Thursday, May 28, 2009

Speed Bump

I'm sorry if you've stopped by our blog recently only to see tumbleweed blowing across the screen or a "foreclosure" note appear. These past two months have seen too few posts. Not that there hasn't been a lot going on. In fact that's just the problem.

As you can tell from Anna's posts, we've got our hands and hearts and minds into all sorts of projects and problems - including the ongoing saga of fighting back nature and carving out a sustainable, enjoyable place to live. This struggle included the realization that the basement does in fact take on water - a realization made the evening I came back from a week long retreat in Malibu while Anna held the home (plus Wyatt's, Elise's and her own wellbeing) together by a thread that was bare across the whole length. But, we got that taken care of, and I have sensed realized that when you turn off the light for the basement you also turn off the sump pump. Anna: "Shouldn't we know all of this stuff by now?"

I've also recently taken the entire washing machine apart to see if I could correct a slight problem: the washing machine was just filling up with water and not doing anything. Hmm.

Well, I learned a lot about wachine machines ... and I also learned that it is far easier to take something apart than it is to be something back together. So it is that the washing machine now begins a spin cycle in harmony and peace but then quickly approaches seismic activity of a 4.0 earthquake.

Thank God God loves the foolish and mechanically challenged (well, I'm not sure about that last part).

Anyhow, Anna has also been coaching swim lessons in the afternoons for the last several weeks, which means we've been tag-teaming the parenting more. I spend a lot of my afternoons at Robe-Ann park here in Greencastle, holding Elise and watching Wyatt run wild over the castle of timber.

You would think it funny to see us make the exchange of kids at the school - like we're participating in some illegal exchange of nuclear warheads. Well, except it is not that secretive. But, trust me, it is dangerous. "Meltdowns" are very frequent, and I spend vast amounts of energy and many, many words trying to explain to Wyatt that mommy isn't actually going to be gone forever. This is how grey hairs are born.

Well, what else. Oh, yes: some potential good news ... well, maybe ... sorta. We have received an offer on our house in Owensboro. So, there is the chance - and I stress chance - that our house might actually sell.

I've told several people that I now understand the expression "getting out from under a house." I thought getting squashed by houses was just something that happened in Oz. Nope. It can even happen right here in America, even to me.

For the last five months, we've been paying a hefty amount to live in a home we don't even use in a part of the country we don't vacation in. And, as the weeks and months passed Anna and I had to move through all the stages of grief without actually having lost anything. If only that could have been as funny as it sounds!

Since there's no way we can keep paying to live in two exotic locations like Owensboro and Greencastle we began exploring every option. You should have seen the look on the banker's face when I asked him in complete seriousness what would be wrong with "foreclosure." I realized then that there are certain things you can say that immediately abolish any respect or dignity you might have.

So, anyhow, there's still the chance we'll have to go down the "foreclosure" road if this offer doesn't go through or if something falls through between now and closing (which there still is that chance). But, I will say this: I have learned a TON from this experience. I've learned how valuable it is to have people pray for you. I know that sounds trite, but - I'm telling you - as soon as I invited people to pray that our house would sell we got an offer. And , I've learned how good it is to pray when life seems heavy or crushing.

I've also learned what it is like to live with low-levels of ongoing stress that are somewhat beyond your control. I learned what you can do to eliminate some stress - to do what you can do. I've learned how I need to let go of the things I can't control. And, like so many Americans, I've been learning what its like to see a pleasent experience turn into a life-draining obligation: home-ownership. Or, to be even more exact: longing to get out of home-ownership.

If our house does sell, Anna and I will end up taking a significant hit, but at this point it is worth it. It is worth having the millstone cut away from our necks even if it takes a fair amount of our pride and money with it. Because more than anything it will mean that we can be fully planted where we want to be, which is right here.

Which brings me to the best news of all. There is growth! Our kids are growing and loving living out in th country. And I'm loving watching them grow out in the country. Wyatt just got a new bulldozzer and he's been using it to move small piles of dirt.

And Elise is now one year old. Wow: a year in her pocket with many, many more still before her ... and she is a delight. I'll try to post some new pictures - including some from her first birthday party. She got a new phone at that party, and I swear she is already texting.

Oh, and the other growth: we've got plants. I mean they've actually come up from the ground! I know that's what they are supposed to do, but you can never be sure with Anna and I - especially "I".

We've got some good rows of snap peas, spinach, edamame, and beans. And Anna said the corn just came up ... the self-pollinating corn.

