Friday, June 30, 2006

June 30th is the best day ever.

And the reason why it is, is: C'est mon anniversaire! Tänään on minun syntymäpäivää! Heute ist mein geburtstag! Today is my birthday!

Yup. Today at 8:32 I turned -*gasp*-a startingly old 17!

It's extra special because my grandma and aunt and cousins are here instead of us going to their house! It was really fun. I had a blast.

We went to see Cars, which I wanted to see, was doubtful about how Pixar would pull it off but was pleasantly surprised. Mater managed to be both the cutest and most hilarious thing ever. And I don't even like Larry the Cable Guy! Also, the references to Formula 1 and European racing were funny, we'd been fans more of that then NASCAR.

Then we went to The Machine Shed, which is an truly Iowan restaurant where all of us including little ones could eat, and it boasts really good hearty farm food. After I was sung to by the waiting staff clad in overalls and kerchiefs and ate half of the apple dumpling (the previous course was a stomach buster!) we all went back to our house for presents!

I got wonderful wonderful presents from everyone. A remote release for my camera from Dad, Two CD's I've wanted, a cool book, A figurine of Belle from Beauty and the Beast reading a book, Hostess Cupcakes, a bag of Starbucks and some money.

Now my aunt has gone back to the hotel they're staying at with my littlest cousins and my grandma, and the two older cousins are here and we're going to watch Kate and Leopold with my Mom.

The best part? We haven't eaten my cake yet, we will tomorrow! My birthday will last about 2 days!

Thank you Lord, for blessing this year and continuing to show me Your paths. Thank you for this wonderful day. Thanks you for the best pair of parents. And the best pack of brothers. Thank you for the blessings You've showered on me in the past and the plan You have for me in the future. Please help me obey You in this coming year.

Love, Danielle, the newly 17 yr. old.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

I've been watching Bible movies...

Yes, I'm back from retreat! It was really good, as usual, this time it was different for me, but that's a good thing. I wouldn't say I got a specific touch from God that I could link back to the retreat, but rather it seems to have set things in motion for God to work in my life in a new way. Which is great.

It has been really good for our group as a whole, though. The monthly prayer meeting was interesting, it's one that our youth group has every first Friday of the month, and it is from 10:00 to 1:00 a.m. Don't ask, even I'm not exactly sure why it is that time. But while we usually just pray by ourselves, God moved and we were praying for each other and was pretty awesome.

And on a completely unrelated subject, here in our family we saw...I'm almost too embarassed to say...Demetrius and the Gladiators. I'm glad most of you don't recognize the title, it's the sequel to The Robe and even cheesier. You see, at our house we have this thing about Bible movies from the 60's. I don't mind them, they're fun to watch, and very fun to snark at.

Not at the Bible parts, but at some of the extra-Biblical little touches they add, and the portrayal of Bible times. Like how you didn't have to be ripped to be the male lead, walking around with your shirt off and yet still be a tough guy. (Now, I don't like watching really muscled guys walk around with their shirts off either, but honestly. There's a reason why normal people keep their shirts on.)

Also, the fact that if you are a young male Israelite, you must be hot-headed and yearn to give it to the Romans/Egyptians/Name-The-Tyrant and get yourself in lots of trouble fighting with them. If you are a young female Israelite, you must be under twenty, nubile, water girl/hand-maiden/servant of someone, completely innocent, also prone to fall madly in love with the lead, for no other reason then he's a guy and she's a girl. Oh yes, did I mention that she must get attacked/hauled off/threatened with the worse-than-death by the Name-The-Tyrant so Hot-Head can rush in and save her, possibly getting them in a lot of trouble.

Yeah, and how come Victor Mature is in all of them?.Cecil B. DeMille probably had to cast him as some unamed slave in The Ten Commandments to give it true Bible movie status.

Speaking of The Ten Commandments, it is, of course, the best known Bible movie and practically everyone has seen it, (If you haven't...don't give me any wimpy excuses about it being 4 hours, be a man and go sit through it. All of it.) I saw it when I was really young, I just remembered how it lasted fore-EVER, and had something about Moses and an Egyptian hussy that I did not remember from Sunday school.

But, over the Easter weekends that have passed, I have recognized it for the Gone With The Wind of Bible movies that it is. And noticed how much Charlton Heston looks like a living skeleton. And then occasionally I've been known to sometimes announce in my best Yul Brynner impression, "So it shall be written, so it shall be done."

Another good example of extra-Biblical enhancement is The Story of Ruth. Which should be seen, it was an enjoyable movie . Nonetheless, did you know that Ruth was a priestess of Moab? And her first husband, Mel-whassiname died not from sickness but escaping from Moabite prison, only to die hours later after having a bedside marriage to Ruth? And that Boaz was a hot-head? AND prejudiced against foreigners?

