Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sweet Ruthie

She would call me in college and leave messages on my dorm room phone. "Honey, its your old friend Ruthie. I was just thinking of you. Don't call me back I don't want you to waste your money. I love you."

She would send me cards for even the most obscure Hallmark holidays. Inside she would always write something about being my oldest friend and always that she was thinking of me and loved me.

One time when I was home I picked her up and took her out for lunch. She tried to pay without me noticing... luckily I caught her in the act!

She had more life than some 20-year olds I know. Her life was an example of dedication to God, commitment to her church, and faithfully loving those around her with everything she had.
A car crash last week put her in the hospital with broken bones. The doctors said they wanted to keep her there for three months - much too long for a woman like Ruthie to be stuck inside. I called her room at the hospital when I heard the news. She told me, "Don't you worry about me - I'll be fine. I love you." I told her I loved her too and hung up Ruthie's phone call for the last time that night. Within a couple of days her lungs gave out and she went into a coma.

Tonight her granddaughter called to let me know that she would be taken off of life support this Thursday. It's the right decision. Ruthie loves Jesus, her body is already gone and it's time for her to spend eternity with Him. I know she'll be there to greet me someday too!

But that doesn't make it easier. I love her. She is my friend.

100,000 Paper Airplanes

Grand Rapids is an awesome place to live! On Sunday, 20-year old Rob Bliss got 20,000 of his friends together (mostly through facebook and social networking) to do something spectacular for Artprize! Here's the video if you couldn't be there to experience it for yourself.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Granny's 80th Birthday Party

This weekend my mom's side of the family got together to celebrate Granny's 80th Birthday. Granny and Papaw had a house on Sweetwater Lake from the time my mom was 17 until just a few years ago. Sweetwater is a sacred place for our family, filled with countless memories of great times we had together fishing, swimming, boating, catching turtles and generally enjoying life and nature. This Saturday we returned to the lake... not the same cottage, but just as wonderful because we were there together. We missed Ryan, Aaron and Tracy so much, but Mom's brother Andrew brought his family from South Carolina and Mom's brother John brought his family from Indianapolis. Cousin Hunter even came from Purdue for the party!

Happy Birthday Granny - You bring JOY to everyone you encounter. You have blessed all of our lives and words cannot adequately express our love for you.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Granger 's Innovate conference is happening today and tomorrow. They've got LIVE STREAMING VIDEO of the main sessions HERE if you can't be there in person!

Innovate 09 from Granger Community on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Daddy!

I love my dad.

I love the faithful husband he is to my mom and the outstanding father he is to my brother, sister and I. I love the way he loves Christ, I love his personality, I love his passion for middle school students, I love his vast knowledge of animals and nature, I love his humor, his charisma, his spirit. I love that he can see the bright side of every situation and takes fun with him wherever he goes. I love the way he leads the staff at Granger by walking beside them as teammates. I love his adventurous spirit. I love that he is a brilliant story teller and the way he incorporates those stories when he preaches. I love the way he loves my husband and is a constant encouragement to everyone around him. I love that he leads by example and helps others reach their full potential. He is an incredible artist and a photographer. He is more generous than I understand. He has vision and he isn't afraid to dream "God-Sized" dreams. He loves the Church and he lives every day of his life pushing others closer to Jesus.

Happy Birthday Daddy - You are a blessing and I am thrilled that I get to be your daughter and that my daughter gets to be your grand daughter.

I love you!

Ruby's Got Something to Say...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Visiting Chris at Hope

We spent the afternoon at Hope yesterday and Ruby drew quite a crowd. Chris lives in a house full of his great friends - it was so fun to see him.

The Ruby Dance

Friday, September 18, 2009


I just took the Personality Pattern test. It seems to be, pretty much, an exact reflection of who I am. Here are my top 10 traits, what are yours?


You would rather hang out with others than spend time alone, and you'd far rather be doing something with your friends than just sitting around. You're happy in a crowded room, club, stadium, or auditorium. You're not a private person who is ill at ease in a group; you don't view excessive socializing as a waste of time.


You enjoy being around others and others enjoy being around you. You have a "live and let live" attitude; because you know that no one's perfect, you are forgiving and happy to give the benefit of the doubt. You don't feel the need to be controversial or express contrary opinions all the time. You see no reason to go around rubbing people the wrong way.


