The Suns finish out 2006 with a win in Detroit. Nash and Stoudemire combined for 66 in the team's 108 - 101 win over the Pistons. Both had double-doubles, with Nash dishing 12 assists and Stat rebounding 13 times. "Detroit definitely came out to play," Stat. Raja Bell got ejected by earning himself two technical fouls, but I didn't see or hear why. The Suns had the lead for almost the whole game, but with less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Pistons went on a run after Raja was ejected, and they took the lead, up by one, 91 - 90. Nash decided that he wasn't going to learn this game, took it on his own shoulders, and brought the Suns back up by 6. The Suns then closed out the game. It was a good game that they Suns had to play well, and they did. Next game is Tuesday, January 2, 2007, in Chicago, against the surging Bulls squad which is now #2 in the East with a 19 - 12 record. GO SUNS!
The Suns win! The Suns took on the Knicks for the first time this season, and won 108 - 86. A 22 point victory was a good way to end the at-home games this calendar year. The game wasn't even a contest. The Suns came out with a 34 - 14 opening quarter, and kept up the pace the rest of the game. The Suns are getting much better at keeping the lead that they get early and pushing it through to the end. Kurt Thomas had a great game, with 12 points, 9 rebounds, a block, and an assist. The Knicks had a hard time shooting the ball. Marbury made only 5 of 17 field goal attempts. The Suns will play one more game in 2006, on December 31st, in Detroit against the Pistons. Should be a pretty good game. The Suns can do it. GO SUNS!
Amy and I have now been married for a glorious four years. How lucky am I? Go ahead, tell me. Amy's gorgeous, she's able to stay home and take care of Aidan, Aidan's now 9 months old and loves to clap, Kate is maturing in the womb and will make her debut in another 5 1/2 months: life is good. Some fun to talk about regarding the day Amy and I spent together. We've made it a tradition to head up to Flagstaff for our anniversary, ever since our second anniversary. (We honeymooned there, just so you know.) We hit Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks, then headed out of town up the 17. There was a winter storm warning in effect until noon, according to the 511 service that I called. As we found out on our way up the hill, it was snowing very heavily within 30 miles of Flagstaff even at 2:00 pm. It was snowing so hard that the visibility was down to under half a mile at best. We got ourselves behind an SUV from Oregon and followed them all the way up the hill. They obviously knew how to drive in those conditions, and not many others did, as we passed many Arizona plates on the way up. As we would change lanes, the ice that was building up where no tires had been traveling made it to where we seemed to slide a little. The Lord kept us safe the whole way up, and it was a fun drive, praise Him. I truly enjoyed myself on that drive. Before the snow and the bad weather, just as we were coming down the large mountain that leads to Camp Verde, I was caught by DPS driving 76 in a 65 mph area. The road sign changed to 75 just tens of yards away from where the officer was camping out to catch speeders. I did get pulled over. We pulled off the road in Camp Verde (which we were going to anyway because it was time for lunch). The officer was the nicest man in a uniform that I've ever met. He told me how fast I was going, asked me where we were headed (I told him "Flagstaff, for our anniversary"), and he told me that he wouldn't ruin our anniversary by giving me a ticket. I wasn't afraid at all, and I didn't even have anxiety, and he just let us off. I couldn't believe it. We then went to the A&W/KFC, ate lunch, then headed back up the hill to follow the Oregon SUV. We made it up to the Barnes & Noble (as we do each time that we go) in order to get our regular journal purchase. We got a lot of board books (which were on major sale) for Aidan, and even got a stuffed animal dragon, too. We got some other books, too, like Eragon and a guide to poker (since I'm starting up a regular game, hopefully). I also got to buy a couple journals for me to take sermon notes in. My parents gave us money for our anniversary, so we used that for the purchase. We then went around NAU's campus and took some pictures of the winter weather on the trees and overall campus. It was gorgeous up there. We had a nice time up there in Flagstaff, even though we didn't go up past Flagstaff to take pictures in the aspens which we normally take (because of the weather and safety). We headed back down the hill earlier than any other year, but it was a good idea. The roads didn't get any better with the weather continuing to snow and rain, depending on the elevation. Again, the conditions made it hard to see, and the Arizona plates really didn't know what to do with the snowy conditions, but we were still able to enjoy the road home. It was solid rain or snow the whole way down the mountain: almost 150 miles worth of solid clouds without a break. We got back into town, we to Cucina Tagliani, ordered to go, went to Walmart, went back to pick up the food, headed home, and enjoyed our dinner while watching the Suns battle the Mavericks for a little while. We had left Aidan with the Ogles (my parents-in-law) for the day, very generous of them, and so we went to pick him up when we finished with dinner. The Ogles told us that Aidan was good and slept all of his normal naps. That was great to hear. We told him about what I've told you, and then we headed home. That was our fourth anniversary.
In the last four seconds of the game, the Suns fell to the team with the best record in the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas is now half a game ahead of the San Antonio Spurs. The Suns had a struggle when it came to allowing offensive rebounds for Dallas and turnovers, but they were still in the game until the last few seconds. The Suns lost this heart-breaker by two because of Nowitzki's four-seconds-to-go jump shot, 101 - 99. I got to listen to about half of the game and watch only about a quarter, since I was out looking for poker chips for a poker game that I'm gunna try to get started with some friends from church. (No gambling...the winner won't have to pay for his pizza!) The Suns take on the NY Knicks for the first time this season tonight in Phoenix. Should bring us to 20 wins tonight. And, so far, we've got the early lead. GO SUNS!
We won the game back on Tuesday against the Trail Blazers at home in Phoenix. The final was 110 - 87. The Suns had a solid lead, and kept it. The bench came out and kept up the lead, allowing the Suns to rest their stars and still add a W. GO SUNS!
It is Christmas Eve, and I am writing this from my cousin-once-removed's iMac in Lubbock, TX. My wife, along with my mother-in-law, are out getting pedicures from Amy's Aunt Leah -- Francy's sister -- and I elected to stay at Ross and Leah Sides' house with Uncle Ross and my father-in-law, Mike. We already did the Falbo Christmas exchange yesterday -- Christmas Eve Eve, as my mom called it in a text she sent me yesterday -- and the best thing, at least to me,that I got, was a pitch pipe from Santa, aka Grandma Nel Falbo (Aidan's great-grandmother on Amy's side), aka Nanny. It was nice being with the Falbos. I enjoyed almost everything about it. The 13 hour car ride to get here, compiled with Aidan's hour of crying (the last hour of the trip), was definitely not exciting, but we did get some awesome pictures of a frozen field of dead grass, covered in ice,as the sun was setting in the West. The fields simply glowed, radiated of breath-taking light. I was awed. Maybe I'll post a couple pictures once I get home and have the time. Getting to spend time with Uncle Richard, his girlfriend Esther, and his daughter Bella, was also very nice. I'd only met him once, and I'd never met his daughter, nor Esther. Esther was very nice, and Bella adorable (moreso in person than in pictures). We talked about it, and we think that Esther brings out the best in Rich. He also enjoys The Wheel of Time series as I do, and when I get the time, I will talk more about the series and why I enjoy it. Alright, Aidan's crying, so it's time I go. I will post more later. Merry Christmas!
No matter how much I hate to say it, the Suns' winning streak was ended on Friday as they hosted and Washington Wizards and lost in overtime, 144 - 139. I wish I could have seen it, but I was in Lubbock, TX, with my wife's mother's side of the family: the Falbos. I would have loved to have watched this game. Sounds like it was a fun one. Another very high scoring Suns spectaular, but this time ending the wrong way, with a loss. The Suns are still atop the Pacific division, as the Lakers are 18 - 9. The Suns now stand fourth in the West, behind San Antonio, Dallas, and Utah, all superb teams this year. The next game is Tuesday against the Trail Blazers in Phoenix at US Airaways Center, I mean, and prefer, AWA. GO SUNS!
I guess I've decided to say...I cut my own hair. And, man, has it saved us some money. I was forkin' over $12 every month, just for a buzz cut! What a rip-off. I would also buy some really good gel there for $6.50, so I cut that out, too. Ha, ha: I'm so punny. Cheap-o gel at Walmart, and self-cuts at home with my beard trimmer. Surprisingly, it works pretty well. Amy cleans up my rogue neck hairs, but I do the rest, and the trimmer never loses power. ...It's a 5. I just knew you'd want to know what clipper setting that I use. Nosey people. Don't you have anything better to do than find out how my lucious head of hair is managed so easily? Me, either.
