Hiding Place

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)


Of Banks, Basketball, & Birthdays
January 25, 2008

Well, I'll be in Ava all this evening at our co-op (shipment doesn't come in till 8:00, ahh!!), so with limited time on my hands, here's an early blog entry for the week. T'was a great week indeed! Had Jon Courville come down for basketball, and we celebrated my dad's 60th birthday.

Thank you for your continued prayer for the building of our house. Lord willing, some answers should be coming this week. All right, and now a few pictures. I'll also be putting a funny short video clip up sometime this week. Here we go ...

Century Bank, Ava, Missouri, 5:33pm. Two suspicious hoodlums are recorded making silly faces into the newly installed surveillance cameras. Aren't these cool? Our bank just added these little TVs onto those sender/vault things so you can see exactly how the bank teller sees you. That's Jon Courville behind me, who came down to play some ball and spend the night. As you can judge from my face, I was trying to act like a rich snob, but that's kinda hard to pull off when you're in a dinged-up light blue minivan wearing an old hooded sweatshirt.

Playing ball. Jon's in green, I'm in black. Yes, the guys we play with come in all shapes and sizes ... and I mean all shapes and sizes. There's just so much more to love!

Jon closely defends his man just off camera, while I ... look like I'm gearing up to tackle the big dude in the big red pants (that's Peter, a great guy).

RIght on. Ain't nobody who can hang with us.

A trip to Wally World afterwards. There's the pink thing looking very pink.

Jon helps me find a birthday present for my dad.

The next morning I took Jon out to see where our house is to be built. Specifically, it will be on the far left on the edge of the woods. Man it was cold that morning! Thanks for coming down, Jon!

Thursday saw my dad turning 60! Wow! Talk about ancient! That evening we had Bob and Betty over to join in on the wild festivities. "Calm down, Jon. There's no reason to let this party get out of hand."

Caesar salad with cajun chicken. SOOOO good.

Eating together. We keep our white lights up all year.

Kalea was putting hats on everybody, so we decided to put them on EVERYBODY, including Bob! lol, I never thought I would see the day Bob when Bob sported one of these things (if you knew him, you'd completely understand). :-)

The birthday boy! Now you see which side of the family I got my strength from.

Me and Kalea. This is so eerie. When I look at this, I almost get a vision of what I would have looked like had I been born a girl. Can you see at all what I'm saying? I look a little feminine. MAN I'M GLAD I WASN'T BORN A GIRL! ;-)

In a weird mood, showcasing my French hat. Why does this look exactly like the Mona Lisa? Serious, my slight grin, the way my head is turned ... this is a really creepy blog entry.

The birthday card I got for dad. Talk about speaking the truth! (thanks for the amen, Nate)

As always, thanks for stopping by, and may your week be truly fantastic!


Another Week, Another Post
January 19, 2008

Well, if there's one thing I've learned about building a house, it's that it's slow work, and the actual work hasn't even started yet. Maybe it's because we're going about it in a very "J" fashion (which tests me at times), but thankfully one bid for materials came in and we're beginning to get an idea of what things should cost. Still waiting on two crucial bids from two potential builders, so I'd REALLY appreciate your prayers for wisdom and punctuation. If we can just get the process started by February (bulldozing), then a house should be finished or nearly completed by July or August (when the wedding will likely take place).

It's very funny ... out of all the videos Nathan and I have done and uploaded to YouTube, the most popular by far has been our "Slipper and the Rose" routine. Check out all the positive feedback we've been getting from total strangers.

Slipper and the Rose ...

What's great is that our surroundings could totally pass for a royal English garden with all the greenery and fountain and everything, so I think people are getting the impression that we spent a lot of time planning and putting it together (instead of on a whim within a few hours). Nathan and I are considering doing the whole song when we get together again in the near future (Lord willing), but ... we'll see. :-)

Marcus Schrader posted this retro picture on Facebook the other day, taken in our yard back in CA (about 1995). Great memory. Look at me. Cute little button.

Oh, you know one thing that really bothers me? People with blogs who put their captions ABOVE each picture instead of below. That's so absurd. You obviously want to see the picture FIRST so you can actually know what the caption is even talking about. Ridiculous. Sorry. Random rant.

