Christmas Canon
Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Welcome to my blog, updated whenever something of interest happens in my life (for the most part). Complete with pictures and video, you're sure to have a great time (although I can't promise you that). Anyway, thanks for visiting!

(pictures expandable by clicking)


The Best Gift Ever/Indiana Trip
December 29, 2006

Well, we're back from our trip to Indiana. Things for the most part went well and it was wonderful seeing my uncle David, aunt Judy, and grandmother Toody again. "Toody?" you ask? Yes, we don't call her "grandmother," but "Toody." To tell you the truth, I don't know when and where it started, but it's basically her pet name, which kind of runs in the family. For instance, everyone always referred to her mother (my grandmother) as "Biyo," her brother as "Bubby," and her sister as "Missy." Kinda strange. I mean, everyone seemingly has a nickname, but their nicknames are, for all intensive purposes, considered their real names. I love that phrase ... "for all intensive purposes." Makes me sound smart. I need to use that more often, along with "as it were." So, for all intensive purposes, I will be using that statement more often, as it were.

Anyway, below are some pictures from the trip, along with a funny video. This year, along with a few other things, I gave Nathan Daher "the best gift ever." I really won't go into too much detail, but let the video explain the specifics. In a nutshell, the gift was a signed photograph of a guy who is a complete fruitcake. I won't give his name, nor his website, cause he's really strange, but as a joke I got him to personally sign it "To Nathan."

This is one picture of the guy (sorry, not expandable). He's like 50 years old, but pretends that he's 5, and dresses up in all these ridiculous costumes. So, understandably, when Nathan saw the image and who signed it (and since he was already familiar with him), he was quite beside himself. His reaction is priceless. :-) So glad his dad had the camera rolling. Oh, and he put the title "The Best Gift Ever" on the video, not me (I'm not that conceited!).

The Best Gift Ever

Anyway, wow, I was honestly not expecting such rave reviews for "A BST Christmas"! Man I'm so glad you all enjoyed it. It took us about 3 hours in the evening to film (Sunday), and then I had post-production completed on Tuesday. So, it was really the quickest film I've ever done. The camera is being fixed at the moment, but when I get it back I may put some bloopers together. We'll see. Oh, and I totally forgot to mention in the film what "BST" stands for (Brad Steele for Trees). I just assumed everyone had seen the first BST commercial, but in case you haven't, just click "My Movies" above and you'll see it on the list.

Anyway, on with a few pictures.

Map showing our general travels. Evansville is about a 7-hour drive from our place.

When I wasn't driving, I was doing a lot of this.

Christmas was cold and rainy. My grandmother lives on the most quaint, prettiest "Americana" type street, but I was too much of a pansy to go out there and take pictures.

It's been awhile since my last acclaimed self-shot photo. I like this one cause I look mean. Mom always jokes how I'm frequently described as "sweet" by people, and how much I hate it. Tell me, do I look sweet to you? Would you want to meet this guy in a dark alley under a crescent moon wearing your pink polka dot pajamas? (you know you wear em.) I didn't think so.

Toody's house is your stereo-typical grandmother's house ... a museum. Because she's ISTJ, though, it's all in good order, and very cozy.

93 years old ... still teaching and playing piano ... able to use a computer ... still living by herself and taking care of herself ... my grandmother is one of a kind. I truly hope I have her genes (though everyone says I'm more of a Kayser than a Niednagel, my mother's side).

I read the Scriptures in her cozy little corner. One thing I've learned since having not cut my hair for awhile is that you can't look down without some repercussions. Thanks for the pic, Toody. :-)

Christmas day with the family. That's my uncle David and aunt Judy in the middle. I think almost everyone has at least one "uncle David" in their family. The only negative of this photo (no pun intended) is that I'm not in it (I took it).

In the kitchen preparing the Christmas meal. Uncle David sports his new Sony digital camera.

They don't really look like brothers, do they? Maybe some similarities.

"I say, great grandmother, do not tarry, but make haste to show me my pictorial image."

Our lovely meal.

Danni and Toody.

And I leave you with this photo of "Ka Ka" and "Djorie."

Have a great new year! Thanks for stopping by.


A BST Christmas/Pictures
December 20, 2006

Well, time's blowing by fast, and Christmas is almost here. Everyone at the BST would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

In other news, we leave for Indiana in a few days, so this will be my last post until we return. Below are just a few pictures from our visit to the Deatherages last week (they live about 30 minutes away). Isaac Deatherage has been a good friend of mine since we moved to Missouri. 20 year of age, he's attending a college in West Plains where he plans to get a degree and help his dad out in their naturopathic business.

Also have some pictures from last night as we celebrated "The Feast of Lights," or "Hanukkah," with the Voellers. No, we're not becoming Jewish. It was known as "The Feast of Dedication" during Jesus' day (or lights), and He was "in the temple" during that day, as is recorded in John. Lots of neat and meaningful stories and symbolisms to be learned. Anyway, good time.

