Thursday, August 30, 2007

Big day for the Browns

For Josh: The beginning of college football. Granted, the bigger day is Saturday when Michigan plays. Still exciting to see LSU play Mississippi State.

For Riley: His first bath. He did quite well and is presently trying to lick all of the water off of his body. Good luck, buddy.

For Jessica: A new job! Yes, I accepted a job with The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce doing some communications/committee/event/who knows? type work for them. I interviewed there twice and really got a great feeling from them both times. This week was actually a bit stressful as I was trying to decide between two different jobs. A blessing to have options, but in a way I wish I would have only been offered one of the jobs! In the end I knew that I would enjoy going to work more with the Chamber job and was able to negotiate some details. They seem great and I'm super excited to start on Tuesday. From here on out I'll be working for Zondervan 20 hours per week and the Chamber the other 20. It should keep things interesting around here! I'm so thankful to have two great, interesting jobs!

Off to bed for me as I have a marathon 11 hour babysitting job tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

We're Official

Yes, its true. We're now officially Indiana residents. Although that isn't too weird for Josh - this is the 5th state is has resided in - it is for me. I've always been a Michigander! Is it weird to miss the old driver's license - the one with the Mackinac Bridge? The Indiana one is ugly.

So we went to the BMV today (think Secretary of State) and purposely brought along our entire box of important files. I ALWAYS seem to not have the correct documents on me when I go there and THIS TIME I was going to be prepared. We needed to come home with 6 things:

Josh driver's license
Jessica driver's license
Corolla title
Corolla plates
Saturn title
Saturn plates

What percent did we achieve, after lugging a large box of files there and spending well over an hour? Just 33%. Just for future reference, you actually need to drive all cars to the BMV that you want to get stuff for. We just had our little Corolla with us at the time so we figured we'd get at least that one taken care of. Could we? Nope. When we paid off the car we never had the bank sign off on the Michigan title. Such is life with the BMVs of the world. At least we got a couple of things accomplished. Two passed written tests and two driver's licenses.

On a completely unrelated note, I have two new favorite books:

I got this one from Z before I left town. A wonderfully simple, honest book about walking with God. It delves into the imperfection, the lopsidedness, and the unfinishedness that is characteristic of anyone's walk with God. As one reviewer puts it, "If you're a perfect, upstanding, respectable, fully mature Christian, you may not identify with very much in this book. If you're like the other 99.9% of us, this book is a capital-G Godsend."

And this one is fiction my in-laws kindly sent after enjoying it themselves. A widower haunted by past mistakes meets a child with an all-too-familiar heart condition. Thoroughly solid Christian fiction. A redemption story. Excellent.

Monday, August 27, 2007

More on life and the little guy

I looked back at my planner and noticed that exactly 1 month ago we packed up the moving truck (with help from both sets of parents) and made the journey down to Indiana. One month ago we gave back our Woodland Creek Apartment keys and kept right on going. Then that very next day we met Riles for the first time at the farmer's market. Hard to believe! Things have gone so fast and they've just been... good. God has been so good in providing for us! So many things have fallen into place so quickly and easily and we're so thankful. School stuff, our apartments jobs, friends, and finances. Blessings. I think we're also getting close to deciding on a church... that will also be nice.
We miss our Michigan friends tons (and hope they visit soon) but have enjoyed getting to know some new folks. We even had a couple couples over Saturday night for our special recipe spaghetti sauce, Guitar Hero, and some Settlers of Catan (you know you're sad to have missed that, Julie and Kara!)
Josh started school today and I was oh so tempted to take his picture out in the front yard with his backpack - I mean computer case - on. Do you remember when your mom used to do that?
Riley-boy had a checkup on his bum leg and they said he was doing so well that they took his cast off early! He is still weak on the leg and often limps, but is doing quite well. He has another few weeks of taking it easy, and then we'll get to do more walking/playing/obedience training with him after that. We're looking forward to it. The picture above is of him watching me work this morning.
Josh is taking me on a date tonight... just us. Woo hoo! Then tomorrow already Nana and Poppa Brown are coming to visit. Should be fun. We're also excited for:
1. the Logozzos to visit on Saturday
2. college football starting (also on Saturday)
3. visiting Ann Arbor next weekend
4. the semester to be in full swing. We know Josh will be incredibly busy this semester (at least everyone keeps telling us that) but he is really ready to get into the thick of it. Two weeks of orientation was a little overkill-ish, I think.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The homemaker in me...

I love crafts. I haven't thought of myself as a "crafty" person until fairly recently, but now must admit that I am.