Well, I only have a couple pictures from the week. Danielle celebrated her 28th birthday, but I didn't take any pictures! I don't know what's wrong with my brain (and I don't need any hints). Anyway, happy birthday, Danni, and may the Lord bless you with many, many more to come! OH, BY THE WAY, DANIELLE IS PREGNANT! My goodness that's slightly important to announce! She's actually about 5 months along now, and is expecting sometime in mid June. Praise God! Kalea's pretty excited too knowing that a little brother or sister is on the way (probably so she can just boss them around, but at least she's excited).

Anyway ...

While driving early in the morning the other day, I looked out and thought to myself, "You know, this could pass for Scotland."

I guess this is my dad's attempt at a self-shot. I lent him my camera to take some pictures of the tornado damage. Digital cameras and folks born in the 1940s just don't function well together.

Me, with morning hair, one year ago. And now, to uphold yet another Niednagel.com tradition ...

"What the ..."

Thanks for stopping by, and have a beautiful week!


Homes / Golf / Tornadoes
January 12, 2008

This week certainly had its interests. Of course, whenever there's the threat of a tornado wiping out your home, the week's never boring. You know, if I ever do experience a tornado firsthand, even amidst the fear and sheer terror
of it all, I have a strange feeling I'll be thinking of Dorothy and Toto the entire time. How twisted is that (no pun intended)? Hollywood has truly ruined me. Anyway, thankfully our area was left unscathed, save for some minor damage to some barns and such. A few people did sadly lose their lives in some other areas. The geography even within a few short miles changes just so drastically out here, as I've shared before. The Springfield area gets twice the amount of tornados we do, simply because it's just so much flatter.

Ok, I need to make an update here. Talked with our neighbors, and guess what? A tornado DID touch down on their property. Wow! Not a huge one, but it ripped out some cedar trees and, of course, the trees in the picture at the bottom. This is the first one we've had in our area since being here. Anyway, pretty sobering to think that a tornado was only a few hundred yards from our house. Praise God for His protection.

In other news, we continue to plug along on with house plans and which builders to go with and such. I have made so many phone calls and spent so many hours on the computer, I feel like I'm gonna ... go sing a really, really, really pretty song (and I mean just simply gorgeous).

Oh, you gotta see this video from my past. Jeremy and I used to "dunk" in our hallway back in California. It was SO MUCH FUN! I truly felt like I was Michael Jordan himself. Man, wasn't it great when such simple things in life were just so exciting?

Fun In The Hallway ... You'll have to excuse our rude behavior towards our mother (actually, it's just Jeremy. You'll notice I stay politically quiet :-). Remember, though, we were punk public school kids, so didn't know any better. :-) I love my mom's hair. Her head was one big, giant circle. Course, my doo was vintage 80s too.

All right, with that, on with some pictures.

Ok, this was a really nice $200,000 pad, but one we would like to mimic in the sense that it's a two-story, walkout basement home. The owner spared no expense. Money was no issue. Cash was manure, best used when spread around. I think you get my drift here.

Talk about modern. I love it. My crooked style of photography makes it even all the more modern. We just need some steel chairs.

Pretty nice bedroom. Pretty nice bed. I just really like drywall, even though my beloved, tree-hugging, bamboo sock-wearing brother Jeremy says it's sorta toxic. But you can paint it any color, and it just looks so stinking cool (there you go, Ryan). Growing up in Southern California, EVERYONE had drywall. Also, it's cheaper than wood, so why not? I think my fiance would agree with me (you better).

Very nice cabinetry work, and the floors are a really expensive hard oak. The kitchen's a little small (especially for a Thomas), but you gotta admire the craftsmanship. Perfect for moon walking.

This is downstairs. It's very cozy, with just carpet and white walls. We'd probably have a type of wood (or laminate) flooring downstairs, and actually leave it incomplete to finish later. So, for awhile, downstairs will be excellent for intense ping pong matches, wrestling, shuffleboard, handball, track and field, etc.

The outside. Supposedly the wood the guy used is a really costly type of cedar. I like vinyl siding anyway, or even stucco. I've been warned by two people now to be careful not to accidentally kick your riding lawn mower in reverse when next to a stucco wall, as you'll drive right through it. I was like, "Oh, thanks for the advice. I had been planning to accidentally kick my riding lawn mower into reverse until now."

Time for some golf in January! Had a couple nice 70 degree days, and we took full advantage of them. I played absolutely horrific.

Only to increase blog hits.

