31 January, 2011

As White As Snow

Driving home from work the other day, I noticed the dirty brown/grey snow piled up along the side of the road. It made me think of how snow is like our lives.

The Bible says "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." (Isaiah 1:18)

God sends the snow to cover up the ugliness of the dead grass. It falls white and beautiful, like a new beginning. But then along comes the snow plow and mixes the white snow with sand, salt, and other dirt, destroying its beauty. So God sends another snow fall, covering up the ugliness and replacing it with beauty again. And so the cycle continues.

The same is true in our lives. We were given a fresh start when Jesus died for us, but along comes sin and time and time again, we mess it up! But God, in his grace, forgives us and washes our slate clean once again. Lucky for us, this isn't just true during winter, but each and every day of our lives!

Praise God for his grace and forgiveness!

29 January, 2011

Why Pickles?

You may remember when I posted about Christmas, that I posted a picture about Mike and I with a big jar of pickles.

I wish I had a really funny story to share about why we receive such a gift, but it goes like this.

Mike and I both love pickles. As in: we'll have a pickle for a snack, Mike drinks the pickle juice, and my burger isn't complete unless it has at least 4 pickle slices on it!

When Mike would come over for dinner when we were dating, and we had a meal like hamburgers, he'd always go grab the jar of pickles from the fridge. If we were ever out, he'd add pickles to my mom's grocery list.

So last year, my mom saw this enormous jar of pickles and couldn't resist buying it for Mike and I!

This year there was a large bag under the tree for Mike and I. We were pleasantly surprised to realize it was another huge jar of pickles!
Here's one of our favorite ways to eat pickles!!!

26 January, 2011

Are you good enough?

We watched this video in church on Sunday. I thought the point was really neat!

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." --Ephesians 2:8-9

24 January, 2011

Friend Makin' Monday

I just saw this on a blog I follow and I thought it was a neat idea! I know I'll be joining in on Mondays! :)

If you've taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you're new, please take a moment to answer this week's question on your own blog then add a link at the bottom of the One Word on FMM Blog. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts.

Answer each question using only one word...

1. Where is your cell phone? table

2. Your most significant other? Mike

3. Your hair? Blond

4. Your mother? creative

5. Your father? smart

6. Your favorite? baking

7. Your dream last night? none

8. Your favorite drink? fruity

9. Your dream/goal? loving

10. What room you are in? living

11. Your hobby? baking

12. Your fear? disappointment

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? happy

14. Where were you last night? home

15. Something that you aren't? stupid

16. Muffins? chocolate

17. Wish list item? cookbooks

18. Where you grew up? Michigan

19. Last thing you did? pictures

20. What are you wearing? clothes

21. Your TV? on

22. Your pets? none

23. Friends? awesome

24. Your life? fantastic

25. Your mood? relaxed

26. Missing someone? nope

27. One place that I go to over and over? work

28. Something you want: sleep!

29. Your favorite store? Kohls

30. Your favorite color? blue

Detroit Auto Show

On Saturday Mike and I drove to Detroit for the NAIAS. It's always a lot of fun to see the newest cars and all the high-tech gadgets they put in the cars! And, dreaming of owning some of these cars is always fun too!
This was on the ceiling above the Dodge exhibit. I thought the sayings were really neat!

This is the car from the new movie, The Green Hornet.

Mike's favorite car, the Ferrari!

My favorite car was this Mustang! What can I say? I love Mustangs!

22 January, 2011

Anybody out there? Helloooo? *Tap Tap* Is this thing on?

Are you like me? Do you ever wonder who is reading your blog? I know from my stats that I have a decent amount of readers, but I don't know who you are!

Did you know there's a national "de-lurking day"? Seriously, there is! In fact, it was a week ago (I totally and completely missed it!) But we'll just pretend it's today!

So, if you're out there reading my blog, stop by and leave me a comment! I'd love to get to know you more! In fact, to get you started, why don't you tell me a little known fact about yourself?

21 January, 2011

Food blog

Stumped over what to make for dinner?

Falling in the the same-old, same-old dinner rut?

Looking for some inspiration?

Head over to my food blog for some of my favorite recipes! ("My food blog" is a clickable link)

19 January, 2011

Christmas Night

After we had our family Christmas with Mike's parents, we headed over to his Grandma's for the whole family gathering. Everyone brought a dish to pass and there was plenty of food for everyone! Then came the kid's favorite part--gifts!

