MMM....Cake

Nova Rio, first week




Recorded with the 550D,
it is not that I like it, is just that there's no more budget.

Full Time Blues




I hate being that guy that totally abandons his blog after getting a full time gig. I am going otry my best to continue posting regularly....and to start that, here is a cute bear. Been a couple weeks since I did some character design, should have a few more bears later tonight.



Heres a few samples of the type of work that I do at work. All of the artwork created for the game has to adhere to a certain pre-existing style. This being said all the work is very heavily art directed, as you can see Its very different from my usual style work, but its fast and fun. Hopefully soon I will be able to show some of my more in depth projects, but for now those are all under wraps :)

giant murder











just messing about

Isaac Niemand is in Rio working at NOVA



Herr Niemand happy to be part of this NOVA second edition 

One Year Photo Shoot

My friend Taylor treated us to a photo shoot to get some updated pictures of Eliana (and of the three of us). I hesitate to use the phrase "family photos" because I know that we are only able to visually capture three of the four of us. Despite Eliana not having taken an afternoon nap (and instead, just sitting in her crib talking and playing for a while!), Taylor did a great job getting all sorts of neat shots. Here's a sneak peak... Enjoy!




Taylor's photography website can be found at www.fieldsofgreenphoto.com.

To Know and Be Known

One of my deepest desires in my relationships, be it my marriage, friendships, or relationships with family, is to know others and be known. Deeply. Authentically. And really, I believe all of us deeply desire for someone to really know us... to really understand. We know that is possible through a relationship with God; in fact, scripture tells us in Luke 12:6-7 "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows" (emphasis mine). Psalm 139 is filled with a beautiful picture of how deeply the Lord knows us... each of us, who He has uniquely created. Yet I know that it is the heart of so many, particularly many women, who deeply desire to be in relationship with others here on Earth in a way in which we are also deeply known.

Being "known" in our immediate family has had some really interesting, and heart-warming developments. I've shared before about how it is our desire that Eliana always understand that Isaac is her brother... that from the start, he is part of her schema of who are family is. Lately, when Ellie gets up from her naps, she'll point to the picture of Isaac on the shelf in her room and squeal with delight. As we walk downstairs to the playroom, we'll often stop to look at all of the framed photos that we have hung on the wall. We point to Mommy, to Daddy, Auntie Kate, and to others. When we ask her, "Ellie... where is the picture of your brother Isaac?" She points to him. Immediately. She knows.

Most touching, though, is how Eliana will walk over to the bookshelf in the living room and pull Isaac's photo album out and bring it over to us. I'll sit her in my lap, and look through the pictures with her, carefully narrating each one. This past week, she started to lean over and interact with the pictures. Whether it is pointing to something in the picture and asking " This?" (her way of asking "What is this?"), putting her cheek against Isaac's picture and saying "Awwww.....", or bending over and giving his picture a kiss, it is clear that she now only knows who Isaac is, but that she knows that he is someone worthy of her affection. He is known.

My heart swells. With joy, with sadness that Ellie won't get to meet Isaac on this side of Heaven, and with gratitude for God's faithfulness in allowing Isaac's life to continue to hold a prominent place in the tapestry of our family as Eliana continues to grow and learn. I am so grateful that our sweet little one year old understands who Isaac is, even if it's in the most simplest of ways.

broadbright sketches

Birthdays, Decisions, and other Family Happenings

As I'm sure you can imagine, this few weeks preparing for, hosting, and cleaning up after Eliana's birthday party have been nothing short of busy. It was such a joy to be able to plan and prepare for her birthday party... to have a house stuffed to the gills with family and friends... to watch her shove cake in her tiny little mouth and fling it all over the place... to catch up with out of town family... and to celebrate our little girl who is growing up much faster than I would like. Regretably, I don't have a ton of pictures of my own from our sweet girl's party, but am waiting on pictures that others have taken. I'll get a few of those up when I receive them.

