That's right...to commemorate the turning on of our phone Donna and I want everyone to call at midnight. Our number is (615) 445-8704.
Write it down in more than one place. You won't want to forget it.
And just as Jeff so famously asked, please don't call if you're a murderer.
Moving right along. We're settled into our cozy third floor apartment in Nashville. Yes, the moving in was tough but this is the kind of thing I was created for. I was, afterall, built like an ox.
We got there Friday. Saturday they brought the little U-haul up. Sunday we tried a church. And didn't like it. We spent a huindred dollars on groceries. That was fun to carry up. Monday we celebrated Memorial day. Of course. Today we came here to Donna's mom's house to get the insurance check.
Tomorrow we'll look for jobs. Tomorrow because only then will they definetly be able to reach us at the number. Where I'm coming from I felt bound by limited options as far as career is concerned. Here, I'm confounded by a multitude of options. I don't feel so confused, but instead excited.
I've had the thought that our apartment isn't ours because it's rented. I've decided, however, that it's ours as long as we want to pay for it. This will not be a problem. We've got a short-term plan to buy a house. But for now, this is our palace and we absolutely love it.
I feel more confident that moving here was a necessary step in getting what we want out of life. That's because being here makes this life so much more obvious. It's like a color-by-numbers picture.
We get good reception on the TV picking up CBS, ABC, PBS, FOX, WB, UPN, Christian Television Network, TBN, and NBCshop. The radio is good too. There is one record store that we remember how to get to. Every time we get there it's just closed...there hours are 12-8 weekdays. Tomorrow, however, we will get the internet. Thus, alleviating our lack of information. The telephone book will arrive in the mailbox this week. That'll help too.
All in all, it's good to be home. Our address is: Chase and Donna Livingston 4501 Packard Drive G-13 Nashville, Tennessee 37211
And again, that phone number is (615) 445-8407. I expect to hear from you. Bye now.
I'm riding to Pensacola with my friend from day camp, Amanda. We're only going for the day, although it isn't totally decided if we will stay the night or not. Next week I'm driving to Graceville, FL on Tuesday night after work, then to Melbourne, FL on Wednesday. On Sunday, I will be driving back to New Orleans. Lots of Willie Nelson will be playing in my head.
Not trusting God will kill you. It's been making me sick this week. When we wrecked I said God saved us. When waiting for the insurance check I forgot how big God is. We had enough money to get to June but the wreck set us back financially. I tried to reason out how we could know the check would arrive in due time. All the major work had been done. That is, they had inspected it and told us what we'd receive. I tried to reason it out to make myself calm, but there was always another "what if?"
What if we weren't supposed to move to Nashville? What if we somehow messed it up? What if some check we forgot about cleared the bank? What if it took months and months for them to issue us the check? What if by some combination of these we met our financial demise... And as a result had to move in with our parents?
Hence, the very reason that reason itself doesn't give peace. Hence, the need for faith.
I suppose any of these things could have happened. Worse things could have happened. But if they had God would have brought us through it. No doubt-I can say that now. That is, now that the check is in the mail. I should have said "no doubt" before. That would have shown faith.
Anyone can cheer for the winning team once the game is over. Why do I wait to praise God? Why do I act as though He has to prove Himself to me? That's dumb.
I hope one day I will learn. If I don't I'm bound to suffer a heart attack and die in my early thirties.
Sorry for my lack of input lately. I am busy moving from Lipsey to Hamilton Hall. I have to move out because they use my place to house people coming here to do Mission Lab during the summer. I start my job tomorrow, so that will make things a little more interesting again. Let's see, anything else new? Nope. Bye.
We leave this morning for Atlanta. My cousin Todd, who was an usher in my wedding, is getting married. Getting out of this house for a couple days will be good for me.
I just finished off the second of two "really hot" sausage biscuits. So hot my eyes burned. I'm sipping on Dr. K (Kroger brand Dr. Pepper). I'm supposed to be getting directions off mapquest and the number to SallieMae.
My lovely wife is sitting behind me. She is just now having her breakfast after getting our stuff together and whatnot. We see who the responsible one is here. I try to posture myself so as to seem almost through and I pretty much am.
