Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Weekend That Was - Part 3

The final installment of "The Weekend That Was" features fantastic music, football players and fun friends.

At Kelly and Raymond's wedding, a friend from my church small group mentioned that she had a couple of free tickets to see Needtobreathe at Sloss Furnace on Sunday night. I had wanted to go to this concert all along when the concert was scheduled for Saturday but my friend Nicole and I had decided not to because it would almost be pushing it to get back from the wedding and then to the concert.

But the monsoon rains on Saturday forced the Sloss folks to postpone the
concert until Sunday night so Emily offered up some free tickets and Nicole and I gladly accepted. This made the third time that Nicole and I had seen Needtobreathe together. Tradition, anyone?

(L to R: Emily, Dana, Heather, Me and Nicole)

Needtobreathe has quickly become one of my favorite bands and they really do put on a great show. Matthew Mayfield (Birmingham native) opened for them (for the second show in a row that I've seen) and the kid is mega talented. So that was a plus.

The guy standing in front of me looked kind of familiar but I was with all of the people that I knew that liked Needtobreathe so I didn't think that it would be anyone I actually knew. Then, he turned to ask a question and it was none other than my assistant volleyball coach, Reggie. So it was fun to add another two people to our group and to introduce someone else to some great music. Reggie had never heard of Needtobreathe.

After Matthew Mayfield finished, there was a small break. I turned around to see how the crowd looked and I saw another familiar face. It took me a little longer to figure out who this guy was but once I figured it out, I was giddy like a school girl. Who was it?


This guy. Tyson Lee. And people, he is just a precious as he looks. I didn't get a picture with him because I thought that might be pushing it a little but I did talk to him for about 10 minutes and he was so very nice and interesting. He was more interested in learning about me than talking about himself and soaking up compliments, and that really impressed me.

So all in all, it was a good night. It was good times with good friends and good music with a little extra fun. And it was a great ending to a great weekend. I couldn't even remember when I had a weekend that I really enjoyed as much as I did that one.

Stay tuned for a pictures and recap of my trip to Charleston, S.C., for the SoCon Baseball Tournament. I may have it up by Christmas...if you're lucky.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

American Idol - Simon's Last Word

Well, it's here. The last hurrah. The final two. And the last show where Simon will be able to make people fell like least until his new show airs.

I have to say that when I saw both of these people audition, I had a feeling that they would go very far. And they did. All the way to the final two. Whoever wins, these two are going to make some serious buck. They are both incredibly talented and extremely humble and they both deserve all of the blessings that they will receive.

So, without further ado...

THIS. Is American Idol.

Lee DeWyze
Lee's Pick: "The Boxer" - So glad he picked to do this one again because it really was my favorite from the season. And tonight was no different. I actually think it was better than the first time he did it and the first time was great. How funny that Ellen just said that too.

Simon Fuller's Pick: "Everybody Hurts" - Is this the first time that anyone has every done R.E.M. on this show? This is perfect song for his voice and you gotta love a good gospel choir behind you. That was really good. He has really gotten to where he can really show his passion through his performance.

P.S. Nice pep talk by Simon. I was vigorously nodding my head and now I'm ready to go score the winning TD.
Potential First Single: "Beautiful Day" - Okay, I was not expecting a cover song but I guess the written song last year didn't really do so well for Kris Allen because it was overflowing with cheese (Sorry, Kara!). And I just stop and say that I love his red Chucks. So. I loved this. And I will buy it. So he needs to win.

Crystal Bowersox
Crystal's Pick: "Me and Bobby McGee" - I feel the same about this one that I felt about Lee's. It was great the first time and even better this time. I agree with Simon that the past few weeks, Crystal has been a little bit off her game. Tonight, she was back on the horse.

Simon Fuller's Pick: "Black Velvet" - I haven't even heard the first note and I know this is a perfect song for her. Okay, it was the perfect song for her and overall I think it was good. I think there were a few parts were she really got excited and maybe over-sang it a little bit and it didn't really sound good. But that was a rockin' performance and the crowd was eating it up.

Potential First Single: "Up To The Mountain" - Well, that was delightful.

Here's the deal, I wish both could win. Crystal is incredibly talented but I think America loves Lee more. This is going to be a tight vote.

I don't know what else to say except...

Walden. Out.

Who do you want to win?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Blog-Linkity Goodness 5.19.10

It's time for more linkage. The internet kind. Not the hot dog kind.

- While my daddy was taking a little doctor ordered rest time last month, he decided to go fishing on day and take my furry little brother, Randy, along. Randy always makes things interesting. This outing was nothing different. Check out his story here.

- Also get his take on cowbells here too. It's always good to hear a players' perspective on the subject.

- This post of Jon's at Stuff Christians Like is hilarious. It includes Justin Beiber, Ludacris and the Black Eyed Peas.

- I'm not a big Paul Finebaum fan but the day I read this I was. He wrote a great article on Dan Mullen and the future he has in college football. If you bleed Maroon and White and haven't read it yet, click here.

