Providential sausage

Today I was picking a up a few items at the grocery store and noticed that the national brand sausage we normally buy was – gasp – $3.50/lb.  I was horrified.  Sausage is one of the few meats we still buy because it’s necessary for pizza, which is necessary for Friday nights.   We can give up red meat and cut back on chicken, but the sausage is non-negotiable.

So in the face of $3.50 sausage, I searched my brain and remembered that I had seen pork loin in another store’s sale flyer for $1.99/lb.  We bought a ton of pork loin last year for $.99/lb and used it to make our own sausage.  I thought $1.99 was a good buy until I saw the price of sausage.  Then I realized it was a great buy, so I decided to make an extra stop and stock up.

Alas, when I reached HEB, the pork loin was nowhere to be seen.  It turned out I had seen last week’s flyer.  The sale had come and gone.  We bought our first watermelon of the season and wandered the store, enjoying the air conditioning and free samples but disappointed at missing the deal.

Then my eye lit upon an unadvertised special: the same national brand of sausage I usually buy for $3, which had recently risen to $3.50, was on sale 5 lbs/$5!  Not only was this about 70% off the regular price, it was half the price of the pork loin we had missed.  An added bonus: unlike the pork loin, it was already ground and seasoned.  This is noteworthy because while homemade sausage from pork loin is lean and delicious, it’s also a lot of work.  Don’t tell my kids, but I make it a practice to avoid unnecessary work whenever possible.  I find there is generally enough necessary work to go around.

If you’re wondering whether there is a point to all this, here it is.  

My first impulse was to complain that we had made an extra stop for no reason.  Then I realized that we did find a good deal on a watermelon, and enjoyed some delicious free samples.  The store was on my way home, so I had lost nothing but time.   Good enough.  I quit complaining.

Then I found the sausage, and realized that God had used an outdated sale flyer and my own faulty memory to lead us to a blessing.  Of course He could have done it without my help, but sometimes it’s amusing to see the tools He uses.  If I had simply happened into the store, I might not have thought at all about how I came to be there.

A weekend that will live in infamy

It’s so good to know that God is in control of everything that happens.  There is no “almost,” no “what if” in His plan.  An inch is as good as a mile, and General Stonewall Jackson was right to believe that he was as safe in his saddle in the heat of battle as he would be at home in his own bed.

Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. Captain, that is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave. ~Stonewall Jackson

I don’t like to tell the WWW (Whole Wide World) when my husband is out of town, but I do like to tell everyone when he’s back.  I missed him more than usual this time – if possible – because he had 7 of the children with him.

They went to man the VF booth at the Arlington bookfair.  Maybe I should say they went to girl the booth, since the men were sadly outnumbered.  People. They went to people the booth.

I could have gone and very nearly did, but we decided that it would be better if I stayed home with the little ones, for several reasons.  Newly-hatched chicks in the house and two dogs in heat topped the list, but there were other reasons.

The little ones and I had fun together.  We went to town and fed the ducks, visited Grandma’s house, watched movies, got groceries.

Parker discovered the joy and wonder of real butter.  Now he climbs everything in sight, hoping to find butter at the top.

We drove a compact car with 3 car seats lined up across the back.  🙂

I changed all the diapers, wiped all the bottoms, washed all the dishes, fed and watered 3 dogs, 1 cat, 18 adult chickens, 10 chicks, a snake, a lizard, and 2 tarantulas.

It was a very long 5 days, especially since Perry and 4 children had just returned from another out-of-state trip.  They finally returned on Mother’s Day and I would have been glad to see them anyway, but something happened this weekend that made me even more glad to be together again as a family.

Do you ever stop to think about how many brushes with death children have?  That bit of plastic you found in the baby’s mouth, the time you did the Heimlich maneuver on a choking teen, the time somebody fell down the stairs holding your newborn baby, the time you realized your toddler was playing by the water’s edge unattended?  We all have near misses, but I think we worry more about our children than ourselves.  We’ll all die someday, but parents are supposed to die before their children, right?

