Thursday, April 30

The Thrill of The Hunt

I now understand the reason the process for finding a home is called “House Hunting.” You spend months drudging through thousands (it seems) of homes searching for the perfect one. You look… look… look… and finally quit because the “perfect home” doesn’t exist! And then finally, one day you are sitting at your computer and a picture pops up. BAM! That’s it!

“The housing market is at an all time low…” - “…it is in the pits…” - “now is a great time to buy.” How are you so sure?

The loss of jobs and reduction in pay does not warrant a “great time to buy” a $100k+ home. Anything under that would not be somewhere safe to live, and living in an apartment seems like tossing money in a toilet. What are young adults to do in situations like these? With no money for a down payment, closing costs, inspections, should we continue tossing our money to the property managers pockets or should we suck up our pride and move back into the sturdy nest built by our parents?

After careful thought and consideration, I still am going to move forward in the “hunt.” Whether this house is THE house, I still am not 100% sure and feel that Brandon is by my side in that.

To those who have purchased a home in the past, kudos - you’ve done well! Congrats! You survived and real estate jargon and formality. To those whom have yet to begin your “hunt” or are stranded right in the middle of the insanity, best of luck to you. It is a jungle out there.

* I do have to give a “Thank You Much” to Brandon in keeping a level head in this process. Like a typical girl, I got so excited at the thought of having a home to call mine/ours. I lost my normal sense of intelligence and reasoning. He grounded my brain that was hanging in the clouds and brought me back to the reality that this is a huge decision.

Wednesday, April 22

A Moment in My Mind

Today’s ramblings are a hodge-podge of things that are on my mind today…

1. I’m on day three of my two-week challenge. I’m only eating 1500 calories (or less) a day and I’m doing well so far. Monday I spent a couple hours at Kroger stocking up on healthy food. My question is this – if it is better for us to eat healthy, then why are fresh produce, health foods, etc SO much more expensive? I’m now missing an arm because I couldn’t foot the bill! I don’t get it. Fresh produce takes more effort to produce? How is that possible when canned goods must be processed and packaged before sending out to stores? Wouldn’t that add to the cost? All I have to say is that the prices do NOT help me get into a smaller jean! I’m staying strong though… and eating healthy… although I’m going to keep dropping weight if I have to sell body parts just to manage my grocery bills.

2. “Don’t take the wrong things lightly.” This past week in church we talked about hell. It was the first time that I have ever heard the discussion in church, which is amazing if you think about it. The alternative to what we strive for should definitely be approached in church… you gotta know what your choices are. Although the service was about the ultimate life choice, I started thinking about other ways that “don’t take the wrong things lightly” apply to our lives. People (and I am SO included here – my golf game perhaps) take the wrong things lightly and take other things so seriously. I guess what I’m getting at is “don’t sweat the small stuff” all while we “don’t take the wrong things lightly.” Simple enough?

3. Steeplechase this weekend… family, beautiful weather, great food and drinks, horse racing… ‘nuff said.

Friday, April 10

Rainbow Bridges

There are many different kinds of people in this world, but to simply break it down there are dog people, cat people, and people who are just insane because they don’t own pets. I am a proud dog person. It tells a lot about my personality. I need something to love me back, not ignore me. The thing that dog and cat people share is the abundant love for their animals. When your animal passes it is an extremely hard time. It is like losing a best friend or a little brother or sister. When you are a dog or cat person your animal is more than just a pet… they are your family.

The below entitled “Rainbow Bridge” is a beautifully written poem that helps those who have lost a dog cope. This time, I dedicate it to Sydney Hunt.

Rainbow Bridge
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

~ Author unknown

Wednesday, April 8

Spring Hardships

I’ve been out of the “gotta write this one down” phase for a couple of weeks now. I’m not sure if it is because life continues to keep getting busier (not even sure how that is possible sometimes) or if I’m just lazy.

I have been thinking about something since church on Sunday. It was a comment the visiting pastor said: “This is a very difficult time of year for a lot of people”. I’ve heard that Christmas is a hard time for people without families to share it with, but Spring?! That’s nuts!! What is so hard about the Spring – other than the pollen for allergy sufferers? The Spring, to me, seems that it would be the easiest time of year. As I wrote in my last post it is a time for cleaning out the old… bringing in the new… a new start… a new look on life… what about that is hard?

Then I started thinking about the pastor’s point of view. He sees people dedicate their lives to Christ throughout the year – maybe because of Easter’s true reason to celebrate (although chicks and rabbits rock) people find it harder to do so.

The thought of someone giving up everything for me is extremely powerful, but maybe I’m still not getting the whole picture. Has growing up in the church and believing in God my entire life kept me from understanding this? Am I blind to the actual hardships involved in giving your life to Christ? The answers to those questions may never be, but I do know that each Sunday when new believers stand up for what they believe in it is an overwhelming experience.

I guess the hardship of Spring is something that I will never experience thanks to a wonderful set of parents who began building my faith from the beginning.

Friday, April 3

Shoes in Church

I showered and shaved
I adjusted my tie.
I got there and sat
In a pew just in time.
Bowing my head in prayer
As I closed my eyes.
I saw the shoe of the man next to me
Touching my own. I sighed.
With plenty of room on either side
I thought, "Why must our soles touch?"
It bothered me, his shoe touching mine
But it didn't bother him much.
A prayer began: "Our Father" - I thought,
"This man with the shoes - has no pride.
They're dusty, worn, and scratched.
Even worse, there are holes on the side!"
"Thank You for blessings," the prayer went on.
The shoe man said a quiet "Amen."
I tried to focus on the prayer
But my thoughts were on his shoes again.
Aren't we supposed to look our best
When walking through that door?
"Well, this certainly isn't it," I thought,
Glancing toward the floor.
Then the prayer was ended
And the songs of praise began.
The shoe man was certainly loud
Sounding proud as he sang.
His voice lifted the rafters
His hands were raised high.
The Lord could surely hear
The shoe man's voice from the sky.
It was time for the offering
And what I threw in was steep.
I watched as the shoe man reached
Into his pockets so deep.
I saw what was pulled out
What the shoe man put in.
Then I heard a soft "clink"
as when silver hits tin
The sermon really bored me
To tears, and that’s no lie
It was the same for the shoe man
For tears fell from his eyes
At the end of the service
As is the custom here
We must greet new visitors
And show them all good cheer
But I felt moved somehow
And wanted to meet the shoe man
So after the closing prayer
I reached over and shook his hand
He was old and his skin was dark
And his hair was truly a mess
But I thanked him for coming
For being our guest
He said, "My names' Charlie
I'm glad to meet you, my friend."
There were tears in his eyes
But he had a large, wide grin.
"Let me explain," he said,
Wiping tears from his eyes
"I've been coming here for months
And you're the first to say 'Hi.'"
"I know that my appearance is not like all the rest.
"But I really do try –
to always look my best."
"I always clean and polish my shoes
Before my very long walk”
"But by the time I get here
They're dirty and dusty, like chalk."
My heart filled with pain
and I swallowed to hide my tears.
As he continued to apologize
For daring to sit so near.
He said, "When I get here
I know I must look a sight.”
"But I thought if I could touch you
Then maybe our souls might unite."
I was silent for a moment
Knowing whatever was said
Would pale in comparison
I spoke from my heart, not my head.
"Oh, you’ve touched me," I said
"And taught me, in part;
"That the best of any man
Is what is found in his heart."
The rest, I thought
This shoe man will never know.
Like just how thankful I really am
That his dirty old shoe touched my soul.
- Author Unknown