insanity that seems to rule the gas tank, whining about what we have to pay to fill our stomachs or our cars. Maybe some of us have to choose between filling one or the other. But, aren't you glad you have the choice?!

Though we are definitely feeling the pinch of rising prices, my children have enough to eat. I don't have to listen to their cries, see their bloated bellies or put them to bed hungry. Really, what more can a mother ask for?

Friday, April 25, 2008


Since I remember my father's 20-year high school reunion, it doesn't seem possible mine is coming up this summer. I can't be that old! Well, maybe I am, but I certainly don't feel old. I feel like I'm in my prime, with all the little things that make life grand.
In high school, I was a dork! It didn't take a rocket scientist to recognize that I was anything but cool. Actually, I was pretty shy and insecure. Thus, I didn't get to know many of my classmates very well. If they even remember me, I'd be surprised. I survived high school, then went on to get a life and make lots of friends. Somewhere along the way, I quit being a dork (for the most part) and haven't thought much about high school at all.

That is why it was rather shocking to feel insecure and insignificant again as I looked through photos of classmates (most of whom I don't remember), seeing their beautiful homes, boats and families. The world will say these people are successful; they are at the top of the ladder; they have it all. But, do they? Are they content with where they are? Do they have joy? And, do they know what will happen to them when they die? I can't answer those questions for anyone else, but I can answer them for me!

According to the world's standards, we don't have much. We drive a seven year old car that we bought used and were barely able to scrape cash together to buy. We live in a small house where four children share one bedroom and we have one full bathroom, that all eight of us share. I feed my family on about $400 a month, and I clothe my children at thrift stores instead of department stores. We will not be taking a vacation to any exotic locations this summer; we probably won't take a vacation this summer. We don't go golfing in the summer or skiing in the winter. Instead, I have a home filled with the laughter of children. When I go to bed at night, I sleep next to my best friend. We are surrounded, not by the oppulance of this world, but by the abundance of God's provision. And, when I die I am going to Heaven to be with Jesus forever. What more could I want?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Safe in the Father's Arms

Car travel with six children is not for the faint of heart, especially when the oldest is only 12. But, living where we do, extended car travel is kind of necessary; we don't have Costco, Wal-Mart or any real department stores, nor do we have the facilities to host a large convention like we attended last weekend.

To get anywhere from where we live, you must cross mountain passes. At this time of year, usually that isn't a big deal, but last weekend, when we went to a homeschool convention on the west side of Washington, it became a very big deal.

Attending the homeschool convention was really our first major adventure in our new van. It actually went quite smoothly, with everyone fitting comfortably into their respective seats. Much to the delight of my girls, a friend joined us for the adventure. We enjoyed the drive over, though it was snowing as we crossed the pass. Snow even fell in Redmond, covering spring flowers with decidedly winter white. The convention was a very encouraging event, but because of plans the following day (and no hotel accommodations) we headed home. And, because of the snow, we headed home a little earlier than we might have otherwise.

As we headed home in the late evening, first one and then another child drifted off to sleep. The sounds of their deep, regular breathing filled the van. Inside, everything was peaceful and quiet. Outside, however, conditions were very different. Heavy snow was falling quickly, and the gray piles of old snow that we'd seen on our way westward were blanketed in white. In places the road was barely visible through the slush and snow. Though the pass wasn't closed, traffic was moving slowly. To say the least, it was a scary ride. My children, however, were not afraid. They were able to rest comfortably and peacefully, taking no concern for their safety, because their father was taking care of them.

I realized, as I sat white knuckled next to my husband, who was also white knuckled, that God was giving me a picture of Himself. I can go through life resting comfortably and peacefully, because my Father is taking care of me. I don't need to be anxious for any of the myriad of things I can be anxious about (can you relate?) because my Father has everything completely under control. Now, sometimes it doesn't FEEL like God has everything under control. Sometimes it feels like life is spinning hopelessly OUT of control. But, if I'm really willing to trust, I can rest safe in the Father's arms, just as my children did in the car last weekend.

If you don't know who I'm referring to when I write "Father," or if you wonder how I can have such an intimate, personal relationship with God, please let me know. I'd love to explain it to you. I have found a joy and peace so incredible that I take great delight in sharing with others how they too can have what I have. You can rest safe in your Father's arms, if you know Him as Father. It is a wonderful thing.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Perspective is Everything, part II

We have driven a 1993 Chevy Suburban for the last seven years. It was donated to our family in 2002, back when we had four children. It served us well as we drove down to and back from Orlando, Florida, up to and back from Anchorage, Alaska, and all points in between. The Suburban now has almost 300,000 miles on the engine, and with the addition of two children, every seat is filled. We needed a new car.