I won’t say what happened, but I will tell you it was scary on the level of an out-of-control 18 wheeler ripping the bumper off the van.  There was an ambulance, and a police report, and lots of relieved sighs when everyone went their way.  It’s the sort of story we’ll laugh about as we tell horror-stricken audiences in years to come – we have plenty of those stories, especially on Perry’s side of the family – and maybe I’ll tell you about it next year.  For now I’m just pushing away images of what could have happened by repeating, “Thank you, Lord.”

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  ~Matt 6:27

Sweet sleep

Maybe it was the single cup of coffee I drank Monday morning.

For some reason, the new little manling slept 5 1/2 straight hours on Monday night.  I won’t lie to you.  I lay awake in my bed after the first 4 1/2 hours, just watching the clock and waiting for him to squeak.  Yes, I got up once to check his breathing.  Yes, I jumped up again and nursed him at the first little squeak, which did not at all resemble a genuine cry.

And then, when he went back to sleep and I laid him in his own little bed at 5:30, I just lay there in my own bed, wondering what to do next.  After all, I had already slept an idyllic 4 1/2 hours, plus the time I lay awake waiting for him to wake up.  I waited til 6, then decided to share the joy with hubby: I got up and made his coffee and breakfast, and packed his lunch.

Oh, but that’s not quite the end.  I don’t know why, but I wasn’t entirely convinced that my single cup of coffee should receive all the credit.  Call it mother’s intuition, or just chalk it up to my own contrary nature.  I wanted to test it.

Yesterday morning, I skipped the coffee.

The day passed as usual.

The baby dozed off a little after 10 PM.  And he didn’t wake up until…

…are you waiting?

…you won’t believe it.

He didn’t wake up until…

You’re going to hate me.

5:30 AM.

That little kid slept over 7 hours.  So did I.  And he woke up pleasant. Yes, he was ready to eat, but first he smiled at me.  He was really glad to see me.  And I was really glad to see him.  I like that little guy.

I don’t expect it to happen every night – it probably wouldn’t be good for him this early – but I it sure was nice, and now I feel some hope that he’ll be sleeping through the night reasonably early like 8 of his 9 siblings did.

Spring cleaning – a little

Yesterday, hubby took 5 children to work and left me with 2 sick ones plus the baby.  Hmm.  Math moment: 5 + 2 + 1 does not = 9.  We’re missing a kid somewhere, aren’t we?  He left me with 2 littles and 2 sickos.

It must be spring.  Despite the absence of able-bodied helpers, I washed and hung out loads of laundry all by my pregnant-self, washed the curtains, changed diapers, hosed out the grubby laundry bins, refilled the hummingbird feeder, and cooked 3 – count ’em – 3 meals all by myself.  Yes, I had a smattering of help here and there, but for the first time in a long while, I did most of the work myself.

Ten years ago when I had only little children, this would not have been a noteworthy day.  Ten years ago, everything was my job, even if I had “helpers” who, just between you and me, were no real help at all.

These days, I really am spoiled.  I am reminded of that nearly every day, but especially when my back and torso are aching and weary from a modest days’ work.

I am currently enjoying one of my easiest pregnancies ever, in spite of the fact that it’s my 13th pregnancy in 16 years and I’m only a few short years from my 40th birthday.  I don’t think it’s my superb physical condition (exercise? what’s that?).  I credit my husband and children for making it easy on me, and I thank my Lord for every precious one of them.

Upcoming topics for 4 Moms 35 Kids

  • March 25 Outings/shopping with only littles
  • April 1 Kitchen/food budgeting
  • April 8 Menu planning/shopping
  • April 15 Cooking from scratch – what you make from scratch and how you get it all done
  • April 22 Recipe swap – We’ll all post a couple of our favorite, budget friendly, feed a crowd recipes and a Mr. Linky so that readers can participate by contributing their own recipes.  When you share your link on one of our blogs, it will show up on all 4!  How fun is that?!

Past topics:

  • March 18 Live-blog day, in which all 4 of us live-blog a real day in our home.  Find out what we really do all day.  It’s our own reality show, just for you.  Who needs TV?