Whelp, we leave for Lubbock, TX, at four a.m. tomorrow morning. I am looking forward to our time there, but the travel will be a new challenge with a pregnant wife (with our first daughter, Kate) and an almost-9-month-old son, Aidan. The Ogles (Mike & Francy, Amy's parents) will also be going with us, or, better said, we'll be going with them. They rented a nice Crystler Caravan with Stow-n-go storage that we'll be taking to Tejas. Four adults (one pregnant) and one child will be heading out about three hours before the sun rises here. Good thing Mike will be driving. This should be a good trip: spending time with family, enjoying Christmas together, giving and receiving presents; what's there not to like?! We'll be gone a total of 6 days (two traveling, and four firmly planted in wind-strikken Lubbock). Oh, boy, will it be freezing there! We're looking at temperatures in the teens! Time to where two jackets and self-heating long-johns. Okay, I'm not going to go that overboard, but I would like to keep my wife and son warm and unfrost-bitten. We'll see how it goes. This side of the family consists of Amy's mom's side, the Falbos (also including the Sides). It's been a couple years since I've been out there, and I'm looking forward to seeing the family, and welcoming the newest member out there, baby Luke, Amy's newest cousin who's months younger than our son. Pretty cool how that worked out. Good times a-comin'. Merry Christmas!
This I got from The Red/Green Show that airs on PBS and comes out of Canada.
I'm a man,
And I can change...
If I have to...
I heard today that it is official, my cousin Charles proposed to his girlfriend Allison, and they are now engaged. Go Charles! He proposed at the court house in Prescott. She was cold and had a jacket on that the family provided for her. Her hands were still cold, so Charles told her to put her hands in the pocket that was inside the jacket. To her surprise, while warming her hands, she found the ring. Charles got down on one knee, proposed, and, of course, Allison accepted. What woman could resist a Van Liew man? That's right: no woman could. Allison then said, "It's finally real." Yeah, so she needed jewelry to make his love real. ;-) Women...uh, I'll let that one go. Congratulations, bro-cuz, and God bless your marriage!
Because of severe weather conditions, the Suns' game against the Denver Nuggets got postponed to a date still to be determined. I am not at all excited about that. I was looking forward to seeing Allen Iverson, fresh into Denver in his first game with the franchise, get pummled by the Suns because he had no idea how to work with this new team yet. Oh, well. The Suns will take on the Washington Wizards at home on Friday. I will be in Lubbock, TX, for Christmas, so I won't be able to see the game, nor will I be able to blog about it, unless I can find some internet connection that doesn't exist at any of our families' houses we'll be staying in. So, until next time, which might just be in a week. GO SUNS!
The Suns get 15! The record has now been upped by the best Suns team ever put together, in my opinion even better than the 92-93 squad that met the Bulls in the finals, but lost (players included Charles "Sir" Barkley, Kevin Johnson, "Thunder" Dan Majerle, Danny Ainge, Tom Chambers, AC Green, etc). The Suns were able to set this new franchise win-streak record of 15 games by beating the Raptors, 115 - 98. Stat played great tonight, 28 points, as the Raptors had no one to answer him. Six players got in double figures scoring. The Suns had as much as a 27-point lead at one point, but then the Suns bench came out in the fourth quarter as to rest the starters for tomorrow night's game in Denver against the Nuggets (14 - 9, currently ranked 7th in the West) and the newly acquired Allen Iverson. I don't think that it will be a good thing for the Nuggets to have Iverson playing alongside Anthony, but people at ESPN think differently, saying the Nuggets could even now be a championship contender. Carmello got a 15 game suspension because of the brawl with the NY Knicks where all ten players on the court were ejected, tens of thousands of dollars were fined, and some players got suspensions. So, with Anthony out, Iverson will come in as the star and the play-maker, trying to carry the team. The Suns should still be able to win without a problem, as Iverson will still need some time to get himself in the flow of the Nuggets' organization. That would make this win 16 in a row. The only game in the near future that I think we might lose this win-streak on is against the Dallas Mavericks on the 28th. We can do it. GO SUNS!
Long ago, my parents noticed that I thought the "My Buddy" doll was one of the best things on earth. So, like the good parents they are, they bought me a generic fake cabbage-patch doll for Christmas that they called "Buddy" and passed off to me as the real "My Buddy," at least that's what I thought he was. As you can see, my parents are liars. Okay, they probably just didn't have the $40 or so that it cost back in the mid-1980's, but they still faked me out. I did not ever know they had passed off a fake on me until a couple years ago (I think) when my mom spilled the beans. She thought I had known. ::mumbles under breath:: So, to make up for this falsehood I'd suffered through, my mom finds a real "My Buddy" on eBay or somewhere online, and sends it to me for this Christmas, when I'm 23! A little late, mom. This is what she wrote on the top of the box: "Adam - Sorry that it took me SO long to get this for you! (heart) Yo Mama." As soon as I read that I knew immediately what was in the box. Funny how that works. And after all this, he's just not as cool as I used to think he was. Go fig. THX MOM! I love you. What a good laugh and funny memory made!
Charles Phillip Van Liew, my cousin from parents George Charles (Chuck) Van Liew III and Brenda Van Liew, has either proposed to his girlfriend last night or is going to do so today. What a stud! This young man excites me. He loves the Lord, loves his family, loves his country, and is buff on top of it all. What a great lookin' Van Liew man-child! I am blessed to know him, and I look forward to welcoming Allison into the family as a full-fledged, bonafid, card-carryin' member on May 19th, 2007, five days after Kate is due. Should be interesting timing as I am the father of Kate and a groomsman/bro-cuz of Charles. Both events are incredible to me. How the Lord blesses us even while still here on Earth! And that is a common grace, I dare say (questions? it's a theology term...I'd love to talk with you about it...just let me know). The Lord bless you and keep you, Charles!
If you don't know, I've been referring to the blesséd baby that Amy carries right now as #2. For your benefit, and to my great pleasure, I am getting to announce to you the gender of our second child: SHE'S A GIRL! WOOHOO! I thought it, Amy thought it, my dad thought it, my aunt Cyndi thought it, and Bethany just really didn't have a feeling either way. Katelyn Anaya Van Liew (Kate) is due to escape that birth canal on May 14th, 2007, 13 1/2 months after Vaughn Aidan Van Liew III was born. Aidan is a big brother just as I was to a younger sister. What exciting times. The only negative I can think of...we'll have to pay for the wedding! On a teacher's salary? The Lord does incredible things, let me tell you (which I stole from Melissa Hundley, who says that all the time - just go ahead and tell me, Melissa; I'm listening). What a great little (but all too soon larger) blessing to have a baby girl. We are very much looking forward to it. Amy is already thinking about what to paint in the nursery; the thought is pink and brown at this point ("brown goes with anything"). I'll be putting up on here some pictures from the ultrasound soon.
It is now officially Festivus Break. And Festivus will continue until Aidan is able to pin me for a three-count. Should be years of fun! Okay, just messin' around. If you didn't get it, that is a cite from Seinfeld, a much beloved show for Amy and me. This will be Aidan's first Christmas, though, and we are looking forward to it. Christmas (not Festivus) Break really did begin today, as I finished up my grades, got my room prepared for the spring semester, and shut off the lights. 'Twas a great feeling, when all through the schoolhouse, not a student was whining, not even a louse. Mua-ha-ha, and a bottle of eggnog - the non-alcoholic sort, of course: I mean, Amy's pregnant, four cryin' out loud! Man, I just feel punny right now. Guess it's the eggnog. Again, just kidding. Gotta love getting two weeks off for Christmas (in Lubbock, TX, for us) and New Year's (which we'll be spending at the du Mée's, reference post "du Mée" for more info on them). Merry Christmas!
Amy and I went to see the Nutcracker, a nice Christmas treat, put on by the Jajabra kids (a local dance troop, and I think that's the right spelling), of which Amanda Conovaloff (from NCC) is apart. She was the Sugarplum Fairy and was great. Some of those dance positions would hurt me to no end. Cassi Roberts went with us (which has been a tradition for Amy and Cassi for a few years). We had a good time, enjoying each other's company and the performance. The troop was really good, including the really little girls who must have been only three or so. They were very cute. There were only three boys in the troop, and so they played a lot of parts. They were also very good. At the end, we walked out the back, hoping to see Amanda, and there we found the du Mées, where we were able to ask them over tonight. Quite a nice day.
We had a couple of our friends over tonight. Matthew and Christy du Mée, from NCC, came over to our house and had some dinner, played some games, and watched the first half of the Suns' game. It is always a nice treat to have them over. They are surely becoming some of our closest friends. They've also been a part of our Saturday night group that gets together on a regular basis, but we didn't have that meeting tonight, freeing us to do this. It was quite fun, and they even got Amy to play a video game! Go Mario Strikers! I must say, it is one of the most fun games I've ever played on a game system. We were blessed to have them over, and they even bought us dinner. du Mées, thanks for dinner and coming over to hang.
