Thursday, December 18, 2008

Let it Snow! Let it Snow!! Let it Snow!!!

Hi! Laura here. I am here to take you on a little tour of our yard in North Idaho in the winter. You see, yesterday morning I woke up to find snow on the ground -- nothing too bad, but it didn't look like it was letting up any time soon. Last night I left work and my car, after being parked in one place for about 9 hours, had about 10-inches (or more!) of snow on it. Needless to say, it took me awhile to clean it off! The snow continued to fall, but I wasn't sure how bad it would be.

This morning I was awakened by my dad who informed me that my chances of getting to work this morning were slim. I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked outside to see an additional foot or more of snow in our yard. And it hasn't stopped since. Schools (even the colleges!) are closed and "they" (law enforcement people, TV broadcasters, etc.) are saying to stay home if you don't have somewhere you HAVE to be. So, after talking to my boss, I am taking a snow day today.

Granted, I love snow days. . .but today I am slightly bored. You see, I don't have any homework to do, and I would love to be outside playing, but I can't seem to find my snow pants! Plus, I wasn't expecting to have nothing to do today. Too bad we aren't getting this major white-ness on Christmas. Oh well, we're going to have a White Christmas -- this stuff isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Don't believe me? Let me take you on a little tour of our yard (all pictures were taken from the comfort of the house).This was taken early this morning -- a picture of our deck.

There was almost 22 inches of snow this morning. I haven't measured since, but I know there is now a lot more.The beehives were buried in snow, and my dad had to dig some space around them so that the bees wouldn't suffocate. I think it looks like the hives are wearing little hats. :-)

Looking out one of the windows in my parents' room. This is the air conditioner, and it, too, is wearing a little hat.
Looking out my brother's window, to the right.
And looking out his window to the left.Some trees in our front yard -- all covered in snow!
Isn't our backyard beautiful?It just keeps on falling. Stay tuned -- chances are there will be more pictures later!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Just For the Record. . .

Just for the record:

I am now 7/8 of the way through college.

(not to brag, or anything *grin*) Yep, that's right. I am done with my 7th semester of college (not including summer classes) and I have only one more to go. In less than 5 months I should be receiving my degree.


Baby, It's Cold Outside!

This is what our thermometer showed when I checked it a few minutes ago. I'm pretty sure the temperature has since dropped as the wind is howling outside and looking on the internet I see that the windchill is at about -5.

Yes, it's cold.

I am curled up under my down comforter (I finally gave in and put it on my bed this morning after freezing last night! I wanted to wait until it actually got cold to use it!), trying to stay warm. It's so cold that the dogs don't even want to go outside. When they are taken outside they just stand there staring, wondering why they have to go out in such conditions.

My work was supposed to have a Christmas party tonight. It was postponed because my boss didn't want all of us out on the roads late at night. They were predicting white-out conditions with blowing snow earlier -- I wouldn't be at all surprised if the prairie was a mess with the wind and the snow.

At this point, all I can say is brrrrr. You know it is cold when the predicted high for the next few days is about 5-degrees or less, and the predicted lows for the next three days range from -6 to -14 (with windchill, of course, making it seem much colder).

I am *seriously* contemplating skipping church and staying in my warm house tomorrow. . .

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Let it be Christmas!

I can't say that I really feel like it is Christmas time yet (I know, I know!), but regardless, Let it be Christmas!

Let it be Christmas
Alan Jackson

Let it be Christmas everywhere
In the hearts of all people both near and afar
Christmas everywhere
Feel the love of the season wherever you are
On the small country roads lined with green mistletoe
Big city streets where a thousand lights glow

Let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let every heart sing let every bell ring
The story of hope and joy and peace
And let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let anger and fear and hate disappear
Let there be love that lasts through the year
And let it be Christmas
Christmas everywhere

Let it be Christmas everywhere
With the gold and the silver, the green and the red
Christmas everywhere
In the smiles of all children asleep in their beds
In the eyes of young babies their first fallen snow
Elderlys' memories that never grow old

Let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let every heart sing let every bell ring
The story of hope and joy and peace
And let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let anger and fear and hate disappear
Let there be love that lasts through the year
And let it be Christmas
Christmas everywhere

Let it be Christmas everywhere
In the songs that we sing and the gifts that we bring
Christmas everywhere
In what this day means and what we believe
From the sandy white beaches where blue water rolls
Snow covered mountains and valleys below

Let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let every heart sing let every bell ring
The story of hope and joy and peace
And let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let anger and fear and hate disappear
Let there be love that lasts through the year
And let it be Christmas
Christmas everywhere
Christmas everywhere
Christmas everywhere

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (Casting Crowns)

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Casting Crowns

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet their songs repeat
Of peace on earth good will to men

And the bells are ringing
Like a choir they're singing
In my heart I hear them
Peace on earth, good will to men

And in despair I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men

But the bells are ringing
Like a choir singing
Does anybody hear them?
Peace on earth, good will to men

Then rang the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men

Then ringing singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men

And the bells they're ringing
Like a choir they're singing
And with our hearts we'll hear them
Peace on earth, good will to men

Do you hear the bells they're ringing?
The life the angels singing
Open up your heart and hear them
Peace on earth, good will to men

Peace on earth, Peace on earth
Peace on earth, Good will to men

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Merry Christmas, Coeur d'Alene!

Every year on the day after Thanksgiving, people from all over the Inland Northwest gather in front of the Coeur d'Alene Resort to watch the Holiday Lighting Ceremony. It's a big deal -- there is a parade an hour beforehand, and then at precisely 6:00 (no sooner!) a few speeches are made, candles are lit, and the whole town joins in singing Silent Night. It's pretty awesome. As soon as the singing is done, the countdown begins and BOOM! The BEST fireworks show EVER begins. After the fireworks are over, the switch is flipped and all the lights around town come alive.

