Archive | March 2008

To FIOS Or Not To FIOS

For years and years and years I was a die-hard cable fan.  I remember when it first came to our area back in 1979 and we were so excited to have 14 channels of service, most of which were local broadcast channels like NBC, ABC and CBS.  Then when I began to work for the cable company my love for the industry grew even stronger. 

When so many were switching over to satellite companies because they wanted sports packages or more channels, I could give them more than a dozen reasons why they should stay with cable.  We had the best customer service and quality of service and I was so proud to wear my company shirts when out in public. 

As the years progressed, my love affair began to fade.  The company was making promises to Wall Street that they couldn’t keep and the dollar became more important than the customers.  Our billing became complicated, rates kept rising while the quality of the service went down, focus on the employee went down and so did morale and the caliper of new hires was also on the decline which made my job as a customer service supervisor difficult and stressful.

Sadly, the stress of the job took it’s toll on me mentally and physically and I became very ill.  It was my intention to return to work so I never filed for workers comp, and because I was really sick my LTD (long term disability) paperwork did not get filed on time (my doctor’s office held on to it for too long) so I was denied coverage.  When I wasn’t able to return to work my employment was terminated.  It wasn’t a nasty split, they told me I was welcome to apply for a position when I wanted to come back and I honestly thought I would be back to work in no time.  About a month later I needed a service call for my cable service and I found out that not only was I being billed for service, but I was being billed ala carte for each service – that relates to about $125 per month.  I was so upset.  I had over 15 years service with the company and should have received 3 years courtesy service, but they changed policy while I was out on leave so no courtesy service for me.  I wasn’t a happy camper about that, but I was more upset that they did not even bother to call me and see what services I wanted.  So I called Verizon and signed up for their DSL service and Direct TV and cancelled my cable account. 

I must admit, the DSL was pretty reliable for the most part.  It wasn’t as fast as my broadband but it was a lot cheaper.  The Direct TV wasn’t too bad either and that was way cheaper too.  The only downside to the dish was service outages whenever the weather was really bad and no On Demand, but the upside was over 10 Christian programming channels to cable’s 1, Direct TV had the NFL packages and cable didn’t and I could change my service through the Internet rather than having to call and speak to someone from another country – which is pretty sad considering the cable company has an office not more than 5 minutes from my house and a call center 15 minutes up the road – tsk, tsk, tsk…

Anyway, the reason for my post today is that Verizon has launched their answer to the cable company – FIOS!  I found out that my area was set up for FIOS so I placed my order – 6 weeks ago and today was the first available appointment!  Can you believe that?  I was in total shock that I would have to wait so long, but boy was it worth the wait!

The technician arrived at 10:30 am and was not finished until 4:30 pm which explains why so long a wait to get an appointment.  And here’s the kicker, he didn’t have to replace any of my internal wiring!  I now have Verizon for everything, my cell phones, house phone, Internet and television and I got a really good deal!

The picture is amazing, my Internet is super fast and I love having caller id again.  I didn’t take any premium channels for right now because we don’t really watch a lot of TV and I don’t want to be lured to watch it because of a movie. 

Once the tech left, I called Direct TV to cancel my service which was a royal pain in the behind.  The first time I called, I was on hold for 10 minutes, then when the rep came on the phone she announced her name and I was disconnected.  I called back again, another 10 minute hold but this time I got through.  The rep tried 3 times to transfer me to someone so they could give me info and rates on Internet service – where she got the idea that I wanted to take their service I have no idea, especially since I had said several times that I was calling to “cancel” my service, not “upgrade” it.  She informed me that I had to keep the service until September because I had a 2 year contract.  I said, NO, I had a 1 year contract, to which she stated that since I got a DVR, they extended my agreement another year.  She stated if I cancelled now, I would have to pay a cancellation fee of $62.50 to which I replied, well that’s better than paying $52 a month for the next 6 months.  So, with that cleared up, she proceeded to tell me that I was paid through April 24th, so that’s when my billing would stop – uh, duh, what???  Why would I pay for service I wasn’t using??  I firmly but politely told her that she would stop my billing today or I would have to call the FCC and my Governor and report them for fraudulent business practices.  Needless to say, my billing was stopped as of today and they are sad to see me go and hope I have a wonderful day.

Whew!  So as I sit here happily typing away, watching an amazing picture with my new FIOS as the Phillies play their home opener, losing by 5 runs in the 9th because some dee-dee-dee pulled out Romero and put Gordon in who let Washington score 5 runs in the top of the 9th!  I’m not sure why I’m upset by this because I’m a Baltimore Orioles fan – it’s my husband and sons who like the Phillies – I guess I’m feeling sympathy pains for them. 

So, as to my question, “To FIOS Or Not To FIOS”, I sayFIOS, and FIOS it NOW!  It was well worth the wait, I got a great price (I’m actually paying less for my Internet, phone and tv now and I’m getting faster Internet, better TV picture, and lots of features with my phone not to mention unlimited long distance!)  So my next question is, “what are you waiting for?”