I'd hate to try her patience too much. She's just so nice. "Mom" has gone out for physical therapy. We have to get gone before she returns because who wants to say bye twice.
Last night we had to ask her for Ms. Connie's number. We needed to call her because we bought the truck from her and she is holding a check from us but we have yet to get the check from the insurance company. We told "mom" why we needed the number and specifically that I had told Connie to cash it on Friday. She said discouragingly, "Oh no, it'll be 2 or 3 weeks before we get that check."
I hope to God this is not the case. I mean, the adjuster has already seen the car and said how much we'll get. All that's left now is the check writing. I don't know why people have to be downers. Even still we've got enough money to get two or three weeks. I just would rather have more. I like these kind of issues to be settled.
I got in touch with Ms. Connie. She had no problem waiting and just told us to call when we get the money.
Our clothes have dried. Our suitcase is packed. My lovely wife has finished her uneven half of the chores. I need to do mine.
So until next time, miss us.
P.S. Queen's Greatest Hits is the best thing I own on cassette. Since we only have a cassette player we tend to listen to this a lot.
You would think something worth reading would be written with greater ease. That is, not necessarily faster but more naturally. Usually I find this to be the case. Today I've done a lot of backspacing, but I think this will be substantial.
Substance is in the eye of the blog-reader, I suppose. On that note I'll just be writing about my life as of late. No outstanding revelations to be unveiled tonight. Just boring life stuff. Of course, if that's the way you feel why park your browser on a blogspot?
I'll get on with it.
In my last post I asked for an e-mail adding "I miss you." You might think I'm homesick. It's not that really. Finally leaving Graceville makes me more aware of the effort I need to make to maintain long-distance friendships.
As opposed to homesickness, I've been feeling homeless. We lost our car within a day of getting out of our apartment. For about two weeks, until Donna's semester was over, we stayed at Ms. Connie's. She let us use the truck to get around town. She even insisted that we sleep in her room. During that time she occupied a cot in the living room. Ms. Connie is just like a mom to us and in this way there is no arguing with her. As much as I fought it there was no escaping her hospitality. In this way it was exactly like home to us. Except when you're in someone else's house you can't help but not get completely comfortable. That is, "mi casa es su casa" only goes so far. And, unless you're totally uncooth, you can never make yourself completely at home.
For the next 9 days we can be found here at Donna's mom's house. But I want to go home...as in our new place. I'm homesick for it even though I've never lived there. I reckon this is about as logical as marrying an internet girlfriend. It's like they say, when you know you know. I know where I belong. I know my place. I'm ready to get there, get settled and put down roots.
Or something like that.
I want to go home but clicking my heels doesn't get the job done. I'll just have to sit here and watch the clock. I've tried to be a good boy and hang up my clothes but I feel like I've been living out of a laundry basket for some time now. Even in my own apartment. I thank the "nice folks" in charge of Graceland Manor for part of that. When you can't be sure when they'll bust in you can never stay comfortable for long.
Still most of the blame lies with me. I haven't been serious enough about life to make a house a home. I've always kept things feeling temporary. For example, at Books-A-Million I always kept the mindset that I would not be permanently trapped there. Because of this, though I made friends, I tended to think of them as placeholders. They helped me get through the day but held no long-term significance in my mind. That's not fair and it's no way to live.
Fleeing high school to college I fled from unfair characterizations which had been made of me. It was gratifying to escape all that baggage. I soon learned the tragic truth that no matter how hard a person tries to be authentic they'll still be unfairly chracterized and put into a proverbial box. Yes, even at a Christian college. Especially there. I went there feeling like I could trust mostly anyone. I got burned. On multiple occassions. By people I hadn't really done anything to. I was disliked for the same stupid kind of reasons that I hadn't been liked in high school.
It's true: I could be a jerk, I wasn't the best student and I wasn't very faithful about going to church but mostly they didn't have a reason. They just didn't like me. "Didn't like" is an understatement. Despite is more like it. All because of a story they heard from their sister or because they didn't like my jokes or I made a weird face or because my eyes move. Stupid reasons.
I let this kind of thing get the best of me and as a result (to quote a song) "my give a damn was busted". I became apathetic. You should never let yourself do this. As soon as I did the positive effect that I had dwindled. It's more obvious now. Apathy is worse than death. It's the gift that keeps on sucking the life out. I'm going to change this. I'm going to "give a damn."
