Monday, February 27, 2012

Kenpo, Frontiers, Sushi, and Candies

Recently, I have made some new discoveries I must share! It would be a sin to keep them all to myself! :)

Health and Fitness

Tracy's Karate
Kickboxing, Kenpo Jiu Jitsu, Shootfighting

When it comes to self defense, this place (in my opinion) is the Cadillac of martial art styles. Affordable, family friendly, and simply kick butt! Need I say more?! We have tried a couple of other martial art forms however they did not capture our attention as this one has. It is engaging, hands on, and gratifying. On a scale of 1 to 10 (one being the worst and ten being the best), I give Tracy's Karate a 10 (ten)! But don't take my word for it! Try it for yourself! There is most likely a location near you.

Faith and Missions

John Ramey through Frontiers

My father went on mission trips through our church when I was growing up and one day I will take my children to be missionaries when I feel they are old enough and well equipped. So, when I had the pleasure of hearing John Ramey speak and share some heart gripping stories, I think it would be fair to say I liked him immediately. An hour never passed so quickly and honestly, I could have sat and listened to Mr. Ramey all day long! He is with a group called "Frontiers" and their information can be found at www.frontiersusa.org/.

Dinner and Desert

"I Love Sushi"

Though it is insanely popular, this Japanese bistro does not have a website. But, I can direct you to another site which offers information and reviews of the joint so you can get a second, third, or forth opinion. (Actually, there are currently 395 reviews available!) As soon as we sat down, glasses of water and four sample sushi dishes were set before us. The servers buzzed around busily like...well, bees in a hive. They were very attentive and little extras even appeared from time to time. (At one point we received a couple oysters in a half shell to try.) The food was delicious and prompt. No sooner had we placed our order did it seemingly mystically appear on our table...eye appealing and appetizing despite the fact the place was pretty packed. The atmosphere was family friendly and one could either dine in the main rooms or in the karaoke section. Though we were there for over an hour the time flew by in a flurry of tantalizing entrees, free samples, and servers coming and going in a blur of accommodating hospitality. On a scale of 1 to 10 (one being the worst and ten being the best) I give "I Love Sushi" an 8 (eight) overall and look forward to going back again next time I am in the area!

Marini's Candies
Santa Cruz

When I lived in Long Beach, CA, there was a candy shop I loved near the water. "Marini's Candies" reminded me of that place but was also SO much more! My senses were on overload as I cruised one counter after the next filled with lollies! Chocolate dipped this, candied that, and gummy treats out the ying yang! It is not an exaggeration when I tell you I spent nearly an hour trying to decide on only two items...I wanted them ALL! The melt in your mouth truffles of various kinds, the elaborate caramel/candied apples, the can't get enough of it caramel popcorn, and delectable salt water taffy! The sweet smells filled my nostrils and floated through my daydreams of hot chocolate on a crisp morning or flavored coffee on a blustery day (which is exactly what it was while I was there). It is no wonder this place was featured on the Food Network! It is a dessert lover's dream come true!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Faith. Hope. Love: Chapter Ten

An ocean of people stood before me as I climbed out of the cab in China Town. I felt as though I could jump from a stage and ride a wave of individuals while being passed over their heads (like I have seen lead singers do). But swimming through this crowd was far from glamorous. We were sardines packaged tightly together. Shoulders, elbows, and other appendages were bumped and brushed while walking Geisha style (with tiny steps) in an effort to get from point “A” to destination “B”. A set of stone steps immerged powerfully on the opposite side of the crowd like an athlete exiting a pool.

The sun had already set, leaving a steamy residue behind. Sweat beaded and slid along the olive surface of my skin leaving a delicate trail of shiny luminance. Light cascaded from street lamps and surrounding buildings as the tide pushed me along. I could not help but laugh out loud and received entertained smiles in agreement. This was madness!

Slowly the current thrust me toward the concrete staircase which beckoned me like sand along a golden beach. I would get there eventually. What did I expect coming to China Town on the eve of Chinese New Year?