This year it snowed for the first time on the day after Thanksgiving. So, the fireworks show was cut short by a little because it was cloudy and hard to see anything. But it was still awesome.

I found a video of the 2007 fireworks show and I thought I'd share it with all of you. As you can see, the fireworks show is close to 8-minutes (I think it's slightly over) and it is accompanied by an upbeat mix of Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra music, which makes it even more awesome!

Merry Christmas!!!!

This is SO Funny!

Just watch this. It's hilarious!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Now ElfYourself!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Enjoy Christmas Music?

Plain and simple, I love Christmas music. I listen to it often before Thanksgiving, and then I listen to it all the way through Christmas day. Yes, some of the songs get a little old by the end of it all, but overall, I love it. So, expect to see some posts throughout the next month with some of my favorite Christmas songs -- I'll try to find my favorite arrangements on YouTube and share them with you all.

But also, if you want some random Christmas music to listen to, scroll to the bottom of this page. I have had a music player at the bottom of my blog for awhile, but I just updated it with a Christmas playlist. Unfortunately it won't start (at least on my computer!) unless you scroll down to it, but once it starts it will keep playing until you leave the page.

So. . .if you want some random, and awesome, Christmas music to listen to this holiday season, just visit my blog. I'll try to update the playlist every now and then, but for now you'll hear Christmas music by Josh Groban, Michael Buble, MercyMe, and, of course, Mannheim Steamroller. . .among others. Check it out. . .enjoy. . .and Merry Christmas!

The Christmas Shoes (Newsong)

I love listening to Christmas music. One of my favorite Christmas songs is "The Christmas Shoes" which also has a movie by the same name. I watched the movie last Christmas season and, yes, it made me cry.

The Christmas Shoes
It was almost Christmas time,
There I stood in another line
Trying to buy that last gift or two,
Not really in the Christmas mood.
Standing right in front of me
Was a little boy waiting anxiously,
Pacing round like little boys do,
And in his hands, he held a pair of shoes.
And his clothes were worn and old.
He was dirty from head to toe,
And when it came his time to pay,
I couldnt believe what I heard him say.


Sir, I wanna buy these shoes for my momma please.
It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size.
Could you hurry, Sir?
Daddy says there's not much time.
You see, she's been sick for quite a while;
Know these shoes will make her smile.
Want her to look beautiful if Momma meets Jesus tonight.

He counted pennies for what seemed like years
Then the cashier said Theres not enough here.
He searched his pockets frantically
Then he turned and he looked at me.
He said Momma made Christmas good at our house
Though most years she just did without.
Tell me, Sir, what am I gonna do?
Somehow Ive got to buy these Christmas shoes!
So I laid the money down;
I just had to help him out.
And Ill never forget the look on his face
When he said Mommas gonna look so great!


I knew that I got a glimpse of heavens love
As he thanked me and ran out.
I knew that God had sent that little boy to remind me
What Christmas is all about.
Chorus in childrens voices

Young boy:
I want her to look beautiful
If Momma meets Jesus tonight.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

More Photography Fun

Here are some more pictures I took using that string of Christmas lights. I think these turned out pretty cool. Comments?

Photography Fun 1

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in my room! I set-up and decorated my small Christmas tree the other day and I set up my snowman collection. In my box of Christmas stuff I found a string of colored lights and I had some fun taking some pictures using those. I was trying to be creative, but I'm not sure if I succeeded. Any feedback? Thoughts? Suggestions? Comments?My little tree is decorated with small blue and white balls, and an ever-growing collection of snowman ornaments.

This is the whole collection of ornaments. The heart ornament is hanging somewhere else.

Now for some creative pictures:

Name That Food Item!

During the dinner preparations for Thanksgiving I was having fun taking pictures using the macro setting on my camera. I thought it would be fun to post some of the pictures and see if anyone can guess what the different things are. It's probably not too hard, so try it! :-)

#1: What is it?

#2: Can you tell what it is?

#3: Any ideas?

#4: Not a vegetable, but what is it?

#5: Probably easy, I put this one on here just for Martha. :-)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Thanksgiving dinner was a success once again this year. While I was terribly sad that my grandparents were unable to join us from California, it was still an enjoyable day with delicious food, conversation and fun. This year our family was joined by my dad's cousin David and his wife Martha, who live in the southern part of the state. I, of course, decided to document the entire day with pictures. So. . .I present to you: Thanksgiving at our house, 2008:

We didn't try to wake up particularly early, but we decided to get started around 7:00am. The first item on the agenda was the pumpkin pie. We have had this pumpkin pie recipe for as long as I can remember, and it is soooo good! My job was to make the filling while my mom made the crust.

Next on the agenda was the pumpkin roll cake. I assembled the cake (with the help of our KitchenAid mixer, as you can see in the picture!) while my mom beat the egg whites, then we folded it all together to make a fluffy pumpkin cake. This was baked and as soon as it came out of the oven we rolled it up in a big towel and it stayed this way in the refrigerator for over an hour. Later we unrolled it and stuffed it with a delicious whipped cream/rum extract/heath bar pieces mixture. Yummy!

The green beans and canned yams sat on the counter for most of the day, waiting to be used, and begging to have their picture taken. The green beans were used in the green bean casserole, which is a new tradition since we moved to Idaho (we used to have brussels sprouts when we lived in California) and I think it's pretty tasty! The yams were for the sweet potato casserole, which is something my mom, being raised in the south, enjoys.

