April 30, 2008

Home Ownership--Week 5

The house is coming along. The pace is picking up now. I actually painted some things last night! That is exciting me. Especially so because I got to use my new 18" Wooster paint roller last night. It was awesome!!! Seriously, you have no idea how excited I am . . .

My in-laws arrived yesterday to help out. My father-in-law will be painting trim today, along with some other odds and ends. They head home on Friday. At that point, my brother will arrive and we'll install cabinets, bathroom items, and some new, modern looking doors. I can't wait!

April 22, 2008

Daffodils and the Orange Moon

One of my fondest memories of spring as I was growing up was visiting my grandmother's house. I may have written about her place before. She lived out in the middle of nowhere. The lane to her house was about a mile long--over a huge hill and then down in a valley. It sat on about 100 acres of land--surrounded by fields and trees. Her and my grandfather bought it to house their 5 kids back in the 20s or 30s. The house at that point was already 50 years old. They remodeled, built barns, made a pond and lived life. The house itself was your standard old farmhouse. Two stories with a suicide staircase and a fruit cellar. It was flanked on the East and the South by giant maple trees that had been planted back when they bought the homestead. By the early 80s they towered above the house, providing a canopy of shade. Gram's house was a perfect place in my opinion.

Every spring, the daffodils would emerge and turn her yard into a yellow lined paradise.
Now, we're not talking about 10 or 20 plants. I would guess Gram had hundreds of daffodils planted all along the side driveway, around her house, and leading out to the pond in all different varieties. Even to this day, the images are burned into my brain.

For me, spring is my second favorite season, my favorite being fall. I like spring because of the newness it brings with the spring flowers, the magnolia tree in my backyard, and the green grass. I love the smell of the new life--that earthy, dew laden smell that exists after a spring shower. I love being able to use the front porch again (and the potential of the back deck at the new house.

Spring symbolizes to me the hope that God is faithful, that he will return life to his creation after the cold, long winter. Some days I really need that reminder to get up and get moving. I definitely need that reminder every day to keep my heart and mind focused on the right things.

Thank you, Lord, for the continual reminders that you are there. Thank you for the beauty of your creation that I am blessed to see every day--things like the spring daffodils and the orange moon both in the morning and evening yesterday. Thank you for the gift of grace and love--that always brings new life and good news. May we join with creation and celebrate who you are and what you have done for us!

April 21, 2008

Home Ownership Weeks 3 and 4

I know, I know. I haven't been updating regularly (sorry Julie!). I've been busy renovating and such. We are making progress. Plumbing changes have been made. We're returning the bathrooms to their full functionality, since they were gutted a few weeks ago. We've done some minor electrical--adding switches and so on. All good changes. I may replace a few doors that were moved/removed this week, and put paint on the wall. Paint is a sign that we're making progress. Paint will help my wife know that it isn't going to stay like it is right now. Paint is the sign of progress . . .

One of my friends said ministry was something of a challenge, because you aren't able to see the finished product. He contrasted it with remodeling work. When you start a project, you know it will get done. You see the stages. You celebrate the changes and progress. You see completeness at the end. Ministry is not like that. You do see some progress and change. But, its rare to see the culmination of someone's journey. Tonight, I spent some time reading the blog of one of my students from GLCC. He up and decided that God wanted him to go on a missions trip--a bold step in my opinion. As I read, I could sense the change happening in him. I could read and see some of the completeness that is coming about. Its an amazing thing--quick, yet deep growth. You should check out his blog--Luke/Beret Riggs.

April 9, 2008

Home Ownership Week 2--Cramps

Well. Much has been going on at the new house. We've been finishing drywall, doing some plumbing adjustments, ordering kitchen cabinets, countertops and so on, and trying to keep up on all the dust that I have made. Things are moving rapidly and will continue to do so. This weekend my brother and his family come into town again to help with the remodeling festivities. Pray that we continue to be productive.

One of the residual effects of buying a house is cramps. Not girl cramps or anything of the sort. For me, the cramps come in my hands. For a living, I drive a desk. i type things, I plan, I play the guitar, I read and study. It is not a physically challenging position. My brother calls me a desk jockey. With the purchase of a house comes work that is done with one's hands. I enjoy such work. I look forward to it. Sometimes I even long for it. It is relaxing to me.

However, after working hard the last few weeks at the new house, my hands and forearms are nothing but cramps and pains. Even as I sit here and type this blog, there is pain. My left hand seems to be trembling a little. All because my muscles are experiencing things they haven't for such a long time. These are good pains. Growing pains. Pains of strength and determination. Pains for the coming of new life, hope, and what is to come. But, pain, nonetheless.

The biggest challenge with the cramps has been leading worship. During rehearsal this past Sunday, I began to experience excruciating torment in the fatty part of my palm below my thumb. It felt like the worst charlie horse in the world, yet it didn't fade away. As long as I was trying to hold my pick for playing my guitar in my hand, it was there, letting me know that I'm a desk jockey. It was a good bad feeling. Good, because I'm growing through this and strengthening my physical body--a good feeling for a desk jockey. Yet, bad because we're only at the beginning of this renovation. There is much more work to do and many more days of cramps and pain.

Life is like that. It is easy to sit still and do what you need to do. it can be a painless thing. Yet, if you try to move forward and do something new, you will certainly experience pain, albeit good pain. I know that I struggle when I try to change. Adding exercise to my routine is a challenge. Changing eating habits is a challenge. Why, because it means some sort of pain will be coming my way. It will be good pain, but it means change.

Why is it that we always run from what will be good for us and make us better? Why in our spiritual lives to we not endure the cramps and pain to move closer to God? Is it because we don't like pain? Or is it because we don't like surrender?

My new house is making me surrender and making me grow. No pain, no gain. I know, that's cheesy. Cheesy, but true.

Here's one thing that makes the work less painful, more enjoyable, and highly important:

So rough and tough, yet so precious and wonderful!