Big family photos; and family comes to my rescue once again

Sunday night, we drove 85 miles for a complete family get-together.  Even our Tennessee sister was in town with her husband and 2 children.  Mom and Dad, all 14 sibs, in-laws and a soon-to-be sister-in-law and 23 grandchildren were there.  Hubby was the only one missing since he’s out of town, but we’ll photoshop him in.

The last time all the grandchildren were together, there were something like 17.  We obviously need to do this more often.

We visited and ate; then we ate some more.  After a dinner of spaghetti, the children were still miraculously clean so we took some group photos.  Try to imagine that!

We started with the full group photo, taking plenty of pictures on 3 separate cameras in the hopes that somebody would capture one shot where nobody was blinking.  But we didn’t stop there.  That was just the beginning.

We did pictures of Grandma and the grandkids; Grandpa and the grandkids; Grandma and Grandpa and the grandkids; Grandpa and the grand-sons, Grandma and the grand-sons, etc.  You get the idea.  It was a riot.

Look how young my mom looks here. Can you spot the mother of 14 and grandmother of 23?

There are only six boys, but when it came time to take pics of just the grandsons and grandparents, the fidgeting never ended. And I don’t just mean the kids.

The girls did much better.

No, wait.  They didn’t.

We took pics of Mom and Dad with their 14 offspring.  Hey Jonathan, cute.  Real cute. Kaitlyn had to use some mad photoshop skilz to make this photo presentable.  I think you know what I’m talking about.  Kyle, you had a hand in it too.  Don’t think we didn’t catch you.

Mom with just the 10 girls; Dad with the 10 girls, Mom with the 4 boys…after all the permutations we could think of with that particular group, we did a few pics with just the 10 sisters and (I think) some with just the 4 boys.

All my sisters waiting for the pregnant lady to get out of the bathroom. See what a big spot they saved me? Nice, girls. Are you trying to tell me something?

We all took turns blinking for the camera, see?

Can you spot the grandma in this one?

Finally, we were done.  We visited and ate some more.  Then it was time to go.  Since it was night and we had a 90 minute drive, my brother told me he and his family would follow us home just to make sure we didn’t have trouble along the way.  The kids wanted to know what sort of trouble we could possibly have.  I smiled and shrugged.  “Oh, I don’t know.  Flat tire, maybe.  We won’t run out of gas since the tank is full, but it’s good that Kyle is looking out for us while Dad is gone.”

A few minutes down the road, Kyle called to apologize.  He had forgotten that he had to go home a different way to pick up a cousin.  He couldn’t follow us, but we had plenty of other family heading in the same direction.  I assured him we’d be fine and kept driving.  Why would I worry?  Our van is older but has given us very little trouble over the years.  I drove all the way to Missouri last summer with the children.  Tonight we were just going 85 miles south.

Not 5 minutes later, I glanced at the dash and realized the van was overheating.  We passed a clock and thermometer: 26 degrees.  Ironic, no?

I called Dad, who was just a few minutes ahead of us in his big van.  He started making calls to see who was still behind us while I coasted into a gas station.  I checked and found we were low on coolant so I bought a jug of premixed antifreeze, hoping that would prove to be the only problem.

While I was adding it, Tennessee sister and her family pulled in next to us.  We could hardly cram into their single extra seat, but it was nice to see family.  We chatted a bit while she nursed her baby, and I went back into the gas station for a second jug.  While I was paying, I ran into my 11yo brother, 14yo sister and Mom.  They had come back to see if we needed help.  I had family coming out of the woodwork.

With the radiator filled and the reservoir topped off, I started the engine again.  It had cooled a bit in the last 20 minutes but as I watched the heat began to rise again.  The van would have to stay.  Dad and Kyle would bring the flatbed trailer up tomorrow to get my van.

We emptied the perishables and valuables into my sister’s trunk and piled the children into Dad’s 12 passenger van.  It was a bit crowded but not too bad since they only had 3 of their children riding with them.

On the long trip home Dad commented that he had been kicking himself for driving the van when he could have driven Mom’s smaller vehicle and saved on gas.  Now he understood.  God knew we’d be needing the extra seats on the way home.

Thank you

I feel a little silly doing this but it’s been on my mind all day.