Late this past winter, when we thought we were going to need another seat in the Suburban, we decided to look for a 12 passenger van. The Lord provided a 2001 Chevy Express with less than 60,000 miles on it, for a very VERY good price. Though it was located in Marquette, Michigan, we found a couple who drove it to Spokane, WA for less than it would have cost to fly out and get it ourselves. Easter Sunday, after celebrating the resurrection of Jesus and enjoying lunch with some dear friends, we headed to Spokane to pick up our new van.

Just over an hour into our journey, we suddenly lost cruise control. After trying, unsuccessfully, to restart the engine, my husband was able to coast our powerless vehicle to the side of the road. And, there we sat, for over two hours, with six children packed into a small enclosed space. It was definitely a recipe for disaster. Then things got worse.

After more than 90 minutes sitting stranded on the roadside, Mom started to get pretty frustrated. It was obvious we needed help! Still, car after car drove by without so much as slowing down. As I became more and more irritated, my tone with the children changed. I became short; snappy; sharp. Just as I was really starting to feel anger towards the heartless motorists who seemed oblivious to the drama playing out in my back seat, one of my daughters uttered a phrase that gave me a whole new perspective. Her words; The Lord is Risen.

Now, if you don't go to church all that often, you may not realize that the appropriate response is, "He is Risen Indeed." It is a greeting I've taught my children because of my great love for Easter, when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. We'd been saying it to each other with great joy just hours ago. The night before, I'd been so excited as I thought about the precious truth that because Jesus died on the cross for my sins I didn't have to and could go to Heaven to be with Him that I couldn't sleep! It was just the ticket to give me some much needed perspective.

Even though cars were still flying by at more than 70 miles an hour, even though we were still all sitting in a small space, with children filling every passenger seat (and their stuff filling everywhere else), and even though we had no idea what was wrong with our car, how much it would cost to fix it, or how long we'd be stuck on the side of the road, Jesus was alive and we could look forward to Heaven! Perspective was everything.

You know, my children actually remember the time fondly! We ate Easter candy, played some crazy games and I read aloud from a favorite book. Finally, when it became obvious that the car was going to need professional attention, my husband called a tow-truck and we got a ride back to the closest town. The tow truck driver dropped us off at a restaurant close to the Chevy dealership, where ALL SIX of our children ATE FOR FREE. God was taking care of all the details, and Jesus was alive again. Little else mattered.

We're home now. Our Suburban is fixed (it was the ignition module; who would have thought your ignition was so important?!) and our van runs beautifully. We took 9 kids to a church function the other day, and still had room for more. It was a huge blessing. But, more than the van, I'm thankful for the perspective I gained that night. Life is hard. Even Jesus said so. But it is ok. Jesus said in John 16:33 "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." Knowing that, I can face almost anything.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Perspective is EVERYTHING

Recently someone made the comment to me that health is everything. Though health is VERY important, I really don't think I agree.

Health can easily be taken for granted. I do, often. Unless I am sick or something that normally works a certain way all of a sudden isn't working, I don't really think about being healthy. You could easily say I don't appreciate it. Perspective is what makes me apprecaite my health; perspective that I usually get when I'm not healthy.

Recently, I've had multiple opportunities to get perspective. If I've learned anything, it is how very much perspective impacts attitude. I think it makes all the difference in the world. I've been pregnant 11 times, but I don't have 11 children; I only have six. Five different times the hearts of little blessings I'll never hold stopped beating only weeks after they'd begun. It is a painful thing, and because I believe life begins at conception, I've grieved five times. Recently, though, God gave me a dose of perspective. I've been pregnant 11 times! I have six healthy children. How many women have never been able to get pregnant?! How many women dreamed of having a family, only to have their hopes dashed on the hard rocks of infertility? Though I get tired, there is always month left at the end of the money, and raising six children is a HUGE amount of work, it is good to be reminded just how blessed I am. I have what some women can only dream about.

Sometimes I dream about a bigger house. A house where only two children have to share a room, instead of four; where lines can form outside two (or more) bathrooms and where we actually fit into the dining room even if we have guests. I'd love a house big enough to have a guest room and a place dedicated to homeschooling. Oh, and I'd absolutely love a big gourmet kitchen with enough space for all my daughters to cook with me comfortably. It would be wonderful. But, I've been looking at bigger houses and I've gotten a huge dose of perspective. First, I love where we live. I love the park we have in the back yard, with mature fruit trees and lots of room to run. I love being in a rural area with most of the conveniences of a more urban neighborhood. So we don't have Costco or Wal-Mart. I don't really care! All of a sudden, where I live seems like a castle.

