Bad News

A friend posted the following quote as a quote, but without attribution, on an Internet forum yesterday:

He is not afraid of bad news.
— Psalm 112:7

Christian, you ought not to be afraid of the arrival of bad news; because if you are distressed by such, you are no different from other men. They do not have your God to run to; they have never proved His faithfulness as you have done, and it is no wonder if they are bowed down with alarm and cowed with fear. But you profess to be of another spirit; you have been born again to a living hope, and your heart lives in heaven and not on earthly things. If you are seen to be distracted as other men, what is the value of that grace that you profess to have received? Where is the dignity of that new nature that you claim to possess?

Again, if you should be filled with alarm like others, you would no doubt be led into the sins so common to them under trying circumstances. The ungodly, when they are overtaken by bad news, rebel against God; they murmur and maintain that God has dealt harshly with them. Will you fall into that same sin? Will you provoke the Lord as they do?

Moreover, unconverted men often run to wrong means in order to escape from difficulties, and you will be sure to do the same if your mind yields to the present pressure. Trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Your wisest course is to do what Moses did at the Red Sea: “Stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD.”1 For if you give way to fear when you hear bad news, you will be unable to meet the trouble with that calm composure that prepares for duty and sustains in adversity.

How can you glorify God if you play the coward? Saints have often sung God’s high praises in the fires, but when you act as if there were no one to help, will your doubting and despondency magnify the Most High? Then take courage and, relying in sure confidence upon the faithfulness of your covenant God, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”2

1Exodus 14:13
2John 14:27

I truly don’t much care what other people think my life in Christ looks like from their perspective, so I don’t sweat that appearance stuff mentioned in the quote above.  But on the whole, it was what I needed to see when I tuned in to that discussion board.

Earlier in the day, I’d heard from my realtor that the house we sold did not stay sold.  That deal has fallen through.  We get to keep the buyer’s earnest money – a small sum that will offset to a degree the costs of continuing to own that house when we thought we were done with it.  To be truthful, I had a sense a couple of weeks ago that things were not going to work out, and had an attendant sense of peace that the matter would eventually result in a better outcome for us.

For one thing, I’m going to try to arrange today to have that one excellent, Mennonite-built shed removed to our current address.  The new property lacks a clean, dry storage place for my kayaking, camping, and sundry other gear.  The shed that came with the new house, although built on a perfectly good concrete slab, has after 30-odd years proven permeable siding-wise.  Another thing to fix or have fixed when time and disposable income permit.

And I’m going to get those excellent shelving units built in the 1970s for the house in which we then lived at 1904 Velez Dr., then San Pedro, but now billing itself as Rancho Palos Verdes, California.  The former buyers really liked and wanted the units, and we said, “Okay, for an additional sum, you can have them, too.”  They’ll either go in the den or in the garage, but in either place, we will find a use for them.

Finally, if you know anybody who is looking for an excellent, bargain-priced house here in loathsome Stepford that has seasonal bow-hunting across the street on thousands of wooded acres, three relatively large nearby lakes for flatwater paddling or fishing, about 900 wooded acres out back (sadly, they do not go with the house), mature cherry, apple, pear trees and grape vines, have that person drop me a message here or ring me at home.

Happy Wednesday,


Day Before

Today is the day before I am scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery to remove bone spurs on my acromium, “clean up” a supraspinatus partial thickness tear, and possibly fix muscle to bone should that appear necessary.  With a titanium screw.  Won’t exactly make me a cyborg, but I’ll relate a little better than I already do to Marvel Comics character Cable.  Blood and Metal limited series drawn by John Romita, Sr., has always been a favorite.

I have been working hard in the new house to get junk hauled off that the previous owners left, empty and break down boxes, remove the old boxes, clean and reorder shed and storage rooms, as well as attic and garage.  Yesterday picked up sticks, ran the line-trimmer, mowed, cleared off the debris with a leaf-blower.  I’m trying to get as much done as possible while I still have use of both arms.  Unsure whether I’ll be able tie my own shoes come Thursday.

The shoulder pain has been chronic for some time now, and of late has been growing worse.  I am disappointed the painful cortisone injection, short-term narcotics therapy, and  rather pleasant, longer-term physical therapy were all in their own ways ineffective.

Dunno yet how long I’ll be off work.  Ugh.

Surgery & Other News

After several months, it has become clear that I’ll need shoulder surgery to remove bone spurs from my painful shoulder’s acromium. The specialist said at the same time he will “clean up” the partial tear in the supraspinatus – which means he’ll trim the bit of muscle that’s peeled back like a hang-nail in hopes that will allow it to heal properly. Said also that if too much of the muscle appears to have pulled away from the bone, he’ll fix it with a titanium screw. He said he normally uses the titanium, as opposed to the bio-absorbable variety, screw.

The specialist’s clinic is large, successful, and staffed with a number of nurses and other techs. I observed a large number of slender attractive blonde women in their 50s wearing scrubs walking about. A number of the younger female techs were also slender, blonde, and pretty. I deduced that at least one of the partners in that practice has an aesthetic preference for slender, pretty blonde women, and has been involved in their hiring for probably the past 25 years. The apparently habitually cast facial expressions of the older women varied, and I guessed that had to with both the experienced quality of the present day, and also with their experienced long-term outcome in the work environment.

Traditional Stepford brick ranch-style house

Traditional Stepford brick ranch-style house

On the way home yesterday, our realtor phoned. I found a place to pull over and called her back. She’d presented the offer on that traditional ranch-style house in a neighborhood near the country club. It’s been on the market for some 515 days and vacant, I’d guess, for more than two years. The seller’s counter-offer was 19 thousand less than their already drastically reduced asking price. We countered with an offer that was three thousand dollars less than that, and the sellers accepted. If things actually work out and we move in there, it will be God’s little joke on those who have dedicated their lives to the Stepford social status rat-race. Come to think of it, that rat-race may already be God’s joke on those people.