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Jennifer Kirk Prayer Update

In February, I posted a prayer request for Doris’ granddaughter Jennifer.  Thank you and praise God for each of you that prayed for her.  Her surgery date is finally scheduled for April 10th at Cooper Hospital.  She has finally gotten the insurance taken care of and God has sustained her these past few months.

Please continue to lift Jennifer up to the Lord that He will continue to hold her in His arms.  Pray for the doctors and nurses and hospital staff that will look after Jennifer that they will allow God to work through them.  Pray that Jennifer’s surgery will be swift and without complications and that she will heal quickly and without pain.  May she declare that Jesus bore all of her sickness and carried her pain when he was nailed to the cross.  He bore her sin on his body therefore she is healed by His stripes and will give no place to sickness or pain, through God’s Word she is healed, she is an overcomer and dead to sin and alive to righteousness, in Jesus name, Amen.

Terri and Larry Prayer request Update

Hi prayer warriors, back in September I posted a prayer request for Terri and Larry and I am posting an update for them.

Larry has recuperated from the surgery he had as a result of the bad fall from the deer stand but still hasn’t found another job.  His wife, Terri, is carrying the full financial burden now so please stand in agreement with me that God will place Larry in a good job so that he can walk in the authority and position as head of his household.  May Larry declare to the Lord that he will put aside all negative, limiting thoughts about what kind of work he will do, or where he will work.  May Larry open himself up to all of the possibilities through God and call forth a perfect, satisfying, well paying job all allow the Lord to direct his steps, in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Pray that God will give Terri the strength and courage to support her family financially during this time and that she will also lift her husband and children up to the Lord in daily prayer.  May Terri declare that no weapon formed against her shall prosper, and that she will fear no evil for the Lord is with her and His Word and Spirit are there to comfort her.  May Terri take up the shield of faith and stand against every evil the enemy tries bring against her, in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Prayer Request Susan Fagan

Dear friends, I received a prayer request from Doris asking us to please lift her dear friend Susan Fagan up to the Lord in your daily prayers.  She is going through some personal trials in her life and is greatly troubled.  Pray that the Lord gives her guidance and directs her path.  Ask the Lord to place His angels around her like a hedge to protect her from any attacks, and to give her the peace that only our Lord and Savior can bring.  I pray that Psalm 23 comes to Susan’s remembrance and that is serves as a source of strength for her.  May she know that even when things look their darkest, Jesus is with us, carrying us and holding us in His grace and mercy.

Thursday Thirteen 17th Edition

Okay, so I decided to do things a little differently this week and link to 13 random posts or pages from my blog.  I know it’s not very creative or cerebral, but I’m not feeling too hot and it’s all I could muster…

 

1. Becoming A Woman Of Excellence

2. Thursday Thirteen 1st Edition

3. Works for me Wednesday – Cinna-Mallow Rolls

4. God of wonders

5. Tapas Tuesday – Pepperoni Bread

6. Aloha Friday – March 14th

7. A message from Joel Osteen

8. What color crayon are you?

9. Carnival of Beauty

10.Why do Jews…?

11. A Seed

12. My Journey

13. Giveaways

Works For Me Wednesday

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Okay, I know that we are supposed to use this weekly theme to list things that we use or do that have helped us with one thing or another and then post it for others to see in the hopes that they too will benefit from our tip.  Well, this week I wanted to switch things up a bit and post something that I want to share with others that isn’t about a recipe, child rearing, weight loss, financial find or household tip.  This WFMW is of the spiritual nature specifically aimed at women.  Linda, one of my bloggy friends shared it with me and now I’m sharing it with you.

It’s called Christian Women Connected and there are over 250 christian women from all over the blogsphere that have signed up and it’s free!  CWC is a social networking blog that brings women together to pray and connect in spirit and faith, and because I believe so deeply that prayer is powerful I can’t think of a better reason to join, plus I love how the site allows HTML so you can send cutsey clipart and animated graphics.  The very first day I signed up I had several messages welcoming me to CWC and found lots of sisters in christ and groups to join in with.  There are groups that focus on prayer, some have bible study, others focus on our Troops and there are some that are just for fun.  Take a moment and visit their site, or head over to mine and leave me a message to let me know you stopped by.

Why Is Easter So Early This Year?

Okay, I’ve heard more wacked out reasons why Easter is early than I care to have listened to so I went to Yahoo.com and did a search and this post is the most lucid and easy to understand explanation I found.  Now, those who know me that while I was baptized and loosely raised Roman Catholic and made my holy communion and confirmation, my relationship with the Catholic church was never the same once I accepted Jesus as my personal savior so don’t read too much into my using a Catholic website for info – it is what it is, information…

Why is Easter so early this year? Blame it on the moon

By Patricia Kasten | Special to the Herald

 

fullmoon-crop

Why is Easter (March 23) so early this year? Blame it on the moon. Specifically, blame it on the Paschal moon.

