Wednesday, September 29, 2010

a quick update

Life has been so busy lately! I keep thinking of things to write about, but then I don't get around to it. So, here's another of my famous "bullet" updates:
  • Mom and I are seeing Straight No Chaser in Omaha tomorrow night! I bought the tickets for her birthday--in May--and it's crazy to think the day is almost here. I'm sure I'll have more to say after the fact. Too bad our tickets aren't as amazing as they were last December!
  • I've started a blog for my advanced reading class. As of now, it's private, meaning only the class members and I can read or post to it. We may go public later. For now, though, here's a look at the class (at the top of the page). I absolutely love teaching them!
  • My dreadfully neglected other blog lives again! (Well, there's one new post ... it's a start!)
  • Blendy and I just signed up for the Singing Christmas Tree. Practices start in just over a week. I love Christmas!
  • Speaking of Christmas, how's this for a gimmick? One of our radio stations, Star 97.3, has been playing Christmas music non-stop since Sunday afternoon. Apparently the station is switching formats--listeners are about to receive the "gift" of a new radio station ... hence the Christmas music in the meantime. I listened off and on for about a day--now I wish they'd just get on with it and play whatever it is they're going to play. At least I haven't heard the Christmas song that makes me want to drive over a cliff ... (Another station switched formats almost exactly a year ago. They had their own annoying gimmick to go with the switch.)
  • I've signed up for my first 5K! Val's going to run it, and Blendy and I will walk it together. Wish us luck!
  • I just found a new "favorite" movie. It's called Perfect Romance, and you can watch it on Hulu for a few more days. Starring LOST's Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick), it's a cute little romance ... and it's incredibly clean, especially considering it's a Lifetime movie. If you're a sucker for romance, you'll like it!

Monday, September 27, 2010

my new place

This post is long overdue ...

In late July, I learned of an opportunity to move out of the apartment I'd lived in for the last four years and into a (rather large) house. The house belongs to an elderly woman who, when she lived in Central City, attended the church I grew up in. This woman and her children had decided it was time to sell the house, and they wanted to know if I would be interested in living in it while it's on the market. I would pay utilities and a minuscule amount of rent. After crunching the numbers and realizing I would save money by moving, I agreed.

I've now been living in the house for just over a month. I love it! I've already written about some of the things I enjoy--my two favorite aspects are the kitchen (it's amazing to cook in!) and the washer/dryer. After four years of using my apartment building's creepy laundry facilities or taking advantage of my parents' generosity and using theirs, I'm thrilled to be able to do laundry whenever I want. I'm sure once winter rolls around, the garage will become a lot more important, too!

There are a couple drawbacks to the house, of course. I absolutely hate mowing the lawn, and this lawn is massive. I have to keep the house clean because it could be shown at any time. Once the house sells, I'll have to find a new place to live. I really hope it doesn't sell during the winter--it would be horrible to move in sub-zero temperatures!

Now, on to the pictures! (The house also has two more bedrooms and a bathroom that I didn't take pictures of because they're empty. This house is enormous!)
The spare bedroom.

The half bath.

My bathroom.

A view of the whole kitchen workspace.

The oven area. (It's a gas stove--I'm so excited to not have electric!)

Built-in desk.

The living room.

The dining room.
The entryway (part of the dining room).

My front door.

My bedroom.

My bedroom. (Someday I'll buy an adult-looking bedroom set and my room will no longer be confused with a 13-year-old girl's!)

The sunroom/exercise room.

My massive lawn. The property extends to the fence in the back!

The garage.

Monday, September 20, 2010

a great deal!

Several weeks ago, I told you about Born Again, the new album from the Newsboys. It still is one of my favorite albums, and I recently learned you can get it from Amazon for $5! What a deal! You can preview 30-second snippets of each song and buy the album here!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

t-shirt winner!

Congrats to Jen, winner of the Immanuel's Veins t-shirt contest! Enjoy the shirt, and I hope you get the chance to read the book soon, too!

Monday, September 13, 2010

"immanuel's veins" by ted dekker

Ted Dekker has done it again. In Immanuel's Veins, Dekker has turned the whole "vampire craze" on its side and woven a wonderful tale of love, lust, duty, and redemption. Once I started reading, I could barely put the book down.

Toma Nicolescu and his friend Alek have been charged with protecting the beautiful Cantemir sisters Natasha and Lucine. Though Empress Catherine the Great has commanded Toma not to fall in love with either sister, he falls for Lucine. A Russian nobleman, Vlad van Valerik, and several others who live with him soon become involved with the Cantemirs; while Toma can't put his finger on what exactly is different about them, he is wary of their sensuality and the strange pull they have on everyone they meet. As Vlad's influence on Lucine intensifies, Toma finds himself in a heartbreaking battle of good vs. evil.

You've probably guessed by now that Vlad is a vampire. As someone who is completely fed up with the Twilight craze, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying a vampire novel. The difference here is that Dekker is very clear as to which side of the good vs. evil battle the vampires fall on ... and it's not the side the "Twihards" would hope! This is a fantastic book that I highly recommend. And if you're a fan of the "Books of History Chronicles" (Black, Red, White, Green, Showdown, etc.), you'll be happy to see the connections between Immanuel's Veins and those books. (I squealed like a child when I read the words "Blood Book" and "Shataiki"!)