- Did you see American Idol last night? Did you see Lee Dewyze, who might have to fight Tim Tebow, for my hand in marriage? No? Watch this.

- Last but not least, I hate that I've waited this long to share this with you bloggites, but it's only because I've waited this long to watch it. This is a link to my church's Easter service. (And just for fun, I've embedded the video player below.) David focused on the Love Story that is presented in the book of Ruth. If you don't know the story, please go read it. It's only four chapters and it will change your life. I think I've studied this story about three times in the last three years and it gets better every time. It's such a beautiful, TRUE, realization of our need for the redemption that can only come from Jesus Christ and the immense love of a God that actively pursues us day after day. I love it even more because Mandi Mapes was able to display the amazing gifts that God has placed in her life through her testimony and her talents. Mandi is the girl singing those songs and she wrote them all as well. If you like, you can get them on iTunes.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

American Idol - Top 3

THIS. Is the Top 3.

Top 3? Seriously?

I feel like we just started. And now it's almost over. At this point, I don't really care who wins. They are all good, so I'll end up buying all of their albums. But let's face it, it's going to end up being Lee and Crystal standing up there next weekend unless half the population forgets how to dial a telephone.

Casey James
Casey's Pick: "OK, It's Alright With Me" - Love this song and it's perfect for him. I thought that was really good. Let's face it, Casey James isn't always going to hit every note on pitch but that's okay (and alright with me) because he's got such charisma. However, it still sounded good and he looked comfortable and had fun.

Kara and Randy's Pick: "Daughters" - I really, really hate that I'm about to say this but I was tempted to fast-forward through this performance after the first 20 seconds. I didn't like it at all and I felt like every note dragged and was flat as a result. I give him props for trying to put his own spin on it and I like the whole vibe on him, but I felt like Casey James had checked out of the competition.

Crystal Bowersox
Crystal's Pick: "Come To My Window" - I LOATHE this song. But I'm also not a big Melissa Ethridge fan either. With that being said, I did like the spin she put on it tonight though. There was a little hint of a bluegrassy/country feel, and I (not a country fan) surprisingly liked it. However, I don't think it was her best performance. I still don't think she's had a great performance since she did "People Get Ready" several weeks ago. However, I think that's still the kind of artist that she wants to be and I like that feel. And she was straight-up artist tonight on stage.

Ellen's Pick: "Maybe I'm Amazed" - Besides the part that said, "Maybe I'm a man but maybe you're the only woman who could help me understand," this song was a perfect fit for her and a redeeming moment for me from the last round. It was fantastic. And it was good to see her move around.

Lee Dewyze
Lee's Pick: "Simple Man" - Lee Dewyze, you are a simple man. And I simply love you. Will you simply marry me?

Ok, now that I got that off my chest. This is what I love about Lee Dewyze. Like his fellow contestants, Lee goes out on that stage and puts all of his heart and soul into his performance. But there is just something about him that lifts him above the other two in the that category. I don't know if it's his humility or if he's just naturally more talented, or maybe it's the gigantor crush I have. Who knows? But this kid is a winner.

Simon's Pick: "Hallelujah" - Oh. My. Wow. One of my top 10 favorite songs ever in life. Excuse me while I weep. My dear friends, that is what you call a moment. Lee Dewyze just had a moment. And if he has three more of those next week, he. will. win. this. competition. Amazing. And Simon smiles.

Best of the night: Lee Dewyze on "Hallelujah"
Worst of the night: Casey James on "Daughters"
Should go: Casey
Will go: Casey

Walden. Out.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Weekend That Was - Part 2

Alternate title for this post: Four Warnings and A Wedding

I know it's been about three weeks since I talked about The Weekend That Was, but now it's time to get back to the story-telling.

Saturday (April 24) was Kelly and Raymond's wedding. Every kind of severe weather warning you could think of what covering the state of Alabama. And did I mention it was an outside wedding? Yeah.

Nicole and I packed up and headed south to the 4H Center where the wedding was being held. The sky seemed to get better and better the further south we went, and an hour later, we ended up in the middle of nowhere at the site of the wedding.

At one point, driving through Small Town USA and passing deserted pastures, we kept our eyes on the sky for stray flying bovine.

All was well as we got to the wedding. The rain had subsided, if only for a few minutes, and we made our way under the chapel pavillion to take our seats. Meanwhile, we passed Kelly who was fully prepared with her yellow galoshes.

It was a small ceremony of her closest family and friends. Everything was so personal. All of her friends pitched in. Every decoration, invitation, snack, finishing touch, etc., was done by a family member of friend.

Here's what I contributed:

Instead of printing programs, she had me just do one big program and had it framed. Kelly's is a lover of all things rustic wood so this was perfect for her. Her colors were baby blue and chocolate and her flowers were daisies so I added that into the design.