Big decisions are being made in our house... most notably, Spencer and I have prarefully considered my work situation for next school year, and have decided that it would be best for me to take a leave of absence. So... June 17th has a whole new meaning, knowing that I will be packing up my classroom and will be getting to stay home next year with my sweet girl. Our hope is to max out the number of years of leave for which I am eligible, yet we are taking it one year at a time.

This was a big decision for us in a number of ways... and as you can imagine, reducing your household income by 50% can be a scary thing. As I was reflecting back on how I have made decisions in the past, I have always felt the need to look three, four, five, or even ten steps ahead so I could be sure of how everything would likely play out before making big decisions. And while I believe that it is wise to be prudent, I also believe that I have been more of a "Thomas" than I would like to admit...

Jesus Appears to Thomas (John 20)

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

There are a lot of unknowns as we move forward... whether or not Spencer will get promoted to an Assistant Principal position for next year, how we will financially be able to swing this. And yet, we are trusting that because we believe this is God's desire for our family, that He will faithfully provide and allow it to work. We don't know what that will look like or how that will play out; but we are trusting God's words of Matthew 6...

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

And to say I am excited is an understatment. I am so excited to be with Ellie... I am excited to see God's hand of faithfulness. I am excited to take a break from the working world (as far as a career is concerned), to be able to spend more delving into my role as a wife and a mother, and to spend time further developing the Isaac Delisle Foundation.

So we ask for your prayers as we make this exciting transition :)

Pictures from Ellie's birthday to come...

Florida Journal #6

A manatee right off our dock in the canal.

This the trail I walk most every morning in the park.

Mary and I celebrated our 44th Wedding Anniversary on Friday with a trip to Tarpon Springs. It was a windy and cool day. We were especially blessed to meet with Danny, who was the best man at our wedding, and his wife and share a Greek meal together. That is not Danny in the diver's suit, he is in the photo below.

No, this is not Danny either.

This is Danny and I. We had not seen each other for 44 years until this trip and it has been a joy to get reacquainted and share memories of our time in the Air Force.

Mary and I and Dan and his wife, Joann.

untitled

Florida Journal #5: Manatees

We saw these manatees at Jenkins Park Creek which is a lovely park about 3 miles from the house. I walk there most mornings. A few days later we saw a pair of manatee right off of our dock in the canal.




Ouchies

My writing career may be on hold for a few days due my lack of a usable thumb. (I'm dictating this blog to my indentured manservant. (Did you know God says in his popular self-help book THE BIBLE it's okay to beat your slaves to death? Just be careful not to beat them so hard that they die right there in front of you, because that's obviously wrong. As long as they die at least a couple days later, you're in the clear, "because the slave is your own property." (Exodus 21:20-21) So don't like, shoot your slave in the head or anything, just maybe give them massive internal hemorrhaging with a lead pipe so they writhe in agony for a few days before expiring. Cause then, like, who's to say it was even your fault? Maybe they just had cancer or something? That defense might not hold up in court but it sure fools God, according to the Unchanging Truths contained in His Word. (This is why most modern Christians are pro-choice, because one of the major recurring themes in THE BIBLE is the disposability and un-sacredness of human life.)

Anyway, it's really a pretty impressive invention, this opposable thumb thing. Way to go, primates. Nice evolving. It's a simple thing but you really miss it when it's gone. Hard to tie your shoes or button your fly or pet your cat with the skill and enthusiasm to which he's become accustomed.

So where'd my thumb go, you're wondering? Well, it's still there, but it has a big hole through it. Last night, as my girlfriend and I were sitting in her bedroom getting ready to watch STAR TREK, a nearly comatose winter bee somehow flopped in through the open window and stung her. Nichole sometimes has severe reactions to bee stings, so she has an EpiPen on hand for emergencies. An EpiPen is a medicine delivery device which I didn't fully understand before this incident and which I'm now all too intimately familiar with.