Two more days of school, and half days at that, until Christmas break. I am so tired. I've made it to this point of the school year, but I can feel the need for the break that is coming. Praise the Lord for rest. No wonder He instituted the Sabboth. Finals for the students, watching the classes and running the scantrons for me. Not too bad for a couple days worth of pay. I'm almost there!
Aidan seems to be sick right now. He's got a runny nose, been sneezing a lot, and sometimes seems to have a slight cough. We aren't going to take him to church tomorrow so that he doesn't get anyone else sick. Hopefully he'll heal as soon as possible, especially since we are heading out of town to go to Lubbock, TX, for Christmas with the Falbo side of the family (Amy's mom's side).
The Suns worked hard for this win, 105 - 98. The Kings came out hungry, and got up by ten in the first quarter, holding the Suns to an unprecedented low of 19 points. The Suns were still down by five a the half, but then the game turned around as the Kings' top scorer, Kevin Martin, hurt himself by falling hard on his ankle in the third quarter. The Suns kept pushing and ended up keeping a ten point lead toward the end of the game, but lost some of their lead as the Kings had a strong push back into the game in the last few minutes. The Suns pulled out the fourteenth win in a row, tying the Suns longest winning streak in franchise history. The new longest streak could begin against the Raptors (9 - 14) at home on Tuesday. GO SUNS!
Four Cryin' Out Loud just finished up two nights with two performances. Thursday (last night), we performed at the CBA (Conservative Baptist Association) building for some CBA board members. The Manns, from West High Baptist Church, were there, as well as a couple (Arlan and Loretta) who are from Palmcroft Baptist Church, where most of my extended Van Liew family go and serve. Arlan told me that I had quite the heritage to live up to and to hold the Van liew banner high, to which I told him that I did have a lot to live up to, and hopefully the Van Liew banner was Christ's banner and not ours. It was a fun night (and we each got paid, which we weren't necessarily expecting). Tonight (Friday), we performed at North Mountain Church (about Peoria & Cave Creek) which is where Seth and Joelle attend, where Joelle's dad is the pastor, and where Seth is the worship leader. I believe we are getting paid for this one, too, but we'll see. The money is really just a bonus. We love to sing, and to hang out together. We are pretty good. Wish you all could have heard us tonight. Most of the songs we nailed. It was a good feeling. We had a first session, dessert, and then another set of music to close the time. The audience was great, and they had a good time. You wouldn't believe the amount of compliments they handed us. We're looking forward to learning songs for the rest of the year, not just the Christmas season, and then being able to perform again next year and Christmas, as well. Quite a cool hobby, if you ask me, and you can get paid for it. Pretty sweet.
13 IN A ROW! The Suns had a 25 point lead in the first half, but they gave it up and actually trailed the Warriors by 8 in the third. The Suns then kept up the battle, lead change after lead change, and pulled out a 105 - 101 win. With about ten seconds left, the Warriors trapped Nash but he found Marion for a lob pass and a jam with 7.8 seconds left. What an incredible pass. Boris Diaw had his fifth career triple double with 21 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists. The Suns could have made this an easier game by just keeping up their lead, but it was much more exciting to watch a close game. I'm sure they did it on purpose (yeah, right). The Suns take on Sacremento tomorrow night in CA. The Kings are 9 - 11, and are at the bottom of our Pacific Division. On a side note, the Suns now have the second longest winning streak in franchise history. The Suns also have the longest winning streak of the season for all of the NBA, with the Dallas Mavericks and the Utah Jazz both reaching 12 wins in a row earlier in the season. Sacremento, here come the red-hot Suns! GO SUNS!
Now, you might not think this is normal of a follower of Christ, but I believe in the separation of church and state. It is absolutely wrong for a government to force all the people into the same religion and to, therefore, control that religion. It is also wrong for a religion to control the government, therefore forcing the country, with differing peoples, to do only that which the leaders of that religion desire. Both of those scenarios are what the founding fathers were referring to, since they had seen and been apart of countries where either scenario was in full swing. We fought to get away from that, to have religious freedom, and we shouldn't head back to it. But the issue in today's society is not either of these scenarios. I am being told that I cannot be referred to as a "sponsor" of the dvccc, Deer Valley Christian Club on Campus, but can only take a "supervisory" role. This is now the district's policy to not allow a sponsor but just a supervisor who does not participate within the religious club. Should I not be allowed to interject or answer questions from students just because someone has a Bible open? Freedom of religion would allow for any religious club to be held on campus, and I believe this should be so. And if the teacher that "sponsors" that club should want to help lead and guide discussion, I am completely behind that, as well. Sure, keep a sense or propriety, but allow the freedom of speech to come through, as well. *Lord, I don't know what it is that You are doing here, but I am trusting You to do Your will and Yours alone. May whatever happens through this situation bring You glory alone. May my heart, in the middle of this, back up actions of grace and love so that Your character will be shown off and hearts brought into Your kingdom. Your strength alone can accomplish this. You alone are worthy of all praise.*
New device to keep from "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" is installed.
The Suns are a perfect 8 - 0 against the Eastern Conference. All the Suns have to worry about are their competetors in the West and we'll be fine come finals time. The Suns had an over-20-point lead that slipped in the fourth, but they never actually lost the lead. The Heat had the lead down to 6 points, but the Suns kept the lead, and ended up winning by ten, 99 - 89. Way to go Suns! The next game is Friday, back home in Phoenix, against the Golden State Warriors (11 - 11). The Suns just ended a five-game roadtrip, they get one home game, then they head out for a game in Sacremento on Saturday. Time to beat that 14 game winning streak that is the longest in Suns history. We just need the next three games, and it's do-able. The only game in the next two weeks that I feel could go to either the Suns or their competition, is against the Dallas Mavericks in five more games. We can win. GO SUNS!
Christmas decorations: not my favorite thing to put up or take down, but I like looking at them. Amy is a whiz at decorations. We've got a large collection of nutcrackers, so those are a theme throughout the house. We've got our fake Christmas tree up with lights (I did that one). Amy's put stockings over the fireplace and some lights with some other small decorations, as well. You should see our entryway. She's so clever. She had some vines and lights that she put up on the ceiling, and then for this season we put up more lights and some blue snowflakes hanging down. It looks pretty cool. Amy even got up on a really tall extention ladder to hang icicle lights from the steepest part of the roof over the garage (I hate heights; I know, it's pretty sad). "Oh what fun it is to see all the de-cor-ray-ay-tions. Hey!"
Now, if you know me well enough, you know that I don't eat fruit. Any fruit. I don't like it. It can make me gag from the texture, and I absolutely loathe the smell of bananas. So, this might come as a shock. For the first time in, oh, 20 years, I had an orange. I know; don't faint from the shock; it'll be okay. The orange was actually pretty good, and I plan on trying to eat one a day. Dad, it's not so bad!
The Suns are red hot. They took on the Orlando Magic, the best record in the Eastern Conference, last night in Orlando, and pulled out another victory, 103 - 89. To beat the best by 14 points...hey, that's not bad. The Suns have one more road trip victory, I mean...game, Wednesday against the Heat in Miami (9 - 11). GO SUNS!
The Christmas Tea was a successful outreach for the ladies of Northwest Community Church, with 190 guests making up half of the total attendees. Hopefully, the night was a blessing to the Lord and brough Him honor. Four Cryin' Out Loud was the main group performing, and we had a pretty good set, for it being the first set we've ever performed all together (Phil is the new lead since the summer of 2006). We had one minor train wreck at the beginning of one song, but we gathered ourselves back together, and we finished the set without another major hitch. I received nothing but praise from the ladies I talked to afterward. The group is still together, and we have another gig this Thursday at the Conservative Baptist Association building, which is on the same campus as SWC. Then, Friday, we will be performing at our bass Seth's church. Hopefully I'll be able to post some of our music online for you all to have a little listen.
Can you believe it?! That's now ten in a row. The Suns took on the Charlette Bobcats in North Carolina. The Suns were a very tired squad, and it showed. This was the first game in ten games that the Suns were held under 30 points in the first quarter. The Bobcats kept it close in the first half, but then the Suns came out and started blowing them away. The Suns ended up winning by 30 points, and the bench was out there keeping the point differential up. Boris Diaw really stepped it up in this game with 17 points and 7 rebounds. The Suns, only leading by three points at the half, come back to hold the Bobcats to 30 total points in the second half, and finished out the game 114 - 84. Talk about a blow out. The Suns will now take on the hottest team in the Eastern Conference, the Magic (15 - 7), in Orlando today. GO SUNS!