Besides the funfetti wedding cake and the groom's cake made of Betty Crocker brownies made by small group members, the ceremony really was my favorite part of the day. Although it starting pouring halfway through the ceremony, it really was a testament to God's faithfulness to us and his persistence in his pursuit of an intimate relationship with him.

The moms walked to the great praise and worship song, "In Christ Alone" and when they were in place, the congregation stood and we sang the remainder of the song. Then the bridesmaids processed in to Third Day's "Offering" followed by Kelly who was escorted by her sweet daddy. The song is one that Kelly has always said that she wanted to walk down the aisle to and it was such a sweet moment to see that finally happen for her.

Kelly and Raymond's love story is such an earthly representation of God's pursuit of his people. The couple met at Lakeshore Foundation where Kelly works and were Raymond became a member after his motorcycle accident. They became great friends and have remained friend for a number of years.

Probably since he's known her, Raymond has pursue a romantic relationship with Kelly, but Kelly, being a Christian, stuck to her guns and wouldn't date a nonbeliever. Kelly had always been very open about her faith with Raymond, as she is with everyone she meets. She invited him to church and small group and about two years ago, he finally caved and started coming to small group with her.

For the first little while, he was just going to spend time with her. But after a while, Raymond really started to respond to what he was learning and going even when Kelly couldn't go.

Through a series of events last spring, Raymond decided that he was tired of running from the God that was actively pursuing him. He stopped and turned and allowed God to take control of his life.

Shortly after, Raymond confessed his feelings for Kelly again and Kelly finally knew that God's timing had finally worked itself out. About three months later, in January, he Kelly's dad for her hand in marriage on a trip home to Miami to visit her family. A week later, he proposed and four months later, they are husband and wife.

It's really been amazing to see God's plan for both Raymond and Kelly unfold. It's a true testament to his faithfulness in two respects. One - his faithfulness to Kelly (over 30) to provide a mate after wondering if she would ever meet him. And two - his faithful pursuit of Raymond's heart, year after year after year.

God's awesome, isn't he?!

Small Group Photo Op

So, that's the story of Saturday.

Maybe in a month, I'll be back with the story of Part 3.

One Single Struggle

I started this post as another edition of Blog-Linkity Goodness but this one link I have to share kind of calls for a whole post of its own.

Let me preface...

Lately, I've been burdened a bit (read: a lot) by the direction my life is headed. I've prayed for many years Psalm 37:4.

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."

I think for a long time I've just been praying the second half of that verse.

Recently, I've really been confronted with frustration about my singleness. If you would have asked me four years ago if I would still be single at the age of 26, I would have laughed in your face and told you my whole wedding plan.

Nowadays, I'll tell you my whole wedding plan, but I just am not laughing as hard anymore.

So many thoughts run through my head. My parents were married at my age. My sister was four years younger than me when she got married. All but two of my best friends are married. I see college friends who have now been married for four or five years and are now having their first or second child. Girls who were freshmen when I was a senior in college are married and having kids. I'm watching people live the life that I thought I would be knee deep in by now.

And it is a little bit disheartening. And I guess it is okay because that is the way God made me. He gave me these desires and these emotions for a reason.

However, over the last two or three years, I really started concentrated on the first part of that verse.

"Delight in the Lord."

For a large part of my life, I didn't really understand what that whole "delight" word was about. Except that is was half of the title of the best Stone family dessert - Chocolate Delight.

But God has recentlyshown up in my life in a way that I've never seen before. He has shown me things about myself and Himself that I had failed to notice before. And I think that I wasn't noticing those things because I wasn't looking for them and I had been distracted.

I'm a believer in the notion that nothing is coincidence. God has a purpose and plan for everything that happens in our life because it all fits in to His will to bring glory to His name.

I think the mixture of maturity and singleness, along with the grace of God and the love of family and friends, have made me who I am today. I think that at the end of high school and throughout my college career, I was distracted by the feeling of falling in love and finding a husband when I should have been actively pursuing my One True Love.

I had replaced desire to be loved and fulfilled by God, the one who loved me first and will never stop loving me, with the desire to fall in love to a guy and be married and start a family.

It's what every girl dreams of, right? The guy, the proposal, the ring, the dress, the church, the house, the picket fence.

What I have just become to grasp is that I've been going about it all wrong.

God has commanded us to love him with all our heart and soul and mind and strength and to love each other as we would love ourselves. THEN everything else flows from that.

I have realized that what I need to focus on is being in the center of God's will. After that, everything will fall in place. And if I'm not pursuing a relationship with God day after day, what the heck am I doing? Why would I not want to spend my time getting to know the person who created me, who knows my ins and outs and still loves me anyway. Isn't that really what all of us girls are looking for in a guy anyway?

You know, Psalm 37:4 is written the way it is written for a reason. In elementary school, we are taught cause and effect right? One thing leads to the other. If push the gas pedal on my car (cause), it goes (effect).

