August 6, 2008
WE'RE BACK!!! Oh my goodness, so many pictures, so much to tell ... thank you for your patience! Should have an entry up in the next couple days. Lord bless you!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ My Last Entry ... As Just Me
June 21, 2008
My friends, the time has come. I leave Thursday, only to return a month later a different man leading a completely different life. To think ... back in mid 2005 I began this blog not knowing what the future held ... not even thinking I would continue this little hobby for any more than a few months. And now, to be able to look back and see all the wonderful things I've experienced and how the Lord used both good times and bad to mold me into who I am today ... 3 years later ... it's beyond me. Thank you, so much, for sharing these days with me (even you visitors who tell me they frequent here but never comment ;-). To briefly document the events of my life these 3 years has been such a blessing, and to know that some of you have been blessed in the process further makes it all the more fulfilling.
And now ... marriage. It isn't a mystery to anyone that many young men enter into holy matrimony with the wrong perspective ... many times with the thoughts of eternal bliss and unrealistic expectations. Marriage is a gift. Marriage is an incredible blessing of the Lord. Yet, as we all know, life goes on, and so do its trials, and marriage does not rid oneself of them. Rather, you now have a soul-mate to tackle them with, as together you press on to further His kingdom and glory on this earth. What a privilege! And oh, in times of love and bliss, it is so easy to forget the millions of believers around the world who are suffering and being persecuted even as I type. Who am I to deserve love and bliss and a wonderful wife and freedom, while others in China, Sudan, Indonesia, North Korea, etc, are being beaten and tortured and killed for their faith? We in America are so spoiled. Yet, as I have heard it said, it is equally difficult to live for Christ as it is to die for Him. And so, as I enter this next stage of my life, this truly wonderful stage of my life, my purpose is to live and to raise a family for His glory and honor with the freedom I am so richly blessed with. Thank you, Lord.
Well, I think that's it. Melissa and I should be returning late July after our honeymoon and then a trip to Kentucky and coming back through Indiana and Illinois to visit some friends and family. Will be a whirlwind of a month!
So for now, may the Lord bless and keep you all. Wow, here I am ... 7 months after proposing, and it's finally come. Farewell, my friends.
Middle Earth at 6:00 in the morning ... or Narnia ... or Being. Whatever the case, why are we up at such an hour anyway?
To pick blueberries! Every June we engage in this festive activity of gay grandeur. Accompanying us were Julie Haverstick and her friend Patrick.
Art - Eat your heart out, Michael.
Jeremy's patented two bucket belt maneuver.
Dad's big on blueberries. I guess in scientific circles they're known as the brainberry.
Barb and Julie.
Ok, Melanie. I was wrong for once in my life. The other day I bet Melanie that she couldn't eat more than 150 blueberries, when later ... like while picking blueberries and sticking 150 in a bucket, I realized that to eat only 150 blueberries would be ... a drop in the bucket. What I meant was more like ...
... 15,000 blueberries. Eat up, sis.
Almost forgot about her.
Afterwards we stopped by Hodgson Mill, built back in like 1890 or something. Very beautiful.
Dare you to jump in. That water's freezing.
Inside felt like a Disneyland ride.
Have a good father's day? This picture was taken while Kalea was desperately trying to convince my dad that she had actually made that card for him. He kept on saying, "You? No! It's so well-done! It couldn't have been you! No way!" lol, look how frustrated she is.
Jeremy and I had the same idea going on for Father's Day. Here he artistically made dad a friar.
And here ... I made him into the 3rd of "The Big Three".
Talk about a gorgeous insect. Oh, I just want to let everyone know that Josef Long is deathly afraid of moths, despite the fact that they're the softest, most harmless insect known to man. But, you know, that's Josef for you.
We have power! The electric lines were finally put in and we now have juice to the house!
Kevin Mitchell puts a hole in my nice concrete wall ...
... while Noel orders a pizza, everything on it.
No, actually, we're putting in plumbing. Got it done in a day! Yay! Monday or Tuesday Greg returns to put down the floor, and THEN construction begins.
In case you've been living in a hole in the ground ... Celtics won the NBA championship! As can be seen, dad was bonkers with excitement.
Jayme helps me decide window sizes for the house late into the night.
Yeah, building a house can be complicated, I know. This isn't even half of the total papers. What a surprise, you're drinking kombucha.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Closer ... Ever Closer ...
