Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Last week Kristy and I bought a new home. When we first looked at the house a number of weeks ago, one of the things that we really liked about the backyard was the fact that the neighbor behind us had two ginormous oak trees in his yard that provide great shade to our backyard. (Obviously there were many things that we liked about this house, but this story is based in the backyard).

Immediately following our closing we headed straight over to our new place to walk through it and check things out. When we arrived at our new home, I looked out the back window only to notice that my backyard was full of huge oak branches. I walked outside with my boys and saw that the neighbor behind us (we’ll call him Joe, because that’s his name) was up in one of the trees cutting branch after branch. After a few minutes, Joe acknowledged me down below and we exchanged names and talked about the neighborhood. After a few minutes of small talk I motioned down to all of the branches that were spread across my backyard and said, “Joe, as for these branches….?”

Joe quickly interjected, “Oh…do you need help dragging those out of your yard?”

At this point, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to say. It was one of the ‘Maybe We Could Just Follow the Planes’ moments for me.

Maybe I could say….

“Are you serious?”


“No Joe. I don’t need help. I need you to get over here and drag them out. I’ll provide the lemonade.”


“Uh….no Joe. I just need a little help throwing them back over the fence.”

Now, for all of those who are reading this blog, I’m just curious…what would your next statement be?

I have told this story to some and they thought it was hilarious that Joe did not feel that it was his responsibility to clean up the yard. I have talked to others and they didn’t see any reason for Joe to clean up my yard. I’m really just curious what others might think about this.

All the same, it was pretty funny for me. My actual response was, “Well, Joe… I guess I do need a little help.”

Sunday, September 14, 2008

"God Likes You"

When I was telling a friend of mine this story the other day, he said, “Man, that’s cool. God likes you.”

I don’t believe that good things or bad things happen to us depending on how God feels about us on that particular day. I know that as a follower of Jesus, my life will be full of both good and bad. I do have to say though…there are times like this, where I really do sense that God likes me…that he truly, genuinely likes me.

On July 18, Kristy and I put our house up for sale. As soon as we put the ‘for sale’ sign in our front yard, we began looking for a new home. After walking through more than 30 houses and looking endlessly for 2 weeks Kristy and I had narrowed it down to 2 homes. There were only 3 problems.

Problem #1: Until we actually sold our home, we could only put a predicated offer on a new home. This normally would not be a big deal, except that the market for selling homes has been so bad lately, that most sellers weren’t even entertaining predicated offers.

Problem #2: Although we had narrowed it down to 2 homes, the problem was that I really liked one home and Kristy really liked the other. We weren’t on the same page.

Problem #3: Even if we had sold our home, the homes that we liked were out of our price range. Not only that, but on one of the homes, we already knew that the seller had already rejected an offer that was just $5,000 less than his asking price.

So, we started praying.

On Monday, August 4 around 3:00 pm, I uttered this prayer – “God, we really need an offer on our home. Could we get an offer tonight?”

At 6:00 pm, my phone rang. It was our agent saying that we got an offer on our home. We put it under contract that night.

Two days later, Kristy and I still weren’t seeing eye to eye on which house to pursue. I started to become very frustrated and on my way to work on Wednesday, August 6, I simply asked God – “God, would you please help Kristy and me come to some agreement here. Give us some direction here.”

A few hours later, as I sat my desk, around 10:00 am, my cell phone rang. It was Kristy. She said, “I just called to tell you that I trust you. You always look out for our family and you make good decisions. I trust you.”

After wiping the tears from my eyes, I got all excited and started to pursue the home that I thought would be the best long term fit for our family (just for the record, Kristy liked the house. There were just a few things about the other house that she liked a little better.)

The house that we began to pursue was listed at $15K more than our budget would allow. This was the house that the owner had already rejected an offer of $5,000 less than his asking price. So, I prayed and asked, “God, would you give us this house?”

About the time we were getting ready to make an offer, our agent called me and said, “I was praying about it this morning and I think that you should write a letter to the home owners to go along with your offer.”

I figured, what do we have to lose? So, I got to writing. I wrote about our family, our 3 (soon to be 4 sons) and how we would love to raise our family in this home. I asked the home owners to humbly consider our offer and to sell us their home. We then offered them $17K less than their asking price. They counter offered at $15K less (right at our budget ceiling.) We signed the contract. We got the house. (It turns out that the couple who owned the house lived there for 22 years and raised their 4 sons in that home.)

Hurricane Gustav caused our closing on the new home to be postponed. To most people, this would seem like a nuisance. To me and Kristy, it was a blessing. The interest rates were at 6.6% on the day of our originally scheduled closing. Since the storm pushed our closing back, when it was time to close, the rates had dropped to 6.1%. We got the new rate.

On top of all this…when I was working in the new house the other night, my wonderful wife brought me a Subway. I peeled off the little sticker on my sandwich wrapper…It said – YOU WIN! A FREE 6” SUB!

When I was telling a friend of mine this story the other day, he said, “Man, that’s cool. God likes you.”
That is pretty cool.