The Suns are now on a nine game winning streak! They beat the Boston Celtics, who had a pretty good effort tonight, 116 - 111. As Dan Marjlie says, "Holla'!" Shawn Marion, who played more than any other Suns player with 50 minutes in last night's battle with the Nets (Suns winning 161 - 157), came back with another big night of 29 points and 12 rebounds in 35 minutes. Oh, and I found out that the previous game (against the Nets) was the fourth highest scoring game in the history of the NBA. How 'bout that? You'd think the Suns would be tired and just kind of give up, letting the Celtics have a win. But, as this season is starting to show about them, the Suns are not quitters and they want the Ws. Nine games is the largest winning streak in the league, right now, but the Mavericks had a 12 game winning streak already. The longest in Suns' history was a 14 game winning streak. Are we headed to break some records? Is Nash headed for a third straight MVP? Time will tell. GO SUNS!
The Suns have an eight game winning streak; and what a way to make it eight! This game was an even higher scoring game than last season's Suns vs. Sonics game. There have only been two games in the 11+ seasons that both teams combined for over 300 points: the Suns were involved in both of them, though we lost the first. Jason Kidd had a valiant effort to keep the Nets in the game late in the second OT. There were 21 ties in the game. Steve Nash had a regular season career high of 42 points. What a show! Excitement and adrenaline running wild! And I can't believe that the national coverage of this game was passed up to cover some other game. Talk about an instant classic game. Great way to start the Suns five game road trip. 161 - 157. What a great game. Those who were in the arena got their money's worth, that's for sure; I did, too, but I didn't have to pay for it! WOOHOO! Next game is tomorrow in Boston against the Celtics. Tipoff at 5:30pm AZ time. GO SUNS!
Double overtime! 143 - 143. Jason Kidd tried a last second banked jump shot but missed, so the Suns stayed alive. The Suns, now without Raja or Amaré, have another five minute OT to prove their worth. The Nets are without Vince Carter, who fouled out in regulation. What a game! GO SUNS!
Like see-saws? Back and forth, back and forth. No defense at all. The Suns and Nets go 133 - 133 in regulation! Nash hits the three to tie with three seconds left in the game. The Suns force an overtime. WOOHOO! Now this is a show! GO SUNS!
ELL students are students who are English Language Learners, meaning it is not their first language and are not proficient enough in English to succeed without accommodations. I was informed of one student that I had at the beginning of the year that was ELL. If the student has a D or F at the end of each quarter, then I have to turn in a form that shows all of the accommodations that I've made to aid that student. Today, in my staff mailbox, I find a list that has four total students on it, one that I knew needed some more help (no surprise there), one who I can understand being partially ELL (but ready to exit), and the last I never would have guessed. The fourth student's English is perfect. He understands every word I say, just not every math concept, but that's a different reason other than language needs. He told me that he was exitted from the program after he tested out of it last year. Now I've got to deal with the paper work of the new three students added to my ELL list, because they all have Ds. And there was much rejoicing...yaaaaay.
Oh, the dreaded half day. Well, not for the student, but for the teacher, that is. Half days are a waste of time for student learning as well as a waste of time for teacher learning (at least at DVHS, since we haven't had any of the in-services that the principals said we would the week before school started). It seems that each half day becomes a day missed to actually do something worthwhile with our students. The students don't want to do anything because they "don't have to do anything in any other classes." So, instead of math, they are doing the writing prompts that the admin is telling us the district is making them make us do. What a tangled mess this bureaucracy seems to create. GO SKYHAWKS! I guess there is a high note to the day: I get to walk home for lunch and eat lunch with my wife! Love you, Amy.
The Suns are now on a seven game winning streak! The Suns took out the Sacramento Kings (now 8 - 9) Tuesday night, 127 - 102, lifting the Suns to a 10 - 6 secord. I only got to watch the last few minutes, but we were up by so much that the bench was playing. The last three shots made by the Suns were all Pat Burke, who hit three three-pointers in a row. The crowd was cheering "We want Pat, we want Pat!" It was fun to see the end and the excitement. Raja Bell was going for a Suns' record, but he missed the record by one three-point shot. Nash had 20 assists in a regulation game. His career high was during an overtime game where he dished out 22 dimes. Barbosa got the game high of 26 points, followed by Marion with 23. Six Suns' players were in double figures scoring. We just ended a three-game homestand, and now it's time for a five game road trip. Here comes the challenge to the finely tuned machine that is the Phoenix Suns. First up: the NJ Nets (7 - 10). GO SUNS!
The guys in the barbershop quartet Four Cryin' Out Loud (the second group named such from Southwestern College; same bass and tenor) met last night to nail some rough spots down. We are performing this Friday night at Northwest Community Church for their Women's Christmas Tea. Our families all got together to eat before we practiced, and we all had a few laughs: and such is very normal with this group. I am looking forward to performing together, and possibly getting more Christmas gigs for this season. We'll just have to see.
Katherine Ann Van Liew (Bonsack) is my mother. She has been going through a lot of difficulties physically for years. First, she's had to have two back surgeries; both were very invasive and serious. The second surgery, the doctors (in AZ) went in and actually fused together two of her vertebrae, in order to stop the back problems she was having. She was in wrenching pain beforehand, and she was in wrenching pain afterward as she recovered for a long time. Amy (my wonderful wife of four years) and I were able to have my mom live with us for a month or so after the second surgery. It was hard for all of us, but the Lord pulled my mom through and has healed her back now. Second, my mom has had stomach issues for a long time. A couple weeks ago, the doctors (now in AL) decided it was time for my mom's gall bladder to be taken out. So it was. She then had a very hard week, or so, afterward in recovery; but the pain wasn't from recovery: something else was wrong. They found that her bile (liver produced) was somehow leaking where it shouldn't, so they had to go in again to place a stint where the issue was. They went in orthoscopicly (from which she's incurred no problems) and place the stint by her liver. The operation was a success. Starting a week ago, she's felt better than she's felt in a long, long time. She told me that she even got a leaf blower/vac and was enjoying going outside and using it to clean up the yard. She was excited about it even. What joy it brought me to hear my mom talk like that (meaning that she was feeling well enough to enjoy working outside). This past Friday, the doctors went again down her throat to remove the stint, and that was also successful. She was so out of it, though, from her anesthesia, that she called me, had a thirty minute conversation on numerous topics, but didn't even remember calling me the next day. How strange the human mind is (a thought from her). We talked the next day, resaid everything that had been said the day before (but I finished her sentences this time), and I enjoyed every minute of it. What a blessing it is to know that the Lord provides! To God be all the glory for the great things He has done which show off His character for us to see and respond to. That He would even give me a chance to respond! Love you, mom.
Yesterday, I taught at ncc again in the studentministries. I spoke on James 5.13-18. I will teach again on this coming Sunday, and will be closing up a 12 week stand in James with ch5 vv19-20. For any of the sm@ncc's messages from any of our teachers, please feel free to visit www.znotaboutme.com and click on "messages" at the top. You can listen online, or download them for later listening pleasure. I felt that the Lord used me, and that there was no way that it could have totally been me. I'm sure that my sinfulness got in the way somewhere, but the Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness , and relenting of evil (Joel 2.13). How great is our God, and greatly to be praised! It can't be about me. It must be about Him. He is glorified as His character is shown off to the world around us. It is our job to be like Him in order to show others even a slight glimpse of who He is. He has radically changed my heart, and He will do the same for you. Leave me a comment if you want to talk about it, and I'll get back to you. He alone is worthy.
It almost seems, lately, that I've only got something to talk about if it involves the Suns, and then only when they're playing. This blog wasn't meant to be a Suns featurette, so we'll have to rectify that. And I only wrote 7 times this last week, which is half of the lowest amount I've done since I began this specific page five weeks ago. We'll have to deal with that one, as well.
First day of December, 2006, and the Suns get six straight! The Suns beat the Milwaukee Bucks, 122 - 116. Very high scoring game. I, sadly, did not get to watch it, as our computer froze up, and didn't restart correctly while we were away. We (Amy and I) got to go to DVHS's winter dance concert, though, and it was pretty good. There's always stuff that is just too much, but, I would say, overall it was pretty good. I had a bunch of my students in the dance troops, so it was good for me to be able to go. I now will be able to tell them how good they were tonight, and that is a positive thing to encourage your students with. The Suns now take on one more team at home, the Kings (8 - 6), on Tuesday. GO SUNS! GO SKYHAWKS!
Man, it's cold outside in the mornings as I walk on my way to work. The wind's blowing, the temperature's falling, and it is now December. For this very warm-blooded Phoenician, the 40's are fun, but can also be considered way too cold. I'm happy with the 60's and 70's, but when our nights fall close to the freezing point, that's just pushing a little too far. What beautiful afternoons we're having, though. The high temperature is only reaching into the upper 50's to lower 60's in the past few days, and will barely get a little higher in the next few. Christmas lights are up all over the city, and you can smell fire logs burning in people's fireplaces, smoke pouring out of the chimneys into our already polluted air; but how nice is that smell.
