homebuyer’s education

Today Matthew and I attended a homebuyer’s education course, put on by INHP (Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership). We were required to attend, as are all those attempting to receive financing through INHP. Naturally, I was dreading this day. I assumed that it would be like so many other mandatory classes: long, redundant, uninformative, and ultimately pointless and a waste of my time. A perfect example would be the defensive driving course I completed last night–and just so you don’t judge me like I judged people previously, you only need two tickets in a year to have to take the course–which was an abysmal waste of time.

In the case of this course, I was completely wrong in my assumption. This class was incredibly informative and helpful. I’d even go so far as to recommend it to anyone considering buying a home, whether or not you have income restrictions or intend to seek financing through an organization like INHP. We heard about each step of the home-buying process from professionals who work at each level: the presentation on shopping for a loan was given by a lender, a home inspector gave us info on the inspection, and we even heard about the tax benefits of home ownership from an IRS employee. It was phenomenal.

Obviously, INHP is an Indy-specific organization, but I imagine most cities and towns of significant size will have their own versions of non-profits with a similar mission. Of course I can’t vouch for the education programs at those organizations, but this one was great. And free!

And now I gotta run. As I type, our dinner is burning.

on hard times.

Intro/Disclaimer: This post deals bluntly with matters of faith. I promise that I will write about other things too, as I continue to write. But as this is not a niche blog, and I am not writing only about food, or the arts, or pop culture, or, yes,  faith, I happily plan to write about all of those topics, as the mood strikes me. If the thought of reading in depth about someone’s faith in Jesus makes you uncomfortable, I am not at all offended, and urge you to read again when the material is more to your liking. If, however, you don’t mind reading about how a decidedly (at times depressingly) normal person who is a Christian reacts when she doesn’t get her way (EVER!…sorry, overdramatic…) then by all means, read on.

In the nearly two weeks since I last wrote, I have been desperately trying to write again. I have grasped at topics in a way that is reminiscent of my brainstorming sessions for final papers in college. I could write about the way pop music is drawn to hyperbole! I could write about the current political situation! I could write about menu planning! I could…but frankly, I couldn’t write about any of those things, not these past few weeks. My mind has been far too preoccupied.

Recently, life has accelerated in its hurtling down the road to out of control. I found out I lost a little over 25 percent of my hours at work due to budget cuts. We were given an old car to replace the one that got totaled by a guy without insurance, only to find out that this car was in just as bad shape as the other. Leaving us in ownership of three cars (two of which did not work) and desperately scrambling to get rid of the two without landing deeper in the hole. We also found out that a house that seemed like it might (finally!) work is pending, and we are still in the process of getting pre-approved (goodbye house). So, rather than a calm and coherent outline of an essay on pop culture, my brain has been filled with something a little more along the lines of a constant, quiet scream. Or, say, if you could mentally hyperventilate…or, if you prefer words, something along the lines of “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit” repeated over and over. (I’d like to interject an apology here to those who think that Christians should never curse, and therefore might be offended by that last bit. By writing that, I am not saying that Christians should curse. I am just giving an honest portrayal of where my head has been the last few weeks.) My life has been hectic, loud, and frantic, and my head even more so. And I have been in no condition to write.

So, today, as I made the hour drive to Lafayette just to hand over a car’s title to a man who would tow it away (and give me some money for it too), I drove in silence. There and back. And slowly, over those two hours of silence, my brain quieted down too. Coherent thoughts and sentences returned, and therefore, I write.

I know a lot of people who say that everything happens for a reason, and I completely agree with them. I’m not sure what most of them think the reason is, but based on what I believe is communicated in the Bible, I think that the reason is our good, and God’s glory. And what the Bible says is good for us is not always what feels good, but is always that which will make us more like Jesus. Now, that reason is not always comforting or easy to accept. Actually, I would say from experience that it is never easy to accept, and very rarely comforting, initially. For example, I recently accepted a small position with my church, and I was really excited about the prospect of having a couple hundred bucks each month to put in savings, as opposed to the couple bucks we have historically been able to put in savings each month. And when I heard that I was losing all those hours at work, my initial reaction was decidedly not to be thankful that the new position at work covers my losses (with 12 bucks to spare). Instead, I threw a mental hissy fit, accusing God of hating me and never giving me a break. The same reaction occurred when the car “solution” fell through. As time progressed and I reminded myself of what I know to be true, my reaction changed a little. I can honestly say that I am very thankful for the timing of the other position at church, and that we are maintaining our status quo, even if we are not improving our situation much.

This about-face is not to say that I am not still completely bipolar in my reactions (but I’m in good company: think Paul, “the good I want to do I do not do, and the evil I do not want to do I do”). My emotions utterly rebel at the thought of ever having to go through anything hard, at the same time that something deeper within me assents to the good that I know God is working in my life. Reacting in a way that is increasingly more like Jesus does not mean that the normal, human side of me will cease to react at all. Even as I write this, panic again rises within me and I have to remind myself again of what is true: even Jesus asked not to suffer, but His ultimate prayer was for God to do what He wanted. I don’t wish to compare my difficulties to the suffering of Jesus, or what other people endure. Nonetheless, it has been hard recently. I think we trivialize the work that God is doing in our lives when we act like everything is easy and just spout cliches. How much more meaningful to fully admit the struggle within us, the cursing we mentally direct against pain and suffering, and compare it with the slow but inevitable work for good that is wrought within us.

Still, if anybody knows of a job that for some reason wouldn’t mind hiring somebody who’s going to have a baby in 13 weeks, please let me know! Just because I know that hard times are good for me doesn’t mean I’m fatalistic.

in justification of joining the world of blogs

Or is it the blogosphere? Either way, my joining seems a little late in the game. I mean, I had a xanga several years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed the more consistent writing that resulted from the knowledge that people, however few, were reading what I wrote. In the years since, I have halfheartedly committed to re-establishing myself as a writer, but with little to no followup. I’ve been busy. I got married a little over a year and a half ago, moved to a new city, and found myself desperately trying to maintain some semblence of the life I wanted while navigating a new church, no friends, a hellish work schedule, and, to top it all off, writer’s block.

In recent months, I’ve returned to the conviction that, in order for me to be more thoroughly myself, I must write. No more waiting for writer’s block to end, or my life to smooth itself out. Now, while some of the items on the previous list have resolved themselves (we have made friends, and I now have an inconvenient, rather than hellish, work schedule) others have risen to take their places. My husband and I are having a baby, who will arrive on the scene whether we are ready or not in fifteen short weeks. We have no room for said child in our 528 square foot apartment, so we are attempting to buy a house, which is a fun and complicated project. We may move into a different apartment, we may move into a house. We may move in a month, we may move in seven. I may continue to work at my current job post-baby, I may find a different job. In short, lest your eyes glaze over as you read the long list of things that may or may not happen in the next four to 28 weeks and you stop reading, never to return again, my life is increasingly uncertain and up in the air.

A professor of mine often said “To write, you must read.” To his adage, I would add the statement “To write, you must write.” And I’m starting today, for many reasons. I don’t want to lose myself or my ability in the craziness that is life. I also don’t want to forget the craziness, and in years hence look back on a muddled few years, uncertain as to how it all worked out in the end. Uncertainty and insanity notwithstanding, this is my life. It’s exciting and new, and I want to write about it. And while I wish I could say my little black journal is as motivating as actual type on a screen, it’s not. People, even phantom people, reading what I write is motivating.

So that is that. And that’s why I’m blogging now.