Venders offered me their wares as I floated past. “Dragon’s Beard” caught my attention. The merchant extended it like a child stretching putty or a machine pulling taffy until it was light and airy like lengthened cotton. It blew in the slight, warm, humid breeze and looked as though it would melt on my tongue. There were only moments until midnight as I continued to bob along, dazzled by the decorations and very nature of the environment. It was all so enchanting…a fitting finale to my time in Singapore.

Happiness pulsed through my veins as Chinese music danced about me. It was the year of the tiger. (I only remember this because leading up to the holiday I saw plush toys of A.A. Milne’s character “Tigger” dressed in Chinese New Year attire as though ready to celebrate.)

Finally, I climbed the stairs and looked out over the sea of those that swirled below. Anxiety nearly kept me from coming to Singapore months ago. I had no idea what to expect before arriving and never would have imagined all that is this city-state.

Fireworks exploded in the sky above China Town. The air was sweet yet weighed heavily upon me. My heart was afire as cheers filled the atmosphere. Singapore was a dream…one I hope to revisit one day. The orchids bowed their heads as they wished me farewell. “Good-bye for now,” they swayed.

Faith Hope Love: Chapter Ten

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Just Goofin' Around


Hubs made a trade and got this new toy (on which he enjoys riding around).


I have not taken my motorcycle riding class yet...so I just get to goof around on it. :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Delectable Mountains

Pilgrim's Progress Virtual Journey

Each follower of Christ has a path all his/her own while walking with God (Genesis 5:24) . At times our courses may intersect or run parallel with others in the body of Christ for a time and then split until eternity. For each, sin riddles the Way and leaning on one another becomes imperative. I feel God designed the body for support, encouragement, and perseverance for running the race (2 Timothy 4:7) for His glory.

12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.(1 Timothy 6:12. ESV.)

The "Pilgrim's Progress Virtual Journey" is a "blog hop" (if you will) based on John Bunyan's THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS. Each of my posts (at the start of the "hop") will contain a "place" and "characters" from the literature. Today's is:

The Delectable Mountains

1st Stop - Knowledge: Monergism.com
2nd Stop(s) - Experience: Scribbles From Emily and Doorkeeper
3rd Stop - Watchful: Life with Kaishon
4th Stop - Sincere: Atypical Pastor's Wife
Final Stop - Mr. Valiant-for-Truth: Terry Smith

I hope you are encouraged!

I Praise You, For I am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
(Psalm 139:14-16 ESV)

I am one of those people who usually has ideas rolling around in the brain on a regular basis. They bump around in there like silver balls in a pinball machine (as I mull over them) until I decide whether to pursue them or discard them. A new one jumped in there a few days ago but the jury is still out on it.

To do or not to do. That is the question.

I feel I do not have enough information at this point and will look to my fellow traveler, Christine, for a little input on the subject I am considering.

Healthy Soul, Body, and Mind

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV)

I love health and fitness. As I have mentioned many times before, growing up I trained in dance (with an emphasis on ballet) and competed in numerous contests. (In 1994 or '95 I entered "The American Dance Awards" and was named "Dancer of the Year".) So, when the "Mrs. California" competition entered my mind, it did not seem too far fetched...just a little different from anything I have done before. But that would make it a challenge and I like to push the boundaries of my comfort zone. (If it is not illegal and will not hurt anyone, why not?)

But right now, I have more questions than answers. (I'm just not sure if it is for me.) The entry form has a March 2012 date which is much too soon! I want some time to prepare if I am going to try it...so perhaps I'll prep now and sign up for 2013.

The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.
(Proverbs 16:9 ESV)

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
(Proverbs 19:21 ESV)

...you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”(James 4:14 & 15. ESV.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Our Sins Testify Against Us

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:17 ESV)

I've been rolling this piece of scripture around in my mind lately. There are a few words that really stick out to me.

"Whoever KNOWS the right thing to do and fails to do it, FOR HIM it is sin."

In my opinion, it sounds like sin is as diverse, unique, and specific as a fingerprint. So mine will not fit someone else and theirs will not match me. Further, God knows my heart and sees my transgressions as though they are a sign around my neck! I cannot hide them from Him! There is not a single place His light cannot reach. Even if I hide out in the deepest depths on my soul! (So why bother trying to do so? Hence one of the reasons I try NOT to sin!) It testifies against me and the Holy Spirit burns within me when He becomes offended! Talk about wanting to come out of one's own skin.