The toddlers you see are all great-grand kids (Mike is the youngest grandchild), and they all love opening their gifts!

Mike and I gave each of our Moms and Grandmas a calendar with pictures from our wedding in it.

After gifts came BINGO!!! This is our favorite part of the night, everyone walks away with some fun prizes. Every time you get a BINGO, you get to choose a present, but you must take the first one you touch. You never know what you'll find...anything from sweaters to socks to aluminum foil to flashlights. We all had a great time!

18 January, 2011

Christmas Afternoon

We went to Mike's parents' house in the afternoon to celebrate with them and his sister and her husband.

I love seeing the joy on people's faces when they unwrap a present and it's just what they wanted!

17 January, 2011

Christmas Day

Mike and I spent our first Christmas morning together. We started with our stockings and then moved on to the bigger gifts.

I got Mike a 110 piece tool set, now he has everything he needs!

After we opened our gifts, we had a quick breakfast. Then we headed to a local mission to volunteer there. We had a great time helping out!

16 January, 2011

Christmas Eve

My family always does our presents on Christmas Eve. After the Christmas Eve service at church we came home and had fondue. Then it was time to read the Christmas Story from Luke 2 and open presents.

It's becoming a tradition that my parents buy Mike and I a huge jar of pickles!!!

15 January, 2011

Christmas 2010

I know I'm way late, but I wanted to share some pictures of our first Christmas together!

Stay tuned over the next few days for pictures from each of our family gatherings!

14 January, 2011

The Meaning of the Snowflake

In my post about SEM I mentioned the poem telling the significance of the snowflake. I thought I'd share it with you.

Every new snowflake comes to the earth
as a picture of our Savior's birth.
Because they are sent from up above
and remind us of God's care and love.
Each one is so intricate and small
because Christ sees the details of us all,
and just as two are never the same
the Lord knows and calls us each by name.
Snowflakes gently cover the world in white
and hide what's unlovely from our sight,
showing us how He covers our sin
and gives us His grace when we come to Him.
So may every snowflake bring Christ to mind
and in every bit of white may you find
a reason to celebrate anew
and a reminder of His love for you.

13 January, 2011

Ice Sculptures

Mike and I got together with some friends on Saturday afternoon and we decided to head downtown Holland to get coffee (or in Mike's and my case, a steamer!) Traffic was bumper to bumper and we couldn't figure out why. Once we finally found a parking spot and walked downtown, we realized that the collegiate ice carving competition was going on. What a neat surprise! We got our drinks and walked around admiring the artist's creations.
The artists used power tools like saws, and chisels to shape the ice. We got to see quite a few people at work, as well as many finished products.

A swordfish
A hummingbird
This one's a little harder to see, but it's a fish swimming above a sea-shell.
An iguana

12 January, 2011

SEM Christmas Dinner

Last Thursday SEM had the annual Christmas Dinner. Some ladies from the hosting church prepare a delicious dinner for everyone and some local Boy Scouts serve everyone. The room was decorated beautifully and the theme was snowflakes. We each recieved a snowflake ornament and a poem telling the significance of the snowflake.

A memorial fund was set up a few years ago in memory of the grandfather of one of the students. This year, they decided to use the funds to purchase Bibles for each of the students. They are incredible Bibles, with detailed pictures, and the students loved them. Above is my student, Erin, with her Bible.

The SEM students love to sing. We sang some wintery songs, like Let It Snow, and the leaders had rigged it up so it "snowed" as we sang. It was a huge hit with everyone!

The man in the red sweater loves to sing. His favorite song is "The King is Coming" and we sing it every night. He loves to direct everyone as we sing.

It was a great night and everyone had a wonderful time!

11 January, 2011

10 January, 2011

The Charlie Schulz Philosophy

Mari posted this on her blog the other day and I thought it made a really great point!
The Charlie Schulz Philosophy

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip.
You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just ponder on them.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.

4 Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress!

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday.
These are no second-rate achievers.
They are the best in their fields.
But the applause dies..
Awards tarnish..
Achievements are forgotten.
Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.


The lesson:

The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the
most credentials, the most money...or the most awards.
They simply are the ones who care the most

''Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!"