Pretty soon the pumpkin cake was done in the oven and it was time to de-pan it and put it on the towel to roll up. We coated it with powdered sugar before rolling it to help it not stick to the towel. Yum!

We don't like to eat a big lunch on Thanksgiving because there is so much food to be enjoyed for dinner, so we enjoyed some appetizers provided by David and Martha. They brought mini quiches (one had a spinach mixture and the other was ham and eggs) and a fancy cheese which we spread on crackers. My dad had also purchased some herring which everyone else seemed to enjoy, but which I decided to pass on. :-)

My next task was to set the table. This is something that I love doing every year -- I think it is fun to make the table look pretty and to set out the dishes. It is especially fun when we use my mom's good china, but this year we decided to simplify things a little bit. I decided that, in order to properly document the day, it was important to take a picture of the table before and after I set it in order to show the transformation. While I was setting the table I discovered that the Purina Dog Show was on TV, so I enjoyed watching some interesting dogs parade around as I set the table. I was also on the phone at the same time, so setting the table turned into a fun little break from the kitchen -- a dog show, a pretty table, and a phone call. :-)

The one thing I realized after I took the picture of the finished table is that I forgot to put out the cornucopias! My grandmother has a set of cornucopias that we used every Thanksgiving at her house. When my grandparents were coming to visit us for Thanksgiving a couple of years ago I asked her to please bring the cornucopias, because they are something that I have a lot of memories of -- so she did, and since she left them here, we used them this year. Normally we fill them with candy corn, but this year we put nuts and chocolate-covered raisins in them. We used our moose and bear plates, so I alternated between which plate was at which place.

My mom and Martha busily made the dressing. We've used the same recipe for as long as I can remember, and I can't imagine Thanksgiving without it. It's got lots of veggies (celery, onion, watercress, parsley, and yes, even mushrooms), bread, bacon, sausage, and spices. Yum.

Before long it was time for David to carve the turkey (while Reba supervised, of course!). . .

. . .and then we all gathered in the dining room to enjoy the feast!

Unfortunately I did not get any pictures of the cranberry relish or the cranberry sauce, or the creamed corn or the mashed potatoes, or even the Idaho Potato and Cranberry Orange rolls, courtesy of my work. But. . .they were there, and they were all enjoyed.

Thanskgiving was a success, once again!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

27 Days of Thanksgiving #27

I now wrap up my 27-day challenge. While I didn't post on-time each and every day, I did manage to end up with 27 posts listing things I am thankful for. Today it is time for my final post in this challenge. Yes, there are so many other things that I am thankful for. . .and I hope that the past 27 days have helped you to see what you are thankful for, as well!

27: I am thankful for everyone who has helped to shape me into who I am. I am thankful for my parents who have spent the past 21 years teaching me and raising me. I (like to think that I) have become more independent as the years have gone by, but they are always there for me, always helping me out if I need it. I'm thankful for my Awana leaders (especially Mrs. Gemellaro, my favorite Awana leader) and Sunday School teachers (especially Mrs. Harmeling, my favorite Sunday School teacher, back in 3rd & 4th grade) throughout the years who spent so much time sharing their time with me and helping me to better understand God's Word. I am thankful for the girls in my Awana group when I was a leader -- yes, even they have helped me become who I am today. I am thankful for my teachers -- some more than others, but all of them at least a little! Some of them have taught me patience, some of them have taught me that a teacher can be a great friend, and some of them were just plain awesome and have impacted me in some small way that I may not even be aware of yet! I am thankful for Laura Brandt, Sarah Mount, Sara Wilson, Raina Witt, Jenna Martin and all the other girls who led and were a part of small group discussions for the Saturday Night Bible Study that I attended when I lived in California. Each of those girls impacted me more than they will probably ever know. I am thankful for Mr. & Mrs. Stueckle, Mr. & Mrs. Helgeson and now John & Charity Cook, who have faithfully led the college group at my church. It's challenging at times, I'm sure, but it's been good for me. I'm thankful for Michelle, Sarah, Val and Kristy for being part of our weekly Girl's Group where we share what's going on in our lives and have a time of Bible Study and prayer. And I'm thankful for Andrea S. for starting the Girl's Group. Our group time has really helped me to learn and grow and I sure hope it continues for a loooong time! I'm thankful for my friends, especially Michelle, Val, Sarah, Kristy, Sherre, Mary, Katie H. and Devin. . .you guys ('scuse me. . .girls and guy) mean more to me than you will ever know, and I am oh-so-thankful for each of you, and you have all impacted my life in some way and through your friendship you have helped me to become who I am today. I'm thankful for my grandparents. They have all encouraged me as I've grown up and helped to guide me as I made decisions in life. I'm thankful for my brother. We don't always get along, but it's getting better all the time and I am thankful that we are siblings. And yes, I am thankful that we moved to Idaho. I shouldn't say this (because my parents read my blog and I am not supposed to ever admit this to them, lol). . .but anyway. . .the people I have met and the experiences that I have had are pretty great. Yes, I am thankful for the 16-years I spent growing up in California with some pretty awesome experiences, and I wish we hadn't moved at the time that we did, but I am thankful for the people and the experiences that living in Idaho has given to me. And there is so much more that has impacted my life, but to list each person and incident could take hours.

But I thought I should end this list and 27-day challenge with the most important thing of all: I am thankful for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has changed my life more than anyone or anything else ever could.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Movie Reviews: Fireproof


There are some movies that fall into the "okay" category, some that fall into the "worth watching again" category, still others that fall into the "worth owning" category, and some movies are movies that "should be seen by everyone at least once." I think that Fireproof falls into the last category. All I could say, as I wiped away tears, at the end of the movie was "wow, that was a good movie." I am willing to put it pretty near the top of my list of favorite movies, and I just might buy it once it comes out on DVD.

