How does a building that holds art become art in itself?
My wife and I went to live in Los Angeles in 2002 so we could pursue our creative sides. She was and is a great singer and I am a writer who thought he could press out more excellent literature while surrounded by a new city with the reputation of churning out beautiful things – creative all around us who were chasing a dream. We found out we were just two of the many people who came to Los Angeles to pursue cool ends. My wife found her place singing both back-up and as the front woman for several bands that performed on Sunset Strip. I found my place in bars and coffee shops typing away to create characters who could live out my vision for screenplays and books. We both did our best, but that’s really not the focus of this little article. The focus here is architectural art in the big city and how we found a perfect place to breathe it in weekly.
The Getty Art Museum is just one of those places that houses art – some of the most amazing art is on display inside of its walls. But The Getty is not just a normal building with a few doors and windows. It doesn’t let the art inside be all the beauty you can see. The buildings at The Getty are art in themselves and I found out that this design was done on purpose. It began with architectural renderings and 3D animations so the owner could see into the future of this beautiful place. Then these visionary plans were put into play and out popped a building rooted in beauty. Before any of its paintings were hung on its many walls, this place was art. Even the way you get to the actual Getty (a cool tramway that creates anticipation as you motor up) is lovely and fun.
One of the main reasons that The Getty impresses me and achieves its beauty is its use of outside grounds. As you pass from building to building you get to see plants and flowers and the wide open blue skies spread out above you. It’s in this way that even the setting for an art building is used to make the picture complete.
Struggling with house-work
I was sitting at the new Starbucks near my house trying to concentrate on my own work that is ever so important and vital to the world turning on its axis when I noticed a girl sitting at the table next to me. No, this was not like noticing a girl for the sake of flirting because I am way beyond that stage – 21 years of marriage with a lovely girl have tamed my chase. But, I did notice that she was reading a book. I don’t know about you but I am always interested in seeing what the book interests of strangers are – are they reading anarchist materials or cookbooks? So, to satisfy my curiosity, I kept up a furtive glance until I saw what type of literature she was filling her mind with. Turns out she was reading a book called, When things are hard in real estate. Something like that – it probably had a better title than that, but it’s what I’m going to call it because I can. Anyway, from that title and seeing her other papers I gleaned that she must be a real estate agent trying to sell Lubbock homes for sale and homes for sale in Lubbock are, or have been, selling like hotcakes. From what I knew, the market for housing was booming due to the growth of the city, but after seeing this girl taking aggressive notes from the book, I changed my mind a bit.
Maybe the real estate market has ceased being a sellers’ market – maybe there is too much housing being built – maybe the demand is off – too much supply. Simple macroeconomics…Suddenly I felt bad for this stranger and wondered if she was struggling professionally as a realtor. Most of the realtors I know always seem to be closing on a house – smiling and bouncing around like selling houses is as easy as boiling an egg. I also know several people who have left their jobs to become real estate agents in this region. But maybe this is a huge mistake. I have to admit I have considered taking the realtor exam and using my charm and charisma (and humility) to make some serious cash. But if this nice lady sitting next to me was having a hard time selling Lubbock homes, it must mean that it’s not as easy as some people make it out to be. I wondered, “Was it this woman’s particular sales style that was making it hard to sell houses?” “Had she been trained poorly by her specific agency?” (I know that if you work for the top company in town – Coldwell Banker – you get better quality training than at other places – at least in Lubbock.) I wanted to ask her why she was reading the book, but I thought it might be mean to rub her nose in her failure.
I know what it is like to fail at a job and not be able to overcome its innate challenges. I know what it is like to be trying as hard as I can to make money in commission jobs and still not succeed. I wanted to encourage this woman, but who was I other than an empathetic voyeur? I left it alone. I left her alone in her thoughts and troubles and took my coffee outside where there was less sadness in the vicinity.
What a weird journal entry, huh?
I don’t know why this stuck with me so much, but it did so deal with it.
Feel free to comment.
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Looking for a house in Lubbock: Tech Terrace
There are so many great homes for sale in Lubbock and plenty of realtors to get you into one of them. But, not all Lubbock homes for sale are in the best spots for growth. This article is all about where I recommend you might start to look…
One of the most obvious neighborhoods to search is called Tech Terrace. Tech Terrace is located on the east side of Indiana Avenue and west side of University from 30th street to 19th street. One drive through the neighborhood will reveal beautiful and original housing choices. Many of them sprawl across two lots and most of the rest of the houses will show very definite character. My wife and I looked long and hard at this neighborhood. It’s an area that was often referred to as the medical district because it is so near the two major hospitals in Lubbock. As far as Tech Terrace is concerned, the biggest drawback is the influx of Texas Tech students now residing there. Over the last several years, rich parents have bought up a lot of “investment homes” in the area for their kids to live in while attending Texas Tech, which is so close to this neighborhood.
