Home Inspection

Back when we were in negotiations to buy this house, we had a lot of things to consider. One big concern we had was the integrity of the foundation. The home inspector seemed to think there might be something wrong with it based on a crack he had found. We made a deal with the seller to let us have the foundation looked at by a professional. We paid a hefty amount to have a structural engineer to come inspect the foundation and the structural integrity of the house. Oh yes, you can fix damaged foundations, but it would probably cost just as much to level the house and start over! I could paint walls, and install new appliances and floors to my heart’s content….but, what good would it be when the floors start to sag, the walls crack, and the roof starts leaking? A good foundation is rather massively … Continue reading

Beating the Blame Game

It’s the start of a new year, new opportunities, new difficulties, and more of the old challenges that appear year after year. I’m not huge on new year’s resolutions, or words for the year, or that sort of thing. However, I do like to set goals for myself. This year I think my main goal is to live on purpose, one choice at a time. Choices are what make us an individual, they give us the freedom to succeed or to fail. The moment I hand over my choice to someone else, to some circumstance, to some excuse, I have forfeited my freedom as an individual. How I was raised, or who I am married to, or how my kids act, or what my financial situation, or the state of my employment, or my physical abilities, or the scope of my possessions, or how I have been treated do not … Continue reading

Give a gift that costs nothing

This song is one that I always think of as a Christmas song, although it really isn’t. It was written by a man by the name of Robert Grant. Interestingly enough, he was a highly successful and prominent leader in his day. You wouldn’t know a bit of that though reading these words…which point solely to his admiration of God and His power. I think the words are beautiful, and could only have come from someone who truly knew what it meant to see God as everything in his life. He wasn’t a ” put my check in the box with my one trip to church a week” sort of guy. He knew God’s presence and power in his life on a daily basis in a very personal way. Although surrounded by royalty, he saw God as far more awe inspiring. Christmas is such a busy time, and our schedules … Continue reading

An Open Hand Policy

You know what one thing is really, really difficult to do? (Besides getting up with the alarm clock every morning) Letting go of something that is mine. Shockingly, it’s not just a problem four year old’s have, we “big kids” have it too. Whether it be my expectations, my plans (like we talked about last week), my stuff, my goals, my money, my time, my control, my relationships, or people who I deem belong to me…I don’t want God, or anyone else touching it. It’s mine. It’s all right there in my tightly clenched fist, hanging on to it all for dear life. There’s a fairly decent problem with that though, it’s not how life works. Expectations are disappointed, plans change, stuff gets destroyed, money…(umm what money?), relationships fail, people change, move away, fail us, and sometimes even die. Have you ever tried to pry something out of your child’s hand … Continue reading

Change of plans

Are you a planer? I am, I plan everything. I have my whole day mapped out in my head within five minutes of waking up. I’m in the right turning lane 3 miles before my turn. I’m scanning out the best exit to the parking lot as I’m pulling into it. I’ve got my stuff in my truck the night before I’ve got to be somewhere the next day. Should I point out that I don’t do spontaneity very well? It irks me to have things crop up that I didn’t plan. Makes me downright annoyed. The problem with my plan loving self…life just doesn’t stick with the plan most of the time. Have you noticed?? That means one of two things. It means I’m going to spend most of my life in a bad mood, because stuff happened that was not in my self-engineered plan. Or it means, at some … Continue reading

Christmas Changes Everything

This little child’s chorus has been stuck in my head for the last few days. Such a simple concept. Christ is all I need. Such a contradiction to the voices clamoring all around us, shouting to us that we need a fatter paycheck, better stuff, higher social status, sleeker physique, a more stylish wardrobe, perfect family life, exceptional talents, and enviable achievements…all just to be happy and fulfilled. Unfortunately most of those things come with undesirable side affects that contribute little in the way of happiness. There is a hungry spot in every heart that only Christ can fill. Stuff can’t comfort a heavy heart, money can’t buy peace. Achievements won’t bring lasting happiness, someone much better than me will be along shortly. Christmas really did change everything for the world, God’s great love for us provides us a way to find all we’ll ever need…in Him. Christ is All … Continue reading

Thankful Much? Thankful for what exactly?

You know, there’s this little verse in the Bible that goes something like this, “In everything give thanks.” That’s sound just so nice, doesn’t it? It’s nice to be thankful for my food, and my house, and my health, and my family, and my…. you get the point. But that whole “everything” part…that can get kind of tricky when you really stop to think about it. Thankful for everything? You mean the “everything” that includes toddlers that throw tantrums in the middle of grocery stores…and the dirty foot prints all over the freshly mopped floor…and that extra bill I wasn’t expecting in the mail…and that snooty person who just made me feel really bad….you mean that “everything”??? I’m afraid I don’t much care for that idea myself. Ask me how I feel after I’ve had a day of the sky opening up and raining mud and frogs on my entire … Continue reading

Home Maintenance vs House Maintenance

I spend a good deal of my time working on this old house of mine. The reason it needs so much attention is pretty simple…lack of upkeep. I’ve walked through probably a hundred or more houses combining all the times we’ve house shopped…and I have never once walked into a well kept house and thought, “Hmmm, this house could do with a little more neglect. It smells a little too fresh and it’s a tad too tidy.” I’ve walked through plenty that I couldn’t get out of fast enough! Plain and simple, you just don’t get rotted out walls, cockroaches littering the floor, and busted pipes, because you’ve taken good care of things. Most of us see our houses and our cars as things of value…we take care of them, because they cost a lot of money to replace. They are our status symbols, they represent us, and much thought … Continue reading

Greenhouses and Holidays

I grew up living fifty feet away from a cactus nursery that my family owned. My childhood memories all revolve around cacti, greenhouses, and lots of hard work. We lived down a long dirt road in a double wide trailer across from a cow field. Not 100 yards from our back door was little lake with our green canoe slid up on the shore. On a hot summer day you could usually see an alligator snout drifting by, and hear the soft swoosh of the cattails rustling in the breeze. A weathered old wood fence separated our house from the business with a gate that creaked lazily when you opened it and slammed shut behind you. Neat rows of fiberglass and glass greenhouses stretched out from the fence, filled to brim with every sort of cactus you can imagine. Those greenhouses are where I learned all about work, every Saturday, … Continue reading

6 Reasons to pick up a book and read it

In a world of a thousand and one distractions, from cell phones to tablets, why should I hit the “off” button every now and then and read a book? Why should I bother making my kids sit down for 30 minutes and look a book? Why invest the time when there is so many other things to do? What good is a book anyway? Before we banish books off to the land of the archaic, let’s consider what good might be done if we actually read one. Reading a book teaches me to apply myself mentally to one task for a specific period of time. It requires self discipline to focus on one thing for a set time. There is no commercial break every 30 seconds in a book to relieve my attention. I must concentrate and focus, one chapter at a time. “But I just don’t have time to … Continue reading