Thursday, December 15, 2011

Money: Just Call Me Flo

I don't know the exact number of miles I've required of my car this year, but it's up there. Way up there. I commute 45 minutes to work each day and this year I've replaced a transmission and we won't talk about what the car dealership did to me during inspection time (picture me walking as if I've just ridden a very bitter horse for two hours). So when I read the Woman's Day article about enjoying a stress free holiday, I wanted to add to the list of tips and adages by penciling in a reminder for those with similar issues:

Remember to take care of your car. Enduring 25 degree weather in the driver's seat while waiting for a tow truck, is no festive holiday celebration.

Thankfully, since a very reasonable mechanic fixed my transmission (and my broken door handle for free) things have been pretty smooth sailing, with the exception of a windshield wiper that won't work (and that was AFTER the lovely dealership inspection--on a rainy day).

I checked my credit card statement this month, however, to discover that my auto insurance payment had not processed. Concerned about forgetting later on, I quickly wrote a message to my insurance agent through Facebook to determine whether or not I had automatic withdrawal (the Facebook option is prime,s since picking up a phone has always caused  anxiety--I love my text messaging and social networking).

The next day, my agent--Tracy Sprouse--responded that I did not have the automatic withdrawal service, but he would be pleased to assist me with setting it up. He then proceeded to tell me that he could save me a considerable amount of money each month if I would be interested in switching to another company. The savings would be around $25 a month.

So of course, I was totally all about that.

It's around this time of year you'll read a lot about the spirit of giving and charity and family and friends. Anyone can give a gift once a year: I'm reminded this time of year what a blessing it is to benefit from those who make honesty, quality, and generosity a staple throughout the entire year. Isn't it even more of a blessing to conduct business with an establishment whose standard reflects these types of values?

Tracy Sprouse has been my agent for over 4 years and I can't think of a single circumstance in which he has been less than gracious, cooperative, and pleasant. Customer service being so rare in general, I don't think it's a stretch to note this experience as outstanding. Not only did he answer my question promptly and thoroughly, but he also went above and beyond by agreeing to meet with me to sign the paperwork for my service on his day off--during the holidays no less--and proactively recommended a  benefit that would result in a profit to me, his customer.

A life long resident of Amherst County, Tracy is an independent insurance agent with the ability to sort through multiple companies and select the unique plan that works best for his client's needs. He and his staff have been courteous and available without fail.

In light of the holiday season Sprouse Insurance would like to extend my savings this month to the local community by sponsoring a giveaway for a $25 Visa gift card.

Here are the guidelines:

To make yourself elligible you must:

1. Be a friend of Scrw Lucy on Facebook.

2. "LIKE" Sprouse Insurance Agency on Facebook

3. Be able to pick up your Visa Gift Card at Sprouse Insurance Agency in Madison Heights, VA.

In order to win:

1. Link me to this status on Facebook:

"Sprouse Agency gave Scrw Lucy a 30% savings plus better coverage and I want to win her savings!" 

2. Be the person with the most shares on the status above by Sunday, December 19th, 12 a.m. If your privacy settings don't permit shares, then I will accept "likes." 

I hope you use your gift card to buy local--it's the gift that keeps on giving to your community.

(I have not received any compensation monetary or material for this review. All opinions are my own and are solely for the benefit of those who read them.)

5068 S Amherst Hwy, #110Madison HeightsVA 24572 (434) 847-4340

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Holiday: White Chocolate Mocha Wreath

I am no Martha Stewart. When someone says "craft" images of 2nd grade VBS or Oriental Trading catalog manifest rather than origami, wood working, or anything that involves any level of skill or craftsmanship. I am a wordsmith--a lazy one that requires bouts of mania to produce anything reminiscent of brilliance.

But Woman's Day always has a craft. And I'll be darned if I don't venture outside my inability to produce something that doesn't look....bad. The holiday season is about hope and redemption so I started to work on my first wreath.

I do have to preface the rest of this blog, however, by saying I stopped by one of our fabulous, locally owned home decor stores this Friday night to discover in dismay that the owner--Stephanie Humphries--had also fashioned several of the same type of wreath I had planned to make this weekend. Stephanie is naturally talented in the art of crafts, to say the least. Her furniture pieces have been the subject of prior blogs and I thought to myself,"How do I go about writing a blog about my pitiful wreath when she has done such a fabulous job?"

I told myself to suck it up, make the wreath, and produce a giveaway that would rid myself of the results.

My first attempt of craft and I would like to call it,"Grounds for Holiday Spirit."


Two 200-count packs of 8 to 12 cup basket-style coffee filters

Red acrylic paint

small paint brush

12" Styrofoam wreath form

hot glue gun and glue sticks

ribbon scrap

1. Starting with a stack of about 25 coffee filters, paint the top edges of the filters. Gently blow on stack to separate them. Let dry. Repeat with rest of filters.

2. Fold one filter in half, then twist it at the middle to make a cone shape with the red edges on the outside. Repeat with rest of filters.

3. Starting from the center front of wreath form, glue on coffee filters (so that the red edge points toward you) tightly next to each other and at a uniform height in a row around the ring. Continue filling in rows toward the inside of the form, then in rows toward the outside of the form.

4. Loop a piece of scrap ribbon and glue it to the back of the wreath for hanging.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Where are they Now?

"Born unto you this day, in the city of David...a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." --Luke 2:11

In the December edition of Woman's Day I read the Scripture I have read (and heard every year on the Peanut's Christmas special) for so many years. It's a Scripture easily quoted, like so many known by the general public, but there is so much about the Nativity story we don't know--or that we don't recognize.

Challenge yourself to look deeper this Christmas season. Consider a few points from the Christmas story that may seem obvious and simple but may be complex in their reality:

1. Who were the Wise Men?

2. What did the star mean?

3. What is the significance of the shepherds?

As the Christmas season jingles along, I look forward to you sharing your discoveries.