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The First in the Deck Series

Our most recent DIY experience through the process.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Gotta love a new beginning, right?

Peppermint Shortage

Just a funny afternoon.

Coffeyville, KS

I loved this experience so much that I had to write about it. Then, through e-mails it spread to Coffeyville itself.

Photo Restoration

I had a lot of fun with this "old school" photo. It turned out too cool to not blog about it.

Kitchen Remodel (part one)

This is the first of a nine-part series documenting the remodel of our 50-year-old kitchen in our 100-year-old home!

Book Report: Captivating

Captivating was written by both John and Stasi Eldredge. It follows the same layout as Wild at Heart did which John wrote a few years ago. Sorry. I'm actually going to cheat on this book report just a bit. I'm not going to write again how I feel about the book, but rather I'm just going to copy the review that I wrote for for this book. Once again, sorry.

Wild at Heart was an amazing book and so I was excited to learn that the Eldredges were collaborating to put Captivating together. Like Wild at Heart did for men, it speaks to the innermost desires that women have. Other reviews might leave you wondering if it is worth reading, but I insist it is beneficial to you as a woman, enlightening to you as a man, and a wonderful tool to deepen a marriage.

First, you must get it. This book is not a set of rules or a list of do's and dont's. Therefore, you cannot read it as such. It begs you throughout to explore your emotions and their causes. As Christians, we know that we were created with purpose. You have all heard that everyone has a God-shaped hole in their heart that only God can fill. Well, we have to admit, then, that we were designed to need Him. Some adults still don't understand this need, much less the children that we all were. Children have this need, too, and they look to fill it from their mothers and fathers. Because no parents are perfect, we receive wounds when our need is not fulfilled. These wounds harden our hearts so that we learn to do without, to live without, to choke down our emotions with a determination from an idea that the need cannot be filled and that we must "grow up" and learn to be independent. But, God created all of us, men and women, to be dependent on Him. It's no wonder why we struggle so much. We were literally not designed to be living the lives that we do.

This book goes into the subject that all women have at one time or another repressed. It is the first steps to a path of having a deeper relationship with God. It brings light to the cycle of a lot of today's churches that deal with a recurring group of people that volunteer and then get "burnt out".

A very long previous review explained that "we don't need to feel good about ourselves" because "we are all failures, women and men alike" but While I agree that we have all failed and that we need Jesus to save us, I disagree with the theme of that review that makes it sound like the buck stops there. Yes, we all need to be saved and born again, but Jesus did not just die to save us from our sins alone. He died to set us free from the shackles of our sinful nature. He died so that we, through Him, could come to the Father and have relationship with Him. Communion with Him. Life through Him. If we, as Christians, teach the next generation to live a life void of personal loving relationship with God, then we have failed beyond the decision of Adam and Eve. If you have not been taught that you can have an amazing purposeful intimate relationship with God that satisfies you to your very core then I say read this book. Read Wild at Heart, too. God created men and women differently because he instilled different parts of Himself into each of them so that together they would be "in His image." We can only know the complete heart of God when we know all aspects of his personality. So, I say read both of these books to fully understand the nature of our God and where you fit in to His desires.

Reading through reviews, most people will say that they enjoyed it and that it really helped them in their Christian walk, but some others do say bad things about it. They have claimed that it champions women and causes them to become prideful. They also accused the authors of basically saying that you have to be happy to have a complete relationship with God. I find that they just simply didn't get it. Finding joy is a result of finding a healthy relationship with God not a requirement before the fact. I think that the book clearly speaks this, but apparently it is not so clear to others. I imagine that they have taken offense to something said in the book and are lashing out against it, but the book does talk about the walls that we create when we are wounded. So, I think that was covered as well.

Once upon a time...

I read. I read novels. I read the Bible. I read self-help books. When I look at magazines, I actually read the articles. I read the newspaper. I read blogs from people I know. I read blogs from people I don't know. I read through my own blogs. I'll see a video on YouTube that makes a strong statement and I'll read through pages of comments. I find forums about things I like (photography, song writing, etc.) and I'll read through countless threads and replies. When I get a new electronic device I read the entire owners manual. I'm a reader.

