Feel your presence filling up my lungs with oxygen, I take you in...

This blog is dedicated to Bethany. My singing buddy, apple buddy, first night of small group upperclassmen buddy, Skillet buddy, not so secret sister, and more. To be honest, I don't spend a ton of time with Bethany, but we still somehow have lots of stories to tell, and I consider her a good friend and definitely worthy of a blog dedication, and that is why I am writing this.

I met Bethany when I was in 8th grade. She was a grade under me. When we went to Winter Blast that year, it just so happened that there was this guy who knew another guy who liked me, and when I first met this guy he made the connection and decided it was his duty to spend the weekend making me miserable by not telling me who it was and making me guess (of course, I knew the answer, but you know how it is in junior high). Well, you see, Bethany liked this guy, and the fact that I spent that whole weekend talking to him freaked her out. Almost six months later, at Prairie Fest, I discovered that fact when she referred to Winter Blast and asked if I liked Greg (he's her boyfriend now, which is why I can tell this story). I responded with a resounding NO, and then things were better. After that we were friends, but we never spent a ton of time together. We would hang out at youth group things and stuff, but that was mostly the extent of our friendship. Then some years went by, and starting last year or the year before I was in a small group with her. Well, then we started talking more and getting to be better friends. Then, over the course of the last year, we have talked a lot more, because we enjoy gabbing about our special friends together, among other things. Then, this year on the first week of small group we were the only two upperclassmen. That was pretty funny. We had good times that night.

Bethany is an incredibly loyal friend. If you are messing with someone she cares about, you are going to get your butt kicked. She is also a hard worker who tries really hard to help the people around her, and she always gives it her all, nomatter what she's doing. She is really loud, really fun, and she loves to sing. She pushes through hard times and doesn't give up when things get difficult. She always has something positive to say, regardless of the circumstances. She has been an encouragement to me and many other people, and she is one of the most fun people to be around that you will ever meet.

Winter Blast 2009, baby. We're gonna rock the house.


PS) I can't find a picture of Bethany at this point, but when I do, I will post it.


Lately it just seems to me that we've got the letters ADD branded into our mentality, we simply can't focus on anything...

Again, this was a difficult song choice. All I could think of was Sweet Home Alabama, but I used that last time I did dedications. Since Andy is not much of a music person, there aren't really any songs that immediately come to mind as songs that remind me of him. So, I just picked a line that sort of sounded like us.

Andy is my brother from another mother, my taco buddy, and one of my best friends. He's the kind of guy who will give you a slightly used gift card for your birthday, but you think it's the awesomest thing ever. I can talk to him about anything and everything, and I can always count on him to do stupid random things that could potentially get us injured. For several years now I have been saying that if I die a tragic death it will be his fault. I said it in the last blog that I dedicated to him, too, and it still stands today. We are kind of not always so clever when we are together. But we always have fun, and we always live through it. So far, at least.
If you ever need someone to talk to who will be honest with you and who will take you seriously, Andy's the guy. It is really great to have someone who will just tell me if he thinks I'm being unreasonable or if I don't make sense or if I'm wrong without being a jerk. He really thinks through what he's saying before he says it, and he's a very discerning person. He knows when life is a game and when to take things seriously. One minute we are discussing why boys are dumb and girls are complicated and dramatic, and the next minute we are coating paperclips with hot glue. One time, I was watching the Chicken Shed during a scary nasty storm, and the lights were flickering and there was no background noise, and I was freaking out, and then Andy comes walking in, and we freaked out together for a couple minutes and then we watched Psych, and it was better. This stuff is pretty normal for us.

Another thing about Andy is that he can't dance. Don't even try, because it won't happen. You will trip and possibly fall. He can sing pretty well, but he rarely does that either. He likes to shoot stuff. Once, he let me shoot a 22 at a bucket. His room is full of dangerous looking things that I am usually scared to touch because it could cause my death. One time he tried to shoot a tomcat with a bow from his parents upstairs bedroom window while I distracted the cat from the kitchen window. Again, these things are fairly normal for us.
Basically, many of my favorite memories were either made by Andy or at the very least include Andy. Everyone needs a friend like him. Stay fly, brother from another mother!



This is the correlation of salvation and love, don't drop your arms...

