Friday, May 30, 2008

Book Review: Sin Boldly


Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace is simply that. Cathleen Falsani’s new book explores the subject of grace in a delightfully personal way. Instead of talking about the topic directly too often, she hints toward it and points at it through stories of her own experiences. Cathleen, through courageous honesty and good humor, explores how grace can (and does) pop up in a variety of different circumstances – some exotic, some painful, some mundane. She shares a wide variety of experiences, from being “mothered” by courageous widows in Africa to falling in love with a tree (named Henry) in her backyard. Each story is different and simple and profound.

This book reminds me a little of Cold Tangerines (which is one of my favorites, so that isn’t a bad thing) because I walk away from it looking closer for grace in my own life.

I love what Lee Strobel, author of The Case For Christ, said about it:

"Here's an utterly original, unflinchingly honest, heart-expanding treatment of my favorite topic: the grace of God. I was so captivated that I missed church while reading it – and Cathleen's lyrical insights refreshed my soul more than any sermon could have. I won't be the same having read it."

This book is like eating a lineup of little delicious treats. I taste one chapter, love it, and can’t wait to see what she has prepared next.

Highly recommended.

It releases in August (mean of me to post the review now, I realize) but in the meantime, Cathleen has a great religion/pop culture blog you can visit. I do, on a daily basis.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jan Shoes

We have a running disagreement in our family about cute dress shoes.

I'm off to LA tomorrow for a trade show and knew I needed to purchase some new black heels. My existing pairs include a cheap-o Target purchase that have been worn to death and a nicer, cute set that unfortunately are missing one heel. Thanks to a little brown rascal.

I spotted this pair a few weeks ago at the Nine West outlet store in Michigan city, and liked them immediately. I mean, they're professional and stylish, right? Plus relatively versatile.

Josh hated them.

Actually, he immediately described them as "witchy" - except with a "b." He thinks they looked severe and a little bit like they could be used for weapons.

But they will go so nice with my suit!

The good wife in me decided to wait and continue to shop around. Well I looked. And looked. And found nothing that I liked that was black, not a sling-back, and didn't have a crocodile print feel to them. So Josh finally relented, under the promise that I'd only wear them for work-related events.

And now they're mine. We now call them my "Jan shoes" - a la Jan Levinson back when she was still Michael's boss.

I just hope they don't KILL my feet as I have to stand in them ALL WEEKEND LONG. Maybe I should take some flats (and run the risk of stepping on the hems all day) just in case.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Good Neighbors

Josh's parents were in the backyard with Riley this past weekend, enjoying the sunshine and chatting it up with our neighbors, when all of a sudden everyone heard a loud buzzing. As though someone nearby was working on a home improvement project. But then they all looked up, and were shocked by what they saw.

Bees. Hundreds of bees.

Honey Bee

Josh's parents quickly took Riley inside and called us to the kitchen window to check things out. Never in my life have I seen so many in one place. And that one place was our backyard.

Upon further investigation we all spotted a new nest on the branch of a tree than hung over the yard. And if I thought I'd seen a ton of bees flying about in the air, it was nothing in comparison to this branch. I think teeming is an appropriate word. Perfect.

And what in the world do you do in this situation?

I mean, we're in a rental house and the tree was technically on city property. They came out of nowhere and we hadn't the first clue what to do. I certainly wasn't going to volunteer to climb up that tree and cut the branch down.

However, before we could even start to wonder, our new neighbors were on the phone. We didn't know exactly what they had in mind, but were thankful they were investigating options. When we returned back to the house later that day we found a note taped to the door. They'd actually called a beekeeper friend and he'd brought a special box to collect them all. He apparently did his beekeeping thing and coerced them all into the box, because later that night the box was gone and we haven't seen another bee since.

How nice of our new neighbors to literally take care of the whole situation! In like, 6 hours. We're really thankful.

As it turns out our buzzing friends were actually honey bees. And the beekeeper friend of our neighbors was thankful to get them, having lost a bee herd (I don't actually think herd is the word I want to use there) earlier this year.

And these sweet people even gave us a jar of homemade honey.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend - Lake Michigan

Are you sensing a theme?