June 14, 2008
The clock continues to tick ... so quickly, so slowly. I leave in two weeks for MA (the 26th), which makes it seem all the more sooner. It's just so weird trying to think of everything to pack for such a huge occasion. I'll basically be gone for about 20-something days. Long time. I know I've got my toothbrush. Pretty much ready, I guess.
Anyone watching the Lakers/Celtics series? Course we're rooting for the Celts, as my dad is still working for them. They're one game away from the championship! They came back from a 24-point deficit to win last game! It was incredible. Paul Pierce (ISFP) has pretty much been the star.
I've had some people ask me if my voice is still holding up ok. Actually, back in January of this year I was REALLY getting scared and discouraged. My voice was noticeably getting weaker, and I had no idea why. As I thought about it more, however, my voice had been seemingly getting weaker for several months by that point, even dating back to October while at the film festival. What was going on? I'm pretty sure I know now what happened, and it has to do with the injection the doctor put into my cord at the same time he performed the surgery. By September/October, the injection was wearing off, though my cord was still being powered by the new nerve. So, the strong voice I had experienced from May to September was a result of the successful surgery AND the injection. So how's my voice now? Better than in January, and it's because I've learned to keep myself well-hydrated. A year ago, my voice was between 85%-90%. By January, it was down to like 60%. Now, it ranges between 70%-75% as long as I drink enough water. The Lord has taught me so much through all this, and although it's not what it was last summer, I'm so thankful for at least what it is now. Can't be as loud as I often want to be, but hey, I have a voice, while many people in this world don't. Yes, the surgery was worth it. I may take voice lessons with Meliss in the near future to see if I can further strengthen it.
Anyway, on with some pictures. Hey guess what!? Meliss and I purchased a new Nikon D40! It arrived in the mail this week, and I just love it. A few of the pictures below were taken with it. Truly a blessing to start our lives together with the ability to take nice pictures.
And here we go ...
I really hate it when people get a new camera, and then like take all kinds of nature photos to like make people think how good they are with their new camera ... as if like by their own genius they can now take good photos or something. It's so irritating ...
... it's just so irritating.
Took my mama on a date to Rockbridge. The days grow thin when we will still have these one-on-one mother/son times together. Love you, mom.
Yes, mulberries are in fruition! I love mulberries. Outside the restaurant they have this awesome tree that produces a boatload of these tasty, plump, oodleicious oval juicy scarlet delights.
Me ... by the waterfall ... again ...
While driving home I just HAD to stop and take a picture of the landscape. Reminiscent of The Shire.
Ms. KK received her gown for the wedding this week. She was so in love with it. Masterful job, Flynns and Thomses!
Our first dip in the pond this year! (well, for the purpose of enjoyment)
Pond shots of me would have required the Niednagel.com automatic censor filtration system, and I wasn't in the mood.
Oh ho! What's this? Do I see concrete walls? Were they actually, finally laid?
Gabe's definitely standing on something solid ... something of concrete nature ...
... as is Cody ...
(remember, 92% of teenagers in Missouri are named Cody)
Thank you, Lord! Greg did an excellent job, and the walls are complete. Next comes the 16-inch step wall along the sides and front, and then the plumbing (Monday), and then the floor, and then construction begins.
Storm shelter ... at least, that's what I want Meliss to think it is. In truth, it's my bat cave, where every night after she's in bed I'll transform into my spandex-wearing alter ego to roam the night fighting crime and preserving the American way. Crime? Where? You know ... like ... in Gainesville. I'm pretty sure they had at least one robbery there in the last couple years.
I am now so ready for marriage! With a big field for a new front yard, it was time to learn how to use the tractor. Thank you, big brother Jeremy, for showing me the ropes!
Next week will be my last blog entry as a bachelor! AHH!!! Have a great week, everybody!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ For Such A Time As This
June 7, 2008
Well, here I am, and here I stand. It's June, 2008, now less than one month away from a day that I never imagined would come. Till now, the idea of marriage had just been that ... an idea. That is, it had been confined to the realm of thought, or fantasy. But now ... oh my goodness ... it's finally become reality for me. I look at the clock above ... ticking away ... with 20 something days left till the rest of my life is forever changed. How can one comprehend something so big? How can one prepare himself? I feel so unqualified, so unworthy, so ... grateful. The Lord has brought me the most incredible gift in Melissa Thomas, and all I can do to thank my Maker is to vow to Him that I will endeavor with all my might to be the best husband and father I can possibly be. Oh yes, I will fail so many times, and this thought alone is enough to make me cry ... but praise God for His grace, and for a woman of grace who understands that her fiance is a flawed man whose only goodness comes from Jesus Christ who dwells in him.