When we delight in God, when we actively pursue him and long to fall deeply in love with him, his desires become our desires.

I know there were times when I dated a guy and became interested in something that he was passionate about because he shared that passion with me. And vice versa. That's what happens in our relationship with God.

After "the break-up" my junior year of college, I really (surprising myself and taking a lot of advice from my sister) dove deep into God's word and tried to figure out where my fulfillment was coming from. Was it coming from God or was it coming from this boy? Before I could really figure that out, I became entangled in that relationship and again and never really learned that lesson. It took God transplanting me into a completely new life for me to figure out that was tapping into the wrong source of fulfillment.

So...I say all that to say this. This morning I stumbled upon, or shall I say, God led me to Jimmy Needham's website for a reason. Not only is this guy and talented musician who loves the Lord and writes about it from his heart, he's given his wife, Kelly - a girl who struggled with the same burden I am currently struggling with - an outlet to share her story and to encourage girls like me. The wisdom and humility in what she writes is overwhelming and I found myself feeling like I was reading the inside of my own heart.

I know that I'm not the only girl struggling with this burden because I know that I'm not the only girl out there who feels like the desires of her heart aren't being satisfied on the timeline that she thinks they should. So I wanted to share Kelly's Page with all of you fellow singles out there.

Kelly gives some amazing insight in how she walked through this struggle before meeting Jimmy and backs it up with some incredible scripture. As all things should be.

One of my favorite quotes (because I have a lot) from what she writes is this: "Instead of finding fulfillment in Jimmy, I found in him an incredible gift from God that daily turns my attentions back toward Jesus. I love that our God is a jealous God. he longs so much for our affection, that he won't give us anything that will threaten his place in our hearts."

I don't want my husband to be a distraction from my affection towards God. I want our relationship to be a gift that we praise him and give him glory for everyday of our lives. Because that kind of love only comes from God and only He alone is worthy of the glory.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

5,000 Question Survey (Part 8)

701. What is your favorite mixed drink?
Anything mixed with pineapple juice. I'm a big pineapple juice fan.

702. When answering these questions are you often pulled in different directions, as if committing to one answer eliminates the possibility for all others?
I read this question three times. Does that tell you anything?

703. Chicken Mesala, Pasta Primavera, Veal Cutlet Parmesan or Linguini with Clam Sauce?
Probably the linguini

704. If you were alone in your friend's house/room/apartment would you look in their drawers and notebooks?
Uh, no. Creeper.

705. What would you really like to do but you don't because you are afraid of getting caught?
I really want to jump in the fountain on the quad at Samford but I've been told that's not kosher.

706. Of the following, which word best describes you: responsible, spontaneous, tactful, uninhbited?

707. Which band would you most likely check out? The Smiths (indi-pop 80's-90's), The Lords of Acid (acid/house/dance 90's), Front 242 (80's-90's industrial/dance)
The Smiths

708. How can one put an end to procrastination, as a bad habit?
I don't know. Can I get back to you on that?

709. What feature would you want on your car that is not currently offered?
GPS (seeing that I almost got lost in Mountain Brook last night) or satellite radio

710. What kind of poetry speaks to you?
The kind that rhymes

711. What is your favorite store that is open 24 hours?
Krispy Kreme

712. Do you find that sleep is just so much sleepier when you are supposed to be doing something else?
I don't really understand the question. Sleep is sleep to me, whether I have something to do or not. It's all good.

713. Do you also find that the books you chose are so much more luscious when you have a stack of actual assignments that you should be reading?
I don't know about this considering that I'd never been much of a reader before. But I do think that I enjoy reading more when I'm not being told I have to read the book and write a paper on it.

714. If you have had the chance to compare the original 5000 Question Survey to this edited version, what is your opinion?
I didn't know there was another one.

715. What's the most creative answer you can think of for 'what is black and white and red all over'?
A zebra with a sunburn.

716. Why do people slow down on the highway when they pass a cop car pulling someone else over?
This is the question that I ask all the time. If he's pulled someone else over, I'm pretty sure he's too busy to pull you over as well.

717. Are they afraid that the cop will STOP pulling over whoever he is pulling over and pull them over instead?
See 716.

718. It's daddy's birthday. What do you get him?
It's different everytime and difficult to decide. I'm still working on a Samford football signed by Pat Sullivan. I just need a football.

719. What's your 5,000 question survey nickname?Look at the word next to the 2nd letter of your first name: A) anything but B) bubalicious C) captivating D) deadly E) erotic F) funky G) greasy H) heaps of I) indie J) jelly K) kinetic L) lasher M) Mr. (or Mrs.) N) neglected O) ogre-like P) parading Q) quacking R) Rico S) stinky T) the one and only U) uber V) Velcro W) wishing for X) x-tra Y) yearning for Z) zoobalee.

