Monday, May 30, 2016

Patience, Patience, and Again I Say Patience





Some readers may be aware that I have been in the processing of moving to another university, up in VA.  I interviewed there on 28 April. It is now, as of this writing, 22 May.  By everyone’s thinking that is a Unusually LOOOONG time to wait for a job offer, or NOT.  I have not only not gotten an offer/decline, I have not heard even a word from the Uni.

I am not typically a patient type.  I am a “Type A” personality- or as I describe it, READY- FIRE- AIM!  I do NOT sit around well.  

But this has been entirely out of my control, so I have had no choice.  It has NOT been a difficult wait. I think there are two reason for that.  First, I fully believe it is the L^rd’s will for us to move to VA. Secondly I have been so busy with the move o the new house, I have had little time for contemplating why this has taken so long.

It’s the first reason that matters. There is NO place safer, no place more secure, than to be in the center of G^d’s will. And that’s where I hope to stay!!  G^d grant it, I pray.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Muscles CrampING!!




I have been working really, really hard for several weeks.  Sometimes I am holding sanders, sometimes, sandpaper, sometimes screwdrivers, sometimes saws and sometimes drills.  I am in awkward positions.  I don’t take any breaks.

Consequently, after a nice shower, I fall into bed exhausted.  It is a good feeling, but two or three hours later it is NOT so good.  I wake to cramping muscles.  Occasionally my hands cramp, but mostly it is my legs and even my feet.  I have studied cramping and even published a couple of papers on the subject.  I know how to slow exercise-induced cramping. Clearly I do NOT know how to prevent cramps.

The good part is that I get a particular “pre-cramp” feeling.  When that odd feeling comes on a muscle, I know I need to do something to head-off a full-blown cramp.  It is a good thing to head them off, my younger friends, because there are VERY painful.

The odd thing I discovered, and counter-intuitive, is that when a cramp is coming, in this particular situation, the ideal   I would have thought that as soon as the muscle is to… CONTRACT the muscle!  What?  Logic says to relax it, but practice says to work it a bit.  In fact it seems a bit odd that the typically onset of the pre-cramping is after I have been asleep a while!  I would have expected them much sooner.

There is a lesson for life in my cramps.  Pain can come when you least expect it.  The best response to pain may be counter-intuitive.  And, it may be that when we feel the pain approaching, we OUGHT to count it all joy (James 1:2).  Sometimes our intuition is WRONG!

Yep, it’s important to realize that intuition is NOT trustworthy.  The only trustworthy thing is G^d, and G^d alone.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Selling our Treasure Part II

In an earlier post I told the story of how we sold our beloved home of 31 years. I want to go into a bit more detail this post-- a story this good is worth more than just ONE blog post.

As we got to know our prospective buyer, Brady, better (something that typically doesn't happen when Realtors broker the deal- for good reason), we discovered "The Rest of the Story", as they tell it on NPR.

Brady had driven by our house numerous times.  Brady collects some antiques, and he wanted an older home in which to display them.  He wanted an older home that was still sided with wood, and still in much of its original layout.

Our old lot was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL setting for a home.  It is a great location and the lot is loaded with beautiful old trees, some of which must pre-date the house's construction in about 1927.  Dr. C.P. Bell laid out the whole sub-division, the first one in Northport, and naturally he kept the very best lot for himself.  It actually was multiple lots amounting to about 1 acre (4047 square meters).

Brady had seen the movie, War Room, about the power, and importance of prayer, and had created one for himself.  When he visited us and signed the contract to buy the house, he gave us a copy.  It is a very well-cast and well-done movie.  Brady said that prayer had brought the deal about, and I have no argument with that thinking.

Selling our house to Brady was one of the BEST business deals Brenda and I have experienced.  First, he dealt in cash- which makes the sale much simpler.  Second, he wanted to buy a LOT of our stuff.  Downsizing meant we couldn't use a LOT of our old stuff.  Third he was very flexible on when and how things were done.  Like I said, it coudl NOT have gone better.

But what did we expect??

G^d acted, and when G^d does something... well, it is completely done!

Thanks be to G^d!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Some TRUE friends

As many readers will note, Brenda and I moved from the old big house (~2600 sq feet plus basement) to the new garden home (~1400 sf).  We and our 5 kids had accumulated "stuff" for almost 31 years in the old place.

