That’s it. In a nutshell, my resolution is to post to my blog every day.
Yes, I know I’ve said this before. And like many other resolutions that have preceded this one, momentum seems to last a matter of mere weeks. But there is one vantage point I have going into 2018 that better positions me to tackle this challenge: I am currently unemployed.
I am no longer bound by the daily grind of work emails and conference calls. Therefore, I have nothing but time and no excuses for failing on this resolution. I will be honest and admit there may be days when I ‘cheat’ by posting only a picture or share an interesting item with only a scant investment of actual writing on my part, but when we get to December 31, 2018, I want to look at my WordPress statistics and see at least 365 posts. Yes, that means there may be more than one per day (as this preface post is), but I promise to not inundate my blog with meaningless noise. These pages have always been an open book of who I am, my personal experiences, and the journey I’ve taken since my first post back in 2004.
I hope you will join me on this new adventure. I can only imagine the posts that will come once Lee and I transition to full-time mission work. I am excited about this new chapter in our lives, and I pray this excitement jumps off the page in the entries to come.
As we continue to get everything ready to move temporarily to Georgia and then permanently to the Dominican Republic, one of the items of concern was how to get all my tools down to the D.R. I have a hodge-podge collection of tools, some I’ve purchased, most I inherited from my father. They’re all gathered among several toolboxes and tool bags, with no sense of order or organization whatsoever. For someone like me who embraces his O-C-D, this chaos drives me a bit crazy.
Since we made the commitment to become full-time missionaries, Lee has been searching for the perfect ‘every day’ bag, something in which she can carry her Bibles, tablet, materials, etc. Late last month, she came across Better Life Bags and fell in love with one of their items. Even though these bags are handmade and cause driven, the price was a little on the cost-prohibitive side.
That moment you find the perfect bag….the one you’ve been searching for over the past 2 months…and I mean the PERFECT bag to carry around my ‘missionary’ supplies once we get to the DR (bible, Chromebook, journal, etc)….only to realize it is $252. Doesn’t exactly scream missionary now does it?!? Haha
As it turns out, Lee’s friends decided to bless her with the bag, so Yay God for the gift and the support from those close to Lee.
I have a messenger bag I used for my classes at Trinity College which will work perfectly for me in the same capacity, but I can really use something to consolidate my tools. Well, this evening Lee decided to bless me with a new toolbox set, one with which I can both organize my tools AND transport them down to the D.R.
I was going to go with a smaller and much more affordable solution by Stanley, but the unit felt VERY plastic and I just knew it would not survive a flight to the D.R. By contrast, I’ve seen this model of Ridgid boxes make it to the D.R. on more than one occasion given it’s what my friend Amanda used to take down her tools for our mission trips through Relevant Church.
So a world of thanks to my wife and Yay God for the continued blessings in this transition experience. And for the record, my new toy is still half the cost of her new bag. #justsayn
As of 8:00 this morning, our house is officially on the market.
At 2:00 PM, we had our first showing.
It’s crazy how quickly we went from not visible in MLS to receiving a text from the automated showing service requesting permission to show the house.
We had our inaugural showing and, much to the credit of our realtor, we received some very good feedback about the house. I think it’s a good baseline of what to expect going forward, and it gave Lee and me the ability to discuss the types of items that will drive us to want to work with a buyer and the types of items we’ll simply refer to as ‘GPS Points’.
I’m busy doing some final project work and packing tomorrow, so we know we’re not going to approve any showings, but we expect Friday to be quite busy. Please keep us in your prayers as we continue through this process, and specifically pray for the right buyer, my patience through all of this, and no GPS Points.
Have you ever met someone who is almost identical to you in personality, hobbies, and other characteristics? That’s how it is with me and my friend Kevin Von Maxey. We’re both diehard University of Miami fans. We’re also both longtime suffering Dolfans as well. We both share the same Mount Rushmore-esque affinity for Dan Marino, and we’re both sports geeks in general. Add to that our quirky sense of humor, love of movies, and overall desire to be witty and smart in just about every situation, and you’ve got yourself personality twins separated at birth.