Last year, Easter was April 8. Next year, it will be April 12.

Why? Is there really a formula to deciding the date of Easter?

As a matter of fact, there is, but it’s complicated. And it means Easter can come as early as March 22 – which it hasn’t since 1818 – or as late as April 25 – which it won’t again until 2038.

Here’s the simplified formula: Easter falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon following the spring equinox. This year, the spring equinox falls on March 20, one day before the full moon of March, which falls on Friday.

Confused yet? Well, there was once so much confusion about it that things have come close to schism a few times.

Easter is the most important church feast, marking the Lord’s resurrection. In the earliest days, every Sunday was celebrated as if it were Easter. Christ’s followers gathered that day to commemorate his passion, death and resurrection. In fact, to this day, every Sunday remains a celebration of Easter.

However, as time went on, Christians began to mark a special annual celebration of the Resurrection, first called the “Pascha,” after the Jewish word for “Passover.” Not everyone could agree on the proper date, however. Some wanted it to be celebrated on the actual Jewish Passover, which can fall on any day of the week. Others wanted it to be on Sunday, since that was the day of the Lord’s resurrection.

The Jewish Passover falls on the 14th day of Nissan, the first month of the Jewish calendar. (This year, Passover begins at sunset on April 19.) Those Christians who adhered to celebrating Easter on that day — no matter which day of the week — were known as “Quartodecimans” (based on the Latin for 14). They were led by Polycarp of Smryna who claimed to be following the tradition of St. John the Evangelist. (Polycarp was a disciple of John.) However, most Christians, following what was believed to be the tradition of the other Apostles, chose Sunday for the Paschal feast. However, this was not completely settled until the fourth century.

The ‘Easter Controversy’

The “Easter controversy,” as it became known, really got heated over which Sunday. By the second century, the churches in Antioch and Syria based their Paschal feast on the Jewish calendar — which is based on the Paschal full moon, a liturgical, not necessarily an astronomical, event. (This year, that Paschal full moon is April 20.) Alexandria, and most of the churches of the western Roman empire, chose their Easter date independent of the Jewish calendar and tied it, in some way, to the spring equinox.

To show how heated the debate was, Pope Victor I, in 190, decreed Easter would be on the Sunday following the 14th day of the full moon of the spring equinox. And, to avert a schism, he threatened to excommunicate anyone who didn’t agree.

However, Easter’s date (more correctly, its full moon) still became tied to various calendars — solar, lunar, Babylonian — and confusion continued.

The Council of Nicea in 325 took on the challenge, but really only decided definitively that Easter must be on a Sunday and it must be tied the Paschal moon. Generally, the Easter date followed the pattern set by the Alexandrian church, since Alexandria was the ancient world’s center of learning. Their date for Easter had the feast falling on the Sunday two weeks after the Paschal moon, which brought it fairly close to the Jewish Passover date.

However, the break between the Eastern and Western churches in the 11th century, again muddied the waters.

The western church began to rely on astronomical full moons, while the Eastern church continued to follow the liturgical Paschal moon, which is not always the same as the vernal equinox’s first full moon. Finally, around the Middle Ages, the formula in the West had settled into the one we are most familiar with today: Easter falls on the Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox.

Julian vs. Gregorian

The last major problem arose in the 16th century and you can still see it when you look at a calendar this year: The Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate Easter later than the Latin-rite churches on most years. This year it’s April 27. Occasionally, we mark the feast on the same day, as we did last year on April 8.

This is because the Eastern churches use the Julian calendar for calculating Easter, while we in the West use the Gregorian calendar.

In 46 B.C., Julius Caesar devised the calendar that bears his name, but it was flawed. Julius’ calendar was 365 1/4 days long, about 11 minutes longer than a true solar year. Eleven minutes doesn’t seem like much but, by the 16th century, it had added up to meaning that the Julian calendar’s spring equinox fell 10 days earlier than it astronomically was. So Pope Gregory VIII ordered a more accurate calendar and, to clear up the errors, eliminated 10 days during the month of October in 1582. The Gregorian calendar has 365 days, adding an extra day every fourth year, as we do this year.

So the date of Easter still seems confusing. Yet the most important thing to remember is not the date of Easter, but what we have celebrated from the first days of the church: that the eternal God entered into human time through the incarnation so that, through the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, God could draw all of us into eternity with him.

Kasten has been a Catholic journalist since 1985 and is currently associate editor of The Compass in Green Bay, Wis. She has a master’s of theological studies degree from St. Norbert College in De Pere, and advanced catechist standing with the Green Bay Diocese. She is also author of the Scripture Search puzzles, published in the Hawaii Catholic Herald and other Catholic papers and many parish bulletins. She can be reached through http://www.tri-c-a-publications.com.