Archive | April, 2014

What a Presbyterian Deacon Looks Like

28 Apr

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Yay! Happy Deacon!

It’s great to be a deacon lately. This weekend we had our retreat, and it was really a lot of fun. When our pastor/board liaison Drew first mentioned going to a monastery and attending 5-7 worship services a day, I thought to myself… uh oh. That’s a little too pious for me! But luckily we toned it down a bit and I think it was a great weekend for all.

Friday night David let me have all the deacons, spouses, and kids over for some fellowship. I actually overestimated how much we would drink, which I thought was surprising for Presbyterians, but I guess not for me! We hung out for a few hours, which was really nice since usually we are working and going to meetings together. And watching Walt play with some of the older boys before he went to bed was one of the highlights of my life. David and I cleaned up then put in Saving Mr. Banks before bed. Great movie.

The next morning Dave and I assembly-lined some sandwiches for the picnic I wanted the deacons to have when we went to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit. Luckily it was a beautiful day! None of us had ever been to the monastery, so we wondered around their gift shop and bonsai garden, watched the short movie of the monastery’s history, and enjoyed the museum. Then we attended the midday prayers before lunch. 15 minutes, short and sweet!

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They built this place with the work of their own hands.

One of the things I liked best about the monks and their home is how trusting they are. They have really old bonsais just sitting there for you to touch. And all the grounds are open for you to have a picnic or play or exercise, etc. It was really inspiring for me since so many places these days have so many rules and are just out there to make money. The monastery is there to share the beauty of the land with anyone who wants to visit.

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It was such a gorgeous day to be sitting under the trees enjoying good friends and breaking bread together.

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And Shirley and Raymond treated us with a waltz too!

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House Prep

9 Apr

It is thoroughly exhausting to get your house ready to sell. We keep a clean house and we’re not too cluttered, but when you look at your living space through the eyes of a potential buyer, one project leads to another project leads to another project leads to another project and you get my point. Which is why we planned to list our house weeks ago and now we’re shooting for next week. The to-do list has thankfully grown shorter but there are still a few big projects left to do. Like paint the new door we had to have installed because the old one was was rotting through. But all the trim paint in the house is oil based, which is more difficult to paint than latex, and I’m not looking forward to it. And we have to re-stain both the back deck (which is huge) and the front porch because when you pressure wash the green gunk off a deck it strips the stain and when you go to the store to get the stain you used two years ago and you find they don’t sell it anymore you realize you can’t just touch up but have to redo it all and whew. It’s just too much.

We weren’t even really interested in selling. But I look online occasionally at listings and we saw this house that we both wanted to check out in person and then when we saw it we loved it and we realized we wanted to move. There are two main reasons, even though we do love this house we’re in and we have put a gigantic amount of effort and money into it making it even nicer.

1. I want a backyard to play in with my children. Right now, if we’re outside, I have to be constantly vigilant about where Walter is. If we had a fenced backyard then we could relax and play together without my stress level through the roof that Walter might tumble into the somewhat busy street we live on.

2. We have three gigantic bedrooms. They’re great rooms. But, it would make me a lot happier if we had 4-5 smaller bedrooms. I don’t mind bunking kids together as they grow up, but I think it’s cruel punishment to stick a baby who isn’t sleeping through the night in a room with either myself or Walt (David can sleep through anything). And I work from home and David has his desktop too, so we also need an office.

There is a possibility of creating all this in the house we have now. We could divide the largest upstairs room into two smaller rooms, and we could remove 2/3 of the back deck to make more of a yard and fence in the back and side yards together. However, with a new roof and HVAC units in a couple years, that’s about $30,000 to stay. Plus all the other projects I keep thinking up in my head. Poor David. And to be honest, I want to live a little more simply than that. It’s so easy in this Information Age to spend spend spend on stuff. I would much rather spend money on fabulous vacations.

So we’ll see what happens. Soon enough we’ll list and we’ll see if we get any takers on the house. Our neighborhood is selling in our price range, so keep your fingers crossed for us. And pray that I don’t have a heart attack before I get my to-do list done!

IMG_20140409_213336She is a gorgeous house. And just wait until the perennial garden blooms!