We blog for many reasons, but material gain is relatively low on the list.  Blogging is a journal, to remember the important thoughts and events in our household.  It’s a way to let faraway friends and family know what we’re up to.  It’s a way to help and encourage others by sharing our own lessons and experiences.

We receive many blessings from blogging as well: we have made and met new friends, received encouragement from friends and strangers,and been challenged in many ways.  Even those who don’t always agree with us are a blessing.

But God does bless us materially through our blog, and these blessings matter too.  His gifts are good, and it would be wrong not to be thankful for the material ones as well as those less tangible.

I want to thank our readers for all the Christmas gifts we received from them over the past year, but especially the past month.  We received some gifts directly, in the mail.  You know who you are.  Two little girls were thrilled beyond words to receive the single most-longed-for item from their wishlists – not from us but from a very kind reader.

But many other gifts were given to us by friends who probably had no idea what they were doing: those who signed up for Swagbucks with our referral code.  Swagbucks referrals paid for the 2 group gifts we gave our children this year, covering something like 80% of our Christmas spending.  Thank you, friends, for believing us when we encouraged you to give Swagbucks a try.  I hope you each found Swagbucks to be a blessing to your family as it was to ours.

I also want to thank those who clicked through our links to make purchases from Vision Forum.  Our affiliate income from Vision Forum during this time of year will not go toward Christmas spending, but toward paying off the remainder of our 7 year stupid tax.  We were incredibly thankful that the bank approved our short sale for less than half of what we owed on our old house and forgave 60% of the deficit, but we still had to take out a short-term loan to help pay the other 40% that we still owed the bank.  Our friends who made purchases through Vision Forum over the past 2 months have been a huge help to us in making extra payments on that loan!

But now that I’ve thanked you all for the material blessings you brought us, I do want to publicly remember the greatest gift of all – the gift that God gave us in His Son.  This is not a spiritual, intangible thing.  Christ came in the flesh.  His body was as real and physical as yours and mine, and His service and suffering were real.

May every material blessing, no matter how big or small, remind us to be ever grateful for God’s gift of eternal life.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

James 1:17

Rejoice with us!

No, I’m not pregnant.

The triplex is gone.  The seven year stupid tax has ended!  It took months and months but our short sale is finally complete and the new owners take possession today.  I never imagined we would sell that house at a 60% loss and consider it a blessing.  Isn’t it amazing how our perspective can change?

We still have debt associated with the house, but the bank has forgiven $30,000 which leaves us with a far smaller debt than we thought possible – a debt that we hope to pay off very quickly.

Psalm 145:8-21

The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you!
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power,
to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. (The LORD is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.)
The LORD upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.
The LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Kindness from strangers

Something amazing happened to me on Friday.

I had just pulled into my least-favorite WalMart location – the one with the perpetually crowded parking lot, never enough open checkouts, and slow, inexperienced cashiers.  The one that is always out of stock on the essentials that I’m shopping for.  The one that overcharged me last time when I wasn’t watching.

As I pulled in, I  reminded myself not to complain, but to be grateful that there a WalMart in such a convenient location.  While I waited for the 3 girls with me to get out of the van, I noticed a couple watching us.  Our eyes met, and the man spoke to me as we passed.

“How is the economy treating you?”

I stopped to answer.  I think I said something like, “Not too badly.  It’s a bit tight, but we have 9 children.  We’ve always had to watch what we spend.”

We spoke just a few seconds longer – I don’t remember what was said – and the man and woman looked at each other and nodded.  I heard her say, “I think it’s deserving.”

Then one of them handed me a $50 bill.  They explained that they like to do this every now and then.  They weren’t rich – in fact, he was currently between jobs – but this was how they exercised charity.  I wish I had asked if they were Christians, and what church they attended, and if they also tithed or did this instead.  I was too dumbstruck to know what to say.  I wondered at the moment if I should have declined since we’re not truly in hard times, but I didn’t.  I accepted the gift and thanked them.

And I’m so glad I did, because I knew exactly who needed it.  Later that day, I was able to pass it along to someone who needed it far worse than we did – someone we have helped as well, but this was not from us.  Now 2 families have experienced kindness from those strangers.

