Saturday, April 28, 2007

We're pretty sure that when we get a dog, this is the kind we want.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Green Mill

Last night we went with Michelle and Bryan and a bunch of our friends from our 2by2 Bible Study to The Green Mill to listen to our friend Marc play his trumpet. Marc is quite a musician. He is married to Allison, who was in Ryan's class and just finished Med School too. Allison is going to be an Opthalmologist and Marc plays every Thursday night with Alan Gresik's Swing Shift Orchestra - which is really really good! WATCH THEM HERE

The Green Mill has been open since 1907. As the twenties roared, The Green Mill became mobster territory when Al Capone's henchman, "Machinegun" Jack McGurn, gained a 25% ownership of the club. Manager Danny Cohen had given McGurn the 25% stake to "persuade" comedian/singer Joe E. Lewis from moving his act south to the New Rendezvous Café at Clark and Diversey. McGurn managed to convince Lewis by slitting his throat and cutting off his tongue. Miraculously, Lewis recovered, but his songs never regained their lush sound. The incident was later immortalized in the movie The Joker is Wild, with Frank Sinatra as Joe E. Lewis and a Hollywood soundstage as The Green Mill. Of course, his interest piqued, Sinatra had to visit the club.

Read more History HERE

It's pretty crazy to think that Al Capone may have been sitting in the same booth and dancing on the same old floor that we were on last night.

We did some dancing, and when this old guy Pete asked me to dance, I happily accepted. Ryan thought that was pretty hilarious.

Sweet Home Chicago


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Can YOU do anything interesting with an old shopping cart?

THIS GUY sure can!


Good News : Global pirate attacks are on the decline! A new report shows that there were only 41 vessels attacked by pirates in the first three months of 2007; that's down significantly from the same period last year and even more sharply from the early 1700s


Judy Gregory I Love You

When I was in 6th grade I went on my first mission trip to Inner City Chicago! One of the leaders on my trip was Judy Gregory, a woman on a mission, a woman with a plan, a woman who wasn't afraid to take action when she heard something rustling around in the kitchen in the middle of the night just down the hall from where we were all sleeping. Armed with nothing but a flashlight, she discovered some random guy who somehow got into the place we were staying and was taking things out of our fridge.

That was one of my first memories of Judy, over 10 years ago. Since then, I have been mentored, inspired and led by Judy, we have travelled all over the globe together, and have served many summers at Camp Adventure together. She is one INCREDIBLE lady with an AMAZING testimony of heart-change. I love her dearly.

Last night at OASIS, the middle-school ministry at Granger, Judy Gregory got quite a surprise! She has been on staff at Granger for 10 years leading the middle school ministry and building into some of the most incredible Jr. Higher's on the planet.

Read Corey's blog and check out his pictures from last night's celebration!
Click HERE to read about it on Katie's blog

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bono on Idol Tonight

As part of his ongoing efforts to fight AIDS and poverty in Africa, U2's Bono will participate in the IDOL GIVES BACK fundraising special airing Tonight 8/7c on FOX.

My favorite Irish singer will meet with the six American Idol finalists to talk about the work of ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History ( and how the IDOL audience can help. The IDOL contestants also will perform "American Prayer," a song written by Bono and Dave Stewart about the AIDS emergency in Africa.
As my friend Dan said, "It will be cool to raise the awareness of the non-Oprah watching, Gap shopping, iPod listening public in order to get the word out about possibly the greatest humanitarian crisis of our generation."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Happy Birthday Grandpa Cox! We LOVE You!

Thoughts on Tithing

We have been talking about tithing in our 2by2 couples bible study at church using Randy Alcorn's book "Money, Posessions & Eternity" as a guide. Its so interesting to hear how many interpretations there are on how to tithe. Our class is comprised of newly engaged and married couples, so most of us are between the ages of 18-30...amazingly, everyone my age does not necessarily think the way I do. Haha - big surprise!

The following are some of the ideas that have been brought up in our class, and I'm not saying my thoughts on each are necessarily right. I just know that for me, I have to figure out how to honor God with our money even when we don't have any.

"We'll tithe when we're older and more established financially"
I have learned that tithing is more difficult when you have more money, so I suggest getting into the habit of tithing while you're still making dirt! In 6th grade, I did a fundraiser at school and won three drawings from this box of money that had 100 $1 dollar bills, 50 $5.00 bills, 10 $10.00 bills and 2 $50.00 bills. Out of my three chances, I miraculously pulled out both fifties and a one. $101.00 was A LOT for me to tithe on that weekend at church...but I did, and it felt great! My parents helped us with this concept by paying our allowance with dimes. The 10-10-80 plan, give a tenth, save a tenth, and you have 80% left over for anything else.