Or else. Or else I won't be able to stand myself.
Only when I really care will I be able to make myself at home.
On Wednesday night at 12:01 am I will be sitting in a dark theater with my friends waiting for the infamous "Fox Fanfare" to come across the speakers. I am sure the cheers will resound as we see those famous blue words displayed on a huge screen : A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away... It will be a time of jubilation and yet, some sadness as well. This will be the last time I ever get to see a Star Wars movie at the theater.
Those of you who know me, would know all about my devotion to Lucas and his tale of good versus evil. Most of you know how I skipped class in the summer of 1999 to stand in a line to see Episode 1. You know how I used to display my action figure collection on a wall in my bedroom. Some of you may even know that seeing Return of the Jedi at age 5 in 1983 was the moment that made me want to make movies someday. So we all that being said, it would be fair to call me a Star Wars fan.
Now I find myself 20 years post- Return of the Jedi and getting ready for my final Star Wars theatre experince. I have mixed thoughts about it. One one hand I am very excited about finally seeing it, but on the other hand, it will be the last one I ever get to be excited about. Star Wars has essentially been my rite of passage in a way. It helped develop my love of storytelling and imagination. The only Halloween I remember was when I dressed up as Darth Vader and my cousin was Luke Skywalker. I am sure I was quite intimidating in the black suit. I named my first dog Jabba the Hutt. I had the "when you hear this sound, turn the page" books from all the movies.
And then I got older......
Thats when I started buying Star Wars action figures (to replace the ones I lost as a kid).
I don't think alot of people truly understand the mythos of Star Wars. It was not just a change in the way we make movies, but it changed the way we thought about them. It made going to the movies something fun again. It grabbed an entire generation, it paved the way for modern special effects, and it also made us wear kick ass halloween costumes! George Lucas created the modern myth. The tale of Star Wars is our Iliad. It's the adventure stories people will tell their children years from now. Kids will still want to hear stories of the Trojan Horse, they will just also wanna hear how Luke Skywalker rescued Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt. We will read the sad story of Hamlet in high school, but will we discuss the tragic fall of Anakin Skywalker? The point to this, is the fact that the stories Lucas tells us in Star Wars are just as fasinating as the ones our parents grew up with.
So sometime early Thursday morning around 3 or 4 am, I plan on raising a glass and shedding a tear in celebration of my last Star Wars premiere. So with all that being said I hope no one takes offense to my last statement. May the force be with you....always.
Spending half a day on the road leads to a handful of interesting thoughts and revelations.
Aerosmith is the story of 4 guys who refused to get a "decent" haircut well into their sixeties. Savage Garden is the nineties version of Hall and Oates. Both groups sing songs about girls but make you wonder, "Are they gay? Are they gay together?"
Oh. I thought there were more. I guess that was it. Nevermind.
We stopped in Alabaster to take pictures of the crash site and the car. I acted like I was a regular CSI, piecing the evidence together to better understand the anatomy of our near-death experience. Apparently, we traveled about a 1/4 mile from the point that we left the road before the trees stopped us. We found mile marker #236, the post of which we had broken, and took it.
At the wrecker I took the rearview and the gas cap off the car. I asked the guy if he had a syphon hose so I could get the gas and put it in the truck. He said he couldn't let me do that for insurance reasons. I say he intends to take it.
We got here in Jackson at 1-something. Ate at Grandma's with the addition of Keith, Larry and Aunt Ree. Sat and chatted afterward. Ripe theological conversation was aplenty. I had things to input but no energy to put them in. Sometimes saying anything seems futile. That is, I don't get much out of or feel very effective in the way of talking but coming to no conclusions. I had a crick-in-the-neck/oncoming migraine so I told Donna I would walk home. She said she'd drive me. Came to "mom's" house and napped until 9 o'clock. Got up. Ate again. Drank sweet Tea. Played Wheel of Fortune on the computer. Blogged. Went back to sleep.
Justin, remember when we used to sing that Hootie song? That was fun.
