The bank sent us the Mortgage loan commitment today! Yay!
Brenda and I signed it and sent it back!Yay!
So the Vicarage project has taken another step forward.
Friday we are meeting with the whole design team including…
Siding installer and vendor rep
We’ve been asked to make some choices on styles of kitchen that will match the new footprint. I like this one.
We’ve also been asked to think about siding or painting. A lot depends on price but if we side I think I want something like this.
Do you like shake siding or straight siding?
Today two things happened to me in prayer. As I sat for my afternoon devotions on the porch (which generally last at least an hour) I was listening to my meditation music, and around the corner of the steps came a gopher.
He was as surprised to see me as I was to see him.
“Hello!” I said….and he was off like a shot.
It makes me happy that nature lives at my front door.
The second event happened around 6:30 P.M. as I was having my evening devotions. I was listening to the book of 1 Corinthians on my phone. The birds and the squirrels were gathered at the feeder eating supper.
Eight or ten doves and several squirrels and a chipmunk were happily munching at the birdseed. Then, they were off like a shot. The rodents skittered into the underbrush and the doves took to the skies in different directions.
The hawk was barely more than a shadow and an explosion of feathers as it grabbed the mourning dove from its flight. It was over leaving only a rain of dove down falling into the sumac below.
Life has been a mix of gopher gladness and great hawk gasps lately.
Brenda got the keys to her new apartment in Zaandam yesterday.
She needed a new laptop. So we prayed and less than two hours later she was on her way to get a new laptop provided by one of her donors.
Then she got a call from her landlord saying that all her furniture had been destroyed by an air B-n-B customer (she had consented to leave her furniture in the apartment if her landlord would hold the apartment for her when she returned).
Gophers or great hawks, you never can tell what’s coming across the porch on any given day. The only assurance is that both will show up at one time or another. Sometimes they will even show up at the same time.
In my experience though God has this singular talent to turn our sorrows into dancing, our gasps into gladness and our great hawks into gophers.
How about you are living in the shadow of great hawks right now or are you playing with the gophers?
It feels like I have used this title before…maybe I have but if so its worth repeating. I live my life by inches not by miles.
The older I get the more I realize that life, to be truly tasted and enjoyed needs to be taken in small bites.
There is a temptation to lose the beauty of the single flower because I am trying to conquer the whole forest.
When I give into that temptation, and start to think about the miles I have to go before I sleep for the night, instead of the inch I have left to walk before I can rest for a minute, I find myself getting filled with stress and striving. In that negative mindspace I find myself constantly disappointed by my own inability to meet my self imposed demands and by the world which falls so short of my expectations.
Take the Vicarage project for instance.
When I look at the project as a whole, and think of all that needs to be done, and think of all the money its going to cost, and consider all the possible problems which are going to rise between now and the time I pay the final installment of the loan we are taking out to pay for it all well….
But life isn’t meant to be lived in all those miles at once. It is meant to be lived in the inch we are on right now, because honestly that is all we can deal with…right now.
More than that it is meant to be a celebration of this inch. Not a worry about what the next inch will bring. What can I find to be thankful for in the moment….
I am thankful that all of our bank paperwork has now been received.
Something bad kept happening when I tried to send it, but our friendly neighborhood banker Deb took care of it for me this morning. Yay!
More than that though Brenda has found a new home base for her work in The Netherlands. She was told just over a month ago she would have to move from her current BOO (Base of operations) becacuse the owner is selling it.
That news created a few tough inches. It is not easy finding an apartment when there is an ocean between you and a site visit. But thanks to some very dedicated ministry partners and a good recommendation from her old landlord, Brenda just signed paperwork on a new two bedroom house.
Further she has sensed the leading of the Lord that she will be back in the Netherlands by the end of August or the first week of September!
Life is full and fast now, but living by inches is how I am keeping my peace.
How do you keep your peace?
I have to say, this has been an amazing summer! So much has begun! So much is happening! Life is a constant! And that means much is changing….because…..
We heard back from the bank. Brenda and I have more signing to do, but we are closer to the beginning of The Great Vicarage Project!
Meanwhile the gardens continue to mark the passing of this summer season.
As I sat to pray on the front porch this afternoon I heard the crickets for the first time, the sure sign that we are moving from Midsummer to late summer.
Midsummer brings a certain little girl’s birthday.
It is so nice having the kids living near us now. The birthday party this weekend will be at their new apartment which is five minutes away. One big change their nearness has brought is Sunday Dinners after church.
I haven’t tried anything fancy yet, but I am really enjoying the opportunity to do a traditional family dinner every week.
Meanwhile things at the church are moving forward as our DLT philosophy (Doing Life Together) becomes a DLT experience. People are joining groups and we are beginning to grow together in relationship.
As I said, a lot going on…that said, I am no longer using the word busy….busy means stress to me. I am not stressed. I am full…full of life!