The new endeavor:


For some reason that word makes me think of cute little white haired ladies sitting in a rocking chair making doilys. And hey, that may be me someday. But I went to a craft night with some of the other wives/girlfriends last night and was inspired by the beautiful blankets others were making. Adorable. So today I went with my friend to Hobby Lobby and Borders and came home with a hook, some yarn, and a book called The Happy Hooker. I have made but a couple of random braid-type-things, and am looking forward to future crochet adventures. Let me add that to my list of other crafty things I'm into/want to learn: sewing, quilting, and scrapbooking. But hey, why not learn a new skill?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


"How unutterably sweet is the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows us completely. No talebearer can inform on us; no enemy can make an accusation stick; no forgotten skeleton can come tumbling out of some hidden closet to abash us and expose our past; no unsuspected weakness in our characters can come to light to turn God away from us, since He knew us utterly before we knew him and called us to Himself in the full knowledge of everything that was against us. "

I came across this today while reading Messy Spirituality. It is a quote from A. W. Tozer's The Knowledge Of The Holy (both excellent reads).

Monday, August 20, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


For the first time in my married/adult life, I'm getting to know neighbors. We have been married now for two years and lived in a couple of different apartment complexes. We've said the occasionaly "hi" but never moved past that to anything remotely resembling friendships.

In our first place we had those older people with the really nice car - were they building a new place? Did they lose their home in some kind of bad financial deal but managed to keep the sportscar? Don't know. And the young family whose kids jumped up and down in the apartment right above us. Names? Stories? No idea.

Our second place was in GR, and we had the same thing going on... this time a row of single folks who kept to themselves. We introduced ourselves to some of them, but never heard they were even leaving until new people popped up.

I've always felt like we were missing good opportunties to make friends.

But here we are... and already things are different. We know Sarah and Brian, 3 doors down. Brian is a year ahead of Josh in B-School. Mike and Eulia live next door with their cute little red-headed boy. He is in a doctoral program at IU and the kid likes to catch frogs. Both of those families have a dog like we do. We had Lisa and her little daughter stopped by yesterday to hang out for a little while. Lisa's husband just started school with Josh and the little girl enjoyed playing with Riley. We've also met people walking him in the evenings. I must say that I really like having neighbors that feel neighborly.

So what is the difference? Is is that we have our own little entry and even a front lawn to sit on? Does the dog help? Are people just friendlier here in Bloomington? Is it just Josh's school connections? I'm not so sure what it is... perhaps a combination of factors. I just hope this continues throughout our next 2 years here.

Monday, August 13, 2007

More Riley

Well, our little guy had to have surgery on his leg last week. When we first adopted him the shelter told us he had a limp but wasn't in any pain and that it was no big deal. Our vet, when we took him there, told us the same thing. She mentioned offhandedly that we could send in the x-rays to a specialist just to be sure. We agreed, and then a couple of days got a call back from the vet. She asked me, "are you sitting down?" Never a good sign. As it turns out Riley's leg never grew properly and one bone was longer than another. As a result his little elbow was having problems as things weren't connecting like they should. We decided to go ahead with surgery, because things had the potential to get a lot worse. I took him into Indy on Friday morning (amidst lots of tears) and left him there overnight for his procedure. We picked him up early Saturday morning, complete with a leg in a splint and a "party collar" (see below). Poor little guy!! We are glad to have him home and he is recovering well. His meds make him pretty drowsy, which is good for now because he shouldn't be doing all that much. His biggest problem right now is his "peg leg" that gets twisted sometimes when he lays down wrong on it. He gets straightened out pretty quickly, thankfully. His yelps of pain make my heart stop! I feel so bad for him! Our biggest issue right now is that we're still dealing with his separation anxiety, and coupled with a bum leg it is hard to know what to do. It should be an interesting few weeks! It sounds like we've got 4-6 weeks of him in a split. It will be a good time for bonding and such, and I'm thankful I can be home with him most of the time.

And They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love

I was listening to some Derek Webb today and came across these lyrics, from a song called T-Shirts. I am often so sad and frustrated with how the world has come to know followers of Christ, and in this song Derek Webb put my feelings to words and music...

they'll know us by the t-shirts that we wear
they'll know us by the way we point and stare
at anyone whose sin looks worse than ours
who cannot hide the scars of this curse that we all bare

they’ll know us by our picket lines and signs
they’ll know us by the pride we hide behind
like anyone on earth is living right
and isn’t that why Jesus died
not to make us think we’re right

when love, love, love
is what we should be known for
love, love, love
it’s the how and it’s the why
we live and breathe and we die

they’ll know us by reasons we divide
and how we can’t seem to unify
because we’ve gotta sing songs a certain style
or we’ll walk right down that aisle
and just leave ‘em all behind


Where do I start changing the world? With me. My attitudes, prejudices, and habits. If I want the world to know and grasp the love of Christ, then love should be what I'm known for as a follower of Christ.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Back To School

Josh started school this week, kind of. He had what they call "Jump Start," which was a week of basic refresher courses. They were not mandatory or for credit, but he was glad to have the opportunity to take take two classes on Excel and one in Finance this past week.