No matter, the house is bigger than our current residence, has an attached two-car garage, a sun-room, three and a half bathrooms, attic storage, large sunny rooms, a fireplace, better than adequate interior closet storage, big kitchen, and so forth. I should be able to arrange installation of a garage ceiling storage/pulley “system” for a kayak.

Because I already knew we’d be vacating our current house, the one we’ve sold, by month’s end, I scheduled my surgery for the middle of next month. Should give us time to get painting, carpeting done and get moved in.


One of maybe a dozen mock-orange blossoms still on the bush.  Snapped this morning while I was doing yard work.

One of maybe a dozen mock-orange blossoms still on the bush. Snapped this morning while I was doing yard work.

Although it’s not really where they come from (I’m cognizant of and almost mentioned here a facetious argument to the contrary) small children spend a lot of time on the floor. It’s their habitat. I was thinking about that the other day while we were cleaning our house

Today, we’re cleaning the again because our realtor has scheduled an Open House from 1:00 to 3:00. We’ll be skipping church this morning to get the ox out of the ditch. Every ox has it’s own ditch, it seems.

If you’re contemplating a move to Tennessee, we’ll make you a deal on a modest but charming 1957 brick ranch-style house with mature cherry, pear, and apple trees, as well as some grape vines. If you can guess the facetious argument to which I referred supra, I’ll knock a thousand dollars off the asking price if you’re a serious buyer making a serious offer.openHouse

This House

carportWe bought the house we’re living in eight or nine years ago from the heirs of the man who had it built in 1957.




The photos above show how it looked when we signed the contract. Over the years, we’ve made a number of changes – removed very old propane heaters, changed it over from fuses to breakers, added central heat and air-conditioning, torn out all of the old carpeting, repainted every room except the kitchen, added some bright sunny wallpaper to the kitchen, had the bathroom tiled, put new carpeting in the bedrooms and bonus room, etc. Because we really liked the open living-room-dining-area floorplan arranged around a central brick fireplace/hearth, and we’re too cheap to do extensive remodeling that the house didn’t really need anyway, we haven’t added on to or altered the structure.

Last week the post office delivered two letters from an insurance company, one of which was addressed to the man whose heirs sold us the house, and the other of which was addressed to another man with the same surname. I looked up the family name in the local telephone directory and found there the name of the one family member I remembered meeting at the time we bought the house. I left a message at that number, and the next day the man returned my call. He lives in a neighboring town, and said he and his wife would be in the area Thursday on their way home from another place.

They came by about 6:00 pm, and stayed and talked about 30 to 40 minutes. He said his parents moved up here from Boaz, Alabama, in the 1950s. His father was a welder, for awhile, at the base, until those in charge of the facility annoyed him. After that, he got work as a boiler-maker welder with a company contracting on the many hydro-electric projects throughout the Southeast. His mother taught middle school here in town.

The family raised four sons in our small house (and when I think of that, I wonder what’s wrong with us that we feel crowded here with just one baby less than a year old). He said the room his parents slept in was the smallest of three bedrooms, the one we’re now using for a nursery. The four boys all slept in the largest bedroom, the one my wife and I now use. They kept what I call the middle bedroom as a mostly unused guest-room, just like we do. He said the family rarely used the living-room, that it was kept immaculate for visitors, but spent most of their time in the den (which we refer to as the bonus room) which had originally been a carport adjacent the kitchen.

He told me about his mother’s portable dishwasher, which for about five years took up most of the kitchen’s floor-space. Told me about how he’d cut out the bricks to enlarge what was originally the space for a single oven in the kitchen-side bricks of the fireplace/chimney, then had held a cabinet, and had replaced that cabinet with plumbing and a dishwasher. Said that as bricks age, they become harder or more dense. We replaced the original no-longer-working dishwasher we found in the wall a year or two after we moved in. Great thing about a dishwasher at waist-level is it’s easy on the back.

He remembered looking at it that one of his brothers made the mantelpiece in the living room. Said that some memories he thought were completely lost had come back to him. I was glad to hear the history of this house, and to have as guest here someone who’d grown up in the house.

Here are a couple of “After” shots:




Selling the House

Our modest but charming Stepford home

Our modest but charming Stepford home

Did I mention we’re selling our house?  We’ve listed it in the low eighties because

  • We’re not greedy pigs, and
  • We’d like to sell it quickly

So, if you’re looking for a reasonably priced three-bedroom, one bathroom, 1400 square foot brick house with hardwood floors, two sheds, mature fruit-bearing cherry, apple, and pear trees, three very old and questionable grape vines minutes away from three lakes and two rivers, you should think about buying the Christov_Tenn house at Stepford.


Those of you who’ve tuned into the Christov_Tenn channel on Facebook already know that Caution-Lady, Seventy-Six, and I are thinking about listing our humble, ancient bricky house in a forgotten Stepford neighborhood in order to buy something equally ancient, bricky, but somewhat more grand in a more pleasant Stepford neighborhood.

Decluttering’s the big challenge with our house. The other house will require a number of home improvement projects to begin before occupancy.

We’ll probably make an offer today or tomorrow, and meet with our agent here at Vzzzt-bot manor this evening to walk through and glean marketing suggestions.

Good news is we’re both okay with staying where we are if we don’t get the other house. We’re still planning to clear out the clutter, however. It’s bugging us.