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Barber in a Box

Thursday, 17 February 2011

When my husband quit his job to start his own company, we knew we’d have to find ways to tighten the budget.
"Hey, Cindy," Chuck said, eyeing the clearance table, "Look at this, hair clippers on sale.  Why don't you cut the family’s hair to save a little money?"
"I don't know," I answered, "I've never cut hair."  It was almost true, I did snip my little sister's curly locks when I was five.  On the other hand, that was thirty-five years ago and I’d since gained proficiency with scissors.
"Okay," I agreed, “how hard can it be?” 
I opened the box and scanned the enclosed brochure which promised I’d “style hair like a pro.”  It was beautiful.  The weight of the tool in the palm of my hand felt like a natural extension of my body.  I popped the blade protector and ran my finger along the comb.  I dreamed of people stopping me to ask who does our hair.  "Oh, I do it myself," I'd smile and do that hand wave thing people do when feigning modesty.
Finally, the day arrived.  "I need my hair cut,”    Chuck said, handing me the box like it held the key to a new Porsche or a gift certificate for maid service.
I laid out the attachments and perused the instructions.  “Position victim’s head at operator's eye level.” 
“No,” I joked, “I added that.”
Chuck was not at eye level, but I figured I could bend and squat.  “Next, Comb hair to remove tangles and hold clipper in a relaxed, comfortable grip for best control.”
I switched the machine on and it hummed to life.  Starting at the base of his neck, I carefully clipped around Chuck’s head. 
As I continued, the gentle hum gave way to a greedy, gnawing sound and a thick shock of hair fell to the floor.  “That didn't sound good," Chuck laughed. 
It didn’t look so good, either.  And I don’t know why I thought bending and squatting would work, I’ve never been good at gymnastics.
Once accustomed to his new look, Chuck suggested that I cut the boys’ hair.  It took some bribing, but our youngest agreed to sit first. 
It’s hard to clip the hair of a four year-old with the wiggles.  I started to panic and lost my relaxed, comfortable grip.  I made blind passes across his head, desperate for an even cut, but he kept shaking his head and finally slid his body off the chair.  When he looked at me, I nearly cried.  Gone were his wispy blond waves, replaced by what looked like the work of a pocket knife in the palsied hands of a drunk.
"Here, let me try," Chuck smiled and took the clippers from my hand.  “There,” he announced after a few passes, “you look great!”  He lied. 
Our older son, who had been silently observing, piped up, "You look like a clown!  I don't want my hair cut!" 
“Please keep your comments to yourself,” Chuck admonished, “you know your brother is afraid of clowns.”
The following day, we took the boys to a real salon.  The stylist glanced from father to son, but I caught the flash of pity.
“Dad hair cut, eh?  We see it all the time,” she said and offered the guys lollipops.
I studied the grain on the hardwood floors.
The boys left the salon looking handsome again, and I vowed to leave our hair cutting to professionals and find another way to stretch the budget.
Like a garage sale.  First item - one set of clippers.


Mere Churchianity

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Mere ChurchianityI was drawn to the book “Mere Churchianity,” by Michael Spencer (The Internet Monk), largely in response to the question:  “Have you left the church in search of Jesus?”  For someone like me, a relatively new believer who has been struggling to ascertain the relevance of institutional worship, it’s a compelling question.


Early on Spencer states that the purpose of his book is not to church-bash, then he proceeds with an itemization of the deficiencies and hypocrisies found in today's Evangelical churches - mega, small, even home churches have their share of issues.


At first, I was surprised that, for all his complaints against Evangelical churches, Spencer remained a Baptist minister and teacher at a Christian school, presumably until his death in April 2010.  On further reflection, though, I see it not as a contradiction to the point of the book, but rather an illustration of it.


My impression is that his intended audience comprises people disenchanted with corporate worship, who equate faith with their church affiliation, and who are likely to abandon Christ if they leave the church.  He contrasts his coined term “Jesus Shaped Spirituality” with prevalent Church Shaped Spirituality, and urges readers to get to know the Jesus of the Four Gospels, rather than the Sunday morning Order of Worship.  

The final chapters are dedicated to helping the reader discern and plug into the real Jesus community - those people in your church, your neighborhood, your town, who are living Christ’s example.  God works through His people, not man’s institutions, but if you find and surround yourself with His people you will experience Christ no matter the shape, size or style of the building.


Though my personal church-crisis is not one of faith, or of questioning the relevancy of Jesus, I found many kindred sentiments expressed in “Mere Churchianity” and recommend it for those who are struggling to grow a “Jesus Shaped Spirituality.”


Disclaimer:  I received a copy of "Mere Churchianity" from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for free in exchange for this review.



How I got $54 of product for $3.17

Monday, 20 December 2010

Walgreens is, by far, my favorite store for bringing home the deals.  Note my latest couponing conquest:


1 Listerine Whitening; 3.99 – 2.00 coupon

1 Duracell AAA 20 pack: 8.99 – 1.50 coupon

3 jars Lindsay olives, .99 ea with WG coupon

2 Olay Total Effect body wash, sale price 6.99, Buy1, Get 1, 1 Olay body lotion - coupon for free body lotion (9.99 retail)

4 Progresso soups, .99 each – 1.00 coupon

2 Toblerone chocolates, 2/3.00 - 1.00 mfg coupon – 1.00 Walgreens coupon

2 Mars candy bars - .39 WG coupon - .50 coupon


Retail price for all the above rang up to $54.82.  I used $20 “jingle cash” earned from previous trips and stacked MFG coupons with WG coupons where available for a grand out-of-pocket of $7.17, plus I earned $4.00 Jingle Cash to use toward my next purchase for a final net of $3.17.


$54.82 in product for $3.17!  I challenge you to beat that.

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