I met up with Kevin and his family this evening. As part of our downsizing experience, it was obvious to me Kevin needed to be the recipient of all my Dolphins and Hurricanes memorabilia and collectibles. With all apologies to his wife April (part of me felt I was just dumping my junk into their lap), I handed over to Kevin items that helped shape and define my childhood growing up.
To say Kevin was appreciative is an understatement, and I know he’ll be like a kid on Christmas morning once he starts going through all the items in the bags and boxes (yes, plural) that I gave him. I also know Kevin will be geeking out with his sons Taylor and Alex as he explains the details of every item in that collection.
I’ve known Kevin and April for over a decade, great friends that, like so many others, I met through the music of Sister Hazel. Although our interactions have been limited given the geographic distance between our families, Lee and I share many great memories with K&A, mostly post-concert shenanigans involving diner food and storytelling. And with Kevin, I could always pivot to anything Dolphins or Canes related and he wouldn’t miss a beat.
But I want to pivot this blog post to something not involving football or music. I want to write about the power of prayer and how, I believe, an army of prayer warriors helped save April’s life last year. I will let the video below tell the details of the story, but I will add my recollection to April’s life-threatening experience. So many people from so many walks of life, many of whom would not call themselves spiritual, came together to rally for April.
I remember praying diligently and intentionally for her recovery, and the fact I was able to give her a big hug this evening is a reminder that God honors our big prayers. I believe He specifically honors the prayers of a collection of people coming together with laser focus to plead for His healing abilities. At the end of the day, that is the church. And no one will ever convince me otherwise the reason April is alive today is that so many people came together to pray for her. It was those prayers that gave her body strength. It was those prayers that guided the medical team treating April’s illness. It was those prayers that allowed Kevin to navigate the terrorizing uncertainty of that experience.
Social media is a great platform through which people can request spiritual support. Whatever the reason, whatever the season, someone always needs our prayerful help. April’s story is a testament to the power of prayer.
Our realtor came by today to take pictures of the house. As a result, we had to have all the rooms cleared out for the photos. Now that he’s gone, there’s a surreal emptiness in our home.
Lee and I are really excited to move to the D.R. and start this new chapter in our lives, but there’s something nostalgically sad about leaving this house in which so many memories were made. Each vacant room is a reminder of a time in which we saw my kids grow and mature, my relationship with my mother-in-law flourish and strengthen, and my wife and I create memory upon memory with our family and friends.
I am going to miss this house, but I know it was a blessing from God and He’s asking us to give it back so He can bless us some more. Still, it’s not entirely easy, and I find myself shedding a tear as the reality of this chapter closing continues to set in.
My washer and dryer are in Ozark, Alabama. I guess, technically, they’re no longer mine. A couple of weeks ago, my son and I delivered them to my mother-in-law so she can use them in her new apartment. It’s all part of the downsizing process in preparation to move to the Dominican Republic. But what happens in the interim when your clothes need to be washed?
Lee and I spent most of the afternoon at the Laundry Express in Temple Terrance. Truth be told, we’ve had our share of afternoons at the laundromat in the past. The reason is simple: our comforter does did not fit in our washing machine. With pets, we’ve had more than one occasion where the comforter needed to be washed.
This afternoon, we did wash our comforter, but we also took advantage of the situation and washed a couple of loads of laundry as well. It was not a bad experience – Laundry Express is actually quite nice with machines that are not coin operated but rather read a prepaid card for use – but it was a couple of hours that left me thinking how blessed the vast majority of us are simply for having conveniences like a washer and dryer at home.
When I was in college, I spent my entire Junior year without a washer and dryer. My girlfriend and I would trek once a week down to the laundromat and get our laundry done. It was no big deal because 1) it seemed everyone else was in the same situation I was in, and 2) as a college student, it was a great time to catch up on studying, etc.
