Friday, December 26, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And what is Christmas again?

This year Christmas has looked different to me than ever before. Up until last year Christmas has consisted of a two week long break with no responsibilities, tons of presents and tons of fun. Christmas was always a break and full of activities and sleep. But this year for the first time ever I will work Christmas Eve and I will work the day after Christmas. This year we did almost no present buying or gift exchanging. And although at times leading up to Christmas it was hard to get excited about Christmas and it was disappointing that it wasn't going to be exactly the way I wanted it to be I am thankful that it ended up the way it did. It has forced me to make Christmas not about an emotional feeling of excitement or about the gifts but instead I have had to search for what really is Christmas. I learned that first and foremost it is not about me and what I want it to be. It has been hard to fight against what the world has made Christmas to be. I said last night that sometimes it seems like it would be nice to celebrate Christmas on a day different than rest of the world in order to be able to focus on Jesus's birth. All the celebrations and presents and music and decorations can sometimes just feel like static that gets in the way of a very special day. Does Satan use all of these things that feel so innocent and fun to distract us from worshiping and celebrating the day our God came to earth to save us? I think so.

Christmas Eve has always been my favorite part of Christmas and Silent night has always been my favorite Christmas song. Why? Because on Christmas Eve the world actually stops. Suddenly things are quiet, suddenly people have quit there busy lives and everyone goes home from work, people quit shopping and reside in the comfort of there own homes with the families they love. No other day of the year do we as a nation STOP. No other day of the year is the world quieter. No other day of the year in there a Silent Night for our Savior. It is a holy night, one when our God Immanuel (God with us) came to Earth to be WITH US, to SAVE US! It is so much more than Jesuses birthday and so much more than presents, cookies, and decorations. Without that Silent and Holy night we could not have been saved. Without that night we would not be able to call upon Jesus to save us from our sins. We would not have a God who understands all that we go through here on Earth because he never would have walked the Earth WITH US! So tonight enjoy the quietness and peacefulness of the world around you more than you enjoy the presents and good food. Take a night to be still and KNOW THAT HE IS GOD!

Because this is what Christmas is...

The night that Mary, "gave birth to a son, and gave him the name Jesus, because he saves his people from their sins. The virgin was with child and gave birth to a son, and they called him Immanuel- which means 'God with us'" Matthew 1:21-23

Saturday, December 20, 2008

UPS Adventures

Yesterday (Friday) we got some CRAZY snow in Michigan. At one point we were getting an estimated 3 inches per hour! I believe it because I'm pretty sure I had an inch on ME after scraping off my car in the morning! We got a total of at least 10 inches in less than 12 hours and apparently the state plow guys need a government bailout - they were nowhere to be found!

As you can imagine, a UPS package car (pictured above) is probably the WORST possible vehicle to try to drive through the snow. It was rare to find a road that had been plowed, and even the most gentle slope gave us trouble. My driver and I probably got stuck 6 or 7 times, plus countless times crawling around neighborhoods and tromping through a foot or more of untouched snow.

The photo above is not a road - it's a driveway that I had to walk up with a package in my arms as the driver pulled up to the next house and walked a different driveway that was just as long. Pretty, though, isn't it?

As tough as the weather makes life, though, it's hard to complain about such beauty. Happy snow day!

-Mark- +

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Early Christmas

Mark and I had an unplanned early Christmas today when he decided that he would "make" my Christmas present right in front of me. For several hours he was sawing, staining and nailing something and I was clueless the whole time. It did make it much more exciting than just opening a present. It was kind of like unwrapping a present only very, very slowly! In the end it turned out to be a frame with wire in between that I can hang all of my jewelry on! I was very excited considering all of my jewelry is just laying in a drawer. The coolest part about it though was that he thought of it, and then made it. I love living in a home where we can be creative and build things. They aren't always perfect but neither are we and I like it like that. I love my husband and how much he cares about me and does everything he can to meet my needs and make me happy! Im so thankful for him!

I did get Mark a present but there was no creativity on my part. He wanted the website domain name . So I got that for him which you can hope to see in the next few months when he launches it with his newly written music.

We will post pictures later of Mark's creation!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's Almost Story Time!

This past Sunday was our first official week as "Storytellers" rather than "Journeyers." We had what's called a practice service where the core team gets together to informally run through a service.

Aaron gave the message he will be giving next week...

...and Jen & I made sure there were no technical glitches.