Our crisis

I don’t know if you follow Life in a Shoe on facebook, but our upcoming trip to Branson, Missouri for a family reunion has been in jeopardy.

Let me preface this li’l story by telling you that our vacations have always been a quick visit to out-of-state relatives.  We have never taken the sort of vacation where you check into a condo with your own hot tub, lounge around one of the 4 pools or walk down the lake to swim and picnic, and just generally relax.

Let me also emphasize that even though this sounds really fun, we never would have come up with the idea ourselves.  My grandparents, who live 1400 miles away, planned an entire family reunion and made it very clear that it was very important to them that any of their descendants who are able to attend do so.

So we planned to go in order to honor them.  It’s a sacrifice we were willing to make.  🙂

But we hit a few bumps along the way.

First, Vision Forum asked our family to drive to Boston and help staff the Reformation 500.   It ends the same day our family reunion begins, with about 24 hours of driving betwixt the two.  Try as we might, we simply couldn’t see a way that it was going to work.  We would have missed the first 2 days of the reunion and arrived exhausted.

Plan B was for VF to fly Perry alone to Boston and send him to join us in Branson when the festivities were over.  Did I say Perry? I meant Lieutenant General Oliver Cromwell. You should see him.  If you’re going to the Reformation 500, you will see him.  Send me photos, ok?

In Plan B, he kids and I would be driving up to Branson alone.  We would make a long slow trip of it, since Perry was leaving us several days early.  We would visit friends along the way, taking 3 days to make a 13 hour drive.  It was a beautiful plan.


The van needed a bit of work before we left.  And then it needed more work.  And then it needed a torque converter.  Since we were conserving every bit of money we could for the privilege of selling our white elephant, hubby decided to do the torque converter himself.

My hero came home from work on Friday with a new torque converter and a rented tranny jack, and crawled right under the van.  With the help of my uncle and my 13yo brother, he worked straight through the night.  My uncle has changed many-a-torque converter, and my brother makes a good go-fer.  Together they pulled the drive shaft, unbolted the starter, dropped the transmission, and did a lot of other cool, manly stuff.

It was a lot of work but a straightforward job, and went very smoothly.  They changed the torque converter and put everything back together.  They stopped once or twice to run to town for more tools, a new gasket, a few more quarts of transmission fluid.  Finally it was done and ready for a test drive.

Then bad stuff happened.

Many long hours pass, in which my husband still does not sleep.  Counting his full day at work Friday, he has now been working for over 30 hours straight.

He made some calls and I made some calls, looking for someone who could offer a clue why the van wasn’t fixed.  We consulted all the mechanics in the family, and those in the families of friends.  We consulted our favorite neighborhood redneck mechanic, a very nice man who once gave us 5 used children’s bicycles.

At hubby’s request, I called our pastor’s wife to tell her what was going on, and that we wouldn’t be at church the following morning.  I asked her to pray for us, because it looked like our trip was in jeopardy.  Hubby was flying out Monday afternoon and our van wasn’t running.

He got some sleep, and the following morning he went back to work at pulling the ox out of the ditch on Sunday.

Finally, they realize that the highly reputable shop which sold us the torque converter gave us the wrong part. Close, but no cigar.  Just plain wrong.

He was willing to stay up all night again, but the parts just weren’t available until Monday morning.  I made dozens of phone calls and it just wasn’t happening.  He simply didn’t have time to exchange the part and install the correct one.

We had resigned ourselves that he was not going to have time to fix it, and were wondering what to do. We sat down on the deck to think and talk about our options.

  • Should we pay Big Bucks for someone else to do it?  Even though the funds were earmarked for the white elephant?  If so, would it be done in time?
  • Should he put the old torque converter back on and let the kids and me take it on a road trip, far from home?  After all, it probably would have been fine if we had waited to fix it.
  • Should we pay Big Bucks to rent a van for the trip? Then when we got back we would still have to repair it, but at least Perry would have time to fix it himself.
  • Could he ask Vision Forum to move his flight back one day, so he would have time to fix the van?  It would probably cost them some money.  Would it be right to ask, and should we cover the add’l cost?
  • Should he bow out of his trip to Boston, after commiting to go?  VF had already bought his ticket, and was counting on his presence and labor.
  • Should we cancel the trip? We could always plan to visit my grandparents later, but it seemed important to attend the reunion.  This wasn’t just a trip for our own pleasure.