Kalea later explained she was strictly going for a profile picture. Look at my hair. I hate it when windy days makes it like a straight wall standing up. I could pass for Mitt Romney's brother.

Yes, the storms were coming, and that was the night Missouri would be hit with a few tornados. Isn't that an epic picture? I love the light color of the ground in contrast to the dark, scattered pines.

Group photo.

Afterwards we stopped by coop to get some newly delivered organic oranges we had ordered. And why did this picture make it to your blog? Oh c'mon, look at the neat overhang and all those people and the really nice jeans that kid is wearing.

And one final picture showing just a tad of the damage done to our neighbor's property. You can see some of the trees knocked down in the background, and that sheet of metal ... that's from our neighbor's barn about a half mile away. Wow is right.

A few people have tried ordering a free CD in recent weeks, and are getting an error message. Sorry, I'll have that fixed as soon as I can!

All righty, have an excellent week. Lord bless you, and thanks for stopping by!


A New Year Before Us
January 6, 2008

2008 is here, with 2007 is now behind us. What an unbelievable year it has been. I find myself nearly speechless as I try to gather my thoughts to write about it. I almost can't do it, honestly.

January of last year found myself in a state of confusion and disillusionment. Simply read my first entry to gain an understanding of what I mean. I did not know where my life was going, and at times even wondered if the Lord had forsaken me. Perhaps I had done something wrong, or was neglecting to do something that I should be doing. Did He still want me home? Did He still want me submitting to my authority? Was He calling me elsewhere, and I was being deaf to His call? I write these things with the utmost sobriety, remembering just how close I came to certain despair. In my own words: "I feel that 2007 will be the biggest year of my life in terms of direction. I feel as though I walk on a narrow bridge, with thin air on either side. The moment I deviate to the left or to the right will be the moment I fall headlong into complete emptiness."

Why do I share this? I share this to admonish and encourage those still waiting for the Lord's clear direction in their lives, whether it be for a wife, a husband, a job, anything. God's timetable is not ours, and He calls us to wait patiently. Never could I have ever imagined receiving my voice back after seven years of relative silence. Never could I have ever imagined the Lord bringing me a beautiful, Godly woman in only a matter of months. Sometimes the Lord works slowly, and sometimes in the blink of an eye. Wait on Him. Trust Him. Don't doubt Him. Before me still lie many hurdles that often times seem overwhelming, but my mother has taught me a valuable question to ask myself during such times. "Can you trust Him for today?" - "Yes," I reply. "I can do that." It seems so simple, but it's so vital. We get so focused on next week, next month, next year ... it makes everything seem so impossible. Christ, however, calls us to think only of today, "for tomorrow has enough trouble of its own." My prayer for this year is that each and every one of us will be able to live this way. He can get you through today, and He'll get you through tomorrow.

Below are 7 photographs from the year 2007 that are meaningful to me.

Here I am, hours after my surgery. It was frightening, it was painful, but the Lord was with me every step of the way. I even recall overhearing two nurses speaking to each other as I was being wheeled into my room. "What room does he go in?" - "Umm ... room #7." Perhaps I was just grasping for straws, but it brought me a sudden comfort to be in the room of the Lord's perfect number.

And who can forget this? Jonathan Drake, my friend of some 10 years, gets hitched. Now this year it will be his turn to celebrate with me.

Couldn't leave this one out. Classic.

Walking out of the terminal to suddenly see this was nothing short of insanity. I'll never forget it.

What a time at the film festival. Nathan and I were so blessed to have our trailers shown and appreciated by so many.

Of course, proposing wasn't a small thing. :-) The Lord sustained me through every breath.

And soon, in 2008, Melissa and I will embark on a new journey together, lasting for a lifetime.

So, how was your New Year's? Mine was rather modest. Last year I had Cody over to jump in the air with me at exactly the stroke of 12:00, but this year ...

No Cody. Oh well. We were supposed to celebrate over the phone together, but when I called he was already asleep. Cody, if you're reading, what's the deal, man? You don't go leaving your best bro hanging like that! I mean, I can, and have just a couple times, but that's no excuse for you.

And lastly, the ultimate in conservative betrothalment ... physical affection through a glass. :-)

I continue to covet your prayers for wisdom as we make house plans and give them to perspective builders. It's easy for a young man like me to get ansty and want to really push things forward, but here is where I must practice what I preach. One day at a time, Jordan. The Lord's in control, not man.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a wonderful week.