This coming Sunday, we'll hold two preview services (9:30 & 11:15) where we actually invite people to start getting a taste of what The Story: a Community Church will be like. It was lots of fun worshiping with new people and getting to know them. Can't wait till Sunday!

-Mark- +

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Only at UPS...

Have you ever heard those "Only in America" jokes? Like, only in America do banks leave vault doors wide open yet chain their pens to the desk. Or only in America are there handicap parking spots at a skating rink. Well, how about a variation:

Only at UPS will you find a bag of packing peanuts and a filing cabinet in the employee restroom!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How We Measure Snowfall

How Jen & I measure the snowfall without even turning on the TV:

Fun with the Journey staff

Two Monday nights ago (December 1) we went out for a night of food & fun with Jon & Erica and Ben & Sharon and Ben's mom to celebrate the last 15 months we've spent at Journey Church. The 7 of us went to Johnny Carino's for dinner and enjoyed their "Two can dine for $14.99" deal times three. We had a good time, shared lots of laughs, and a few sentimental stories. Ben's mom tried to get us all to cry but I don't think she succeeded :-)

After dinner, we went back to Jon & Erica's house and played cards like the good-ol'-days. We avoided playing Pit this time, since I (Mark) ended up 240 points in the hole last time. Instead, we played a dice game called Fill Or Bust. Jen seemed to be the lucky roller that night, and we were pretty sure it was because of the red fleece blanket. Towards the end of the game, when he had a chance to knock out the leader, Jon borrowed the lucky blanket and rolled a perfect roll!

There was a pic of him bowing down to the lucky blanket after his roll, but I didn't want that one falling into the wrong hands ;-P

All in all it was a GREAT night. We will definitely miss being so close to two awesome couples.

-Mark- +

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Why I Love Mac

I've tried to stay neutral with the whole Mac vs PC thing. As most of you know, I prefer Apple products but I try not to knock PC. Yesterday, however, I was fully "converted."

The hard drive on my 2-year-old MacBook went kaput. Jen and I were way bummed becaused I didn't buy Apple Care (extended warranty) when I bought the computer because I couldn't afford it. I went to the Apple Store yesterday at 10:30 to have a Mac Genious look at it. Steve the Mac Genious checked a few things, then went to the back to see if they had the part in stock. When he came back out is when I got my surprise...

"We're going to replace your hard drive for you. I also noticed that your keyboard cover is chipped and discolored, a known flaw with this model. We'll replace that for you too at no charge. Merry Christmas."

Haha! Apple rules!

"And we'll have it for you at noon."

No way! I love Mac. Thanks, Steve!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Saying goodbye and saying hello...

So this is our last week at Journey. It has finally come and with a ton of emotions...

For those of you who don't know, Mark and I will be leaving Journey Church this week and heading up to the north side of town (comstock park) to help launch another church called The Story. There are tons of reasons for this decision that are not worth explaining but bottom line--God said "Go" so we what do we do? Well duh...we GO!

So as we approach this last week I think we are thankful to have transitions done but are sad to leave something that was nothing when we got here. We have watched God build a church from just a few people to a family of 170 or so. We have seen lives changed and people saved through the mighty power of Jesus Christ. We have invested so much and made many amazing friends and most of all we have grown individually and together. We have seen God move in so many ways. Leaving has been hard but at the same time we are so excited to start a new adventure. We can't wait to be a part of watching God build yet another new church. We can't wait to see what God change lives in Comstock Park and we are so excited to be following an amazing Pastor, Aaron, whom God has given an incredible vision.

The decision to leave Journey has been quite an adventure. When we originally felt God calling us to leave we had no idea where he was calling us to go. But we humbly submitted to the great provider and told Journey that we would have to follow God and take this step of faith. Shortly following, after much prayer, God brought The Story into our life and we eventually found our hearts and passions tied up in the vision of The Story. So we were excited and ready to make it happen even when we found out that The Story was not going to be able to pay Mark. But we knew AGAIN that God was calling us to take another step of faith and stay with the Story and wait for God to provide financially for us.

And again as always God shows up. Today Mark got a job with UPS! It is only seasonal but it allows him more time in a horrible job market to find a job. We are so thankful that the timing couldnt have been more perfect and that God takes care of those who love him.

This has been such a beautiful journey of obeying God and watching him move in our lives. It has been so hard and challenging but as always here we are again in awe of a God who never lets us down. As challenging as it can be to not have any idea what God is doing with your life it is so freeing to be completely in his hands. Sometimes I think it is where Mark and I feel the most comfortable. There were many moments where I (Jen) would think are we out of our minds? With the economy being so bad why in the world are we doing this? But then I remember that the one and only thing we are living for is God and the rest is only temporary. We are in the business of serving him and not ourselves. There is so much life in following him no matter how bumpy the road or how steep the mountain, God will always meet you right where you are at. He will carry us through and he will always win!