Oh, well. Normally you can't let your knowledge of history, or solid Christian doctrine, for that matter to engage fully to enjoy them. (Although The Robe and it's superstitious hocus-pocus about Jesus' clothes drove me CRAZY) Quo Vadis had it's little prophysing boy who then "woke up" and was all "What did I say?". The Egyptian (which goes down in my book as Worst Bible Movie Ever except for Peter Ustinov's performance but then Peter Ustinov was the best thing to happen to the whole genre) was odd, because the entire movie had nothing to do with anything in the Bible and was just a sword and sandals sort of thing, until the last two minutes, where out of nowhere the main character has sudddenly met Paul and become a Christian and the movie ends with a verse. It was fine in itself, but what? Did that have anything to do with what happened before?

As I said before, Oh,well. They're not for analyzing. Just some good, men-in-skirts wearing, damsels-in-distress, dragon, wait I've my formula genres crossed...anyway, they're just for having a good cheesy time.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Ah, look! She's not dead after all! Joe, call the coroner back!

I love all you guys who update regularly, with brilliant content for me to read, and I'm sorry I've been awful and haven't reciprocated...the job at the paper looks like it's going to turn into a once a week thing instead of a once a month thing, and my Mom wants me to work on my novel. Not to mention I've been spending less time on the computer anyway, focusing more on what's important that I need to get done around the house...and we have so many activity things that just keeping up with the homework on them takes up so much time.


I'm excited though. Our youth group is having our spring retreat this weekend! Retreat is always a great time, because God always moves in amazing ways. People got healed last retreat, addictions were broken, there are always so many great testimonies coming out of it. So many people like jumping around to the worship and it seems like it's their favorite part, but it's not really my favorite part.

My favorite is sitting in the glorious, sunny, blue-sky, green-grass outside and have quiet time, with just God, me, my prayer journal and my Bible. It's so peaceful, it's almost literally like the old hymn "In The Garden".

"He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share, as we tarry there, no other has ever known."

And I think of Elijah, in the cave, fleeing Ahab and Jezebel,

"The LORD said, 'Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.' Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave."

-1 Kings 19:11-13

That's what I'm hoping for this weekend, a whisper from Him, something I can hang onto when the everyday's of life set in, when the normal seems to clog my system again. I always love to see Him move in spectacular awe-inspiring ways, with loud feats of wonder, and I can't wait to see what He'll do this weekend, but I also pray that everyone will also experience the joy and peace of His reassuring whisper.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

April Fool's!

I decided to post a short post, because it's the opposite of what I usually do. And it's April Fool's. That made sense a bit ago.

I wasn't planning on doing an April's Fool's Day joke, until last night when I was brushing my teeth. I was the last one to go to bed and I realized what I could do.

I went into the kitchen and taped down the kitchen sprayer trigger, so whoever used the sink would get a wet surprise. Not mine, I heard it somewhere. It got my Mom, who woke up early, and thought it was my Dad, until I came out of my bedroom asking who got wet.

But, other than that...not much happening. I have to play the piano for church tomorrow, in addtion to being there an hour earlier. Not to mention we jump forward an hour! So, by all good sense, I should be in bed right now. But I'm not, because we're watching Left Behind: World At War. That's the third one. It's got a bigger budget than the previous two, but I still don't like it very much. Maybe it's just Kirk Cameron. But, I do like the show he and that Australian guy do, called "Way of The Master" where they go out and street witness. It's so intriuging watching the conversations they have.

No, I think it's the uncomfortably close shots of people's faces while they're talking...creepy. Oh, The President just got thrown out the window of a four story building landing on his car roof and survived. Nice trick.

Anyway, I must go. I'm just blathering about nothing now and doing it badly...hope everyone had a fun April Fool's!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Purell-ing Doorknobs

Or, my Mother's code about plumbers.

So, the plumbing in our house has been kind of weird lately. Ranging from "Hmmm, that's funny..." weird to "This fixture is possesed!" weird. First of all, our toilets quit working and when the plumber came to roto root it, he found tree roots in the pipe.

Which is strange enough, in my book. Apparently, this is not uncommon though, or so he said. You can never tell with plumbers. The twinkle in their eye is awfully hard to detect. But the toilets started working again, and I thought no more about it, except a while ago, when going down to do some laundry, it smelled like an open sewer. And behold, there was sewage (yes, the raw, brown, smelly kind) literally on the floor of our basement, coming from this big drain under our laundry tub (which is next to our washer and dryer).

We will pause for a moment of remembrance concerning my Mom's expression. And don't try to picture it. You had to be there.

