Pretty little houses… [from Girl Reupholstered]
March 29, 2010

I’ve re-posted the following from my wife’s blog, She has a beautiful way of saying things about our life that I tend to complicate, and I thought this summarizes our past few years quite well…

I was making offer packets the other day at work, so it was the perfect time for my mind to wander.  My coworker and I discussed weekend plans and she told me she was going to get out in her yard.  I thought about all the hard work Dave and I put into the front yard of our first house.  The house had been a foreclosure (before the housing marketing tanked) and it had absolutely no curb appeal.


First, we installed a new door.  Then, we paid for a landscape design and, to save $$, we decided to do all the work ourselves.  We spent 5 3-day weekends working on it (well, I did 3 3-day weekends and told Dave that if he wanted clean underwear, he was going the rest of the way ALONE – I was so over the dirt.) It turned out beautiful.  Our house went from being the eyesore of the street to one of the nicest houses – from the outside.


We lived in that house for 4 years.  We didn’t do much work on the inside except for stripping some wallpaper, doing some painting and changing a few fixtures.  It was a huge house – 2500 square feet 2-story for 2 people and 2 cats.  We added one small weenie dog toward the end, but it was waay too much space.  It was pretty empty and not a lot on the walls. Towards the end, we hardly ever went upstairs.  It was wasted space.

Dave and I went through a pretty major life shift during our stay in that home.  I realized that home represented a life that I thought I should be living – but it was a life I never wanted to live.  From the outside, we looked like we had it all.  Dave made good $$ in sales; I had the ultimate job for a Christian – working on a church staff; and we had this big lovely house.  We were young and hip as well, which made it all the better.

The first thing we did was to get rid of the jobs.  Being on a church staff is not all it’s cracked up to be.  Particularly when you never really have bought into the politics or even the message. And Dave discovered that making bookoo bucks doesn’t matter either. The next thing was to sell the house.  We also sold most of the stuff in it, too.  I remember, when it was completely empty, I wasn’t sad at all.  I was relieved. No longer was I living in someone else’s house – living somebody else’s American dream.

The house we currently own is nothing like that house.  It’s a rancher and 1000 square feet less. The cats are gone – we got another weenie dog to keep the other company. And we’ve done no work on the outside of the house.  Except for paint the front door and pull out the hedges in the entryway – it was beginning to feel like walking through a labyrinth getting to the front door.  I would be remiss if I wasn’t completely truthful.  In the 2 years we’ve lived here, all the work has been on inside.  It’s truly a reflection of us and our journey.

Mi Casa…

I think our houses are perfect representations of how we live.  We tried to convince others that we had it together – that we were successful, happy, and blessed.  But we were empty on the inside.  Sure, we did a little bit of work.  Stripped some of the bad away and covered up other areas with paint.  But we sure looked good on the outside.

Now, we kinda don’t give a shit about what people think about the outside appearance.  But, on the inside, there’s been a major overhaul.  Walls knocked down and rebuilt, floors torn up, carpet stripped and new flooring installed. Most of the furniture and accessories have been given to us or we purchased second-hand.  There are a few new pieces.  And that’s who we are today.  We focus working on the inside.  Eventually, we’ll get to the outside. It’s bound to happen.

How do your surroundings reflect your life?  Inner and Outer?  Just something to think about.

Three Lives, Part 1: David Gentiles
December 31, 2009

David Gentiles: Mentor to many, friend to all.

I’ve been reaching for hugs lately. Tonight hundreds of us commemorated the life of David Gentiles, who for me was a father figure, mentor, pastor, and good friend. David always met everyone, including me, with a warm glow. Open arms, open heart, a smile, sparkling eyes. He opened his arms and accepted everyone. But he not only opened his arms, he wrapped them around you. Warmed you with a sincere hug that made sure you got the point: He loved you. Since he passed on Dec. 18th, I definitely feel a little        space        he left        blank        with his absence. I don’t have him to welcome and encourage me anymore. But I still need someone to do that for me. And tonight I felt him in the tight, sustained hugs I shared with a few friends in my faith community. We are all trying to pick up where he left off, sharing the morsels of love that he apparently felt were divine gifts to him to pay forward.

So I don’t claim to know the characteristics of God, but if the spirit of David Gentiles is any indication, God must love us all, even if we don’t believe in him. Thank you, David, for being a reflection of a divine acceptance. (This post by Donald Miller, which details Don’s eulogy during the service, says more about David’s character.)

David’s part in my life represents the latest phase of my spiritual journey, a time when I have given up playing religious games and started to open up, in raw honesty, about my doubts. Since giving up in what has been for me the game of faith, oddly enough, I feel like I have caught clearer glimpses of what God might be like, or at least glimpses of the type of entity that he/she/it is — Good. I thank David Gentiles for radiating that invisible goodness. I may not be able to scientifically prove it, but I know it’s powerful…and it’s good.


I was planning to save this write-up about David for the last part of this short, three-part series of posts, but I couldn’t wait, especially after tonight’s beautiful experience. So, oh well, I screwed that up.

Anyway, I will be writing two more posts about people who served as markers in my spiritual journey, and who died recently, fading out with 2009. So stay tuned.