So as we did a year and half ago when we said goodbye to Faith and hello to Journey, we will now say goodbye to Journey and hello to The Story...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Gorveatte bros vs Jonas bros

I'm watching the Jonas Brothers on the Rockafeller Christmas program, and I've figured out the difference between the Jonas Brothers and the Gorveatte Brothers (aka the Journey Church worship band):

The Gorveattes are cool and are good musicians.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Justin Ackert!

We went to Justin & Liz's wedding this past Saturday. It was fun to be a part of it. Mark was the "official" videographer, and Jen was the unofficial calmer-downer for Liz :-)

They had a beautiful, traditional ceremony at Liz's home church and a fun reception at the Grand Valley Armory. It was especially fun sharing the day with lots of Jen's co-workers, and the DJ was from our church! Congrats, Justin & Liz! We hope you're having a BLAST in San Diego right now!

Sunday, November 30, 2008


We had a GREAT time with my (Mark's) side of the family this Thanksgiving. Every-other year, the Potter family (my dad's brothers and sisters and all their families - about 40 people in all) gets together near Jackson, MI for Thanksgiving. The hi-lights are Wednesday night pizza, the family football game, and of course the Thanksgiving feast.

My cousins and I went all-out this year with the football game. This was the first year that we've ALL been old enough to fill up two teams and really compete. My cousin Don (who was also my best man) formulated the two most even teams he could think of, wrote an extensive playbook for his team, and got team shirts printed. It was the pink Blackbeard's Volkswagon Delight (don't ask) vs the blue Juggernauts (that was my team). Apparently Don did a great job of figuring out even teams, because the basketball game was decided by 2 points, and the football game was decided by a touchdown.

This is Travis in mid-air during his spectacular interception attempt.

And me, after throwing my second touchdown pass.

The results?

Juggernauts win by a touchdown! And my cousins voted for me to receive the MVP football - the highest honor in all of Potter football ;-P

Jen had fun hanging out with my mom & sisters...

...and the meal, of course, was spectacular!

I can't wait until November 2010!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

iPod Touch!

I got a new iPod touch today! And I'm writing this post with it! How cool is that!!!

Posted with LifeCast

Sunday, November 9, 2008

"Matching" Socks

Is this perfect or WHAT?

Thanks, Camie!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Why God Chose Barack Obama as President

Yes, I AM in a controversial mood this morning. But hear me out:

I won't say who I voted for. In fact, I probably never will because it's stupid that some people challenge your character based on who you vote for and often they let it affect the status of your friendship.

What I will say is that I trust God is in control of the Presidential selection, not in spite of it.
"... there is no authority except that which God has established" - Romans 13:1

Besides that, I saw faces on TV last night that gave me confidence that God is in control - even in control of our "democratic" processes. I saw black faces, shining with the tears of someone who has always wanted to believe that anything is possible but nothing has ever given them reason to. I saw black faces shining with the tears of someone whose dreams have literally just come true. I honestly don't care one drop what you think, I KNOW that those tears of hope are from God.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." - James 1:17

Do you remember that Jesus guy we talk about every now and then? Do you remember that he was in the business of giving hope of those who had none? Do you remember that he breathed value into the worthless? Do you remember that he was all about unity? How can you have a black church in Atlanta, Georgia celebrating together because God has given them hope, while a white church in Michigan hangs their heads because they believe God has abandoned America (or vice versa) and Obama equates to a one-way ticket down the tubes?

Christians everywhere, have no doubt: God IS in control. And I say that not in spite of Obama's election. I say that because of it.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008


A great comment from a blog post by Pastor Perry Noble in Anderson, SC:

"For a Christian to claim that the world is going to be doomed to hell because a particular party happens to “control” the White House is a slap in the face of a Sovereign God."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Senior Night @ Fairfield High School

We're in Cincinnati this weekend for Maria's Senior Night - her last marching band game after 4 years marching @ FF.

The seniors got to wear funny hats, and Maria's hat with a feather in it was definitely the best. All for one, and one for all!

At halftime, the seniors walked out onto the field, escorted by their parents, and the announcer called their names.

We're so proud of Maria. She's grown to be a beautiful, smart, confident woman and we're excited to see where God takes her next! We love you, Maria!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I guess its about time...