After spending a good deal of time thinking about the conversation with my friend and my experiences of the last several weeks, I've come to a conclusion. Health isn't everything. You can have it and not appreciate it, and it will go away. Money is the same way. Honestly, almost everything in life is fleeting. What is really worthwhile is terribly undervalued. Perspective, on the other hand, is what helps determine value. No, health isn't everything. Perspective is.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A new definition for faith

I have been, for the past several months, learning more about sacrifice than I ever dreamed possible. The lessons have not been, thankfully, terribly painful. More it has been a constant chipping away that over time has stripped away much that I believed to be true. As a child, I had my life planned out; I was going to be a missionary nurse, living my days out in some foreign hospital, tending physical and spiritual wounds of the people whose country I'd adopted. Knowing my call, I gladly committed to go wherever God wanted me to go and to do whatever God wanted me to do.

Unfortunately, it has taken me the better part of two decades to figure out where God was calling me to go and what He was calling me to do. Instead of being called to go to the uttermost, as I expected, and instead of being called to serve as a nurse, as I expected, I've been called to be the homeschooling mother of many. In some ways, it is a much more difficult task. Without question, it is one that showcases my weaknesses.

Being a homeschooling mother of many, and educating four different children in four different grades this year, I see my weaknesses more clearly than ever before. As I've wrestled with accepting God's call to live in the US and be a mother to many, I've been learning all over again what it means to live by faith. The process has been, at times, painful, but mostly God has been gentle and gracious.

Recently I heard someone say that faith is choosing to live as though God's word is true regardless of my circumstances, emotions, or cultural trends. In embracing my new call, I've had many opportunities to put this new definition to the test. Actually, I flat out told God I needed help, and something a little more specific than the whole Bible - it is rather broad. And, God answered my prayer. He has given me specific passages.

Lately, the passages that I'm living out are from 2 Corinthians. The first one is in 2 Corinthians 12:9. It says (in Marchauna's improvised version) that God's grace is sufficient for me, for His strength or power is made perfect in weakness. The apostle Paul, who wrote the verse, said that because Jesus' power was made perfect in his weakness, he'd boast in his weakness, so that God might be more glorified! It is difficult to truthfully embrace such a concept; I don't want to boast in my weaknesses. I want to hide them, even from myself if at all possible! In doing so, I doom myself to repeating the same mistakes I've made in the past. So, I'm choosing to live as though 2 Corinthians 12:9 is true. That is part of the reason for this post.

2 Corinthians 2:14 is another verse I'm choosing to live as though is true. It says (once again in Marchauna's improvised version) that God always leads me in triumphal procession and makes me the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere. Now, many days I feel anything BUT triumphant, and when all I do is stay at home caring for my children all day, I can't imagine how God is making me the fragrance of Himself ANYWHERE. But, by choosing to live as though that verse is true, I'm seeing triumph where failure has always reigned. God Himself has been showing me how He makes me His fragrance in places I never could have imagined. And, though I'd never thought of it before, He is using me to be the fragrance of the knowledge of Himself to my own children.

It is not easy, walking by faith. Choosing to live as though the Bible is true, regardless of anything, can be very difficult. Emotions can seem so real. Circumstances can seem so reasonable. Cultural trends are tough to go against. How thankful I am to not have to walk this road alone. Jesus has been keeping His promise to demonstrate His power through my weaknesses. It is not easy, and I don't have this whole thing figured out, but I really like the new definition for faith that I've learned. By God's grace, I will choose to live as though the Bible is true, regardless!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Not so hot wheels

Recently, my husband and I met up with another gentleman for some errands. My mother kept all the kids, so we were able to ride in a much more fuel efficient sedan, leaving our 1993 Suburban parked in a parking lot. Now, this parking lot wasn't necessarily the greatest place to leave a car. Big signs all over the place warned that the business who managed the parking lot was not responsible for lost or stolen items. You were encouraged to take valuables with you and even though you locked your vehicle, not to leave it very long.

Well, I'm sure you know how errands can go. Whatever the reason for your excursion, it always takes a long time. Such was the case for us. After several hours, we finally found ourselves back in the parking lot. Our car was still there. Only after my husband reached into his pocket to retrieve his keys did we realize the horrifying truth: the keys were in the ignition of the Suburban! Our not-so-new and not-so-beautiful Suburban, full of carseats and booster seats and diapers and wipes, was so unattractive to would-be thieves that it sat, with the keys IN THE IGNITION for several hours, AND NO ONE TOOK IT!

Now, you have to understand, we didn't leave the keys on purpose. We didn't want our car to be stolen. But, it was kind of sad to realize that even if a would-be thief was wondering around the parking lot that day, he or should would have been totally not interested in our car. I don't know what that says about our taste in vehicles, or the condition of our vehicle, but either way, you have to admit it is pretty funny. At least I think so. If someone had stolen it, I probably wouldn't be laughing. But, if they did, the joke would definitely have been on them!