Thursday, November 5, 2009

Silence I know what silence is? Let's see...when I am driving I listen to music, when I a with Mark we (mostly me) are talking, when I am at work there is constant sounds of phones, talking and business, when I take a quiet bath or spend quiet time my mind is going crazy being loud with the thousands of thoughts that are running through my mind. I am not sure that I know what silence is. And yet I feel as though it is critical to my walk with God. How, if I am never quiet, do I hear God speak? How, if my mind is always going, do I experience true peace and restfulness?

I often feel stressed, overwhelmed and over stigmatized and have no idea why. And now I am beginning to wonder if it is because I never ever experience true silence. And if I am honest I might say that silence, true silence, is a little scary.

I talk a lot. And when I say a lot I mean all the time. Its habit I guess. It drives Mark crazy because he in fact likes silence and is good at practicing pure silence and me I am good at disturbing that silence. I find the constant need to tell him every thought that goes through my mind and I don't even realize I am doing it. This is something I have been working on for a while now. I want my words to be few and everything I say to be important and not useless. Anything else just gets me in trouble and annoys those around me. So if I could get this down silence may just come easier but really these are two very much related topics but also two very seperate topics...back to silence.

I want to try and spend time being truly silent each day. I will start off small maybe 3 min and grow from there. I think God calls us to practice and incorporate silence into our lives but what a struggle this is in our busy busy world. We are trained and raised to have overactive brains. We are always thinking, seeing, and listening and we don't really know any different. I suppose the only way I will pratice silence is away from phones, clocks, music, people, signs, books and anything else distracting. A closed room with nothing else going on. Quiet...oh how we all long for peace and quiet yet we rarely seek it and practice and take it seriously.

Today I will begin quieting my mind,talking less, thinking less, listening and seeing less....more Jesus please...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

time flys...

Well....I don't know if anyone has hung around long enough to see if we still post blogs because it has been FOREVER! When we moved to Cincinnati and started looking for houses I guess we got busy and distracted and then since we have had the house we have been busy and distracted fixing it up, painting, setteling in and enjoying.

An update on our lives:

-Jen works at Starbucks still and is now a shift supervisor. She work between 38 and 40 hours a week.
-Mark is working at Chic-fil-a about 35-40 hours a week and is also working on a web design business.
-We are attending LifeSpring Community Church and are really enjoying although we are taking it slow getting connected and involved.
-We have really been enjoying the large amount of free time we have now that we moved to Cincinnati.
-We have loved spending time getting to know our neighbors and having new and old friends in our home.
-We love our new home and are so thankful for it....we spend lots of time doing projects around here and just learning how to take care of a home and make it ours.
-We love being with our housemates (aka family) Faith and John who are living with us, they live upstairs. Faith also works at Sbux (a different one) and John is looking for a job.
-Jen likes to cook and bake and spend lots of time reading :-)
-We are loving fall and that Cincinnati brings tons and tons of sunshine!!!
-So far we have gone camping for a weekend, been to Michigan for a weekend, gone to Atlanta for a weekend and will end the summer with another trip camping in Kentucky next weekend.
-We are overwhelmed by how good God has been to us. We are so thankful for where he has brought us...6 months ago we had no idea life would be as it is now but we could have never imagined!
-We feel like after 2 years of marriage we are finally actually beginning our life together...things just feel right and they never did before and we are thankful!

I can't beleive that we are already in October. Two years ago we had just gotten married and settled and were getting ready to launch Journey. One year ago we were preparing to leave Journey full of all sorts of emotions and not knowing where or what to do next and now here we are in Cincinnati and for the first time I think we can say we are home.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Over the past three years of my life I feel as though I have spent more time waiting than I have doing any other thing. We waited for job interviews and job decisions, we waited on a wedding and on a marriage, we waited on a new job and a new home, we waited on a new city and a new path and here we are yet again waiting on our very first home. Growing up if I had to pick one thing that was the absolute hardest for me it would have been having patience and WAITING. Oh God knows my faults and knows what I need to work on.