But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out. (Numbers 32:23 ESV)

For our transgressions are multiplied before you,
and our sins testify against us;
for our transgressions are with us,
and we know our iniquities: (Isaiah 59:12 ESV)

Sure, there are the general trespasses addressed in the ten commandments but man is complex and darkness can seep into even the smallest cracks. The devil is in the details so to speak. The crevices of one's thoughts and intentions. Is there purity of heart each step of the way?

Get Rid of Strife

Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out,
and quarreling and abuse will cease.
(Proverbs 22:10 ESV)

Is it really that simple?

As I have said before, I love how the word of God addresses just about everything. And, Proverbs explains it in such a way that is easier to grasp (than some other texts in the bible),
Like a dog that returns to his vomit
is a fool who repeats his folly.
(Proverbs 26:11 ESV)
Gross!

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:24-26 ESV)

Friday, February 10, 2012

If the Lord Wills, We Will Live and Do This or That

A friend of our family asked if I want to read her copy of Davis Miller's THE TAO OF BRUCE LEE: A Martial Arts Memoir. I have to admit my interest is sparked. So, I guess this is going to be my new reading project. Only 192 pages. I just might be able to stay focused long enough to finish it. :)

The Japanese Smile

Switching gears here...Bruce Lee is Chinese American and I am moving now to the Japanese culture.

I am intrigued by the Japanese. I love their cuisine, their karate, their honor, etc. I am sure it has something to do with the Japanese family that lived across the street from mine when I was a child. I grew up familiar with some of their food and customs. As a young adult, I auditioned for Tokyo Disney a few times but never received the opportunity to go. (I was told I was not the "look" [those conducting the audition] were "looking for". Humph!) ;)

As an elementary student I once heard about "the Japanese smile" and how it is like a mask. From that day forward I adopted the practice. Chie Iryo explains "The Japanese Smile" over at kyushu.com.

Face and Respect

Changing it up once more, I am now going to reference independent Singapore.

While a guest there, as a matter of etiquette, I (and the rest of the group) was strongly warned about causing anyone to "lose face". This was to be avoided at all cost as the offense and repercussions were serious.

The "Kwintessential" website gives a rundown of the language, culture, customs and etiquette of Singapore at kwintessential.co.uk. And, as it explains, reputation, prestige, dignity, and family are very important to them...along with "respect for the elderly".

A Silent Culture

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:13-17 ESV)

I look forward to pursuing Japan again someday. And, God willing, I will get to spend time in the Land of the Rising Sun!

...For now though, I'll mosey through Japantown in San Francisco. :)

Faith. Hope. Love: Chapter Nine

Generally speaking, I do not like to shop. I know. Hard to believe. I have even been asked if I am really a female because of my strong disdain for the subject but department stores and malls are torture to me and why would I torment myself like that? Now, I find quick browsing tolerable but fifteen minutes is usually my max.

Mixed within the typical chit chat at work circulated a rumor of a fire sale of sorts…or maybe “rummage sale” would be more accurate. Luxurious, well made articles of clothing at grossly discounted prices. But the selection did not cater to everyone and one had to scour through the racks and piles of garments to find anything. It was first come, first served and the individuals who had made the discovery waited a couple days before sharing news of it.

It was there I bought a sleek, black blazer (with a double row of large buttons) made of a thick fabric and lined on the inside. Another gal had found it but it was not her size so she pointed it out to me and it was love at first sight. Fitted and comfortable, it did not leave much room for any growth on my end but I had someone else in mind whom it would fit perfectly. I took my three or four items to the check out area and made off with my score before irritation began nagging at me. I gave the blazer to a loved one and a couple years later it made its way back to me. I kept it, a pin striped skirt suit, and a long, straight, sleeveless, light weight, stretchy brown dress (with black and cream color patterns throughout) for ten years before finally giving them up to an organization that collects items for disabled vets and their families.

It was the Hong Kong leg of the travel plans that really interested me in the field of apparel. Silk suits were said to be top of the line there and I was told I should indulge while I had the chance. But the opportunity would never come.

