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Saturday, November 29, 2008

We've officially moved...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

FREE Music


I love FREE music.

Every week, iTickets gives away several FREE song downloads on their website. I'm surprised most of the time because they are songs that I don't already have. (Which is rare.)

If you want to check it out, click HERE. This week its:
  • "No Eye Has Seen" by the Parachute Band (off Technicolor)
  • "Beautifully Broken" by This Beautiful Republic (off Perceptions)
  • "Christmas Is" by Jim Brickman (off Hymns and Carols of Christmas)
I'm checking them out right now. You should too. And hey, what's the worst part... It's free... It's not like you paid for music.

Jim

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Zelda on the printer...


Our cats go crazy when we print.

Tonight I was doing a little work for school... actually I was doing a punch of work... when I got done, I hit print on the 13 page piece that I was working on. Zelda came flying through the boxes in the apartment, onto the desk and on top of the printer to watch the pages come out.

I have no idea what fascinates them... but something does. They always come running.

Jim

Pizza at home

Having a little pizza at home tonight. Looks awesome doesn't it?

Last Saturday in the apartment...

Last night as I as hanging out at the house, admiring the carpet and appliances (see HERE), I felt this overwhelming sense that I just wanted to stay there. I knew that I had to go back to the apartment... mostly because I was hungry and we don't have any food in the house yet.

But as I was sitting here in the apartment this morning... reading some stuff for seminary and sipping some french press (Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend... or as Jackie and I have been talking it "turkey blend..."), it dawned on me...

This our last Saturday in this apartment!

By this time next weekend, friends from the church will be here. We'll be carrying out couches, TV, desks, beds and all the other stuff that we own and putting it in a truck to take to 705 Chesterfield. And while there have been some struggles with living in the apartment (i.e. parking), it has still been home for the last 3 1/2 years.

So I guess this morning... I'm just reflecting a bit... it's quiet and I'm thinking about some of the good times here.

Jim

Friday, November 21, 2008

Carpet In!!!





We officially have carpet!!!

And it's really nice!!!


This is the living room and entry...











Another of the living room...


















The family room...













And the microwave and dishwasher were installed.





















It's beginning to look more and more like a completed and ready home to move into. We still have a bit of painting to do... but we're getting closer. The downstairs bathroom is still waiting for some tile work and we will have a plumber in for part of a day...

But we're getting closer.

Jim

Get "Hooked" for FREE!!

Wow...

If you are in youth ministry or work with students, you have got to check this out.

Tim Schmoyer just posted his "Freebie Friday." Which is usually pretty cool... game... countdown... something like that. Something useful. And I almost always download it for new ideas or immediate use.

This week, he has a link to an entire Doug Fields' Super Series called "Hooked." It's right HERE. What's a super series? We'll it's an entire 4 week series... handouts, powerpoints, mp3s, backgrounds, postcards, the works... It's worth $35... And they are giving it away for FREE.

Check it out HERE.

Mine is downloading right now. But the offer expires Monday, November 24, 2008, at 11:59 PM so get it now. This is one of the sweetest freebies that I've ever seen on the Internet!!

Sweet!! I love free stuff!!

Jim

EDIT: Try it a couple of times if it doesn't work the first time... It took me about 5 tries altogether... lots of people trying (I'm sure) and a big download file. Give it a couple of shots.

Free Turkey Trivia...


Last night I was putting together a "Turkey Trivia" game for this weekend. I twittered about it and by the time I got home at 5:30 pm, I had a couple of requests for it from my good friends (thanks Andy and Chris) at Simply Youth Ministry and YouthMinistry.com.

So, if you're looking for a powerpoint game for this weekend dealing with Thanksgiving, check it out (HERE and HERE) along with other great freebies!!

Jim

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Did You Know 3.0

Wow.

Check it out HERE.

Thanks Ben Taylor for the link...

I'm addicted to...


...television!!

I realized it... but I didn't realize how bad it was.