These times of waiting have been extremely difficult but yet I love that I have such clear words from God to take comfort in. Wait patiently on the Lord. Be still and know that I am God. Strength will rise as you wait upon the Lord. These waits have been everything but comfortable each though have been unique in there own way. Some have been filled with so much excitement and anticipation that I could hardly stand the wait. Others have been a walk of faith trusting God to provide and waiting patiently on him. Some have been simply inconvenient. And others have been filled with pain, hurt and confusion, longing for the next phase of life to finally bring renewal and love. And as you can guess God has taught us so much in these periods of waiting. All though at times it felt as though we were sitting in the empty waiting room listening to the clock ticking echo off the walls, just waiting for God to open the door and finally call our names to follow him. Every time when the waiting has ceased I look back and think why did I not wait more patiently, why did I ever doubt, why did I not enjoy the waiting more and why did I not just crawl into my heavenly Fathers arms? He is always there at the end of the wait. The wait was always part of the plan and he was always part of the wait.

As we finish up yet another period of waiting this Friday when we close on our house and our able to move into our own place again I confidently finish knowing that God has refined my heart a little bit more. Every time I look back and know that he smoothed another edge of my rough soul during each wait and that my character has been refined. But the most amazing part of it all is that in the end I always understand my God a little better, I always love him a little more and my Faith always is magnified. God knows me and he knows what this heart needs.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

New season of life...

Well in case anyone was wondering...we are still here and we have not forgotten about our blog. We just have not thought to update it. I just wanted to post in my excitement about being home owners this week. It looks like we will be closing on our very first home on Tuesday. We are so incredibly excited. We cannot wait. We will post pictures as soon as we get a chance. We are excited to see what life will be like in this home. We know God has plans....

Thursday, May 7, 2009


So here we are. In Cincinnati finally with a routine of sorts kicking. It actually is starting to feel as though we live here and not like we are some sort of long extended vacation that we have chosen to never have end. I love everything about it here. I miss people back in Grand Rapids but I do not miss Grand Rapids. In fact I don't miss it even a tiny bit. I have found however a longing for a home. And not just a place of our own to live in but a place that we love, a place we can raise a family, and a place we can stay in for years.

The home I grew up in was so special. When we moved into a bigger and more beautiful house it did not take long for us all to want to go back. That place holds so many memories and even now we love reminiscing about that house. That is what I want. A place that my kids love and a place that we never want to leave. Mark and I have lived 3 different places in less than 2 years and not one of them as felt like a home. But especially now it is as though we are very "homeless". Living with his parents has been easy, good and comfortable but man are we ready for our own place. I have found myself so many times saying I just want to go home and then realizing that there is no home right now.

I don't think I will ever appreciate a place more than when we find our permanent residence this time. I will be so thankful for our own place. We are on the house hunt. We have a Realtor and are looking for a real house. If all else fails we will find an apartment that can hold us and a least one other so we can stay for sometime ;-). Please pray for us in this home search. We want a junkie one. Hehe. We are anxious to fix up a home and make it ours. So we are on the search for the perfect, cheap peace of junk. We may have caught sight of the perfect home but we are still crossing our fingers.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Our first night on the 'Nati

We're here! And we're all settled in (for now). We're really happy to be in Cincinnati, and really excited about what the future holds. For now, at least, we have more time on our hands than we've ever had since getting married! So last night Jen & I took the opportunity to head downtown and spend our first night out on the town.

On the Kentucky side of the Ohio river is Newport On The Levee - basically an outdoor mall & tourist block. It includes the Newport Aquarium, a few dinner boats, a movie theater, a Hofbrauhaus, plenty of other restaurants, and a 2-story Barnes & Noble. This bookstore was our first destination. There is a BEAUTIFUL view of the river & the Cincinnati skyline from the top-floor cafe. The picture's not the best, but this will give you an idea:

The rain was just starting to clear up while we were there, and just as we were leaving, God decided to join us...

Can you see that it's a DOUBLE rainbow??!!! We loved God's extra touch there ;-)

After B&N, we walked around the plaza a bit and decided to walk on the "Purple People Bridge." Here's Jenny at the end of it, and a few views of the Cincy skyline from the bridge:

There are SEVERAL bridges connecting the Ohio side of Cincinnati to its Kentucky counterpart (historic German Newport). One of them is known as "The Big Mac Bridge." Can you tell why?:

Well, we're definitely off to a good start in Cincy. Thanks to those of you who helped us for your prayers and physical help. Check back soon!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cincinnati here we come!!

Sorry it has been so long since we have updated! Life has been a little crazy! Biggest news is that we are moving to Cincinnati Ohio on Saturday morning at 6am! We are super excited and feel confident that God is calling us to move on from what we have been doing in Grand Rapids. We are sad to leave so many wonderful people behind but we are always excited about what is ahead! We will update more once we get settled but you can be praying with us for the transistion. We still need a place to live and we are still not quite sure what are life will look like but we are always up for an adventure!

