Wednesday, May 27, 2009

On Garage Sales

You either love them or hate them. In giving one, I think I now do both. I love going to garage sales, and I enjoy the selling part, but I absolutely hate preparing for it. I don't like figuring out prices, I don't like sorting through things I am getting rid of, and I don't like moving things to a new location (which was a requirement because of where we live). I only like the day of the garage sale, so long as it is good weather unlike the iffy weather we had, though it wasn't too hot. I guess overall, it turned out well.

I can see how there is a technique and skill to this all-American activity. People ca
n become very good at buying at garage sales and very good at giving them. In fact, these "pros" often have nice homes and do not struggle with money as some critics believe. There is a persistent view among non-garage sale shoppers that these events are frequented by poor pack-rats who buy junk that litters their yards. This is not true. In fact the truth is quite the opposite. The major spenders tend to be well-dressed, purposeful individuals seeking specific items of value. My mom once went to a woman's house whose husband had a six digit salary and exclaimed over the beauty she saw. The house was filled with rose patterned collectibles and finely crafted antiques. The house was quite luxurious, at the same time tasteful and comfortable. The woman told my mom she bought everything at either garage sales or estate auctions. She didn't buy a single thing new.

These "pro" garage sale shoppers are the ones who check the newspaper on Friday
and hit the garage sales right when they are supposed to start. They have a plan and a budget. They will look carefully through piles of stuff for treasures and some, mostly of Hispanic decent, will haggle for an even better deal (I can say this since I am part Hispanic).

The "hagglers" can and did drive some people crazy, but I find it interesting. Who cares if I marked something too high, these people will get a great deal no matter what, and at the same time I get rid of stuff and make a little money. I also like the game of haggling. It, from my side, is seeing how much can I charge someone before they walk away, while they are thinking, "What combination of items can I purchase to get the lowest price and best deal?" Some of the hagglers were very good and I was in awe of their creativity and guts. I felt like I had a lot to learn about haggling. Perhaps if we get a chance to go to a country in which that is the norm, I will be able to hold my own.

Now these "pro" garage sale shoppers and "hagglers" are not the only kind of people which frequent these events. Some of these other people I will call the "scammers". These people try to get thing for free, steal, or exchange money until you are paying them. They make garage sales a dangerous enterprise financially. These are not enjoyable except when you can squash their attempt in swindling you. Somehow defeating an enemy does give some satisfaction. We luckily had almost none of these at our garage sale
. In Florida, I remember having a fair share of problems with them.

In general, though, most people are just "browsers." I have always fit into this category. I tend to show up at a garage sale because I was driving by. Then, I only buy something if it is something I have been wanting for a while or it is next to free. I and my family have bought quite a few things this way. I have bought some of my favorite (and nicest) clothes at garage sales. My high school bedroom set was purchased at a garage sale, and I even acquired a Christmas tree at one of these events.

The thing that everyone has to be aware of with garage sales or any kind of shopping is the tendency to buy something just because it is cheap or on sale. When I got home after the garage sale, I experienced a strange sense of relief to get rid of things. This relief was profound because I didn't realize how much time it had required to maintain everything. The cleaning, organizing, and fixing of items takes up so much of our lives. We buy junk just because we want more junk. People bought the strangest mixture of junk from the garage sale. Things that I thought were nice did not sell, and things that were next to trash did sell. Why? I really don't know, but I was
glad it was gone.

I think that I am going to conform after our time in Scotland and become a "pro" garage sale shopper. I looked over the collection of things I was selling and saw how little things were going for even though they were nearly brand new or very nice, and I wondered why I bothered to buy some of these things new at all. Bookshelves and some furniture really seem silly to buy new. Designer clothes and and kitchen ware also seemed to be ideal items to buy at a garage sale. Even books and decorative pieces can cost as low as a tenth of its original price. You only need to be willing to work and dig and haggle to find valuable treasure and barely-used designer items.

When we finally settle down after Kerry gets his PhD, I am going to refurnish our house with barely-used garage sale treasures and underpriced country-styled antiques. This way I might have beautiful things I never could have afforded new and maybe even rare items not made anymore. Who knows?

