Welcome To Our World
Michael W. Smith

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)

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A Wondrous Week
December 31, 2007

Well, it was nothing short of a week to remember ... and to prove it, I hardly took any pictures. I, Jordan Philip Niednagel, the ultimate blogging nerd/geek/extraordinaire ... hardly took any pictures. I'm just not the man I used to be. :-) Thankfully, however, I did take some, and thankfully Michael took his regular insane boatload amount.

Much to do, and little time to do it, so I'll get on with the pictures. Hope you all had a very merry Christmas, and may your new year be richly blessed. 2007 was the most amazing year of my life, and only the Lord knows what 2008 will bring (I like it that way).

Anyway, here we go ...


Time Together ...


Melissa, with some spare time during their 22-hour drive to Missouri, does a little tattoo work on Marscel's lower-left appendage. What a guy.


You can see us, but we couldn't see each other. It was pitch-black and raining when they arrived ... like something from a movie ... and I ran out into the yard to hear those beloved voices and suddenly feel those precious arms around me in a joyous embrace.


Merry mingling.


It didn't take long for Kalea to hit it off with Mrs. Thomas (or who I call, "Momma Monica"). I love this picture.


I'm never starved for attention when the Thomas' are near.


This is so precious. Meliss & KK. That night I introduced Melissa to Loveland, my stuffed teddy bear of 23 years. Yes, I am not ashamed! Hear me roar!


Melissa presents me with an absolutely amazing betrothal gift ... a music video! Couldn't tell you how shocked I was. Actually, just look at my face. That shows you just how shocked I was. You know, I was just quickly passing by this picture, and then stopped, and just realized the gravity of it all. There I am, a 25-year old man, with my 31-year old brother, his wife, my fiance present ... wow. Like a glimpse into the future.


The title menu, with really neat menu graphics. Thank you, Amanda Flynn, for all your hard work in putting this together! What a friend you are. Bless you!


And I present to my Marian a DVD of some various home videos from my past. "The Life of Your Locksley." You can see some of their reaction on the video. :-)


We all gather to watch Melissa's "Wait For Me."


That's me ... pointing at the camera. I think I'm a little out of it from all the excitement.


I put two really nice quarter-inch pads on the floor for Michael and Matthew to sleep on, but they insisted on taking my bed.


Off to Silver Dollar City, Branson! For those who don't remember, SDC is a theme park with rides and shows and stuff. I look so awesome with that green hat.


These guys were good. I'm still taken back by the Christian emphasis Silver Dollar City maintains over the years. One guy we listened to just flat out talked about Christ being his Savior and asked if any others in the crowd believed the same.


The 'Big Swing' ride! This thing is awesome. Way to go, Mrs. Thomas! I couldn't believe she actually decided to ride it. At one point I looked over to see her face somewhat cringing and her eyes closed, but she hung in there and ended up loving it (am I right?). :-)


The 'Fire In The Hole' ride! I know this one puts you to sleep, Nathan, but the Thomases loved it (especially the, "get back in here and put your pants on" part. ;-)


This guy was great. He asked if Melanie had a boyfriend, and she replied that she had four (her brothers).


Just the two of us (that's a song).


There's some things you just can't do over the telephone.


Marvel Cave. Just incredible. I've been to SDC a few times now, and had no idea they had this (guess the rides have always been the distraction). Looks like something from Lord of the Rings.


The extended Niednagel family enjoying themselves.


Just the two of us.


On a tram as we ascend from the cave. You're looking pretty pale, Melanie.


Robin and Lord Much.


Remember this picture? Taken earlier this year ...


... and now a soul-mate to share it with.


On the way home ... just the two of us.


Michael's got the laptop, and we're hard at working making floor plans. Spent nearly the whole day! Lot's of fun and laughter.


Kalea felt strongly that we should include more toy rooms.


Kalea's first picture (well, that's made it to my blog). The feet of Robin and Marian. Not bad.


I'll have some serious explaining to do if Melissa ever sees this picture of me playing N64 with the boys.


The Fantastic Four ... Hawaiian style (we had one of our traditional luaus).


Micaiah tried to show me up by kissing the hand of Melanie, so I wasn't about to be out-romanticized.


Not a good idea trying to lug two "annoying females" around.


Christmas day, and we are graced with the presence of my piano teacher, Melody, and Mr. and Mrs. Schrader (please keep her in prayer as she continues to undergo therapy for her breast cancer).


A lovely shot. You look pretty sophisticated, Micaiah. Must be your shirt with your dark hair.


Uhh ... where are you, and what are you doing? Thrift store shopping, my friend. On Thursday we all went to Springfield to hit a few hot spots (wanted to give Meliss a taste of her surroundings).