Often times I am completely dumbfounded by the way God operates and what He ordained (even before the foundations of the earth). It is rarely what I would expect (Isaiah 55:8) because His ways are not like my own. But one of the most difficult lessons I had to learn about God is it is better to take refuge in Him than to trust in man (Psalm 118:8). In one of the most difficult seasons of my life (James 14:4) the following verses were my constant companions:

Romans 8:28: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Psalm 42:5: Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation

Ephesians 3:20: Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

Ephesians 6:10-20: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Philippians 4:4-8: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
And, a quote from Alan Redpath which states:

“There is nothing – no circumstance, no trouble, no testing – that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment. But as I refuse to become panicky, as I lift up my eyes to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart, no sorrow will ever disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, no circumstance will cause me to fret – for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is! – That is the rest of victory!”

Faith. Hope. Love: Chapter Nine

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Stop Doubting and Believe

I Have the Dumb Today

Yesterday, as I was going about my things to do, I did not quite feel 100%. Early this morning, I began feeling worse. So, please forgive me but I cannot brain today.

Mr. Worldly Wiseman and Atheist

Mr. Worldly: How did you come to get your burden in the first place?

Christian: By reading this Book in my hand.

Mr. Worldly: I thought so. It has happened to you as to other weak men who suddenly fall into such distractions by meddling with things too high for them. Those distractions not only strip men of their manliness, as I perceive they have done to you, but also cause them to undertake desperate ventures to obtain things they know nothing about.
(Bunyan, John. THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS. Pg. 19.)

Have you ever come across Mr. Worldly Wiseman? Perhaps it was just a brief encounter or maybe he is a constant part of your life (like a boss, family member, or friend)...going on and on about (his believed) foolishness of one being in the word of God. Or, perchance it is Atheist with whom you interact,

Christian: We're going to Mount Zion.

Atheist: (Laughs greatly.)

Christian: What's the meaning of your laughter?

Atheist: I laugh to see what ignorant persons you are to take upon yourselves such an exhausting journey. And yet you're likely to have nothing but your travel for your pains.
(Bunyan, John. THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS. Pg. 176.)

Atheist Into Believer

When I was a child or teen, I recall hearing about an older, atheist man (though I cannot remember his name) who stated he had been deemed clinically dead, went to hell for a moment of time, then to heaven briefly, before coming back to life. He said his experience in hell was so horrifying (and heaven so wonderful) he abandoned atheism to become a follower of Christ.

It is stories like this one that spark my interest because, I figure, if a person does not think God or Jesus exists why would he (or she) proclaim to have an encounter with them? Further, if a brush with death is only a state of mind then why would Atheist have God and Christ Jesus on the brain?

"'All the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them.' 'Stop doubting and believe.'" - Evangelist (THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS, Mark 3:28, Matthew 12:31.)

Vanity Fair

Encouragement Along the Way

The "Pilgrim's Progress Virtual Journey" is a "blog hop" (if you will) based on John Bunyan's THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS. Each of my posts (at the start of the "hop") will contain a "place" and "characters" from the literature. Today's is:

Vanity Fair

1st Stop - Hopeful: The Ignition Point
2nd Stop - Phoebe: Radical Womanhood
3rd Stop - Mr. Mnason: Inside Martyn's Thoughts
4th Stop - Grace: Far Above Rubies
Final Stop - Martha: Kellee Art

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Let's Have Lunch

I'm sure you are busy today but I thought we could have lunch together. I know a great place right on the beach. We can sit outside, watch as the waves swell in the distance, and then hear them as they crash against the shore. There's a smell of sea life in the air and a faint taste of salt on the breeze.

Maybe it's been a while since we've seen each other...or perhaps we have never met before. But here we are.

Table for two, please, out on the deck.

The hostess nods as she grabs two menus and place settings. "Follow me, please," she says.

I hear the shellfish is excellent here, but they also have other delicious dishes if seafood is not your thing.

The air is warm as we push the door open which leads to the patio. It's like a hot cup of coffee on a cold winter morning...comforting and cozy.

How about that table over there?

