Tag Archives: friends

Summer in Review Part 4: Wal-Mart Runs and Other Adventures

How to sum up the pure brilliance that was Summer 2011?  What was it that made every day better than the last?  Sure, the work was fun, and Chefy is the best boss a guy could ask for, but there was more to it than that.  Yes, hearing Ken Rudolph’s stellar preaching five days a week was wonderful, and so were all of the fun weekend trips, but those aren’t the memories that will stick with me longest.  No, the reason that I loved this summer so much, the reason that there will never be another summer like it, is because of all of the amazing friends who shared it with me and helped shape it into the adventure that it was – and believe me, it was an adventure.

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The Merry-Go-Round of Terror

I’ll explain this tomorrow.

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Letters to Lauren Faust

Dear Lauren,

It’s been three months since I first watched an episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, but I still remember that day clearly.  A chain reaction started on that unassuming Saturday afternoon, one that has created more laughs, smiles, and fond memories than I ever expected, and it’s all because you fell in love with an idea and dedicated yourself to making it a reality.  Today, as I watched the season finale, I thought back on all of those memories and realized that without you, none of them would have even been possible, and I knew that I had to thank you somehow.  That’s why I wrote this letter: to let you in on a few of the best memories I’ve made thanks to your ponies, and to let you know how grateful I am for your part in making them.

So thank you.  Thank you for essentially introducing me to one of my best friends, Tek, whom I met through the comments section of my first pony-related post way back in February.  Thank you for the smile that I wore as I drew a picture of Pinkie Pie to send to my fifteen-year-old sister, whose cheerful spirit reminds me a lot of everyone’s favorite party pony, and thank you for the even bigger smile that I got when she wrote me back saying “I decided I’m officially Pinkie Pie!  Speaking of ponies, would you draw me a picture of Fluttershy?  Please?”.  Thank you for the chance to watch the show with her and my sixteen-year-old brother, and for all the fun we’ve had quoting it back and forth to each other since.  Thank you for the unexpected fun of watching one of my college friends succumb to the charm of the ponies, and for how it’s given us a great excuse to hang out every Thursday afternoon to watch a few episodes and chat.  Thanks, too, for the great laugh I got when a friend who posted “What’s up with the ponies?” on my Facebook wall in early April posted “I want a pet alligator named Gummy” just a few weeks later.

Perhaps most of all, however, I thank you for giving thousands and thousands of other people all around the world the same kind of lasting memories that you’ve given me.  You’ve really done something wonderful, Lauren, something that’s touched people from every walk of life, and there’s no way that all of us could say a thank you big enough or sincere enough to express our gratitude.  Still, we had to try, so I opened up my email to the bronies of Ponychan, PonyGAF, and Equestria Daily, people who also owe a lot of great memories to you, to send you their own letters of gratitude for all that you have done.  You can find their letters below, letters with stories of love found, hope restored, and lives changed.  I know there are a lot of them and that you’re a very busy woman, but I hope that you’ll take the time to scroll through, read some of these letters, see what your work has meant to all of us, and take pride in what you’ve accomplished.  You deserve it.

Sincerely,

Tim N.

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Goodbye, Culby 12

“Mandatory floor meeting” is a phrase that doesn’t often bring to mind fond memories of good times and cherished moments, so I wasn’t really expecting much more than a laundry list of checkout procedures from R.A. Jake when I sat down in the lounge for the floor meeting tonight.  After he finished reading off all of the pertinent paperwork information, however, Jake did something that I didn’t expect.  He asked everyone who wasn’t coming back to school the next semester to raise their hands.  Our resident senior, Andrew, raised his, as did our soon-to-be-married man Phil, and I followed suit.  Jake handed us each a gift (I got a stuffed dog, a cap gun, and a Hot Wheels ’73 Falcon – yeah, these guys know me pretty well), then had us stand up on the coffee table, fondly referred to as “the altar” so that some of the other men of the floor could pray over each of us.  My amazing roommate Dan prayed for me, and as I stood there with the others on the altar, surrounded by the loving arms of my brothers and listening to Dan lift me up before the Lord, it began to sink in for me how much I’m going to miss this place, these people, when I leave.  I’ve only been here for a year and the men of Culby 12 already feel like another family to me, and even though I’ll be glad to return to my brothers and sisters and parents and friends at home, it’s still going to hurt to say goodbye to Moody and to Culby 12.  This year has been one of the most difficult, interesting, inspiring, eye-opening, exciting, wonderful years of my life, and I owe so much of that to these guys, my floormates and my friends.  Thanks for opening your lives to this freshman and making my first year at school such an amazing experience, Culby 12.  I’ll miss you, and I hope I can come back soon.