"We're planning to invest all the money we would tithe so that we can give more later"
I was a little confused by this one. I understand the idea behind it, being able to give more in the long run, but what if you die? Will someone else know that the huge stockpile of money in your account was your tithe? Also, what about the churches that are really needing to meet their weekly budget, because your tithe now would probably really help them now. This idea doesn't work for me. I would think about investing like this in an "above and beyond my tithe" sort of way. Again, just my personal opinions.

"We tithe to a church we don't go to"
This was something I struggled with all through college and even after we got married. It's so easy for me to tithe to Granger because I know all the awesome things Granger is doing with my tithe. I really had to get it through my head that I should give where I go to church. Since making this switch and tithing to the church we attend each week, God has really changed my heart about it. THIS video helped too!

"We've been tithing to so-and-so nonprofit organization instead of our church"
This is a sticky one for me too. Your money is being given, so that's the point, right? There is something about giving our tithe at church that makes me feel like I'm giving directly to God. My heart is in the right place when I am at church. To be brutally honest, when that $30 a month gets automatically withdrawn each month and goes to our sponsor child...I don't really think about it, is't that horrible? I love that we do that, but for us that's not the tithe.

"We don't tithe to so-and-so church because the Pastor has a nice car, so he is obviously taking money out of the offering for himself"
This makes me want to puke for two reasons. First, because you could be right...the pastor could be stealing from the offering. And secondly, you could be totally wrong, you don't know the story behind the car he is driving. It could be that someone in his congregation blessed him with that car as an "above and beyond their tithe" gift. That pastor could have been driving a broken down mini-van for the last 20 years...and then was blessed with a better vehicle...okay, you get the point. I'll stop ranting. You can read more of my thoughts on this HERE.

On a side note, A few weeks ago I came across this site that really gave me a lot of perspective on money. will tell you where you are financially compared to the rest of the world. It's a great tool for any pastors or teachers out there who are talking about money.

Check out the crazy Catalyst Conference Website! I like it. Very unique...some of the same features at the Leo Burnett site...but crazy, as I mentioned before.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Weekend Recap

This was the greatest weekend I've had in was SUNNY and 80 degrees! On my way to work this morning I heard the radio say that it's been 180 days since Chicago was 80 degrees. Get winter outta my face!

This weekend we:

  • went on some long bike rides including a 21 mile ride on Saturday along the river through the forest preserve. We saw these two guys floating down the Salt Creek River in intertubes...which was horrifying because it is a nasty, dirty, scame-filled, cess-pool of a river...this is chicago people. It's mind-boggling
  • celebrated Michelle's birthday at Claim Jumper's and got some glorious desserts
  • grilled out BBQ chicken with the Scheffers at Aaron & Ashlee Pace's house and Aaron showed us the obstacle course that he built in their backyard to train their dog Cinder to become a champion.
  • went to church, lunch, then a baby shower
  • got out the coffee-maker

Speaking of coffee...Ryan decided at 10:30 Friday night that he is going to start regularly drinking coffee. I won this really snazzy coffee maker from Mary Kay last year, but we never took it out of the box. I love that Ryan decided to unpack it and get it set up a few weeks before we have to pack up the entire house to move. So anyway, we ran to the grocery late Friday night to buy some filters and coffee. On Sunday morning our alarm didn't go off. Luckily we have neighbors who noticed that our bathroom light wasn't on so they called our house and woke us up in time for church. We woke up 40 minutes behind schedule, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off and Ryan was calmly brewing a pot of coffee. Thats right folks, eventhough we were late for church Ryan made coffee. He is hilarious.

Ryan is completely and utterly done with medschool! Friday was his final final and he did AWESOME on it, of course. He finished strong and I am so proud of him! Now he has 6 weeks of vacation, the graduation ceremony on June 3rd, then a couple more weeks of vaca before starting residency. WHEW!

We're taking full advantage of our time off. If you wonder what we're doing, we're probably
  • riding bikes
  • hiking in the smokey mountains
  • swimming in the ocean
  • going to the movie
  • jumping off the boat at the lake
  • hanging out with friends
  • grilling out
  • spending time with family
  • kissing
  • packing our house up and getting ready to move

Friday, April 20, 2007

Happy Birthday Michelle...I love this picture of you being an auntie
Posted by Picasa

Happy Birthday Dad! You raised your boy to be the perfect man for me!

Imitation, The Most Sincere Form of Flattery...

Hey Office fans! You'll will get a kick out of this clip of Jim Halpert impersonating Dwight Schrute (from next week's episode). Dwight however, doesn't think the gag is very funny and accuses Jim of identity theft. Hooray for new episodes!

