Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Will Jones = Stud Muffin

Dancing DC

My friend DC Curry raised a bunch of money for South Bend's Center for the Homeless last weekend at a benefit dinner where he competed in the "Dancing with our Stars" competition. I wasn't there, but I heard that he brought down the house. Check out this video of him practicing before the big night.

DC was captain of ND's football team in 2004, president of ND's Fellowship of Christian Athletes and an NFL player before he decided to take on the role as Director of Granger's Student Ministry last year.

He and his lovely wife Brooke are two of the most incredible people I have ever met. They live their lives to the fullest, laugh a lot and make this world a better place.

I love them.

EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed

Last night I went with a couple of friends to see Ben Stein's new movie "EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed"

This documentary was incredibly compelling - and, depending on their pre-existing world view, some people probably will absolutely hate it.

However, it brings up a very important point: There is a growing Intelligent Design movement in the scientific community and Darwinian Evolutionists don't like their theory being challenged.

Anyone who understands the scientific method, which is based on open, honest inquiry should understand that the various theories out there should be able to be debated. Darwin debated the theories of his time, but now the trend is that no one can debate Darwin.

I recommend that you see this movie. If I were in High School right now, I would have a lot to say in my science class today!

Watch the official movie trailer:

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

2by2 "The Way of Wisdom"

Last weekend while we were in Chicago we got to go back and visit our old church and go to the 2by2 couples bible study that we were a part of while we were there. It was so fun to reconnect with some of our friends from Calvary Memorial and made us want to continue building into the new friendships we have in our new bible study here at Ada Bible Church.

2by2 was wrapping up a study about God's Will by Dr. James MacDonald from Walk in the Word Ministries. It was really great, all about decision making and the things we should consider before making important decisions in our lives, such as "Who should I marry? How should I serve God? Where should I work? Where should I live? How should I spend?"

Ironically, all of those decisions (except for who should I marry) are ones that Ryan and I are making and will have to make during this season of our life! Perfect timing!

What if we took the time to actually go thru this list of considerations before making big decisions? I think it's going to help me to choose the right thing.

SPIRITUAL Considerations in Decision Making

  • Will this bring glory to God?
  • Is this a decision that Jesus would make?
  • Will I be proud of this decision at the judgment seat of Christ?
RELATIONAL Considerations in Decision Making
  • Would I want this done to me?
  • Could this appear wrong even though it's right?
  • Will this cause a brother or sister in Christ to struggle spiritually?
INTERNAL Considerations for Decision Making
  • Could this lead me into bondage?
  • Can I do this with confidence that it is right?
  • Am I breaking any previous commitments?
If you're interested in hearing more of this study, click HERE

The Wrong Ryan Cox

I love my family. My dad, his sister (my Aunt Becky) and his brother (my Uncle Matt) send emails pretty much every other day with updates and hilarious stories to the entire family. Well, today this letter was written in response to one of Uncle Matt's recent updates:

ahem, and I quote:

Glad as I am to hear all the excellent news I suspect that I am not the intended recipient. I am often confused with various others of the same name on account of my very short email address. Not that I mind the happy updates but the other Ryan Cox would likely prefer to be included in my stead.

If by some embarrassing mishap of memory I really do know all of you but have forgotten, I apologize profusely and beg that you remind me of our connection.

Congratulations nonetheless on your successes. May they continue to multiply.

In peace,
Ryan Cox of San Jose, California

How hilarious is that?!?! Some poor random "Ryan Cox" has been getting all of the Beeson family emails instead of my Ryan!

I know it's only 8:17am, but this is the most hilarious thing to happen all day!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Chicago Friends

Aaron and Ryan met randomly on a day when they were both interviewing for med school at Loyola. They hit it off, and one said to the other "Hey Man, if we both get accepted here, want to be roommates?" and the other said "Sure!"

Then a year later they found out that both of them had been accepted and they made the arrangments and lived together for their first year of Med School. Then I came along, so Ryan decided to get married and live with me. Then the next year, Ashlee came along and married Aaron and they lived down the street.
Now here we are, 5 years later hanging out in the very house where Ryan and Aaron lived that first year of med school.

And here is little Hanna again.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

This is little Hannah!

Ashlee is a great mom!

Hannah meeting Ryan for the first time

Aaron, Bryan and Ryan Grilling a delicious feast for dinner.

