Famous Christmas Quotes

by Lance Ekum on December 12, 2015 · 1 comment

Christmas-Quote-infographic (1)

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The following is from Crystal Stemberger at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. She's been blogging for more than 5 years and is now a professional pet sitter by day and a personal finance super geek by night.

I'm 32 years old and have been the primary driver for 4 cars over the last 13 years. Here are the lessons I picked up over those years.

The 1998 Mazda Protégé

My first car was a 1998 Mazda Protégé that was repossessed and bought from the bank. It leaked a quart of oil every week or two, sometimes just turned off at stop signs and traffic lights even though it was an automatic, and it didn't have a working air conditioner (in Houston, TX…that stinks).

My parents bought it for me in 2001 for less than $2000 and I put $1500 into new engine parts. The car insurance premium in it stunk because I was young, the car had bad ratings, and I didn't shop around. I should have looked at places like cheapcarinsurance.net, Geico, or Progressive to help find a way more affordable price. I ended up selling it 2 years later in 2003 for $1400 since it just wasn't worth keeping. It had stopped passing inspections.

First Lesson Learned – Just because it's inexpensive doesn't mean it is a good deal.

The 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier

My second car was my parent's brand new, standard transmission 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier. They bought it for less than $9000 in cash. I used it for the last two years of college. It drove like a dream and didn't have any issues. It ended up being in the family for 11 years before being totaled by a crappy Austin, TX driver that hit my little sister.

Second Lesson Learned – I prefer to buy new and stay on top of basic maintenance since it means way less trips to the mechanic. For me, it ends up costing about the same or less per year over buying used IF you keep it for as long as possible.

The 2005 Chevrolet Aveo

The first car I really bought was right after college. It was a brand new, 2005 Chevy Aveo. I bought it for $11,800 through 5 year financing but I paid it off in 2 years. It had a ton of little problems since it was cheaply made. It was definitely not as great as the Cavalier. I drove it less than 65,000 miles in 9 years, and sold it in 2014 for $3800. It lasted only because I barely drove anywhere. I vowed never to give Chevy my money again.

Third Lesson Learned – Even buying new does not guarantee a perfect experience. Quality matters…I seemed to have forgotten my first lesson…

The 2013 Honda Fit

In early 2014, I sold my Aveo and bought a brand new 2013 Honda Fit. It was $16,300 drive out with 0.9% financing for 5 years. So, it'll cost a grand total of $16,600 over 5 years plus its basic maintenance. In the last year, I've already driven 17,000 miles. And all I've need to do it replace two tires (I ran into a curb and the dealer tires stunk) and I've gotten two oil changes. Overall, it's still new so it's still driving awesome as expected.

No lesson learned yet, but I'm hoping to show that buying quality is worth it overall. Fingers crossed!

How many cars have you owned? What have you learned over the years?

JanisHeaphyDurhamPhoto.tif

The Hand on the Mirror chronicles the extraordinary events that followed the loss of my husband, Max Besler, to cancer in 2004, but it's more than a "ghost story." It's the story of my spiritual journey, one that has brought me to a new understanding of the unbelievable power of love to cross the divide between life and death.

The title event refers to perhaps the most startling event, which was the appearance of a skeleton-like image of a man's handprint on the bathroom mirror next to the bedroom where Max spent his final months. I found it on the first anniversary of Max's death. My son Tanner, who was 15, sat with me on the patio, doing his homework as I handled my weekend paperwork from my job as publisher of the Sacramento Bee. No one else was in our home. I went into the bathroom, where I had been just an hour earlier, and I was floored by what I saw. I called for Tanner to come quickly, and he was as astounded as I was. I held his hand up to the X-ray-like image to be sure he couldn't have made, and I instantly saw that his hand was much smaller. Besides, I knew it wasn't a prank he would pull. I took photos, but I didn't want Tanner to see how shaken I was. After all, I was the adult here. So I did what I would do many times in the coming years. I delayed trying to decipher what I had seen. I was still in grief over Max's death, and I was struggling to keep my life, my son and my job intact. There had to be an answer; I just wasn't seeing it.

The events continued. Images appeared again on the bathroom mirror on the second and third anniversaries of Max's death. Many other things that happened were intimately connected to him. Clocks stopped at 12:44 p.m. – the precise time of Max's passing — then started again on their own. Receipts and cards with special meaning related to Max fell out of books I had randomly pulled from the thousands on Max's library shelves. Rugs moved. Lights flickered. The bathroom wall even pulsated, unexplained by plumbers or pest control experts.

Maybe all these things were just a collection of coincidences, but they kept happening. Eventually I decided to find answers the way newspaper people do — by researching. I talked with spiritual and scientific experts, and what I found was a revelation. Many people had these kinds of experiences. Ultimately, my understanding of our souls' survival after death began to change, and I realized I needed to share this with those who have quietly worried they might be crazy or face ridicule if they talk about otherworldly experiences. I know that the love that binds us has the power to cross boundaries that humans don't typically step across. We should be happy and grateful for those connections, not embarrassed by them. I also hope my story will spur serious dialogue about how science can help us, as it has over the generations, to understand things that we can't explain yet. And that, I know, would make Max happy.


About the Author:

Janis Heaphy Durham was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1951. After earning a bachelors and a masters degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, she was hired in the advertising department at the Los Angeles Times, where she rose to senior vice president of advertising. In 1998 she was named the first publisher of the Sacramento Bee. Under her leadership the newspaper won two Pulitzer Prizes.  Janis retired in 2008 and lives between Idaho and Florida with her husband, Jim Durham.

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