Thursday, October 30, 2008


I saw this headline in the South Bend Tribune this morning and laughed out loud:
Isn't "goose hunt" an oxymoron? I mean, seriously, is it necessary to hunt a goose? From what I've seen they kind of just waddle around. They barely move from in front of my car even if I honk the horn at them. How much stealth would be required to take out a goose?

Just wondering...


I'm reading The Case for A Creator by Lee Strobel and while much of it it way over my head parts of it ring a bell deep in my soul. Like this passage:

"...the fine-tuning for simplicity, beauty, and elegance does make sense under the God hypothesis. Think of the classical conception of God - he is the greatest possible being, and therefore a being with perfect aesthetic sensibility. It wouldn't be surprising at all for God to want to create a world of great subtlety and beauty at its most fundamental level."

For me, nature remains one of the strongest pathways for my interaction with God. My response to the beauty of creation is complete and utter gratitude for the love he demonstrates by the giving of this gift. Whether I'm standing at the edge of the ocean or flying over a lake with the power of the wind in the sails or standing on my backyard deck, my soul vibrates with joy in response to the glory of his work.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


We had fun at Jollay Orchard in Coloma today. The highlights for Aidan included having a spider painted on his face... for mutants using Niblets corn for bait...

...visiting with witches...

...petting a less than enthusiastic sheep...

...and "push me HIGHER Grandpa"!!!

Thanks to Jeanna and Linz for the tip on this fun place!

Friday, October 10, 2008


As Jim and I finished our delicious Mexican food at La Esperanza this evening he interrupted whatever it was I was blathering about and asked most seriously "what is it about ethnic restaurants and accordian music"? I was shocked for a moment and then had to laugh as I realized that the music playing low in the background was indeed accompanied by an accordian. The same is true in some of the Italian restaurants we visit. Just wait till the Germans open a restaurant! More accordian music.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Shelley!

So hard to believe I didn't even know this incredible woman 5 years ago and now I feel like I've known her all my life. She can see through roadblocks to the beauty beyond. She has boundless compassion and I can't imagine life without her! She's my friend and I love her.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friend or Enemy?

These 88 cent plastic Walmart creatures are some of Aidan's favorite toys. He has a game that we've played over and over again. He never gets tired of it. He calls it the dinosaur game in spite of the fact that many of the animals are not dinosaurs. It goes like this: I am the Raptor (that mean looking guy in front). Aidan lines up all of the other animals on the floor. One by one, they climb up my leg and are confronted by the snarling Raptor who asks, in a mean growly voice,

"Are you a friend or an enemy"?

The response is always the same: "I'm a friend".

Then the Raptor says "Ok, you can stay".

The welcomed animal then rests in my lap until all of the animals have been welcomed. No script ad libs allowed. Changing the sequence or the words is grounds for a tantrum. I can't figure out why this game is so engaging for him. He'd play it forever if I'd agree. I'm good for about three rounds. Anyone have ideas?

Friday, September 19, 2008

What's Next?

Two weeks ago almost 400 people went public with their faith by choosing to be baptized on the lawn at GCC. Last week over 1600 people came to the launch of the Journey classes and today we wrapped up the two day Innovate08 conference on our campus. Church leaders from all over the country came and allowed us two days to pour into them the best of how we do what we do. God continues to be glorified.

The most amazing thing to me is that I've been allowed to have a part in each of these events. I've had some sleepless nights lately wondering what in the world I'm doing here. I know God doesn't make mistakes but I have to ask, "what are You thinking"? Not that long ago I was living a life very far from Him. And tonight I'm basking in the glow of His favor. I didn't do anything to deserve this kind of privilege. For me, accepting grace is a truly humbling experience.

I enjoyed the conference today so much more because I could share it with Jim. This is the first year he's been able to attend. He volunteered to serve as a greeter which surprised me. He's usually not very comfortable in a role that means he has to talk to people he doesn't know but, wow! He was incredible! Almost every time I saw him he was engaged in earnest conversation with guests. And he loved it. Who knew?

He's been talking all evening about the people he interacted with for the past two days. He couldn't sleep last night remembering everything he saw and heard. For an introvert who's also kind of shy this much stimulus can be exhilarating. I'm so proud of him!

Another great feature for me was that I got to spend some time with my friends from Sunset Bay Chapel.

I've talked with Julie Siefert (front row next to her cowboy) for the last few years about her role as the Front Door Connections director, Sunset's version of our First Impressions. Julie's passion for people is evident after about 2 seconds in her company and the whole team is just a blast to hang out with.

I also got to sit in on my boss's breakout of his new book, Lasting Impressions. I'm hoping I can persuade him to autograph my copy when it's released later this year.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity but through it all the evidence of God's blessing is pervasive. I've stopped running many times to just wonder at how great He is to me, to all of us. I don't ever want to forget, even for a moment, to be grateful to the Author of all of this.

Next month we launch GCC Elkhart . The holiday season is just around the corner. I can't wait to see what's next!