We threw away, gave away, and otherwise tried to cut down on the stuff- with only partial success.  We still had a LOT of stuff, including a good bit belonging to our kids.

So, moving days started around 11 April, when I had 5 hours to work before going in for my afternoon 3-hour Grad class.  That's 5 hours assuming we started about 0630, which we did.

That gets me to the "friends" part.  On Sunday, 10 April, I casually mentioned to two of my retired buddies (CV and PW) that I might need some help- which, of course, turned into a massive understatement.

My two buddies showed up at 0630 Monday AM with two more pickups and a small trailer.  We worked feverishly until 1130.  When I say "feverishly", keep in mind that I am ADHD and was anxious to get this thing done as quickly as possible.  We didn't stop for anything.

That gets me to the "TRUE" part. At 1130 these guys volunteered to do it again when I got done teaching on Tuesday!  Crazy eh?

Well, in just two partial days, a bit over 10 hours, we moved about 90% of our stuff!!  Amazing.

G^d Blesses us in lots of ways, but friends are among His richest Blessings!

Thanks to Friends, far and wide, who express freindship in many different ways.

G^d Bless every one!

Monday, May 16, 2016

How to buy a house

Regular readers will recognize that this is the second in a series of articles on buying and selling houses.

Last week I related the story of selling our beloved family home of 31 years.  Well this post is about the flip side of that story.

Last week I mentioned our plan of buying a small home to put much of our furniture in order to set up the old place for the realty market.  We had been looking for small garden homes, and hadn't really found what we wanted.  Our great realtor freind, Carly P, and one of her sales associates, Carol B, had shown us several possibilities.  One was a foreclosure that was particularly interesting.  We had taken a second look at it, when on our way home we noticed, in the same neighborhood a "For Sale by Owner" house in a good spot.

We wrote down the number and arranged to see it the next Saturday.  It had a lot of appeal and after one more look, we agreed to a price.  I had printed off another contract, getting a bit more adapt and writing in specific items.

The sellers had an interesting story.  We had a contract to sell this house last November, but the deal fell through and we took it off the market.  The night before we saw the sign, the husband had prayed and told G^d that he was going to put up a sign to sell his house, but that was ALL he was going to do.  We had called that same day the sign went up.

Go Figure.

Just as G^d sold the old homestead, we feel pretty confident that He provided the new one!

Thanks be to G^d!

Friday, May 13, 2016

How to sell a house

Back in January, we had a plan in mind.  We knew our big old, great, comfortable tree-shaded house had to be sold.  It was too big, and required too much maintenance for Brenda and I.

That house had a LOT of great memories.  Our last two kids had been brought home to that house.  We had a LOT of great Christmases, Easters, and Thanksgivings under that roof.  We had bought it back in the spring of 1985 in a sealed-bid auction.  The location was terrific, and the many trees and shrubs made it very cool and very private.  It had been the ideal home to raise our 5 children, but its time had come.

We would find ourselves a small garden home and move much of our furniture and then stage the big house for a sale.  We were searching for a new smaller place while slowly beginning the arduous task of readying Bellwood for sale.

In fact, on this very Saturday, one of my friends, Dan, was helping me with a plumbing repair. I was out looking for a vital part, whilst Brenda was working at home.

A large, unknown truck pulled into the very end of our wonderful circular drive, and stopped.  An unknown man in his 40's was walking towards our front door.

When Brenda met him at the door, he asked sheepishly, "I know this is a crazy question, but I have been riding by this house every day for over a month.  Is there any chance it is for sale?"

Brenda nearly cried, but managed to reply, "Well it just so happens that it will be for sale soon!"

The next Wednesday, I printed off a contract just in case.  The man met us and I walked him through the house telling him every problem I could recall.  He asked, "Are you really serious about selling?"  I quoted him the asking price.

We signed my contract a few minutes later!

But boy that 0 hours and 0 days of having our house on the market had absolutely worn me out!

I am pretty sure G^d sold our old house.

Thanks be to G^d!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Farewell and Hail

In the US Military, the average service member is at a duty station for only about 3 years.  Some folks are different, but some folks are not experiencing normalcy.