Sweet Home Chicago

It's a beautiful, windy Saturday morning in Chicago. We are here for the weekend visiting our friends Michelle and Bryan and doing all the classic things that we loved to do in this city.

Our friends Aaron and Ashlee are having all of us over for a grill out tonight for dinner. Ashlee and Aaron had a baby not long after we moved, so we've never met little Hannah - I am really looking forward to that!

Ryan and Bryan went on a run this morning and have been drinking coffee together. Michelle and I have been catching up and are going to do some bargain shopping later today.

Time to eat some pancakes! I'll post more soon!

Friday, April 25, 2008

What does it take for you to have a bad day?

I'm generally optimistic, so for me, it usually takes a mighty combination of lots of things to get me down. I can handle two or three difficulties, but when lots of things start stacking up over a short period of time, that's when I get down. If I'm not doing good, I won't let you know it. I'd rather act like everything is fine...even if it's not. I'd rather have you believe that I'm doing great...even if it's far from great. I'd rather share all the good things and keep the bad things to myself.

So here it is. To be honest, this has been one of the most difficult seasons of my life. I won't bore you with the details, I'll just sum it up by saying that I've experienced trials over the last three months. Ryan and I are doing great - we just have to coordinate both of our work schedules in hopes of seeing one another every day. For us, this takes effort, planning, and determination.

All of that is to say that last Sunday I got slapped up-side-the head three times in a row - which is what it took for me to regain some perspective.

First of all, Jeff Manion's sermon called "Joy and Trouble" was directed at me. It was one of those times when you're sitting in a crowd of thousands, but you know that God is speaking directly to you through the pastor - has this happened to anyone else?

Jeff talked about the fact that we ARE going to experience trials, bad stuff is going to happen because we live in a fallen world. We will respond to the things that go wrong, the question is HOW. We have a CHOICE about how we respond to those trials.

Is it possible that I could be at my best when things are at their worst? What if the best version of me emerged while things were falling apart? I don't know about you, but this is what I want for me. I want to be the best version of me that I can be. SLAP!

Secondly, after church I got introduced to a lady named Susan who has been married to a physician at Spectrum for many years. They happened to meet while they were students at Hope College, and they happened to get married right before he started Med School and he happened to do his residency at Spectrum and they've been married for a long time and have a wonderful life. Needless to say, meeting someone who knows EXACTLY what I am going through right now is a really special thing...more special than I can express in words. I have literally been following her exact path for the last 5 years. She offered encouragement as someone who has "been there" and I can only hope that someday I will be able to offer that same kind of encouragement to someone else. Susan and I exchanged numbers and have been emailing this week. God knew just what I needed at just the right time. Meeting Susan was a gift to me this Sunday. SLAP!

Third, I decided to call my parents on the way home from church to tell them about my morning, about Jeff Manion's sermon and about meeting Susan. Dad told me that the weekend service at Granger really tied in with everything I was telling him. So I went home and listened to Rob Wegner's sermon about Viral Attitudes and fell out of my chair in amazement about how easily I forget that God can take better care of me than I can. SLAP!

  • If you've had a long string of bad days
  • If you feel trapped like you can't get out of a bad cycle
  • If you need a reminder that you are loved and that God has a plan for your life
  • Be encouraged - You can choose how you will respond to trials and you can choose JOY!
  • Be encouraged - God may be at work in your life in the middle of a crisis.
  • Be encouraged - The testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Listen to the service from Ada Bible HERE
Watch the service from Granger HERE

Introducing Rajendran

I want to tell you about a friend of mine who is doing INCREDIBLE ministry in Southern India.This is a picture of Rajendran and his lovely wife Prema. Raj is Granger's first international staff hire. He is the champion for the Purpose Driven movement in Tamil Nadu, runs point on Granger's community development work via the PEACE plan, and provides leadership, support, and training for the teams of GCC.

Raj is one of the most charismatic people I have ever met. I wish you could see him when he is speaking to the hundreds of pastors that he trains and mentors. I love getting a little glimpse into his daily life in India through his blog.

I hope you have a minute to watch these videos of Raj telling his story.

Texting is better than email

My friend Tim Schraeder is the Communication Director at Park Community Church in Chicago. He's been there for almost a year and has some great ideas on communicating with 20-30 something highly motivated, energetic, educated urbanites since he IS a highly motivated, energetic, educated urbanite.

