Take Heart, My Friend
Fernando Ortega


Final Bachelor Days - Week 3
May 10, 2008

It is with a heavy heart I inform you all that dear Ann Schrader's inflammatory breast cancer is spreading quickly, and that yesterday she was given only weeks or months to live. If the Lord calls her home, I can only imagine the immense riches that await her. Thank you for keeping she and her family in your prayers, and also for my mother, who is taking it in strides. Very difficult to think of losing a best friend. It's literally too hard to believe sometimes.

Some pictures from the week. Hope yours was truly blessed. Oh lastly, if anyone makes a comment and it doesn't show up, would you mind emailing me? Thanks.

Nate and I watching the Celtics, who currently are up 2-0 in the second round against the Cavs. Some are predicting a Lakers/Celtics Finals, which would be pretty sweet.

Found this little dude in our hallway. Named him Josef, cause he was squirrely and irritating and bit me a lot ... but it didn't hurt cause he was so puny and weak.

Very nice, Nate. Very feminine.

We're averaging 2-3 nights a week at Jeremy's. This particular night he made us a delicious fish taco dinner. I know, my smirk is kinda scary ... also hadn't shaved for 3 days, which is kinda scary.

A lovely gift from the Dahers. Little ham.

Rook. Ever played it? Very fun. Fortunately Nathan didn't know it's bad luck to put your lucky number 7 upside-down like that. That's a terrible hand, by the way. Absolutely terrible.

And a little computer boggle competition in the office.

Bob and I debating fertilizer brands. Almost broke out into a cow pie fight.

What's Betty got under here ...

Oh my ... and I was about to put the most sickeningly overused statement, "Only the face a mother could love," but I won't. Next picture.

And time for some lunch at the Harlin House. I just love photos that make me look pasty and pale.

That's kind of a creepy pose, Nate. Getting some "It Takes 2" flashbacks.

Strutting out of the bathroom ...

Posing ... I guess ... out of the bathroom.

So we're driving along and the air conditioner suddenly starts making all this racket. Couldn't figure out what in the world it was ... man, what could it be? I mean, the engine's still there.

Too many salad options. Must call home.

All right, time to get dirty and figure out what's going on. Actually, by this point we realized it was either a bird or a mouse that was stuck in the fan (or a pigmy baby deer). Yeah, and by the sound of things, we was thinkin' mouse. I love how knowledgeable this picture makes me look ... like I actually had a clue what I was doing. "Grief, the stinking engine's still there."

"You know, this would be a lot easier if we just got Jeremy to do it."

Lo and behold, a dead mother and about 5 babies. So sad. Jeremy humanely took care of them.

Thanks, brother.

And lastly, everyone together again to mentally solidify the house foundation. Thank you for your continued prayer. It's hard to tell what's gonna happen this week ... Greg is supposed to come Monday, but first give us his final bid ... but he hasn't called yet, so we have a backup guy. It's just so hard when people aren't always on the ball, but God is good, and I expect progress to be made this week.

Thanks for stopping by!


Final Bachelor Days - Week 2
May 3, 2008

Another great week! I really have no idea what's going on with my comment form ... all I can say is that sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Just comment and hope for the best. If it doesn't show up, comment again! (yes, I know you will, you faithful viewers! ... you better.)

And here we go ...

Aww ... so cute. And believe me, it took Nathan quite awhile to build up this type of relationship.

Wad iz Chef Jardyn cookeeng?

Tsaco meat, butz of caulse!

Out on a beautiful evening to once again see the house site. This gives you a better perspective of how deep the "hole" really is.

And another look. Thank you for your continued prayer! Please pray that Greg would be out here this week to lay the cement foundation. Lord willing the weather will be conducive for such.

The biker boy and his babe.

Nathan by the creek. Oh, and Nate, I will now bestow upon you the utmost of all compliments that you or I could ever give one another ... this picture makes you look really fat.

Jerome atop the rock.

Jordy in the culvert.

Some ping pong in Jeremy's upstairs. Intense! (well not really but who cares)

Sunday morning it was time to take Nathan to Rockbridge for breakfast. There's something you should know about this picture ... I photoshopped myself in as we both couldn't be in it at the same time. Pretty neato.

This could be the cover of an album or something ... a really cheap album ... like one of those kinds you pick out of a bin full of other peoples' cheap albums.

Nice breakfast there.

This warrants a snob smile.

Nathan enjoys the beauty of the Ozarks ... or he just looks like he ate way too much.

We pulled into our driveway and, lo and behold, Bob and Betty were outside watching one of their new prized cows giving birth. Here we see Bob and the mother in a staring contest.

Still wet. The miracles of God's creation.

Slightly cute.

She makes the most elaborate faces. Oh, and if everyone will please look closely, you'll notice the nice chunk my dear mother took out of the left side of my head during my last hair appointment. Needless to say I didn't leave her a tip.