Now take the first letter of your last name. A) aardvarks B) baboo C) creme pie D) drag queen E) eggbert F) flex G) god H) hell I) Isabelle J) juice K) kisses L) lightning M) mannish boys N) nice O) octopi P) porcupines Q) q-bert R) rainbows S) suave T) tushy U) underwear V) valor W) weenie X) xtc Y) yohimbe Z) zipper.

Put the two words together for your nickname.
Anything but weenie.

720. You know that shaky feeling that you get when it's all coming to a climax, and everyone involved is breaking into the good kind of cold sweat, working as individuals and at the same time as a single force of energy, and it all meshes together, and for a brief moment, you're holding your breath and tingling all over, and after it's done you're on an explosive and dizzying high for the rest of the night? What does that feeling come from?
If you're talking about what happens everytime I eat cookie cake, then, yes. And the icing.

721. How many of your teachers can you imagine drinking or doing drugs on the weekends?
There were a few I worried about with drugs. Several I've even seen out drinking since I graduated high school. And in college...well, anything goes.

722. Do you like Alice in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass?
I've never read or seen Through the Looking Glass so I'm going to have to go with Alice In Wonderland. The Disney version.

723. Write a question and answer it here.
No thanks.

724. Who is your favorite playwright?
I don't have one.

725. What movie has come out recently that you couldn’t have less interest in?
A Nightmare On Elm Street. I don't do Freddie Kruger.

726. What would the worst movie ever be about?
It's already been made and it's called Freddie Got Fingered.

727. Do you like truffles? Not really.
Do you like Turkish delight? Don't know what this is.

728. Can you tell the difference between a transvestite and a real woman?
Seriously. Yes. There's one that works at the BP down the street. I think the half-beard gives it away.

729. What's funnier, plants or fire extinguishers?
Funnier? Are they supposed to be funny?

730. For question 720 did you write down sex?You pervert, I was thinking of musical theater.
I was talking about cookie cake.

731. Which is better, leopard print or plaid?

732. What would you consider ordinary?

733. What is out of the ordinary?
This question.

734. Do you ever watch COPS?
Not really.

735. Is there always room for j - e - l - l - o?

736. If you had your own TV show, what kind of show would you make it?
It would be a variety show, a la Carol Burnett or Hee-haw.

737. Do you know how heavy things like airplanes stay in the air?
No and I choose not to ask.

738. When do you act the most dramatic?
Do you know me? I'm dramatic all the time.

739. Are you one of those people who have, "see photo id,” written on the back of their credit cards?
I don't think so.

740. It's mom’s birthday. What do you get her?
This is even harder than the daddy question.

741. What celebrity has pretty much disappeared leaving you wondering 'where are they now'?
The kid from E.T.

742. Would you get angry if you and your girl/boyfriend saw the preview for a movie and talked about seeing it together and then they saw it with one of their friends while you were busy?

743. How many people do you think will finish this whooooooole survey?
Who knows.

744. Have you ever written a message, sealed it in a bottle and thrown it into a river/lake ocean?
No but I've put a message in a balloon.

745. If you haven't would you want to?

746. If you ever did what would you write?'
Probably a joke.

747. What do you wish you could always be protected from?

748. What small thing annoys you so much it should be a crime?

749. Would you rather watch a video of fish in a tank, or the Yule log on TV?
Fish in a tank.

750. Is it better to be loved or feared?

751. What causes you to panic?

752. Do you believe that you have a strong personality?

753. When Jesus saves souls...does he trade them in for valuable prizes?
No. He does it because he loves us. No questions asked, expecting nothing in return.

754. What resolutions would you make if it were new years?
I don't make resolutions.

755. Why wait?
For what?

756. Do you feel like time is on your side or working against you?
I don't think about it.

757. What do you do for yourself when you are down to put a little joy back into your life?
Sing, dance, paint, talk to friends.

758. How much Tolkien have you read?

759. These are the songs on the radio. Which are you most likely to listen to:
Time Bomb by Rancid, Dead Man's party by Oingo Boingo, The Sun Always Shines on TV by A-ha, 50 Ways to leave Your Lover by Paul Simon, Run by collective Soul
Either 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover or Run.

760. Do you believe that Jesus existed as a real person?

761. Do you believe he was the son of god?
Yes. And that's a God with a capital G.

762. How do you feel about organized religion?
I think they way most people view it is that it is corrupted but I think it works, I guess. I've never viewed religion as anything organized. I've viewed religion as responding to what I believe.

763. What sentence have you heard lately, that would sound pretty odd out of context?
Anything followed by "That's what she said."

763. If you had to choose one image to be a symbol of our times, what would you pick?
A heart. I guess.

764. Name a group of people:
The Bedouins

765. How many of them does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Zero. They don't have electricity

766. Do you like the movie The Labyrinth with David Bowie and some muppets?
Never seen it.

767. Do you like the movie The Dark Crystal?
Don't think I've seen it.

768. Metallica or Guns N' Roses?
Guns N' Roses

769. Do you follow the Chinese zodiac?

770. Do you like reggae music?

771. What makes your life worth it every day?
The fact that I know God woke me up for a reason.

772. Do you seize each day and sink your teeth into it?
Not as much as I should.

773. I’ve heard people say that Jim Morrison never yawned because he was just so full of life. How often do you yawn?
First of all, that's crap because yawning is a way of getting oxygen to your brain. Secondly, I yawn more than I probably should.