The Suns had a 35 point first quarter and a 33 point fourth, but the third quarter continues to plague the Suns, as they only scored 13 points. The Rockets came back from a 22 point deficit to take the lead in the third, but the Suns were able to rally back and finish the game 102 - 91. The Suns snapped a four game winning streak by the Rockets, and increased their own streak to five games. The Blur and Stat led the way in the fourth to bring the Suns back to win the game. The Matrix and Stat both had double-doubles. The Suns now will take on the Bucks in Phoenix on Friday, in the middle of a three-game homestand. We're gunna make it a six game winning streak after Friday's win. GO SUNS!
DVCCC had a meeting at my house again today, Wednesday. There were only three students that came, and Amy joined us. It was nice to have Amy here with us. She's always brutally honest about me, to me and to others. We watched some SB Emails (Strong Bad Emails, www.homestarrunner.com), talked about what they were studying, how it was changing their lives, where they were seeing answers to prayer, and who they were sharing with. This was our first time doing the "core questions," so they were unsure about answering, but we got some good responses. We had a good time just getting to know each other a little, and talk of the Lord and His glory.
The Suns take on the Houston Rockets here in Phoenix tonight. The Rockets have been doing well this season so far, but they have not had a schedule that challenged them, as of yet. That stops now. Challenge with the Suns, and the Suns are going to show you that you're not ready to play them. Prediction from the future president of the United States, Matthew du Mée: "The Suns will not go below 500 again this year." GO SUNS!
The Suns have a winning record! We are now 7 - 6. 119 - 101, the Suns top the Blazers. Raja Bell had a game high of 30 points. The Suns were up by as much as 25. Only in the first few minutes of the game were the Suns ever down. Way to go Suns. D'Antoni was not going to his bench much in the fourth. They've proven that he can't trust them to close out a game, even when the team built up a huge lead before they would come in. This time, we held off each attempt to come back and won by 18. The Suns take on the Rockets back here in Phoenix on Wednesday next. GO SUNS!
The Suns take on the Trail Blazers tonight in Portland. Portland is 6 - 8, while the Suns are now 6 - 6. The Blazers just lost to the Sacramento Kings by 20 points, 105 - 85. They'll have something to prove, but we need to keep pushing ourselves. The Suns need to build the lead up, which the Blazers will let them do, and then sustain it, as the Suns are notorious for handing the game back to their opponents late in the game. GO SUNS!
We went to Militza Arena's quiceñera tonight, but beforehand we saw a crazy thing. Quite the mind-boggling sight. I couldn't believe that I'd really just seen it. Across the street, there was a dodge truck driving wrecklessly in a parking lot. I couldn't tell why he was driving that way, but he swerved right, then left, then right into a thirty-foot palm tree, which bent with the blow. It bent the bumper around the tree, and even after they backed the car away a bit, the bumper stayed with the tree. The front of the truck was smashed back a few feet into the engine. Two firetrucks, an ambulence, and a police car showed up about 5-10 minutes after the accident. Amy saw one of the people from the truck get placed on a stretcher. Hope they're alright.
The Suns almost blew another game. They had a 22 point lead, and the Nets cut it down to five with a couple minutes left in the game. Nash's free-throws sealed the deal with seconds left. The Nets inability to hit three-pointers let the Suns keep a little lead in order to win the game 99 - 93. It is still hard to believe that the Suns can be such a solid team, score so many points, make so many great plays, and still let the other team in the game toward the end of the fourth quarter. At least we're now a five hundred squad. We're goin' up from here! GO SUNS!
The Suns take on the Nets in US Airways Center (formally AWA) here in Phx. Nash gets to take on the team led by his former mentor, Jason Kidd. Kidd was the starting point guard for the Suns back when Nash was a rookie, coming off of the Suns bench. Kidd and Nash both left the Suns, but we got Nash back. This should be another good game, well played, exciting to watch, and the Suns should get another tally in the wins column. GO SUNS!
Dallas (seven game winning streak coming in) at San Antonio (second best record in the league to date). The game came down to the last few seconds and freethrows. These two teams are at the top of their game, and have been each season for the past few years. These teams going head to head make some of the best games to watch. Dallas has now won eight games straight, as the Spurs did not make the three-point shots they attempted in the last few seconds. There was a non-call on a foul that was committed, and so the game ended. What a great game, though. Two great teams. We'll be seeing much more of both teams this season at the top of the charts.
No, that wasn't a misspelling. Four Cryin' Out Loud is the name of the barbershop quartet that I am in with three other men who I met through Southwestern College. The bass, Seth Bohling, and I were in the original four that we put together while in college, but now we have two new middle men: Steven (baritone) and Phil (lead). We are performing on December 8th at NCC's Women's Christmas Tea/Dessert, and for Seth's church the week after. I'll see if I can't post some of our songs on here soon. Four Cryin' Out Loud.
This Thanksgiving, like most of my previous Thanksgivings, we spent over at one of my uncle's houses, less than a mile from our house. Good food, good company. One of the most memorable things said came from my cousin BJ. He was holding Aidan, Aidan was babbling, Valene (BJ's mom, my aunt) said that BJ should talk with Aidan, and BJ said, "Why? I don't speak Chinese." Oh, happy Thanksgiving.
The Suns win. The Suns win. Second team on large winning streaks have now fallen to the Suns in the last two games. The lethargic Suns pull out a win because the Hornets couldn't buy a basket. The Suns didn't even have to break the century mark to win. The Hornets were held to 83 points, while the Suns ended up with 92. A nine point win was a great way to use their Thanksgiving Eve night. Two disappointing notes: (1) Leandro Barbosa sprained his left ankle during the game and did not return. Hopefully he'll work it out and be ready for the next match-up, especially since he's the Suns highest scorer, putting in, on average, more than 20 a night. (2) Marion missed all but two shots: one finger-roll and the last points of the game: a three-pointer from the corner. The Suns are now 5 - 6. After winning our next game, Friday against the NJ Nets (5 - 6) at home in Phx, we'll be at .500. GO SUNS!
The Suns, this season, have been playing great basketball. The games the Suns have been playing have not just been well-played, but have been extremely fun to watch. If you want entertainment, watch the Suns play anyone. The Suns will put on a show, and still let the other team get back into it so it keeps the game interesting. Not that we desire them to lead by a lot and then lose, but it does keep it interesting. The Suns will get into the groove, and then start blowing out some opponents. Just wait.
Taking on NOK Hornets tonight. The Suns defeated the last team after they won five in a row. The Hornets have won four in a row. That stops here. Suns need solid defense and consistent shooting, and that throughout the game. The Hornets are now 8 - 3. We'll give 'em four losses. GO SUNS!
The Suns took on the Golden State Warriors in Oakland tonight. Steve Nash provided the game winning three-point shot with four seconds left in the game. The Warriors got a good look in the last seconds, but they missed, so the Suns beat the top ranked team in their division tonight. First road win for the Suns this season. We still need a lot more of those, but it was a great, high-intensity game, and the Suns stayed in it the whole way. The Suns were down by 16 at one time, but fought there way back to being up by seven. The Suns lost that lead, and were tied in the final 25 seconds. Nash made a three-pointer, and that ended up being the difference in the game. The final score was 113 - 110; Suns win. Nash got 19 total points and 15 assists in the game. GO SUNS!
Jesus Christ, I think upon Your sacrifice.
You became nothing, poured out to death.
Many times I've wondered at Your gift of life,
And I'm in that place once again;
I'm in that place once again.
And once again I look upon the cross where You died
I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside
Once again I thank You
Once again I pour out my life
Now You are exalted to the highest place.
King of the heavens, where one day I'll bow.
But for now I marvel at Your saving grace,
And I'm full of praise once again;
I'm full of praise once again.
Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross, my Friend
You became nothing, poured out to death.
Many times I've wondered at Your gift of life,
And I'm in that place once again;
I'm in that place once again.
And once again I look upon the cross where You died
I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside
Once again I thank You
Once again I pour out my life
Now You are exalted to the highest place.
King of the heavens, where one day I'll bow.
But for now I marvel at Your saving grace,
And I'm full of praise once again;
I'm full of praise once again.
Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross, my Friend
Once again I come to a place where I find myself surrounded by people in groups that I've coerced my way into. Was I ever welcome? Am I just being self-servingly self-depricating? I'm tired of forced friendships where the "friends" don't really consider me as much. Maybe this all comes from frustrations I have with some of my students. Maybe I'm unable to deal with those situations in my head and then externally in a way that I know would be pleasing to the Lord; so I internalize the issues, grow more and more frustrated, and less and less truly concerned about students as individuals that the Lord loves. Oh, how I need that sweet, sweet reminder that I am just as "frustrating" to God (not that He actually gets frustrated); but He loves, provides, protects, teaches, grows, and blesses me in so many facets of my life that I don't have words to describe, and I'm sure there are ways that I don't even know. This is a trial. Will I endure? Will I persevere? Will I receive the good gifts that come down from the Father of lights, such as wisdom? Will I be joyous that I know He's still sovereign, still in control? *Lord, help me to be that way. Forgive my arrogance in taking your place as judge, trying to decide what is best for me without Your input. Change my heart, O God; make it ever true. Change my heart, O God; may I be like You! And once again I look upon the cross where You died; I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside. Once again I thank You; once again I pour out my life. Thank You for the cross, my Friend.*
"There are lots of things to think about,
but nothing to worry about."
It is before six-thirty on a Sunday morning. I would never be up this early, but I have the privilege of driving my parents-in-law to the airport this morning. They are headed up to Oregon to be with the Ogle relatives for Thanksgiving. The five of us (Mike, Francy, Amy, Aidan, and I) will be headed to Lubbock, TX, together for Christmas, to be with Francy's side of the family, the Falbos. Safe travels, Ogles; we'll cya again real soon. Oh, wait, that should be: happy trails to you...until we meet again. ::humming continues::
The Suns fall in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter from a 16 point lead to let the Jazz (number one in the NBA) tie and send the game into overtime. In overtime, the Suns and Jazz kept going back and forth. Marion was on fire. He tried carrying the team on his back with lots and lots of scoring. The Suns get a chance to send the game into a second overtime, as the Jazz were up by three with a few seconds to go. Two three-point attempts, but no scoring. The Jazz win in overtime against our Suns, 120 - 117, respectively. The Suns now fall to three and six, and the Jazz keep their best record going, now standing at nine and one. We've lost to the Jazz two times now, and both games we had 15 and 16 point leads in the second half which we gave away, letting the Jazz back in the game, and eventually gave the game to them. We can beat them. We can win. We will, yet.
The Diamondbacks have new colors and a new logo. I was surprised to find out about the change. My only question is: why? From purple and tourquois to black and red. Much different. Check out the new logo on the sleeve of the home jersey below. Also new, btw.
(Listed in order of arrival) Mike Ogle (father-in-law), Michael Withem, Matthew du Mée, and Jeremy Quáde all came over tonight. We (minus Ogle) played a mario soccer game. It was the most fun I've had in a long time. We were able to kick each other and knock each other off. We laughed so much. I haven't been able to just kick back with the guys and have fun like that in a long time. Thanks guys. It was a blast. Amy, thanks for the salsa. With all of that, the Suns' game was more on the backburner. Go fig.
Game eight was a great game. The Suns started strong, and then they finished strong. They kept a good solid lead for most of the game. The final score was 106 - 94. What a great showing for the Suns, and without Nash. Nash was having back spasms, so he did not play tonight. Stat looked great. He showed that he is almost completely back to full form. He had some great dunks that looked like the Stat of two seasons ago. He's back. The next job to do for the Suns is taking care of the Jazz who are the hottest team in the league. The Jazz have the best record in the NBA with 8 - 1. The Suns are in Utah to take on the Jazz tomorrow night. GO SUNS!
Suns go up against the Phili 76ers tonight. Suns have the fourth worst record in the NBA going into tonight. The Sixers are 4 - 3, tied for the top of their conference. The Suns lost to the Sixers in Germany, when they had pre-season training camps and games in Europe. Let's see how we do after a week's rest and some at home training. I'm having a few guys over from NCC to watch the game and play some gamecube beforehand, since most of the women are going to the Women of Faith conference being held at the Glendale Arena (where the Coyotes play). We should have a great time: especially while eating the salsa that my wife will make. GO SUNS, and Amy!
I took off yesterday. I decided that I wanted to sleep in and enjoy a day with my wife and son. It was fabulous. I couldn't have asked for a better day. Now that it is Friday, and I'm back teaching, I have two lessons to squeeze into one day, but it's worked so far. God was very gracious to me with letting me take yesterday off. I slept until after 11am. What a joy that was. Simple pleasures, huh? That's where it's at.
I have been instructed to give a writing prompt to each of my classes, and this once a month from October to April. This method of reinforcing writing skills, I believe, is sorely ineffective. If the point is to help students learn to write more efficiently, then we should instruct them on how to write, give them a chance to apply it, and then give them adequate feedback that would help them on future performance. This is not how our district has mandated this "writing across the curriculum" plan. They are having us give the students writing assignments (once a month, as stated above), and keep them, not giving the students any feedback. Not only do the students not receive feedback from the teacher, but the district is asking that teachers, who have not been instructed in the ways of grading English, now be required to grade essays based on the "6 Traits of Writing" rubric. I was trained for elementary education, so I am familiar with and could grade with the "6 Traits of Writing," but most of the math department (let alone other non-English deptments) have not been trained in anything but the subject that they teach. I chose to teach Mathematics and not English on purpose: I didn't want to grade the writing! Now, as a math teacher, the district wants me to grade 140 papers on a writing rubric. If the district wants stronger writers, they should up the instruction and feedback on the students' writing, not give them more work without any instruction or feedback for progress. What's next, "math across the curriculum"? Let's see what kind of non-math teacher feedback there will be while trying to grade quadractic equation problems. That'll be the day.
I was asked to come to the principal's office and talk about a student. I have a student whose parent (I guess) wrote the administration, asking that her teachers not be allowed to ask her child how the child was doing. This student has had a lot of rough situations this year, including the death of her father. I have talked with her, asked how she was, trying to get her to do some work in class (since it's been such a long time at this point) and succeed a little while in my class. The principal asked me to stop asking the student how she was doing. I agreed to not push the subject and to back off from seeming overbearing. The principal, at the end of the conversation, told me, and I quote, "Sometimes, caring is wrong." I looked at her, head half-cocked, gave it a thought, and let it go. I do not believe that caring is wrong, in whatever situation. I do think that sometimes teachers might come across as prodding too much. What was said, in effect, was that her teachers did care about her, but that it was wrong. I couldn't believe my ears, but I smiled and said, once more, that I would back off, then left.
Now, you might have heard of Across the Sky, the Christian Conteporary music group; they broke up a while ago. Man, you're out of the loop. Heh heh. Anyway, the point to bringing that up is that Justin Unger, one of the forementioned group, went to NCC with me and was in my studentministries. We even played/sang together in the studentministries worship band, back in the day. Justin did not inform me, however, that Falon (his wife), Carson (his son), and he had returned to AZ and are now a part of The Heights Church in Prescott. Justin, excuse me...Pastor Justin (I'll never get used to that), is now the co-worship leader at The Heights. If you'd like to know more about Justin and his family, I would suggest visiting his "official website." It's nice to know that Justin brought his family back to AZ after being in TN for so long. Below is a picture of Justin and his son, Carson.
The following is the "about me" page from my teacher website that I keep up. Just thought I might post it for my friends and family to see, as well. Just in case anyone out there cares.
A Personal Note
Hi there. My name is Vaughn Adam Van Liew II: if you're a student, you can call me Mr. Van Liew, and if a parent, you can call me Adam.
I go by Adam because Vaughn is also my dad's name. My parents decided to call me Adam to cut the confusion. Much good that did! I went by Vaughn in 2nd grade, junior high, during college, and at my first teaching job.
I was born February 28th, 1983, in Columbia, South Carolina, where my father was in seminary studying for his Masters in Christian Studies. Ten months later, we moved back to where my parents had both been born and raised: back to Phoenix, Arizona. My sister, Bethany, was born in Phoenix. Then when four years old, we moved to Boulder City, Nevada. Three weeks into my third grade year, we moved to Birmingham, Alabama. When going into sixth grade, we moved back to Phoenix, where I've been living since. My parents and sister moved to Senegal, West Africa, to teach at a missionary kids' school in Dakar called Dakar Academy. After a year, Bethany moved to Alabama, where she currently lives. She is married to a great guy, Joseph Dumas, and they now have a son, my nephew, Jonathan David. My parents left Africa after two years, and now currently reside in Alabama, as well. They work at a boys' ranch called Big Oak Ranch, where they are house parents to up to 8 boys at a time, ranging in age from 5-18 years old.
I graduated Deer Valley High School in 2001, 5th of 405 students. I went on to Southwestern Bible College in Phoenix. During my sophomore year there, on Saturday, December 28, 2002, I married my beautiful and wonderful wife, Amy Michelle (Ogle). We'd known each other since junior high, but nothing had really happened between us until college. She is the love of my life. I graduated Southwestern summa cum laude (with highest honor) with a 4.0 in my major's studies. I earned a Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education, with two minors: Bible and Math. On Friday, March 31, 2006, Amy gave birth to our first child, a boy, whom we named Vaughn Aidan Van Liew III. (He was 7 lbs. 15 oz. and 19 3/4 in. long.) We also just found out (on 9/10/06) that Amy is again pregnant! Woohoo! The due date should be around May 14th or so. I'll keep you posted. If you'd like to hear more of my musings and thoughts, you can visit my personal blog at http://dutchroyalty.blogspot.com. Be forewarned that this blog has nothing to do with DVUSD or DVHS in any official sense. It is clearly a personal blog.
