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!