Monday, July 30, 2007

Our New Addition

Meet Riley, our new little guy. He adopted him today from the animal shelter and are excited to have him as part of our family. We actually met him on Saturday at the Farmer's Market and immediately fell in love. We picked him up, took him to the store to get some doggie supplies, and now he is home, sleeping on the couch. Apparently he feels right at home already! We love his personality - playful and sweet and laid back. He is a beagle mix and is already a year-and-a-half old and fully grown at 25 pounds. Isn't he adorable? I think he already knows his Mama and Daddy!

I bleed maize and blue, but...

I have to admit that IU has a prettier campus.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Highlight Of My Day

Discovering the Bloomington Farmer's Market.


Dad and Dad loading up the big 24 foot truck...

Our apartment in disarray.

Our first overnight guest, Chloe.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The New Place

Just a couple shots of our new home! We were very productive today and thankfully only have some touch up work to do tomorrow before we head back up to Grand Rapids! This townhouse already feels homey to me, which is a blessing. I also enjoyed working my way around this new town and was proud to get to the other side of town and back with only a couple of wrong turns. We'll be doing lots of exploring these next couple of weeks, knowing Josh and his need to figure things like that out.


We're here in Bloomington and the painting has commenced! We're about half done thus far already and things are going well. Tomorrow we head back up to GR and pack up the moving truck with all the rest of our belongings. Then another trip back down here. Thankfully we have lots of help. So far, so good!

Pictures to come eventually.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


We've been busy so far this weekend! Packing, then finding more junk that doesn't fit into any category, doing lots of laundry, and packing some more. We are making PROGRESS, however! You can now walk around the apartment without stepping on or over boxes in varying states of being packed. The restoration of order, even in a now depressingly stark looking place, makes me feel better about things.

Here is a glimse.



I am also having a little bit of fun playing with my new camera. I love pictures and have wanted a purse-sized digital camera for a while now... and then a friend on mine bought one from Sam's Club for a super reasonable $122. I have since followed suit and am enjoying the new toy. Now I'll have a camera I can take with me everywhere and snap up the fun little moments of life :).

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

How cute are they? My grandpa is opening his birthday gift of a new anchor for the boat. I think he liked it!

My grandpa's birthday was on the 18th, and we celebrated at Mangiamo! - a favorite of ours here in town. Sadly they were super slow that night and we had to leave before our food came to meet some friends at Grand Traverse Pie Company for pie and pie smoothies. We're clearly trying to hit all of our favorite spots before we leave! My mom brought home our food from Mangiamo and it made a great lunch the next day.
Off to pack. And maybe play with my new camera just a little bit. And maybe read in there, too :).

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Home Alone

It is a weird feeling to come home to an empty apartment. I'm so thankful that this doesn't happen often. Josh is away in Wisconsin tonight, dropping off his old office equipment. So I'll be home tonight, doing some organizing and packing, and probably watching a good deal of the Food Network. Or maybe a movie. I'm pretty sure that if no one comes for a sleepover (like my dear cousin Erin, for instance) this will be my first night since I've been married that I've slept all by myself. I think all other times have involved one of my girl friends! I'm a champion sleeper, so I don't think I'll have too many problems. I'm just glad I don't do this all that often.

I read the following passage in Jesus Among Other Gods a few days ago and I've been thinking about it a lot over the last couple of days.

"How often we hear testimonies of faith from the sick and the dying or the injured and bleeding. That, we assume, is the grandest expression of faith. Without doubt, a faith that stays strong in the storms of life is a faith that must be envied. May I suggest, however, that in reality this kind of situation is more often the realizing or the testing of one's faith. An equally viable faith is demonstrated when dependence on God is shown in the midst of success, when everything is going right. That kind of faith knows that every moment and every success in life is a gift from God."

I know that in my life I depend on God so much more when I am sad or hurting. It is much harder for me to place my trust in Him when I feel happy, successful, and loved. Or when my needs can be met in other places. I am thankful for a kind God who tenderly brings be back to Him even through the happy times of life. He then replaces my false sense of security with joy and peace that "transcends all understanding."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

You know you're living to 2007 when...

