Thursday, April 30, 2009

my (current) favorite things

  • Spending time with family.
    My brother got married last weekend, and nearly all of my dad's side of the family was there, as well as my mom's siblings. It was great to see everyone, and I had a wonderful time at the reception! (It did get a little long, though . . . as you can see from the picture of me and Val!)
  • Coffee.
    Yeah, this one is a negative, but I've been enjoying it. I normally drink decaf at home and at work--and I make a really good Irish Cream Latte using my Irish Cream syrup and my Magic Bullet--but when Val's home, that all flies out the window. She's my enabler . . . she just has to say the word "coffee," and I'm studdenly all about Starbucks. Or Barista's. Or even Scooters. And I never think to order decaf. On Sunday, we stopped at Lincoln Espresso (at Aunt E's suggestion) on our way to the airport. It was amazing. Good thing we don't have one of those around here--I would definitely be a regular!
  • Tutoring.
    I've met with the girl I'm tutoring twice now, and it's going really well! She's close to my age and speaks English pretty well--she has trouble with verb tenses and pronunciation, mainly. I'm really enjoying getting to know her!
  • Being alone.
    My sister is moving in with me after she graduates, and I'm really enjoying my last few weeks of living alone. When you live alone, you get to be really selfish. Don't want to do the dishes? Want to drink straight out of the milk carton? No problem! Plus there's the whole sole possession of the remote control thing. Don't get me wrong; I'm thrilled that she'll be here . . . I'm just making the most of these last weeks of solitude. (Oh, and if you drop by this week, you might want to stay away from the milk.)
  • Yearbook.
    I can't even begin to tell you how much I love being the yearbook adviser. It's the best part of my job! Our final deadline is at the end of May--which means that all the students will be long gone by the time the deadline hits; however, I've found that I kind of enjoy the stress of finishing pages at the last second! (I also love the feeling of sending the pages away!) Plus, Val has already offered to help me . . .

Monday, April 27, 2009

the noticer by andy andrews

What would you do if a man you'd never met seemed to know everything about you? And not only that, but he knew what you'd need to do to fix the biggest problem in your life? This happens to the people of Orange Beach, Alabama, when they meet Jones, an old drifter. He has amazing insight into the problems in their lives, and everyone who meets him leaves changed.

Let me start off by saying that this book is a very quick and enjoyable read. However, it wouldn't even make my top 20 list, let alone be "the best book I have ever read in my life," as one of the book's endorsers calls it.

Chapter two focuses on a couple on the verge of divorce; Jones' description of love "dialects" sounds suspiciously like the love languages popularized by Gary Chapman. Advice in other chapters, while good, also isn't anything new--at least to me. Perhaps someone who didn't come from a Christian background would find this information more original. That said, I did appreciate the reminders that intentions don't mean anything if we don't follow through on them (Chapter 7) and that we have to deal with the consequences of our actions (Chapter 8).

Thomas Nelson has billed this book as "self-help," and it obviously is, though it's based around a fictional narrative. While there are Christian principles throughout, it's not overtly Christian, which will make it more palatable for a mass audience. Sin, which is at the heart of most of the problems, and a relationship with Christ are not mentioned. I know that the goal is to sell books, but I would have appreciated more of a biblical perspective, since it's put out by a Christian publisher (Thomas Nelson). However, most people will probably enjoy it just the way it is, and I expect it will make the bestsellers list.

(I received an advance copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through its Book Review Blogger program:

Friday, April 24, 2009

the bride was beautiful

You have to check this out. It's beautiful, loving, and ultimately heartbreaking. I'm not ashamed to say I had tears in my eyes at the end.

(HT: Tim Challies)

Monday, April 20, 2009

who cares about spiders when you can have snakes?

Remember last summer when I spent a week visiting my grandma and being terrorized by horrible spiders? Well, her house doesn't seem to have a spider problem anymore, and I think I know the reason:
Meet our "friend" the snake. I wish I had a clearer picture of him. But here's his skin . . . at least we assumed it was his skin. Now I'm not so sure. Those pictures were taken at Thanksgiving. No one saw the snake at Christmas, so when we were there for Easter, Mom and I decided to go snake hunting. (Why? Because we're clearly mentally impaired!) We didn't find "Blackie" . . . but we did find snake #1: snake #2 and snake #3 Obviously, none of these snakes is the one we saw at Thanksgiving, but snake #2 looks suspiciously like a mini version of that snake. This leads me to four questions:
  1. How many offspring can a snake have?
  2. Just how many snakes are in that basement?
  3. Are any of them poisonous?
  4. Why on earth would my dad just look at the snakes and not try to kill them???

it's been a while

I haven't posted in two weeks. First, nothing "blog worthy" was happening, then I went to Kansas for Easter, then I was really busy with work, then I got sick. Now I'm healthy and less busy, so hopefully I'll get some things posted soon . . . especially the snake pictures. I read another book review blogger book, too, but I still need to write the review, so look for that in the next few days. And I've started tutoring--I definitely need to talk about that. Just wanted you to know that I'm still alive, and I haven't forgotten about my blog!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

missing the internet

Tonight I realized just how dependent I am on the internet.

I turned my computer on as soon as I got home from work, just as I normally do. I checked facebook and my email, and I noticed that it was taking longer than usual to load the pages. Then pages began “timing out” before loading. I looked at my modem and saw that the internet light was orange. Uh-oh. I reset the modem, the internet light turned green, and everything was normal . . . for about five minutes. The light turned orange again. I reset the modem for a second time—only this time, the internet light never came back.