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Preview of Domestication

From Tuesday to Thursday I experienced life from the driver's seat of a minivan. For reasons which I will explain below, we were in a Toyota Sienna (I'm not sure of the year, but it was pretty recent, I think 2007ish). Now first of all let me say that I was happy just to have a vehicle, but there were connotations that went with minivans in my mind. Connected with minivans were categories like soccer moms, suburbia, picket-fences, middle-age, no acceleration - in short, domestication. Minivans didn't have horsepower, they had ox-power. Minivans could often be traced as the chronological predecessor to the sports-car; they were the vehicular cause of the mid-life crisis.

So it was with a bizarrely mixed sense of profound appreciation for having a vehicle, excitement at the prospect of driving a new vehicle, and suppressed chagrin that the vehicle was so tame that I stepped behind the wheel of a minivan. Immediately, the chagrin went away. The blast of the air conditioner was insanely refreshing. My own car has been without an air conditioner this entire year, so Lara and I had gotten used to having the sun-roof open and the windows down. Also, Tuesday morning I had already walked a few miles in the increasingly hot day. Now I was chillin' like a villain in a meat locker. I could feel the sweat on my neck solidifying.

Then I pulled onto the road and joined the flow of traffic, cautiously at first, since this was not my vehicle. But gradually I began to test the minivan and found that it actually performed better than I had expected it to. The dashboard was a great deal more complicated than that of my 2000 Honda Civic, and I only barely kept myself from trying out the buttons before I got home. Once I got there, however, I discovered that the side doors were automatic! Shazam! Lara and I became very skilled at finding reasons why we needed to open those doors.

Seriously, though, the minivan was very convenient at a time when we really needed some encouragement. On Monday night I posted a blog that identified three ways in which I felt we were being challenged spiritually: our car, money, and Lara's mom's health. Tuesday, I started my car and discovered that it was spewing oil. Three seals on the back of the engine had busted at the same time. I asked the mechanics about this and they said that this sort of thing rarely happened. It cost us several hundred dollars to fix. Finally, while I was in Tyler dealing with the car, Lara got a call that the biopsy analysis on the mass taken from her mom's brain had revealed that the mass was a type 4 brain cancer - the most malignant sort. Needless to say, it was a difficult day, and one in which I questioned whether I had been foolhardy to post the Monday's blog.

My conclusion though is this: the combination of circumstances are too perfect for me to accept as mere coincidence. I know that this may be naive, but I am choosing to be naive and trust in the description of reality I see in the Bible until God is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to have failed. And in the midst of difficulties, I want to proclaim how wonderful he is being to supply us a rather fun experience in driving a minivan with automatic side doors, stowable rear seats, nice AC, a thermometer and MPG readout, comfortable electric seats, and plenty of room to bring our gear with us for two days. So despite the crazy stress of this week, it has actually been a week of blessing. Therefore, if there is an intelligent spiritual opposition out there, consider this a thumbed nose in your general direction.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Nuts and Bolts - Lara

I want to let everyone out there know the nuts and bolts of our preparation for the trip. We have spent most of May separating, sorting, and selling stuff. This has been in an attempt to raise the $13,000 we need in a savings account for our student visas. This does not include air fare, fees, deposit on our flat, or any transition time, but after we have our visas, we can use some of the money for that (assuming it isn't a loan). So far we have less than a fifth of that raised. We are going to borrow the rest from a couple who will charge us no interest so we can get the visas. Then, we plan on giving the money right back. We are hoping to raise the rest of what we need soon so that we can pay them back early.

We had a garage sale this last Saturday (5/23), and sold a lot, including much of the furniture we were trying to get rid of. We have practically moved into our master bedroom, because that is where most of the furniture we kept is left. We are going to try to sell our car and the borrow my father's truck until September, but that won't bring us any cash. We owe too much still, but perhaps we can save the payments we had been making. We are also talking to a realtor about either renting our house out or selling it. Either way we are going to need an agent to deal with it.

I have also been working on finding a graphic design job with some sort of publisher in Edinburgh. I have spent time researching companies and preparing my resume, or what they call a CV. I do have my resume on, and I am searching for some hiring agencies as well. I would really like to get a good paying job near to where Kerry is attending school. So many marriages suffer during a doctoral program because of the hardship in balancing time. My work and his research need to be as much at the same time as possible so that we can spend time together. If I have to commute far, then that will take up potential time. I expect Kerry's schedule to be very sporadic and full, so we will have to be attentive to our spare time.