One note: I've read some reviews that criticize this book for being too sensual (in fact, the book has apparently been "banned" in Holland for that very reason). It's violent; it's dark; it's sensual ... but I feel it's all appropriate for the story. Should an 11-year-old read it? Probably not. But for adults, this is a wonderful story that will grip you from the beginning and take you on an amazing journey.

Thomas Nelson, the book's publisher, is giving away t-shirts connected to Immanuel's Veins. I got one (and love it!), and now I get to give one away! If you want the chance to win a shirt, simply leave a comment on this post by Friday, Sept. 17.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

in other long-forgotten band news ...

Continuing on my theme of "bands that made me happy back in the day," I have some sad news: the lead singer of LFO passed away recently. Who's LFO, you ask? The Lyght Funkie Ones are best known for their summer hit "Summer Girls" (If you listened to radio in the late 90's, you probably know it: "New Kids On The block had a bunch of hits, Chinese food makes me sick. And I think it's fly when girls stop by for the summer, for the summer ... "), but I remember them for a song that came out a few years later: "Every Other Time."

The one and only time I got pulled over, that song was on the radio. It was my "happy song" of the semester--the song I got ridiculously excited about and sang at the top of my lungs each time it came on the radio. I had just left my night class--American History I, a dreadfully boring class that met on both Tuesday and Thursday evenings. On the outskirts of Grand Island, "Every Other Time" came on. A burst of energy poured through me, and I "danced" and sang along. Then I saw the flashing red lights. Suddenly, "Every Other Time" wasn't so fun. I looked at my speedometer. 63. "Is he really pulling me over for going three over?" I asked the air. Trembling, I pulled over and began digging for my license. "License and registration, please," the officer said after I rolled down my window. Frantically, I pawed through the glove box. I couldn't find the registration anywhere. "I'm sorry; this is my dad's car," I murmured as I continued emptying the contents of the glove box onto the passenger seat. "I think it's right there," he said, using his flashlight to point at one of those nifty registration & insurance holders, which was on top of the pile. I sheepishly handed him the registration. "Do you know why I pulled you over?" he asked. I shook my head, remembering that someone once said you should never admit to speeding. "Your left taillight is broken. I'm giving you a fix-it ticket." Still shaking, I thanked him, took the ticket, and drove away. I'm grateful to have that be my only run-in with the law!

Despite the reminder of being pulled over, "Every Other Time" continued to be "my" song ... well, mine and my best friend Dorinda's. When I was away at college, she even sent me a mix cd which included this song, along with a dolphin greeting card--because of the lyric, "Sometimes we swim around like two dolphins in the ocean of our hearts." Ahhh, the memories! To this day, I listen to it every time it comes up on my ipod.

thanks, brittany!

Well over a year ago, I wrote about a concert I attended in Hastings. (Read about it here.) In my post, I reminisced about other concerts I attended at that same venue. The long-forgotten Christian group Church of Rhythm was at one of those concerts. While hanging out with my cousin Brittany on our Labor Day camping trip (post about that to follow later), I looked through her insanely large stack of cd's, many of which used to belong to her older siblings ... and found a Church of Rhythm cd in the pile! Of course, I became incredibly excited when I saw the cd, and I had to tell her the whole story of our families going to the concert together (which I also detailed in the aforementioned post). She let me borrow the cd, so I am, at this very moment, listening to music that I thought was oh-so-cool fifteen years ago. Thanks, dear cousin!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"the butterfly effect" by andy andrews

The Butterfly Effect. Besides being a ridiculous Ashton Kutcher movie, the butterfly effect is the concept that one small event (such as a butterfly flapping its wings) can change the course of the future. In his book The Butterfly Effect, Andy Andrews demonstrates how one man's actions during the Civil War changed the course of American (and world) history. Through this story and others, Andrews encourages his readers to make their lives count--to positively influence the world.

As I reflect on this book, I'm torn. On the one hand, it's a fantastic motivational book. In just over 100 partially-full pages, Andrews convinced me to reflect on the effect my actions have on others and on my--and their--future. The book is compact, attractive, and perfect for a coffee table. On the other hand, Andrews doesn't point the reader in any specific direction. I walked away from the book with the following message: "I'm important. My life matters. I should do positive things so my effect on the world is positive." And in a sense, that is true ... but it goes much deeper than that. Everything I do should be done for the glory of God; that knowledge should be a far greater influence on my life than Andrews' book. When I put the book down, I thought of the following quote, which I've since learned is credited to English missionary C.T. Studd: "Only one life, 'twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last." So I do recommend this book--it is, as I've said, quite interesting and inspiring--but remember that if you are a Christian, your main responsibility is to glorify God ... and by glorifying God, you just might change the world!

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

things i love about my new place

  • the dishwasher
  • two huge windows in the living room
  • the washer/dryer set. They're old, but they do the trick!
  • the gas stove
  • the ceiling fans
  • the storage space in the kitchen
  • the garage
  • the yard
  • the proximity to my workplace
Pictures to come soon!