Monday, September 15, 2008


In our ongoing attempt to teach Aidan the basic courtesies such as "please" and "thank you" the following exchange took place last night while we were watching Toy Story:

Aidan: "Grandma, get me some juice and chippies"

Me: "Aidan, that's not how you ask for something. Ask again, nicely"

Aidan: "GRANDMA PLEASE do what I TELL you PLEASE!"


Friday, September 12, 2008


What follows is a list of movies I've seen in the theatre for the past year. The movies in blue were engaging enough to keep me from dozing off, the ones in red are the ones that really made an impact and the yellow ones were just not worth the bucks. Not even Raisinets and movie popcorn could help those dogs.

Transformers - so awful we walked out midway through.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
No Reservations
The Simpsons Movie
The Bourne Ultimatum
Across the Universe - bought this one as soon as it was released on DVD.
The Brave One
Into the Wild - hard to feel bad for a self indulgent rich kid.
Feast of Love
Dan in Real Life
No Country for Old Men - still can't decide how I feel about this one and I saw it twice.
August Rush
The Golden Compass
I Am Legend - saw this one twice.
27 Dresses
The Spiderwick Chronicles
Be Kind Rewind
Run, Fat Boy, Run - sophomoric but made me laugh, a LOT.
Smart People
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Baby Mama
Iron Man
Made of Honor
What Happens in Vegas - borderline awful.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Sex and the City: the Movie
Kung Fu Panda
The Happening
Hancock - Will Smith is always fun to watch.
The Dark Knight - saw this one thrice!!
Mama Mia
Swing Vote - unbelievably bad, left halfway through.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 - the scenes in Greece brought this one up from yellow, just barely.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona - MUST visit Barcelona one day.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


why, after cleaning up my house for a party, the cat (aka the Thug)
feels it necessary to yack up a hairball in the middle of the floor moments before guests arrive?

Sunday, August 31, 2008


When I was the parent of young children I thought I could never love anyone as much as I loved these two:And then came Aidan:

And I realized there was a part of my heart that was fallow until he came into my life. Then that part was awakened. Lately, I've wondered if there are other pieces of my heart that are sleeping, just waiting for something or someone to come and breathe life into them. I look at Aidan and what I feel is so fierce and enormous it's almost frightening. And then I realize that's just how God feels about me, about every one of us, only infinitely magnified.

Could our capacity to love ever be exhausted? I don't think so. Think about God's heart. We're made in his image. I believe he gives each of us a heart with no boundaries except those we put in place ourselves.

God, keep me from putting any boundaries on my capacity to love.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Hidden Diamond

UPDATE: Got the last 7 bottles at Meijer - we won't have to buy wine for awhile!

Jim and I enjoy wines, not just any wines, but a very specific type. We've found that the Germans make the most perfect white wines from the Mosel-Saar-Ruhr vineyards. The wines from that region are crisp and light and don't leave the tongue feeling "dusty" which is the only way I can describe what it feels like to drink Pinot Gris or Chardonnay.

Every now and then we find a diamond in the rough like this one from Meijer:

The region was right (Mosel) and the grape (Spatlese) is one of our favorites and extremely hard to find around here, so I grabbed one bottle. The price ($9.99) was a little higher than we normally like to spend, especially on an untested variety. (Yes, I can hear you rolling your eyes; Jim is Dutch). But when it rang up at $3.99 I sent Jim back for 2 more bottles. Turns out this bottle of wine is one of the absolute best we've ever tasted at any price! We're heading back to Meijer to grab what's left on the shelf.

Friday, August 29, 2008


why is it that when I lose weight my chest measurement is the first thing to decrease and when I gain weight it's the last place to increase?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Strange Critter

Have you ever seen a white toad? The insides of his rear legs are fluorescent yellow. He was less than cooperative when Jim tried to get him to show that part of his anatomy for a photo.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Do I Really Have to Ask?

I read this post tonight and it set off a firestorm of emotion inside me as posts like this often do. First comes regret that's so powerful it makes me feel like I've just been kicked in the stomach. On the heels of that I usually feel deeply sad for awhile. And if I let the cycle continue I start to get angry and ask "why, God, couldn't I have heard this advice when it might have done some good?". You see, this wonderful advice comes too late for my children who are 25 and 23 years old. Don't misunderstand; my kids are wonderful people. Nor do I believe that my influence on them, now and in the future, is immaterial. Unfortunately they seem destined to follow the same path I had to follow before I found my way to the Light.

Almost nine years ago in October of 1999, just before I met Jesus, I reached the end of my proverbial rope. I didn't think I wanted to live anymore. Things within my family had become unendurable. My relationship with my daughter had completely disintegrated. I'd lost her to drinking, drug using, violent "friends" who completely usurped my influence with her. You might think I'm exaggerating but it's true. For weeks, months really, I had been living in a constant state of fear. Sometimes it was fear that I could live with and still function. Other times it was overpowering. Near the end, after my husband would leave for work, I locked myself inside my bedroom and stayed there until he came home. I was afraid for her but I was also afraid of her. Physically afraid of her and the people she'd become involved with. I didn't realize how sick I was.

