Thursday, June 24, 2010

Foiled Again

We were supposed to close on our house yesterday. But we didn't. Then we were supposed to close today. But ... you guessed it ... we didn't.

See, a few days ago we were told that we would actually be getting cash back at closing, because our earnest money more than covered what we needed to pay at closing. Well, apparently, FHA decided that they didn't want us to get cash at closing. They would not approve the settlement statement unless there was a zero on our bottom line. (Why they have jurisdiction to say this, I'm not sure, because we're not even getting an FHA loan.)

So ... the bank is going to refund our earnest money, and we are going to write a smaller check so that we don't get any cash back at closing. We will pay the exact same amount either way. But now they need 48 hours to approve the new paperwork that they demanded. You have got to be kidding me!

So now we close on Monday afternoon. I hope.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father's Day

First Father's Day

And Grandfather's Day :)


We were supposed to close on our new house tomorrow. But the VA appraiser came on Friday and required that someone scrape and paint the trim around the windows before they would approve our loan.

Because we were camping and out of cell range, and because our realtor rocks, she just hired someone to do it. But then that someone got sick and wasn't able to finish the job today.

It will be finished tomorrow, but not in time to have the appraisal completed and still close at 4 p.m. So now we are closing on Thursday. I am disappointed, but glad the delay isn't too long. So ready to apply some elbow grease to that place and make it ours!

God and Country

Because I am a good Presbyterian, I am on a committee. :)

Had a worship committee meeting this afternoon, and I loved the thoughtful discussion we had there. I won't transcribe the whole thing, but I wanted to post a few thoughts, because the conversation was so good.

We were discussing worship in relationship to Memorial Day, which just happened, and Independence Day, which is coming up (and happens to be on a Sunday this year).


  • We have a multi-generational church. And therefore, multiple very different perspectives on the relationship between patriotism and worship.
  • The WWII generation seems to have a sense of reverence for God and a sense of reverence for our country that exist very comfortably together.
  • My generation, on the other hand, is largely perplexed at the thought of worship and patriotism living in the same space.
  • Many in my generation feel that religion (evangelical Christianity in particular) has been hijacked and is now being used as a political tool. To the degree that this is true, it is genuinely offensive. And it makes patriotism in church feel offensive too.
  • Unfortunately, the fact that we're offended makes us resistant to thinking about what Scripture says about country. And it does say something. Many somethings. About the role of the State. And our role as citizens--dual citizens of both an earthly country and a heavenly country.
  • All of this is complicated by the fact that we're in a military town. How do we honor young soldiers, many of whom have done multiple long tours during the current Middle East conflict (a responsibility that we have not asked of any previous generation of soldiers)? What do we make of the fact that many of them are highly trained to do their job as soldiers, but not at all equipped to put their wartime experience in any kind of spiritual context? (A pastor friend of mine was asked by a soldier if God could still accept him because he had killed someone in combat.) How do we do all of this thinking about God and country while also tangibly loving the soldiers and airmen in our town?
We didn't reach any conclusions, but we wondered together how we can start a conversation between generations about this. I love that this is happening in our congregation! Would also love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Eleven Month Portraits and Update

Lorien turned 11 months old on June 19th. She is such a joy! She is a good eater and a good sleeper. Still super-curious about everything in her world. She really watches what's going on around her. And still examines things carefully with one itty bitty index finger.

She says "oh yeah," "uh oh," "dada" and "mama." Not sure that she knows what they mean, but she says them really consistently. As she turned 11 months she had just started to crawl forward--just one movement at a time, though. In the past few days, she has finally started to string together several forward motions in a row, so she is officially crawling. (Whew!)

She is getting a bit opinionated. She will sometimes cry if we hand her to someone she doesn't know well. She loves the nursery at church, though, and never has any trouble being dropped off there.

Here are her 11-month pics, taken in a beautiful dress given to her by Great Grandma Keffer and the Miles family, before she was even born.

And a couple of "outtakes," just to show what she's up to these days:

Getting around is a creating mixture of crawling, spinning, scooting, sitting and rolling.

She is soooooo flexible.

It is awfully hard to take the fuss seriously when it's this cute.

Camping And Rafting Trip

These are my feet. And this is the best view I've seen in a while.