I will say that it is a smart move for parents to do this because they would have had to spend money on their kid’s housing somewhere – might as well buy up a place they can get some equity with while having possibly two other roommates paying rent. Brilliant idea for those who have the initial capital. That being said, the larger number of students in the area has certainly changed the feel of the neighborhood as a whole. What once was a neighborhood filled with old money Lubbockites, is now a mix of young and old.
I’m not picking on Tech students by the way – They want nice accommodations close to campus and they want to have some fun while living in these spaces. They want to live it up during this part of their life and I don’t blame them either. But, it’s something to be aware of as you seek Lubbock homes for sale. Don’t just see the beautiful houses in this area and jump in with a bid on a house there without checking up on the neighbors. You want a home that is good in every way and you most likely want one that is quiet and safe.
I’ll write some more on other neighborhoods in future articles. Check back soon.
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Home Sweet Corporate Home
I’ve always been amazed at people who are in constant transition because of their work. They are always moving around from place to place dragging their suitcases and essential life kits to wherever their bosses tell them they are needed. Sometimes they stay in hotels, but if they need to be gone for a period of a month or more most of the time they end up staying in corporate housing. Now just because I say corporate housing I don’t mean that the places are dumps – little cubicles with a two by four bed and a hole in the ground – fluorescent lighting and fake plants. These spaces are not like being stuck in a work situation in Scranton. These spaces are actually quite nice, even in comparison to suite hotels and are welcomed by most of these traveling workers. Anyway, there has been an influx of working travelers who work in the oil fields and drilling for new natural gas. They have been making their way from Midland all the way to Lubbock now and the ones who work on the rigs are some tough hombres. Some of them have been at this business of oil work and even fracking for a long time and really don’t have a permanent home. They don’t have a home sweet home. They have a home sweet corporate home. I wonder what it would be like to be like to live this sort of existence – back and forth from Lubbock corporate housing to Midland corporate housing. Do these people have families? If so, do they travel with them? What is their vision for life? Is it all about making good money? Or is just a personality thing with them? I have been married for 20 years and I had to travel away from my family for a year, but I ended up getting an apartment, which was kind of hard because I had to buy a bunch of furniture that I was going to have to get rid of when I left. Anyway, I recall being pretty lonely out there in Dallas while my family was in Lubbock. I don’t think I am suited for this kind of temporary life. Okay that was just on my mind…I leave you with this question: Do you think you could live out a temporary existence in different corporate housing (or apartment) settings and if so, for how long?
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Best colleges in Texas
If you are a high school graduate and you are looking to go to one of the best colleges in Texas (which is a matter of opinion) I want to recommend that you think about beginning your higher education at a two-year college. My favorite one is Western Texas College (http://www.wtc.edu) located in Snyder but I know other people who would swear by another one. Which one you pick would be up to you (do your research on their graduation rates and connections to other larger colleges), but there are advantages in going with any of them. Below are some of those advantages.
- Typically these two-year colleges offer online degrees – colleges in Texas with online degrees allow you the freedom to get your classes (accredited) done without having to leave the comfort of your home. I am big on studying in my house shoes and pajamas – I just tend to think better when I can roll out of bed, knock out my course work and go back to bed. No need to get ready and no need to impress any of your fellow classmates. I will say that you will need to be a self-starter, because if you aren’t this option will kill you. If you cannot motivate yourself to do things without a professor threatening you to get your stuff done, you will need to go to a physical classroom. That being said, you should still consider going to one of the two-year options.
- Two-year colleges often help you get your basic courses done – All of us have to take a set number of required courses to complete any four-year degree. These courses at a four-year college cost as much as any other of their courses. I recommend taking care of these classes at a two-year school because they usually have smaller class sizes and they are usually more affordable. Who wants to spend a ton of money on a humanities class or an accounting class when it can be done cheaper and with a more manageable class size. I’ve never understood why students (even students enrolled in four-year colleges) don’t take advantage of a two-year school to complete these classes. These courses will usually transfer to your four-year school.