You are a "glass half-full" kind of person, always on the lookout for the silver lining. Your happiness is contagious, which is why others like to be around you. You do not feel that the world is an intrinsically depressing place; you are not the kind of "realist" who thinks that only fools find joy in life.


You rarely become irritated, generally accept people as they are, take things as they come, and feel relaxed in most situations. You do not let a minor annoyance escalate to a confrontation. You don't regularly snap at those around you or fly off the handle with little provocation.


You have a knack for knowing what's going on in the hearts and minds of those around you, without their having to tell you explicitly. People tend to turn to you with their problems because they know you care, and that you will likely offer good advice and a helping hand. You do not feel that people with sad stories are just looking for attention, or have brought their problems upon themselves.


You have a genuine interest in other people. You're a natural host, and are always thinking about how you can increase the happiness of those around you. When friends have problems or are in trouble, you're usually the first person they turn to for aid and comfort. Scoring high on the "warm" trait suggests that you are among those who enjoy domestic activities — doing things around the house — and are enthusiastic about charitable work, helping others, and making the world a better place. You don't always say exactly what you're thinking; you don't like the idea of causing anyone pain because of your criticism.


You behave in a confident and forceful manner, take charge of the situation, raise your hand in class, stand up for what you think is right, and lead others. Among those who have a high score on the "assertive" trait, many have jobs in which they are valued for their organizational skills as well as their talent for supervising others. You are not interested in fading into the woodwork, leaving everything to fate, taking more time than necessary to accomplish a task, or avoiding confrontation.


You are in touch with your own feelings, which helps put you in touch with the feelings of others. You don't buy the logic that your happiness comes ahead of everyone else's because unless you're happy you're incapable of making anyone else happy.


You trust your your instincts. What others may see as rash behavior is, for you, simply going with your gut. Individuals with a high score on the "impulsive" trait tend to try new, sometimes outrageous, things. You are not timid. For you, spending time microscopically examining the pros and cons of every decision means never getting anything accomplished.


You come up with a lot of ideas; if one doesn't work out, there's always another waiting in the wings. You often have interesting solutions to difficult problems. You're practically a one-person brainstorming session. You are less interested changing the world than in dealing with things as they are. Unlike those who spend all their time trying to solve problems, you prefer to zero in on things that work and stick with them

Thursday, September 17, 2009


This is baby Ryan.
...and this is Ryan's dad as a baby.
Any resemblance??


When we went to visit my Grandma Beeson, Ryan discovered this guy's glasses weren't attached.

Oh, the horror.

Ruby and I drove downtown and picked Ryan up from work today. It was so gorgeous out, we decided to take a leisurely drive and grab lunch on the way home instead of rushing home on the highway.

While we were all enjoying some sandwiches at the deli I realized I had baby poop on me.

On my shirt, on my jeans, on my belt...

Ryan was horrified.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

I-HEART Revolution | The Movie

Hillsong United’s feature length movie, The I-Heart Revolution: We’re All in This Together is hitting hundreds of theaters across the USA for one night only on Wednesday, November 4.

The night will feature the full-length movie as well as worship with Hillsong United LIVE from Sydney.

Grand Rapids, MI - Celebration Cinema/IMAX - Grand Rapids North
Holland, MI - Holland 7
Mishawaka, IN - Movies 14

Click here to see a list of theaters and check out the I-Heart site for details and information and get your tickets today! They just went on sale to the general public - tickets are limited!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Beef Tenderloin - Part Deux

I'm sure you've all been waiting on pins and needles to find out how my fancy dinner for Ryan turned out...

Let me begin by saying, since I didn't buy the $83 tenderloin... it was more like beef 'New York Strip' loin.

When Ryan saw the bag of deliciousness marinating in the fridge he got a curious look in his eye and asked if he needed to buy more charcoal for the grill. I said excitedly, "No grill needed - I'm going to bake it!" To which he replied, "Bake? Steak? I don't think you can bake New York Strip... can you?"

So I googled "bake a steak" just in case it's impossible to bake a steak. I found that it's been done... however, these steaks were so huge and glorious it would be a pitty to ruin them with such experimentation.

I considered titling this post "I appreciate the effort, though!" because that's what Ryan said to me when we decided to grill the steaks instead of bake them.

