All I Want for Christmas

It is Christmas Eve.

All I want for Christmas is:  1) Peace on Earth, 2) my family and friends to know how blessed I am to be a part of their lives, 3) excellent health, 4) U.S. citizens to realize why they need to vote in every election (the entire ballot), 5) each person to take personal responsibility for the beauty and safety of their neighborhoods by knowing/meeting their neighbors, 6) people to be more honest, 7) people to use their smart phones to help them stay informed of issues that effect their health, safety and economic well-being; 8) a plumber who can fix my week-long plumbing problems, and 9) more people to truly honor the birth of Christ and celebrate it by having the courage to not go into debt due to please others.

What is on your Christmas list that will not fit in a box or stocking?

This Christmas Holiday  Season I am excited, exhausted, and frustrated. For the past three months, I have been excited about getting all my doctor’s visits before the end of  the year,  For the past month I have been working through my list of things to do to prepare for the New Year.  For the past week, I have been dealing with a very challenging plumbing issue where the City of Atlanta took three days trying to figure out if I have a septic tank or sewer system.

With today’s technology, old maps, and seasoned employees with institutional knowledge of Atlanta’s water and sewer system, for the life of me, I cannot figure out why it has taken four days, six City of Atlanta Watershed Management employees, three plumbers, two City Councilman staff, two septic tank experts, numerous phone calls and text messages, and my plumbing problem is now worse. Why would the City records not clearly show what type of water/sewer system I have?

Since a plumbing problem cannot be resolved until technicians and plumbers know which system to repair.  This issue has been quite challenging.

While clearly being frustrated over this issue, I am praying that it will be resolved soon.  It would be nice to be able to “flush” as I look forward to a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

The Eve Before Christmas Eve

As many of us are rushing to finish shopping, cook meals, visit family and more to celebrate Christmas; please have the courage not to go into debt. Giving a gift that you cannot afford is not are real gift at all, it is a burden.  It is a foolish decision. While we all love receiving gifts, what we really need is to use wisdom and discernment about our finances all year long.

As I was opening Christmas cards, reading Christmas letters and winding down from lots of challenges over the past week, I enjoyed reading this commentary so much that I want to share it in its entirety.  Enjoy this article and share it with your family and friends this Christmas Holiday season.  Merry Christmas!!

The true story of Christmas

December 22, 2015
This week we celebrate Christmas — the mass celebrating the birth of Jesus the Christ — the Messenger. Across a country shaken by terrorism, the stores are festooned with lights, music fills the air and, despite the dismal realities of most, there is talk of good cheer. As I write, the frenzied are rushing to buy presents and the party season is in full swing. The Christmas season is here! All that is missing is the reason for Whom we celebrate the season: Jesus Himself.
In truth, Christmas really isn’t about Santa Claus. This is not a mere holiday; it is a Holy day. For far too many, the presence of presents denotes the absence of the gift of Jesus the Christ, “to proclaim good news to the poor … freedom to the captives … sight to the blind … (and freedom) to the oppressed.” Indeed, far too many of us still refuse to see that He was representative of most of today’s humanity — despised, denied, damned and dispossessed.
Like 71 percent of the world’s population, Jesus was born poor. Like more than 60 million the world over, He, too, was a refugee. Like more than one-third of the world population, His family did not have access to adequate health care. Like more than one billion around the world — and 500,000 in the United States — He was a homeless Child whose life was of so little consequence that His mother was forced to give birth to Him in a stable of animals, as there was no room at the stable’s inn.
Yet hope was alive, for He came at a time of great expectation among the poor and the oppressed — just when they needed Him most. The Prophet Isaiah foretold that “to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders” and that this Messiah world bring “good news” to the poor, empowering them to defeat their Roman occupiers and free themselves, saving them from political, religious and social persecution. In this season, before we lock out the Syrians fleeing murder and violence, we would do well to remember that part of the story, for God stored His precious Son among those just like them.
Jesus was a liberator; but he was the Prince of Peace, not a man of war. He gathered disciples; He did not disperse armies. He converted, rather than conquered, His occupier.
He accumulated no worldly wealth, yet sought to empower and enrich the most decimated among us.
We will be judged, He told us, by how we treat “the least of these.” We will be graded on how we treat the stranger on the Jericho Road. This week, He would expect us not to run up monetary debts, but to build up generosity credits. Let us spend some time this week helping to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to care for the broken-hearted.
You don’t need to be a Christian to understand the relevance of this story today. Jesus taught us the overwhelming power of faith, hope and charity, the importance of love, and the obligation to fight for peace and justice. Christmas is the “Poor Peoples’ Holy Day” and should not be co-opted by the rich, the powerful and the greedy as their holiday.
This Holy Day belongs to all. So, let’s make Heaven and Jesus happy this Christmas and face the terrors and tribulations of today’s world together, turning to each in love, not on each other in fear.
Merry Christmas, everybody!

“Forever Verizon Customer”

verizon-wireless-logoI have been with Verizon Wireless “forever” and I am sooo excited! I have had my new iPhone 6s for two days and it is such a great feeling to have finally traded in the phone I have had since early 2012. Several functions on my previous phone no longer worked. Or, worked “whenever”. It drove me crazy.

Being out of contract with Verizon for about two years, I diligently checked other wireless companies to make sure I get the best deal. However, each time, I found myself realizing there is no reason to switch from Verizon. You see I have never switched wireless carriers my entire life of owning a cell phone. (Verizon bought my original carrier, Cellular One 14 years ago.).

From a service standpoint, no one has more reliable service (the best coverage), such competent and courteous staff on the phone and in the store, or better customer service than Verizon. Over the years, from lost phones to damaged phones, Verizon has been outstanding. Whether I was out of town, going out of the country, or traveling through rural New Mexico with a group and no one’s GPS worked except my VZNavigator!! Can you say that about your wireless carrier?

To my surprise, I learned that there were several offers I qualified for when I upgraded my phone and tablet. It was a amazing and significantly decreased my costs. On top of that, I signed up for their new “Thanksgetting” promo that gives 1GB of free data for two months (that is 2GB free!). THANKS Verizon for appreciating your longtime, loyal customers with customized special offers. As a “Forever Verizon Customer” (FVC), I am still satisfied and applaud you as I look forward to the same high level of service and high quality products in the future.