774. Who decides what behavior is 'crazy' or 'sane'?
Crazy is in the eye of the beholder.

775. Who are the most inspiring artists, musicians, poets, and writers?
C.S. Lewis and Francis Chan are pretty inspiring. Musicians? There's way too many to name.

776. Did anything historically significant happen in the year you were born?
A volcano erupted the day I was born. The USFL started its first season. Ghostbusters came out in the theater. MLK Day was established.

777. Besides blowing out birthday candles when do you make wishes?
On a shooting star, on an eyelash, when the clock hits 11:11, 1:11, 2:22, 3:33, 4:44 or 5:55! Not really.

778. Are you self-sufficient?
I'd be lying if a said I was.

779. Is it better to be wanted or needed?

780. What do you feel is an appropriate age to lose one’s virginity at?
Who am I to say?

781. Do you feel that the appropriate age for girls and for boys is different?

782. Are you a hard person to get to know?
I don't think so.

783. What is the craziest thing you have ever done out of anger?
I'm pretty sure I've thrown some things at some people.

784. What's the MOST annoying sound you can think of?

785. What's the silliest vegetable you can think of?

786. Do you believe in love at first sight?

787. Name one thing you have referred to in the past as “better than sex”:
I don't think I ever had referred to anything in that wayw.

788. What do you see when you turn out the light?

789. Do you like jazz, blues and/or swing music?

790. Do you prefer gold or silver jewelry?

791. In what ways do you want your children to be like you?
Loving, faithful to their God

792. In what ways would you want your children to be different from you?

793. What was the scariest movie you've ever seen?
Saw II

794. What was the funniest movie you've ever seen?
What Happens In Vegas

795. What was the worst movie you've ever seen?
See 726.

796. Are you a good massage-giver?

797. What is one question that no one can ever truthfully answer 'yes' to?
I don't know.

798. Is there more to this world than human beings can perceive?

799. If matter is neither created nor destroyed then is it possible that you are made up of molecules that once made up Ghandi or Jesus or Einstein?

800. Are you often sarcastic?
No. Not at all.

American Idol - Top 4

Ok, I know I said last night that there wouldn't be a recap but y'all, those duets deserve some love. Can tonight's results show just be a bunch of duets by the Top 4?

So now that you are sitting at the end of your seat, let's get to my comments. Shall we?

Lee Dewyze ("Kiss From A Rose") - Ok, this is one of those songs that takes me back to sixth grade and a waterslide at Waterland. I'm not really sure why, but my mind has a tendancy to hear a song and associate that song with what I was doing at the time I heard it.

I really like this song and I was a little afraid for Lee with this one at the beginning because he has such a gritty tone and Seal, well, doesn't. So I knew the high notes would be a little trying. But we all know that Lee is an artist and precious and can basically just smile at a brick wall and make it fall in love with him. I'm glad that they didn't say anything about his confidence because he totally had it last night. So, in three words, I liked it.

Michael Lynche ("Will You Be There?") - The movie Free Willy was okay the first time I saw it and then the next 400 times I heard this song, I wanted to throw myself off a ferris wheel. However, Big Mike has an amazing voice so I wasn't immediately headed to the top of that ferris wheel just yet. I have to agree with Kara when she said that he's just so consistently good that tonight's performance was just predictable. It was still good though.

(At this point, every single one of them are good and artists in their own way and I see them all having great careers in the near future. And, with all the negative talk about how this season wasn't as talented as the last few have been, I think that this final four is the strongest talent-wise that we've seen in a while. Sure, Lee and Crystal are miles ahead of the other two. But really, all of them are so talented and likeable that it really could come down to who has the bigger fan base.)

Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox ("Falling Slowing") - I can say that I've ever heard this song before or even seen the movie but I'm tempted to add it to my Netflix queue. There are no words for how amazing this duet was. None.

Casey James ("Mrs. Robinson") - I thought this was a weird choice for him, and not for the reasons that the judges panel did. Like Randy, I would've thought that Casey would have picked a Bon Jovi song or something. But I guess that would have been predictable. With that say, I liked the performance and they way he changed the melody up a little. But I felt that he wasn't really confident (here I go) in the song. Or maybe it felt like he didn't eally want to be there. His body language and facial expressions after he finished his song and was waiting for the judges comments didn't send good vibes. Maybe he's just getting a little burnt out.

Crystal Bowersox ("I'm Alright") - Crystal is good and will always be good. For me tonight though, I wasn't really into the performance. Usually, she captures my attention and nothing can distract me. But I got a little distracted during the performance by my iPod Touch and that's not a good sign. I still give her props for making that song very original for her. She put a nice "Crystal-ized" touch on it.