09 January, 2011

New Opportunities

I started leading middle school youth group the year I graduated from high school. I started with a fabulous group of 6th grade girls. Each year, I moved up with them as they grew older. And each year, our small group has gotten smaller.

This year, I made the decision to move up to high school with my girls. I was disappointed to find out only 2 of my girls would be attending this year. From what I hear, our youth group "wasn't cool" enough for the other girls, and we "had too many rules". I'm sorry, but if learning about Jesus isn't cool enough for you, you're tough out of luck. And if your leader (me) requires that you not text on your cell phone during discussions, I guess my group just wasn't for you. (Please note, the last 2 statements were meant to be sarcastic!)

So here I am with a very small small group. And to top it off, one of my girls is going through a tough time right now and hasn't attended but 2 meetings all year. So it's just me and one other girl. We do the Bible studies our youth pastor prepares for us, but 1 person doesn't lead to much conversation and we usually finish in about 15 minutes.

You can imagine that I am frustrated with the dwindling interest in our youth group. Now, I did have an opportunity to combine small groups with the other group of freshman girls, but they meet on Sunday nights and that often doesn't work for me. We came to the conclusion that one of their two leaders would step down from the large group meetings, so our groups would combine for those, but she would continue to co-lead the small group since I was unable to.

So this morning, I approached the one girl in my small group. I had full intentions of telling her that we just weren't going to meet for small group anymore and I would just come for the large group nights. She attends the other small group's meetings on Sunday nights so I knew she wouldn't be missing out on the Bible studies. I wasn't ready to quit being a youth leader, I was just feeling like the small group times weren't worth our time anymore.

As soon as I mentioned it to my girl, I knew it wasn't going to go over well. We have a very close relationship (we've been together since she was in 6th grade), and she told me she still wanted me to come on the small group nights. One of her friends was standing there and jumped into the conversation, "the rest of us girls all just hang out on Wednesday nights, so why don't you lead another Bible study with us?" Out of the mouths of babes!!! (Well, if you consider 15 years old a babe still!!!) Now why couldn't I think of something like that? Here I am ready to throw in the towel and these girls are just aching for someone to talk to and spend time with. We came to the conclusion that they would talk with their friends and let them know of the plans, and I would find some good books for us to consider going through.

I'm so excited about this new opportunity and I just can't wait to see what God has in store for this incredible group of girls!

08 January, 2011


Have you ever really wanted to do something that just didn't come naturally for you?

I'm tackling that right now. I've always wanted to say I am a runner. I did track in high school, but I was more of a field person, I threw discus and shot put (not very well, but I tried!). I did run what we nick-named the "fat man's relay", which was the 4x100 relay and each of us throwers ran a leg of the race. Give me a short sprint and I can do a pretty good job, but I've never been good at running long distances.

Last year, I told myself that I was going to start running. I wanted to run a 5k that they have on July 4. As you may have guessed, that didn't happen. I kept saying, I'll run tomorrow, I'll start next week. And you know how that goes, it never happened.

Well, this year is going to be different. A group of ladies from my church starting doing the Running Mate 5k101. It really seemed to work for them, as many of them are self-proclaimed "non-runners". Seeing their success made me want to achieve my own. So I decided I was going to go for it!

Basically the Running Mate program walks you through preparing for a 5k. The first week you run 2 minutes and then do a recovery walk for 3 minutes. Each week you increase your running time and decrease your recovery time. You repeat the circuit multiple times. By week 8, you'll run for a full 30 minutes.

I'm on week 4 right now. I'm running 4 straight minutes and only walking for 1. The whole workout is about 33 minutes. I'm really excited to see where this running journey is going to take me, and I'll keep you updated as I prepare to run my first 5k!

06 January, 2011


Mike and I read this in our devotional the other night:

"Leave and cleave--different words, significant words.

When you exchanged your wedding vows, these two words became part of your life. But do you understand them? To leave means sever one relationship before establishing another. This does not mean you disregard your parents. Rather it requires you break your tie to them and assume responsibility for your spouse.

To cleave means to weld together. When a man cleaves to his wife they become one flesh. This term is a beautiful capsule description of the oneness, completeness, and permanence God intended in the marriage relationship...