Three things he liked best about Jump Start week:

-great opportunity to meet fellow students

-learned a lot about Excel and really liked it (and we are now both big Excel fans!)

-really enjoyed the professors

So far, so good! This morning he even went golfing with some of the guys he has met in class and at Partner's Club events. It is a blessing for both of us to feel plugged in so quickly.

Coming up this week will be orientation, which we've all heard is VERY busy. He will get to meet the other students in his group, which he will be working with all semester. He also gets his first chance to compete with his group to solve a business problem already on Friday. It sounds like Thursday night will be a late one!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Can't Resist

Here are a couple more shots of us with our little guy...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Riley's Separation Anxiety

We went out for dinner last night and left Riley loose in the apartment for a couple of hours. You can see the result. This is our front window - he seems to have been so desperate for us to come home that he tore at the mini blinds in the process.
He had been SO good this past week that we hadn't worried too much about him. He was fine loose in my parent's house with Chloe when no one was home. We left him in his crate in the car when we went out to breakfast with friends for a while (it wasn't hot outside or anything) and came back to him sleeping peacefully. I even left him loose at home to bring Josh to class that morning and didn't have any problems.
It looks like we have our work cut out for us after all! I read our doggy book and found this passage:
"(Destructiveness) is the classic problem with the dog you adopt as an adult. He's had his heart broken once and his hopes rekindled, by you. And then you leave him and he copes with his anxiety - will you ever return? - by going nuts."
Our poor little guy! We are doing our best to communicate that we love him and will always come back for him.
The tips the book gave us for dealing with the issue are ones we're going to try...
1. feed him before you leave so hopefully he'll sleep while you're gone
2. give him something special to chew on just as you leave (i think his kong ball with peanut butter will be reserved for when we go)
3. leave the radio on
4. practice no-fuss comings and goings (meaning act super casual about both leaving him and coming back, so he learns that it is no big deal)
5. get him into a routine and start training him (we'll sign up for obedience classes soon, and we won't be traveling for awhile so he'll get used to us more and more)
And most importantly:
6. keep him in his crate to minimize the damage potential (and he honestly seems more secure there anyway... maybe he is used to it from the shelter)
On a fun note, we had a really great time at dinner last night - we met up with the Kelley Partner's Club (the organization for people like me) and got to meet some students and families. Everyone seemed super friendly and genuine. Tonight I'm going to take Riley on a walk along a trail in town with some of the people we met last night. A lot of them have dogs, too, and it will be good for him to socialize some more. I also talked with one girl about setting up a play date sometime with Blue, her dog, at a no-leash area in town. Should be fun!

Monday, August 6, 2007

FUN Michigan Weekend

We had so much fun in Grand Rapids this past weekend! It was honestly hard to leave!

It was nice for me to be back in the office and I had a fun lunch out with my team. We also enjoyed a campfire with our old small group (minus Julie, Pete, and Grayson, sadly). Then we had a blast at the Boeve-Tuttle wedding! They simply did a beautiful job with everything, from the pre-rehearsal happy hour at a cute bed and breakfast to the Bridgewater Place reception! We were excited to be a part of it, and Josh enjoyed being a groomsman. While hanging out with everyone we realized that we had forgotten how much we missed our old college friends! Great to celebrate with Erin and Boeve, and also great to have an excuse to all get together again. We were having so much fun Friday and Saturday nights that we caught up more with people over breakfast Sunday morning before we headed back home.

Here is Riley on his first big road trip... such a good boy!My tired boys in my old bed one morning. Love this picture!
This weekend was certainly a blessing and encouragement to us. Now we're back to reality, but a fun reality where Josh goes to work and we get to know our new little town. Very exciting.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

back in G-Rap

Well, just as we were getting settled in Bloomington we headed back to Michigan once again! The road down there is getting a little too familiar! Yes, we're back in town for our the wedding of some of our friends from college. We were sad to have to pack up and leave our new little home so quickly after moving in, but are quite excited to see our college friends again. Tonight we are hanging out with other friends and bringing Riley with us to meet the gang. He did a GREAT job with the 6+ hour car ride on the way up here, pretty much sleeping on our laps the entire way. He had a nice time terrorizing Chloe, my parents' 11-year-old dog, once he got to their house, but has mellowed out nicely since he has been here. He continues to do great with potty training (no accidents yet!) and getting to know us, and we just love being with him! Josh in particular is head-over-heels for this little pup, which I love to see.