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In Which I Say Thank You a Lot

I was originally going to create a thank-you video on my YouTube channel to celebrate the 9,001st view here on my blog, but after spending about two hours on the project I realized two very important things:

1. I have absolutely no presence on film.  I am much more eloquent with writing than I am with speaking, and I couldn’t really communicate all of the gratefulness and love that I wanted to convey in that video.

2. Windows Live Movie Maker was either programmed by a team of drunk squirrels or a sadist bent on torturing video editors who can’t afford any other programs.  I was 85% finished with the editing and the program slowly began consuming all of my video files and turning them into clips of blackness and silence.

At this point I was just about ready to re-film the whole thing anyway in an attempt to make it more interesting and less unbearably long, so when that happened I decided to call the project off and do what I do best: write.  (On the bright side, I did manage to make a small “OVER 9000” tribute video yesterday.  You can see that here.)  9,000 views is a big milestone, and, to be honest, one I wasn’t expecting to reach in the foreseeable future, so I’ve got a lot of people to thank.  Let’s get started!

First, a huge thank you to my best friend Adam Swensen, the man responsible for my blog’s very existence.  It was he who, several thousand Internet-years ago in the summer of 2009, suggested that I might enjoy blogging.  He has a blog of his own, “The Next Generation”, where he posts inspirational and challenging articles about life and Christianity, I highly recommend giving it a read.  Adam, thank you for getting me interested in this whole blogging business and for being so encouraging and supportive throughout the first two and a half years. Also, thank you for being one of my closest friends in real life, and for never failing to brighten my day.  I love you, sir!

Next in line for a thank you is the inimitable Jay Lauser.  He and I met way back in the day, when my blog was called “Legend of the Dreamseers” and I used it primarily as a platform for promoting my fantasy writing.  Jay is a Christian fantasy writer as well, and when he found my work one day he left several encouraging comments and requested that I stop by and take a look at his blog, “Sir Emeth Mimetes”, sometime.  I did, it was (and still is) amazing, we kept in touch via comments and, later, via his amazing Holy Worlds Forums (if you’re a Christian and love sci-fi or fantasy you should really check those out), and we became good friends.  I haven’t been around Holy Worlds much lately because of the busyness of school, but I still do check Jay’s blog occasionally and I love his passion for God and his penchant for thinking deeply about life.  Thank you for encouraging me to keep going when my blog was still in its infancy, Jay, and for giving me so much useful feedback to help me improve as a writer.

On that note, thank you to everyone in the Holy Worlds community who has befriended me and read my blog over the years.  I know I won’t be able to name you all, but you know who you are.  You’ve been a great help and a big encouragement to me, and I thank you for that.

I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of the bronies who have stopped by over the past two months since I jumped on the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic bandwagon with my first Pony Saturday post, “Confound These Ponies”, in February.  Since then, that has become the single most popular post on my blog, receiving about thirty hits a day from Google searches and a few friendly folks who have been kind enough to spread the link in various forums and such.  While I know that you guys probably don’t keep up with the blog on any regular basis, your visits to my Pony Saturday posts make up over 1/6 of my first nine thousand views nevertheless, so you deserve my sincerest thanks.  You guys are easily the most friendly, welcoming, creative, and all-around wonderful fan community I’ve ever seen, and I consider it a privilege to be counted as one of you.  *Brohoof*.