Michael Lynche and Casey James ("Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?") - I think that I can safely say with the rest of the world that the duets were the best of the night. I've always thought this song was uber-cheesy but I actually liked this Big Mike-Casey version. And Casey sho' nuff showed off his guitar skillz.

Best of the night: I didn't particularly like one solo over the other so I'll just say the duets.
Worst of the night: Ellen's remark after Big Mike and Casey's duet.
Should go: No one!
Will go: Casey or Mike

Walden. Out.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

American What?

For the millions and millions (read: two or three) of you out there actually care what I have to say about American Idol, there will not be a recap this week.

However, I'm sure Casey James looked incredibly hot, Lee Dewyze humbly outdid himself again, Crystal Bowersox rocked the heck out of a song, and Big Mike did a Brian McKnight/Luther Vandross-esque version of some song.


I just spent the past four hours with a six-year-old I've never met, playing "Star Wars" and "Shoot Me Ten Times And I'll Shoot You Ten Times And Then Change The Rules Of The Game Whenever It Benefits Me".

And then we watched "Coraline." Which, I have to say, was pretty freaky and weird, even for my 26-year-old self.

So frankly, I'm pooped. And still trying to figure out if I won or lost that last game of "Shoot Me". Since the rules changed about 18 times.

If only that were applicable in life somehow.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Favorite Things About This Week's SNL

So, if you didn't know, Betty White hosted this week's Saturday Night Live.

I don't get to watch SNL too often but when I heard she was hosting (and that Jay-Z was the musical guest), I set my DVR. Because who doesn't like a little Betty White and Jay-Z. It's like Christmas morning, folks.

Plus, some SNL greats came back to help Mrs. White in the skits - Amy Poelher, Tina Fey, Mia Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer.

So, without further ado, here's a little list I like to call "My Favorite Thing's About This Week's SNL":

1. How cute Betty White is. She kind of reminds me of my Dearmom, except for the occasional crudeness. My Dearmom would have never said the word "lesbian" in public, much less on national televsion.

2. Jay-Z's first performance. It was like a medley of my favorites.

3. Sally O'Malley on Weekend Update. If you've never seen Sally O'Malley, please watch this.

And this.

4. "Really? With Seth and Amy." It's like what goes through my head about 83 times a day.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

American Idol - Top 5

I declare today Harry Connick Jr. Day!

Ok, so I'm a little excited about this week. Frank Sinatra songs. Harry Connick Jr. I love them both.

Before I get into the review, I just want to tell you a small story about HCJ. One of my former volleyball players is HCJ's cousin (second, I think). Anyway, when he was about seven, he begged this girl's mother to teach him how to play "When The Saints Go Marching In" on the piano. So she did. He came back the next day and had created this jazzy arrangement of it. At SEVEN YEARS OLD. He's a genius. (And that is him to the right with Sara, the volleyball player.)

So let's get to it.

THIS. Is American Idol.

(That sentence sounds so great coming from HJC. A little country/cajun-fied.)

Aaron Kelley ("Fly Me To The Moon") - This was okay. I don't think it was better than last week and he's still pushing it. I know I can't put into words what annoys me about his singing but I'll try and say that there are a lot of notes that he hits that he just doesn't quite get on top of. He stays in his throat instead of getting into his head. And it just makes him sound like he's pushing a lot of those notes. I still think that he's way out of his league with the rest of the competition but we all know there's a slew of 12-year-olds out there voting for him. So, we'll see.

Casey James ("Blue Skies") - It's not about the lyrics at all. It's about how good-looking Casey James is in lavender. But I digress. I don't know if I really, really liked this performance because I'm so used to seeing Casey in the rock-blues vibe. However, he made the best of it. I didn't particularly like the song for him.

It's safe to say that I'll be voting two or 100 times more than I usually do for Casey tonight.

Crystal Bowersox ("Summer Wind") - First of all, she looks fantastic. And it's official - Crystal Bowersox can do no wrong. Seriously. This was so NOT her style, yet it SO WAS. She killed it. And she kind of had a little Nora Jones sound there too.

Michael Lynche ("The Way You Look Tonight") - Love this song. Loved this performance. It's what I expected him to do anyway. We've already established that he can sing. He's had two great weeks. And Kara's right. He didn't lose himself in the song. This was the best performance of the night so far. We'll see if Lee changes that.

Lee Dewyze ("That's Life") - This is THE PERFECT song for him. This was great. I wish the band hadn't been so loud but the arrangement was awesome. And the thing is, and Randy just said it, Lee Dewyze was all over that song. He didn't change one bit. He can confident and looked comfortable. I don't get why Kara doesn't think that he doesn't have confidence. The kid knows that he can sing. He wouldn't have tried out for this competition and kept coming back if he didn't. There's a difference between not having confidence and being humble. Lee Dewyze is humble.