We will not be buying a car in Edinburgh since everything we have read talks of how the city is easy to walk around. Also the UK is known for its great mass transit systems: inexpensive buses and trains. We also understand that flights to continental Europe are relatively cheap and offer a great holiday option.

We have also completed the application for housing with the University and are waiting to see what the may offer. As I understand, the apartments (what they call flats) are often very small and usually furnished in the UK. This will minimize what we need to bring. At first we are considering just bringing what we can carry on the plane and shipping Kerry's computer. After Athena has been through her six month "quarantine" at my parents' house (required by the UK), we will be bringing her as well. This has also been a consideration in finding housing.

As we have been considering issues about our life there, we wondered about things such as international phone calls. We were advised to look at "Skype" as an option. We have also wondered about tax laws (income tax, council tax, TV tax), local churches, community events, festivals, and trying to create contacts and friendships there before we go. Pretty much everything is about research right now. We have even looked at some guide books and maps to get a clearer picture, but they have not helped as much as people we have talked to and resources on the Internet. Most guide books don't tell you much about day-to-day life.

It may seem like we have done a lot, but there is still much to do. We have not gone through the visa application process yet, which will require a visit to their office in Dallas to get biometric information and passport sized photos. We need to figure out how much luggage we can take, acquire it, and figure out what will fit. Kerry is continuing to prepare for the actual degree and matriculation process. We need to finalize both housing and job situations. We need to buy plane tickets, sell the cats, get the dog micro-chipped and blood tested, put stuff in storage or give to family members, and then hop on a plane and go to Scotland.

So are you overwhelmed yet? We have been, especially with all the other distractions and worries of this month. I had not thought about how life-altering this kind of move is, but I would still have it no other way. So post any advice or suggestions, we can use it. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Friendship and Faith - Lara

When Kerry and I wanted to do this blog, I did not think I would write very much for it. I am a natural journaler, but a blog is so public that I wasn't sure I would have anything to say publicly. It turns out that I have plenty. I have come to realize how important a community of friends are in preparing for our trip to Scotland.

I often like to think of myself as not needing help from anyone in my pride, but as the last blog showed, that was squashed pretty quickly and it continues to get squashed. I have never experienced so much in so little time. From difficulty raising money to my mom's brain tumor removal to our car breaking down and in the shop, I have felt like the American soldiers bombarded in the woods of Germany as portrayed in Ken Burns' World War II documentary. I have come to see what the important things of life are, and because of that we press on more determined than ever. It is what God has told us to do and what all our friends and family advise us to do. The result is I must give up figuring things out and just follow the light ahead with the faith of a child who doesn't know where daddy is leading, but knows everything will be OK in the end.

As the whirlwind of life has swept away the plans and lists I had created in my own power and as I gave the ashes from the fire that it caused to God, a beautiful phoenix has emerged. This time of trial has not been all dark; God has come to the rescue as well. God could have come to the rescue through unknown people, or the lottery, or even some sort of tax error, but instead he used friendships. The community around my mom has supported her and prayed for her as she is making a miraculous recovery from her surgery. While I was with her unable to accomplish anything concerning the move, friends have carried the vision of going to Scotland for us. Friends have helped us in planning and carrying out a garage sale. We have even been able to make our deadline for the student visa because of friends. No one person is giving us the whole amount for our visas, but the combination of so many people whom we care about and who care for us are making it seem possible. Each one is doing as much as they can: as it talks about in Acts 3 and in I John 4, the love of God is shown through his church. Not the building, or a church service, or an organization, but just people who, on their own conviction, saw a need and heard God's voice to answer it. People have given before we could ask for it. Some gave us money, other helped us with fund raisers, even more just bought the things I sold as an act of kindness. One couple even gave us an interest free loan to help us have more time to raise money without concern for the deadline. Not only that, some friends gave us advice, pictures, contacts, and information that was essential to continuing on in our preparations.