So once again we are packing up and moving on!! Hopefully this time we can stay put!

Friday, March 6, 2009


I have just a few minutes before I have to begin working my beloved job at Starbucks. I have been here for three hours since Mark and I only have one car and he had to work at 11 and I have to work at 2. I just wanted to say how thankful I am that I have flip flops on my feet and sunshine in sight. I know this probably again is temporary but I will cherish it while it lasts. Life has been a little crazy this week and I am thankful to end it with a relaxed and beautiful day like today.

I guess I thought maybe I would come up with something worth while to say but I seem to be failing at this. I am over hearing a conversation about how perfume is the "extra special touch" each day. I have to wonder sometime if I am missing my girly jeans. I can't seem to get the whole doing my hair, wearing makeup and perfume and LOVING shoes thing. Not that I really want to get it. But sometimes I am utterly confused on how I can possibly be female and totally not understand these things. But on the other hand I am thankful that I don't. I'll take a t-shirt, sweats and poney-tale any day over all the girly stuff! (not that there is anything wrong with these things!)

I suppose this blog if of little importance, although it did help pass my time :)

Monday, March 2, 2009


I get a quote of the day in my email and I really liked todays so I thought I would share it...

"No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Mark and I are at this point in our lives where we feel incredibly restless. We aren't exactly sure where God wants us or what he wants us doing. There is a huge lack of vision in our lives and lets just say its driving us crazy. We love "The Story" church but yet we can't seem to get jobs here in Grand rapids that will allow us to stay with the story. So we have been questioning for months what to do. Do we move to a place where there are at least some jobs? Do we stay and weather this tough economy, not sure whether we can pull it off or not? We beg from God an answer yet every time we hear His quite whisper to trust him and we are constantly reminded that our God is a faithful God. And yes, these are great things to hear and we trust them whole heartedly and they do bring much peace. But yet we still hang in limbo wondering what direction we are headed, wondering what our vision for life needs to be.

We hear sermons and read bible studies that talk about God calling outside of our comfort zone and that we need to be ok with that. This has become so confusing since we feel as though we no longer have a comfort zone. Staying here isn't comfortable and moving to a totally new place isn't comfortable. We could go to Africa and that wouldn't be comfortable or we could go to Lansing and that wouldn't be comfortable. Whats becoming comfortable is being un-comfortable. I have been telling God to call us to something insanely hard and we will up and go, just please call us to something. This could be risky but I think we both would take the hardest thing we could possibly imagine over not knowing anything, hanging in limbo directionless.

Mostly I long for a home, a sense of belonging. A place where we know God wants us at least for a while a place where we can plant roots and be confident in that choice. I long to feel at home. But I constanly remind myself of a converstation Mark and I had before we got married. We declared to one another that home would be where each other are no matter what. If it was in a desert of in a home with whit picket fence as long as we are both there with our God, that will be home. So here we are this is our home for now. And we will give life all we have now in this moment. And we will continue to worship our God no matter where he takes us or doesn't take us for that matter. Because, he is a faithful God whom we love. He is worth everything even our worship when we don't understand anything about our lives.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

He chose me....

Last Sunday I sang with Mark and Jon for our morning worship service. I love singing and I love worshipping so it is something I love doing. I still though, get fairly nervous, especially when they have me sing by myself. This past Sunday in my nervousness my voice got a little shaking and I felt as though I was losing all focus and I was reminded of a beautiful thing: God doesn't need me. He can accomplish everything without me. YET, he chooses to use me even though I mess up on a regular basis. As I lost focus and struggled to sing my part I looked out over our congregation and saw that people were still fully engaged with their God. I took a deep breath and remembered that it isn't about me and that God will do what he wants to do whether I mess up or not. Which seems often that I am mess up. But what an honor that he CHOOSES to use me. He doesn't NEED me yet he chose me. Sometimes I am so humbled by that thought.

He chose to use me that Sunday morning to help lead his people in worship and thankfully when I waivered he stayed strong. Our God is Strong forever.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I promised I would keep everyone updated on my running. It holds me very accountable :) This week wasn't as successful mostly due to business and cold cold weather. I went running for 3.42 miles on Monday 3.7 on Tuesday. Both good runs. I even got to teach Mark some Pilates after the second run. I also began running 4 min and walking 2. But other than that I have only gotten i nPilates for the rest of the week. I don't know if anyone noticed but it is incredibly cold out. Don't we all love Michigan weather?