Blogging on my Lunch Break

  • Today is Ryan's FINAL FINAL of med school! I can't believe that after today he is done...a 6 week vacation before starting Residency! INCREDIBLE!

  • Today is Michelle's Birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHELLE!!

  • I love Italian Wedding Soup

  • Today is Ryan's Dad's Birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDO!!

  • My headband is really tight today...

  • If you ever need to rhyme something you can go to THIS site

  • This is really good for a chuckle...Scroll down THIS CHURCH staff page and check out the name of their office manager

Did anyone else watch the Animaniacs cartoons back in the day?

"What are we going to do today, Brain?"

"Same thing we do everyday Pinky, TRY TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD!"

Fast Food: Ads vs. Reality

Each item was purchased, taken home, and photographed immediately. Nothing was tampered with, run over by a car, or anything of the sort. It is an accurate representation in every case. Shiny, neon-orange, liquefied pump-cheese, and all.

KFC Famous Bowl


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Swim for Shenica

Sometimes I look around and cannot be more thankful for this handfull of incredibly gifted, amazingly caring, inspiring and making a difference in the world group of friends that I have. I have introduced you to a couple of them in the last few months, and today I would like you to get to know Jessica.

Jess is a personal trainer by day, but by night she is a money-raising, child-sponsoring maniac. She has been garnering support and swimming laps to raise money for a little deaf girl that she met in Jamaica. When we were in college Jess and I had the opportunity to serve together during spring break at Caribbean Christian Center for the Deaf (CCCD) in Jamaica. This past month, Jess went back again as a leader on the trip and ran into Shenica, a little girl who she first met 6 years ago.

Click HERE to read her support letter

"What I’m looking for is a handful of people to challenge me, keep me accountable and prod me on ... and who are willing to donate 5 cents per lap (down/back = 1) swam in the month of April. For those of you who know me, you know my heart is more tuned to short sprint distances, so you don’t need to worry about any kind of mega Ironman mileage or anything! I’d love to receive your response (please don’t feel obligated, as this is just an opportunity I want to share with you…) by the end of the week so I can start tallying laps and funds. My goal is to raise enough money to sponsor Shenicia at CCCD for at least one year. Anybody in?"

I love that Jess is doing something that is HARD WORK to help a little girl who's life will never be the same. Rock on Jess! Rock On!

What Do People REALLY Think of Sanjaya

The Freakonomics Blog had a really interesting post today about the Sanjaya phenomenon...

Nielsen BuzzMetrics wanted to know what people really think when they think about Sanjaya, the onetime faux-hawked American Idol contestant. So here, according to Max Kalehoff, is what they did: “We took a sample of all the blog posts about American Idol over a week, then focused on keyword sanjaya, then mapped out all the most closely associated words and phrases, based on proximity, frequency, and contextual relevance.”

Here’s what the Sanjaya mind-map looks like:

I admit, Ryan and I voted for him...he made the show more interesting. What do you think about Sanjaya?

[ht: Mindy]

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

John Keim


  • You are the most perfect husband for my lovely sister.
  • You have a mini-mohawk.

You're a shining example to hundreds of teenagers of what it means to be a man wholly devoted to Jesus.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

This is the greatest thing I've seen all day

Those are Chuck Norris Action Jeans, and just in case your mind can't process it because you are too busy freaking out, they are pants specifically designed to be worn while you are kicking people in the face. And they retail for less than twenty dollars.

[HT: Chris]

Things I Learn From the Walls at Jimmy John's

I am a big fan of Jimmy John's, not only because of the delicious "Turkey Tom (with no sprouts)" but also because they always have great stuff on their walls. Today I saw this advice, and it made me laugh, so I thought I'd share it with you.

"16 Things it Took Me Over 50 Years to Learn"
- By Nationally Syndicated Columnist, Dave Barry

1. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
2. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings."
3. There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
4. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
5. You should not confuse your career with your life.
6. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. (This one is very important)
7. Never lick a steak knife.
8. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.
9. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.
10. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.
11. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age 11.
12. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deepdown inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.
13. A person, who is nice to you, but rude to a waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.)
14. Your friends love you anyway.
15. Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.
16. Thought for the day: Men are like fine wine... They start out as grapes; and it's up to the women to stomp the crap out of them until they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Who Are You??

Hi, My name is Amber and lately I have been noticing a lot of new first-time visitors to my blog! According to today's Stats, 36.6% of you are first-time visitors and 36.6% of you have visited less than 5 times. 14.6% of you seem to be long-time fans, and I am curious about you too!

I love that you are reading and hopefully enjoying my shenanigans... My only questions are WHO ARE YOU? and WHY ARE YOU READING THIS? Leave me a comment with your name, how you came across my blog, and why you keep coming back.

I can't wait to hear from you!