We're also trying some hanging tomato plants this year, and despite one moment where I nearly destroyed a day's work in ten seconds (I tried to move a sturdy beam on the other beams positioned securely in the dirt. But, rather than moving the beam an inch, I moved it several inches, leaving all of the weight - including four 5-gallon buckets filled with dirt and the precious cargo of 5 infant tomato vines - in my outstretched hands - making me look like a wilting version of a Rodin scuplture. It was not long before I began yelling, "ANNA! ANNA!" And she came to my aid. My help-mate. The same help-mate who spoke peace to me after I became bound and determined to fix the washing machine even though it was beyond hope. As Paul Simon sings, "I was in a crazy motion 'til you calmed me down." She is so right for me.

[By the way, Anna really needs to comment on this as she was the one nursing Elise inside the house while watching me struggle to keep this beam aloft. She told me after we finally managed to set things right that she was wondering when I was going to call for help!]

So, yeah ... we've hit a few speed bumps. And there's still a chance that we will end up destitute and humbled on this land. But, we're living. And God is helping us along.

When I stop and look at the land and watch my kids taking delight in this place ... well, it is perfect in its own way. It is perfectly chaos because it is living and life, and that's somethng so right.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Massive Head Wound Harry

Thanks to Drew and Josh for stopping by last night and pulling up some great memories (and great laughs) about the ineptitude of high school social studies teachers and Dana Carvey:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lost - Season Finale

Now that's what I'm talking about!

First of all, Anna was totally "on" last night - nailing the fact that it was John's body in the big cargo box right away.

Secondly, I just now saw the first scene. Wow!

Here's what struck me upon watching the opening scene again. Real simple: Jacob's shirt is white and the dude that eventually finds the "loophole" and kills Jacob is wearing a dark shirt.

Good and evil. The age-old drama.

And, in fact, the topic of their conversation is rather archaic and ongoing: whether to permit life, whether the "human experiment" is worth it.

As a ship appears on the sea, the two get into a debate about whether Jacob should let them come to the island ...

The man in the dark shirt: "You brought them here ... You're still trying to prove me wrong, aren't you?"
Jacob: "You are wrong."
The man in the dark shirt: "Am I? ... They come, fight. They destroy; they corrupt. It always ends the same."
Jacob: "It only ends once. Anything that happens before that ... is just progress.
[long pause]
Dark Shirt: "Do you have any idea how badly I want to kill you?"
Jacob: "Yes."
Dark Shirt: "One of these days, sooner or later, I am going to find a loophole my friend."
Jacob: "Well, when you do, I'll be right here."
Dark Shirt: "Always nice talking to you, Jacob."
Jacob: "Nice talking to you, too."

God and the devil deep in the battle ... is it worth creating human beings? Is it worth sustaining their life when they - over and over again - fight one another and destroy and fail to live in harmony.

So, how are they going to pull God out of the fire in the final season. Or, is God truly dead now - leaving the island solely in the hands of humanity ... or the devil? And what happens to the devil?


Monday, May 11, 2009

Been a while

Andrew, I know you're going to kill us for the last picture of Wyatt ... just for the record, Anna put the t-shirt on him. Anyhow, the "Boilermakers" t-shirt may explain why Wyatt has been such a little devil recently. He feels like we've betrayed him.


Saturday, May 09, 2009

for those of you who have seen The Reader:

Was the relationship between Kate Winslett's character and Ralph Fiennes' character love or abuse?

we'd love to hear some feedback, even if neither of the above...we're having quite the discussion about this movie.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


A little less than a year ago, I picked up Amy Karol's Bend the Rules Sewing and saw her "Easy Lap Quilt" -- I loved how fresh and modern it looked -- something I hadn't previously thought possible for quilts. I loved it and began wondering if I could get into this "quilt thing." I had an excellent resource in Owensboro, and I contacted my friend Janice, a quilter, soon thereafter. She gave me tons of good info and even took me to the closest quality fabric store with modern prints. I used my birthday money last year for lots of fun fabric, whatever I could find (usually through Sew Mama Sew or Repro Depot).

The above quilt is with some fabric that I absolutely love: Alexander Henry's Coriander. It's my fourth lap quilt and will be opened by Elise on her first birthday on the 21st...I didn't use a pattern, and really it borders on a whole-cloth quilt. If I did it again, I might do the quilting a bit different, but all in all, I'm happy to hand it over to Little Two for posterity.

Below is a picture of the whole quilt: