Monday, December 31, 2007

Yuletide Logging

Mom and dad live in the woods, so they had a lot of splitting and stacking for us to do over Christmas Break.

Papaw is a lumberjack at heart, so he thorougly enjoyed helping with the splitter. I hope I can trompse around in the woods when I'm 83!

You may think that Aaron's long lost brother is in these pictures, but that's actually our cousin Hunter! Can't you tell they're related? Hunter is at Purdue getting a degree in Civil Engineering. Way to go Hunter! You are awesome!

Charlie Brown Tree


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ode to 2007

This year was the first time since we got married that I didn't send out Christmas Letters - so I thought I would give you a quick recap of our 2007.

January: The final month of interviewing for residency. Ryan and I drove all over the midwest checking out hospitals and learning about different programs where Ryan could go. You can read what I had to say about that HERE and HERE

February: It snowed INSIDE of our apartment in Chicago. We had a Super Bowl party with our friends from 2by2 and Ryan imitated Prince, the artist formerly known as Prince.

March: Match Day was on the 15th when we opened the envelope that said "DeVos Childrens Hospital" so we finally knew where we were going to live! We also went Skiing with Ryan's family at Gore Mountain in NY.

April: We went to the Bulls/Pistons game with Bryan and Michelle, celebrated Easter with my family, and found our new apartment in GR.

May: We went to Florida for the Beeson Family Vacation and Ryan and I celebrated his completion of med school with a trip to the Smokey Mountains!

June: Ryan officially became a doctor in June, we picked cherries with our BFF's and I learned a valuable lesson about putting palmolive in the dishwasher.

July: We celebrated THREE YEARS of marriage and moved to Grand Rapids with the help of our friends Bryan and Michelle.

August: We met Bryan and Michelle in New Buffalo, my friends Brooke & Ruby came to visit and all of Ryan's friends from Hope had a grill out reunion.

September: I biffed a squirrel, went to Innovate, celebrated my Dad's birthday and had a quick dinner with Lloyd Carr at the Common Grill

October: We stopped by Niagara Falls on our way home from New York, I started my new job at Designvox, has a little situation with shampoo and conditioner andn read Cold Tangerines.

November: We visited my parents, learned about FreeRice.com and went on the Thanksmas Hunt.

December: Ryan was as busy as a resident is legally allowed to be. I posted about positivity and the next day my car got broken into. Perfect.
2007 was an incredible year for Ryan and I. We've had lots of fun, have learned a lot, have been making our mark on a new community in a new city and have been so blessed by family and friends. We can't wait to see what God has in store for us in the year ahead.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2008 to you!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Heima

Last night Ryan and I went with some of my friends from vox to a free screening of the Sigur Ros movie "Heima" which means "Home" in Icelandic. They did a series of unannounced concerts in Iceland after they returned from their world tour. It was an awesome film with incredible music (obviously)

Rob Bell was sitting behind us - and Flannel, the company that makes the Nooma videos was sponsoring the event - so I'd be willing to bet that some future Noomas will have some cinematic similarities to Heima.

Check out the trailer

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Handbell Hero

and you thought guitar hero was cool...

Click here to play

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

"Life is not a snapshot. You take a picture with a camera, and it freezes that moment forever, its part of the reason we like pictures. Its frozen in that moment forever, Its captured, preserved. But life's not like that. And when you are in a moment, and you're looking at yourself thinking, "I am a failure, I can't even serve God right, I can't even be faithful to Christ. I am a failure." You have to remember, life is not a snapshot. Life is a video. And I know it feels like this is a moment, frozen in time, but its not, The camera is still rolling. Tomorrow is different, the next day is different, five years is different. But not if you stay here. You can't stay here in this misery. So come to Jesus, ask for His forgiveness. And get on with your life. God has a plan for your life, and you are too young to quit now. You'll stumble from time to time, but don't think that your life is frozen in time. Its video baby. So go out there and Make a great Movie."
- Mark Beeson

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"community is not a luxury but a necessity for life"

This is going to be a long post - but all of these thoughts have been swirling in my head for a couple of months and they NEED to come out.


I've been reading Randy Frazee's book "The Connecting Church" and have found it very intriguing. Maybe because Ryan and I have been trying to get connected to a large church in GR for 4 months now - and still feel like we don't really know anyone. We love the pastor and have really grown and been challenged by his messages each weekend. We just don't feel that sense of belonging yet, and it seems like no one knows our names.

