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Ka-Ka-Ka-KIA! Who knew??

After selling my Bronco a couple weeks back I started sorting through my car options. I landed on getting something new and cheap. Jen’s wisdom tipped the scale. She reminded me that our house is 32 years old and could throw us a $urpri$e at any moment. Ergo, she figured that we should get a vehicle that would be under warranty for the foreseeable future.

I determined that I’d be purchasing a hatchback- because guys always want to be able to transport stuff. Even if we don’t actually haul anything, we like to know that we could. So after checking out all the options, Jen and I sat down last Saturday to choose a car. I was just about to tell her that I thought we should buy a Nissan Versa, when Ryan- from the local Kia dealer- called. He told me about some additional discounts they were able to offer me- and suddenly I was driving to Durham to test drive a Kia Spectra 5. After taking one for a spin and settling on a final sales price, my mind was made up.

We picked up the car last night.

Jen hadn’t seen it until then and was pleasantly surprised. I’m thrilled. The combination of good gas mileage, decent looks, sporty touches inside, a great list of standard features, nimble handling, a generous warranty and the price ($3100 BELOW INVOICE!) made the decision a no-brainer for me.

On top of all that, I had the best car buying experience I’ve ever had with a dealer. All the folks at Johnson Kia in Durham treated us well. Our salesperson (Ryan) was incredibly pleasant. The sales manager (Caz) was the most straight-forward car guy I’ve ever dealt with. The numbers ended up exactly where he promised they would be. Caz also went above and beyond to find a car in the color I wanted and trade another dealer for it. The finance guru (John) even made paying for the thing fairly painless. I was treated like a valued customer and a friend.

If you are in the market for a new hatchback, give Kia’s Spectra 5 a look. If you are buying a new Kia, Dodge, Chrysler or Jeep in the Raleigh area- swing by the Johnson dealerships. They’ll take good care of you.


This past week I said goodbye to my 1988 Ford Bronco. Although I loved having it, I was beginning to cringe every time I hit the gas pump. Around town I was getting 9 miles to the gallon. No, I didn’t forget a digit there. 9mg at $3.80 a gallon. I was pouring $150 a month in the tank and not really going much of anywhere. On top of that I needed to spend close to $1K in repairs to get it past its scheduled NC inspection. So, farewell…

Ironically, as we were saying goodbye to one old friend, three others dropped by to see us. Jeremy, Casey & Lily Mae Walker stopped to see us on their way back to Elizabethton TN from a week at Nags Head at the Outer Banks. We’ve known the Walkers for coming up on 6 years now and have loved them from the first Mexican Dinner we shared together at Church Planter’s Assessment. They are kindred spirits and we still hold out hope that one day we can open that retreat center together.

Funny how life pairs things together, isn’t it?

If our culture has a favorite word, it might be the word: MORE.

More food, more money, more square footage, more cup holders, more channels, more memory, more features. Yes, I’ll take them all please!

More isn’t always a bad thing, but lately I’ve found myself missing the word “enough”.    Most of the time I only say “enough” because I can’t afford or justify more.  Whatever happened to my ability to be content with some, but not all that I could have?  And should we even begin an honest discussion on wants vs. needs?

Why am I asking these questions?  Because I am (hopefully appropriately) alarmed by Jesus’ assertion that money and stuff are constantly competing with God for my soul- and that only one of the two can really win.

So, I’m trying to build the practice of “enough” into my life as a safety valve.  Just because I can afford something doesn’t mean I have to.  One small example in my personal life is my computer bag.  When I got a new computer last fall, I quickly started searching for a new bag to go with it.  You know- to protect the investment.  And to make me look hip- and not too businessy or geeky.  (Which I realize is a lot to ask from a computer bag.) I narrowed the options and was about to order my first choice when I stopped to pack for a trip.  There inside my suitcase was an old, tired messenger bag.  I took this as more than a coincidence.  Here was an opportunity to say “enough”.  I could afford a new bag and justify it.  But I didn’t have to have it.   One neoprene laptop sleeve and 5 months later, my computer is doing fine.  My hip factor is unchanged.  But my soul feels the tiniest bit freer.

“Enough” is growing on me.  A couple of weeks ago we bought a car.  After we settled on the model we wanted, we had to decide on the trim level.  Although we planned on buying the base version (which has almost every option you could have added to a car 10 years ago), I found myself wondering if we “needed” to move up a trim level or two.  More was raising it’s ugly head- and I was cooperating.  Then my wife stepped in.  She said “enough” and we went home with the base model.  Since this was her vehicle, I’m glad she made the call.  As her husband, I want to provide her with more.  Maybe “enough”- and the blessings it brings- is more important sometimes.

So, how about you?

Ever notice the constant pull of “more” in your life?

What- if anything- do you do with that?

Do you intentionally use the practice of “enough”?  If so, when/how?

Use the comments feature and share your perspective.

Yesterday we turned in a vehicle that we’ve been leasing for the past three years. Start to finish it was a great experience. In fact, we all got a bit teary as we said goodbye to the car that had carried our family safely so many times.

Knowing that our turn in deadline was approaching, we went out and got a replacement vehicle last week. Here’s a pic:

Yes, we got a van. A Honda Odyssey to be exact.
The first two friends I mentioned this to gave me same reaction:

“Oh you finally caved and got a van, huh? Welcome to soccer-mom-world.”

Honestly, there was a touch of either condescension or pity in their tone of voice. I was a bit irritated.

Then it hit me- they think we’re conforming. I think we’re rebelling.

When we leased our last vehicle, vans were the norm for young families. My wife chose an SUV then precisely because she didn’t want to live the stereotype. (And because someone with one small child doesn’t really need a van.)

Based solely on my own keen powers of observation, I’d say the tides have turned. Most young moms bemoan the van and choose…..the SUV. Ergo…the SUV is now the new soccer mom vehicle. For what it is worth, I think Honda’s research may agree with this. The theme of the Odyssey’s brochure is “The Van Is Back”. They know that vans are no longer the go-to family vehicle.

Which leads me to how much I love my wife. This go round she once again had the choice of a van or suv. Why did she choose the van? Because it was more practical for her with 2 young kids, and we want to be able to haul our friends and family around with us without rearranging our car seats every time.

The SUV was the “I’m better than that other thing (van)” statement in some folk’s minds. Jen chose what worked for her- even though many of her peers are making the opposite choice.

Sounds like rebellion to me.

In a van of all places.

Who knew?