We are continuing to let people know our situation and asking for support, but so much has happened before we could even ask that it is overwhelming. The friends that have surrounded us and come to the rescue have done so in ways that blow my mind. Could Spiritual warfare be seen any clearer? I expected this blog to be about cute little stories of messing up Scottish idioms or having funny cultural experiences, but instead this is becoming a blog about God taking over some foolish twenty-somethings' lives and doing whatever he wants with them. I can bemoan our misfortunes, but instead I have learned to humble myself and ask for help from those God has equipped to do this work. I guess that is how a "body" of believers works.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Opposition and rescue - Kerry

I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonders.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
My enemies turn back;
they stumble and perish before you.
Psalm 9:1-3 (NIV)

The LORD is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him,
but with an overwhelming flood
he will make an end of Nineveh;
he will pursue his foes into darkness.
Nahum 1:7-8 (NIV)

Ever since I received the acceptance letter from Edinburgh, there has been circumstantial resistance. A sampling of the more significant problems we have faced in just a few weeks include:

1.)We discovered that UK immigration had made changes just a few days before which made it substantially more expensive to get a student visa;
2.)An old debt came due which threatened to empty out our meager savings;
3.)Lara's mother discovered that she had a brain tumor;
4.)I discovered that my grandfather was in very poor health in the hospital.

Much of the financial burden came about after we had determined that the righteous thing to do was to tithe on all income related to the move (whether gifts or sale of our possessions or whatever). The amount of money we needed to have on hand just to apply for the student visa was staggering: $13,000, and our savings until then were $12,000 short. We had thought that perhaps we might have some resources to draw on to acquire some of that amount, but every resource we thought was a sure thing turned out to be worth functionally zero. By the time Friday, May 8 came around, Lara and I were emptied of both ideas and emotional energy. Then came even worse news: Lara's mom had a mass on her brain and was going into the hospital. Finally, as if to rub salt in an open wound, last Friday something (maybe a tiny spaceship) hit our windshield and cracked it significantly, irreparably, requiring it to be replaced. This circumstantial resistance was too coordinated for me to attribute it to mere coincidence. At the same time, I am not self-centered enough to think our spiritual enemy is going to manipulate British immigration reform just to thwart my education. That would be bordering on psychotic.

In the typically Semitic wording of Revelation when speaking of spiritual forces antagonistic to the righteous, it was given to the enemy that he should thwart us. That passive voice is a circumlocution which really indicates the activity and will of God himself. The enemy can do nothing unless God allows it, and he only allows it for a time (“time, times, and half a time” being equal to 3.5, which is half of a complete seven, indicating temporariness). Where the enemy is allowed to attack, he does so with venomous wrath, knowing his time is short, but the attack's true purpose is to give God an opportunity to be glorified.

The image that formed in my mind was that it was like we were in tall grass, with enemies hidden all around us, waiting for an opportune time to ambush us. The call to attack came when I received my acceptance letter, and suddenly we were overwhelmed by the attack of the enemy. But the cool thing is that when it seemed we were going to be washed away by the onslaught of the enemy, God came in like a flood, pushing ahead toward the goal that he had set for us. The door was open, and no man or spirit or set of circumstances could shut it.

The very day we sent out a payment for the old debt, a friend promised to give us an amount exactly equal to it, without knowledge of the debt. Two days later, another couple, after being prompted in prayer, promised us the use of an unreal amount of money so that we could be assured of getting the student visa. Two days after that, Lara's mother's surgery went well, the tumor giving no indication so far of being life threatening (we're still waiting for more data on that, but I am confident that God is faithful). And the windshield replacement was something we probably needed to do anyway if we are going to sell the car, since there was another, but less severe, crack in it before the kamikaze spaceship busted it.

This utter helplessness and total dependence on God is somewhat new to me. I've been in what seemed to be dire circumstances before, but it appears to me that my powerlessness is starker, more obvious, more severe than at any other time in my life. I'm stoked! I think I better understand George Müller, who prayed that God would use him and his life to be an example of God's faithfulness, and that prayer was certainly answered. Living by faith is like a ride at a theme park. Roller coasters feel dangerous, but the seat belts and safety checks in place make the ride acceptably safe. But if roller coaster safety is “certain”, how much more certain is God's provision, who controls all circumstances and knows all things.