I think one of our main problems has been that we haven't seen the same people two weekends in a row. Its a BIG church - and they offer 3 video venues simultaneously, which make it feel smaller, but makes it hard to find a consistent crowd in any venue. We met a friend from Hope one of our first Sunday's visiting - and then never saw her again until 12 weeks later when I ran into her at a women's ministry event I went to trying to make friends. We exchanged numbers and she invited us to a small group that we're planning to try out this next Sunday. - So that is one connection that will hopefully lead to the authentic community that we are starving for.

Another potentail connection is serving. I emailed the usher/greeter guy to see if maybe Ryan and I could plug in that way, but the email back let me know, "the Sunday morning greeting ministry is currently full..."
I am signed up to help in Discovery Village next Saturday night as a one-time 4th grade girls small group leader (which is blogworthy as it's own post). There is only one service on Saturday - which means if you serve on Saturday then you have to come back to attend a service on Sunday. We live about 30 minutes away, so that makes it a little bit challenging...and Ryan can't serve there with me, which is bothersome because of his call schedule at the hospital keeping us apart enough as it is. Those are excuses. I'm not saying I'm not willing to make it work - but it would be awesome to be able to serve together as a couple in the service we are attending - ie: ushers or greeters

So how's that for a servant's attitude. I am a bad person.

Back to the book. One of the big problems Randy talks about is that people have too many worlds to manage.

"There are too many sets of relationships that do not connect with each other but all require time to maintain"
When I read the truth in that statement I nearly fell out of my chair! Ryan and I are currently maintaining the following:

My family out of town, Ryan's family out of town, two sets of extended families beyond our immediate families, two places of work, church and our potential small group, neighbors, two sets of friends from high school, two sets of friends from college, friends from our church where we used to live in Chicago, neighbors/best friends from Chicago, friends from med school, wives of friends from med school, friends from Granger, friends from Marshall, and to top it all off - friends from the blogosphere!

You may be thinking "brag brag brag, so many friends she doesn't know what to do" and I challenge you to do the same exercise with yourself. How many worlds are you managing right now?

It only makes sense to simplify our lives in such a way that we concentrate more energy into a circle of relationships that produces a genuine sense of belonging. The book suggests that we look to the church to help us in our search to belong.

So that's what we're trying to do. I haven't read far enough to find a solution to our problem, perhaps I haven't lived in Grand Rapids long enough or attended this church long enough. How long will it take for us to feel like we belong?

Woah.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Heartbreaking

A lone gunman entered a Youth With A Mission training center in the Denver, Colorado suburb of Arvada early Sunday morning, opening fire and hitting four members of the staff. All were taken to local hospitals and two later died of their injuries.

You can read the official YWAM press release HERE

It's so crazy to me - having lived on a YWAM base myself for quite a few months, and knowing how tight the teams get, I can only imagine the trauma this has caused the other YWAMers.

Heartbreaking

GRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr......

We lived in Chicago for three years and never had a mishap. Only 4 months in Grand Rapids and already a problem. This morning I went out to my car to go to work and discovered that my passenger side window had been kicked in, my glove box was open, the ash tray had been ripped out and no longer contained any change, and glass was strewn about.
They obvioulsy didn't want my mittens...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

My Friend Sandy

I love my friend Sandy and yesterday I got to spend the day with her. She is one of the most incredible women I have ever known. We lived together at Hope - she was a transfer (which she described by putting the palm of one hand on top of the fingers on her other hand in the shape of a "T") and I had just returned from a semester abroad in Australia and came home to discover that my housing plans had fallen through which left me with no place to live! What I thought was a devastating problem turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened to me...becuase I got to live with Sandy. From the moment we met, we clicked. Sandy is dear to my heart, one of the closest and best friends that I have.

She pushes me closer to Jesus.
Do you have friends who push you closer to Jesus?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Curry Christmas Card

This morning GCC did the annual Food Drop and I hear it was INCREDIBLY AWESOME! More on the food drop later...

My friends Brooke and DC Curry were there - and this picture my dad took of them should be their christmas card.

What do you think?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Roller Buggy

I don't think this looks safe...

Get yours HERE

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Choosing Positivity

I've been reading this awesome blog by Tina Su, this 27 year old gal in Seattle who's title is Chief Happiness Officer (CHO) and I really love so much of what she has to say. Today she wrote a post that really got me thinking about Positive Mental Attitude. You can read it HERE

I remember a few times in my life that I have learned specific lessons in Positive Mental Attitude (PMA). When I was in 5th grade, one of my spelling words for Mrs. Kirkpatricks class was the word "attitude". My dad had these pants - does anyone remember zubas? - that had tons of colorful cartoon fish with huge teeth all over them, and up both side seams on each leg they said "attitude attitude attitude attitude" up to the elastic waistband. So, of course, it helped me to envision those pants during my spelling test.