What does the word busy mean to you?
Last week in my post IN THE WAITING, I said that I was waiting to hear back from the loan company about what they needed for paperwork from us beyond the application.
I had most of the usual things put together in a packet just waiting for the right e-mail to send it all to. The info came on Friday night and I sent it off on Monday.
But it’s not like there has been nothing to do in the mean time. This new job is very different from my other work in ministry as an assistant.
There’s a lot more praying needed (and that’s saying something).
There’s a lot more strategic planning.
There are a lot more meetings (and that is saying something again).
Yesterday I started the day with a few hours of prayer
Then a voice lesson
Then I had a meeting about elder care.
I began planning the next month worth of worship services.
I met with a couple to help them fill out conservatorship paperwork for a disabled parent.
Spent some time on the porch talking with Brenda before making supper
Then I finished up the night with a meeting on strategic staffing for the next 3-5 years.
I am loving this new work. It fits in a way I never expected it would.
In the middle of all that, a message came that an appraiser will be at our house on Monday to take pictures and walk the property.
The next step has arrived. And so now I must clean!
I called the bank today because we were supposed to get an e-mail confirming the submission of our HELOC application. We did not. Our banker, Deb, is checking on things, and I am in the waiting space.
Not that there is nothing to do in the waiting. Life doesn’t wait for the waiting spaces and even in them there are deadlines to be met as we continue to walk by faith toward our upcoming renovation. Besides the day to day stuff, we have a lot of projects to do before the renovation itself begins. I still have to chop out the rest of the bushes around the stone porch. I am leaving the hundred year old antique hydrangea though. It’s so beautiful and if we can help it I really don’t want to lose it.
Our forest garden is so beautiful this year….and the fragrance! I wish I could bottle it and save it for winter.
I mowed this morning and pulled some more of the gardens away from the house. The yard is full of herbs in the afternoon heat.
For the rest of the day I will work on the gardens to prepare them for the stone porch renovation. I am taking this slight delay as God’s way of blessing me to give me time to get all the work done by schedule.
The last few days have flown by in a flurry of activity. The rains that have come up the East Coast have kept me from doing much outside. But the world here is very green lush and cool, so I will not complain about it at all.
All the paperwork for the Home Equity Line Of Credit is filed now and we signed the Project Development Document with the contractors. So things are rolling along.
The project is tentatively slated to begin Sept. 1st and will go on for 12-16 weeks depending on what the contractors find as they begin working on this old house.
In the mean time we have a boatload of trimming and chopping and throwing away to do before the project begins. My brush pile is about to grow.
Today was mowing day at the Vicarage. I love the smell of the forest garden when it is freshly mowed. There is one place where the mix of Bishops weed, wild carrot and goldenrod mixes to smell like cilantro. In one corner of the yard, the mown clover smells a little bit like what I imagine Heaven must smell like. When I mow the catywhompus garden the chives and oregano start to smell a little bit like the North End in Boston. Fragrance in a garden is probably more important to me than the look of it.
If I am being authentic, transparent and vulnerable, I have to admit that I enjoy sitting and gazing out at the forest garden almost more than anything else in the world. I love to breathe in the fragrance and listen to the animals chirp and twitter. I especially love in that symphony of nature, to listen for the deeper and quieter voice of God.
One of my side dreams is that the Vicarage would become a destination for people desiring to seek the voice of God for their lives. I can envision holding small prayer and meditation retreats or even hosting individuals who just desire to sit in the gardens to pray.
The Vicarage is not a very big piece of property but pieces of the forest garden are thick enough that a person can go into it and be completely sealed away from the sight of others.
Right now. I have two prayer spots on the property and a bunch of paths that go nowhere. But this renovation has me thinking that
these paths could be cultivated to twist and turn deep into the forest garden, leading listeners to sacred spaces that could open the very heart of God to them. I think that beginning this renovation process has awakened some dreams in me that must become part of the purpose and vision for the Vicarage.
Everyone who knows me knows I love my little forest garden in the center of town. I love the wild look and as we do this renovation to house and property I want to keep it. But even I realize the yard has gotten severely out of control. Our prospective contractors, some of my congregants and even a few of my dear blogging friends have encouraged me to get the forest away from the house.
Most of the work that has to be done at the Vicarage I can’t do….but this I can. So the pruning begins here.
had to do this pruning in three stages. The bush honey suckle was easy enough to tackle but the heat of the afternoon sun chased me indoors.
Once the sun was a little lower on the horizon I got back at it. This Barbary thorn bush was mixed in with a bridal wreath and a tiny juniper bush.
The Barbary thorn bush was so thorny I couldn’t drag it like I did the honey suckle. A tarp and a garden rake made the job doable.
Evidently I have some burning to do.
I have some roots to dig, but at least I can get at them now.