For those who read this, please keep Lara's mother and my grandfather in prayer.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Subject of Study - Kerry

So you're wondering, why are they going to Edinburgh? What is Kerry studying? I am going to attempt in this entry to give you an introduction to what I will be studying and why. I have long been concerned with the lack of familiarity with the Old Testament which is characteristic of the average Christian. This is what originally led me to consider focusing in the Hebrew Bible. I am convinced that the New Testament is only partially comprehensible unless it is studied within the context of the religious history of the Hebrews. This is because the New Testament writers saw their experience with the risen Christ as being the culmination of that very religious history. Christ is the fulfillment. The question many Christians appear to be unequipped to answer is: of what is He the fulfillment?

More specifically, the New Testament reality of the Holy Spirit is almost exclusively studied as a New Testament discipline, with hardly more than a passing glance in the direction of the Hebrew Bible wherein the Holy Spirit expectation originated. Scholars and pastors excuse this neglect with the oft repeated (but wholly false) observation that there is not really that much about the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. But on the day of Pentecost, Peter's understanding of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was not that this was an essentially new phenomenon, but rather that is was the fulfillment of Israelite hopes as found particularly in the prophet Joel (though one can find similar thoughts in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, among other places). In other words, there was an already existing category by which this new experience of outpouring on all flesh was understood.

This category, however, has been overlooked by most of the important scholarly work in the area of pneumatology (that is, the study of the spirit) until rather recently. One of the most important works on pneumatology in the 20th century, Conversion-Initiation and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit by James Dunn (admittedly a work concerned with specifically New Testament pneumatology), does not dedicate even one of its seventeen chapters to the Old Testament background. The Pentecostal critique of Dunn's work by Howard Ervin, Baptism in the Holy Spirit, does not correct this as part of its critique (though I think the Pentecostal position is only strengthened by Old Testament pneumatology). While I understand that Ervin's intent was to respond point-for-point to Dunn's work, such an oversight reveals the lack of priority OT pneumatology has had across the board. There has been some good work done in this area more recently, especially by Daniel Block of Wheaton College in his work on Ezekiel, but there is still plenty of room for investigation.

This is why I began to look seriously at studying the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. Whether one is Pentecostal or not, I assert that understanding better what the Bible has to say on any point can only be beneficial to the Church as a whole. Now, as I began to seriously consider the Spirit's role in the OT, something began to stir in the back of my mind. I began to wonder where the idea that God even had a spirit came from? With most things in the Old Testament, the writers weren't inventing new categories so much as subverting existing categories. For example, animal sacrifice is not unique or even original to the Israelites. Everybody did it. What is original is the function of animal sacrifice in the Israelite religion. Further east, in Babylon, people thought that animal sacrifice fed the gods, so that according to one story, after a worldwide flood, when there was not anybody to offer sacrifices, the gods got really hungry. This mentality is specifically refuted in the Old Testament. Repeatedly, God indicates that He doesn't need the sacrifices. Somehow, we were the ones that needed the sacrifices. Theologically, this is described by the adjective incarnational, just as Jesus in his incarnation was a man, but through his humanity he turned our entire understanding of humanity upside-down.

So, I thought, the spirit, both of God and of man, must have some sort of ancient near-eastern corollary. Perhaps, by finding those corollaries, we may see more clearly what the spirit meant to the ancient Hebrew. Through this increased understanding, I hope, eventually, to shed some light on New Testament pneumatology, but that is many years down the road. For now, I want to understand OT pneumatology in its ancient near eastern context. This is the reason I am going to Edinburgh.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Stress and Stressibility - Lara

I wasn't all that surprised when Kerry was accepted to the University of Edinburgh. I always knew he was a genius: that’s why I married him. Still, I was surprised that it was finally happening. It had always felt like Kerry wasn't accepted into the schools because of some divine timing in which everything would work out smoothly and peacefully. It only took me a couple of days to realize that this wasn't going to be easy. It was a dream come true, don't get me wrong, but the realization that we were going to have to pay for it caused a series of panic attacks. After a day or two pacing the house as a list of all that needed to be done hit me in waves churning in my head. I finally sat down to do what I always do: make a "to do" list. Even that was unsatisfactory, so I divided the list by month. The summary for the list is this: May - sell EVERYTHING and raise $13000 dollars for Visas, June - Find a Job and a furnished Apartment in Edinburgh, July - Apply for Visa, August - Sell car and buy plane tickets. Also floating between months was getting the dog micro-chipped and blood tested so she can go to the UK, find a home for the cats, sell/rent the house, move out of house, put stuff in storage (what we are keeping for sentimental reasons), and pay for all the fees without dipping into the $13000.