How's that for coincidence? Literally, made for each other.

#1

Ok, need a vote here. Which one makes us all the most hunkish? (you can't vote neither.) Your shirt goes well with your dark hair, Micaiah.

#2

I think Marscel's is a little tight on the chest.


Two precious people.


All the ladies on the day of departure.


Me and my momma Monica.


Robin and Marian are blessed with one last walk together.


You may recall the video I did for the Thomases a year ago. If not, you can watch it here on YouTube.


And now ... one year later. (yeah, a little more serious and emotional)

Thanks so much for stopping by, and have a blessed New Year's.

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Thomas / Merry Christmas!
December 22, 2007

The Thomas' are gonna be here in less than an hour! There are so many emotions going on inside me right now. I can hardly bear it. Excitement, euphoria, fright, wonder, joy, anxiety ... fright ... :-) Man, what's wrong with me? I don't know, but this "seeing your fiance once a month" stuff is harder than it looks (does it look hard?). I know just after 5 minutes of being with Melissa and the family my heart will return to it's normal state (still euphoric, but normal). But for now ... ahhh!!!! :-D


Just a shot I took the other day while in Wasola. Kinda artistic ... sorta.

Anyway, I gotta go! Many pictures next week! Merry Christmas, everybody!



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Of Hanukkah & Salons
December 15, 2007

Did you have a good week? Mine was richly blessed, and I'm a grateful man. Tomorrow we may get snow! Thing is, we're right on the line where it could turn to rain, so we'll see. Did you hear about all the ice storms here in the midwest causing millions to lose power? Tulsa, Oklahoma, got it really bad, and lots of trees were totally destroyed. One blessing about where our home is located ... we're in the heart of the Ozark "mountains," which aren't really mountains but high hills that tend to break up big storms. Also, we're further south, so usually we just get rain, while others get ice. Only bummer ... snow is more of a rarity. We usually only get 1-2 decent snows every year.

Anyway, had a nice Hanukkah celebration with the Voellers this week. No, we're not Jewish. Believe it or not, Jesus Christ celebrated Hanukkah (called the "feast of lights").

The song playing is my favorite Christmas song (not carol, but song). Whoever wrote the words was a lyrical genius. I remember crying when I first heard it (a different rendition). Some of my favorite lines ...

"This child that you delivered will soon deliver you."
"When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God."

"This sleeping child you're holding is the great I AM."

That's all for now. The Thomas' are coming next week! Can't wait! (for obvious reasons :-) Of course, there will be tons of pictures to share, as there always are after spending time with them.

Anyway, here we go ...


A Hanukkah Together ... (the video starts off with some music I heard while shopping ... I only caught the tail end of the song, but it was absolutely the most irritating rendition of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" I have ever heard in my entire life. The video also ends with a short clip at the thrift store)


Papa Jeremy, atop the patriarchal ladder, reading the history of Hanukkah.


Grandma and the pink and yellow thing listen attentively.


The Voellers play some traditional Jewish music. Danielle hadn't played with her family since their wedding back in 2002. In fact, she's hardly played at all since 2002. Couldn't tell, though. :-)


Michael played a really moving piece on the cello. I find the cello fascinating. Just so big and ... brown.


At the table. I love the rich colors and lighting the camera sometimes captures when the flash isn't on.


Lighting the menorah.


Jared apparantly having some indigestion.


Opening gifts. We each have a "gift partner" every year, where we purchase a gift for $5.00 or less for that partner. Johanna was my giver, while Justin was who I gave to. Thank you so much for the granola and chocolates!


Kalea had a blast.


I open a gift from me mommacita.


Wow. A bandana. Thanks ... mom. No, honestly, I liked it. :-) I've started a new trend of wearing bandanas in the morning to cover my messy hair.


Pin the candle on the menorah. Behind you, Jo.


The dradle game, where chocolates are "gambled". Not much skill. Just spin it and watch.


Cool shot. Thanks.


Having a good time. So who won? Believe it or not, Kalea! It was so cute ... we told her to "spin" it, but apparantly she thought we said "spit," so before spinning the dradle every time she spat on it (watch the video). Anyway, everybody got eliminated besides her and Justin, so they kept playing for another good 20 minutes. Well, being only 3 now, Kalea was like, "What's the deal? How long does this lame game last?" (not her exact words, but her thoughts.) So, Jared took over for her ...


... and after, honestly, another 40 minutes or so, Jared finally won. It was getting so pathetic. They both looked like they were having the worst time as they kept on spinning the dradle over and over again. It's like, if you're not having fun, why play? Even Kalea was smart enough to figure that out.


