Saturday, January 30, 2010

Selling a House is NOT for the Faint of Heart

Well, our house is officially on the market, as of sometime last week. Check it out here. We're pretty happy with the minor updates we made to get it ready...the pergo, some paint touch-ups, a huge cutting board built into the countertop (to replace the useless, do-it-yourself catastrophe that was there before) and of course...a good cleaning. We had our first showing Wednesday afternoon. I cleaned like a mad woman. Even Casey canceled his morning plans to finish up those last minute projects that we had irresponsibly put off. We made it by the skin of our teeth! Literally, Casey grabbed the dog, I grabbed the kid, and as we flew out the back door, the Realtor and client were walking in the front door. It took about 5 hours to get our heart rates back down to a normal level.

Thankfully, the showing went really well. The client liked the house, but didn't love the idea of being on such a busy street...which I can understand. We thought we had another showing this morning, so we got up early and put the house back in tip-top shape. It was awesome telling Braelyn, " You may not go in your room! You may not play with toys! Do not touch anything! Do not sit on the couch! You may stand in front of the TV and watch Max & Ruby. That's it." Awesome, huh?! Then, after all that...the client canceled! UGH!

So now that everything is perfectly clean, and I want it to stay that way, I am banning us all from the house! We have to go out, as to not spoil all of our hard work. I think we are going to go with Casey to Sugar Land, and hang out there until he speaks this evening, at Wilcrest Baptist. Even if nobody else is looking at my clean house, at least I know that our work is not being undone. Does that make me crazy? I just can't watch the toys and crayons and dishes reemerge into mess!

All this to say...I hope our house sells quickly! It is likely that I will drive my family and myself insane by the end! :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bible Study Questions

Every Friday I meet with a beautiful young woman for coffee. We do life together. I get in her business. A lot. A few weeks ago, we started going through Ephesians together. As I began to read and prepare for our discussion over Ephesians 1, some questions came to mind that I thought might help her (and me) approach the Scriptures with fresh eyes. We have been working with these questions for a few weeks now. I am really enjoying them for my own personal study, and they have led us into some great discussion. So...just felt like sharing.

For a 5 day study of 1 chapter of Scripture:
Day 1: Just read the chapter.
Day 2: Reread. What verse stands out to you? Why?
Day 3: Reread. Did you learn something new? Or were you reminded of something important? (If you have an ESV Study Bible...the commentary notes are super helpful for this question.)
Day 4: Reread. What Truth does this Scripture reveal about God? (Or to put it in another way...What do you know of His character based on this text?)
Day 5: Reread. How is God leading you to apply what you have learned from this text?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In Defense of Harry

I was asked by a friend if I have had to defend my approval of the Harry Potter books. I have not, but knowing the argument is out there, and wanting to make an informed decision should my daughter want to read them one day, I have given the issue much thought. are my thoughts on the matter:

First of all, I would encourage anyone who is against HP to read the books. At least the first one. I think you will find that while there is a magical context, the true themes of the story are love, family, forgiveness, courage, selflessness, being a friend to the friendless, humility and honesty. I would also say, that to ban books is a slippery slope. Are books such as The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia not celebrated in the Christian community? And do those books not also contain their fair share of magic? Where is the line? And fairy tales...the stories we tell to the youngest of children...are they not filled with magic and laced with dark elements? Hello...Hansel and Gretel?! Putting young children in a furnace is like the darkest thing I've ever heard of!

To those who just don't feel comfortable with it...great. No big deal. I know that HP readers and NonHP readers can live in harmony with one another. But there are some, unfortunately, who would call our (readers of HP) faith into question over reading such books, and to them I would say that they are perhaps wasting their “concerns” over things that have nothing to do with the heart. It seems easy to demonize a book about magic while ignoring issues of the heart...such as patience, forgiveness, jealousy, anger, vanity, greed, selfishness, and pride. Just as it is easy to hold up a tackless, hateful sign, rather than to walk (IN LOVE) with people who are struggling with sin.

Never, over the course of reading the books was I tempted to explore or experiment with witchcraft, nor do I believe that young readers have that temptation, nor do I believe that J.K. Rowling wrote the books with the intention of luring her readers into experimenting with witchcraft. I think she wrote a hilarious, exciting, heart-wrenching, beautiful coming of age story that just happens to take place at Hogwarts School of Magic. I also think, that if a student of a Christian home IS tempted to explore such practices, perhaps something began to unravel long before Harry Potter.

