Say hello to the newest member of the Tam Fam: High Ho Silver? Bah, let's just say her name is still pending.
Our cute little ol' Pontiac gave out a couple weeks back (18 days ago, to be precise), and we had a minor crisis on our hands finagling transportation. Thank you to friends, city busses, U-Haul rentals, Enterprise rentals, and our own feet who stepped forward to help during this time period. We went through a grieving process of sorts as it became apparent we needed to find a replacement car, rather than fixing the old one. Conveniently both Jerry and I have equal commitment to use caution in making big decisions, so we patiently slogged through number crunching, researching brands, models, dealerships, and financial options to get something that would be a good value for us. We lived the slogan, "Pray as though it all depends on the Lord, but work as though it all depends on YOU." It appears the work and prayers paid off. We found this sweet sedan that cleared all our careful background checking and fulfilled our list of "must haves;" we finalized payment on it this morning (the best part: didn't need to take out a loan for it--totally stretching us, but feels great at the same time!)...so life is good. We are now the happy owners of a 2002 Mazda 626.
We have 5 more free auto checks left on our autofax account, so if anybody else out there is considering a used car purchase in the next month or so, let us know! We can run the VIN number for you for free, first come first served. It is a nice way to narrow the search so you don't have to go looking at cars that don't already meet your standards from the beginning. And it can help you be more confident and effective in the bargaining process. Also, in case anybody did not already know this resource, the BBB is another great tool. It saved us more than once from making a potentially bad decision in our car purchase process. For example, we found a great deal on a car from one dealership, but then checked with the BBB and found the business had a rating of "F" (failing, as in, a school grade of "F") for being unresponsive to consumer complaints over the last three years. So we decided to start our shopping at only the businesses that cleared our BBB check first. It made our decision-making a lot less stressful. We wish we had shopped around like that for mechanics when we first moved here.
The whole experience gave us some tender teaching moments from the Lord. We had been praying for our old car to keep running. When it became apparent those prayers were not being answered in the affirmative, we started purposefully looking for what lessons the Lord was intending us to take from this challenge--and indeed, we found some gems. They are, for the most part, personal lessons, so we will not elaborate here. Some are intangible, faith-promoting lessons, but we also feel like this whole car issue has been a temporal blessing to us, because it has given us a renewed commitment to keep our rainy day fund strong. It feels a lot easier now to be self-disciplined in spending. Suffice to say we are glad for this little trial--and really grateful for the happy ending. We spent a few minutes just staring at our car in the driveway when we first brought it home, basking in feelings of satisfaction.