This week Mark and I have had a lot of chances to give to people. It has been so much fun! It is so fulfilling to be able to give to people. Every time we have felt very led by God on what and how much to give and it is silly because he provided perfectly every time for us to be able to give. God is so cool.

We have been focusing a lot of God and just falling in love with him. In the end its all that matters. Our relationship with Jesus is all that will matter when we are at throne of God worshipping someday. Everyting else in life is a by product of our relationship with him.

Take some time today, to just talk to the one who loves you so much and knows every last thing about you.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Before I start this blog I just have to say that I have the best husband in the world and he means everything to me and I too have been so thankful these past few weeks. It is true that we have seen how special our relationship is. It is definitely a treasure that we both want to protect with all we have. I love you Marko :)

So what this blog is about: RUNNING!

I have decided that this year I want to run the Grand Rapids 5th/3rd Riverbank run on May 9th. I have wanted to run races forever and EVERY year I say I am going to and I never do and EVERY year I am disappointed. So I will start with the 5k (3.2ish miles I think) and hopefully get the chance to run several this year and eventually work up to a 10 k. For my birthday I got a little chip for my shoe that syncs with my ipod and as I am running she tells me how far, how fast, and how many calories burned. And then I can log all my runs online, set goals and it keeps track of all of it for me! It is so much fun. I have read up on training for runs and they all said the same thing: start with run/walk. So I run 3 min and walk 2 and next week I will go to run 4 walk 2. I also do a quick run each week where I do no walking and run as far as I can. I did 1 mile this week so I know I am improving. I have a goal to run 40 miles in 4 weeks for training. I am at 6.8 today so tomorrow I will do 3.2 (my long runs have been right around 3mi). Since last Saturday I have run 9.62 miles and I am super proud of myself! It has been fun to set goals and actually do them!

I am also doing pilates three times a week which has helped a lot with flexibily and strength in my lower back which has been a problem in the past. And then I weight lift twice a week. Don't want to forget my arms! It has been so fun to actually enjoy this and have goals to meet and schedule to follow. I love it! So I will keep you all updated on my progress. It is accountability of sorts ;-)

Running for me has always been a big challenge. This week I have thought about the challenge on the mind and on the body. Towards the end of my runs everything is exhausted, my mind and my body but yet I love pushing myself when I think I can't handle anymore. It always amazes me how much more I have in me, how much farther I really can go. And I am just reminded about how true this is in life as well. When things are hard and we are tired and hurting and feel as though we can't go another step....if we push we can. If we rely on God we can and i think we will always be amazed at how many more steps we really have in us. Instead of looking at how much farther is ahead just focus on this step now, and then the next when it comes. God carries us all the way. So running has become a reminder of the strength we have in God and to always press on, press on, press on!

I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus - Philippians 3:14

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Best Friend in the World

As you know, it's been an emotional couple of months for us recently. In December, we knew without a doubt that we needed to "set sail," but now - two months later - we still don't know our destination. It's always unnerving being at sea (if you'll allow me to continue the analogy), but ESPECIALLY when you aren't sure what direction you're heading. But, for me at least, the seasons that are lacking for positives tend to really help remind me of the few things that ARE great in my life.

This particular season has me especially thankful for two things, but I'll focus on ONE in this blog: Jenny.

The Michigan job market's effect on our ability to earn has two direct effects on me: less time working, and more time with Jen & I stuck at home. And as much as the financial part stinks, it's really been great overall. Don't get me wrong - we're both anxious to get out of this slump. But, being the optimist I am, hard times force me to focus on what is good, and my Jenny is VERY good :-)

I've taken the time to notice things about her that I've never noticed before. I've been more intentional about building our friendship. I even bought her flowers and watched a chick flick with her (sorta...). And above all, I've realized that she is a treasure that I never deserved and don't EVER want to be away from (that little fling with the Army helped me realize that one).

So I'm sorry to all of you who are puking now because of all the romantic mush in the air, but you read our blog because you want to know what's going on in our lives, so I thought I'd give you perhaps a closer look than normal. Love you all!

-Mark- +

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


So since the day I moved into an apartment that was mine, a home that I needed to take care of, I have battled one thing: I don't really care for cleaning and I am by nature and habit a very messy little girl. I amaze myself sometimes at how fast I can make a mess. I will have been home for 5 min and there will already be "stuff" spread out all over in every single room. I honestly have no idea how I do it and no matter how hard I try I always forget that I should pick up mess as I go.