Hey, readers, friends, enemies, and the socially inept, how are things? I am well. I finished my last final today, so I am a free man for a week or so. I finish up my last day of tutoring at Marquis De Lafayette School on Thursday. Sort of sad; sort of reliving as well. I'll miss the paycheck and some of my kids. I got a summer job. I'm working a daycamp here on campus called Camp NOBTS. I'll be working with city kids, which are a lot cooler than the home-schooled Christian kids. (Can kids really be cool?) Anyway, I got two grades already, both of which are B's. I'm sort of disappointed. I had a 91.7 in one class. That rounds up to a 92. But a 93 is an A. I guess the fact that I'm paying for grad school makes it more meaningful to me. If I get an A in ethics I'll really be happy though. It is by far the most challenging. I need to find a second job this summer, so I can make a little extra dough. Maybe...
Today's a long story short kind of day. However, I don't feel like shortening the story I had started in the last post. What I will do is brief you on the main points.
We're okay The car is at the wrecker's We're waiting on the adjuster to check it out As far as we can tell, it will be totalled Thus, we will receive a check for around $7,555 This is the official blue book value With this money we plan to get a used car and pay down on our debt Because of the circumstances we resceduled our move-in for the 27th However, due to the inconsiderate and pushy we'll be picked up this Friday This means we will stay in Jackson for 12 days I may die Or be convicted of murder We'll see.
I got my first piece of mail today as a business. It said "Justin McLeod, Easy Living Productions". It was a stupid advertisment trying to convince me to get business credit card, but yet somehow it made me feel legit all the same. As of May 7th 2005 Easy Living Productions has opened it's doors for business. It's the beginning of a dream that started a long time ago, in a small town far far away. It's a small Neil Armstrong step that will hopefully make a giant leap into the world of digital filmmaking. Right now, we are focused on developing a few short films, and trying to get into filming weddings, bar mitzvas, concerts,ect. Basically anything you would wanted filmed, we can do. And we can make it look like a movie. In July there will be an official website, and me running all over the state of Florida doing some advertising and promotion. So there will be big things in the works. We also plan to hopefully shoot our first feature film in 2006 and hit the film festivals. So please keep us in your thoughts as we venture to push independant digital filmmaking in Florida. And please remember us if you need something filmed. Theres not anything we cannot do,at least not yet.
Today, I paid $2.03 for gas. I was happy. My $3.38 got me a whopping amount of nearly two gallons. As I was driving to work, I saw gas at another station for $1.99 and I kicked myself. Yes, I am that poor to be so picky.
Please pray for my Dad. I called my Mom tonight and found out he's in the hospital. He has Diverticulitis of the colon and they are trying to drain it or something so they won't have to do surgery. He was admitted on Wednesday. Just pray for him and my Mom because I know she's stressed. Thank ya.
I got my ethics midterm back and I got a 95. I was excited. Here is an example of the questions. There were 5 essay questions and each answer had to be no more than 2 pages single space. Most questions took 2 pages to answer. This was question 2 and my response:
Explain to a moral skeptic your justification for a "fractured" use of the Old Testament law. In making your case, describe the types of commands you might encounter in the Old Testament and explain why and how these commands are or are not still morally applicable as they are given in the Old Testament Law. Use Scripture in justifying your answer.
In so much as making claims about the Bible's inerrancy and inspiration, one might see Scripture as being inconsistent in its teaching about certain moral quandaries. Those irregularities affecting one's ability to see a solid moral reliability can be eased by applying proper hermeneutical study to those verses that seem to say one thing, but are not practiced principally. For example, defrauding other people (Lev. 19:13), homosexuality (Lev. 18:22), and tattooing (Lev. 19:28) are all forbidden in the Old Testament. Yet, planting two kinds of seeds in your field (Lev. 19:19b), wearing clothing made with two kinds of material (Lev. 19:19c), and eating meat with blood still in it (Lev. 19:26) are also prohibited in the Old Testament, but are still practiced today. Where is the appropriate line drawn?
