Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Lunch with THE BUS

Thats right folks, Ryan will be joining Pittsburgh's Jerome Bettis for lunch tomorrow afternoon. The Bus, who began his career at Notre Dame, will be speaking on the topic of asthma to some physicians, and Ryan got invited!
I told Ry to take my digi-cam so I can post a picture of him by The Bus on my blog, but Ryan would rather not interact with celebrities...

I will probably be sneaking in with my fake, dark glasses and mustache to snap a picture.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Quote of the Day

Ryan's quote of the day: referring to me, his wife...

"You have the chubbiest cheeks of any non-obese person I have ever seen in my life."

I'm simply not sure how to take that...

A Purple Cow Thought

I've been reading Seth Godin's "Purple Cow" and have really liked some of the interesting thoughts I have come across. The following is one that I particularly enjoyed.

We run our schools like factories. We line kids up in straight rows, put them in batches (called grades), and work very hard to make sure there are no defective parts. Nobody standing out, falling behind, running ahead, making a ruckus.

Playing it safe. Following the rules. Those seem like the best ways to avoid failure. And in school, they may very well be. Alas, these rules set a pattern for most people (like your boss?), and that pattern is awfully dangerous. These are the rules that ultimately lead to failure.

In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.

So true! No wonder so many of the kids who didn't do well in school have become the most brilliant inventors and most successful people in history!


My new favorite by far! After hearing a few weeks of buzz from Corey Mann and my sister Angela, I bought the CD, put it in my player and haven't listened to anything since! I've been listening to their album and absolutely love their sound! Leeland is 18, writes all of his own stuff, and is the first Christian Band I have heard in a looooong time that doesn't sound like a christian band! I love it! Buy this CD!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Great Days

Great Days. Ryan and I went back to Mars Hill for church yesterday morning. They had a drumline leading worship - which was unlike anything I had ever seen (or heard) before. The sound was huge, and the beats were huge, and Ryan discovered that his favorite kind of worship is drumline worship.

Last night one of Ryan's attending physicians had us over for dinner at her house with her family. We had a blast listening to stories of her adventures through residency and becoming a pediatric pulmonologist ... and we had some great steak too!

This afternoon I met up with my great friend Jessica Oosting for coffee in Holland. Jess recently founded her own company. Valeo / Personal Training I am so proud of her. She has people knocking down her door to get on her client list. I am one of those people and you can be too! :o) Check out her bio HERE.

Tonight we are off to San Chez for some glorious tapas with Joel and Faye. It's hard top believe that in only one week we will be leaving Grand Rapids and moving back to the Windy City.

Mr. DeVos

You know what I love about Richard DeVos? It's not the fact that his net worth of $3.5 billion ranks him in at #73 on the Forbes richest 400 list , it's not the fact that he founded Amway, owns the Orlando Magic, or even the fact that he has a helicopter landing strip in his yard. Nope, the thing I love most about Mr. DeVos is that his bio includes the fact that he tithes 10% of everything he makes to his local church.
I would guess that he started tithing before he was a billionaire. Its a lot easier to get in the habit of tithing when you're making dirt. I think people are so funny who say, "Ill start tithing as soon as I win the lottery."
Click HERE to read more about exemplary tither, Richard DeVos.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Crane's Apple Orchard

Michelle and Bryan came to visit us in Grand Rapids on Saturday! The weather was beautiful ... finally ... and we had an awesome morning at the Apple Orchard.

The funniest thing was that when we got there, cars were lined up waiting to get in! Was it the weather? Nope. Was it because it was a Saturday? Nope. We discovered that the rush was because of the Honey Crisp apples! People were literally RUNNING to the Honey Crisp aisles - and one of the Crane's staffers said they would probably be picked dry by noon! So we joined the stampede and picked a bushel of Honey Crisps for ourselves.

We love our friends Michelle and Bryan.

Flashback Tuesday

This is a little ditty that might make you laugh. Back in the day, when I was in C.I.A (Christian's In Action, the jr. high youth group at Granger) we did a little routine to DCTalk's Jesus Freak song. You'll probably recognize a bunch of these people... Rob, J, Kate, Jason, Stacey, myself and other dancing and singing jr. highers! I'm sure that you will be amazed by my dancing talent ... and my bangs, of course.
click here to watch the video.

I'm TRYING to Cook and Bake

Cathy is known for her bread. She has been taking care of her "starter" for 15 years now, feeding it every 5 days and making sure that someone can care for it while she is on vacation. Well, she taught me how to make her bread, and it turned out really nice. Im not sure I would be willing to take a starter for myself - for fear that I would kill it within a week -

We also made some company potatos (which are to be eaten when company comes.) They are gloriously delicious!

I think if I had an apron at home I would be a better cook.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I got tricked into shopping!

A-Z Retail Tricks to Make You Shop...

Here's an excellent and fascinating list of the psychological tricks employed in shop architecture to make us spend more money:

Hopscotch – One American supermarket chain hit upon the idea of drawing a hopscotch in the aisle next to the children’s cereal in order to make the children play and thus pin Mom & Dad to a point where the children could hassle them for treats....

Order Of Price- Shops will often be laid out in order of price with the most expensive items being encountered at the beginning of your visit and the cheapest at the end. This is done to play on our sense of comparison, we are much more likely to spend money on accessories etc if we have just agreed to buy an expensive item, as in comparison they will seem cheaper than had we encountered them first...

Tiles – Supermarkets used to have a trick placing slightly smaller tiles on the floor in the more expensive aisles of the shop. When a customer entered on of these aisles their trolley would click faster making them think they were travelling faster and thereby subconsciously slow down and spend more time in that aisle.

Click here for a bunch more psychological tricks to watch out for next time you're at the grocery.

Pep Talk

The Nametag Guy's DAILY Pep Talk to himself...

I am an approachable professional. I can both approach – and be approached by – important people.

I choose to maintain an approachable attitude. I believe that every encounter is one in which I can learn, help others and expand my references, networks and experiences.

I feel relaxed. When I engage with customers, coworkers and friends, they are put at ease and feel comfortable when working with me.

I am confident. When I walk into a room, my smile, body language and appearance project happiness, enthusiasm and joy. I’m sure that wherever I go, I will meet new, cool people; I will learn new, cool stuff; and others will be glad they encountered me.

I am a great conversationalist. I ask intriguing, creative, thought provoking questions that give people permission to open up. I am skilled at starting, sustaining, transitioning, and exciting conversations with individuals and groups.

I am an even greater listener. I listen twice as much as I talk and make myself personally and physically available to others. I am curious, not judgmental; and people know they can come to me with their ideas, problems or anything else.

I choose to be easily accessible. People can get a hold of me without frustration.

I am attractive. Customers and coworkers are magnetized to me because of my superior attitude, ability to make them smile and willingness to assure that they feel comfortable.

Shyness is not a problem for me. No matter what my friends, parents, teachers or the media say, I can easily engage with others over the phone, via email or in person without apprehension.

I have learned to recognize that fear is outweighed by benefit. Although stepping out of my comfort zone might be tough at first, it’s always worth it in the end. And even if I look like an idiot; I know that it’s no big deal, and that I’m better because of it.

I win small victories first. In order to develop greater communication confidence, I achieve success in smaller situations first. Then, when I’m faced with something bigger and harder, it is this confidence I draw upon to face these new challenges with enthusiasm and readiness.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Catalyst Coverage

The Catalyst Blog posted some great stuff about Granger's upcoming Innovative Church Conference! Read it HERE

"I call myself a pastor-prenuer," he said

A pastor in Pittsburgh is gaining attention for his fresh approach to church. Damian Williams, a self-described "pastor-preneur," transforms his downtown nightclub into a laid-back church service between Saturday night and Sunday morning. He told a local newspaper, "We want to create a new form to break down barriers that have kept people from connecting with God."
Clikc HERE to

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ryan's TOP 14

Here it is, in no particular order, the list of the top 14 places Ryan is considering for his Pediatric Residency Program. As the list shortens, I will keep you updated. Until then, welcome to Ryan's world of residency applications, interviews, and away rotations...