- Two-year colleges often offer classes that you would not see at a four-year college – Often there is an emphasis on courses specific to a career. For instance I know that some Texas Colleges offer classes in specialized horticulture, welding and Pre-veterinary medicine to name a few. Colleges like this that offer you an opportunity to get a job right after graduation in two years rather than four.
- Finally, for you athletes who aren’t going to be able to play Division one sports, these two-year schools might allow you to continue your athletic fun – If you want to be a part of a team, you don’t have to just join intramurals.
Okay, that’s my take on why you should use two-year colleges before going on to a four-year school. Happy school hunting!!!
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More on Realtors (not Moron Realtors)
I remember when I was 16 years old and my parents decided to move into another home. We had been cramped into a tiny 2 bedroom for three years after my father lost his job but finances turned for the better. So we all set out to check out all of the Lubbock homes for sale. And as is typically the case we had a realtor to help us tour houses. I bring this up because I really liked this guy as did my parents. Here’s why:
-This man was professionally dressed – he wasn’t just showing up in a tank and cargo shorts.
-Our realtor was detailed about costs and budgets. It can be quite intimidating to buy and sell houses and we needed someone to help us navigate the winding roads.
-Our realtor was friendly but was not a super extrovert. He treated us with kindness but it wasn’t like he needed us to be his best buddy. I guess what I am getting at is that his personality fit our personalities.
-Our realtor was really good at taking us to houses that fit the description we had laid out for him in the beginning. We wanted a four-bedroom house with three bathrooms in a certain school district and our realtor only took us to those places.
-Our realtor was careful about not pressing us to go over our set budget. Some realtors I have met tempt their buyers with higher priced homes and get their buyers in trouble because they talk themselves into thinking they can afford this more upscale space.
-Our realtor was always on time. He treated us like we were his only client and he never missed a meeting.
-After we bought our house, our realtor was not just done with us. He checked up on us to make sure were satisfied with what we bought after a few months and he thanked us for trusting him with our business. He certainly didn’t need to do that, but he did.
All in all, our realtor was bad to the bone. And the reason I say all of the above is to get you to think about what your “Perfect Realtor” list would look like. What sort of qualities are you looking for in a realtor?
If homes for sale in Lubbock is your current desire, I want to personally recommend Coldwell Banker (www.coldwellbankerlubbock.com) because everyone there is amazing at their job. They aim to be the best and they do this while using biblical values to guide them in guiding you. (It’s not like I am downing the other companies in town. I’m sure they also have good realtors.) But I am absolutely sure that Coldwell Banker is the one company I would use if I were house shopping.
Okay. That’s all I have on Realtors. I hope you find someone like our family found back in the day.
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Lubbock is getting bigger and better?
I was just told the other day that Lubbock is now one of the top 100 largest cities in the United States. Whether this is true I am not sure. The guy who told me is usually right on and I cannot imagine him joking about this. So we will go with it. There are certainly signs of our “bigness” – lots of new businesses and lots of Lubbock homes for sale. And it seems that the Starbucks I frequent is busier than usual.
But does bigger make us better?
Will this growth affect the smaller city charm we once had?
Are we doomed to become the Dallas of the West with all of its crime and traffic (I am being rude about Dallas – it’s really not that bad)?
Anyway, I keep thinking about Lubbock’s expansion – new neighborhoods with new and pretty and huge homes for sale in Lubbock and I can’t decide if I want this to be the case.
When does a city get too big?
Is there a tipping point when a city starts taking itself too seriously?
Do we have the roads to handle the new population boom?
Will I have to wait at two lights to get through an intersection?
Will it take more than 15 minutes to get all the way across town?
Will prairie dog town be destroyed in favor of humans?
What quaint local stores will be forced out in favor of Pottery Barn?
Will the crappy mall we all embrace become set aside for an outdoor shopping experience that will wow us?
Will new houses and new businesses actually block the 50 mph dust-filled winds that we all choke on day to day?
Are there enough homes for sale in Lubbock?
I don’t know if anyone else is wondering these things. But I am. Let me know if you think is a concern of yours. I’d love to find out how others are viewing the booming South Plains. One thing is for certain and another is silly – We are blowing up in size and we will probably end up like Shanghai or New York. I’m just glad we have an Uber service and two La Madeleines.
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Questions to ask before doing a Capital Campaign
Are churches asking the right questions when they embark on a capital campaign that will ask their congregants to give more than they are used to giving? I think some churches do, but I’ve been involved in several that didn’t ask. So, this article is dedicated to posing questions that I think churches need to ask before they set up a new church design.
- What is the motivation behind building more buildings or doing massive renovations to the existing building?