What does my life say about me?

  • What does my life say about me?
  • Does my life show evidence of my love for Jesus?
  • What do my daily interactions with people and my daily choices say about me as a Christ follower?
  • Can people look at me and say, "there's something different about her"?

We Found Our Place!!

This weekend was a WHIRLWIND!! Ryan and I went to Grand Rapids on Saturday to look for a place to live when we move this summer. Starting at 9:30am we met with a different person to see a different apartment every half an hour until 5pm! Yes, we are insane!

Other than the occasional kitchen sink in a bedroom, pink porcelain toilet, or drunk guy (who we took a picture of) sleeping in his bed while we look around his apartment, it was a great day.

We knew we wanted to be close to the hospital and around 3pm we FINALLY found a place that would be great for us! We were so excited, we filled out the application and payed the $20 fee so they could run our credit checks and celebrated as we drove away to our next appointment. We had a few more scheduled, even though we had found our place we figured we should probably see the other places since landlords were waiting for us.

So, the crazy thing is, we were so set on the place we saw at 3pm that I didn't even take my camera into the last places we saw.

So, I don't have any pictures to show you. We are so excited. It's a great little duplex a few blocks away from the hospital where Ry will be working, with wood floors, all new appliances and a gloriously clean and white tub in the bathroom! Yippee!

You can all come and visit sometime. We'll grill burgers.

Friday, April 13, 2007


"Indexed" is one of my new favorite websites to visit. Jessica Hagy is really creative and says of her site, "This site is a little project that lets me make fun of some things and sense of others. I use it to think a little more relationally without resorting to doing actual math."

Check it out, I think you'll enjoy her Index Card creations.

Do You Believe THIS??

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I Heart Chipotle

Angela's Ad

Doesn't this ad make you want to call Angela for a hair appointment?!?! You may have seen her ad in the recent issue of INMichiana magazine. I just scheduled my appointment! She is incredible! If you live anywhere near Granger, Mishawaka, Niles, or Edwardsburg...or if you're from far away but want a really great hair-do, call my awesome sister ANGELA and she'll fix you right up!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Soon it will be Thursday!

Next Episode:
Safety Training Tomorrow at 08:30 pm NBC

Andy returns from anger-management classes, planning to make a fresh start with his co-workers; Michael and Dwight try to illustrate the dangers of the workplace.

Click HERE for some hilarious clips

Nasty Sticky Slush

Yes, the weathergirl here is named Amy Freeze...and the forecast is not pretty.

This weather we're having makes me want to poke my own eyes out!

High: 47 Low: 35
Rain / Snow Mix

High: 48 Low: 32


Have you heard of Kiva? If not, you need to! I love it when I come across businesses or people or ideas that are making the world a better place, people caring about other people, resources being shared, and ultimately, Jesus being glorified. I don't know that Kiva is a particularly "christian" organization, but I do know that what they are doing is changing the world. They're helping "the least of these" and making a way for the rest of us to help too!

Kiva, which means "agreement" or "unity" in Swahili, would allow people with a little bit of extra cash to use their credit card or the online money transfer company, PayPal, to lend directly to African entrepreneurs.

Amazingly, if you've got as little as $25 you can point and click and become part of a global village promoting sustainable development.

Read more about Kiva HERE

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

If Only We Could Evangelize Like Coke Does!

Interesting facts given over at the Christianity Plus website: 91% of the world's population has heard of coke; 74% have seen coke; 51% have tasted coke; yet only 10% of the world's population has heard the Gospel.

If Coca-Cola were in charge of world evangelism then we would be done by now!

They continue…

This is amazing. Of the almost 7 billion people that exist on this planet 91% of them have heard of coke, that is about 6 billion people who have heard of coke, 5 billion who have seen coke, and about 3 and a half billion people who have tasted coke. Can we say that about our efforts?

ht: Todd Rhodes


Ruby's got a blog! She is embarking on a journey to Mexico where she will teach for a year at Back2Back Ministries. We'll be able to keep up with her through HER BLOG.

Ruby is one of the most caring and compassionate people I know. She is an incredibly gifted teacher, and volunteering this year away from her classroom in Elkhart is quite a big deal. Ruby is a giver. For years she has given many hours a week volunteering with the youth at GCC. She has given weeks every summer as a counselor at Camp Adventure, and has been a full-time teacher on top of that! I am amazed and inspired by her life.

If you are interested in helping to support Ruby, let me know and I'll get you connected.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Easter Day

While many families across the nation were having easter-egg hunts and pot-luck dinners, we were out in the woods unloading a few rounds from the glock.

What did you do on Easter day?

Even Mom gave it a try. She is a dead-eye!

Is it bad that we've only been married 3 years but we already have matching coats?