Tuesday was our last day for cable in our apartment. We had it shut off before the move as we aren't planning to have it over there... rather do the antenna thing. They didn't get it shut off until yesterday, which I was gone all day at church and the house and Starbucks.

When I got home to do some schoolwork before bed, I was planning to watch a video for my video class. When I flipped the TV on, there was the wall of static. It startled me... and I kinda sat there and watched it for about two minutes not sure what to make of it.

I didn't realize how badly addicted I am to television.

Jim

Appliances and Paint



We are getting pretty close to coming around the bend into the "home" stretch on the house updates and what-not.

I realized today two things:
1. I hadn't put pictures up in a little while... and I know that some of you out there are following the progress that way... so my bad.

2. My blog has devolved into dealing only with the house... and that may not be appealing to some of you. If that's true know that we move in next weekend and then my blog will return back to it's normal "whateverness" including more about ministry. So if that's what you dropped by for, my apologies.

Move in day is next Saturday, November 29th. And things are coming right along. Todd and Andi, two great friends and high school leaders, came over Tuesday night and we jammed on paint for a while.

The living room is done... the downstairs is done (minus the bathroom)... the upstairs is done (minus some trimming in the master bedroom and the rolling in the closet)... Which is good.

Because the carpet comes tomorrow.

Three of the five new appliances are in. The fridge is in... the gas range is in... and the chest freezer (with my beautiful wife standing beside it below) are in. The microwave and dishwasher come tomorrow along with the carpet.

So we are getting closer.

The downstairs bathroom should be getting ready for new tile today and it should be going up today or tomorrow. So, the list of what needs to be gotten done is getting shorter.

This morning I was greeted with a maze of boxes in our apartment. Those boxes weren't there when I went to bed... but my wife closed at Starbucks last night and is usually pretty wound up when she comes home. So she stayed up pretty late last night (not having to work today) and packed. She packed up CDs, movies, pictures and other nonessential stuff. Some of which I'll transport to the house this afternoon.

So we're getting closer. And getting more excited. I'm starting to look forward to it being done!

Which it will be soon.







Here's that beautiful wife and that chest freezer!

Jim



Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Star Trek movie...

I'm a little bit of a trekkie... not a lot... but I have to admit, I have seen most of the Next Generation shows. I was too young for the original cast and Deep Space Nine and Enterprise never caught my attention.

But THIS looks sweet!

I will have to go and check it out.

And it sounds like Leonard Nimoy is doing the "Space... the final frontier..." makes all the cooler!

Jim

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Painting was AWESOME today!!



First off... let me just say that today was awesome painting!!! I knew that we would get a lot done. But I didn't think that we could and would get about 80% of the house painted!!!!!!

Second... let me say "thanks" to the crew that pulled it off... Todd and Andi, Ben and Vicki, John and Nancy, Mike and Nancy, Justin, Joan, Daryl and Will, and of course my beautiful wife.

It was truly incredible what we got accomplished. I was talking to my dad earlier and told him that it would be easier to share what we didn't get painted as to what we did.

The downstairs family room, bedroom and hallway are completely done. The downstairs bathroom still needs to be done... the drywall was recently fixed and needed to set up. The living room is pretty much done with a little touch up here and there to be done. The closet in the living room still needs done. The upstairs hallway and bathroom is done. The master bedroom has it's first coat and will need a little touch up when we do the closet. But it's looking awesome.

Carpet comes on Wednesday. Before that we need to:
-finish the living room and closet
-finish the master bedroom and closet
-touch up as needed

Overall painting left:
-downstairs bathroom
-kitchen


But it's really starting to shape up. Once the carpet gets there on Wednesday, then things will really begin to come along. But honestly, the work today was incredible.

And our realtor dropped off pizzas at lunch time. Just made it that much cooler.

Here's a picture of the downstairs family room in it's doneness... waiting for carpet on Wednesday!!!


Sweet.

It's really starting to come together. And we'll be ordering appliances tomorrow. They should be delivered and installed middle part of the week!

