Bob Vila Ain’t Got Nothin’ on Me, or: Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Last week I decided to redo my parents’ kitchen floor myself. They just had the counters and cabinets redone, and I thought I could do the floor and save them time and money, and just get the whole kitchen knocked out instead of doing it in phases. It took me about four days to finally get all the old tile up (one layer of old peel-and-stick squares, and one layer of sheet vinyl with a backing) and get to the original tile underneath. The reason we left that there is because of asbestos concerns, but I have a suspicion that the sheet vinyl I tore up had an asbestos backing on it. If I get mesothelioma in about twenty years, that’s why. Anyway, after finally getting that backing off the floor using some kind of awful, skin-burning chemical stripper, my dad and I finally started to put the new peel-and-stick tile down on Sunday. It looks good and I’m proud of doing most of it by myself. Experience in home rehab is nice to have.

School started this week and it’s going well so far. I’m excited about my classes and being able to help one of the professors this year in a teaching assistant position. It’s a lot of grading and other paperwork, but I think I’ll like it.

I’m going to leave you with this benediction given by Donald Miller last night at the Democrat National Convention. I was watching the coverage on PBS, and they cut to some talking heads before Miller got on stage, so I didn’t actually get to see it, but I was able to find the text today and I think it’s a very good picture of how faith can coexist with all the other interests in this country today, and specifically politics (on a side note, supposedly they asked Cameron Strang, head of Relevant Media Group, to do the prayer first but he turned it down. I can understand his position as a public figure who does not want to tell his followers who to vote for; maybe guys like James Dobson could learn from that.). I think this is a prayer worth praying ourselves, and keeping in our thoughts as we move through this strange and wonderful life:

“Father God,

This week, as the world looks on, help the leaders in this room create a civil dialogue about our future.

We need you, God, as individuals and also as a nation.

We need you to protect us from our enemies, but also from ourselves, because we are easily tempted toward apathy.

Give us a passion to advance opportunities for the least of these, for widows and orphans, for single moms and children whose fathers have left.

Give us the eyes to see them, and the ears to hear them, and hands willing to serve them.

Help us serve people, not just causes. And stand up to specific injustices rather than vague notions.

Give those in this room who have power, along with those who will meet next week, the courage to work together to finally provide health care to those who don’t have any, and a living wage so families can thrive rather than struggle.

Hep us figure out how to pay teachers what they deserve and give children an equal opportunity to get a college education.

Help us figure out the balance between economic opportunity and corporate gluttony.

We have tried to solve these problems ourselves but they are still there. We need your help.

Father, will you restore our moral standing in the world.

A lot of people don’t like us but that’s because they don’t know the heart of the average American.

Will you give us favor and forgiveness, along with our allies around the world.

Help us be an example of humility and strength once again.

Lastly, father, unify us.

Even in our diversity help us see how much we have in common.

And unify us not just in our ideas and in our sentiments—but in our actions, as we look around and figure out something we can do to help create an America even greater than the one we have come to cherish.

God we know that you are good.

Thank you for blessing us in so many ways as Americans.

I make these requests in the name of your son, Jesus, who gave his own life against the forces of injustice.

Let Him be our example.


Be good to people, guys.


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