Because there are some scary parts, and because I DO want to make sure my daughter has a firm understanding of what is TRUE and what is NOT, I will probably not allow Braelyn to read the books until Middle School or even High School. Casey and I are and will be diligent to train her in righteousness, to build her up in faith, to shower her with Truth and Scripture throughout her entire childhood, so that she will not be swayed from the faith by a single work of fiction or by anything for that matter. That is our aim as parents. However, it seems to me that the lessons children are receiving from the media about sexuality, modesty, wealth, fame, etc. are far more dangerous than reading about a young man who discovers he is a wizard. I think our efforts would be more wisely spent battling those evils which are daily threatening our children's worldview.

SO...those are my thoughts. I would love to hear yours. (However, it should be noted, if you disagree with me, I'll probably delete your comment. Heh. Just kidding. But let's keep it friendly, people! This is a mean-free blog! :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Oi! This Muggle is Back!

It's been a while, hasn't it. I do apologize, but I'm afraid there was nothing to be done. These past weeks, I have spent nearly all my evenings with some new and treasured friends, Harry, Ron and Hermoine. If you know these friends, you will quite understand my absence and kindly excuse my negligence, because you know all too well how impossible it is to tear yourself away from such excellent company. If you are not acquainted with this magical trio, then you must (you must!) make it your most urgent business to welcome them into your society.

On Thursday night, as the clock was approaching 2am, I sat in my bed, and ugly-cried (not exaggerating) myself through the final pages of the Harry Potter series. Oh Heavens, how I love books! And the work of Mrs. Rowling will go down as some of my favorite literature. From the moment I opened the first book, the characters and the plot engulfed me. My suspense through those last chapters was almost unbearable in the most fantastic way. Tears were nearly uncontrollable as the conclusion unrolled its brilliance...flawless, in my opinion, the last pages perfectly threaded to the first. When the book was done, I remained in my bed, a sobbing, snotty, ridiculous mess, heartbroken that no part of tomorrow or the next day would be spent with Harry, Ron, or Hermoine (or a dozen other beloved characters, for that matter). It is always the characters of a story that attract or repel my affections for a novel, and I would say that the characters of Harry Potter were effortlessly victorious in that regard. I will remember them with the same fondness with which I remember Elizabeth Bennet, David Copperfield and Huckleberry Finn.

It's Monday now, and several days have past since I finished the book. I find myself wishing I still had another volume to pick up but, it is for the best. Time to move on. I've decided to make it through 3 theology books before I pick up another work of fiction, as such literature has been shamefully lacking these past months. I'm thinking The Cost of Discipleship (determined to finish this time), Transforming Discipleship (never really got going on that one), and then maybe something by Piper (cannot go wrong) to round it out. After a bit of proper feasting, I will return to a little light to speak. Don Quixote, perhaps?

So, that is my excuse for being 3 weeks away from my blog (and yours)...Harry Potter. His mischief has been thoroughly managed, and now he sits quietly on my shelf. But thank goodness...THANK GOODNESS...I can enjoy his company again, whenever I fancy it. That's the magic of books, my friends!

Goodnight, Muggles.
See you soon. For real! I have lots of posts in the hopper.

*(A muggle,
by the way, is a non-magical person. ;)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Coloring Outside the Lines...

...and onto the floor!
Yes, my friends, that is permanent marker you see. I just thought a little color on the floor would brighten up the place and add a little value to the house as we are about to put it on the market.
Okay... Just kidding. Casey and I are about to take a little anniversary getaway for a couple of days, and while we are relaxing and eating and seeing movies and sleeping and reading and getting massages, a friend of ours will be hard at work on our home improvement projects.

One of those being, the hideous, cracked tile floor in the kitchen.
So I thought, since this is about to get all torn up and replaced, why not go a little crazy?!

This is how we spent most of our day. We had a ball.

Even Daddy couldn't resist :)
Now that I look at it...I feel sad that it will gone when we return. What buyer wouldn't love this?! This is unique custom flooring! It adds charm and character.
That's it! We are canceling the pergo!