There’s one person in particular that I need to single out from this group, and that is the incredible Tekaramity.  If you don’t recognize that name, you obviously haven’t been around here lately.  Tek commented on my first Pony Saturday post two months ago, and he’s become a welcome addition to the regular suspects around The Author’s Apprentice since then.  Shortly after his comment, we got in touch via email and grew to be close friends, and I’m truly grateful to have met him.  Tek, thank you for being a wonderful friend, a dependable brother in Christ, and a continual source of encouragement in my life.  Much love to you, brony!  (Also, for those of you who don’t know, Tek has a YouTube channel filled with top-notch Mario Paint Composer remixes of songs from Friendship is Magic that you should really go check out.  Seriously, it’s good stuff.)

Next, and by far the most important, I’m grateful to my incredible, supportive, beautiful, fantastic, loving family.  I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect group of people to which to belong, and I love you all more than I can express.  Dad, thank you for your encouraging and challenging comments, they always drive me to think deeper about the topics that I address.  You’re a true man of God and my role model as I grow up and head out into the world.  Mom, thank you for being such a source of joy in my life.  I love reading your cheerful comments and knowing that you’re keeping up with my writing from home.  To all three of my siblings, thank you for not just being my siblings, but my very best friends as well.  To be so close to all three of you even after you witnessed all of my quirks and faults growing up is, simply put, a far greater blessing than I deserve.  I can’t even begin to list all of the things for which you deserve my thanks, so I’ll just hit the highlights.  Andrew, thank you for reaching out to your little brother and being such a big part of my life.  Some of my greatest memories are the times that we spent together, and you’ve always been one of my biggest encouragements when it comes to writing.  Jonathan, thank you for being the best little brother a guy could have.  Growing up with you has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, and I consider it a privilege to continue being your friend even as we grow older and begin to head in separate directions.  I’ll never stop loving you, never stop missing you, and never stop making sure that you know it.  Christiana, thank you for loving me far and above what I deserve.  I smile for the rest of the day every time I get one of your letters, and whenever I come home I know that you’re going to be the first one to meet me in the driveway with your biggest hug and a dozen great stories about what I missed while I was gone.  I love all of you more than I can express, and if no one else read my blog but you I would keep writing just so that I had another way to keep in touch with you.

Finally, I’d like to thank every single one of you who has read my blog in the past two and a half years.  Whether you’re responsible for a large chunk of those views or just one, thank you for coming and making this blog the most fun experiment I’ve ever tried.  Dozens and dozens of wonderful stories have shaped the writing of this blog, and hundreds more have arisen from the friends I’ve met and the interactions I’ve had, and I owe it all to you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping to make The Author’s Apprentice what it is today, and I look forward to another two and a half years of adventures with you.

And, of course, my greatest and most heartfelt thank you goes to the Author of my story and every other story in His creation.  God, 9000 views means absolutely nothing if you aren’t glorified by my writing.  Thank you for giving me this gift for the written word and for giving me this wonderful opportunity to use it, and thank you for writing my story so beautifully so far.  I can’t wait to see what you have written out for the next two and a half years.

My love goes out to all of you, and may God bless you,

– Timothy Newton

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Monday (Not Constantinople)

As far as first Mondays back at school go, this one was actually pretty great.  Because we just finished with spring tour, Men’s Choir rehearsal was cancelled, and then when I woke up this morning I discovered that my two hour class at noon was also cancelled.  The homework load is light so far, so I can ease into the madness instead of being plunged into it headfirst, but I do need to be careful not to squander any time because I’ve still got a lot to do.  I’ve got two articles to finish up and turn in to the paper for the next edition, which is great because that means $40 in my pocket, and I’m almost done working out the details to go home and visit my family for an extended weekend soon.  Add to that the thrill of seeing all of my friends come back from spring break and being able to hang out with them again and you have a Monday that’s several notches above average.  Perhaps the most fun part of this particular Monday, however, was going back to classes.  While that sounds strange on the surface, it makes more sense if you’ve ever met Dr. Brian Litfin.  He’s the professor who played Switchfoot for the entire class earlier in the semester, and today as we talked about the history of Christianity in the Byzantine empire, he started to explain why Constantinople is now called Istanbul – and wound up blaring “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” by They Might Be Giants over the classroom speakers.  And to think I was expecting the first day back in class to be boring!  Now, back at my familiarly cluttered desk in my familiarly cluttered room with that lightheartedly goofy and chipper song stuck in my head, I finally feel ready to get back to school.  It’s easy to hate on Mondays because they signal the start of a long week, but I say we ought to give Monday an extra dose of love.  A good Monday can set the tone for a great week, so why not aim to make every Monday the best day of the week instead of assuming it’s going to be the worst?  After all, Mondays can be pretty cool if you give them a chance.