I am not exaggerating when I tell you that these were the most melt-in-your mouth, deliciously juice-tastic, grilled to perfection steaks I have ever tasted in my life. I was able to eat almost a quarter of mine and Ryan managed almost half! We will be eating the following meals for the rest of this week:
  • steak quesadillas
  • steak sandwiches
  • tacos with steak
  • some steak
  • steak
Ruby was having a bit of a cryin' jag while the Webber was heating up, but thanks to her swing we enjoyed our dinner in peace with some instrumental Imogen Heap playing in the background. This was a dinner we will remember for a long time.

I can see us sitting on our porch 30 years from now and Ryan will say, "Remember when you bought those gigantic steaks?" And I'll laugh and say, "Oh, you mean the beef tenderloin?" and he won't laugh because he didn't read the original Beef Tenderloin post... it was kinda long.

Three Months Old

Twelve weeks ago today I became a mother. Really, truly - I've never felt so much exactly in the center of who I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to do. I am so thankful that I get to be a mother and even more grateful for my own mother... because now I understand a little bit better.

Here's some footage from the last few weeks. Ruby is growing so fast!! Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Techno Kitty

Chris Cox-Photographer

Ryan's brother Chris is an outstanding photographer. He has been refining his talent and discovering his style since I met him when Ryan and I were seniors at Hope and Chris was just 16 years old. Now he's studying photography and art in college and his work is popping up all over the place.

Next month you can see some of his photographs hanging at lemonjello's coffee shop in Holland, MI. If you pick up a current issue of Grand Rapids REVIEW magazine, you'll see him there too! To top it off, Chris Cox Photographer was featured on "Design For Mankind" yesterday.
Writer Erin Loechner launched award-winning Design for Mankind in mid-2007 in an attempt to bring light to the inspiration found in today's creative culture. Through photography, product design, style and craft, Design for Mankind is dedicated to showcasing the talents of the emerging art and design community.
Boasting a popular viewership of over 8,000 readers per day, Design for Mankind has received numerous praise for Erin Loechner's unique perspective on the industry.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Beef Tenderloin

I love Ryan and Ryan loves food, so this morning I got the notion in my head to make him a delicious and meaty man meal to show him how much I love him. As you may know, I am not much of a whiz in the kitchen... so planning, shopping for and making a meal is kinda a big deal for me.

I decided to get my "One-Armed Cook" book off the shelf because it says "Quick and easy recipes, smart meal plans and savvy advice for new (and not-so-new) moms." I can't think of any cook book that would suit me better, eh?

I turn to the "Main Dishes" chapter in search of the first really meaty meal.
"Beef Tenderloin - There is no finer main dish for a celebration, serving a crowd, or serving an important guest." I think to myself, "This will be perfect for Ryan! He is a very important guest!" So I write down all of the ingredients on my shopping list, pack Ruby into her car seat and head to the grocery.

I have mentioned before here, here and here I do not love going to the grocery, mostly because I'm not good at it. You know those women who love the grocery? The ones who are aware of sales and knowledgeable about how much a gallon of milk usually costs compared to the price they are looking at. They have fancy ingredients in their carts, they buy fresh vegetables that I don't know the names of. They are amazing to me. I want to be like them... but I'm not.

Honestly, I do not know how much a loaf of bread costs. I have bought bread every time I've ever been to the grocery in the last decade, but I could not tell you right now how much a loaf should cost. The same goes for a gallon of milk, or a bag of apples. I know - it's embarrassing! You'd think a gal with honors grades in college could retain such useful information, but instead my brain is full of the first and last names of all the students in my 2nd grade class. I could even tell you some of their phone numbers from memory! RIDICULOUS!

Back to the grocery. Most of the items on my grocery list are in my cart and get to the one that says "3.5 to 5-pound beef tenderloin, trimmed by the butcher" (I wrote it on my list EXACTLY like the One-Armed Cook book had it listed.) I go up to the counter and calmly place my order as if I've ordered this particular cut of meat a thousand times before. The butcher walks over, grabs a HUMONGOUS beef thing and begins slicing around and around until there is a beautiful chunk of meat. He puts it on the scale, wraps it up in white paper, sticks the sticker on it and hands it to me with a smile. I say thanks and turn to put it into my cart. That's when my eyes caught the price tag. $83.27!! WHAT? How could the One-Armed-Cook book people think that new moms would have such incredibly deep wallets?!?! The butcher must have noticed the look on my face and probably could tell that maybe I wasn't the brilliant chef I wanted him to think I was. He asked me what I was going to make and unfortunately I had not written the title of the recipe on my grocery list, so I said to him "Beef Tenderloin... like a roast type of thing?" He said I could try to do it with a cut of steak instead, so I took his advice and got 2 $8 cuts and thanked him for not forcing me to purchase the huge slab of meat that had been specifically cut to my request.