We each pull out a chair, have a seat, and start perusing the menu. What looks good? Pasta? Fried chicken? Steak? Crab legs? A soup or salad? Everything sounds so tantalizing...I can't decide.

"Would you like to start with an appetizer?" says the server.

None for me, thanks. I do not want to fill up and not finish my entree. How about you?

The server jots it all down then goes to get our drinks. Our attention turns to pelicans diving on the horizon. The birds coast gracefully in the sky before plummeting head first into the water.

There is a dark shadow in the depths! I am instantly reminded why I usually stay out of the ocean. A fin surfaces! The swimmers see it too! I shift in my seat to get a better view. It is a dolphin meandering parallel to the coastline...and a second one is following not too far behind.

We get swept up in conversation as we cover topics important to each of us. Easily we could remain here for hours talking the day away. We are suspended in time as the world around us blurs past. No phones, no email, no interruptions. Just us.

We notice the dishes piling up on the table and I check the time. I'm so sorry, my friend, I have to get going. We settle the bill and I tell you how much I have enjoyed your company. We rise to our feet. I give you a hug.

We'll have to meet up like this, again, sometime. Good-bye for now, my friend.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Friday, February 03, 2012

Faith. Hope. Love: Chapter Eight

Have you ever experienced anything like a hurricane, tornado, tsunami, volcano, etc? Once (while in the U.S.), I woke to an earthquake in the wee hours of the morning. I was on the second floor of my rental house and I stared at the moving blinds on the window as my mind tried to wrap itself around what was happening. The building, foundation, and earth below me rolled as though I was perched on the deck of a boat at sea. I was unable to stop it, powerless to save myself, incapable of escape. I was along for the ride whether I wanted to be or not! I was at God’s mercy!

Having my eyes opened by God was a similar ordeal. The birth pains, if you will, were small and far apart at first…difficult to even identify. But as time went on (many years infact), they became more intense and closer together…until grace. He was calling me and I knew the Good Shepherd’s voice. I was going toward Him by instinct without thought or hesitation. Could I put on the breaks? I cannot prevent death. Could I hinder God or thwart His doing? And, why would I? I was in His tractor beam and being pulled to the mother ship.

The book God used (in addition to the bible) as a tool toward the end of this process was Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Tim Grisson. It is one I highly recommend. Of course, at that time I also had a wonderful guide to help me navigate through the book and the deep, tumultuous waters of my conflicting feelings as my flesh burned and I transitioned from being a slave to my sin to one of righteousness (Romans 6). But while in Singapore, I was closer to the beginning of this progression. I was still focused on worldly things and naïve in my young age.

Ethics and integrity were always important to me…but so was going out with friends, dancing (as a guest not employee) at clubs, having a few alcoholic beverages, cursing, and “enjoying” life. You only live once you know! And I was under the impression God would forgive me no matter what! He loves me. I can indulge all I want and ask forgiveness later, right? And the overall thought of God in general just was not at the forefront of my mind. I flew by the seat of my pants and ate up every moment. I felt invincible and maybe even above reproach.

One night that stands out in particular in my mind during this season was when a large posse of coworkers and I went out to a popular restaurant to celebrate. What, exactly, we were observing I cannot remember but I do recall standing by the bar with one or two others and exceeding my drink limit. I cannot speak for anyone else but I for one was juiced, tanked, intoxicated. It all became a blur of laughing, cheering, chattering (about God only knows what, I have no clue), and hopping in a cab with a bunch of others and heading to our next destination which was a trendy night club. Though I was probably there for hours it seemed like thirty minutes and then a particularly lovely gal from my work family (with whom I am still friends) took me by the arm and escorted me safely home. God watched over me that evening and thankfully so! I imagine He was probably shaking his head and muttering something about what a terrible mess I was but He gave me His mercy and protection though I certainly did not deserve it!

Two gals and I returned to that restaurant a second evening for dinner. While there I made many comments about the bartender and how he had flirted with us the first time we were there. As my mouth ran away with me, our server politely asked me how I knew the bartender and stated he was her boyfriend! DEER IN HEADLIGHTS! “Uh.” I could hear crickets echoing in my brain as every thought had quickly vacated the premises. She waited my response. I just wanted to climb under the table and disappear! What did my face look like? Was I smiling or was my jaw just hanging open? “I am SO SORRY!” I uttered in absolute embarrassment. “I had NO idea!” She smiled warmly and gave a chuckle. We did not even have our food yet and already I could not finish mine fast enough. Needless to say I never went back to that establishment again!