One night I reached a point of mental and physical exhaustion. I hadn't slept more than a few hours at a stretch in weeks. I decided that I simply couldn't go on. I had a handful of pills that I knew would kill me if I swallowed them. I felt bad that I'd be leaving my husband alone with this mess but my irrational thought was that maybe, if I was gone, my daughter might straighten out her life. Really, I felt that everything that was wrong was all my fault. I sat and stared at those pills for a very long time, wanting to go through with it but afraid. Finally I spoke these words: "God, please help me". I'd said those words before. If asked I would even have said I believed in God but I had never opened my heart enough to experience who He is. Not until that night. But that night my heart, so badly mangled, cracked open enough to let Him in.

It's nearly impossible to describe with words the very tangible presence of God. I'd never felt anything like it before that night and never so powerfully since. I felt arms come around me, enfold me. So strong was the sensation that, confused, I looked to where my husband lay sleeping on our bed. I thought he'd gotten up without me noticing and that he was holding me. It was in that moment that I knew and felt peace rush through me. The feeling was so foreign and such an intense relief that I began to cry silently. I stood up and walked to my bed over the pills I'd dropped without realizing. I laid down and fell asleep almost instantly and slept, long and deep.

That was the start of the amazing journey on which I find myself. Things didn't magically become perfect afterwards. The two years that followed were intensely painful but, at the same time, full of wonder and discovery. The difference was that I wasn't afraid anymore. I had found a solid place to plant my feet and a direction to follow that was clearly defined for me, week after week, by the teachers at Granger Community Church. Soon after, I discovered that the Bible was a great source of information too and I began to read it with eyes that saw everything new.

So, when I read posts like Tim's, it seems I still have much to process through but I've also come to the understanding that this is His plan for my life and for my children's lives. Would I feel this amazing gratitude and joy for the life I have if I hadn't experienced all the pain? Would I be a "casual Christian", just going through the motions of faith, without that incredible "before and after?" Or would I have any relationship with Him at all without that crack in my heart? Would anything less than total devastation have caused me to realize how much I need Him?

Do I really have to ask?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Simple Pleasures

Nothing could have made Aidan happier than this inexpensive inflatable pool. He played baseball in the pool, put all of his plastic dinosaurs around the edge and made up complicated scenarios that only a 3 year old could understand and just generally had a great time. Simplicity is key. I'm learning!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Which Mom Are You?

I found this amusing test on Michelle's blog. These are my results:

You are Claire Huxtable from The Cosby Show. You have high expectations for your children, just like you have high expectations for yourself. You've probably got your own life and your own career, but nothing is more fun than spending time with your family. You may be a professional woman, but you enjoy getting silly with the kids sometimes.

You want good kids, but you also want them to be successful, smart individuals who can speak their minds — as long as they do so respectfully. While you enjoy being the kind of mom that your kids can come to with a problem, you are not afraid to set them straight when they're acting badly. When it comes to discipline, you try treat your kids like adults, talking calmly and coolly. And that's ultimately why they're going to grow up with such unwavering respect for you — as both a mother and a successful person.

Better than being Roseanne! (Sorry Michelle :))

Thursday, May 22, 2008


For the past few years I've been in the habit of sitting on our back deck every morning to read my bible. Rain or shine, summer or winter, it's time for me to listen to what God might want me to know that day. In this season of rebirth I often wonder how anyone could believe that creation could be an accident.

Look at the detail in the Bleeding Heart. An accident? No.

Look at the design on the leaves of this Hosta. An accident? Not a chance.

Could the brilliant color of this Azalea be an accident of nature? I don't think so.

This Rhododendron flower is closed but in a few days will burst open and will be the size of a dinner plate, each petal in perfect symmetry creating something so beautiful it takes my breath away.

How is it possible that someone could look closely at creation and not see it as the sweetest of gifts from our loving Creator?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Women's Retreat 2008

Greeted on the last day of the retreat by a glorious sunrise seen through the mist hovering over the lake.

Kristina & Kelly, my roomies during the retreat. These extraordinary women came into my life last year through a Turning Point group. My life is richer for knowing them.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Taking Steps...

This beautiful woman is my daughter, Lily.

Over the past few months she's amazed and impressed me with her strength and resilience. She's a great mother to her three year old son, Aidan; she works full time at a very demanding job and she also goes to school.

Over the years of what can best be described as a tumultuous relationship between us an odd thing has begun to happen. I'm beginning to learn more from her than she's learning from me. We're closer now than we've been since she was a little girl. I'm watching her take steps toward a promising and rewarding future. I see the woman she's becoming, not who I envisioned 22 years ago, but someone better, someone all her own. What a gift!


Okay, so it's not Pyrrhuloxia but it's still unusual to see a turkey meandering around my front yard!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Dream Come True

Someone asked me recently what it was like being asked to join the staff of Granger Community Church. I responded, immediately and without pretense, "A dream come true". How many people can say that about their job? A few days from now is my fourth anniversary on this staff and I can honestly say it remains my dream job.

The fact that God had this in mind for me all along is both comforting and frightening. Comforting because I know his plan for me continues to unfold and he's not done with me, not by a long shot; frightening because I've been given/entrusted with much and, consequently, much more will be asked. (Lk. 12:48)

I'm praying I am up to the task.