Friday, January 9, 2009

Our Fireplace.

Well, we finally finished redoing the fireplace. As you can see below, the house came with a brick fireplace and an uninteresting surround. The mantel was nice so we decided to keep it.



The new surround is all homemade, including the fluting and slate inserts. It was an interesting project that required me to learn some new wood working techniques. I am indebted to Bink for his tips on Making Grooves in Wood where I leanerd how to cut nice fluting and to This Old House for thier Easy Mantel Makeover where I got very useful tips on how to tile a fireplace surround with slate. More than these, I need to thank my neighbor, Don, because without his planer, I could not have achieved this look, and Jackie at Sherwin Williams, for his superb stain matching skills which allowed us to match the new woodwork with the original mantel stain color. 

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Deciding in community ... update

Almost two years ago, I can't believe it has been that long, I wrote a post entitled Deciding in Community. In it, I shared a letter that I wrote to our local body of believers asking for prayers and wisdom in discerning God's will. I was not just soliciting prayer for us; I was asking for people to pray that God would reveal to them also what His will was for our lives. While I was very much so convinced that I needed to follow that approach (read the letter for my rationale), I have never seen this done in my lifetime as a believer and was not sure what to expect, and as a matter of fact, that was precisely my answer when people asked me what I expected.

So how did it all work out, you might ask? Well, interestingly enough, God did precisely what I was praying He would do. As He worked in my heart to communicate to me that the job opportunity for which I had asked wisdom about accepting or declining was not what He had in store for us, He did the same in the hearts of my brothers and sisters in Christ. As I talked to several of them individually, one by one they told me that they just did not see us in Louisiana at that job. It was neat to see God work in that way.

Do I believe that He always works in that way? No, I never want to put God in a box. Do I think that we underestimate how God can communicate to the whole body about our lives? Yes. We have bought into a very individualistic society and individualistic Christianity and unfortunately often miss the corporate component of our faith. Ultimately, the bottom line is that as believers, our lives are not our own, our lives belong to the Father and He is in control of them. All we have to do is be obedient.

Since my post two years ago, I have seen many brothers and sisters make decisions, some with the help of the body, and some individually. In every case, my prayer has been that they would seek the will of the Father, not their own will, and that they would have the courage and boldness to do it. Personally, though, I pray that God will not just tell them, but that if it would be His will, that He would tell me also.

I find myself at another crosspoint in our lives: would you pray that the Father would let you know what it is I need to do? Looking forward to hearing from you ...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Update ...

A new year has started, and it brings to the light the fact that another year has passed ... and that I have not blogged in a while: not that I have not wanted to, I just have not had time. 

So what is going on in our lives? Well, I have a new job. Since August 2008, I have been Assistant Professor of Engineering and Mathematics at St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, NC. After three years of teaching high school, I have gone back full time to my true profession: college teaching. So in the fall I taught: Intro to Engineering and Problem Solving, Intro to Electrical and Computer Engineering Laboratory, Foundations of Physical Science, and 3 sections of Foundations of Physical Science Lab. In the spring I should be teaching: Engineering Graphics, Statics, 2 sections of College Algebra, and 2 sections of Foundations of Physical Science Lab. With this new position, which has taken a lot more of my time than I was expecting, I have dropped my adjunctive teaching load at The College at Southeastern to one class: Introduction to Computers. 

What have I been doing with my spare time you might ask? Well, I have been working on the house more. It used to be that during the semester I could only work on a small project. I had to wait for breaks to get stuff done. Now, I have a little time many evenings to do stuff. We've been working on the kitchen, the fireplace, molding throughout the house, and more. Below you will see pictures of the kitchen progress.

It is still not finished. We will be making new doors 
for the cabinets and adding marble tile counter tops
and backsplash.


We needed more storage room, so we added a
pantry. We will be replacing the 4 ft. kitchen 
window (just to the right of the picture) with a 4 ft 
french door to replace the lost door.


The wood door will be replaced with a white door
to match the other doors in the kitchen.

I will be posting pictures of the fireplace as soon as I am done with it.

We also made time for some fun during December. We had friends over to help us go caroling in our neighborhood. Cindy's Mama stayed with us during Christmas week. We opened our home up for friends on Christmas. And we had a big New Year's Eve party with (and without) lots of friends.
As for writing ... I will try to be better in 2009. I should have a series come out pretty soon on the senior pastor: a paper that I am revising and expanding and that I will post here, probably in February. I also have many more other thoughts that I want to write down ... we'll just have to see what happens. In the meantime: y'all have a Happy New Year!

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