  • 1.) Loyola University Medical Center - Maywood, IL
  • 2.) Rush University Medical Center - Chicago, IL
  • 3.) University of Chicago - Chicago, IL
  • 4.) McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University - Chicago, IL


  • 5.) University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, MI
  • 6.) Michigan State University - Lansing, MI
  • 7.) Grand Rapids Medical Education & Research Center, Michigan State University - Grand Rapids, MI
  • 8.) Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies, Michigan State University - Kalamazoo, MI


  • 9.) Indiana University School of Medicine - Indianapolis, IN


  • 10.) Cleveland Clinic Foundation - Cleveland, OH
  • 11.) Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati - Cincinnati, OH
  • 12.) Rainbow Babies & Childrens Hospital, Case Western Reserve - Cleveland, OH


  • 13.) Medical College of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, WI
  • 14.) University of Wisconsin - Madison, WI

links will be added later for those of you who want to help Ryan decide :o)

My Friend Bill

This is communications guru Bill Robinson. We did a worshop together at the MinistryCOM conference about "Attracting (and Keeping!) High Caliber Volunteers."

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Gathering

Last night Ryan and I returned to the place of our love, the place where we met, the place where we are lunches together, one of our favorite places on earth, HOPE COLLEGE!

This was our first time back to the Gathering on Sunday nights since graduation. We walked into the chapel and smiled at the familiar sights and smells of the Gathering. Students were packing into the pews and friendly greetings, laughter, and conversation filled the air. We slid into the pew on the left where Ryan and his friends normally sat. I love to people watch, and I spotted a few familiar faces, eventhough it's been 4 years since I was there. We saw Noel's sister Heidi, we saw Michelle's sister Laura, we even spotted President Bultman and one of our favorite Chaplains Paul Boersma. Then we saw one of our great friends E-Beth Wilson! She hadn't been back to Hope for 3 years and happened to be there on the same night as us! She has been working with neglected and abused teenagers at the Dale House out in Colorado since Graduation, so we shared stories and caught up on life.

We loved being back at Hope. Eventhough the weather was cold and rainy, the Gathering warmed our hearts.

If you are reading this and are wondering where you should go to college, just give yourself a break and go to Hope! Seriously!

Mars Hill

Yesterday morning Ryan and I went to Mars Hill with our friends Joel & Faye from Hope. We were amazed to find such a huge gathering of beautiful young people gathering for worship and teaching in an empty mall. Yes, I said "beautiful" - I forgot about the good breeding of western michigan, and yes, I said "young" - mostly everyone I saw was under 40. I guess I could mention "tall" as well ... and "blonde" ... Okay, Dutch sums it up pretty well.

The stage was in the center of the room and the lighting was no more than typical lighting you would expect to find in a mall. Worship began with a reading that brought the reason we worship into focus and then Rob Bell, who truly is one of the most incredible teachers I have ever heard, taught about Exodus. This was not your typical sermon on Exodus, he challenged us to realize that we all have something we need rescued from, be it addiction, selfishness, etc. What is your Exodus? What Exodus needs to happen in your life?

He wrote the word "Exodus" with a Sharpie on a piece of cardboard and hung it beside him during the sermon. Nothing flashy, nothing complicated, just one word - Exodus

I liked it. I think we will go back next week :o)

Making Ripples

Its about living a life, that touches a life, that touches a life ...

When Mike Breaux wrote this book, he must have been sitting down over coffee with some friends, because as I read it felt that he was having that conversation across the table from me. I read this great, little book on my plane ride home from Phoenix, and I highly recommend it. You will relate to Mike's stories, because he tells them to you as if he is your favorite uncle. You will be inspired to live a life that ripples purposefully. Every life leaves ripples, but you can be strategic about leaving ripples that count for something.

What are you doing to make every moment count?