- Has the church leadership gotten buy-in from the opinion leaders at the church?
- Does the church design fit in with what is really needed for the congregation?
- How will the church pitch and “sell” the vision of a new set of buildings?
- How much debt will the church capital campaign cause?
- Can the church handle carrying so much debt?
- Does the majority of the church want to do a capital campaign?
- Has the church done its research as to which architectural firm they will use to drive this campaign?
- Has the church leadership “taken the temperature” of their people concerning this campaign?
- Will the church use 3D animations to ‘show and tell’ what the future church design will look like to the members?
- Who will be the point people for selling this vision?
- What changes or buildings are really needed?
- What does the church leadership believe is going to happen because they build new buildings?
- How will the church leadership handle dissenters and laggards in the church during this campaign?
- Why do this at all?
- How much extra time and effort will this capital campaign require from the leadership and from the lay leaders of the church?
- Will this capital campaign be set up to be done in stages?
- How much prayer has gone into the decision to build more buildings?
- Is God pressing this process or is a work of man?
Okay, I have a bunch more, but I think these will be good starters for any congregation seeking to build anew. Thanks for reading. Good luck in your projects.
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Things to consider when looking for a house to buy
I’m sure there is a much better and more complete list of things that would help you buy a specific house, but I decided to give it a shot. Below are some of the things I would definitely take into account now that I am in my 40’s and have a family.
- Are there high percentages of sexual offenders in the neighborhood? I know a lot of people who don’t check out the database before committing to a house. This is a problem that you cannot undo once signing on the dotted line. And if you have children living in a neighborhood where there are convicted sex offenders, it’s dangerous. If you don’t know how to find out, ask your Realtor to find out. It’s too important to ignore.
- Is the property value going up or going down? If you look at a certain neighborhood and it seems nice to you, check out the prices of the homes around it. What was once or even currently a good place to live might be about to plummet in value because the city council decided to move the focal point of growth to a totally different area of town. An example of this from Lubbock, Texas is that my grandmother owned a house that was in the booming part of town. Her house was highly valued and the area was full of good young families and the crime was pretty much non-existent. But then the city started pushing for building out on the Southwest side of Lubbock. Within years, Lubbock homes for sale in my grandmother’s neighborhood were worth half of what they had been.
- What is the history behind the house you are looking at? No one wants to move into the Amityville Horror house. Ask deep questions and even do brief interviews with neighbors to find out if this house is a money pit or if it has been taken care of. Also ask your Realtor to talk to you about the internal conditions of the house. How’s the roof? How’s the electrical system? Do ghosts regularly appear while someone is taking a shower.
Okay, there are a bunch more questions I would ask, but I don’t want this article to take forever. Think about these three and I’ll bring you two more in the next article.
Even better, send me the questions you ask before buying a house – especially if are looking for homes in Lubbock, Tx (that’s my hood).
Until later good people…
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How Change Agents can lead a Capital Campaign: Part Two
In my last article, I mentioned three things that a change agent must do to help a church complete a successful capital campaign. Below are the final three things that are crucial to this process.
4. Fourthly, the change agent needs to re-convene the opinion leaders to find out how many people are excited about the process to come, how many people are on the fence but leaning toward a yes and how many people are stubbornly refusing to accept this change. With this knowledge, the change agent(s) can gauge what sort of energies are going to be required to get to a tipping point. Most likely there will never be a unanimous “yes” vote, but if the acceptance rate is high, the late adopters and laggards won’t be needed to get the project done.
5. Fifth, the change agent(s) join together with the leadership to help them budget incrementally for the project and shows them the best ways to finance for the project. “How much will this cost?” will usually be a main question asked at every step mentioned above. A ballpark range can be offered by the change agents based on their past experiences. But an exact number will not be offered out until this stage is reached. It’s good to be vague early in the process. But this step solidifies a number that comes with strategies as to how this will be accomplished. When people see a yearly budget attached to this project and are already fired up for it, they will not freak out when the cost is set.
6. Finally the change agent(s), who are hopefully the same people who will be doing the actual building (best-case scenario), begins to lay the groundwork and then to build out the 3D animations. (Halo Architects in conjunction with Gone Virtual Studios is a firm I would recommend if you want people who understand change agency, vision, church design, budgeting and financing, and also the actual build-out. Feel free to choose who you like, but I happen to know these guys and I’ve seen their tremendous work.)
Okay, that is it for this article. See you next time with another hopefully helpful article as you enter into the Church Capital Campaign world. Good luck and God bless.
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