"Hey Nate! Wanna go outside with me and dig up some cactus and get really small needles in your hands that hurt so bad you'll probably be driven mad!?" - "Sure, Jordan, that'd be just swell!"

Time for some golfing! So sorry it's blurry! We were just dancing way too hard! Boogie down!

Umm ... I think we're lost. Due to the high waters from the intense rain over the last two months, Nate and I were forced to try a new route. We did eventually get there ... just a lot later.

We almost look like real golfers.

Oh the form!

Oh the ... shirt!

Golf Mishap ...

Yes, boys and girls, it's that very special time again! Cookies! And can everyone remember their motto? "A Place To Eat!" Yay!

Kinda artsy ... kinda greasy ...

The waitress kindly offers to snap a shot of Brad and Kyle.

A packed car in Springfield.

Nathan and his family really like Cracker Barrel, so I decided to take him out. In fact, he and his family will sometimes drive all the way from San Diego to Nevada just to eat there! I know! Totally nuts! I know!

I'm gonna sell this picture on Ebay for big bucks. An authentic photograph of Jeremy Jon Niednagel eating French toast at Cracker Barrel. It was actually made from whole grain and sour dough with real maple syrup, so all in all was pretty healthy.

Get away from me, you fruitcake.

Brad eyes down the pins. Kyle and I played 3 intense games. Always a blast.

Cool form ... cool lighting.

And lastly ... Nathan helps me in the garden. Actually, his brother Abram has called TWICE now while we were outside working. I'm pretty sure they've got some type of rigged system going on where Nate has like a secret pager and pushes a button when he wants to get out of something and Abram calls him and gets him out of whatever that something was that he wanted to get out of. I'm pretty sure.

As always, thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful week!


Final Bachelor Days - Week 1
April 26, 2008

Well, Nathan got here safe and sound and the week has been full of fun times, boring times, work, and play! This week really flew, and I just know the next 2 months will be the same. Wow ... and the clock continues to tick away.

Enough chit chat. Got enough pictures here to do the talking for me. And speaking of pictures, many of them are from Nathan's fancy new Nikon. Such a sweet camera. I gotta get me one!


Apparently the anticipation of seeing me again wasn't enough for Nathan. You make me sick.

Nathan!!! Cometh giveth me a manly hug!!!

And a blurry one back at him.

We briefly stop by a thrift store to find some old size 13 work shoes. No luck.

Non-alcoholic. Trust me.

And we uphold our distinguished tradition by once again eating Chinese food together. Kinda looks nasty with all that stained brown stuff on the roof there ... man that's just grody.

And we end the evening with Expelled. Really, truly, an awesome movie. Go see it now! Sobering, but so very inspiring. Ben Stein did a masterful job.

Before the film they showed this really weird animation with these weird xylophone-like creatures playing this really weird music. So, of course, I took a picture.

Next day, it's time for some 4-wheeling. Nothing like the feeling of power beneath your legs.

Nathan scopes the new landscape. He really didn't recognize anything.

Dozing is complete! Look at the size of that hole. This, my friends, is where the house shall be built.

From behind. Great shot, Nate. You can see how we left a few trees (and we'll plant various ones over the years of course). Now we wait for Greg, our cement guy, to come next week. Meanwhile, our well guy should be out here soon as well (no pun intended ... wait, that's not even a pun).

This is from something ... something very special ...

Did you guess it? Any diehard Book of Being fans out there?

We stop by Jer's to check out his new ping pong table upstairs.

Pull ups!

And that stuff you used to do back in elementary school.

Awww ...

Let's ride.

Moria returns to Mansheart.


A horse and his boy.

You know, I've heard like after you get married, you like become boring, so for some healthy prevention I decided to jump into a freezing river. Oh my goodness ... complete bodily shock.

ADRIAN!!! (Rocky)

The Unboring Bachelor ... ;-)

Nathan infringes on my patented snob smile.

Nate: "So I says, 'Let me get out of this wet tuxedo and slip into a dry martini!'"
Jor: "That's not funny."

On our walk we stumbled upon this little guy ... yes, a snapping turtle. Those things can take off fingers in a single bite.

Of course, all week we've engaged in some serious ping pong. Question is, who has the best form?

Nathan snapped some great photos during this week's basketball in Ava. Love this full court shot.

All the while entertaining Kalea.

Jeremy elevates for the dunk, while I get sandwiched.

You know, I had so many great captions for this one ... but I'm not gonna go there.

See, white boys can jump. Did I get blocked? Did I make it? Wouldn't you like to know ...

One of those times you wish you were a few inches taller.

Guess what? Bob still's alive! Yep, our beloved white squirrel still graces us with his/her presence almost every day. Dad even feeds it macadamia nuts. Talk about an expensive oversized white rat.

Nathan, what are you doing? You're not playing computer games again, are you? Don't you know you're way too old for that?

Wait! It's not what you think!!!

As always, thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!