Saturday, September 9, 2006

MinistryCOM re-cap

What a week! Spending time with the best and the brightest in Ministry Communications really pumps me up. I got to learn from communication guru's such as Kem Meyer from Granger, Dawn Nicole Baldwin from AspireOne, and Brad Abare from Church Marketing Sucks. To top it all off, I got to hang out with Tony Morgan, Jami Ruth and Lisa DeSelm from Granger.

  • Flight from GR cancelled due to fog - which put a damper on the rest of my travel schedule...
  • Discovered that they really will confiscate lipgloss at the security checkpoints. I am about 99% certain that the ATA lady is wearing my products as we speak!
  • Christ's Church of the Valley has the most incredible bathrooms I've ever seen.
  • Dawn showed some hilarious definitions of marketing verbage such as "Blahger", "DBT" (Death By Tweaking), and "Blanding" Favorite Quote, "Identify your biggest fans & give them something to talk about."
  • Mark Batterson kinda reminds me of my dad 20 years ago...I think its the shape of his head or something. Favorite quote, "There are ways of doing church that no one has thought of yet."
  • Kem Meyer is scary smart - Favorite Quote, "Share your knowledge to make others look good." - which Kem is really good at!
  • Jami Ruth was brilliant in her Q&A session. Favorite Quote, "People are coming to Jesus because we have done everything we can to take the hurdles away."
  • If you eat at the Ocean Club, you will pay $7.50 for water...just so you know
  • Got to do a workshop with Bill Robinson - brilliant communications director / leader of volunteer design & marketing communication teams at Granger.
  • Favorite Quote from Brad Abare, "America spends more $ on garbage bags than 90 other countries spend on EVERYTHING!"

All in all it was an incredible couple of days in Phoenix. I believe that those in attendance were helped in big ways and will be equipped to take new thoughts back to their churches. MinistryCOM was a success. To see the winners of the Communication Awards, click HERE

Birthday Shenanigans

I had such a great birthday this year! Ryan got me a new tiny digi cam - which will be perfect for capturing blogworthy shots on a regular basis. He is so incredible, wonderful, brilliant, amazing, great!
I loved spending the weekend with my family...
and Ryan had a few minutes to get some studying done on the porch. As you can see, the kitties love him.

To top it all off we moved to Grand Rapids and met our new family for the month! The McKenzies are too kind and have welcomed us two crazy strangers into their home.

Erin, who is basically everything I wish I could have been in 7th grade, surprised me with a delicious brownie/fruity/yummy dessert that she made by herself. I am hoping that Erin will give me some cooking lessons while I am here.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Labor Day Hike

What a great weekend! Aaron was home, Ang & Johnny came over, and Ryan and I had a minute to spend in Granger before heading up to Grand Rapids!

The weekend services at GCC were GREAT! Dad gave parenting tips on dating and there were some hilarious video clips. I especially loved the Jedi Dating video. Click here to watch the service.

Friday, September 1, 2006

Chew Chew Cafe

Tonight we celebrated our 2912 family with a lovely dinner at the Chew Chew Cafe.

Here we are in front of our house ...

And here are the ladies, packed into the backseat of the car on the way there.

We had a great dinner with our friends!

Bryan and Michelle have new jobs and a new car to boot!

Ryan and I are thinking their extra set of wheels will allow for extra visits to Grand Rapids while we are there for the month :o) We love them.

How did they do that?!?!?

I am literally astounded by this Quick Change Magic! I can't even believe it, can't even close to figure it out. AMAZING!

forgotten childhood favorites

Today I remembered something. When the memory popped into my head, I couldn't believe that I had gone so many years having not thought about it once.

Tim was using a light table when I came into work this morning ... and I remembered how much I LOVED to trace! I would ask my parents to buy me pads of tracing paper, so thin and delicate, and I would trace anything and everything I could get my hands on. I remember using an overhead projector once, and making a HUGE tracing of something ... I can't remember what, maybe a lion. I remember trying my best to trace through normal paper - which was very difficult - but the finished product could be disguised as an original drawing, which made it all worth it... tee-hee-hee

I am going to trace something today. Maybe Tim will let me use the light table!

I got this pic from Seth Godin's blog. Awesome