1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.
2. You haven’t played Solitaire with real cards in years.
3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.
4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.
5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don’t have e-mail addresses.
6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.
7. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.
8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn’t have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.
10. You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your coffee.
11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. : )
12 You’re reading this and nodding and laughing.
13. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.
14. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.
15. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn’t#9 on this list

I read this to Josh, and then realized that as I was reading we were both in sitting in our bed browsing the internet on our respective laptops. Funny.

Oh, and I stole this from - SUCH a fun blog to check.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I shed my first few tears tonight over leaving Grand Rapids and moving to Bloomington.

It was our last small group.

We have loved these past two years, faithfully meeting on alternate Thursdays with six individuals who have become some of our very best friends. From our first meeting I have always felt welcomed and encouraged and simply right at home. God knew what he was up to in putting us all together, and I am oh so thankful for two great years of sharing meals, fellowship, laughs, and life together. I have loved our discussions about God, the Bible, and church - as well as our great conversations about recipes and clothes and families. One aspect of our little group that I was always encouraged by was the high level of respect that we always had for each other, in that I always felt comfortable in sharing my thoughts. I really think everyone felt like that and we often ended up with great debates and discussions. Spending quality time with other couples that follow Jesus has also encouraged us in our marriage.

Pete, Julie, Ryan, Kara, Bryan, Erika -

Thank you for being such faithful, sincere, true friends to us. Both individually and as a group, you have blessed us in so many ways. Man will we miss you guys.

I know we won't be able to meet regularly and such anymore (pouty lip, like Grayson had going on tonight) but we don't plan on giving up your friendship any time soon. You're stuck with us.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I found this on someone else's blog and thought it looked like fun! Please add your own thoughts via a comment or post on your own blog!

A - Available? No – Josh and I have been married for over 2 years

B - Best Friend? Josh, my husband. He was even my best friend before we started dating!

C- Cake or Pie? Pie… from my grandma or the Grand Traverse Pie Co (which we now have in GR!)

D - Drink Of Choice? Hm… a cross between a vanilla latte (skim with half the syrup) and a margarita

E - Essential Item You Use Everyday? My iPod, toothbrush, computer, and tweezers all rank up there.

F - Favorite Color? I like brown these days

G - Gummy Bears Or Worms? Bears, especially sour gummy bears

H - Hometown? Grand Rapids, MI

I - Indulgence? A bubble bath with a good book

J - January Or February? January

K - Kids & Their Names? None yet, although I do have some favorite names picked out

L - Life Is Incomplete Without? God and family

M - Marriage Date? June 11, 2005

N- Number Of Siblings? 1 – just Benny-boy

O - Oranges Or Apples? Oranges – I’ve been known to eat about 5 per day when they’re in season

P - Phobias/Fears? Not too fond of spiders. Unfortunately neither is Josh and I still have to kill them! I always dreamed my husband would take care of that someday when I was married. I was wrong!

Q - Favorite Quote? “My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought. My sin, not in part, but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, oh my soul” -Horatio G Spafford from the hymn “It Is Well”

R - Reason to Smile? We went to On The Border tonight!

S - Season? Fall. Jeans and sweatshirts and college football. What could be better?

T - To Tag? Kara, Erika, Julie, Jamie, and Nana Brown - it is your turn!

U - Unknown Fact About Me? I’d really like to skydive someday. Somehow I doubt Josh will ever go for that!

V - Vegetable you don't like? Lima beans

W - Worst Habit? I have lots. How about an inability to leave the bathroom picked up before I leave in the morning?

X - X-rays You've Had? I think just my neck when I was a little kid. My dad was twirling me around and I pulled a muscle. They just wanted to make sure it wasn’t anything more serious. Other than that no broken bones or anything.

Y - Your Favorite Food? Mashed potatoes and gravy

Z - Zodiac Sign? A Libra, although I don’t pay attention to that so much

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Today we had a BLAST up at Big Whitefish Lake with our small group. It was such a blessing to spend the day together. It was hot but windy and the water was a perfect temperature.

We took the slooow pontoon boat ride out to a good swimming spot - Grayson wasn't the biggest fan of the boat! We enjoyed some classic summer fare then headed out on the speed boat for some tubing action. It was CHOPPY and I'm sure we'll all be sore tomorrow!

Check out some shots of us on the pontoon, Erika and Kara hanging on for dear life on the "pancake tube," and cute baby Grayson hanging out in the cottage.

We have so enjoyed these past couple years with these friends! We have been so blessed to share in fellowship with them and will miss them dearly when we move down to Indiana. I'm glad we got a solid day of fun in before we leave.