I remember dad talking to me about how "attitude is everything" and that I could decide each day, and throughout each day how I was going to react to things. I could decide for myself if I was going to be a negative or a positive person! I remember thinking that was really cool (actually, at that point I probably thought it was radical dude) that it was all up to me! I decided then and there, while studying for my spelling test, that I was going to be a positive person.

Speaking of positivity, my friend Robbie got in a crash this morning - but look at his smiling face. What a great reaction to a difficult situation.
Another time I remember learning a direct lesson in positivity was when I was in high school. I was in Chamber Choir, this group that would sing songs and dance around in sparkly dresses and high heels (the guys didn't wear sparkly dresses, they wore tuxedos). We would perform at nursing homes and elementary schools. Anyway, our director used to say that if we raised our eyebrows really high and turned up the corners of our mouths when we sang, we would look happy, and ultimately would trick ourselves into actually being happy about what we were doing. I think for me it worked.

It makes me kinda chuckle right now just thinking about it.

Would you consider yourself more positive or negative?
What lessons have you learned about positivity?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

How to Draw a Monkey

According to my google homepage it is important that you know how to draw THIS little guy.

World Changer

So, you may or may not know that I love Bono. I know it's kinda cliche to say that - who doesn't love him...but seriously, I love him. I love world changers. Bono is a world changer. He has a heart for the most destitute poorest of the poor but can lead the most powerful richest of the rich to do something about it. I think it's a gift. I think he's trying everything he can think of to change the world...and THAT is highly inspiring.

Check out this article from the Washington Post

"It's the closing lines that struck me as a student and fan of America," the Irishman says of the Declaration of Independence and the founders, "which is we 'pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.' These people could have actually paid with their lives. It was an act of treason to sign it. Am I ready, a man who has stepped off a private jet a couple of days ago, to pledge my fortune? It doesn't look like it. My life? I hope not. But my sacred honor? I like to think I am."

"Why are people listening?" Bono says. "Because I actually believe in America and they know it and I'm not sure if they do sometimes. It is a little odd and eerie to have an Irish rock star recite the Declaration of Independence like it's a great poem, but it is a great poem. And that poetry is what's missing from political dialogue right now. And this country is parched, parched from the lack of such political lyrics, and I'm going in saying, 'This is who you are.' "

Read the article HERE

HT: Thunderstruck

Monday, November 26, 2007

Awesomest Gift of the Day

I'm pretty certain this Bearded Cap will be the perfect gift for my brother for Christmas
Get yours HERE

Thanks Dustin

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksmas Hunt

This year's annual Beeson Family pheasant hunt was awesome! Have you ever seen so much camo and orange gear? We were prepared for frigid cold sideways sleet and nasty snow - but instead we had sunshine and some snow on the ground. After a couple of hours, everyone was taking off their coats and removing layers of clothing to cool off.



Its hilarious fun to walk through the fields with the fam, laughing and talking and watching buddy the dog look for pheasants.

Angela, mom and I were the photographers this year, so the guys could carry the guns. They have lots of fun together - as you can see. Ryan kicked up one bird that flew straight up over his head.
I am so thankful for my family. We love each other well and take full advantage of the time we get to spend together.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Too good to post just once.


Kyle & Sarah

It was such fun having Ryan's brother Kyle and his bride Sarah here for the weekend. We share something very special - we all went to HOPE COLLEGE and had a blast walking around campus Friday night. Personally, I think it's pretty cool that our college stories intersect, involve people we all know from a place we all hold dear to our hearts.

Yes, this is a blatant commercial for Hope College. Maybe the tagline should be "A Great Place to Find a Spouse"

Monday, November 19, 2007

On Voting

I love that I can vote - so when I ran into this article today, it really surprised me about my generation. Come on guys! I don't think we're representing well!

A new study found that many NYU students would give up their right to vote for the right price. More than 60 percent said they would forfeit their voting rights for a full scholarship, and 20 percent said they'd trade their vote for an iPod touch.

You can read the whole article HERE

Would you give up your vote for anything? If so, what would it take?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

From the heart and desk of Mark Beeson

Dear Church:

Our parenting series got me thinking and a recent barrage of irresponsible statements from people with great influence got me writing. You are welcome to contemplate this problematic cultural conundrum. Read on.