So Nichole gets stung, she starts to panic, thinking she's going to swell up, hive up, stiffen up, whatever it is that's supposed to happen. But after a while, nothing's happened so we start to calm down. We decide not to use the EpiPen because Nichole is scared of needles and suspects the EpiPen's needle is huge. I decide to investigate. I open the pen and try to find the needle. It appears to be hidden inside the device somewhere. I remove a "safety cap", revealing what appears to be the button that one would push to make the needle come out. I push it.

KSSHH.

Oh. Now I see how it works. The EpiPen is not your typical syringe. It contains an explosive charge. The explosive charge is what makes the needle come out, through what I thought was a button. Then through my thumb, and out through my thumbnail.

Ouch.

We take a moment to stare at my thumb. The needle is about the thickness of a carpentry nail. The entire EpiPen apparatus, which is about the size of a large permanent marker, is hanging from my thumb, and I can't get it off. The needle is stuck inside my thumb. The tip of the needle has bent against the underside of my thumbnail, forming a hook which pokes slightly through the top of the nail. I yank on the EpiPen a few times. It won't come out. It hurts like hell.

I go into Nichole's room-mate's room to examine the situation in a brighter light. Her 4 year-old daughter is playing with stickers in the corner. I yank again. It won't come out. It hurts like hell. I eventually realize what I need to do, I grit my teeth and get pumped up and yank hard. The hooked needle rips down through my thumb and pops out in a spray of blood. It's all very 127 HOURS.

Apparently the drug in an EpiPen is mostly just pure adrenaline and would have turned me into a superhero for a few minutes before making my heart explode. Sounds fun, until that last part, but the pen was 3 years expired so I don't think any of the drug got into my system. I went back into the room-mate's room and apologized to her 4 year-old daughter for being yucky and scary in front of her.

"It's okay," she says. "But you got blood on my stickers."

Florida Journal #4

Mary and John playing miniature golf

Paddling the canal from our house out to the Weeki Wachee River. It takes about 20-30 minutes.

Upon reaching the river the water is clear. If you look closely you can see the fish swimming by.

This view is heading upstream on the river.

work in progress

this is a small part of the 6ft x 8ft work. enjoy

new work in progress

Florida Journal #3

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. This is 3 miles from where we are staying.

Another backyard visitor.


Dewey and I went fishing on the Weeki Wachee River. We got there in the flat bottomed boat that we have at the rental house.

John and the Swamp Monster at the Weeki Wachee Swampfest.

Florida Journal #2

Mary and Zoe at the park. Rich and I are up in the lookout tower.

A visitor in our backyard.

A couple of sun bathers in our backyard.

Rainbow Springs State Park

John fishing off of our deck.

Florida Journal #1

We had a fine visit at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on the way down.

The first of many sunny days in the Sunshine State.

A view of the park that I walk in each morning.

Mary and John at a local fair.

John and a new friend.

The Horror! The Horror! Free shards!

I had a total Jake moment today, and most of yesterday, and a big part of Tuesday. I suppose it all started on Tuesday night. I went out to the kiln to turn it off after the firing had been going for 11 hours. I had just checked it 45 minutes before and cone 9 was falling nicely. (Potters use pyrometric cones to determine duration of temperature. The cones are made of the same ingredients as the glazes and therefore melt and bend over when the temperature has been reached. These are viewed through a small hole in the door called the Peep Hole. ) Anyway, I anticipated that cone 10 or 11 would be down, but as I checked the peep hole, I saw nothing but the back of the kiln. My heart sunk. This meant that something went terribly wrong because just 45 minutes earlier I could see the cones and a bunch of the pots through the same hole. This is the kind of thing that conjures up all the swear words I know and a few more that get made up out of desperation.