If you saw Facing the Giants a year or so ago you might recognize some of the actors because Fireproof was, indeed, put out by the same church in Georgia that put on Facing the Giants. This time, though, instead of just using church members, they also brought in Kirk Cameron, of Left Behind fame, to play Caleb Holt, a firefighter whose marriage is failing. Caleb believes it is his wife, Catherine (played by Erin Bethea)'s fault, and she believes it is Caleb's fault.

While Catherine is working on divorce papers, Caleb's father sends him a handwritten journal of sorts entitled The Love Dare which encourages him to spend the next 40-days trying to win back his wife. Each day has a different task, which Caleb tries to do, but Catherine does not seem to care or be responding. Caleb is discouraged, but with encouragement from his dad he continues to try the love dare. How does it end? You'll have to watch the movie to find out, but let's just say that it had four girls sitting in the theater crying.

For a lower-budget production, Fireproof is excellent. The movie is almost as good of quality as most Hollywood movies nowadays, and if the small church in Georgia keeps it up, they will soon be having movies right up there with the top movies from Hollywood.

I would highly recommend Fireproof to everyone. Go see it. If you are married, see if it changes your life and marriage at all, and for the rest of us, those who want to get married someday, see if it gives you something to think about that might help your marriage someday.

Now. . .go see Fireproof -- Now!!

For a review from PluggedIn Online, click here.

Movie Reviews: Bolt

I didn't watch a whole lot of movies when I was growing up (I'm realizing this more and more every time my friends or co-workers ask if I've seen certain movies, and my answer is almost always "no." *grin*). . .but I have seen several over the past few years since we moved to Idaho. Just this past weekend I saw two movies, and I would recommend both, but one of them in particular.

The first movie I saw this weekend was Bolt, which is a new Disney animated movie. It was done without Pixar, and it was very entertaining. I saw it with a friend and we were laughing all throughout the entire movie. John Travolta is the voice of Bolt, a dog who believes he is a super-dog, and my friend conveniently "forgot" to mention until we were seated in the theater that Miley Cyrus is the voice of Penny, Bolt's owner -- but she did a great job as that character. Bolt is the super-dog on a TV show, rescuing Penny from all sorts of danger. However, there is a catch: he doesn't realize it is a TV show, and he thinks Penny really is in grave danger. He gets out of his trailer one night and ends up in New York. The movie is basically about Bolt's journey to get back to Penny, and it is full of funny moments and some great lines. It's a great family movie, but adults would love it too. :-)

Read a review from PluggedIn Online here.

My next review deserves a post of its own, so this post is TBC (To Be Continued). . .

27 Days of Thanksgiving #26

26: I am thankful for food. Tomorrow we should be eating a big meal and thinking about it is causing me to realize that I should be so thankful for food. Some people, in lands far-far-away, don't have lots of food. They don't celebrate Thanksgiving, or have a big feast. And so, therefore, I am thankful for the food that we will enjoy tomorrow, and every day.

27 Days of Thanksgiving #25

25: I am thankful for snow. I haven't yet seen it snow this year (although my family has seen it -- it has apparently snowed-and-not-stuck whenever I am not home), but I am anticipating the first snow. I went sledding for the first time last year, and I am excited to go again this year. :-) Plus it's pretty. . .

(and yes, You-Know-Who-You-Are, I am admitting that I want it to snow! **grin**) (
Now, if we have another winter like last winter, I reserve the right to retract this statement sometime in January or February!)

27 Days of Thanksgiving #24

24: I am thankful that my friend Val was able to come home for Thanksgiving and I am thankful for time spent with her. She came home on Saturday, and I have gotten to see her a couple of times already. I love my friends, and when they are away at school I miss them. . .so I am so glad Val was able to come home for the week!

27 Days of Thanksgiving #23

Continuing on, as I catch up with my list of 27 things I am thankful for. . .

23: I am thankful for memories. I have many fond memories of my childhood, and I am thankful for that. I am thankful that I was able to spend time outside creating adventures, and I was creative enough to turn my walk-in closet into a fort, and my desk into a doll house. :-) A lot of kids nowadays (and I'm sure back when I was quite young, too) spend time in front of the television and in front of the computer. . .and I'm glad that a lot of my time was not spent in either of those two places. I hope that, if I am blessed with children someday, they experience a childhood of fun, adventures and imagination, as I did.

27 Days of Thanksgiving #22

Goodness. I got dreadfully behind in this challenge. I guess I failed it. However, I am going to make up the last few days with posts. Life has gotten busy (work has been crazy!) and we have company in town, so posting on my blog hasn't really been my top priority. . .but here is #22 in my 27 Days of Thanksgiving challenge. :-)

22: I am thankful for the other seniors in the Comm program at LCSC. We are all going crazy this semester/year and we are growing very close, so I am thankful that we all get along and that we can all have some bit of fun in our classes and with our projects. :-) So. . .I'm thankful for Dorian, Desiree, Kristen, Ashley and Jason. :-)

Friday, November 21, 2008

27 Days of Thanksgiving #21

This one is going to be a quick entry because I am off to bed (I work the early shift tomorrow, which is good because I love going in and baking the sweets and having the whole bakery to myself on Saturday mornings, but it's bad because it means I have to wake up early! Anyway. . .