This past weekend, Josh and I went camping with the Summer 2010 Focus Leadership Institute students and staff. What a great trip. Lorien had her first overnight away from mommy and we both did pretty well. :) We loaded up nine vehicles and headed out on Highway 24. A bit past Divide, we turned off on a dirt road. Twelve miles later, we ended up here:

The weather was absolutely perfect. It didn't get below 40 degrees at night, so it was plenty warm for sleeping outside.

The best feeling was rolling out my sleeping bag in the tent, laying back with my hands behind my head, and .... just lying there. For like a half-hour. Because there was nothing else I had to do.

Here is my favorite videographer with his camera, capturing the students as they enjoyed the sunset.

A unique FLI tradition: whenever we take the whole group camping, we put on a full gourmet Italian dinner with made-to-order pasta. The students are always wowed by this. And even though I am not surprised by it, I love it because it is really good food.

Here are some of our guys cooking up the orders.

The next day, I was on the breakfast crew. (We made breakfast burritos.) And then we went whitewater rafting on the Brown's Canyon leg of the Arkansas River. It was a beautiful day for rafting: warm air and high water. (Coooolllld water, too!) I think we wore the students out, because things were pretty quiet in my van on the way home.

Rafting through Zoom Flume. Josh and I are on the far left.

Monday, June 14, 2010

We Have a House!

Yes, friends, it's true. We have an actual written approval on our short sale offer. See, here it is!

Today we had our inspection which, thankfully, didn't yield any unexpected bad news. And we finally got to take some pictures. Would you like a tour?

The seller is still in the process of moving out, so there is stuff everywhere, but you can pretend it's nice and clean and empty.

For some reason, I didn't get a photo of the FRONT of the house. I'm not really sure why. Here is the back of the house. As you can see, they did some touch-up painting with paint that doesn't quite match. We will have to fix that eventually, but probably won't worry about it right away.

Cool back yard. We are not positive, but we think they are leaving the play set. Too fun! We will need to fix the sprinkler system and work at getting the grass greened up. Since it will be July before we move in, I probably won't do any flower or veggie gardening this year, but I am already dreaming about playing in the dirt next year.

Side yard. Hoping to make this a dog run someday soon.
Josh needs a dog.

Now we go inside.

Kitchen. I am very excited to have a range with two large burners. It may seem like a small thing, but I have been waiting years for that. The cabinetry here is...umm...creative. We still don't know exactly what we're going to do in here. Probably just enough so that we can live with it for now. Then later we can turn my brother Mike loose in there. He is a very talented cabinetmaker, and I am excited to see what ideas he comes up with for this kitchen.

Opposite angle of kitchen. Nice sunny place to eat breakfast. More counter space than we have ever had before.

Family room. It's open to the kitchen, which is great.

Standing in the family room, you can see the stairs going up on the edge of the frame. The door straight ahead is open to the stairs to the basement. Behind that door is the door out to the garage. Double doors are laundry. (I think it's kind of weird to have the laundry in the family room, but whatever.) To the right of the laundry is a small powder room--the only bathroom on the main floor.

Living room. Can you just see a Christmas tree in this window?!

Dining room.

And now we head upstairs.

Master bedroom. I love the vaulted ceiling.

Master bath. Probably one of my favorite things about this house (today, at least).

Can I tell you how long I have wanted a double vanity?

This shower has severe water damage and needs to be replaced. I don't necessarily love the current design. Any ideas for a better replacement?

Lorien's room. Love the window seat! The hot pink has to go, since her nursery stuff is red, yellow and green. This will probably be the first room we do.

Guest room


Call me silly, but I am pretty excited about having a linen closet after not having one for five years.

Guest bath

In the Jungle

Either she was hungry for salad or she wanted to go on a rainforest vacation.

First Time in the Pool

This actually happened about ten days ago, and I am just now posting pics. It's funny, because it's so cold as I'm posting that I don't even want to think about the pool. But last weekend was gorgeous, and we went to the pool twice in two days.

Lorien didn't like the cold water at first and tried to hold her legs up out of the water as I was taking her in. When I submerged her up to her chest, she fussed a little, but after she adjusted to the temperature, she loved it!

Trying to find Daddy as he "hides" in the water.

Some things never change: trying to steal Mommy's glasses.