I have been getting yelled at for not ever writing in the blog anymore. I guess though since Mark has been so consistent at it I have sub-consciously removed it from list of things to do. Mark did say at one point that he thought everyone would quit reading if I didn't start writing in it.. :)

Well I don't have tons of exciting things to say. It has been a beautiful fall and it has felt really normal. The weather has been gorgeous and I have spent way to much time at Starbucks. I have had lots of amazing time with my husband and not enough time to relax. I have grown closer to God than I have ever been before and I have been challenged more than I ever have been before. In general life has felt good and peaceful. One of the highlights of the past few months has been the new addition to our lives--Justin and Elizabeth. I work with Elizabeth at Starbucks, she is my age and we have a lot in common. She is getting married next month to Justin and Mark and Justin also have a lot in common. In a very short time they have become very special to us and a necessity in life :) I have been so thankful to have someone that I really connect with and love being around and is also my age and in my stage of life. She is God sent Im sure :)

We also scheduled a trip to Nashville next summer with Justin and Elizabeth which will be amazing! We are very excited.

Well I need to make dinner so off I go!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Introducing, Mr. and Mrs. Ryan and Tara Jonker!

Jen and I were invited to Ryan & Tara's wedding on Saturday. It was a beautiful wedding through and through. Classical church, elegant ceremony, and CLASSY country club reception.

Jon, Erica, and Ben were there too. Unfortunately Erica had to run home to get the girls after the ceremony, but we sat at a table with Jon & Ben.

I'm REALLY happy for Ryan and Tara. They both waited a lot longer than most people to make the marriage commitment, and it paid off because they are PERFECT together.

Everything went off without a hitch, and they even showed up at church the next day! I hope they're having a wonderful honeymoon together right now. God bless their life together.

Monday, October 20, 2008

We got Punked!

Last night, and the end of our trek up 3 flights of stairs, we were greeted by 18 paper plates covering the door to our apartment!

Is this the apartment version of getting TP'ed?

The colorful decorations were a surprise pastor-appreciation gift from FUEL, the youth group here at Journey Church. The students had written brief notes and drawn pictures on paper plates and staked-out our apartment complex until someone let them in to "punk" us.

Statistic count:
Most popular word: "rock" !!!!!!! (haha! is there a 'rock-on' smiley?)
Second most popular word: "Mark"

And seriously guys, HOW LONG did you have to wait until someone let you in to the building??? (I think you just need a gmail account to leave comments - please do!)

Thanks, FUEL! You guys are the best!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Worship Conference

Today, tomorrow, and Friday I'm at Integrity Music's "Seminars4Worship" hosted @ ResLife Church in Grand Rapids. Should be loads of fun & very refreshing. Great speakers like Paul Baloche, Mia Fieldes, and Jon Egan.

Today I'm in the "worship lab" called "Worship Leading and Songwriting." I'll let you know if I learn anything groundbreaking by adding comments to this post!

-Mark- +

Monday, October 6, 2008

If World Hope had $700 billion...

I had lunch with my friend Justin on Saturday, and he brought up a RADICAL idea that made me even sadder about the bailout just passed by Congress.

Justin was trying to imagine how much $700 billion is, and he said "Can you imagine all the good that much money could do if the rich people getting it weren't so materialistic?" WOW! As I took that thought and chewed on it, my world began to change. Justin again said something profound: "The top 500 richest people in America probably have enough EXTRA money to end world poverty." WOOOOOOW!!!! He's right! And that makes me SO UNBELIEVABLY ANGRY! Especially after Justin pointed out that most of those people literally have more money than they will ever be able to spend or even experience.

This is just wrong. Do you realize that Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, or Sam Walton could each probably end the AIDS epidemic or African genocide single-handedly? They could probably even keep everything they have in the bank and just accomplish such a feat by selling their extra houses, cars and boats. Keep the biggest one, even, but what does someone need with more than 2 houses???

And so that led me to think about the $700 billion bailout. And do you know what I thought? What if World Hope International, an organization dedicated to ending human trafficking and "alleviating suffering and injustice," was given $700 billion? Could you imagine?

What if Congress saw human souls as more valuable than corporate wealth, and decided to give $700 billion of taxpayers' money to World Hope International? First of all, it makes me sick that corporate wealth is more important to them than genocide or AIDS or starvation. Humans across the ocean have no dignity left and struggle to survive each day. Shoot, some of our brothers and sisters in Africa don't even know what hope is any more. But if we did give $700 billion to World Hope, could you imagine the possibilities? GET THIS, PEOPLE - we would live in a different world.