Today on his blog Tim wrote about a new texting service they are implementing to get info to their people on the go. Read Tim's post HERE.

Personally, I text more than I talk on the phone. Texting is awesome. Texting is better than email.

Churches should consider implementing a communication strategy that involves texting. I think that youth groups should ESPECIALLY consider it. Park is doing it right. They aren't texting every day, they aren't making people crazy sending too many texts or unimportant texts. They're using it as a tool and I am excited to see how it turns out.

Thanks for posting your ideas Tim! I love that you're calling it "Park in your Pocket" so cool!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Quite awhile ago Ryan and I saw the movie ONCE and absolutely loved it! We loved the story, we loved the way it was filmed, we loved the characters, we loved the music. Ryan downloaded a couple of the songs on iTunes then we bought the CD.

Rent it!

Saturday, April 19, 2008


I discovered today that traffic has recently been directed to my blog when people googled the following phrases:

  • shenanigans vermont
  • swol
  • boat big
  • Shauna Niequist
  • how to draw a monkey
  • pictures of bipartite sesamoid
  • camp manowe
  • amber cox

Funny eh? If you're a blogger and you're interested in finding out what keywords are directing people to your blog, I recommend StatCounter.

Law School Completion Dinner

Our fashionable friends/neighbors Joel and Sarah finished their last official class of Law School yesterday, so we went out to dinner to celebrate. Joel and Ryan lived together in college, and Sarah and I were on the same floor in our dorm at Hope too (now that I think about it, a lot lot lot of our friends from Hope married our other friends from Hope...but that's another post entirely. This post is to celebrate Law School completion.They took all their law school classes together for the last three years, and its been so cool to see them always working together on projects and studying and helping one another. They will be spending the next few months inside their apartment studying for the Bar we're glad we got to see them last night.

Congratulations Joel and Sarah!!

You're going to be great knowers and keepers of the Law.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Brown Out

Ryan is on call about 7 times a month. He works a normal day, 7am-5pm then begins the night shift until 8 the next morning when they round on all the patients again to hand them off to the residents and attending doctors working that day, then he tries to get most of his notes and dictations done so he can go home to sleep hopefully by 2pm. His stories are hilarious when he wakes up in his sleep-deprived state of delerium.

I came home from work last night and woke Ryan up for dinner. He started telling me about his night on call - and about "The Brown Out" (que dramatic music: duu duuuu duuuuuuu.....)

From 4am to 6am there was a scheduled "Brown Out" at the hospital. All the electricity was turned off, except for the most vital equipment (ie; life support and whatnot) Ryan had a minute to grab some quick dinner at the cafeteria around 3am, then went back to work for another hour or so before the lights went off. There were generators that kicked on at 4am, so the halls and the main areas of the hospital had some lights, which was nice.

The trouble first began when Ryan entered the mens bathroom and realized it was so pitch black he could not see anything. He turned around and walked over to the nurses station and asked how long it would be until they turned the lights back on. He was thinking he could just hold it for another 15-20 minutes until the Brown Out was over. The nurses told him it would be "about 2 hours" so Ryan asked them for a flashlight.

Around 5am he had an hour to potentially grab some sleep, so he made his way over to the door of one of the call rooms and swiped his card. That's when he realized that the key cards had been turned off for the Brown Out so he couldn't get in. (this is the point where I would have slammed my own head purposefully into the door, which is just one more reason why I am not a doctor) By this time Ry had been awake for 22 hours. He turned from the door and went out in search of a janitor. Luckily, before too long he found one who used his key to get Ryan into the call room. Ryan was so happy! He could finally get some shut-eye before people started arriving at 6am.

The door shut behind him and as his head hit the pillow the troubles continued. He became uncomfortably aware that it was the most stuffy cave-of-a-room that he had ever been in. The air flow system had been turned off, you see, so there he was, stuck in a tiny call room with no air flow and no windows and all he could think about was the fact that he had to wake up in an hour and keep working.

Then he heard a sound.
Then 10 minutes later he heard it again.

The elevator shaft was just on the other side of the wall by his bed, and after a few more 10 minute cycles of the weird machine noise he realized that the elevators were trying to kick on, but couldn't but they kept loudly trying and loudly trying every 10 minutes as the generator cycled.

So he did not sleep. His night was terrible stacked on top of horrible stacked on top of some poo.

