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Meekness and Couponing Battle Each Other

God has an interesting way of molding us sometimes, doesn’t He?

I’ve been reading my way through a series of teachings that deals with Biblical meekness.  Nancy Leigh DeMoss, of Revive Our Hearts, started the series on June 18th, and I believe it ran through June 30th.

I HIGHLY recommend that you read or listen to, at minimum, the first day’s teachings.  You’ll be hooked.  I printed out the series to read at my leisure as I tend to be a visual learner.

Meekness is about surrendering yourself to God’s will.  It’s not about being a doormat or being mousy.  It’s also not about being pushy and demanding your way, as is common in these days.  The feminist movement left an indelible imprint on most women’s lives, and it has not always been for the best.

The lessons I’ve read thus far have made my head spin and convicted me of many areas in my life that need changing.

I am not (nor are any of us) naturally meek.   There are times when I’ve found it easier to hold my tongue and accept whatever is laid before me.  Those instances are far and few between.

Using coupons at stores is not one of those times.

Boy, oh boy, do I struggle when I head to the register after shopping for deals.  You see, I know a store’s policy (or so I think), and I’m just waiting for the battle that’s about to ensue as soon as I hand over my stack of coupons.  Some people are embarrassed to use coupons.  They don’t want to make waves.

I’ll guiltily admit that I think a small part of me loves the thrill of it.

Did that just sound bad?

Yeah, I guess it did.

It’s not that I go looking for a fight.  I just expect it as stores don’t want to lose money, and I don’t want them to have mine.

Today was a classic example of the small battle that I fight against myself.

I went to Target armed with an arsenal of firepower (i.e. coupons).  I browsed shelf prices looking for items that I could purchase for 60% off or more.  And I found a few good ones.  I had coupons that would allow me to get a nice razor for free, two sticks of deodorant for $.49 each, and five frozen dinners for $.79 each.  I think I had 14 or 15 coupons for these few items.

When my total rang up, I knew it was wrong, but I wasn’t sure what the problem was, so I sat in the car and tried to figure things out.  Armed with my receipt, I marched back in and headed to customer service.  Sure enough, my cashier had not taken off $6 in coupons, nor did one of my razor coupons ($2) scan properly.

The cashier explained that Target doesn’t allow items to zero out (i.e. you can’t get things totally free), so I wouldn’t be able to use my second coupon on the razor.  I will admit that I argued a teensy bit, but keeping in mind the lessons of meekness that I’d read (and the fact that I’d already saved $4 on the razor, making it $1.99), I stopped out of respect for the store’s rules.

She did refund $6 for the other coupons.

I headed home, still unsatisfied.  I wanted my razor for free.

When I got home and studied my receipt again, I figured out that another $2 in deodorant coupons had not been taken off my bill.  To be sure, I consulted with the Coupon Queen (i.e. my mother-in-law), and based on my explanation, she agreed.

I headed back to the store.  Good thing it’s only a mile from the house, or I would have spent more than my coupon on gas.

I marched in, ready to do battle.

The clerk was patient.  She tried to explain that yes, I had gotten my coupon discount, but the receipt was written in some sort of weird accounting language (i.e. regular math, which I don’t comprehend).  She then re-rang everything on her register and allowed me to look at her screen, which looked totally different from my receipt.

Sure enough.  The store had taken off those $2 in coupons.

I hung my head in shame.  And embarrassment.

It’s not to say that I was rude to her, because I wasn’t.  But I had doggedly insisted that the store owed me that money.

We both got a laugh.  Thank goodness she was so nice about it.

As I walked out, I thought to myself that in today’s world, we don’t necessarily face Goliath’s…obvious enemies that loom large before our eyes.

No.  Most often, our battles are fought on our own turf and in small ways.

Meekness is something I’m trying to learn.  It’s difficult when you live with teenagers who will tell you the sky is green when, in fact, it’s blue.  Meekness is accepting God’s will in even the smallest things and not fretting about them.  Nothing happens with His allowing it.  Hence, did I really need to fret over supposed “lost” coupon money?

No.

I think He was using it as a bigger lesson. It’s one I did not learn very well.

Thank goodness for sunrises that bring new days and fresh beginnings.  I know that when I get up today, I’ll be given more opportunities to practice being meek.  I can hardly wait (I think).

The Cost of 3 Degrees

You’ve all become familiar with my quest for saving money.  Ok…so I’m becoming a tight-wad.  In these difficult economic times, I think it’s acceptable.

We hang our clothes on lines that we’ve strung across the garage, we’re careful to turn off lights and fans when leaving the room, and – most importantly – I keep the thermostat set at 83 degrees during the day.

Say what?

That’s right…I figure if we’re going to freeze during the winter, we might as well sweat during the summer.

My efforts are paying off.  The electric bill for May was $99.xx.  June’s was $129.xx.  However a little something changed between June and July.  Or rather, a “someone” decided he wasn’t sleeping well at night, so he started turning the air down three degrees.

No big deal, he figured.  I’ve been turning it back up as soon as I roll out of bed in the mornings.  Of course, some days that’s not until 10am…adding up to about ten hours of extra cooling time.

The Mr. did not seem all that concerned.

Until the bill arrived this morning.

$198.xx.

It went up by $70.

I realize the increase might not be entirely due to the air conditioner being turned down at night, but I think it was the main reason for it.  After all, we’ve begun monitoring the length of time spent in the shower.  Chicky and I take lukewarm showers because it’s so hot here.

We have been cooking more, but I still don’t think it’s enough to account for a $70 increase.

When the Mr. told me about the bill, I nearly went ballistic.  He’s in the dog house…a very hot one to boot.

I don’t know what we’re going to do, but I just can’t forsee us continuing in this manner.  We’re all going to have to suck it up.  We’re fortunate that we have the technology to cool us off at our whim…unlike settlers of old.  Of course, times were very hard back then, and I can only imagine how miserable it must have been to live in Florida without central air.

Who would have thought that three degrees would make such a difference.

Now we know.

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