21: I am thankful for good books and the ability to read. I found a stack of delightful books by Janette Oke at the library the other day and I am reading through them over Thanksgiving break. . .ahh, delightful.

Grab a sappy book (or any type of book. . .Jane Austen, Ted Dekker, Janette Oke, or even J. R. R. Tolkien, if that is more your style!), and you'll see that reading is delightful. :-)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

27 Days of Thanksgiving #20

20: I am thankful for music. . .be it Christian, Country or Classical. . .or a selected few songs and artists from other genres (for instance, David Archuleta, who doesn't fit under any of those categories!).

If I am driving, there is a 99% chance that there is music playing in my car. The station or CD varies, but there is almost always music in my car, and I'm usually singing along. :-) I also often listen to music while I am doing homework. Sometimes this doesn't work because it distracts me, but sometimes it does. And hey, that's what soundtracks are good for -- music without words (in most cases!).

Yes, I think it is safe to say that I am quite thankful for music. :-)

And if, after reading this, you are curious just what I might be listening to while driving, scroll down to the bottom of this page -- and the music player should start. :-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

27 Days of Thanksgiving #19

19: I am thankful for Thanksgiving break. At my school I get a week off for Thanksgiving, but I don't have classes after Wednesdays, so I am now officially on Thanksgiving break. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about the next 11 days. I have lots planned: I am going to see a movie on Friday night with a friend ("Bolt" -- it's a new Disney movie about a dog, that's about all I know), I have something really fun that I'm looking forward to on Saturday night, and, of course, I am anticipating Thanksgiving week. . .Thursday is the big feast, which my dad's cousin and his wife will be joining our family for, Friday is Black Friday, which of course means lots of shopping, and I think one of the things I am most looking forward to is the day-after-Thanksgiving parade and Holiday Lights Show where downtown Coeur d'Alene becomes a winter wonderland with thousands of Christmas lights, the entire town of Coeur d'Alene joining their voices in song while singing Silent Night by candlelight, followed by a huge fireworks show (set to music by Mannheim Steamroller and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra -- yes, it's bigger and better than July 4!) and just lots of fun! And then I can start listening to Christmas music full-time. . .

Of course, there is homework to be done, but it pales in comparison to the excitement I am anticipating. . .

So, long story short, I am thankful, oh so thankful, for Thanksgiving break!

27 Days of Thanksgiving #18

Oops. . .I knew I was bound to forget to post some day. I realized after I had gone to bed last night that I forgot to do my daily post!

So, without further adieu, here is the post for yesterday!

18: I am thankful for good books. I have been reading books by Janette Oke (who wrote the Love Comes Softly books -- excellent books! Read 'em!) and I am really enjoying the chance to relax and find myself part of another world through these books. I went to the library the other day (two different libraries, actually) and checked out about 4 or 5 books by Janette Oke. I have read 1 1/2 of them so far, and I am sure I will quickly read all of them over the next 11 days!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

27 Days of Thanksgiving #17

17: After a much-dreaded trip to the dentist this morning to get several cavities filled, I decided that I definitely have something to be thankful for: anesthetics. While I absolutely hate the process of being numbed up (I hate the feeling, I hate the shots, I hate not being able to feel my tongue!), I am sure grateful that I don't have to feel the procedure taking place in my mouth. The bottom of my mouth is apparently harder to numb than the top, and at first I could feel a little bit of what was taking place (until I had about 4 shots of anesthetic!!!). . .which made me all the more thankful that they have novocaine (or whatever it is they use nowadays) and I don't have to feel much of anything when getting dental procedures done.

But I still hate going to the dentist (even though he is extremely nice)!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

27 Days of Thanksgiving #16

Goodness. . .I almost forgot to post!

16: I am thankful that I only have to get through three more days of school before I am on Thanksgiving break. I am at the point in the semester when I am mentally done, so a short break will be nice and will refresh me just enough to be able to finish out the semester!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'll Walk (Bucky Covington)

There are some songs that are awesome songs, and there are some awesome songs that are so sad. This is a song that I heard on a country radio station not long ago when I was at work. When I started actually paying attention to the song, I stopped what I was doing and just stood there, listening, and thinking that it was an awesome, sad song. Unfortunately there is no good music video for the song (yet!), but I did find the song on YouTube so you can listen, if you want to.

I'll Walk
(Bucky Covington)

We were 18, it was prom night.
We had our first big fight.
She said "Pull this car over".
I did and then I told her, "I don't know what you are crying for".
I grabbed her hand, as she reached for the door.

She said, I'll walk.
Let go of my hand.
Right now I'm hurt, and you don't understand.
So just be quiet.
And later we will talk.
Just leave, don't worry.
I'll walk.

It was a dark night, a black dress.
Driver never saw her, around the bend.
I never will forget the call, or driving to the hospital
when they told me her legs still wouldn't move.
I cried, when I walked into her room.

She said, I'll walk.
Please come and hold my hand.
Right now I'm hurt, and I don't understand.
Lets just be quiet, and later we can talk.
Please stay, don't worry.
I'll walk.

I held her hand through everything.
The weeks and months of therapy.
And I held her hand and asked her, to be my bride.
She's dreamed from a little girl, to have her daddy bring her down the isle.
So from her wheelchair, she looks up to him and smiles.

And says, I'll walk.
Please hold my hand.
I know that this will hurt, I know you understand.
Please daddy don't cry.
This is already hard.
Let's go, don't worry.
I'll walk.

27 Days of Thanksgiving #15

You know, I wondered if I would feel this way part-way through the month. . .wondering if I should have committed to posting something every day. It's sometimes hard to come up with something unique that I am thankful for, but it's been fun and I've enjoyed the challenge, not only of coming up with something, but of remembering to post every day!