I wasn't always a reader, though. There was a time when I was a normal teenager. But, that all changed the winter of 1997. I was eighteen. I had a full time job. I was finished with school. I would never need to pick up another book again. I was completely content with the possibility of onset illiteracy brought on by a lack of practice.

Then it happened. My friend, Shawn, moved back from Fairbanks, Alaska to go to school at SMSU (or MSU as this new generation will come to know it as). The two of us moved into this cool little two-bedroom bungalow on Cherry Street built in the 1920's. I was thrilled to be back in Springfield after seven years of Ozark residency. But, here lies the cause of the beginning of my love for all things written. I was a music-loving, song/artist/album knowledge snob, conversationalist. Shawn was a reader. Sure, Shawn, had a natural ability to find underground great music. And he could carry on a conversation about music with the best of them. But, he did something that none of my other friends would do. He would pick up a book and get lost in it.

My only problem with this was that when we didn't have any guests over he would get lost in a book and I would get bored. I'd attempt to talk to him about something and he would just look at me with this look. All you readers know this look. Without words it says, "Can't you see that I'm trying to read here? I don't want to talk to you!" Because all of our friends were still in Ozark, the trip to our house required a better reason that just the usual hang out. It required promise of a party. But, despite what practically every teenage movie of the eighties and nineties tells us, you can't party all the time.

Eventually, in frustration and extreme boredom, on my day off, and after having received one of these looks from Shawn, I threw up my hands and gave in. I asked him if he wanted to go to the bookstore. No reader can turn this request down and so we went. I bought every type of book that I thought I might like along with some other suggestions from Shawn. I walked out of the store with a brown paper grocery bag FULL of paperbacks. I started with H.G. Wells, made my way through the classic "must-reads", read all of the Left Behind series, and finally fell into a determination to read everything from Jeffery Deaver and Dean Koontz. The only problem with that is that there is a such a backlog of novels from each of these authors that I've spent the last several years attempting to tackle this goal. I'm about 3/4 of the way done, though.

Anyway, I figured that I would start a series of blogs randomly thrown in amongst the mix called Book Report. I'll start it tomorrow with the book that I am currently reading: Captivating by John and Stasi Eldridge.

YouTube Search

I followed a link to YouTube the other night watching another political video that someone put together and afterwards I searched a couple things just to see what I would get. I searched "Sebastian Bach" because I know more about the character he plays on Gilmore Girls than I know about the man himself. I have to admit that I didn't even know what band he hailed from (Skid Row, by the way). I found a video of him where a fan threw a bottle and hit him in the head. He then proceeded to leap off stage and send both feet careening down into the guy. It was pretty funny with a definite WOW affect. It reminded me of a story I heard about Henry Rollins. I'm not sure if it was at a Black Flag concert or Rollins Band concert, but reportedly he took it upon himself to fight a small group of skinheads when they were attacking a random long-haired fan at his concert. His involvement stirred the crowd to help and, needless to say, a mob wound up beating the skinheads nearly to death. Henry Rollins was charged with several crimes over the deal.

Henry Rollins actually has a very unique story. Which, I guess we all do. But, his is pretty interesting. He was just a fan of Black Flag (a southern California band out of L.A.) and working at a Haagen Dazs ice cream shop outside Washington D.C. when he started writing letters to the bassist telling them that they could stay at his house when they came to do a show in D.C. They eventually did come and Rollins went to every show that he could. At one show the singer let him get on stage and sing the song. Weeks later, the singer switched to playing guitar and they asked Rollins if he wanted to join the band and be the singer. He doubted their seriousness but did accept after being talked into it from the members of the band. Since then, he gained fame in Black Flag, started his own band, wrote several books, started a publishing company, hosted several TV shows, played roles in several movies, and even was interviewed by Unsolved Mysteries surrounding the death of his best friend and roommate who was shot and killed right in front of him.