So that's it.

Best of the night: Lee
Worst of the night: According to the judges, it was Casey. I still think Aaron was worse.
Should go home: Aaron
Will go home: Aaron, if I have anything to say about it. I'm currently working on taking away phone privileges for every 12-year-old who plans to vote for Aaron tonight.

One more look at the gorgeous, infectious smile.


Walden. Out.

Monday, May 3, 2010

When Will We Ever Learn?

My heart is heavy today and has been for the past couple of days as I see the devastation that is blanketing the Southern states.

People are losing lives and livelihood all over Tennessee and Mississippi because of natural disaster and nature is being destroyed while business owners on the Gulf Coast are scrambling to figure out how they are going to keep their heads above water (no pun intended) because of a man-made disaster.

I have just one question.

Why does it take two seconds when a natural disaster (i.e. flood, hurricane, tornado, earthquake) hits for neighbors and friends to help each other out but it takes sweet forever for the government to step in a take action on a man-made disaster than could have been prevented?

My heart goes out to the people of Nashville, even more the whole state of Tennessee, right now because of what they are having to deal with. Nineteen people in Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky were killed because of the storms that hit the South this weekend. People all over Nashville are doing whatever they can to ease the destruction that is being caused by the flooding river there.

Glory be to God for those people willing to help a situation that could not have been prevented and that we, as a human race, could not control.

My heart also goes out to the people on the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Fishermen and business owners are seeing their livelihood flushed down the toilet in front of their eyes and the whole world is watching God's creation be destroyed because our government is dragging ass (excuse my choice of words) in efforts to get this mess cleaned up.

There is a difference between these two situations. One was completely out of the realm of our control. The other was completely preventable.

Also we as civilians are able to extend a hand to those affected by the floods. We can't do that with oil spill situation. That is a circumstance in which the government has to step in and do whatever they are supposed to do best, when we can't.

The oil that is flood in the Gulf of Mexico right now isn't just something that can be wiped of with a towel. This is crude oil. It soaks into your skin and makes you very sick. It eats away at the materials that boats are made of. It KILLS plants and animals in the water and ultimately kills the ocean's ecosystems.

Now, I'm pretty dumb when it comes to government and economy and all of that stuff. But I do know that people's lives are more important than red tape and money.

This event happened two weeks ago and it's getting worse by the hour. When will our government learn that if it continues to neglect its people, they will have many more issues to deal with than just how much something will cost. And if you don't invest in the lives of the people who actually make your country what it is, then you aren't investing in that country that you are running. You are killing it. Two hours on the ground just to show that you've seen that damage doesn't mean squat if you aren't taking action to do something about it.

I could go to Nashville today and watch other people scoop buckets full of water out of their basements and cut down trees, but if I'm not helping, what's the point in my being there.

So, goverment, take a lesson from your people. Stop talking about what you are going to do and just DO SOMETHING!


Check out the video below of the floods in Nashville. Word on Twitter is that people have come out in droves to help in the clean-up process. If you are in the area and want to help or even if you aren't and what to send a donation, contact the Red Cross. Also, if you are in the area and want to help, head over to the Crosspoint Church-Bellevue campus. They are sending out teams.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Weekend That Was - Part 1

So, now that it's been a week, I think that I've waited the appropriate amount of time to tell you guys about my last weekend. Don't you?

It really was one of the best weekends I've had in a long time. It was jam-packed full of fun stuff and I spent a lot of time with some great friends.

We'll start with Friday when my friend Lauren and I went to Workplay Theatre to see Ben Rector and Dave Barnes.

Enter monsoon rains.

Seriously, it had been predicted that the storm coming through would be one of the worst storms Birmingham had seen in years. I think someone missed the memo from God about the weather because although it did rain a whole lot here, and thunder and lightning, I think the worst missed up by about 50 miles.

However, come hell or highwater, Lauren and I were going to make it to that show. Because Lauren had never seen Dave in concert. And really? That's just a sin for someone her age.

We ran into a dilemma as we arrived to the venue. What do you d
o when it's pouring down rain outside and you don't want to take your umbrella inside, but your hair will instantly curl/frizz the minute a drop of rain hits your head?

You improvise. Paten pending, folks.

We did make it inside slightly dry and it was a great show. We ran into some people we knew, and made new friends.

And we documented the cuteness before we started sweating like beasts.

Ben performed.

(My apologies for the blurriness.)

Then Dave came on.

This is the third picture I've gotten with Dave in the past four years. I think I'm good on the picture front now.

They ended the show with an unplugged version of "Greyhound" which was pretty awesome, although someone yelled from the back, "You're copying NEEDTOBREATHE!" I tried to record the whole thing but my camera cut out. Here's what I have.

So the evening ended and Lauren and I headed home. I had a big day ahead of me for Saturday. It was Raymond and Kelly's wedding. And it was going to be outside. And there was a 90 percent chance of severe thunderstorms.

Stay tuned...