“I’m just a musician. I never wanted to be a role model. That responsibility lies with parents.”

“I’m just an athlete. I never asked to be a role model. That responsibility lies with parents.”

“I’m just a teacher at the school. I never claimed to be a role model. That responsibility lies with parents.”

Is anyone else tired of hearing that lame excuse for negligent behavior? So am I. I’m fed up.

I’m sick of it.

We spout this garbage presuming to guard our value of individual freedom. But this isn’t freedom, its license – comprehensive authorization to do anything we want, anywhere we like, with anyone we choose. Such lunacy absolves people of influence from the responsibility essential to it.

This release, so easy to say, excuses leaders of culpability. This simple statement, offered and accepted as transcendent truth, exempts the shapers of our society from their indispensable contribution to it.

Allowing this tripe to continue unchallenged is akin to accommodating cultural suicide.

Gain without cost, benefits expanded without exertion, profit with no skin in the game, all these precipitate tragedy and loss. Our underlying desire for sex without marriage, money without work, loyal friends (when we have not cultivated closeness, nor have we demonstrated our own fidelity) manifests itself in bad behavior. We ache with selfish ambition while despising the levels of accountability inherent to success.

We want young people to buy our music and tickets to our performances. We want them to swallow our opinions, beliefs and political orientations. We demand they accept our values and morals. Our imagined contract reads, “You give me adulation. Celebrate me and I will enjoy the license of unrestrained self-indulgence as part of the deal.” Do we think we owe nothing after we have gained so much?

Well, here is the truth.
If people are looking at us with admiration,
if others follow our lives with interest,
if people emulate our words or admire our ways,
if we influence anyone - then, whether we like it or not, we are responsible. We are accountable and we are liable. No more excuses. We don’t have an out.

Parents are responsible too; our Creator makes that clear. But as children navigate the waters of adolescence, the people who shape their emerging values, beliefs and opinions better step up and serve them well by living well. The success of every next generation depends on the responsible influence of their leaders and opinion-shapers.

So let’s stop whining about all the pressure we feel. Step up, my friend. Accept responsibility. Lead courageously and expect God to reward you. The next generation is watching and learning and they deserve more from us than excuses.

Mark Beeson

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

FREE RICE

THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!

I kid you not, when I saw the site FREERICE.COM I absolutely could not contain the excitement in my heart for the difference this is making in the world.

You just play this vocabulary game and for each word you get right, they donate 10 grains of rice through the United Nations to feed hungry people. TRY IT FOR YOURSELF!

Free Rice began last month and 1,519,627,180 grains of rice have been donated already. Click here to see the TOTALS

FreeRice has two goals:

  1. Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free.
  2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

This is made possible by the sponsors who advertise on this site.

"Improving your vocabulary can improve your life. It is a great investment in yourself. Perhaps even greater is the investment your donated rice makes in hungry human beings, enabling them to function and be productive. Somewhere in the world, a person is eating rice that you helped provide. Thank you."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Interview Dinners

You may recall this time last year when Ryan and I began our journey on the interview trail for residency...I blogged about it here. We roamed from town to town learning about a bunch of different programs, having dinner with lots of groups of residents, and deciding if Ryan would "fit in" at each of the places. After months of interviewing and decision making, on Match Day (click here to read my post from then), Ryan opened the envelope that told us we would me moving to Grand Rapids, MI where Ry would complete his residency at DeVos Children's Hospital. Remember Match Day? I feel like it was yesterday! All of that is to say, I love being on the other end of the interview trail. Each week Ryan and I have been taking the interviewees to dinner the night before they interview. I think it's awesome - like date night, but with a bunch of other people. We answer their questions, tell them about the town and the program, and basically just enjoy a wonderful meal at some really nice restaurants downtown.
Tonight is one of those nights! I heard a rumor that some of the interviewees are bringing thier spouses along...which means I might actually be helpful!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Foggy Saturday Morning

We went down to my parents house on Friday night to help out with a video for the parenting series at Granger next weekend. My brother Aaron flew up from Florida and my sister Angela came over too! It was so fun to see them - even for just a couple of hours.


Mom and Dad have three cats at their house. Socks, Maggie, and Terrence. They all live outside where they roam around hunting and climbing trees all day

Terrence the cat follows Ryan everywhere he goes. It's hilarious! If Ryan walks slowly, Terrence does too. If Ryan runs, Terrence runs too. Even if Ryan steps up on a rock or a log, Terrence follows right behind.