My husband is incredibly patient with me on this as I continuously promise "I'm trying, I will get better!". So the battle is that I always feel like everything is a mess and I always feel as though I need to clean. There are always things to be picked up, often dishes, laundry, vacuuming, dusting, toilet cleaning and floor scrubbing to be done. I feel like it is a never ending job. By the time I get it all done it is time to start doing it all again. And don't get me wrong, Mark helps A LOT but at the same time he is not the walking tornado in this house nor is he the one that can't relax until everything is clean (I know it is ironic and doesn't make any sense that I am messy AND can't handle mess). So anyways now that I have rambled completely off the path I will get back on it...

I struggle daily to not let the stress of the work to be done effect the rest of my life. It can be crippling sometimes and because I feel like there is so much to do I can't do any of it because it seems so overwhelming. And trust me I know this is slightly ridiculous but no worries I have already consulted the professionals about this "disorder" I have when it comes to the dreaded cleaning!

As I have battled this weird cycle of events I have found one passage in the bible very inspirational.

Proverbs 31. You should read it if you are a female because it brings light into what God is calling us too. You may have to be creative and bring some things into our culture (not many of us make our own clothes anymore :) ). But there is lots to learn. Like a wife of noble character's lamp never goes out at night and she does not eat the bread of idleness. What this tells me is that God knew it wouldn't be easy work taking care of a home and a family. This motivates me when I feel like I can't take anymore. It reminds me that I'm not just a wimp and that there will always be work to do. And that I have no excuse to just ignore it day after day.

I also like that she opens her hands to the needy and extends her arms to the poor. It reminds me that I should give and care for people beyond my family and having people into my home is a great way to do that. Another reason why it is important to take care of the home God has given us. And the last thing I will mention that I really like is that beyond the work she does her love for God is most important and what makes her "A wife of noble character".

"Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised". We can work our whole lives to keep our homes clean and our families fed yet our fear and love for our God is ultimately what matters and will bring the most fulfillment.

So whenever I feel discouraged I will turn to this verse and every time I am encouraged and able to press on, press on, press on.

You get a pat of the back if you read this whole thing ;)

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I know we have not been doing a very good job at updating our blog lately and maybe everyone has given up on us and no one reads it anymore...anyone out there?

Life has been a little strange for us lately. Things just now are starting to feel more normal, maybe. With the transition of leaving Journey not only came leaving one church family and going to the other but also we had the transition of Mark working mostly the hours he chose and being very flexible to now also have a set hours and days he has to work. It took me a little while to get used to it. I have learned to really appreciate it. Even though jobs situations are far from what we would choose them to be there is a lot to be grateful for.

*Mark can go to work and come home and be done with work, something that never quite felt like it happened before. There was always something to be done.
*We now have almost every evening to spend together.
*We both have jobs that allow us to pay ALL of our bills AND buy groceries AND gas (we weren't sure that we would be able to do that in this economy)
*We have great health insurace!
*We saved up enough money to get our engine completly rebuilt, which means we will have almost a brand new engine in the Honda!
*God has been with us every step of the way even though at times I thought for sure he had left us.

I could keep going with all of things I am thankful for right now. But those are the big ones. We are still seeking God with everything we have, trying to figure out what we need to be doing right now. What career path should Mark explore, should one or both us go back to school? Should we leave Michigan? And the biggest question is what does God want us doing? I feel as though we have learned so much in the last few months even though it has been hard and discouraging. And I am thankful that we are only 22 and 23 and have lots of time to figure things out. We are just focusing on God, seeking him and knowing him and we pray that he will take care of the rest. We know one thing for sure about our lives and that is that we want to honor him in all that we do and we want to live a lifestyle of ministry. I know that no matter what we end up doing that this will become true in our lives.

God takes care of those he loves and we cling to that and press on.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Who am I?

Mark and I are in this phase of trying to figure out who we are and where we are going. I am 22 and Mark is 23 and we are not sure exactly which direction our lives are headed. Which is ok since we are still young. But so many times in this "quarter-life crisis" we have questioned what vocation does God want us in? And I have come to conclusion that I think that is the wrong question. Instead I think we need to question who does God want us to be? And if we follow that and seek after God's heart I think he will show us the vocation we belong in as well.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Today at 1:05pm, our 1999 Honda CR-V passed away. COD has been diagnosed as a broken rod inside the engine. Funeral services will be held sometime later this week. The CR-V is survived by a black Pontiac Grand Am. Please pray for the family as they are half-unemployed in this time of terrible tragedy.
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