The phone rang. The voice at the other end said to have it fixed, and forward the bill.

We were stunned, and grateful.  The van was towed this morning by a wrecker who arrived 20 minutes ahead of schedule, and the shop that is fixing it assures me that it will be ready in time.

Lately I’ve been reading 5 chapters in my Bible every morning.  This morning, I started at Psalm 20.  I was shocked at how appropriate it was.   I’ve purposely left out some details  of our story that make it fit even better.

Silly me.  Why would I be surprised that the God of all creation could orchestrate a little “coincidence” like that?

Psalm 20

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

1 May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble;
May the name of the God of Jacob defend you;
2 May He send you help from the sanctuary,
And strengthen you out of Zion;
3 May He remember all your offerings,
And accept your burnt sacrifice.  Selah

4 May He grant you according to your heart’s desire,
And fulfill all your purpose.
5 We will rejoice in your salvation,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners!
May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.

6 Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.

7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
8 They have bowed down and fallen;
But we have risen and stand upright.

9 Save, LORD!
May the King answer us when we call.

Lessons learned the hard way

The van – our van – our only vehicle, our Precious – is in the shop.  This is awkward, and I think the guys at the shop know it.  The bill is far higher than we expected, but by the time we have it towed to a more reasonable shop and pay the diagnosis fee for the first, we won’t save anything but our dignity, and that doesn’t seem worth the trouble.

Anyway, getting this far was such a comedy of errors that I’m not too excited about prolonging the saga.  Rather than recount the whole sordid tale, let me just offer a few points of advice.

  1. Don’t rely on AT&T’s roadside assistance. Yes, it was helpful to us once.  This time it was worthless, and it generally will be in the future.  They won’t don’t tow our van.  They say it’s a heavy duty vehicle and requires a flatbed trailer for towing.  Fine, right?  They pay the first $50, and we pay any add’l costs.  That’s how the policy works.  This should be easy, but they refuse.  It’s not because they can’t find somebody to tow it; they did find somebody, but told me I would entirely responsible for the cost.  It’s just because they choose not to cover their share.   Plain and simple.
  2. Don’t take a mechanic’s recommendation to have the wrecker bill him for towing your vehicle, so that you can have everything on one bill.  The mechanic will mark up the tow service just like he does the parts for your repair.  And he won’t warn you.
  3. Do follow the wrecker to the repair shop, even if the mechanic says you don’t need to.  Somebody has to make sure the wrecker doesn’t forget to give your key to the mechanics.
  4. Do call regularly to check on progress, so you’ll know that the mechanics are waiting for the wrecker to come back with the key.  I was less than a mile away, with extra keys in my purse.  In fact, there was an extra key in the ashtray.  They knew I was in a hurry and really hoping to get the van back that day.   They had my number and didn’t call.  We lost nearly 2 hours over a problem that could have been solved in 5 minutes.
  5. Do call again, even if you just talked to them an hour ago. Even though they assured you that your vehicle is next and they’ll get right on it, they might be waiting to get started because your ignition is sticky, and they want to make sure they have the right key.  They might not tell you this until you call again just before closing.
  6. Do prepare for sticker shock, especially if you chose your mechanic based on the fact that he said he could fix it today. And don’t forget that even if he’s not done today, you’ll still be paying the Today Price to the Today Mechanic.
  7. Don’t think you can just switch mechanics if you find a better price. By the time you pay for a second tow and shell out the diagnostic fee, you won’t be saving anything but your pride, and even that is debatable.  Besides, we try not to put a high value on pride.  We’ll just call this a lesson in patience and humility.  And lots of other stuff.
  8. Do remember to give thanks in all things. Just last week, we received more than enough unanticipated money from unrelated sources to cover this repair.  It’s painful to part with the unexpected bounty so soon, but it’s also a good reminder that everything is in God’s control.  He knows our needs even before we know them ourselves.