I went around to the back side of the kiln to where the burner ports are and looked into the kiln to see bricks, potshards and broken shelves everywhere. I turned off the kiln and walked away, so stunned I couldn't even cuss. My mind began to review everything that was in there--the hours--the pots--the waste. The worst thing was not knowing what, if anything, might make it through. Besides the pottery, there were also the shelves--every kiln shelf I owned was in that kiln because I had was firing a lot of tiles and tiles take up a lot of shelf space.

I had been working on tiles for my home remodel. I must have spent close to a hundred hours over the last two months working on those tiles. Over 100 6" tiles were my biggest concern. I had spent more than 20 hours glazing these and they were going to be amazing--lots of color, with glass, very cool. You can't open a hot kiln, so I had to wait and wait and wait for the kiln to cool down. I finally cracked it open last night before I headed to Scouts. The front row of shelves was leaning against the door and I had to place a barrel in front of the door to keep all the stuff from spilling out because it was still too hot for me to touch, even with leather gloves.

This morning, my mom came over to help me with the unload. It was devastating. All of the glass on the tiles ran terribly, sealing the tiles to the kiln shelves and pouring onto other pieces. I lost 50 bowls, many of which had been a special order that was supposed to ship out tomorrow. I lost thousands of dollars worth of tiles and every shelf was either destroyed or badly damaged. In all, I figure it was close to a $5ooo disaster. I spent the day grinding off the shelves I think I can salvage. The rest of it went to the dumpster.

So, here's the good news! I had two bowls survive and they were at the very bottom. Also, I have a lot of really beautiful shards, so if any of you are working on a mosaic project and would like some lovely shards, my garbage day isn't till Monday, so if you want them, come on over before then. I think I might take some and stick them in my rock tumbler to see what I can come up with. Maybe I can invent a new line of jewelry.

Why did this happen? I have no idea. It couldn't have happened at a worse possible time in the firing process. This has happened a couple of times before over the years, each of them nearly as devastating. I have made a smaller kiln which I hope to complete soon so if this happens again, I will only lose have as much stuff.

On days like this, I have to remember, it's only dirt. I still have my health and a beautiful family, and I have more clay. I feel awful about the waste, but it could have been worse--it could have torn the kiln apart. Tonight I feel like maybe the universe is trying to tell me that I need to be writing more. It's been tough lately. When I make pottery, I feel like I should be writing. When I write, I feel guilty that I am stepping into the dark again with a new story that may never work out. I feel like I should be making pottery--something that is safe and pays the bills and provides for my family. Man, I really need to find an agent. I feel like if I had an agent, it would give me something sure to hold onto--to somehow legitimize the time I spend writing--as if the 18,000+ books I've sold isn't enough. Faith is a difficult journey, isn't it? My fear of failure, the same fears I have faced since I was a boy, they tend to try to swallow me at times like this. I don't like that. I feel like I have enough ideas for books to keep me busy for the next five years, but I am insecure and weak and faithless. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is so terribly weak sometimes. I wish I had answers, but since I don't, I will carry on, one way or the other, anxious to grasp onto any and every sunbeam that breaks through the clouds of doubt.

Warm Bodies' first cast member! (Not April Fools this time, I swear!)

Hey guys. It looks like this whole crazy "words I wrote becoming a major motion picture" thing is actually going to happen. After much excruciatingly careful consideration, Summit Entertainment has found its R.

This man!


Wait, sorry. That's him when he was a precocious moppet in the film ABOUT A BOY. Here's him now:



You may have seen him in A SINGLE MAN, CLASH OF THE TITANS, or the British show SKINS. He's going to be playing Beast in the upcoming "young X-Men" X-Men film, and the titular giant killer in Bryan Singer's JACK THE GIANT KILLER. I think these roles should adequately prepare him to play our soft-hearted eater of children, R.

Pretty much everything has been on hold until R was cast, so now things should start rolling quickly. Next item of business: find a Julie!
Stay tuned, or as Brits like Nicholas would say, "chuned".

Love,

Isaac