Isaac and I as we converse. Let me tell you, sit down with any ENTJ, and you're bound to have some stimulating conversation. Isaac has an incredibly bright and inquisitive mind, asks questions, and is a good listener.

Just one of their many dogs.

That's me ... standing ... on a rock. Oh c'mon, don't leave yet! It'll get better! It was so incredibly windy and took incredible effort to hold that pose. Those are my grandfather's shoes (he passed about ten years ago). In many ways I want to walk in his footsteps. He was fired from being a school principle for being "too much of a Christian."

The view from their house. This doesn't do justice. You can see all the way to Arkansas from here.

This one reminded me of Duchess.

After worship we watched part of the DVD series "Amazing Grace." This video touches upon the Doctrines of Grace (or Calvinism, though I don't prefer that term) in the most tactful, persuasive manner, simply going through the history of the church and how things came to be as they are today. Highly recommend it no matter what persuasion you're of. lol, forgive me Isaac, but notice all the movies they have, and then notice how small their screen is. I've never seen a family with so many movies have such a small TV. By that time most people end up buying a huge wide screen plasma or something. :-) Actually, Isaac tells me they're getting something like that soon here. You'll have me over when you do, of course.

Johanna, Justin and Jared put on a lovely Hanukkah skit about the events in Macabees.

Afterwards we burned a huge pile of branches which became a very impressive fire. The flames rose up to some 15-20 feet.

We gave small presents to one another. Here Kalea excitedly opens hers.

Justin gave me a chocolate bar, some butterscotch candies, and these mini UNO cards about the size of a ... I don't know, cockroach. Thanks, Jus!

I say, "Smile!" and she does her best, and then immediately says, "Lemme see!"

Playing a word search game. Jeremy finished first, while I was a close second.

Justin tries his best to focus.

Merry Christmas to you all, and thanks for stopping by. See you next week.


True Spirit of Christmas
December 14, 2006

It's amazing how much one's happiness depends on the simple choice of being happy. If there's one truth I've learned in 2006, it's that I can choose, this day, this hour, this very minute, to be happy. Or, to use a better term, joyful. Conversely, I can choose, right now, to be sad. I have plenty of things to be sad about, and I have plenty of things to be joyful about.

Christmas is a time to reflect on God's many gifts to us. How often I neglect to think on these things, and how foolish I am for this neglect. Instead, I find myself focused on the things I don't have. The things I have yet to do, or still to accomplish. My life is seemingly one big anticipation, and it's so destructive.

In the last month or so, I have noticed my voice beginning to wane as my vocal cord apparently begins to lose substance from the injection. This is so disheartening, and if I let myself, I could lock myself in my room and literally cry for hours about this. This would be a choice, and it would be the wrong choice. I don't have to do this. Though all of my very being is telling me to do this, I can choose, instead, to be thankful, trusting the Lord that He'll give me the strength and faith to push on. Unfortunately, this is not happening. I'm finding myself discouraged.

The last few months have been such a renewal of myself. What I mean is ... the true Jordan has been able to come back. No, not 100%. Perhaps 75%, as opposed to 30% before I received the vocal cord injection in August. You know, I was never, ever described as "quiet" before I lost my voice. After losing my voice, the word "quiet" has been used to describe me by a few people. Yes, I'm an introvert, but I'm honestly not a quiet person. I really enjoy talking to people, and having a blast doing things with groups. I can be "sheepish," but no, not quiet. After my injection, a number of people commented that I was a different person. It's just the real me. Nobody new or different.

Anyway, this is my online journal, so I'm just blabbing my thoughts down like in a journal ... and my point is, I have to purpose everyday, no matter what problems face me, no matter how bleak the future looks, to have a joyful spirit and a thankful heart. This is the true spirit of Christmas. This special holiday is a time to focus on what I have, not what I don't have, nor on that which is slowly being taken from me.

Sorry for the sap. Sometimes it's healing to write down thoughts.

Anyway, recently I pretty much finished the cover for my dad's upcoming book. I hate to say upcoming. It's been "upcoming" for eight years. I had made a cover for it a few years ago, but decided to modernize it.

(you can click to expand it). It's pretty simple, I guess, but looking over other books by "self-help" authors, they seem to follow the same trend. They either have themselves on the cover, or something scientific and no nonsense. Feel free to give your honest opinion, good or bad.

Just a few pics here.

This is me last year in front of my glorious bedroom Christmas tree.

This is me this year in front of my glorious bedroom Christmas tree. I think this will become a new tradition. Yeah, I know, I look like a geek burger there.

These should be illegal. Every time I stop by Jean's Healthway in Ava, I get a scoop of these chocolate covered almonds. I can't tell you how addicting they are. Funny, Jeremy told me last week there's an ingredient in chocolate that stimulates the same part of the brain that is stimulated when you're in love ... hmmm ... may explain a few things.

There's no snow currently on the ground, so the only Christmasy picture I've got is one taken a few years back with David Voeller and I building a snowman. Good memory.

Looks like we'll be driving to Indiana for Christmas to visit my grandmother and aunt and uncle. Should be a good time. I'll bring the camera.