As Justin said, World Hope's first reaction would be "Where do we start!!???" That money would be in such better hands with them. I know it's just a very small corner of the world that reads this blog, but maybe sharing these thoughts will help play a small part in turning the tide on the fight between greed on this side of the ocean and desparation on the other horizon.

-Mark- +

Friday, October 3, 2008

Can we flip the tickets?

I watched the VP debate last night and both candidates did such a great job, it left me wondering - can we flip both tickets around and vote for Biden or Palin as President?

I agree with pastor Perry Noble and what he wrote in a blog a few weeks ago: I'm tired of hearing why NOT to vote for the other guy. I want to see respect among the candidates, and I want to be inspired and convinced of why each candidate SHOULD be President, not why the other guy SHOULDN'T. Last night, both VPs were cordial and avoided, for the most part, blasting each other or each other's running mates. Instead, they showed us where they stand and who they are.

Senator Biden showed EXCEPTIONAL knowledge and understanding of the Constitution. Which is, after all, our government's foundational document and seems to often get overlooked in this process. Biden showed severe respect for his opponents. He showed passion, wisdom, and poise.

I'm pretty sure Governor Palin blew EVERYONE'S expectations out of the water last night. She really did an outstanding job. She showed the confidence that had been drained from her after a rough first few weeks as McCain's running mate - the confidence that I think her supporters have missed and are glad to have back. I learned two major things about Governor Palin last night that give me more confidence in her as a VP candidate:
1) She is a quick learner.
2) She has surrounded herself with wise, knowledgeable people.
There's no question that she's a different person than she was before "debate boot camp," and I think she was well prepared and well educated by her staff.

One last comment about the VP debate - AND THIS IS IMPORTANT:

If you watched the debate last night, did you notice the one topic the candidates agreed on? Gay marriage. I was EXTRAORDINARILY proud of our country as Biden and Palin represented us. In a nutshell, this is what they said:

Whichever way America votes, the VPs said we will not discriminate against people for the choices they make. We will not, at this point in history, make people behave the way they should.


It was made clear last night that America - Republican and Democrat alike - still has a stand. Both candidates firmly stated that they DO NOT support or approve of gay marriage, and they claimed the same stance for their running mates. THANK YOU, Senator Biden and Governor Palin, for standing firm, being honest, and representing us well on an important issue that (because of the exceptionally loud voice of one minority position) can be a politically dangerous stance to take.

However you think the government should act on issues like this (and I would not argue with you for feeling differently) , the VPs' stance on gay marriage parallels how Christians should behave. It is NOT our job to hate, shun, abuse, or criticize. It IS our job, however, to be honest with people in a loving way and tell them A) it doesn't have to be that way, and B) there is a Way that they will surely find to be immeasurably better and freeing to their souls.

-Mark- +

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Every year I get so excited about fall. Fall seems to bring this aroma of expectancy and anticipation. I always feel like if I don't act fast fall will come and go and I won't be able to enjoy any of it. Fall always seems to hold exciting times, new memories and a feeling of peace. I love the sunshine and in just a few months I am sure I will looking outside longing for sun. But today I am enjoying the cloudy brisk day. God shines through in everything and I love it. We launch our second service this week at Journey. It is our 1st birthday at Journey and it is so exciting to look back a year ago and see how much has happened and how many lives have been changed. Even is our life there has been significant growth. In fact I kind of giggle when I think about where I was a year ago. God has taught me so much this year about relying on him. I have learned so much about his plan for us. God doesn't want us to live in sin and we don't have to. I have learned how to look to him for peace and guidance, patience and strength. He is such a wonder to me. Im thankful that if we seek him always he will always change us. Im thankful that life with God is never easy but always rewarding. Im thankful that he gave me a bestfriend to walk every step with and that he would never make me do it alone.

Just like with fall it feels like if we blink it will be gone I pray that we would have that same anticipation with God. Afraid that if we look a way just for a moment that we might miss something beautiful and magnificent. God is so good everyone. Try to look for him in all that you do. Everyday. I promise you he is there. Even on the cold, ugly and hard days. There is beautiful God who loves you more than you can ever imagine and he has his eyes on you, just waiting for you to fall at his feet.

Monday, September 29, 2008

1st Anniversary

I was looking through the pics on my phone and realized that we never updated you all about our 1st Anniversary trip!