This blog post is a pretty special one, because a couple weeks ago I wouldn't have written one about this person at all. However, things change quickly and dramatically, and I think that is proven in this person's new life.
Brian Burk was one of those people who is horrifically stubborn and tries to find loopholes in everything he is presented with. He would argue and argue and argue until you couldn't say anything except "well, you have all the answers, and I hope you find what you're looking for." Some people worried that he would never find it. It is hard to watch a friend deny the one thing that can save him. It's also hard to watch someone struggle with wanting to feel joy and love and peace, but then refuse to take it when it's offered to him.
Two years went by where I listened to Andrew tell stories about that Brian guy, his friend from school, and how he believed some wacked out stuff, and how Andrew had been talking with him about Christianity vs. whatever it was that Brian believed. As the months went by it started becoming a regular thing, where Brian and Andrew would debate about God. Eventually, these debates started leaking into our regular "wall" time, and sometimes that's all The Wall really was. Sometimes I would muster enough courage to pipe in my opinion, but for the most part I faded into the background and let them hash it out. It was really interesting to see Brian, who seemed to want nothing more than to disprove Christianity, and Andrew, who seemed to want nothing more than to convince Brian that he (Andrew, I mean) was right. Knowing that they enjoyed this and thought it was pretty sweet, I tended not to involve myself much.

After a year and some months (hard to say how many) it became obvious that there was more going on than just a guy with some messed up belief systems and knack for arguing. He had all the answers. There was nothing left to prove. People were praying. Then even later we had run out of evidence to give, and he was starting to ask all the same questions all over again. "He's almost going backwards" I remember someone saying. Maybe it was desperation. I can only speculate. But nevertheless we were worried, and maybe a bit fearful that our hopes were in vain. I think one of the things that several of us learned from the experience was that, in the words of Emery, it's not our job to MAKE anyone believe.

Two years into the debates and the answers to the questions and the prayers and the hopes and the heartbreak, on September 7th, 2008, Brian decided that Christ really was the way, despite his doubts. He gave his life over to the God we had begged him to accept. Not by our arguments or conversations or anything else that we did, but by God's compassion and grace. And now I think he understands.

Brian is, in short, a new person. If you end up talking to him, he is bound to start talking your ear off about some amazing God thing, and he gets so excited that you can't help but be excited too, and you both end up just laughing because that's all that it really comes down to. Joy. He has a joy that he didn't have before. My prayer for Brian is that he lives out his new faith boldly and passionately. That he wouldn't be a seed on the pavement or in the rocks or in the thorns, but that he would grow and be firmly rooted in the Way.



I don't really care if they label me a Jesus Freak, because there ain't no disguising the truth...

This blog post is dedicated to Kacy Bass. Because he demanded it. And because we're buddies.
At first, I had a hard time deciding what song line to use because the only songs that I could think of that at first were "The Pina Colada Song" and "Gibberish". The last time I did a round of dedication posts, Gibberish graced the title of Kacy's blog, and so I can't very well use it again. The Pina Colada song is just plain scandalous, and he might end up more corrupt than he already likes to think he is, and we couldn't have that. And so I went through my music collection looking for songs that made sense as Kacy's song. TobyMac came to mind, since that's most of what he listens to on a regular basis, and every time The Vert pulls in you can hear it playing really loudly. So, I thought about using a TobyMac song, but decided against it, because it would be impossible to pick just one song.
Then, my eyes fell upon a song title. In an instant, my mind went to hundreds of fond memories. I recalled an afternoon at my house with some friends and some Sharpies, and the sharing of tattoo designs. I recalled a concert where the elbows of a maniacal fan bruised the tops of my shoulders. I recalled many singalongs in The Vert with the top down and the wind in our recently bleached hair. And then I knew that this song was the one.
Kacy Parker Bass is the sort of person who starts pushing through a mosh pit to try and get closer to the stage, and people just start moving out of his way (and I don't think it's just the tallness and the wicked sweet hair). He takes up a majority of the memory card space on our digital cameras. His iPod is the one plugged in to the stereo system of whatever car he happens to be in. In short, he is often the center of attention. And you know what? I don't think anyone is complaining.