I student taught with Mrs. Kathy Mauser in the Timberwolf Core at Desert Sky Middle School. That was an incredible experience: learning from an amazing teacher and enjoying getting to know some great students. After student teaching, I then went to work for Cornerstone Charter School, Phoenix, AZ. I finished out the school year with them. It is a great school for at-risk students, and I enjoyed learning and growing through the student population there instructing me on how to live out grace while still retaining control of the classroom and an atmosphere of learning. In the 2005-6 school year, I taught Algebra 1/2 and Algebra 3/4 at Boulder Creek High School. I had a great time being a Jaguar for a year, but decided that working closer to home would be of great benefit. I now get to call my high school alma mater my teaching home, as well. GO SKYHAWKS!
I have a student whose quinceñera is coming up. I received from her a beautiful invitation this morning. It is very well done; no expense spared. This will be her time to transition from childhood into adulthood, and she felt close enough to me to invite me to share in the occassion. That's pretty exciting stuff, I must say. Her invitation was completely in Spanish, too, which was fun to read. I'd love to go to it to be able to show my support for her and her family. What a great opportunity to love people. Lord willing, I'll be able to go.
I have been shown lately that simply confessing the external behavior is superficial. The sin didn't originate in that I acted like a jerk, the sin originated in my arrogance for wanting it all to be about me. Sin is finding my identity in anything other than God. He wants my name to be blessed because of Him, not because of me trying to build my own name up (which was partially the topic from Resolved last night). I keep finding myself speaking too much, saying things that sound arrogant, and I hate it. I truly do. I even think that I offended some of my friends this last weekend, and I don't know why. Probably my arrogance; maybe some off-hand comment. I don't want to be like that. I didn't mean to do it, but if it's coming out, I can be assured that it is still in my heart (motivation/attitude). If I offended you, I ask for your forgiveness for my arrogance in finding my identity in looking good or trying to make it all about me, and then hurting you in the process. I will not make excuses for myself; I was wrong. Please forgive me. It's not the external behavior that God wants: it's the motivation and attitude in the heart. Truly it is against God that I commit my offenses: making an identity for myself in the stead of depending on Him, submitting, drawing near to Him, and humbly approaching Him. When I humble myself before him, then He will exalt me, make my name for me, and that for His glory, not mine. If you'd like to check up on my reasoning, please do. I encourage that. Never just take my word for it. James 4 talks in depth about how I need to approach God, because "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (v6). *Lord, forgive my arrogant and prideful heart. Come in and radically rearrange my life, so that You may be glorified. I expect you to do great things because You are a great God who does great things. On the merits of my Great High Priest, Christ, I ask it. Amen.*
I, an arrogant man, was given the opportunity to teach on arrogance and dependence today in sm@ncc. Does our God have a good sense of humor? I think so. If you'd like to hear the lessons that have been taught lately by all of the teachers in sm@ncc, head over to www.znotaboutme.com and click on 'messages.' To download, right click and select 'save target as...'. To God be glory, and Him alone.
The Suns go out saying that they will play with intensity, and they come out with win number two. The Grizzlies fall to the Suns; all is as it should be. We now only have the fifth worst record in the NBA. The next challenge doesn't come until this Friday night. Anyone want to come over to watch the game? I'll provide the salsa and chips (well, Amy'll do the salsa, yum), and you can bring some soda. Let me know!
I spent hours today cleaning up my desktop and organizing our files on our computer. It feels good to be more organized. I still have plenty to do, though. I'm still wondering if I really might be OCD. Heh heh. If nothing else, I really like order. Maybe it's just because I love math and all things analytical. Logic and order. Just some thoughts.
Katherine Ann Van Liew, my mom, went in for surgery to have her gall bladder removed. The surgery was successful, from everything that I've heard. The Lord has allowed many things in her life to grow her and mature her, and a lot of it has been physical trials. The Lord is good, and He gives good gifts. These gifts, a lot of the time, come through trials (james 1.2-4). My mom must be in for a lot of learning and good gifts! Love you, mom.
We've now got the worst record in the NBA: 1 - 5. Go us, eh? The Mavericks played very well. The Suns were great, as well, but just couldn't keep the effort up and produce a second win. The Mavericks got their first win of the season with 119 - 112, but that still makes their record better than ours, now. I am more disappointed, but I still believe that we can have a great season. We'll see soon enough, won't we? Saturday against the Grizzlies will be the next test.
We are the second worst team, record-wise, in the NBA right now. The worst team is the Dallas Mavericks. We get to put the two worst teams against each other tonight. So far, we're seeing a lot of turnovers both ways, but that is uncharacteristic of Nash & Co. We'll see who wins, and I'll let you know. GO SUNS!
I was talking with some other teachers during lunch today at DV. They talked about a lot of things, but then they came to the topic of one or their daughters. She's been depressed lately. She's been pushing her friends away and not opening up to her family. As I think about it, I can't help but remember times that I've been in depression. How selfish I was! Now, does that have to be true for this young girl? No. I do believe that our bodies can have deficiencies. But I also know what it means to be all about me. My depression might even have been some kind of imbalance in my brain. But does that excuse me? I don't think so. As I continue to learn and grow in my walk with the Lord on high, I continue to see how awful my sin is. I look back at those times of depression and I think about how I made others feel, how I manipulated the situation to be completely about me. I'm not going to make a judgment call on where that girl is, nor am I going to tell her mom what to do, but I just wonder...is this girl right where the Lord wants her in order to soften her to His love? It is time that someone loved that girl with the benevolent love of Christ and not our own selfish love. Christ desires her best: for her to love and follow hard after Him. How great is our God?! His perfect love destroys hopelessness. It give us freedom. It gives us forgiveness. I AM FREE!
As I continue to think about it, I know my initial reaction of wanting to leave AZ was a wrong one. I was frustrated. I keep coming back to the fact that Christ is supreme, He is sovereign (has total control), and I can find comfort in that truth. I will remain in AZ in order to be the light that I am meant to be. I am meant to reach my community, my world, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am looking forward, with hope (expectant certainty), to what incredible things my incredible God is about to do.
the light shines brighter in the darkness
The Suns lose once again. This time, the Suns made it with the San Antonio Spurs all the way to one overtime. The Suns were leading by 6 just before half, then let that lead vanish as they ended the half down 50 - 49. Stat had a couple incredible jams, but the overall performance of the team was still lacking in the end. The Suns go to a dismal 1 - 4 record; second worst in the NBA.
I don't know if you'll ever read this, Grandpa Ken, but here it goes. I love you. I ask the Lord to bring you new life. I ask for Him to change your heart to love Christ and follow Him with all of who you are. God loves you and desires an intimate relationship with you. Will you accept His free gift of forgiveness? Christ died for you. He rose from the dead to prove that He can save you. He wants to save you. I love you. Your hug meant a lot, even if you were hopped up on some drug to help numb the pain. My heart yearns so deeply for you to become a child of God and share in the incredible freedom from guilt, depression, and regret that I claim as my own because of Christ's blood, His gift for even me. I ask you: will you not listen? Will you not accept this great love?
As far back as I can remember, I have received only once from my grandfather, my mom's dad, Kenneth Bonsack, a hug. This one time didn't take place until I was 23 (which I am now) and he was living with his daughter, my aunt Cyndi. He's had a couple surgeries for heart related issues, he has a low flow of oxygen to the brain, he's been smoking for decides, and now is when he chose to give me a hug. Coincidence?
It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.
As Arizona went to the polls today, they decided some very disappointing things: Janet Napolitano will have another 4 years, Terry Goddard will be the Attorney General, and it looks (at this point) that Prop 107 (marriage between one man and one woman only) will lose. I am saddened. I am upset that this state cannot see the tragedy of keeping Napolitano in office. It boths me even more that we might become the first state to shoot down a proposal to add to our states constitution that prohibits gay marriage. To tell you the truth, I had a thought to move from Arizona when I first heard these results. I am terribly downhearted. Goodnight.
God save AZ.
Today is the day to vote. We get to vote for change, for progress, for truth. God's will be done. Amy and I filled out our early ballots, but we did them too late to mail in to be counted for the election. We are having to take them to our polling place in order to get them counted. Wasn't there a reason we got early ballots? I think there was.