Ryan is a great doctor and is becoming a better doctor everyday as he navigates the trials and tribulations of his first year of residency.

Thank you for sharing in his pain.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How COOL is this!?!

Not far from where Ryan and I used to live in Chicago, this cougar was shot and killed yesterday.This is a proper 150 pound wild cougar...hanging out in Chicago...for real. AWESOME!!

So you can read all about it HERE where they speculate that this wild beast may have travelled all the way to Chicago from the Black Hills of South Dakota.


- Pick up children immediately.

- Do not approach it. Give the cougar an avenue for escape.

- Do not run; this can trigger an attack.

- Back away without turning your back on it.

- Do all you can to look bigger. Don't hide or crouch down.

Outstanding Dictator

Ryan got this letter in the mail this week and was very encouraged. He takes time (often after hours) to record verbal dictations on all of his patients. Apparently he is doing a great job! I'm not surprised.

Dear Dr. Cox,

This letter is to inform you that the transcription staff at Spectrum Health nominated you as an Outstanding Dictator for 2006/2007. The criteria they used to determine the qualities of an outstanding dictator were:
  • Consistently dictates in a clear and concise manner
  • Includes all necessary data at the beginning of each report
  • Takes the time to spell difficult terms, medications, equipment, and consulting physician's names/specialities
  • Courteous to transcription staff at all times
Please accept our congratulations on your nomination, and out wishes for your continues excellent dictation practices. We want to thank you for making our job a joy!

Joyce R Smith, Manager
Transcription Services

Monday, April 14, 2008

Writer's block? This might help...

Every year, English teachers from across the USA can submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays in order to have them published and sent out for the amusement of other teachers across the country. These are some recent winners:

  • Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master
  • His thoughts tumbled around inside his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
  • He spoke with the kind of wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who goes blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
  • She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
  • She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like the sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
  • Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
  • He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
  • The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.
  • The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
  • From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
  • Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
  • Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling west at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. traveling east at a speed of 35 mph.
  • They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
  • John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
  • He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.
  • Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
  • The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
  • The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
  • He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
  • He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

...if only I had time to watch

My favorite shows are back on starting tonight!...if only I had time to watch them.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hello? Hello?

Did you know that in my family growing up we had very specific rules about how we answered the phone at our house?

"Beesons, Amber Speaking"
"Beesons, Angela Speaking"
"Beesons, Aaron ...wait, Aaron never answered the phone thanks to his two sisters

My mom and dad even did it, and still do it to this day! They are all about leading by example. If you call their house and my dad answers, he says"Beesons, Mark Speaking" My mom simplified it, she just says "Beesons" in a really pleasant way.

I think its pretty cool. My mom grew up saying "McNichols Residence" at her house. My friend Sota says "Moshi Moshi" when he answers the phone (that's because he's Japanese) but it's really cool - because it's different.

I need to think of a new way to answer the phone at our house. Hmmmm....

"Cox Cottage" has a nice ring...but we don't live in a cottage so people might get confused
"Cox Residence" ...too formal
"HIYOOOOOOOO!" Really fun, maybe too much fun for an innocent caller on an average day.

Read 8 Ways to Make Your Telephone Personality More Attractive and you'll want to get more creative too!

How do you answer your phone?

My mom and dad are home from Arizona! They went out there for 10 days to hang out and hike around with my Granny and Papaw. Dad had a great post on HIS BLOG today and I wanted to share it with you.

Several have asked about Sheila's parents.

"What do they look like?'
"How long have they been married?"

"How do her parents put up with you?"
"Why do you go see her folks every year?"

I'll say this about that.

I started dating Sheila when she was 15 and I was 16. Sheila's mother loved me (why she did, I can't fully grasp) so she has always made me feel valued. Sheila's father was the first to stand and speak when I was declaring my intent for ministry and needed someone from my local church to testify to the efficacy of my calling. At our wedding Sheila's dad entrusted his first-born daughter to me. Her parents were ready to help Sheila when each of our three children was born. They modeled a life of Christian devotion and piety. They loved our children and demanded the best from each of them. They helped me through my parent's divorce. They stood by me at the grave of my father.

They had my respect because of their role and they earned my respect because of their lives.

Here we are with John and Elly McNichols (the parents of my beloved bride, married 56 years and still together and serving Jesus) at the bottom of Canyon de Chelly near the White House Ruins.