15: I am thankful for my co-workers. We have a little family at the bakery -- yes, we are all *very* good friends. I am thankful for the girls (the sisters I didn't grow up with!) who keep me laughing and who can understand when I'm having a bad day, and I'm thankful for the guys, who have practically become my "brothers," who look out for us girls and help us out when we need it (somehow the dishes seem to "magically" get done in the afternoons, bags of flour, sugar, etc. show up downstairs *just* when we need it, and the "dumpster dance" (to compact the trash into the dumpster) gets done when necessary). I am so very thankful for Sherre, Jae, Kelsey, Ellie, John, Chris and Devin (gosh, I hope I didn't forget anyone's name!!).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Scott's Solo, Part 2

Here's Part 2. It's much easier to see the plane in this video -- this is where Scott is parking the plane.

Scott's Solo in Spokane

I have been intending to post the following video for awhile, and just keep forgetting whenever I am updating my blog. . .

As many of you know, my brother, Scott, is going to school to become a pilot. He recently did his first solo flight, and my parents surprised him by showing up and taking a video of his flight. . .here is the first installment. If you look very closely, you will see a small speck moving around -- that is Scott's plane.

27 Days of Thanksgiving #14

14: I am thankful for my dogs. . .they are always there when I need them and they are always so excited to see me when I come home (you'd think I'd been gone for a month rather than 8 hours, the way they carry on). And they are both so soft and sweet and downright good friends!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

27 Days of Thanksgiving #13

13: I am thankful for my car. This may sound silly, but I am so thankful that I found the *perfect* car, right when I needed one. . .and I'm thankful that the heater works really well (necessary on cold November nights in North Idaho!) and it gets me where I need to go.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

27 Days of Thanksgiving #12

12: I am thankful for the opportunity to get together with some of my friends this evening for our weekly Bible study. It's a chance for all of us to take a break from the stresses of life and talk, go through our study and have a bit of fun.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

27 Days of Thanksgiving #11

11: I am thankful for good friends and the opportunity to spend time with several last night at a girl's night, where we baked cookies and watched a movie.

Monday, November 10, 2008

27 Days of Thanksgiving #10

#10: I am thankful that I don't have an overwhelming amount of homework this week, and I can breathe a bit and take it easier.

I am also thankful that last week went really well at work. I was a tad worried that it was going to be extremely stressful with our baker out of town ('scuse me. . .out of the *country* [lucky!]) and various co-workers being sick or unable to work for whatever reason, but it ended up going really well and being a whole lot of fun!!!!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Thankful (Josh Groban)

I haven't posted anything other than my continuing list of things I'm thankful for in a little while. . .I'll break it up a little bit with this song by one of my favorite artists, Josh Groban. This is from his Noel CD -- which I just got from a friend recently, and it is amazing. It's a Christmas album, but I thought this song was fitting with Thanksgiving approaching, and a great addition to my 27 Days of Thanksgiving posts. If you have never listened to Josh Groban, well, you're missing out!

Somedays we forget
To look around us
Somedays we can't see
The joy that surrounds us
So caught up inside ourselves
We take when we should give.

So for tonight we pray for
What we know can be.
And on this day we hope for
What we still can't see.
It's up to us to be the change
And even though we all can still do more
There's so much to be thankful for.

Look beyond ourselves
There's so much sorrow
It's way too late to say
I'll cry tomorrow
Each of us must find our truth
It's so long overdue

So for tonight we pray for
What we know can be
And every day we hope for
What we still can't see
It's up to us to be the change
And even though we all can still do more
There's so much to be thankful for.

Even with our differences
There is a place we're all connected
Each of us can find each other's light

So for tonight we pray for
What we know can be
And on this day we hope for
What we still can't see
It's up to us to be the change
And even though this world needs so much more

There's so much to be thankful for

27 Days of Thanksgiving #9

I'm 1/3 of the way through this challenge. It's been fun so far! :-)

#9: I am thankful that my parents chose to homeschool me and my brother all the way through high school. Hearing experiences of people who have been in public high school has made me all the more grateful that my parents chose to keep us at home.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

27 Days of Thanksgiving #8

#8: I am thankful that I got to have such a fun childhood, where a lot of time was spent playing -- outside and in -- and creating adventures, and not a lot of time was spent in front of the TV or computer.

Friday, November 7, 2008

27 Days of Thanksgiving #7

#7: I am thankful for all four of my grandparents and I am thankful that I got to grow up close to three of them, therefore creating some special relationships.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

27 Days of Thanksgiving #6

#6: I am thankful that I have a roof over my head and a warm bed to sleep in at night, and I am thankful that I wake up to a warm toasty house each morning. *ahhhh*

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

27 Days of Thanksgiving #5

#5: I am thankful that I have a fun job where several of my co-workers share my ideals and worldview and where I have bosses who treat all of their employees with respect.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

27 Days of Thanksgiving #4

Okay. . .now I'm caught up, hopefully I will be able to post something every day. :-)

#4: No matter how frustrated I may get, I am thankful for the opportunity to go to college and earn my degree.

I think it is also fitting to add that I am thankful for the right to vote in this Presidential election. While the candidate I voted for may not end up winning, at least I had the opportunity to cast my vote (although I hope the candidate I voted for wins!!).

Monday, November 3, 2008

27 Days of Thanksgiving #3

#3: I am thankful for the freedom to worship God whenever and wherever I want to.

27 Days of Thanksgiving #2

All right. . .let's see. . .time for the 2nd thing I am thankful for. . .

#2: I am thankful that I have been blessed with the most amazing friends in the world.