Appreciate you stopping by.


Various Activities
December 11, 2006

I've had an eventful couple weeks. Brad Kullman, a fellow my dad used to work with for the Cincinnati Reds, came down for five days. We played some golf, ping pong, and had some good talks (one about whether 9/11 was a government conspiracy or not. Good gravy). Brad's a really neat guy. He's hilarious, too. He's 39 and has 3 kids, but he has that teenage-type free spirit about him.

Also went to Springfield twice, where both times I saw "The Nativity Story." Folks, I recommend this movie. It was accurate almost to the detriment of the film, in that they didn't add much to make it terribly exciting. Sure, they added a few things, but kept the soul of the Christmas story. My favorite character was unquestionably Joseph. He had a look that just pierced right through you. All in all, it was a great film. I have a feeling that the majority of people who see it will find it somewhat slow and boring, however.

Anyway, I put together a quick 3-minute video of stuff (my third grade teacher taught me never to use the word 'stuff' ... sorry Mrs. Lehmberg) filmed over the last couple weeks and added some music, and below are also a few various photos. The video shows Brad playing ping pong, a couple shots from golf, my piano teacher playing a Christmas carol, Cody and I at Cracker Barrel, bowling, and finally me falling down as I stepped onto the slippery ice while getting out of the car in a mall parking lot. Had to reenact it, though, as I didn't have the camera on me when it actually happened. :-)

Christmas Time Activities

Brad's pumped and ready to rock. Quite the competitor.

Dad's not a bad player. Has a nasty serve.

Had to take a picture of my Sponge Bob golf ball. Sadly, I lost it a few holes later in the tall grass. I'm terribly sorry, Bob.

Jamey's never really been in the snow before, so it was really funny watching her walk around the yard so gingerly. Shnoogie woogie princess boo boo.

My piano teacher is the most amazing woman, but it would take too long to explain why. She always comes decked out in pretty wild clothes. This time was rather mild, with just some silky black.

Ok, off to Springfield. Here Cody decided to get an ice cold drink on an ice cold day. Brilliant.

My breakfast at Cracker Barrel. I don't particularly care for lunch and dinner there, but I love breakfast. Also had some hash browns, turkey sausages, and two eggs over easy. Ate a ton.

If you've ever eaten at Cracker Barrel, you'll recognize this. You jump tees until you can't jump anymore. If you end up with 4 you're an ignoramus, 3 you're plain dumb, 2 you're pretty smart, and 1 you're a genius. I ended with 3, and Cody with 2. Obviously the game doesn't work.

Snuck one quick photo during "The Nativity." That's Herod on the right. He was very convincing.

During our second trip to Springfield, we dropped off Brad Voeller at the Voeller's house. Brad stayed with Jeremy and Danielle a few days. For those who don't know, he's currently living in South Korea and working with homeschool families. Bar none, Brad is the most hard-working, diligent, thoughtful individual I've ever met. The guy's like superman. I'm gonna get him an outfit for Christmas.

You know what I just realized? Brad with his black hair and all actually resembles the new guy who plays superman (Brandon Routh). That is too funny. (if Brad ever sees this, he'll kill me.)

Kalea was crying in the car, so I did the only thing I could do to get her to stop ... let her play with my watch. She just loves it. She'll sit there for ten minutes just pushing the buttons. Course everything's screwed up by the time I get it back. I'm such a kind uncle.

Did a little present wrapping this week. I'm actually not bad, although I'm known to go through significant amounts of tape in surprisingly little time. My tape to wrapping paper ratio is usually pretty unbalanced.

Here I artistically combine two types of wrapping paper for the same gift. Ok, ok, I ran out of the one kind and had to use another. Sue me.

As always, thanks for stopping by.


Merry Christmas
December 5, 2006

Well it's certainly beginning to look like Christmas at Jordan's blog, now, isn't it? Nothing like a little Johnny Mathis with some cheesy animated gifs and a touch of java script snowfall to get you in the mood! "Jordan, you've lost it." Yeah, I know, but when you live out in the middle of nowhere, you deserve to flip out every once in awhile. "And what's with the evil, pagan santa hat!?" Oh, lighten up. St. Nick was a good man, so it's in his honor, ok? This is my blog! Leave me alone! ;-)

The snow arrived just in time to make the world feel Christmasy. Here the house rests beneath a thin layer of snow while Duchess is just moments away from tackling me.

And from the other side.

I know, I have an eye for beauty. You state the obvious.

Last week we had some old friends from California stop by during their visit to nearby Branson (Georges and Lasters). November and December are busy months for Branson, with millions of tourists going through for the holidays. Anyway, these friends go back like 30-40 years, and lived about 20 minutes from our house back in CA.

Every year, towards the end of November, when all the leaves are down, we spend about an entire day raking leaves off the yard and burning them in piles. Here my mom and I really go at it.

Why are those leaves moving?

You can't spend an entire day making leaf piles without doing this at least once.

Remember, safety first. Everything I learned about fire safety came from my dear mother ... the deranged pyromaniac.

Thanks for stopping by.