So why take a picture of a line of cars? Look carefully. I'm on the side of the road. This, my friends, is a funeral procession, and in the Ozarks you pull over to show respect. Imagine that in California. :-)


Here I am, bored, at a thrift store. You can see mom behind me having the time of her life. God's definitely preparing me for marriage. It's not that I don't like thrift stores, but this is pretty much the worst one ever made.


At the salon. Snuck a picture of mom getting herself beautified. She wants to do this more often.


I love these head things. "Excuse me, ma'am? Could I try that out for a sec?"

Have a blessed week. Thanks for stopping by.


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Another Winter Week
December 9, 2007

Ok, there's something that a few people out there just need to understand. Us Niednagels aren't the kind of cute all-American family that carefully plans out a darling Christmas picture by getting all dressed up in matching little outfits and bows, then picking out the perfect little spot with adorable poinsettias and wreaths and little flashing lights here and there, and then finally taking about five hundred to a thousand photos from fifty different angles in hopes of getting "that perfect shot." Actually, I'm kinda like that, but no one else in the family is. Is that understood? Comprende? So, don't go expecting the stinking Mona Lisa when I ask for a vote on a Christmas picture, ok? So sure, you're exactly right. The backgrounds looked like garbage, none of us were sitting in the right spots, and some of us simply looked like creatures from a low-budget horror film (fortunately, though, I looked like a million bucks ... or a couple hundred). But that's us ... the Niednagels. Course, everyone says I'm a Kayser anyway (mom's side), so I don't care.

Merry Christmas!

Earlier this week I noticed Jane (my dog) raising her head and opening her mouth really weird ... like she was trying to get something out. Poor thing was whimpering and could hardly eat. So, I gave it another day to see if she would improve, and she didn't. So, on Friday I took her to "Fast Eddie," our family vet. The problem? You'll see in one of the pictures below.

Umm ... what else. I'm posting this a couple days earlier then my normal week routine so I can get back on my Saturday blog posting schedule.

Oh, I just saw the film "Amazing Grace". Very incredible movie. And yes, the word "Christ" was mentioned (that had been a point of contention among some people I've talked to). Anyway, a very inspiring film that I recommend seeing.

Hey, I've got a Christmas quiz question for everybody. Winner gets ... my respect again!
QUESTION: Where did the Christmas tree tradition originate?
And for an ultimate respect bonus question ...
QUESTION: What country did poinsettias originally come from?


Ok, you're sick of hearing me type, so on with some not-so-exciting but better-than-nothing pictures.


Out in Ava as we run errands and prepare Jane for the vet. Here I'm waiting for mom at the post office. You can see poor Jane lying on the seat behind me. :-(


I look to my right ... and make an early Santa Clause sighting. No one would believe me.


And here, my friends, was the problem. Poor Jane had a piece of a deer bone lodged between her teeth and her throat. It was nearly 3 inches long! Very grody.


The man of the hour ... Eddie Transano, or "Fast Eddie," as we call him. What's that he's got in the jar? A baby horse. Now that's grody.


A sign, or an odd coincidence. While at Subway, I looked up to see these stockings. Expand the picture to read the middle and right one. Very cool. :-)


You know you want some.


Only in Missouri. Can you imagine if they sold these in downtown L.A.?


Now at Jean's Healthway. I did that "Dockers" advertisement in this same spot about a year ago ... so to keep yet another tradition going ...


I should have asked to model for LL Bean when I had the chance.


2005.


2006.


2007. Yeah I know, nice smirk. Man, in 2006 I was looking pretty ... girly. Oh, I discovered you can actually see the lights on the tree when I don't use the flash. You know, don't I finally look more grown up in the last pic? I think engagement does that to a man (or maybe because I'm just fatter). :-) Anyway, this year marks the last time for this tradition, as I won't be living in my room come next Christmas. :-( Wait, why am I frowning? How exciting. :-) Maybe Melissa and I will do a new version of some sort in 2008 to keep the tradition alive.


And here I am on another day, waiting for our van to be fixed (which it wasn't).


When not enwrapped in love novels, these shnoogie woogies helped pass the time.


I'm like, "Mom, if you dress like that, people are gonna ask if they can provide you with shelter and a nice warm meal."


Took this picture while on a walk. It was so misty outside ... made everything just really beautiful and haunting. That's a donkey there on the left. I call this one, "Donkey In A Field On A Misty Day." (ok, jordan, this obvious naming joke is getting old now.)


Yep, that's me hanging up Christmas lights ... for the first time ever since moving to Missouri. Why? Well, who's gonna care? The deer? No one's gonna appreciate them except the electric company. Why is your mouth like that? Cause I'm saying to myself , "Ooh, J Man, you got the touch, my friend." (when there's no one around to encourage you, self-support is crucial.)