Also, here are the hilarious lyrics to “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” in case you were curious:

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Now it’s Turkish delight on a moonlit night

Every gal in Constantinople
Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople
So if you’ve a date in Constantinople
She’ll be waiting in Istanbul

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can’t say
People just liked it better that way

So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can’t go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That’s nobody’s business but the Turks

Istanbul (Istanbul)
Istanbul (Istanbul)

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can’t say
People just liked it better that way

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That’s nobody’s business but the Turks

So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can’t go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That’s nobody’s business but the Turks

Istanbul

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Wall Paper

To the left of my desk there is a thin strip of wall that is rapidly disappearing beneath a growing collection of doodles, posters, paintings, and other such fantastic doodads.  Its official name is The Great Wall of Paper (and One Watercolor Painting and a Piece of Cardboard), but most of the time I just call it “the wall”. I love the wall, because each article I’ve placed there reminds me of a different aspect of my college experience, and they all have a story behind them.  Together, they make a colorful snapshot of what my freshman year at Moody has been like so far, from the  new things I’ve tried to the new friends I’ve made to the family members I love and miss.  I’ve already mentioned the crazy drawing from my PCM in my “Not Just Any Desk” post, but I thought the rest of the wall deserved equal treatment, so here are all of the items on the Great Wall of Paper from top to bottom:

1. A Watercolor Painting of Mario

 

Super Watercolor Bros.

My friend Adam goes to Art Club every Wednesday, and one week he decided to experiment with watercolors by painting a scene from Super Mario Bros.  When he finished it, he let me have it, so now it’s hanging cheerfully at the top of the wall, giving my room just the right amount of nerdy flair.

2. My 2009 NaNoWriMo Winner’s Certificate

Last year's NaNo winner's certificate.

Right beneath Mario is this orange and squirrelly reminder of my very first NaNoWriMo.  This year’s certificate is framed, so it wouldn’t stay on the wall with tacky putty, but last year’s certificate is there to remind me of how much fun writing is, and how much I can write when I put my mind to it.

3. My “The Best” Sign From “Stop Motion Skyline”

You guys are the best.

One Monday night I had the crazy idea to film a stop motion video, so I sat down with my webcam and started snapping pictures.  Pretty soon, the idea developed into a short little tribute to everyone watching, letting them know that they are, indeed, the best.  That fact still holds true, and that sign still reminds me of all the fun I had trying out a new style of video.

4. My Filming Notice

A sign I made for my door while I'm filming.

Back when I first decided to try vlogging, I made this sign for my door to let people know that they could still come in if they needed anything.  I didn’t want them to think I was in the middle of an important conversation, or worse, that I was talking to myself.  Although in retrospect I essentially was talking to myself and just didn’t want to admit my insanity.  Oh, well.

5. When Beavers Fly

A drawing that my mom did for The Funny Paper Game.

Ah, The Funny Paper Game.  Ever since we learned how to play this Pictionary/Telephone hybrid from our friends, the Swensens, it’s been a family favorite.  I kept this picture, my mom’s interpretation of the sentence “When beavers fly, birds will not”, to remind me of home – and my goofy family whom I miss very much.

6. Derpy Hooves

 

(Might take a little longer to load)

I decided to try my hand at drawing when I first started watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and I learned that it isn’t too hard to do.  So, I drew a few pictures to send home to my siblings, then I drew one of my favorite background characters from the show for myself.  I think it adds some much-needed cross-eyedness to the room.

7. That Drawing of Me

‘Nuff said.

8. My “Edit Me” Motivational Poster

Do it now!

I edited the cover art from this year’s NaNo novel to remind me to get some much-needed editing done.  So far I haven’t had a lot of time to work on it, but at least I made the poster.  That’s a step in the right direction, right?

So that’s the Great Wall of Paper, a collection of pictures from all the different parts of my college life.  What kind of drawings, doodles and doodads to you keep around your room, and what are the stories behind them?

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