Jim



Feed My Starving Children


Tonight we had the opportunity to participate in a great service project. It's an organization called "Feed My Starving Children" and they have one of their distribution centers here in Aurora.

Basically what happens is that people volunteer... and a bunch of them. There were 87 there tonight, including our 8. And each group is assigned to a cell. At these cells, the volunteers put in chicken (flavoring), vegetables, soy protein and rice into bags. These bags get weighed so that they are all universal. Then the bags are sealed and placed in boxes where they are prepped for shipping. Then this food is shipped overseas to 3rd world countries (like Haiti, the Philippines, Mozambique, etc) to feed children who are hungry. It's really easy and fun. And as two of our students, Mari and Becca are showing, they give us some sweet hairnets!!!

But it was pretty fun. The students had a blast. My night was eh... they pulled me out of the food production line to put labels on bags. Factory work (doing the same thing over and over and over again for 8 hours or 10 hours) would not be my thing. 45 minutes of putting on labels was just about enough. But the overall process was fun.

And it's tough to get into this place. I called in August and tonight was the first time that they could get part of our group in... and they only took 10 of us.

Good deal...
Thanks to Becky for driving and helping out. And way to go Elisabeth, Mari, Rebecca, Ryan, Dylan and Laura!!!

Jim


Mandles

This totally made me laugh out loud at places... check it out HERE.

Jim

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tile is done... primer is on!!!







The tile is done in the kitchen and dining room. It looks incredible.


Tonight we think that we found the appliances to go in that kitchen. (Sears... Kenmore...)







On the flip side, the drywall is done as well. This afternoon, it got a fresh coat of primer in preparation for tomorrow's "Paint Fest." (There are about 12 of us meeting at the house to paint it... should be a fun day!)

More pictures tomorrow night.

Jim

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Senior Adult Choir Hip Hop (Short Version)

Who says choirs aren't cool...

Check it out... and hang in there until 4:22...


Jim


Check it out HERE.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Most of the kitchen floor is done!!!




As you can see, most of the floor is done in the kitchen. Currently the spacers are in there... they should be out by tomorrow and then the floor in the kitchen and entry will be done!!!

Jim


The Power of One - Adam Bender



This kid is awesome. (Thanks to Nick Carnes for sending it along.)

Jim

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New 705 Updates!!





We had some pretty major action going on at our house today.

Jackie and I had school... but the work was getting done.

First, yesterday we picked up tile. Today, the entry way was installed. Looks great!!






The drywallers were there. They put the walls back that were destroyed by water (like here in the living room) and also 2 closets.


















Some of the tile was started in the kitchen. Looks great.

















Ceiling fan and new fixtures were installed in the kitchen (as well as the upstairs and downstairs halls and entry way).









And the closet where the pipe actually burst causing all the damage was replaced.



Starting to look like a house.

This weekend... Friday (?) and Saturday (for sure) there will be a whole lot of paintin' going on.

Jim

Monday, November 10, 2008

Almost Tile in the Kitchen


We're getting closer to having new tile in the kitchen.

We picked them out tonight... it's the tile on the left (under the ceiling fan). It will be installed tomorrow and Wednesday.

So exciting!!!

Jim

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Painting started tonight!!



The painting officially began at house tonight.

My Dad traveled back from Ohio with me yesterday. Thursday afternoon I left with a 16 foot box truck to return with the stuff we had stored from our house in PA (i.e. washer/dryer, Christmas tree, etc). Friday morning, we loaded it up. Dad came back with me.

Today, we launched into a few things. First, we changed the locks. We also keyed them all up the same! So, one key opens things up.

Plus, we also made a stop at Home Depot and grabbed some paint and supplies. After student worship practice, our weekend student worship guy stopped by, we all grabbed some chinese buffet before hitting the paint!!! (My dad above... Justin below...) We painted the ceilings in both upstairs bedrooms and the walls in the spare bedroom. It went well and was actually (surprisingly) fun!