I always liked Henry Rollins because of his outspokenness. His lyrics badmouthed those who would use guns for violence, lie, cheat, steal, etc. He was and still is to this day quite in your face about so many issues.

Well, I searched him on YouTube and as a result I have lost all respect for the guy. He has many rantings and ravings on various subjects on there. How various can they be, you ask? He talks out against our President. This seems legit to me and for good reason, right? He also talks out against Carrot Top and his look. He talks out against rave music. I was already losing respect for him when seeing these ridiculous topics and his passion for discrediting them. He used the same passion against President Bush than with Carrot Top's hair, for crying out loud.

I started seeing him as the "in-your-face" fake. He makes strong messages against everything, but brings nothing remotely close to a solution to the table. He's been quoted saying "It's the ones that don't do anything that will try to bring you down" according to Sounds quite familiar. What has he given to society? Art? If you call it that.

The last straw was a 3-minute video where he is angrily telling the world through the internet how Christians are "awful people" who have "oppressively shackled" the world by teaching Creationism which is "fear-based nonsense". He puts Christian beliefs side by side to "extraterrestrials, or anything else you can find in the science fiction section". He then goes on to say that the theory of Intelligent Design is "not really a theory at all" but just "a bunch of over-fancified sentiments". He praises science and everything that it has supposedly proven and says that Intelligent Design is "intellectually lazy and cannot be tested or challenged." He also openly claims that "Christian Fundamentalist Psychopaths" use the tools of "willful ignorance, intimidation, and the suppression of information."

What a joke. Where did he get his education? Haagen Dazs? Besides, no one uses intimidation like Henry Rollins. It's what he's known for. And, to use obviously weak debate tactics like name-calling, labeling, and non-backed absolute statements just reflects the lack of truth in his argument. If those of us like me or Henry Rollins who have no formal education feel the need to make outright statements arguing the "truth" behind a lie, then we need to do a little more research than just taking the conversation out of a circle of potheads and turning it into our opinion on life. So, I'll make no defense for Intelligent Design, as I feel this weak attack doesn't require one, but rather I'll put up two links. Please check them both out. One is of Henry Rollins proclaiming his hard-earned knowledge on the subject and the other is of Ben Stein and his upcoming documentary that makes the exact opposite statement as Henry Rollins' does. Who do you believe? Henry Rollins or Ben Stein?

Bagging A Snipe

Last week was a landmark week for me. I bagged the ever-so-joked-about snipe. I caught both Big Foot and the equally elusive Snuffleupagus on high definition digital video. I ate a 10 pound steak in less than an hour. I climbed to the peak of Mount Everest...naked. I swam across the Pacific...naked. Don't ask. I tamed a lion and rode him like a horse...fully clothed. I moved a pencil around using only the power of my mind. I ... I ... I may be out of amazing impossible things that I didn't really do.

Okay, you caught me. I didn't really do any of those things. I did, however, finally do something that I never really believed that I'd be able to do. I bought a fancy SLR camera with all the accessories that I should ever need or want. Well, not EVER need or want. Like already, I'd like to eventually get a remote shutter switch for it, but you get what I mean. It's going to be absolutely amazing. I've been researching these cameras ever since I started wanting one around two years ago. I've considered everything in this purchase. Usability, Affordability, Resellability, Accessory Availability, and How-Cool-Would-It-Be-To-Have-One-Of-These-ability. I am 100% confident that I have made a great investment.

And, all it took to afford this was dropping my crack habit. Just kidding. I didn't really drop it. I mean, I don't have a crack habit to drop. My crack usage is completely normal, right? Just kidding. I mean, even if I did have a crack habit, I couldn't just drop it, could I? Those habits are really hard to break. Not that I know. It's just that I've heard that they're hard to break. Of course, I wouldn't know know. I just know. But not from experience. I've just heard from friends, you know. Not that I have crack users for friends, or anything. Because I don't. I don't think I do. I'm pretty sure not. Wait. What were we talking about?

Look for some better photos to be added to Studio Living Room's website in the weeks to come.

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