Faith Hope Love: Chapter Eight

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Valley of the Shadow of Death

Pilgrim's Progress Virtual Journey

The "Pilgrim's Progress Virtual Journey" is a "blog hop" (if you will) based on John Bunyan's THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS. Each of my posts (at the start of the "hop") will contain a "place" and "characters" from the literature. Today's is:

Valley of the Shadow of Death

1st Stop - Faithful: Thoughts on Life, God, and Ministry
2nd Stop - Moses: Voice of the Martyrs' Persecution Blog
3rd Stop - Old Honest: Jews for Jesus
4th Stop - Mr. Fearing: Joshua Project
Final Stop - GaiusTim Challies

I hope you are encouraged as you walk with God.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The Earth Will Wear Out Like a Garment

"A web is a house for a spider.
A bird builds its nest in a tree.
There is nothing so snug as a bug in a rug
And a house is a house for me!"
~ Mary Ann Hoberman

(I want to tread carefully here because I do not wish to offend anyone. With that said...)

Ten years ago, hubs and I bought our house. It was supposed to be a "first home" not a "fixer upper"! Had we spoken to other residents in the housing development when we did our walk through we would have either A) said, "No thank you!" to the home or B) paid significantly less than what we did! We would have not only asked for a $2,000 allotment to replace the carpets (which we did) but also thousands of dollars off the asking price for home repairs!

At Three Years

The owners before us only stuck around three years before they headed for the hills. This should have been a huge, blinking, neon sign for us...WARNING! DO NOT PROCEED!

The area in which we live and our neighbors are wonderful... Light, airy, relaxed, great for a young family, convenient, easy going, free from congestion and traffic, and not overly populated. But, frankly, the builders (and inspectors) should be ashamed of themselves...to pass these dwellings off as acceptable and then charge a minimum of $200,000 for under 1200 sq. ft. ($168 per sq. ft.) of living space! It is no wonder notice of a class action lawsuit against the builders was some of the first pieces of mail we received in our three-year-old household.

Further, when one of the initial questions to run through a person's mind includes, "Why are nearly ALL of the light bulbs in this place burned out?" That should be a clue to a more pressing issue as well...an electrical problem. (The sockets in the master bathroom rarely work (as they consistently trip the breaker) and the hall lights click off regularly on their own.)

At Nine Years

One bright afternoon as I shuffled from the living room to the hallway, I noticed a warm spot on the floor. The laminate was heated beneath the soles of my bare feet. Was the dog just lying there? By evening, small droplets of water could be seen at the seams and where the baseboards met the planks. And, when I got up in the middle of the night to get a drink, my toes splashed through puddles and glided over buckled, warped boards. A water pipe had ruptured beneath the foundation. The line had to be rerouted and extensive damages repaired. (Thankfully the builder had to pay since the residence was under ten years old. Otherwise, we may have been stuck with the bill!)

At Thirteen Years Old

Today, the windows on the back wall of the house leak, profusely (which causes obvious concerns regarding mold). Neighbors have had similar headaches...some even more sever than ours! Oh, and did I mention the side yard floods and weeds (from outside) have made their way into the master bedroom and master bath through the wall!

Our roost has potential. It has kept us moderately safe and fairly dry for ten years but keeping up with issues the builders caused has become too much. I am grateful for all the Lord has provided and feel it is now time to move on and bring light to troubles this shelter has. I, personally, do not want another family to fall victim to its complications (unless they agree to purchase it as a "fixer upper").

Peace out.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Matthew 24:35 ESV)

The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
(Isaiah 40:8 ESV)

Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
and look at the earth beneath;
for the heavens vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment,
and they who dwell in it will die in like manner;
but my salvation will be forever,
and my righteousness will never be dismayed.
(Isaiah 51:6 ESV)

since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for

"All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,

but the word of the Lord remains forever."
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
(1 Peter 1:23-25 ESV)

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