Sometimes Kacy will be talking and will throw out complete and utter nonsense, such as "But if I'm in a REALLY bad mood, I'll just be like, 'No, God, I gotta have a can of oysters'" or "Hey guys, I'll throw these nasty grapes out the sunroof while we're going 60 mph on the highway, and Andy can lean out the window and try to catch them in his mouth". Actually, that second one he didn't say, but that really did happen. Anyway, the words that come out of Basswad's mouth are sometimes pretty weird and hilarious, and we love him for it. But lately I've started noticing the other things he says, too. He will say things about God out of nowhere, and the things he says make sense. Like, somewhere in the midst of the random funny things pops this piece of wisdom, and everyone kind of sits there and goes '...Wow. He's right!' and life suddenly makes a little more sense. It's actually really awesome.

Another really cool thing about Bass is that you can talk to him about anything. One time he taught me to play ping-pong, and we had some conversation about something, and I don't remember what it was except that it was awesome. Then there was this other time when we were pulled over on the side of the highway waiting for Jeremy to get his video camera set up somewhere down by a creek thing, and we talked for like, ten minutes about our lives. It was pretty sweet. Don't get me wrong, the weird and bizarre conversations with Kacy are awesome, but it's really nice to have a friend that you can be goofy with and serious with at the same time.

Bass is one of my best friends. He is a true Jesus Freak, and if TobyMac were to see him moshing at one of his concerts, he would be proud.



My life be like ooh ahh...

Youth group was good tonight. Pretty normal.

My fingernails are going to be painted clear for a couple days because they are stained from being painted with colors.

I get my Fireflyfest box soon! That makes me really happy. I have waited rather impatiently for that box.

Youth group makes me feel like and old lady these days.

I am weird and listening to hip-hop. Maybe I'm dying.

I suppose I don't have anything else to say.



They fly north when winter is done, and we get burned in the summer sun...

300th blog post.  *rockfist*

Congratulations to Iowa for being awesomer than ISU.  I will always love you, Hawkeyes.

With this post being sort of momentous, I will now bring back the playlist that I've been working on, so everyone can listen to some of the best music ever written while they read, or do chores, or browse the interwebs, or stuff like that.  Yay!  Hopefully everyone is pleased with that.  I received several complaints about the lack of music.  I updated the original playlist and added lots of awesome new songs.  If you have any songs you'd like to see added or that you think I forgot, let me know.

This weekend has been a pretty good weekend.  Made some money.  Played with some cute kids.  Watched some awesome football.  Got my Ballard hoodie and a free t-shirt.  Ate lots of crap that I shouldn't have probably eaten.  Stuff.  Good times.

You know what?  I think Bass has a point, and I should do another round of dedication posts.  That would be a good way to celebrate breaking 300 posts.  I will start that soon.

Tomorrow is church, and I have to be there a little bit early, so I need to sleep.

Mara Tenille
The Butterfly


How in the world did I find someone like you...

Tomorrow I am getting a haircut for $4.50 from Liz.  She needs a model, and I need a haircut (well, I actually just trimmed it myself with Mom's help a week ago, so I am in no desperate need, but it would be nice), and I happen to be available at the time that she needs me.  Pretty sweet, huh?  So, I am doing that at 1:30 after guitar lesson.

I need to write a 1 1/2 to 2 minute introductory speech by Tuesday.  It will be no big deal, but I am trying not to procrastinate.

My fingernails are orange with yellowishgreenish polka dots.

LifeLight was lots of fun this year!  The group was really fun, and there were some other church families there, so that made it really neat too.  We saw lots of nifty bands.  Family Force 5 was awesome, and the mosh pit at MxPx was a blast.  Plus, Pat and Cindy (Kacy's aunt and uncle, who we stayed with) are awesome.  They fed us lots of snacks and cereal and once we even had little smokies at like, 2 in the morning!  The hot tub was awesome.  Everything was awesome.  I had fun.  Plus, I got a FF5 shirt.  Autographed, even.  And I even talked to Chap Stique.  Sweet, huh?

I wonder when my FireFlyFest box is going to come.  *cough*  *smile*

I am going to see what Copeland is up to.

Tomorrow night I might get to babysit la cute Casciato ninas.

Annnnd now I am going to go be productive.