As an adult, however, I can’t imagine this being part of my normal routine. Yet there I was, surrounded by other adults whose lives were in fact occupied by the normalcy of laundromat life. On a regular basis, these individuals need to carry their belongings to a very public venue and communalize what I consider to be a somewhat private chore.
As I folded my clothes, I was overcome with a sense of self-consciousness. For me, there’s a certain amount of emotional intimacy that goes into the laundry process. Sure, shirts are shirts, and all socks basically look alike. But when you get into the arena of ‘unmentionables’, it can be a little awkward.
I had a reusable grocery store bag into which I rather quickly dumped all socks and skivvies as I pulled them out of the laundry basket. Keep in mind, my wife’s clothes were also in the mix, so I was driven to be as fast and discreet as possible when getting her items into the bag. However, unlike those of my wife, my undergarments do require folding. Okay, they don’t ‘require’ folding, but it’s my OCD preference to have them folded.
*TMI WARNING*I wear boxer briefs. The longer the legs on the briefs, the better. If there were such a thing as boxer capris, I’d buy them. I also have a particular way in which I fold my boxers (see GIF above). So I’m standing there, folding my undies, and I’m overcome by a feeling that everyone in the laundromat now has the ability to see, discuss, and critique my underwear preferences. As this terrifying thought cascaded over me, I peek up from my ever rapidly increasing folding process to see an older gentleman at the table across the way. He, too, was in the process of folding his skivvies, except he is a fan of tighty whities. “Poor guy,” I thought to myself.
I know this is all silly and I can poke fun at it now, but it does sadden me to think of the millions of people in our country for whom this experience is just part of life. Macro out to the rest of the world, and the privilege with which we live, having our Amanas and Maytags and Samsungs, is grossly amplified. And it serves to remind us of the gratitude we should express to God for the comforts and conveniences that make up our day.
If you’ve ever been to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, then you’re probably familiar with the smell of Fabuloso. Don’t ask me why, but Fabuloso seems to be the go-to cleaning product in most of Latin America.
I, personally, like the product. It has a very distinct smell of clean, but not one that is overly sterile or clinical. It’s also not as cliche as Pine-Sol or some other outdoorsy cleaning product. My wife, on the other hand, can’t stand it. The mere mention of the product leaves her reacting in a non-positive manner.
In preparation to list our house and put it on the market, we had a cleaning lady come in today and clean all five bedrooms, four bathrooms, and 2500 square feet of our house. And it was much to my amusement and my wife’s misery the cleaning lady used nothing but Fabuloso. So much so, I could smell the product from the sidewalk in front of my home.
Yes, it was horrible for Lee, but on the bright side, the house looks great!
Sister Hazel has been an integral and bedrock part of Lee’s and my relationship since we met. Lee and I have seen the band countless times since 2005, and our immediate circle of friends is a result of people we met through Sister Hazel.
As we transition into full-time mission work, Lee and I have been drastically downsizing. Although it’s been a pleasure and a blessing to give away so much of our stuff, there is also a need to fundraise in order to cover some of the moving expenses associated with this next chapter in our lives.
So to accomplish this goal, we’ve listed two of our favorite Sister Hazel items for auction via Facebook. I’ve copied the descriptions below, and we have the auction open until Friday, March 16. Unfortunately, you have to have a Facebook account in order to participate in the auction.
If you’re interested in supporting our missionary work directly or sponsoring a child for Advocates of Love, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
We are auctioning *TWO* excellent and unique Sister Hazel items from our collection.
Our first is a framed image of an acoustic guitar on the beach, with lyrics to Sister Hazel’s ‘Sail Away’, and signed by Ken Block.
Our second is an acoustic guitar signed by Drew Copeland and Ken Block.
Bids can be entered in the comments, and this auction will remain open until 10:00 PM PACIFIC time on Friday, March 16. We will ship to anywhere in the continental US.
Please keep us in your prayers and we appreciate your support. Also be sure to share this post with your circle of friends and fellow Hazelnuts. Happy bidding.