It is hard to believe that last summer when everyone was up at the cottage we had 8 adults (one quite pregnant) and now we have 8 adults and two cute babies! Amazing what can happen in just a year. It will be interesting to see what changes between now and next summer!

Saturday, July 7, 2007


"The primary purpose of a home is to reflect and distribute the love of Christ."

-Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Other Gods

I came across this quote while reading tonight and it just struck me. I've been thinking about "home" stuff a lot lately - packing up one and moving into another. How easy it is for me to get caught up in the details and lose the big picture of what a home really is. I also tend to have a selfish view of home sometimes - that our home is only about us. Not true! I pray our current GR home (for another 3 weeks), our soon-to-be home in Bloomington, and all of our future homes will be places that God uses to bless and encourage everyone that comes through.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Moving Schedule

I never imagined how moving could be so complicated! 5 vehicles, 6 people, and 2 states! Ha! It will be quite the adventure I'm sure! We are SOOO thankful for all the help we're getting. We have the best parents!

For your reading pleasure, here is our master plan:

Brown Moving Schedule
July 23-28

-Josh, Jessica trade cars with Grandpa Sharpless
-Josh, Jessica, Karen pack up Ford, Saturn

-Josh drives Saturn, Karen and Jessica drive Ford down to Bloomington first thing in the morning
-Get into apartment
-Unload cars
-Buy paint and start painting
-Paul joins group in Camry
-Everyone sleeps on futon/air mattress in apartment

-Josh, Jessica, Karen, Paul paint
-Josh picks up Mike and Katie in Indy
-Mike and Katie sleep in hotel (TBD)
-Josh, Jessica, Karen, Paul sleep on futon/air mattress in apartment

-Paul leaves in Camry
-Josh, Jessica, Karen, Mike, Katie finish painting and drive to GR in Ford
-leave Saturn in Bloomington
-Swap cars with Grandpa in GR
-Mike and Katie sleep in hotel (TBD)
-Karen and Paul at home, Josh and Jessica at home

-Pick up Penske truck first thing in AM
-Load truck
-Drive to Bloomington – Paul and Karen in truck, Josh, Jessica, Mike, Katie in Corolla
-Unload truck
-Josh and Jessica sleep in Bloomington apartment
-Mike, Katie, Karen, Paul stay in hotel (TBD, in separate rooms!)

-Karen and Paul drive back up to GR in truck

Monday, July 2, 2007

3 more weeks...

Wow. Weird to say. Actually three weeks and 1 day until we get in and start painting! Thankfully we've got lots of help coming in, which we've very thankful for. Our apartment is looking more and more bare these days! Sad!

Summer has been beautiful here in Grand Rapids so far! I love being outside and it is hard being cooped up in an office all day! We have enjoyed playing tennis together and taking walks around our apartment complex in the evenings after work. We've also been busy on weekends, between going to our friends' wedding in Monroe, playing bocce ball in Alger Heights, and even huffing and puffing around the north east side of town. Yes, last weekend Kara got me to RUN with her around her neighborhood. I'm not a runner but she went nice and slow for me :).
This past weekend was a blast, with a trip to the Tigers game on Saturday and an old-fashioned Witte party at Big Whitefish Lake. The gang was all there, and even Michelle and Rowley came up from Chicago. We had many games of "Washers" going on in addition to skiing, tubing, and swimming. Josh is apparantly very good at Washers - see his picture below. The little girls enjoyed finding "shells" - aka nasty little snails from the shallow water and baby Noah loved splashing around with them. I'm still recovering from my attempts at my slalom, which needs some definite work.
Otherwise we're just excited to move on to our new adventure and sad to leave all that we have here. We are trusting God to lead us with every step, including finances, studies, friends, and a church. He has blessed us so far and we are trusting His goodness from here on out. I'm excited for Josh and all that he will get to learn and experience at school. We will see what God does in both of our lives in these next two years!
On on unrelated note, I have decided that I really want to learn to cook. Well. I've been really into the Food Network lately (Rachael Ray is my favorite) and have been checking out recipes online as well. Last week I actually cooked a terrible dinner, which was discouraging, but it made me want to learn how to be better and more creative with food. I'm going to ask for cooking lessons for my birthday this year (in addition to a puppy and The Office Season 3).