It might seem conflicting to uphold the former examples and disregard the latter in the above paragraph, but there is a reason for this. A "fractured" use of the Old Testament, or only fulfilling part of the Law, is proper in that it is not simply ignoring those verses that seem trivial and participating in the ones that Christians view as important (though to a skeptic, it may seem to be this way). Christianity recognizes the notion that they are no longer under the Law, but under grace because of the sacrifice that Christ made on behalf of them. Man no longer had to make sacrifices for his transgression. Jesus' death was the atonement for all of humanity's sins (1 Jn. 2:2). "For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace" (Ro. 6:14). For the Christian, his or her duty is to follow the example of Christ. A moral doubter still might question the fractured use of the Old Testament and not be able to see how Christians can justify keeping only some of the Law. It is here that the Law is examined and the task is see where the differences lie.
One of the problems with interpretation is, a lot of different people read the Bible in a lot of different ways. However, if Christians would teach proper hermeneutical (the way we read and interpret the Bible) methods, than the skeptic might begin to see a consistency in the Scriptures. First, the Bible is a collection of sixty-six books that speak of doctrine, moral commands, and narratives. When reading the Bible, one must decide if that particular book being read is describing people's behavior or prescribing the behavior for those whom read it. The hermeneutical approach will alleviate the complications that come from not knowing much of the author's original intent for that book.
Now, looking through the Old Testament, it appears to be a vast amount of rules and commands. But were those instructions simply for the Israelites or are they still applicable today? It is apparent that much of the debate for a fractured use revolves around the Christian's intent to moralize some commands and pay no mind to others, but this is not the case. A true follower of Jesus does not want to do anything except follow Christ. He or she does not have to fulfill the Law; the Christian just wants to find what behavior is acceptable to God. When reading through the Old Testament though, one can seemingly see several discrepancies about how man and woman are supposed to live. When examined under hermeneutical guidelines, those incongruities fade away.
It is already been said that knowing the author's intent for either stipulating law or illustrating the law is important. A reader must discern between what is cultural and permanent. However, we can go one step deeper and look at this civil law and see what verses are actually mandating law and which verses were specific to the Israelites. Generally speaking, the Old Testament is for the Israelites. That does not mean, however, that we are not to follow the same rules they had to or that modern Christians cannot gleam truth from the Law. Throughout the Old Testament, like the New Testament, there are descriptions of different types of writing. Doctrine is derived from the Decalogue (Ten Commandments). The Pentateuch gives Christians commands for moral living (Leviticus). The historical narratives (Joshua, Judges, etc) tell of God's people and their leadership. Sometimes there are commands for contemporary Christianity and sometimes there are not. In the Law genre, the commands can be broke down into three categories: Apodictic law, Casuistic law, and Ceremonial law. Apodictic or moral law is usually a relevant application for all Christians (Ex. 20:2-17). Casuistic or case law derives the legality of a specific case and gives consequences for it depending on which rules it falls under (Ex. 21-23). Ceremonial law directs the Israelites to their relationship with God because this is how other nations identify them with Yahweh (Lev. 20-21). Knowing what types of laws there are will help a moral skeptic see a justified reason for a fractured use of the Old Testament. But how can one study and know what verses represent which law?
Because Christians have the Bible today, it is much easier to discern between laws of the Old Testament. The addition of the New Testament is a huge advantage for Christendom. The first century Christians only had the Torah, so believers now can benefit from the whole Bible to find a clearer understanding of God's interaction with the world. When reading the Old Testament, there are several things one must keep in mind. First, we must try to see the Old Testament in light of the New Testament because we are under grace. When the Old Testament prescribes a behavior and the New Testament also affirms the advisement, Christians ought to pay attention and uphold the moral law (homosexuality). Next, when rules and commands of the Old Testament are contrary to the New Testament, the New Testament takes priority (circumcision). Lastly, when Law teachings are neither opposing nor agreeing in the New Testament, a Christian should see them in the context of the whole biblical lesson. By observing a proper examination of the Old Testament, the moral skeptic can see why a fractured usage of the Old Testament is necessary in trying to figure out what is commanded for Christians.