We left after church on Sunday, August 17 and headed north to Traverse City! Thanks to Dan & Sonya Richards, we had a free night at the Hampton Inn there. After checking in to the hotel and driving around for a little while, we found a fun place to eat that overlooked the bay called Scott's Harbor Grill.

Jenny had a little trouble keeping her food from running away!

But it was a great, relaxing anniversary dinner. Amazing salmon and catfish!

We followed dinner with a round of put-put, stopping under the waterfall for a romantic 5 seconds, then went back to the hotel and hit the sack.

On Monday, we took our time getting going, spent some time on the beach, watched the Olympics in the hotel room, and headed up the peninsula to another neat local restaurant called The Bowery. The Bowery is a very old restaurant with a legend of the ghost Genevieve. After dinner, we drove around the peninsula admiring its solitude and exploring the lighthouse and "Old Mission," the site of the first Christian mission to the area.

That evening, we headed home and watched the Olympics some more from our hotel room and drifted off to sleep...

Until the fire alarm went off at about 12:45am!!! Jen BOLTED out of bed and we grabbed our essentials (her purse and my computer) and went outside. The fire trucks showed up a speedy 30 MINUTES after the alarms started going off (it's a good thing there wasn't actually a fire) and we eventually learned that someone had knocked the head off of a sprinkler in their room.

The fire chief at first said he wasn't going to let anyone stay at that hotel. Since Jen and I had been planning on getting up early and leaving Traverse City around 6am, we decided we might as well take off and drive through the night. We barely made it home, crawled into our own bed, thanked God for fun and safety, and dozed off to sleep.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Here's a link to a great article about our soon-to-be brother-in-law who's the Sports Information ("SI") Director @ Hillsdale College near Jakson, Michigan:

It ends with a really neat quote from Brad, one that I think describes him well:
"I don't like to be in the spotlight... I like to be the one operating the spotlight.

A Life Of Worship

We had a really cool Gathering at church today. We've been in a series called "What If" during which Jon (our lead pastor) has taken one of our six core values each week and broken it down, saying "Jesus lived like this - what if we did?"

This week Jon talked about worship and used some neat illustrations. He talked about how God dares us: "Taste and see that the Lord is good." (Psalm 34:8) And that we worship out of a hunger for God - the more we taste, the more we want. And inevitably, when we hunger and actually take a taste of something, that leads to an intense thirst - in this case, a thirst for righteousness and connection with God.

We entered the Gathering room this week to the smell (and sound) of popcorn! It was 10 minutes into theGathering before Jon had the ushers pass out bags of popcorn to everyone. They loved it! Then, as he began to talk some more, you could tell another sensation was filling the room - thirst. Intense thirst. Look-around-the-room-and-wish-you-hadn't-eaten-that-popcorn thirst. And then it came - Journey Church First Impressions Team to the rescue! The ushers passed out a bottle of water to each of us. WHAT A VIVID PICTURE of how important a lifestyle of worshiping God is.

Later in theGathering, Jon had us each take a piece of clay and form either what it is that compels us to worship or what it is that inhibits our worship of God (in which case we were invited to resolutely smash it up). I could tell that it was a really meaningful experience for some people.

So next time you have thoroughly enjoyed a salty snack and find yourself parched and desperate for water, remember that when you give God a chance (NOT church or religion or ritual, but GOD) to do something new in your life, that small taste will not disappoint you.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fuel 4 ur Journey

The youth group @ Journey Church is sweet.

These kids are so much fun, and so creative. There's got to be some kind of award for how awesome they are at whatever it is they are doing. Last night, Journey invaded the Caledonia High School Homecoming game and worked the concession stand, gave out the first 1000 hot dogs for free, and the youth group (Fuel) picked up trash - ALL the trash! Afterwards (to celebrate) they decided they had done such a great job they deserved cheerleaders just as much as the football team!

Fuel's got spirit, yes they do! Fuel's got spirit, how 'bout YOU!!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Our slightly-less-humble abode

Well, we're all settled in to our new apartment in Caledonia - complete with wireless internet that we're actually paying for! We owe a huge thanks to those who helped us move: Todd, Teresa, Mark, Nathan, and Erick. And another huge thanks to those who helped us settle in and "warm" our house: Justin, Liz, Ben, Sharon, Jon, Erica, and Sydney and Makenzie.

(Todd hard at work.)

It feels like we have twice as much space now, and we're paying the same price we were before! (though we did forfeit our convenient in-unit washer and dryer).