27 Days of Thanksgiving #1

I saw on another website that I visit a link to a blog that was promoting "27 Days of Thanksgiving." The basic idea is to realize what we have to be thankful for (and to post about it on blogs) all month long, and not just on Thanksgiving day!

So. . .I know I am behind a bit in getting started, so I will go ahead and post 3 things today. . .and then hopefully stay on track from there! :-)

If you have a blog, I invite you to take the challenge, also. . .just think of all the things that we have to be thankful for!

So. . .to start things off:

#1: I am thankful that I have a family who loves me very much.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ever Ever After (Carrie Underwood/Enchanted)

Time for another song. This song is from Enchanted, which is, I think, one of the best/cutest movies to come out within the past year. It's pretty cute. . .and the soundtrack is pretty fun -- including this song, sung by Carrie Underwood, which has a cute music video. Enjoy!

Ever Ever After
Storybook endings, fairy tales coming true
Deep down inside we want to believe they still do
In our secretest heart, it's our favorite part of the story
Let's just admit we all want to make it too

Ever ever after
If we just don't get it our own way
Ever ever after
It may only be a wish away

Start a new fashion wear your heart on your sleeve
Sometimes you reach what's real just by making believe
Unafraid, unashamed
There is joy to be claimed in this world
You even might wind up being glad to be you

Ever ever after
Though the world will tell you it's not smart
Ever ever after
The world can be yours if you let your heart
Believe in ever after

No wonder your heart feels it's flying
Your head feels it's spinning
Each happy ending's a brand new beginning
Let yourself be enchanted, you just might break through

To ever ever after
Forever could even start today
Ever ever after
Maybe it's just one wish away
Your ever ever after
Ever ever ever after

(I've been dreaming of a true love's kiss)

Oh, for ever ever after

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall Arrives in North Idaho

(Fall at the bakery)

Fall has arrived in North Idaho in full force. I don't know how long it is going to stick around this year, so I thought I had better take some pictures while it lasted. :-) I took a couple pictures at school a few weeks ago, and then this past week, during a slow period at work, I grabbed my camera, ran outside and flopped down in the grass underneath a tree to take some pictures of the majestic maple trees that surround the bakery.

(The result of lying down in the grass and pointing the camera at the sky)

Yeah, don't I work in a pretty neighborhood? For those who don't know, the bakery I work at is in an old house, so we're right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. :-)

I took this picture when I was at school the other day. The red building is a little red chapel on the campus. The other building is the art/music/communication building (which is where my class is at).

So, there's a taste of fall in North Idaho! :-)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

By Your Side (Tenth Avenue North)

I heard this song on the radio a few weeks ago, and I thought it was kind of cool. . .so, here are this week's lyrics.

By Your Side

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

(Chorus 2x)

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I'll never let you go

(Chorus 2x)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Phantom of the Opera!

I went. It was amazing. I would go again in a heartbeat! Yep, that's right, I finally got to see Phantom of the Opera on Saturday evening. It was great fun, let me tell you. We (me, two co-workers, a friend, and a friend-of-a-coworker) met up around 5:30pm on Saturday night and piled into the truck for the drive over to Spokane. I sat in the front seat, trying not to get *too* excited, but not finding much to say other than to comment on the sunset (which was beautiful!).

Once we got to Spokane we stopped at Sonic to get milkshakes and malts -- yummy! We arrived at the INB Performing Arts Center wayyyy before we needed to, but oh well. Once we parked, we finished our milkshakes and decided to walk around. We walked over and looked at the river, and walked over to the falls but they weren't on, so there wasn't anything too exciting to see. :-)
Finally they let us into the theater and told us where to go for our seats. Our seats were not where we thought they were going to be, but it was okay. We could still see pretty well. I was glad I had binoculars, though!

Anyway, after a looooong (or so it seemed!) period of waiting, the time we were all waiting for arrived. The theater went dark and then the actors begain the production. The stage version began, just like the movie, with an auction that then sent us back in time. It was amazing when, with a big flash of light and the loud, haunting strains of the organ, the chandelier was raised to its spot on the ceiling. That song was *amazing* -- of course, the whole show was! :-)

As I hoped, my favorite songs from the movie were just as amazing live. "The Phantom of the Opera" had an *awesome* scene with fog rolling off the stage, "underwater" candles, and lots of awesome special effects. And, of course, "All I Ask of You" was just as amazing and beautiful as I hoped it would be. I love that song. . .and wow! Christine's dress was *gorgeous.*

Actually, all of the costumes were amazing. Very intricate. I could really see a lot of detail with the binoculars! It was spectacular.

The chandelier crash was, well, lame. It kind of floated to the ground and rested in a nice little heap (no crash, no nothing), but it was still cool. It threw me off because I was expecting it later in the show.

The ride home was fairly quiet (at least on my part), too, due to the fact that we were all tired, but mostly because we had all enjoyed the show so much and didn't want to ruin the moment at all. :-) Would I go see Phantom again? Absolutely. Now to find a way to see it on Broadway. . . :-)
(I couldn't take many pictures, and this is one of the best ones I did manage to get)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Overture (Phantom of the Opera)

Here is how it all begins. With the great sound of the organ, the show comes to life. Doesn't it seem dramatic?! There are so many scenes I didn't post (the unmasking of the Phantom and the crash of the great chandelier, the masquerade scene, etc.) but I hope that the few I did post give you a good idea of the amazingness of this production. I'm sure I'll have lots to tell you all after the show!

Enjoy. . .