Funny.


Merry Christmas to everyone ... from Robin of Locksley.

This week the Voellers will be coming to celebrate a little Hanukkah evening with us (so you'll have a little more variety of pictures than just me running errands and hanging from rooftops). Should be fun (Justin is my "gift partner" this year). Anyway, thanks for stopping by!


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Merry Christmas
December 4, 2007

Well, it's that time of year again, and once again Niednagel.com has taken on its cheesy Christmas decor! Aren't the snowflakes falling just so neat? So amazing. I really like the song playing too, although it doesn't have much meaning, admittedly. Well, regardless of your opinion of Christmas, there's one thing we can all agree on ... the secular community hates Christmas, and they're desperately trying to destroy it. There's a reason for that. Namely, it has a Christian connotation. Whatever pagan origins it began with have all but been forgotten, leaving only the image of a little baby in a manger. Such an image they hate. So, if you want my advice (you know you want it), when someone says to you, "Happy Holidays," just reply with a warm "Merry Christmas!" If things continue as they now are, we won't even be able to legally say that in public years from now.

#1

#2

Ok, taking a vote here. Which photo should us Niednagels use for this year's family Christmas picture? I think I look better in the first, so you better cast your vote for that one. Kalea's face is a little weird in both, but I can easily photoshop a different smile from one of the other pictures. I love how everything now a days can be so easily manipulated with the click of a button. I can make everyone look thinner, fatter, or 30 years younger. *cough*

Hey, here's something I'll bet everyone didn't know. Before settling on the name of Tiny Tim for his character in "A Christmas Carol," three other alliterative names were considered by Charles Dickens. They were Little Larry, Puny Pete, and Small Sam. Pretty fascinating, huh? Grief, but can you imagine, Puny Pete? I mean c'mon. That's pathetic.

This blog entry is pretty mundane compared to the last one, but I suppose every blog entry up until the wedding day will be mundane compared to the last one. :-) As for a date? We're looking at June or July. House plans are already underway (to build on the opposite side of the property), and I'd REALLY appreciate your prayers for wisdom as far as what builders to go with, location, and exactly what type of house to build. So many options, which is good, but overwhelming. Thank you!

And with that, just a few pictures here. Merry Christmas!


Ok, what expensive looking gifts can I find that'll basically cost me nothing? Honestly, though, I enjoy getting little gifts for people, especially if they actually like what I give them. I'm pretty good at telling when someone's fakin' it, so if I ever give any of you a gift you don't care for, don't put on an act. I'll see right through it. Just say, "Jordan, thank you, but this gift is like the worst gift ever."


Oh hello! Won't you come join us? I look like I just turned around to see my best friend ... or my fiance (that look would probably scare her stiff). Anyway, I have to be honest and let everyone know that my mom did the entire tree. I just walked over and took the picture. She did a wondrous job.


A few more pictures from Massachusetts. On Thanksgiving night, the day of my proposal to Melissa, the Thomas' took us (with the Flynns accompanying) to this incredible park-like place owned by a local Catholic church. The lights were AMAZING! Just everywhere! Cameras never give due justice to Christmas lights, but you can still see just how brilliant it was. After such an incredible, emotional day, it was truly a magical way to bring it to a close. Like something from a movie.


Another look.


This was last year ... raking leaves with my dear momma. But now ...


... the Lord has brought me a new raking partner! (still adore you, mom!) :-)


Back home now, specifically last Wednesday. Here I am keeping score at basketball with this cool keypad thing. I missed my free-throws, so had to sit out a game. :-(


The score is ... uh ... the score is ...


Out running an errand. It's time like these when all I can think about are white sandy beaches, crystal blue waters, palm trees, clear skies, suntan lotion, a glass of lemonade with one of those little umbrellas in it ...


Now back to Massachusetts. That night, after viewing the Christmas lights, we stayed up till 1 in the morning looking at house magazines (for possible building ideas) and listening to excerpts from Melissa's journal. We had some of the best laughs that night, accentuated I'm sure by the fact that we all were so tired and it was so late. Melissa showed me a picture of a million dollar stone home she really loved, and I was like, "Yeah right!!!"


I love this picture. It was about 5 in the morning just before our departure. Can't believe everybody got up to see us off. Thank you! What a special time.


"For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens, and Your truth to the clouds." - Psalm 57:10 (took this picture while flying home)

That's all for now. And in case you missed the news ...

A Thanksgiving To Remember

Thanks so much for stopping by, and have a blessed week!





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