I'm honored to carry their trust. I'm determined to live so they never regret giving their daughter to me.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Let Me In



So I usually don't do this tag thing, but my friend Jenn (who I have never met) tagged me and it makes me happy that I have friends out there in the blogosphere who are really my friends, people I really like, actual friends who I have never even met! For this very reason, everyone I tag at the end of this post is someone I consider a true friend who I have never met! I love Blog friends!

  1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
  2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
  3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

What I was doing 10 years ago:

  • Loving being a Junior at Penn High School
  • Singing and dancing with Chamber Choir - elementary schools and nursing homes in a sparkly, poofy-sleeve dress, high heels and panty hose - the panty hose were not my favorite part of the outfit, but all the girls in swing choir HAD to wear them!
  • Went on a mission trip to Belize with my youthgroup...where we ate iguana
  • Worrying that I would never find a husband (praise the Lord Ryan loves me!)

Five things on my to-do list today:

  • Cook something...anything!
  • Buy "Once" soundtrack for Ryan
  • Mail a package UPS-style
  • Attempt some one-handed push-ups, p90x style
  • "Do work" - Rob and Big anyone?
Places I have traveled:
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Hawaii

Snacks I enjoy:

  • White Cheddar Cheez-Its.
  • EL Fudge Cookies
  • Oreo Cookies
  • Snickerdoodle cookies
  • Any kind of cookies

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

  • Buy bikes for all the church planters in India
  • Quit work and go with Ryan to the Whitsunday Islands
  • Pay off Ry's medschool loans
  • Buy a house on a lake and another house on the ocean
  • Figure out why the engine light is on in my car

Five of my bad habits:

  • Eating cookies
  • Not untying my shoes before taking them off
  • Extreme fascination with "The Biggest Loser"
  • Knowing the hosts of E! by first and last name
  • Hitting the snooze button six-too-many times

Five places I have lived:

  • Muncie, IN (where I was born)
  • Granger, IN (hometown)
  • Holland, MI (college)
  • Chicago, IL (while Ryan was in med school)
  • Grand Rapids, MI (current)

Five jobs I’ve had:

Five people I want to know more about (a nice way of saying TAG):

Dear future me...

So my friend Lindsay found this fun site where you can actually email your future self. Its called FutureMe. I decided to give it a try - and actually had a lot to say to my future self. I am looking forward to getting some messages from my past self in the not-so-distant future.

You just type out whatever message you want and enter in your email address (so you want to make sure its an email you won't change) and pick the year you want it delivered to you....anytime from this year to 2037. Its like an electronic timecapsule for your thoughts.

What would you write to your future self?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Brothers on a Bridge

New Banner

How awesome is Chris at photography?!?! He is awesome! Check out that banner he made for my blog! Ryan and I got to hang out with him a little bit last weekend while he was in town checking out Hope College. We ate some dinner at The Green Well, drank some coffee at Kava House and had some breakfast too! The weather was GORGEOUS on the 40's and mostly sunny.Chris took some great pictures while we walked around downtown GR.

You can see more on HIS BLOG.

Stuff Christians Like

I've mentioned one of my favorite writers/bloggers ProdigalJon on my blog before - we'll friends, he started a new blog called "" that is absolutely hilarious! His satire about topics like christian hand-holding, the five love languages, the side hug, wishing your testimony was more exciting and veggie tales will have you laughing and thinking about people's perceptions of christians in a whole new light.

A lot of non-christians have been commenting on his posts - take this comment from Eric for example:

Absolutely brilliant. These posts are so honest it's stunning. I wish every religious person I knew approached life with this attitude. It's unflinchingly Christian but not arrogant, and #62 gives incredible insight as to why. It takes a humanist approach to God, which is what Christ is anyway. No offense to anyone reading this, but if I weren't an atheist, I'd strive to be this kind of Christian.

"If I weren't an atheist, I'd strive to be this kind of Christian." That is why Jon is writing that site, that is why he is penning silly things to a wide audience. He wants people that would never read Prodigal Jon or 97 seconds with God because it's too "churchy" to know that "this kind of Christian" exists. He wants people that maybe don't know how much God misses them to know that he is watching the road for their return. He wants atheists to see that we can be funny and real and maybe even honest.

Check it out!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Upside Down

This video that Granger produced for their 2006 Christmas Series has been viewed more than 780,000 times on YouTube!