The Phantom of the Opera (Phantom of the Opera)

Hope you're enjoying all the Phantom of the Opera clips and lyrics. Can you tell why I am so excited to see this live?! This particular song and scene is one of the most amazing scenes in the whole show. Watch how the candles pop out of the ground leading to the Phantom's lair. It's amazing. And the music is not half-bad, either! :-)

The Phantom of the Opera

In sleep he sang to me
In dreams he came
That voice that calls to me and speaks my name
And do I dream again for now I find
The Phantom of the Opera is there
Inside my mind

Sing once again with me
Our strange duet
My power over you grows stronger yet
And though you turn from me to glance behind
The Phantom of the Opera is there
Inside your mind

Those who have seen your face
Draw back in fear
I am the mask you wear

It's me they hear...

Your/My spirit and my/your voice in one combined
The Phantom of the Opera is there
Inside my/your mind

He�s there, the phantom of the opera!

He�s there, the phantom of the opera

Sing, my Angel of Music
Sing, my Angel
Sing for me
Sing, my Angel!
Sing for me!

I have brought you
to the seat of sweet music's throne
to this kingdom where all must pay homage to music
You have come here,
for one purpose, and one alone
Since the moment I first heard you sing,
I have needed you with me,
to serve me, to sing,
for my music...
my music...

In other news, in 12 hours I should be hearing the haunting strains of the opening overture, which will be posted later
(thank goodness for Blogger giving the option to schedule posting times!)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Music of the Night (Phantom of the Opera)

Time for more Phantom of the Opera lyrics/clips. This is a song that the Phantom sings to Christine when he takes her to his lair under the Opera House for the first time.

The Music of the Night

Nighttime sharpens, heightens each sensation
Darkness wakes and stirs imagination
Silently the senses abandon their defenses
Helpless to resist the notes I write...
For I compose the music of the night

Slowly, gently, Night unfurls it's Splendor
Grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender
Hearing is believing, music is deceiving
Hard as lightening, soft as candlelight.
Dare you trust the music of the night?

Close your Eyes –
For your eyes will only tell the truth
And the truth isn’t what you want to see
In the dark it is easy to pretend
That the truth is what it ought to be.

Softly, deftly, Music shall caress you
Hear it, feel it, secretly possess you
Open up your mind, Let your fantasies unwind
In this Darkness which you know you cannot fight,
The Darkness of the Music of the Night!

Close your eyes -
Start a journey through a strange new world
Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before
Close your eyes -
And let music set you free.
Only then can you belong to me

Floating, falling, Sweet Intoxication
Touch me, trust me, savor each Sensation
Let the dream begin, Let your darker side give in
To the Power of the music that I write,
The Power of the Music of the Night!


You alone can make my song take flight
Help me make the music of the night.

Because I included a link to David Archuleta's version of "Think of Me" it seems fair that I also include a link to David Cook's version of "Music of the Night." This is, I think, one of the best songs David Cook sang on this season of American Idol. Click here to listen to it.

Think of Me (Phantom of the Opera)

Yep, another song. I've got a few favorites from Phantom of the Opera! :-) This one is "Think of Me" and it is the first time that we hear Christine, one of the main characters, sing. The clip is from the movie.

Think of Me

Think of me, think of me fondly,
when we've said goodbye.
Remember me once in a while -
please promise me you'll try.
When you find that, once again, you long
to take your heart back and be free -
if you ever find a moment,
spare a thought for me

We never said our love was evergreen,
or as unchanging as the sea -
but if you can still remember
stop and think of me . . .

Think of all the things
we've shared and seen -
don't think about the things
which might have been . . .

Think of me, think of me waking,
silent and resigned.
Imagine me, trying too hard
to put you from my mind.
Recall those days
look back on all those times,
think of the things we'll never do -
there will never be a day,
when I won't think of you . . .

Can it be? Can it be Christine?
Long ago, it seems so long ago
How young and innocent we were...
She may not remember me,
but I remember her...

Flowers fades,
The fruits of summer fade,
They have their seasons, so do we
but please promise me, that sometimes
you will think of me!

I also really like the version of this song that was sung by David Archuleta on American Idol in 2008. You can listen to his studio (full) version by clicking here.

All I Ask of You (Phantom of the Opera)

Because I am going to see Phantom of the Opera this weekend, and it has such amazing music, I thought I would share one with you. Actually, you may see more Phantom of the Opera videos and lyrics showing up here in the next day or so. :-) Here is one of my absolute favorite songs from the movie, along with the clip from the movie.

All I Ask of You

No more talk
of darkness,
Forget these
wide-eyed fears.
I'm here,
nothing can harm you -
my words will
warm and calm you.

Let me be
your freedom,
let daylight
dry -your tears.
I'm here,
with you, beside you,
to guard you
and to guide you . . .

Say you love me
waking moment,
turn my head
with talk of summertime . . .

Say you need me
with you,
now and always . . .
promise me that all
you say is true -
that's all I ask
of you . . .

Let me be
your shelter,
let me
be your light.
You're safe:
No-one will find you
your fears are
far behind you . . .

All I want
is freedom,
a world with
no more night . . .
and you
always beside me
to hold me
and to hide me . . .

Then say you'll share with
me one
love, one lifetime . . .
Iet me lead you
from your solitude . . .

Say you need me
with you
here, beside you . . .
anywhere you go,
let me go too -
that's all I ask
of you . . .

Say you'll share with
me one
love, one lifetime . . .
say the word
and I will follow you . . .

Share each day with
me, each
night, each morning . . .

Say you love me . . .

You know I do . . .

Love me -
that's all I ask
of you . . .

Anywhere you go
let me go too . . .
Love me -
that's all I ask
of you . .