So, I just got some pretty good news. I don't know if I mentioned this before, my friend Jordan and I are now liscenced by the state of florida security officers. Here is the exciting part Jordan's grandfather has told us he will bankroll us to start our own company. We were thinking the name, "Homeland Security". No, maybe not, I think I may have heard that used somewhere before. In all seriousness, he told us he would cover insurance costs, payroll, rent, everything to get us started. And from what I hear he doesn't want any of our profits back! This is one of the first times in a long time it seems like God is saying "Look Michael! A Door! Go! Hurry! You like doors, don't you?". I'm not exactly counting on this becuase it seems to good to be true. But if it works out, that will be incredible! It's an actual career. I work for a while, get my bearings, get the money and the height needed in the office to where they don't actually need me there, since I will be one of the owner\partners, and being able to afford film school. The reasons this idea has promise, is because Mr. Hopkins owns a company as well. This company does inventory for other company's. He has been doing this for a long time. Because of this he knows alot of big whigs, and he says he can get us accounts. Now, with us hunting for accounts, and his almost assuredly being able to get us accounts, this is happy making. Thank you, Lord for giving me this opportunity, I pray I will do with it what you want me to.....
I have a wellness class this semester. It causes me to have to try to eat healthy, exercise and concern myself with total wellness (physically, socially, spiritually, and vocationally). Although the professor has annoyed me repeatedly, she has taught me quite a bit about health. I have had to get a minor physical periodically throughout the semester to check my weight, blood pressure, and fluctuation in heart rate. Well today, my blood pressure was remarkably low (tends to be a little high). The most significant thing is that I weighed in at 199 pounds. This is important to me because I haven't weighed under 200 since my first semester of college. It was quite an uplifting experience. Now, if I can just loose a little more, I'll be hot.
Sometimes I like to tell long stories. Sometimes I like to get to the point. Welcome to that rare occassion.
We almost died.
Well, as detailed in my last post our plan was to deliver a carload of our stuff to D0nna's mom's house in Jackson. After a good night's rest we got up at 4 and promptly left. Past Montgomery we were faced with seriously inclement weather.
The combination of rain and wind was blinding. It was darker than night. The only thing that could be seen was the tail lights directly in front. There was no place to pull off and we couldn't find a single weather alert on the radio.
It seemed the only thing to do was take it easy.
Despite the storm it seemed we were making great time. We anticipated an early afternoon arrival. Besides, as we had been figuring, the second "half" of our trip (the part from Birmingham to Jackson) was shorter.
We just had to get to Birmingham. Then we'd be home free. So I couldn't help but ask every fifteen minutes how far we had to go. At that point the weather was really slowing our progress. Fifteen minutes felt like an hour. It started to seem like we'd never make it to Birmingham.
And we didn't.
Over in the passenger seat, I had been nodding off. Uncontrollably. My head fell forcefully toward my lap. I pulled it up again, but this kept on nonetheless. This process had been going on for several minutes. Donna, though tired, did not struggle in the same way. Her head did not bob. Her eyes did not close.
But then they did.
Such weather has a hypnotic or trancelike effect. I blame the rain. It put us to sleep. It was a mere span of seconds that she slept. It only takes a few seconds, but sleep isn't what nearly killed us. Hydroplaning is. We would have hydroplaned even if we had been awake.
Apparently, we straddled the edge of the road for a short distance because we took out several plastic real estate signs. We hit a mile marker. That woke Donna. She grabbed my arm and screamed. That's when I woke up.
I heard her long cry of death and a terrible rumbling from underneath the car. I watched as we went down a hill, up another, and tore passed a few trees. I felt certain of death but grateful to have been alive. All I knew to do was comfort Donna.
We hit a tree head on. The engine stopped on impact. We were okay. We got out of the car. I reached back in and got our shoes.
By now the rain had stopped entirely. The sun was out. She was scared stiff and blaming herself. I was so thrilled that we had been spared I couldn't help but laugh. I sought to calm her. We got our shoes on and imagined we'd have to walk down the highway.
We didn't end up having to walk. The policemen got there. But then, that's a whole other story.
Sorry for my lack of input recently. I'm still trying to finish up my first semester of graduate school here at NOBTS. A lot of personal stuff has been going on in my life. I'm thinking a lot, specifically, and then have been sorting those thoughts out on paper. Today I realized how important good company is. I called one of the credit card companies that I deal with on a regular basis because of my previous stupidity. I started explaining my situation to the lady and found myself admitting and telling her a lot of my problems. Then I was rambling on about other stuff that really didn't pertain to our conversation. She sounded sympathetic, but was probably thinking, "Why the hell is this guy telling me all this stuff?" I wonder myself...