Okay, I can go on. So after the whole reaction, a different plumber came to fix it. Somehow it involved unhooking the washer and everything went downhill from there. I can only report what I heard, for I was upstairs, but I was sitting next to the vent and heard this...whooshing noise. It was followed by shrieking. It continued, and continued, for a few minutes. Eventually it died down.

I tread cautiously down the stairs and saw my Mother, holding a mop and bucket, dripping wet, gaping at the plumber, who was also wet and sheepishly holding the faucet. Somehow the man had lost control of the faucet and it sprayed all over the place and spread the sewage further across the floor, since it couldn't go down the drain. And soaking them both.

All was right in the end, but it was touch and go for a bit there. I mean, for the plumber.

But let us back up for a moment, to before the plumber's arrival. My Mom was expressing shock and horror about the last plumber's sense of hygiene. To ascertain the problem, he flushed the toliet and stuck his hand in there, to feel the degree of pull or something, pulled it out, made some grunt of satisfaction and shook it off. My Mother watched helplessly as he trod all over the house, touching who knows what, without washing his hands.

She related to me, as she squirted Purell all over the doorknobs following his departure, that "You have to follow them around and open doors for them, do things for them, because they can't while they're working."

So the second plumber arrived and headed downstairs, with my Mom hot on his heels. I know not what his transgressions of hygiene were, only that I heard this excahnge through the vent.

Mom (over-eager): Here! Let me get that for you!

2nd Plumber (in good humor): Aw, no thanks. I can get it.

Mom (with desperation): Really! Here, let me-

2nd Plumber (tickled, but still the gentleman): No, no, I can get it just fine. Thanks.

I only hope they couldn't hear me laughing from upstairs.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Repentant Blogger

I'm afraid I have been bad. I haven't updated with anything resembling regularity and have even gone off into the stratosphere for stretches of weeks. But I am not dead, only delinquent.

And strangely (or not so strangely considering Life and all it's aspects) there was an avalanche of things to do after we got off the media fast. Articles and tiling and long visits to my Grandmother's and excursions to the flower show in Chicago. And THEN I finally found The Restaurant at the End of the Universe at my library and greedily checked out the whole rest of the Hitchhiker series.

The nagging realization of my abhorrent selfishness bothered me into further procrastination, into I just couldn't TAKE it anymore. So I am back and am wondering if everyone else's blog has given them odd neuroses and enough emotional baggage to flatten a Clydesdale.

Oh, but I have more assigned reading for you all.

The Code of the Woosters is one of the best Jeeves and Wooster books I've read. They're all wonderful, but this one is really in top form. Besides, if you've read the others and heard Bertie refer to an incident with a cow-creamer, this is it.

The Butler Did It is, yes, Wodehouse again, but not Jeeves and Wooster. It is one of his other delightful books about a group of young people, a butler, an art curate and the entanglements they get themselves into. This is one of the best non-Jeeves, non-Blandings novels I've read.

And I know everyone and his nephew have read the entire Hitchhiker series except me, but I finally picked up the rest of them and have been devouring them accordingly. The Restaurant...etc. are really good. I just finished Life, The Universe and Everything and they have been good, except for slightly depressing endings.

But I must go, I must write some e-mails and work on some other writing projects which my Mom wants me to (when I said I was updating my blog, she gave me a dissapointed look.). Oh, but one last thing, I saw Mr. Smith goes to Washington last night. Again, me being drastically behind the times, but whatever.

I did, however, like it. Pardon my ignorance, but I didn't know that's what a filibuster was until I saw the movie. I thought it was just some sort of legal document you filed. Practically holding the Senate hostage though, is way cooler. And all that sappy goodness about Truth and Idealism...ahh. I can't decide which is better, Jimmy Stewart's filibuster scenes, or Claude Rains' corrupt senator breaking at the end. Both were such great actors.

But, really must go now! Have spent an inordinate amount of time over this...but that's what I get for being emotionally involved!

*Edited for spelling by her brother*

*Brother given stern talking-to about hacking into sister's blog without telling her, even if it was to change spelling*

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Breath before the Plunge

Hello! Can't post long, just have to let everyone know that I won't be on for a week, because our whole family is taking an electronics fast for this week. It's been coming on for a while now, but was announced today. The Oscars were like the last bash before the plug is pulled (at least for a week).

And on a sidenote, who is ecstatic that Brokeback Mountain didn't win Best Picture!? C'mon, it may have gotten every other one, but it didn't get the big one. That's got to be God. But P&P didn't even get Best Original Score OR Art Direction. How phony is that? I didn't mention the costumes because I didn't like them, but I LOVED the look of the movie and the music. LOVED the music. But must go now and get some SLEEP.

See y'all later!

(It's alright, I was born in Texas, I can say y'all. It's like, my birthright. Only I may have given it up by not liking Mexican food. Or spicy anything for that matter...hmmm.)