If you were ever in our old apartment, you can see that the bedroom is HUGE compared to the old one, and we never used to have hallways!

The layout turned out to be great for all of our stuff. See, it even looks like there's something on-purpose about our living room!

Probably the best part - we have an extra room to use as an office/guest bedroom! We're taking reservations now!

As you can see, Jen has done a great job decorating and accessorizing (does that word work there?) and she's very happy with her new kitchen!

Needless to say, we're very happy with our new home. Besides the space itself, it's just great to be so close to work and (most importantly) friends. In fact, I roller-bladed to the staff leadership discussion this morning! It was great exercise, and a great way to get the blood pumping. Anyways, we hope to make our home a peaceful, inviting place where people know they can relax and be themselves.

For those of you who want the new address:
217 Maple St SE Apt B304
Caledonia, MI 49316

Phone numbers are still the same.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the last few weeks of summer, and get ready for the beautiful colors of fall!

Friday, September 19, 2008


Katie, my sister-in-law, had a GREAT post called "Reality." Read it here.

After all, why DO we so often tag reality as a bad thing?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Potter 1

I knew there was a reason I married Potter 2! ;-P

following up..

After reading Marks blog I just wanted to follow up and say that I do think we tend to read books from the great and often I think we see the side that succeeds and not the side that has stuggeled and been challenged to get there.

Mark is quite a left brainer. He gags at the thought of structure and discipline. Me on the other hand gets excited about structure and trying to be disciplined. I have a lot of left brainer in me and never will my morning "quiet times" look exactly the same everyday. I am always having to change location, change activity and change time of day. But I love the thought of being disciplined and making myself better day after day. But I think what Mark and I are constantly trying to grab a hold of beleive and live is that God made each of different. God did not intend all of us to live our days the same each day. And no where in the bible does it say you must get up at 5 am to have "quiet time" and run for 3 hours everyday. We just know that we must take strides to meet with God on a daily basis, take care of our bodies, our minds and our lives. But God being the creative God he is made each of us different and none of us should feel that in order to be as amazing as Beth Moore we must do our life exactly as she does. I don't think that is what God wants.

Well now you have input from Potter 1 and Potter 2 :)


I enjoy reading. I also really don't like reading. Here's why.

I think I tend to read from a pretty good book list. I've got people in my life who have read LOTS and they generally know what to recommend - really good stuff. I've read some books with some GREAT content, stuff that really is life-changing. The problem? Generally, it's the authors.

For the most part, the people who write books are the ones who have mastered a certain skill, discipline, or art. Often it was a long learning process for them, but noneless - they mastered whatever it is they're writing about. I'll cite Donald Miller as an exception, and move on.

Beth Moore has done great things for women all over the globe. I've yet to meet someone who DOESN'T like her material, man and woman alike. She writes "Get Out of That Pit!" and women everywhere are inspired. Unfortunately, however, few women are as spunky and assertive as Beth is. The "just do it" mentality really only works in advertising.

John Maxwell has done some great things for leadership. He's considered an exemplary leader and has shared everything he knows through numerous books. But John Maxwell has filed away thoughts on leadership EVERY DAY since he was 17 year old (he's now 60). Also, John Maxwell enjoys getting up at 5 or 6 in the morning to read, write, and reflect. When I was 17, I rolled out of bed 5 minutes before my last possible chance to leave for school (I haven't changed much yet!) and finished my homework as fast as possible so I could play basketball with friends or surf the web (remember Napster? iTunes now has me honest).

John Eldredge has done great things for Christians' souls. He has brought many a man and woman to life with his books Wild At Heart and Captivating. But when he gets into The Journey Of Desire or The Sacred Romance, we learn just how disciplined he is, how consistently he works out, how much time he actually spends sitting pondering life, and how nutritious his diet is. He of course suggests that we all aspire to most of these traits, and he may be right in saying so. But how many of us really achieve consistent patterns of discipline and feel alive?

I'm not offering any solutions to any problems here. I'm really not even complaining. I just find myself often wondering: It seems like all of the books I read portray such a 'perfect,' structured, disciplined life. It works great for all of them. But it's nothing like me. And God is way too creative for me to believe that the same formula works for everybody.

I would say that someone like me should write a book, but it would take way too much time sitting in one place for that to ever happen. Maybe someone like me who has conquered the challenges I face should pick a spot at a coffee shop somewhere where he can show up at some point in the later hours of most Wednesdays when he thinks of it, and other people like me can go chat with him and pick his brain.