We live in a scary world ... a world that hates the truth. At the center of this truth is the family, and satan knows that if he can destroy the family, all else will fall in its wake. I've never been a leader, and yet here I find myself only weeks away from becoming just that. Little wonder we've always Typed Moses an INFP. :-) As a leader, I will be responsible for not only where I direct my family, but how. Will I love my wife the way Christ loves His own? Will I sacrifice for her and my children as Christ sacrificed Himself for His church? Oh Lord, help me! By this time next year I could have a little boy or girl of my very own. What an exciting thought, as well as a serious one! So often I feel that I'm not ready, and yet I think of Aslan asking Prince Caspian whether he's ready to take the throne. "No, I don't think so." I love Aslan's reply. "Then you are ready." I feel a strength coming from outside of me that is ready for the days ahead, and I can't wait. I am ready to start a family for Christ's glory and satan's downfall. Please keep Melissa and her family in your prayers, as they have SO much on their plate it's incredible.
Ok, this blog entry is pretty boring, so you can leave now if you want. I'm sure you noticed the change of graphics above. Eventually all the menu buttons will also switch I'm sure. I knew I wouldn't have time to hurriedly change my site before the wedding, so I got it done early. Yes, the blog shall continue! Don't know if it will be an every week thing or what have you, but our lives will continue to be chronicled for your enjoyment or complete and utter boredom. Hey, that's what we're here for! Oh, and don't Meliss and I look so cute together above in our blue and white outfits? *dodges tomatoes*
Ok, the final video with both Nathan and I is done. Great editing, Nate!
Here's my original surprise video shown at Melissa's shower, produced with the intent of being a mix of romantic and sentimental and comedic. :-) It's virtually all of my same footage used for the other one.
Ok, a few pics. And here we go ...
Yeah, ouch. Tell me about it. I was carrying my fiance's 50 pound box of plates to the car when I stubbed my toe on a big rock. This wasn't in our contract. ;-)
Stopping at a gas station on our way to Springfield to run errands and visit Ann Schrader again. There's significance to this photo ... just minutes before, my camera's lens wasn't coming out, and I truly feared the worst. After all these years of faithful service, had my Sony Cybershot finally given up the ghost? I assuredly thought so, until moments later when I pushed the button and it came popping out like a big zit ... oh man, that's disgusting. I'm really sorry for that bad analogy.
So I get to JC Penny to drop off my fiance's green plates and reorder ivory ones, when they tell me that I need to go to the JC Penney Home Store instead. So I go there, and they tell me I need to go BACK to the regular JC Penney to drop them off at the catalogue department and reorder them there. I know what you're thinking ... is she worth it?
Yeah, she is. lol, for some reason my face and the way my hair's all messed up make me look like an animated Disney character ... like Gaston or something. Hey Josef, check out my neck. You know you want some.
No need to finish that wedding dress, Meliss! Got this for a cool 49 cents!
That's a big deer.
Behold ... Locksley Manor. Actually, the walls STILL haven't been poured. These are the forms. Took 3 days to get these up, and after taking a closer look, I can see why. It's pretty elaborate and perfectly straight. Supposedly ... supposedly ... pouring will happen on Monday ... supposedly.
Looks like a castle, huh? Right here in this corner is where our storm shelter will be downstairs. Walls, ceiling, everything, surrounded by concrete. Kinda thought it was a little extemporaneous personally, but dad thought it would be wise. I'd be pretty stupid to object, so like ... I didn't.
A closer look, and you can see the concrete footings right in front of me.
From the back.
The footing upclose. Pretty thick. You can save this picture as your desktop wallpaper.
Hard to see from this picture, but there was a big dead tree needing to be cut in order to get powerlines to the house, and Noel masterfully took it down. Thank you! I set up an account and our electric guy should be out here soon to give us some power. So, all in all, the foundation isn't necessarily slowing down things cause we need power for construction to begin, so like, so like ... I guess everything's moving along at the same pace.
I always scoffed when mom or Jer or whoever said I wasn't thinking clearly, having marriage too much on the mind ... until this little incident the other day. Heading to Gainesville, I grabbed both the cell phone and our home phone. Dude, I just ... I just have no explanation. When I got home, mom was like, "Do you know where the phone is!?" - "Uhh ... no." ;-)