...Years ago I heard a choice description of the coming together that is involved in cleaving. If you hold a lump of dark green clay in one hand and a lump of light green clay in the other hand, you can clearly identify the two different shades of color. However, when you mold the two lumps together, you see just one lump of green clay--at first glance. When you inspect the lump closely you see the distinct and separate lines of dark and light green clay.

This is a picture of your marriage relationship. The two of you are blended together so you appear as one, yet you retain your own distinct identity and personality. But now you have a marriage personality which exists in the two of you..."

(Taken from Quiet Times for Couples by H. Norman Wright)

I thought this was an accurate description of why Mike and I chose to do the increasingly popular unity sand at our wedding. We began our unity sand with white sand at the bottom to represent God as our foundation. Then we took turns pouring our sand into the bottle, I had blue and Mike had red. We each have our own layer of sand, but together they make a beautiful display--we each are distinct in our personalities. We will never be able to separate my blue sand from Mike's red sand--we have made our vows to each other, and to God, and that's something else that will never be separated.

03 January, 2011

Christmas Surprises

We had lots of surprises at Christmas this year. My brother, Mike, and I arranged for my mom to go on a crafting retreat weekend with some ladies from our church. I made her a calendar with some pictures from our wedding and on January 7, I wrote in the retreat. Here is her reaction:

My parents also pulled off a surprise for my brother. He has been talking for a long time about finding concert tickets to a band he likes. However, he thought the tickets had sold out and the only ones he could find were over $100. What he didn't know was that my dad had had me buy a ticket on the day they went on sale...looks like Nate will be going to his concert!

02 January, 2011

A Choice

Our pastor asked a question this morning in his sermon, and I knew it was worth sharing!

Where did you come from? Why are you here? What is your purpose?

Choice #1: You are here by chance and your life has no lasting meaning or purpose.

Choice #2: You are a special creation of God and you are here to know God, to love God, and to serve God.

I choose #2, how about you?

01 January, 2011


It's that time of year again, everyone is talking about making resolutions. I've never been big on the whole "resolution" thing at the beginning of the year. I've always just made goals for myself and done my best to follow through on them, regardless of the time of the year. My husband, on the other hand, figures why set goals? Then you can't be disappointed if you don't meet them. Interesting logic, isn't it? To each his own, I suppose! Rather than making resolutions I'd like to make some plans or goals for this year, though now that I think about it, maybe that really is what a resolution is. But I digress...

*I want to live a healthier lifestyle. Not that I can't indulge (I have a food blog, that's pretty much a requirement!), but I want to make smarter eating habits. I also want to get back into the habit of exercising regularly. From January to October, I was exercising 5 times a week, I was in the best shape of my life and I've never felt so good. Then along came the wedding, and the honeymoon, and life, and that just hasn't been a reality until the past 2 weeks.

*Along the healthier living line, I have started the 5k 101 program. So my goal is to run a 5 k this spring, and then keep running. I'm on my 3rd week of this program, and I feel good about it. I've always wanted to be a "runner", and I think I can actually make this happen!

*Another goal I'd like to meet is to keep up with this blog and my food blog. I really enjoy having this creative outlet, and you all know how much I love to bake and cook! My goal is to post at least 3 times a week, I was hoping for daily, but I'm far too busy for that! :)

*I'd really like to begin a journey similar to the movie Julie and Julia. How neat would it be to cook through an entire cookbook? I think I'll start with Pioneer Woman's, since I've loved everything I've made of hers! And I think a year is the perfect amount of time to accomplish this goal. I figure 1 or 2 new recipes a week will be good, I don't have a lot of time for more than that, and Mike prefers to stick with meals he knows rather than all my experiments. We'll call this a compromise! I think this will be something I can catalog on my blogs, thus helping me accomplish my previous goal!
*Since we've been married, I've been "addicted" to couponing. I can't believe all the good deals I get, and we both love the money we're saving. I hope to continue saving us money, build our stockpile, donate to those in need, and search for the best deals possible!

*Finally, I have recently picked up a new hobby. Something that is just for myself and my personal enjoyment. I'm not sure where it's going to lead me, but I'm hoping it's something I can really stick with and have fun with. I'll have a post about it soon!

What about you? Are you the resolution type? Do you have goals that you are setting for yourself this year?
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