Finishing up a couple of things over there tomorrow and then Dad's gotta go back tomorrow night. :-(

We also have had several other things done over there over the last couple of days:
  • New hot water tank
  • Plumbing all repairs
  • Carpet, old tile and old hardwood removed completely
  • Garage door repaired and opener installed
  • New lights and ceiling fan purchased (Tuesday night)
Fun!

Jim

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Small Group lesson writing helper!!


I've got a couple of meeting today. So I'm going to be making several runs to Starbucks... as that's where the meetings are.



So I decided this morning that I would do a little writing at home. When I got all settled in our den at the apartment, I looked over on the desk next to me and discovered a little helper.



Just thought I'd share.



Jim

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Wow!!

$1.92 a gallon in Lincoln, IL

Voted today!!!

Jackie and I were up early this morning.

We had to get out the door early to get a chance to vote before leaving for school. Which we did. We both cast our ballot before leaving for Lincoln.

I hope and pray that you vote today. I hope and pray that you pray before you vote. And take seriously the responsibility that you have to this country. I love being an American, I love the freedom and privilege. But ultimately, my citizenship is in a different place. And my vote is based on that citizenship.

So take a second...
Pray...
And vote...
Participate in the process...
I did!

Jim



Monday, November 03, 2008

Done house hunting!!!!





The house hunting is officially done. (And if you are tracking this line of blogs by subject or label, you will want to notice a new label below.)


If you haven't heard, we have officially bought a house. We have purchased 705 Chesterfield Lane, North Aurora. We signed the papers on Thursday and it was official on Friday. (Here are the blog posts about this house... HERE, HERE, and HERE.)

It has been a long and exhausting process. But if you live in the area and you are looking for a great realtor and mortgage guy, I've got a couple of names for you. Sandy and Ken were incredible.

But we officially have the keys. It belongs to us. We went over last night (Sunday) before high school church and took some pictures. The picture to the right is Jackie in the family room.




We wanted to take some pictures so that we can put together a video later of what it looked like before, during the construction and when it's finished. So we took some 50 or 60 fresh pictures.











Not only do we have the keys, but we also have work beginning. Our good friend Mark, who is heading up the repairs for us, has already begun work. I dropped by this afternoon to pick up the mail and a take a couple photos as he has already begun to remove the floors. But the end of the week, the old floors should be gone and new paint should be going up on the walls!!

Very exciting.

Check back for updates with pictures. But the house hunting is officially over. From now on, we'll talk about 705 or HOME!!!

Jim

We're pumped by the way!!!

Great, Great Fall Retreat!!!





We had a great Fall Retreat this past weekend.

Here are few photos from the weekend taken by one of my seniors... Will Deuerling. He's a great photographer.

Several things went really right this weekend.

First, we had a great group of students. Sometimes you take these trips and personalities don't match up or there is some conflict or there are just kids that don't travel well or don't travel well with each other. None of that happened this weekend.

Second, we had some great worship from Justin and Clayton. Clayton just graduated from our ministry last year and is still around doing school... which is great. He can play just about anything. Justin did a phenomenal job leading our students in worship. That went really well. This was the first year that I've been able to truly relax and do the sessions without being stressed. That's good.

Third, we had incredible weather for the weekend. Usually the Fall Retreat falls on a weekend when it's awful or cold or snowing or all three. Not this year. It was in the 60s and 50s all weekend long... it just made it fun.


All of it... all the work... all the thought and planning came together nicely into a great retreat. And it made it alot of fun for me. Sometimes these things can get so overwhelming that it's not fun. This year's was not that way at all. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And I think the students did too.


Right now it's nice to be able to sit back and reflect on a great, great fall retreat.





And it's nice to have some extra time back in my schedule.

The craziness is over... now, to take on more craziness...

Jim

Sunday, November 02, 2008

If you vote, Starbucks buys your coffee

I'm planning to hit this up... right after I vote...

Check it out HERE.