At first I thought we only needed $8000, but that is only for Kerry to go by himself. It might as well have been a million dollars because we didn't have it, and no matter what ideas I can up with, we still couldn’t get it. I prayed about it of course, but I ran myself ragged the whole week ending April and the first week of May and we were only able to get a thousand dollars which we then used to settle our last bad debt from our previous college experience that all of a sudden decided to call. The thing is that it was the right thing to do to be current and right with everyone when we want God to bless us, but I was very discouraged. With all my abilities and all that I tried to do, a thousand dollars was still nothing compared to what we needed.

I have finally come to the conclusion (maybe a little late) that this wasn't about us earning something or deserving something. This was about God from the very beginning. Without Him we can't go. That's it, end of story. With God all things are possible. I remember reading about George Muller who had to trust God every day to provide for him and a house full of orphans. God always came through. I really don't know what tomorrow looks like at all and this has been the scariest thing we have ever attempted to do, but I know that God is leading us and that is enough. I am going to keep going and let God do His thing. If he wants, we could sell everything and end up staying in Tyler, but I just don't see that happening. I know God too well. He is up to something and we are along just show how cool He is when he does it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Acceptance and Denial - Kerry

It was rather surreal. There on my computer screen it seemed to be saying that I had been accepted into a PhD program at the University of Edinburgh, which was obviously impossible, since I had been rejected by six other schools over the past four years. Ha. Silly me. I must be misunderstanding the box on the Euclid site that bore the words "Unconditional Offer".

But I was not misunderstanding the message. It said clearly that Edinburgh wanted me. This was huge, for me, at least.

In order to communicate the magnitude of this moment, I have to relate a few things. I graduated from Oral Roberts University in 2004 with a Master's degree in Biblical Literature, expecting to go on and pursue my doctorate soon thereafter. With a 3.93 GPA and a 1530 on my GRE (out of a possible 1600, for those who don't know), I was pretty confident that I would be accepted somewhere. But over the next few years, as I received rejection letter after rejection letter, I began to wonder if I was just deceiving myself. Maybe I was a delusional loser, one of those people who spend their entire lives trying to prove to everyone else just how smart they are, and inadvertantly doing just the opposite.

In fact, deep down I had begun to suspect that I was unnecessary. The kingdom of God didn't need me. My job was just to sit on the sidelines while the star players did their thing. I get to cheer for them and look like a team player. The voice of defeat gradually began to convince me that it was undue pride which had ever made me think that I could go and do something as exceptional as earn a PhD and become a college professor. People like me didn't do things like that. People who had money and family connections were the ones who did that. When I had thought that I had been sensing the prompting of God, I had simply been making it up. Wishful thinking. Pathetic.

But now, here was a university who wanted me. And not just any university: Edinburgh. Scotland, baby! Woot.

I called Lara first. If anyone was wanting to go to Scotland more than I was, it was Lara. You can summarize a large percentage of her life goals into two words: world travel. I could hear her doing her little happy dance, the kind she does when she is eating dark chocolate, or when she gets a bunch of paper samples. I also could have predicted the tome she brought home that night from work with all sorts of information I did and did not need to know about Edinburgh (easily 60 pages, double-sided).

As for me, I spent the next two days in a daze. I don't know how much work I actually got done. All I could think was: "Wow, someone accepted me! I going to Scotland! No, it must have been a mistake. No, it's not! Wow, someone accepted me! Man, am I hungry - where's Justin?"

No amount of denial can change the fact that God had worked things out in a way that I could not. He is good, and this blog is to be a running commentary on what He can and does do for His children. Over the next three years, Lara and I want to chronicle our experiences from acceptance to funding to traveling to studying and working to graduation and employment. For my part, I want to dedicate this blog especially to anyone who has ever thought exceptional is impossible. With God, all things are possible.

In future posts, I want to relate the financial challenges we are currently facing, as well as a more in depth look at what and why I want to study in Edinburgh.