I swiftly rolled my cart a final time down every aisle (because that's just how good I am at grocery shopping) and headed for the check-out. That's when I looked down and noticed that the navy blue t-shirt I was wearing had a huge dried smear of white chunky spit up from my shoulder down to my belly button. Nice touch.

As the check-out girl is ringing up my order and putting everything in bags I notice that she is really filling them up to the brim. I think to myself, "She must think I'm really strong. Doesn't she see that I have an infant in a car seat that I'm also carrying? I am not sure that I can pack-mule bags that heavy... I am going to have to make a million trips back and forth from the car to unload these bags! I better say something!"

Apparently my hint, "I'd rather have more lighter bags than a couple really heavy ones" wasn't clear. Just for kicks I put a couple of my grocery bags on the bathroom scale when I got home. 13.4 and 14.6 pounds each!!

Other than expensive beef, spit-up on my shirt, and the heaviest grocery bags I've ever had to carry, I'd say it was a successful trip! I'll let you know how the Beef Tenderloin recipe goes when I try to use steaks instead. I'm guessing it's going to be a disaster!
Here's the rest of the story

Mingling Fingers

Ruby's left had found her right hand last week and since then she has spent many of her waking hours with her chubby little fingers mingling together. This new talent makes her look like she is coming up with a grand plan to take over the world or something. Very funny.
We're in the "please take a nap in your crib" stage... which has been difficult considering the number of days we have been at home compared to the number of days we've been traveling around all summer. Ruby is a champ at taking naps, they just happen more often in my arms than they probably should.

I know it won't be long before she is crawling around exploring her world beyond the perimeter of her tiny blanket on the floor, so I don't mind holding her as much as she lets me. She's so warm and cuddly and she smells so sweet... except, of course, when she creates a "poo-bomb".

More pics from Lake Charlevoix

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pure Michigan, Pure Joy

Lake Charlevoix in Northern Michigan is GORGEOUS! Kinda makes you want to jump for joy!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Great Grandma Beeson

My Grandma Beeson is one of the most humorous people on the planet. A decade of Alzheimer's Disease has robbed her of many of the attributes and much of the personality that made her who she is - but she's still got light in her eyes! She raised three incredible children and always had a joke to tell. We visited her last weekend so she could meet her Great Granddaughter.
"This is your Great Granddaughter!"
Grandma: "What's his name?"
Me: "Her name is Ruby."
Grandma: "He's cute"
Me: "She loves you Grandma. We all love you so much!"

Haha. I guess Ruby will look more like a girl when her male-pattern baldness subsides.

Phil and Lauren's Wedding

Last weekend we drove down to Cincinnati to celebrate my cousin Phil's wedding. He is stupendous and he married Lauren, who happens to be even more stupendous! It was great to see the fam and introduce Ruby to Uncle Matt, Aunt Linda, Aunt Becky and Uncle Hunter. We love you guys!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Friends at the Cottage

The last weekend of our vacation a few of our friends from Hope came out to the cottage. Luke and Lindsay brought Isla, who is 10 months old, and Joel and Sarah brought "Tad" (still in the womb for a few more weeks). We had a great time together, as always.
Little Isla had a black eye... but she didn't seem to mind. She is at such a cute age, making everyone laugh and checking Ruby out.

Introducing Baby Keim

Should I be Aunt Ber? Auntie Am? Angela says maybe Aunt Ber in the winters. hahaha. I can't wait for March 11th! CONGRATULATIONS ANGELA AND JOHN!! We love you so much - you're going to be incredible parents!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Scut Monkeys Don't Give Up!

The Scut Monkeys played well at the game tonight, only losing by 3 runs. The final score was 6-9, now that they've tricked everyone into thinking they can be beat they will surely pound their future opponents.
Kyle was in town, so he got to be there cheering with us and having fun with Ruby.

Sunset Cruise