August 21, 2014

Lesson 196: My ALS Awareness

In my life, there have been a few random people I've known for a very short period of time, but for whatever reason have continued to care for long after.

Tim Shaw is one of these people. 

Through mutual friends, Tim and I had opportunity to hang out exactly twice, both times at Penn State University the year after I graduated college. Just two times, but y'all, I knew I liked him right away. 

Think about it. 

We both love Jesus. We both love(d) college football. We both knew Noah Lichtig. 

What more do two people need to become fast friends? 

Since 2007, we have maintained the most minimal of contact. We chatted a few times, because Tim signed with the Panthers, and I wanted him to be friends with my brother in Charlotte. When I needed quick support to prolong my stay in Ireland, Tim graciously gave to the ministry. 

Mostly I've just followed his career, his time with the Titans, his adventures in Haiti on mission trips, his summer camp for kids, his completion of an MBA. 

His continual love for Jesus and unashamed proclamation of the gospel. 

Really, I've watched him from afar and have prayed for him, because he's a guy with an incredible faith, who's handled the limelight with grace. 

To be honest, his diagnosis helps clear up some things. Last season, Tim was Tennessee's captain, a team leader, but for some reason was let go the following spring. I think a lot of his fans were confused, so it now makes sense. 

But, man. How hard. 

In the video, Tim says, "You never want to be that guy that everyone's praying for." 

Tim, Mark and I have always prayed for you, for your faithfulness, your witness, and your direction. We will continue to pray for you. But now, we will also be praying for your health.

In my last post, I mentioned that I had not dumped water on my head or donated to I'm not in to giving to random causes, and full disclosure, a week ago, when all the ice bucket challenges started going viral, I had to google ALS. 

What a difference a week has made. 

I guess you can say, I am now aware. 

And I think we'll donate. 

(I am making no promises concerning ice water though.)

Tim, I am sad you have to go through this. I am grateful your hope is in a good, perfect, and loving God. May you continually know his presence, strength, and comfort. 

Lesson Learned: "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

August 15, 2014

Lesson 195: Ten Quick Thoughts (We Bought a House Edition)

1. On Monday, Mark and I signed a lot of papers and gave the bank a significant amount of money. In return, they gave us a house.

We own a house.

2. You want the quick details? Ok. 1960 ranch style. 4 bedrooms. 2 bathrooms (though one is kind of struggling). Hardwoods throughout (except in one dark room and the kitchen). Good size backyard with a play gym, raised garden, and insulated storage unit.

We really like it.

3. On the way to the closing on Monday morning, it poured. Our realtor said this was a good sign, because, "it rained on my wedding day and I'm still happily married after 30 years."

We'll take it.

4. Buying a house creates a strange tension. You have to love something enough to pay the most you've ever paid for anything; yet, hold it loosely enough to not be heartbroken if you lose it at any point along the way.

This was particularly distressing for me. Mark was fine.

5. So everyone has had the Frozen songs stuck in their heads for, I don't know, eight straight months, right?!?! There's one song that Honest Trailer calls, "the song no one remembers." Its catchy part is, "so he's a bit of a fixer-upper ... dun, dun, dun, dun." 

This song was stuck in my head all day Monday as we worked to clean the place up. Only of course, I substituted the proper pronoun.

6. Speaking of fixing houses, it occurred to me last night that owning a home is very different than living in a manse. For the past three years, we've lived in a church property. And what's incredible about that kind of set-up is that 300 hundred other people have a vested interest in keeping your house impeccable. From now on, it's all on us.

Our lawn also miraculously was mowed every week.

(Mark paid the next-door neighbor kid $25 to do ours until we get a lawn mower. We have to buy a lawn mower. Oh the woes of homeownership!)

7. The other continual "song thought" I've been having is a Tom Petty quote, circa senior year of high school. (That's not the song date, it's when I listened to it.)

"Most things I worry about never happen anyway."

* I worried the money wouldn't go through. It did.

* I worried we wouldn't have time to put up a very important privacy fence. We don't need it.

* I worried the sellers wouldn't pay for all inspection repairs. They did.

* I worried the contractors wouldn't get the repairs completed for us in time. They have.

* I worried and worried and worried.

And interestingly, most things I worry about never happen anyway.

8. My kitchen cabinets are painted teal. Yup, teal.

I'm obsessed.

9. The house isn't our home yet. But after spending a week working on it, cleaning up the closets, painting rooms, refinishing the floors, eating take-out on the dining floor, seeing the kids run through the halls, I can envision how it will become just that.

And I'm excited.

10. Finally, in other news. I got nominated for the ALS ice bucket challenge. The 24 hours have passed, and I have neither dumped a bucket of ice water on my head, nor donated any money to ALS. What happens now?

Lesson Learned: Regardless of the unaffected demeanor I had planned to retain during the house buying process, the whole ordeal definitely stressed me out. But it's over now.

Full stream ahead.

(Pictures to follow at well, some point.)

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