House Hunting, Investing, and Being Drained in Worrying Times: Finding the Silver Lining

The days are short, The sun a spark, Hung thin between The dark and dark

John Updike's poem January which I started in the above subtitle continues:

Fat snowy footsteps

Track the floor.

Milk bottles burst

Outside the door.

The river is

A frozen place

Held still beneath

The trees of lace.

The sky is low.

The wind is gray.

The radiator

Purrs all day.

As any good Texan knows anything below Dallas rarely has the described Updike winter. Well our cold weather breeze, low temps, and jacket wearing day’s are here if only for a moment.

Apologies on not writing more but we have been rather busy more so than normal. First, I am waiting to announce my acceptance into a philosophy of religion program. You betcha, using my wife's foreign North Dakotan language, this is the real deal Lucille! Sorry, let me explain. My father always has these sayings that are ingrained in my brain like a crane stuck in the drain, another one, “as sure as a deal as a mule in school.” Perhaps I need to ask him sometime about why he has these sayings? My father was an English teacher and my grandfather on my dad's side was also a teacher so perhaps there is some legitimacy to the rhymes? Anyways my my dad would go on to graduate with a degree in History and English only to end up in oil and gas, contract's, etc. Smart man, I love him.

Back to what I was saying, yes a Philosophy degree specifically in the study of Religion but it will be broad generally speaking. Sipping my coffee this morning I am realizing how much time that alone has taken from me. The whole application process along with getting professors to write letters of recommendation and then I had to do an interview yesterday along with just the long discussions about the programs and everything else that comes with looking at a university. So in some sense that is one term for the investing I suppose but let's get on about investing in mula.

My reading has taken an ultra focus course through investing in stocks, but also looking at properties, index funds, commodities, and so on.

I ain't going to be no dummy, however, I ain't claiming to have any investing advice except I am learning a great deal. And yes we are talking with the experts including our financial advisor but I really want to do this myself. There comes a time in your life when you really need to step into the void and make something come alive. Genesis reference.

Vanessa and I are not money saturated people. We much rather use it to help others. So it's nice to be in a position to invest because we see this as much more than making “riches” something few truly do anyways. This is about planning for a future that yes includes our kids but also our church and our community. God be the Glory no matter the outcome.

Rosario Butterfield in her book The Gospel Comes With the House Key writes,

When our Christian homes are open, we make transparent to a watching world what Christ is doing with our bodies, our families, and our world. when we daily gather with family of God and organic and open and communal ways and invite those who do not yet know Christ to enter, we are company one another in suffering. We bear one another's burdens. we show watching world what fervent prayer sounds like—talking to god, knowing that we are, through the merits of christ, on good terms with him, and that our daily needs are his concern. when our Christian homes are open, our unsaved neighbors watch a struggle with our own sins—both the sins of our doing and the sin nature with which we wage daily combat (p. 31)

Butterfield's story is incredible and you should buy all of her books. Indeed my wife and I have always wanted this for our home since we have been married. We have plenty of imperfections. We get into arguments. We disagree. We are wrong (well I am more so cause I mean who can really argue with a beautiful wife?!). So we want that for our home, our community. Which brings me to my third reason for all the writing delays.

House hunting rather reminds me of a Far Side comic than anything related to real estate and home buying. When I heard that far side was returning after 25 years I nearly cried. The comics for me are nostalgic; they bring comfort and silliness throughout the day. God, you know oh Lord how much I enjoy Far side.

Since I was a kid my father bought farside books, and we always looked for their comic strips in newspapers or magazines or wherever you would find them. Laughing is good for the soul. God encourages a joyful life even in dire times. It has been hard not to find the negative side of events. These days I am more disheartened. However I must look up and give praise and stand strong regardless of what comes next.

Looking for a home has not been necessarily difficult, yet it comes with its own stresses I suppose. Right now is a great time to buy a home in this market. Our mortgage person told us yesterday that the interest rate for a home was at 2.1%! These interest rates will not last folks. but indeed this is a seller's market so it makes it a little bit more priceier than we care for. However we really would love to have a home after living in a condo. A backyard of our own especially for the kids. There's something special about a backyard where you can hide your treasures, make memories, build whatever fort or dollhouse you want from the ground, literally, up. We found one home like that this week. Probably won't successfully have the bid, but we are taking a go for it. It's our first bid for a house. Plenty more to come and go and come again.

Finding that silver lining is harder for me than I hoped it would be. But I am learning to see it more and more. That is what I would like to share and end with. How to see the silver lining in everything since my posts have been more depressing than not. Not that I'm trying to make them be negative, rather I tried to remind myself of the writing that is on the wall. Nevertheless let's look for the silver lining.

The biggest part of the whole matter is that I have Grace and can give grace. I mean to say that I have Christ. He is Grace. Yet I also mean to share that there is a means of grace we need to all show one another. In these difficult times of life I'm working on showing grace. The silver lining is realizing how imperfect we really all are. Showing grace to my wife when she is having a hard day. Being graceful to my children after they make mistake that a child would make. Realizing that so much in life cannot be lived without mistakes and without regret in that we all must learn to live. Life is not merely an existence as much as it is an expression of the living. Human beings cannot exist that is they cannot live without a semblance of understanding, yet we understand little without first learning and making mistakes. Marriage has especially reinforced this reality. Discovering grace is a wonderful avenue toward love. If any silver lining can be found in these dark and dreary times; if any means of hope exists outside of ourselves; it is that God is alive and grace is being shown and we can also show His grace to others.

For some that may seem a bit ethereal however let me assure you that my faith has been the centerpiece of encouragement.

Christ is King.

That is a superb silver lining. No it's a gold lining.

Of course I'm grateful for my family and for my wife especially. She works harder than anyone knows. And she loves me despite all of my faults. God knows. In the end my hope Is rested in the eternal but I can say that I'm thankful for the people that God has put around me with my kids and my wife and both of our parents and the church all to the glory of God.

To my wife,

Fast-anchor'd eternal O love! O woman I love!

O bride! O wife! more resistless than I can tell, the thought of you!

Then separate, as disembodied or another born,

Ethereal, the last athletic reality, my consolation,

I ascend, I float in the regions of your love O man,

O sharer of my roving life.

Fast Anchor'd Eternal O Love! by Walt Whitman

Love Whitman.

Well that is all I have. I'm very tired these days. I will be praying for everyone and I hope more will be communicating on substack with me. Really hope to develop some good conversation.

Stay in touch.