Here’s the most frustrating part: I can’t even call Qwest because I don’t know their number . . . I need the internet to look it up!

I’ve gone days without internet access just fine, so why are a few hours driving me crazy? I think it’s because I’m not doing this by choice. When I go to visit my grandma, or camping, or on a trip, I know that I won’t have internet access, and I choose to go anyway. But I didn’t choose to have my internet go out tonight, and I just want it back!!!

***Two hours after I wrote this in Word, planning to post it from work tomorrow, I looked over at my modem and saw the internet light was green once again. I squealed and rushed over to open Firefox. I'm addicted, I know. This also made me think about what would happen if the internet went down. I use the internet constantly--at work and at home. It's funny to think that 10 years ago, I had just recently gotten email--my family didn't even have the internet yet. But now I can't imagine life without it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

want to waste some time? just click all the links in this post . . .

WARNING: This post is about to be very long and random.

I went to a Josh Wilson/Big Daddy Weave concert last night. The concert was at the Hastings City Auditorium, and as we sat there waiting for the concert to start (we got there about an hour early), I took a little stroll down memory lane. The first concert I remember attending there was Acappella. I was in 6th or 7th grade at the time, and it was one of my first concerts. (My first? Steve Green. It sounds silly now, but he was my favorite singer when I was in lower elementary school!) I remember loving Acappella's music, but more than that, it was a date with my mommy. Just the two of us . . . and she even bought me a sweetarts sucker from the concession stand! I saw Acappella there again with my youth group about a year later. Next up was Twila Paris with a friend and her family. And finally, the last concert I saw there prior to last night: Psalty, Jungle Jam, and Church of Rhythm! My family and my cousins' family went together. I think it may have been my idea for my family to go, but Psalty was pure torture! At 14 or 15, I was way past the target demographic. Jungle Jam was more entertaining--their radio program was always quite witty (I even saw one episode, "The Great Coconut-Clunking Debate," adapted into an OID by a really good speech team)--but Church of Rhythm was definitely the best part!

Now on to the concert I attended last night. Josh Wilson was up first. I had no idea who he was, but when he walked onstage by himself with just his guitar, I knew there was a pretty good chance I'd like him. I could have listened to him for hours. I don't know all the technical terms, but he had this machine that would record whatever he was doing and then play it in a loop. So he'd bang on his guitar to create the beat, then strum a bass line, then add some chords, etc. It was pretty cool, and his style reminded me of August Rush. His song "Savior, Please" is pretty popular right now--but I had no idea before last night that he was that song's artist. My favorite song of his was "Turn Around." According to Wilson, it's a song from God's perspective to His people. But I could see it playing on Delilah or some other love songs radio show--check out the first verse and chorus:
I'm ready to fall in love
So what are you running from
I'm what you're looking for, quit looking for yourself
I'm right behind you, while you're looking somewhere else

Would you turn, would you turn, would you turn around
Would it be that hard to do
If you turned, if you turned, if you turned around
I'd be right in front of you
Who hasn't felt like that about someone?

When Big Daddy Weave came out, I was slightly distracted--their electric guitarist could be David Boreanaz's brother (best known for Bones and Angel). I can't believe I didn't think to take a picture! Once I got over the shock of seeing Booth on stage, I really enjoyed the concert. (OK, so I'm known for thinking people look like famous people, and often no one else can see the resemblance. But this wasn't just a mild resemblance--they could have been twins!)

Partway through the concert, Big Daddy Weave paused to talk about child sponsorship through World Vision. Until that moment, I'd forgotten that I signed up for my sponsored child at a Big Daddy Weave concert a couple years ago. (Really, I was there for David Klinkenberg, and Mark Schultz was the headliner, so when I think of the concert, Big Daddy Weave isn't the first name that comes to mind!) If you've never sponsored a child, I'd recommend you do it. I love getting pictures of and from Argenis, my little boy from Guatemala. It's amazing to think that my $30/month can make such a difference!

OK, back to the concert. One thing I love about Big Daddy Weave is that their concerts are all about worshiping God, not about drawing attention to themselves. They put all their lyrics on a PowerPoint to make it easy for the audience to sing along. Unfortunately, their projector bulb went out during the third or fourth song. Fortunately, I knew all the songs they played! The last song was "Beautiful One," and I can't even begin to describe the emotions I felt as I belted it out along with hundreds of other believers. My heart was just so full . . .

A couple other things that didn't fit anywhere else:
  • The lead singer of Big Daddy Weave is obsessed with the word "man." It was so bad that I got the giggles every time he said it. It was like my obsession with "dude" a few years ago, only times ten.
  • I saw the singles group from my church there. Why didn't I go with them? Because they're all like 60.
  • We went to Valentino's before the concert. My opinion of Valentino's definitely didn't improve following that visit, though I did enjoy their dessert breadsticks.
  • I had the new Dairy Queen Midnight Truffle Blizzard after the concert; it tastes exactly like the discontinued Brownie Batter Blizzard.
  • BDW didn't sing "Audience of One" . . . which was OK with me because I've never liked it all that much--but isn't it their biggest hit?
  • I greatly appreciated that they didn't do an encore. I know I've written about this before, and I'd link to it if only I could remember when. Just play your songs--ALL your songs--and then be done. Don't make us cheer for you to come back . . . that's just ego-stroking. No thanks.
  • Have I ever written something so packed with links? You could spend hours visiting all the websites I linked to!