Sorry so long. Any thoughts? Anyone else have similar feelings?

-Mark- +

Monday, September 15, 2008

moving... part 2

In case anyone is available to help, we plan on beginning our move at 9AM this Saturday (9.20) at the Kentwood apartment (email us for directions) and we expect to arrive at the Caledonia apartment between 11 and noon. We would appreciate the help!

A bizillion thanks to Todd Wandell for offering to bring his 20-foot enclosed trailer to help us. Todd, we are always SO thankful for your friendship and how much you care about others. Thanks man!


Yay to my hubby for making our blog sweet :) And yay to him for just being a sweet hubby!

new look

We're updating our blog to be more functional and pleasing to the eye. This post is a test of the new "Subscribe" feature in the left sidebar. Enter your email address, and receive new blog posts via email!

Keeping in touch,

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


As I stated in our last blog Mark and I are finally moving into Caledonia and we are so thankful. We have been praying for some time for this and in most aspects are really exciting. I have only actually moved twice in my life (not counting dorm moves because your home is still the same). Surprisingly this moves feels a little emotional. The apartment we are in now has become a big box of memories of our first year or marriage. As I look back over the years this apartment has held some of our best memories and many first. It was our first home that we shared together, it was the first place I cooked a "real" meal, the first time we had friends over, it was where we celebrated our first Christmas together and set up our first Christmas tree, and the list could go on and on. I'm not sure that I expected to feel this weird nostalgic feeling when thinking about moving. It has only been a year right? Unlike my first move when I was 15 and was leaving the house I had grown up and experienced so much in. It just reminds me how special this last year has been...good, bad and ugly it was a special year. I am so thankful for what Mark and I have shared together and a little bit sad that we have passed the one year mark. There was something fun and exciting about having been married less than a year.

In all of this though I am thankful that a home really isn't the walls that surround you. Mark and I said once that our home is where we are together and the place where God lives. It can be anywhere. Our houses are just the walls that surround us and our homes are where we make memories, love, laugh and cry. And all of that we will take to us to our new house and make it into our new home.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Finally settling down from a crazy summer!

I love summer but I am very thankful this year that it is slowly coming to end. Not only do I love fall and all the activities that it brings with it I also am always thankful for the routine that fall seems to bring. Everyone is home from vacations and it seems like things for a while always become a little more "normal" --whatever that is. This summer has been so busy for us and I am ready for it to end! I also love the nostalgic feeling that comes with fall. It is by far my favorite season.

This fall will bring some exciting things to. We will celebrate Journey's first birthday with launching a second service which is really exciting! Mark and I finally are going to be able to move into Caledonia! We are excited to be closer to friends and the church and to live in the community we are ministering to. We move next month!

We are however coming to the end of our first year of support and will be having to ask for another year. Please pray with us that God will provide and that Mark and I will be able to continue to serve in Ministry at the capacity we are now and that Mark will not have to pick up another job.

Mark and I just celebrated out first anniversary. I cant believe that it has already been a year! We went to Traverse City for two nights which was so much fun! Thank you to Dan and Sonya! It was a fun little getaway to a beautiful place!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


We are back from our vacation and back to normal life again! We really had fun and it was no fun coming back to normal life. I thought I would update all of you on what we did along with some pictures! We started off our trip on Sunday and we drove to Coldwater Michigan. It was nice and we really enjoyed our stay but Im not sure we will be back. Here our some pictures of our campsite. We were very proud of all the camping stuff we had managed to find for our camping trip. 5 months ago we didn't own any of it!

As you can see the campground was a little "mcdonaledized". There was a tree and table on every spot in a perfect row. It was silly...we always pictured camping as in woods. But we loved it. It was quiet and it still felt like camping. We got to do everything we wanted. We went on a paddle boat one day and that was a lot of fun. We also went into town a few times. We had lunch one day at rootbeer stand. It was fun, you pull up and someone comes to your car and takes your order and then they bring it to you on a tray that attaches to your window. We had a lot of fun with that. We also went to the drive in theater. This was probably one of my favorite parts! We saw Wall-e and Hancock. And to nobody's surprise I fell asleep during both but the experience was still really cool. We went early to get a good spot and then played our new favorite game, backgammon, in the car.

Katie and Brad also came to visit us one night which was fun. I read a whole book, and we played lots of games. It was very relaxing. Mark did an awesome job also and making us amazing food! I love camping food! We left camp on Thursday and made our way to Cincinnati to see Mark's family. Stay tuned for an update on the rest of our week :)
Contact Us