The military custom is to periodically hold a "Hail and Farewell" to extend a formal welcome to new arrivals and to give a more formal farewell to those heading to their next duty station.

The custom is a good one, as are many military traditions.  It is born out of necessity, and it is a way of expressing love and admiration.

Yesterday was one of three Spring Graduations at U of A.  I was in the 2.5-hour Saturday morning graduation.  I go to as many of these as I can, for reasons I have explained in previous posts.

I am thrilled for these young folks who have passed a milestone.  I get a picture with as many as I can to commemorate the moment.  I am happily surprised at how many of my former students are graduating.

The sad part, or course, is that many of these young folks will move on to bigger and better things.  Several are going on to PT, OT and other graduate schools. With only a couple of exceptions, all of them are leaving campus.  Some may come back, but I have no idea when.

And so, I bid farewell to old friends, former students.  I know you will make us all proud.  My biggest wish for you is NOT that you become sucessful.  My biggest wish for you, for myself, for my own kids, is that each of you develop a deep, abiding, growing relationship with the G^d of the universe.

So be it.  Fare thee well, all.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Exhausted!!

Yep, I do NOT recall ever being as "Exhausted!!" as I have been on several occasions over the last 6-8 weeks.  In fact, yesterday exhausted the supply of blog posts, for the first time since February of 2012!

Over these last few weeks we have moved out of our BELOVED house of 31 years and into a newer, neater, smaller, easier-to-maintain garden home.  The move as worn us out!  Several times I have fallen into bed, Exhausted!!

I have discovered that my capacity exceeds my tolerance.  Three days back, I had no exam to give, and wasn't pushed to grade the one I had given on Monday, so I devoted to day to work around the new house.  There was, and still is, much to be done.  We had a huge mound of boxes left unpacked in the garage, plus my workshop was still a huge mess, and... the grass needed mowing.

So, I, rather we, did it all.  We got the boxes cleared out of the garage enough to pull a car in.  A car IN the garage, imagine that!

And, after all this, for some crazy reason, I felt led to MOW the grass!  What??  Yes, I am crazy.

At bedtime (8:30) I was ready to collapse.  The shower felt great, but the bed felt even better.

But there is some satisfaction about getting a lot done, and even a strange satisfaction for wearing myself out.

Go figure.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

What is a “Practicing Christian”?





I guess that could mean several things, but when I say it I mean a Christian who is actively pursuing a Life IN and THROUGH Jesus Christ.   

Christianity is kind of like a person joining the Tuscaloosa Running Club.  That person has some choices.  She can pay her dues, and go to one or two meetings a year (say Christmas and Easter), and never train or run a race, or participate in any other way.  Technically she is a member, and can tell all of her friends that, and not be lying.

OR,

She can join the Club, attend most all the meetings with enthusiasm, vote, bring up issues to be discussed, even run for office.  But also, each day she trains, and helps teach others how to train.  She not only attends meeting but participates in running in races, and even helps administer them.  If she is a really committed runner, she may even create a road race.

Now, each of these ladies is a Tuscaloosa Running Club member, but in my book:

One is a Practicing Runner, and the other is just a member.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Monday, May 2, 2016

FREE Indeed!





“If anyone is in Christ, he is free indeed.”

Part of mankind bearing the imago dei is that we feel the need, the necessity of freedom.  We celebrate freedom, we write stories, books, songs, and plays about it.  But, much as we say we love it, in the end we seem to be slaves to something.

As I have noted before, it is easy to become a slave to our work, to our hobbies, to our desires, even to our children.  The enslavement is subtle and easy.  The quest for freedom indeed, is neither.
How do we escape this bondage?  It seems to me that this is ONLY possible when we make ourselves slaves of the Christ.  Only by voluntary indenturedness can we achieve true freedom.  When we are sold out to Christ, we have NOTHING left to lose, we have no one to whom we owe allegiance, and nothing captures our lives.

This freedom is challenging, and we have to pursue it anew each day… or at least that’s how it’s looking to me.  When I can give myself totally over to G^d’s will, when I seek nothing more than “Well done thou good and faithful servant”, when “this world has nothing for me”, then, and only then, am I totally free.

And, even knowing this, sometimes I am free, and sometimes not so much.