I've now got a leadership application with a parental consent form for CCC. Diedrich Wasserbauer (CCC sponsor, English teacher, room 400) and I will then be able to go through the applications and decide who would be best to serve as leadership in this DVCCC. How great is our God?! *Lord, only You can change hearts. I ask for the hearts of the students, teachers, and administrators on Deer Valley's campus to be reached through You using even CCC to show off Your character to bring Yourself glory.*
I read an article lately that said the so-called "Freshman 15" is now down to the "Freshman 5." Thought that was interesting, but I've got that beat! When I was a freshman in college, I had a cyst in my mouth that required some pretty severe surgery. Because of the impact of the surgery, and lack of solid foods I was able to eat, I ended up losing 30 lbs. instead of gaining any.
Surgery on the mouth: the best diet ever!
Amy is pregnant with #2 and so went in for her second checkup this morning. I wasn't able to go in today; I had to teach. Amy got to hear our second child's heartbeat today. I wish I could have been there. The doc told Amy that she lost 5 lbs since the last weigh in. She was not excited about that. Amy needs to eat more and drink some shakes that we have. Amy's just not felt like eating. She'll need to get over that one. Amy is such a joy to me. I am extremely blessed to call her my wife.
Sunday night at the house. Nothing pressing to do except grade paper; but that is something I really did not want to do today. I can grade tomorrow during my prep. Surprising thing happened: Robby M Charley (whose middle name really is M all by itself) called me out of the blue this evening. It's got to have been almost a year since we talked last. I love that guy. My one and only NoJava friend...I mean Navajo. He doesn't like coffee, but his second job is at Starbucks. Go fig. We didn't get very long to chat tonight, but we set a date in two weeks to meet again, play some games, and be able to talk more at length then. I really do care about the guy. He's been a good friend over the years, ever since we met in high school at Deer Valley (where I now teach). Hopefully he and I can get more into our spiritual lives when we meet again in two weeks. It's the relationship with God that's always the most important thing; it's got to be. Until then...
The Suns lose, again. Not an excited fan am I. The Suns have such incredible potential, and it seems to be wasting away at the beginning of this regular season. Elton Brand, Sam Cassell, Sean Livingston, but mostly Corey Maggette, beat us. They out-played the Suns. They had solid shooting and good teamwork. Sam Cassell is a jerk, but he's good. He can bait almost anyone into jumping into the air, then he jumps, and the refs call the foul on the jumper. In this game, three Suns players (Kurt Thomas, Leandro Barbosa, and Raja Bell) fouled out of the game in the last minute of the game. The Suns finished the game quite frustrated: 114 - 108. They weren't destroyed, but being down three games to one is not how anyone thought the Suns would start the season. We still have 70 some odd games left. GO SUNS!
The Suns head to LA to play the Clippers for the second time this regular season. The Suns won their first encounter by eight. We've got the ability to do it, but we'll have to see how dedicated our good players will be to keep up the energy the whole game and pull out a solid win on the road. GO SUNS!
Alright, so the Suns lose and are now 1 - 2. The Jazz look like they're going to be a formidable force this year. Couple solid players to look at for now and in the future. Props to them, but it still sucks for us. We, once again, had a 15 point lead in the 3rd quarter, blew it, and lost the game in the end. We've got to figure out a way to keep our stamina and our leads. Enough from this non-athletic man. I'm out.
Suns play the Jazz tonight. The Jazz started their franchise in New Orleans, which makes sense to me. They now play in Salt Lake, UT. They started this season by beating the Rockets by ten. This should be a pretty good game for the Suns, but only if they put in the effort that they are capable of. We should dominate. GO SUNS!
Oh to be a trekker. Not only do I love Star Trek, but I am teaching my 7 month old son to love it, too. He doesn't understand much communication, but he definitely watches the shows that we record and then watch on our media center run by my computer. Oh, yeah. Gotta love it.
I've been looking online for my original family name's crest/coat of arms. I have a hard enough time finding van Liew, let alone van Leuuwen. I can't even find my mom's surname: Bonsack. My wife's maiden name, Ogle, is very easy to find. I'd like to make a combo of van Liew and Ogle, but I can't find van Liew. Anyone able to help? Leave me a comment if you can. Thanks.
I just spent a while looking around people's blogs. It's quite educating. Some were in the coolest looking languages ever. Some were from Canadians. One Canadian was half Chinese and headed to Beijing. How cool is it that we can read the journals of so many different people and get a sense what they think and how they view their world. There is absolute truth; why will they not listen?
I am, right now, an unofficial sponsor for the Christian Club on Campus. I am excited about what the Lord is going to do on our campus here at DVHS. We met yesterday after school to talk about vision, get into the Scripture (ii timothy), and encourage attendance at the Monday morning meetings. I'm going to be praying for specific, big things that only God can do so He can prove that it was Him and show His character off. How cool is that? More updates on CCC will be coming.
The Suns defeated the Clippers last night, 112 - 104. The record now stands at 1 - 1, .500. There were some good things seen in the Suns last night. They played solid ball for most of the game, even getting to a 14 point lead. They still can't hold large leads, letting the other team right back into it, but they pulled this one out by 8 points. The Suns play the Jazz next on Friday. GO SUNS!
The Suns are supposed to have a great season this year. I was extremely impressed and excited as they plowed through the Lakers in the first quarter to reach 41 points. That was one of the highest scoring quarters that I've, at least, seen. After the first quarter, though, the Suns did nothing impressive and only ended up holding on to a slim lead at the half, lost the lead in the third, and lost the game in the end. I still saw some promising things about the team overall, but I am frightened that this starting strong then ending down will continue. It was a recurring theme when the Suns did lose games last year, and we started it off this way again this year. Clippers are here in Phx tonight. GO SUNS!
I got to chat with a student of mine today. We were talking about his relationship with his mom. He seems to have a lot of bitterness built up about her. He's trying to think through his next move, but he is being hasty. As soon as he is 18, he plans on moving out directly. He'll change back to his old high school because this one is "gay." I still don't get why that has become a term meaning "not-to-my-liking." Maybe I do. It is still not loving, though. I hate when I know I can't do anything to get myself in control of a situation. I know the Lord has it planned that way, though. He wants devotion and dependence. He wants me to understand that I can't do it. I need to be on my knees, lifting up these students and situations up before His throne. The more I deal with others, the more that I see that simple logic will not work to persuade everyone. There's got to be more, and it can't come from this flesh I find myself existing within. *Lord, open this young man's eyes to see your glory. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law...the most excellent way: agapé.*
It is time for change in AZ. Janet Napolitano has consistently upheld her own liberal views of government and freedoms and become Arizona's highest vetoing governor. This simply depicts a governor who is detached from the desires of our state and people. The more wholesome and responsible bills that come her way, the more she pulls out her veto stamp and gets to work smashing what has taken our legislative branch weeks in preparation to get just right for our state's benefit. We have a democratic governor and a republican legislature. We are a conservative state which loves limited government and our consitutional freedoms. We need to be consistent in who we choose for governor. The man running in opposition to Janet, a man whose hand I have personally shaken, whose confidence is in the Lord, whose love is for his family and country, is Len Munsil. Desire progress in our state? Vote Len. Want to stop having the worst crime rate in the nation? Vote Len. Want a secure boarder? Vote Len. Want to change our educational system from being ranked dead last in the nation? Vote Len. There has been little accomplished the past four years. It is time for the right man to take the job. Visit Len's webpage at http://www.lenmunsil.com/ for his personally written blog, information about him and his family (consisting of his wife and 8 children), his goals for AZ, and much more. This man has my confidence and my vote. God bless America; God bless Arizona.
I don't mean to talk about my goals for life in this post. When I mention AIMS HS, I mean Arizona's Instrument for Measuring Standards for High School. Back when I was in high school, I had to take the AIMS test, but it meant nothing for me. It had no real consequence attached to it back then. Now that all of the suits have made there way through the court system and appeals have been dealt with (I'm sure more are still coming), last year's senior class was held accountable to the AIMS and had to pass it in order to graduate. I am now here at DVHS in Glendale, AZ, proctoring the new pilot AIMS writing prompts. I've read a few of them, which I am, by law, not allowed to discuss, and I actually am pleased by their simplicity as well as their ability to still give you plenty to write about. One of the responses that I read a bit of dealt with Young's Farm, which I've already mentioned on this blog once before. I've always hated the AIMS; I think it was because I had to take it for no good reason when I was in high school. At least I passed it the first time and didn't have to keep trying over and over again to do so. We'll have to see how well these students perform and if they can make the cut to graduate from our 50th ranked AZ educational system.
It is that time of year again. Malloween time. Actually, I stole that "malloween" bit from Homestar Runner. The guys behind www.homestarrunner.com are hysterical. I've been viewing and laughing for years now. I would say that I am truly an avid fan. Why don't you check it out? I don't know, maybe my humor is just that bad. Let me know.