Josh's parents are visiting for the holiday weekend and we took them - where else? - to the dog-friendly beach in Stevensville.

Riley was SUPER good and was even allowed to trot along without a leash. He especially loved running up and down the shore with us. It was the perfect day for it - sunny without being hot.

My in-laws walking down to the water.

Loving the sand dunes.

The family shot.

I could run with my dog on the beach all day every day. We both love it.

The beach bum...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My Childhood Church

For 18 years of my life I went to the same medium-sized, CRC, inner-city, church. I was baptized there as an infant, publicly declared my faith as an adolescent, and even got married there a couple of years ago. It is the same church my dad grew up in, and the same one that sponsored his family to immigrate from The Netherlands back before he was born.

I have so many memories in that place…

Hiding from my parents in a random stairwell – just for fun.
Sitting in the grass in the front lawn during vacation Bible school.
Counting the stained glass window panes while sitting on the wodden pew.
Drinking terribly weak punch after Sunday services.
Singing a duet with my cousin Mark where we fought over the microphone the entire time.

And even though I haven’t regularly attended there since I was in high school, it still feels like “home” when I go there now. I get to see people that have guided and taught and prayed for me my entire life, and it is such a blessing to me. I still feel a part of the community there. After the service I am greeted by a variety of people, young and old, who have had a significant impact on my life. These people truly care about me and I'm confident that I'm still in their prayers.

It isn't just me. My friend Rachel, who also grew up in that church, is currently working in Africa, doing AIDS education with the Peace Corps. She lives in a hut in a remote village, and her work there is often difficult and thankless. She is determined to stick it out, and the church community has completely come along side her with prayers and support. She even regularly receives letters and packages from people there.

It sounds SO cliche to say "church family" but in this case it is true.

I haven't experienced anything close to it at any other church I've attended. Not because those churches was at fault, necessarily, but because I haven't spent most of my life at those places. I just know that wherever I go in this world, they'll be there to support and encourage. I'll always have a home there, no matter what.

I don't know what God has planned us, but I hope my future children can be a part of that kind of church community as they grow up. I know that the kind of support, love, and encouragement I have always experienced there has significantly impacted my life.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Tonight we drove up to Holland for dinner with our friends Matt and Erin and took Riley with us to meet their dog, Dilbert. We enjoyed food, conversation, euchre, and American Idol, while the dogs completely wore themselves out playing.

Although we witnessed some... um... less-than-PG-rated behavior from both, they seemed to enjoy each other. Favorite activities included chasing each other around the yard and playing tug-of-war with Dilbert's toys.

And now Riley has already put himself to bed for the evening. Yes, he actually marches himself upstairs without us and lies down in bed. We'll be surprised if he makes it up before noon tomorrow.

Aren't they cute?

Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday Morning Meme - With Pictures!

I saw this one at Sarah's last week and new immediately that it was for me...

Here are the directions:
1. Go to
2. Type in your “answer” to each question in the search box.
3. Use only the first page!
4. Insert the picture on your blog.

1. What is your current relationship status?

love my husband

2. What is your current mood?


3. What is your favorite movie?


4.Who is your favorite band/singer?

The Beatles

5. Where do you live?

St. Joe

6. Where do you work?

Work At Home

7. What do you look like?

I'm a dutch girl

'83 blonde loops blue eyes freckles hm1

8. What do you drive?

9. What's your favorite T.V. show?




10. Describe yourself.

read a book and we'll talk

11. What are you doing today?

Hard at work on my laptop.

12. What did you do last night?

the wedding planner

(I didn't watch the movie - I actually helped to plan a wedding!)

13. What is your name?


This is pretty fun! Feel free to play along.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Not My Day

Well, it started out okay...

Woke up at 7:59 and started working. I was looking forward to the projects I had planned to during work, and really looking forward to a fun-filled weekend we've planned.

Then the Excel project I worked on all morning crashed, and somehow hadn't saved. So I started again at square one. Sigh. But Josh came home for lunch and helped me with a few spreadsheety problems, and I was able to send it where it needed to go. Not too painful.

After lunch, however, I started to feel yucky. Nothing life-threatening, just yucky. I figured I'd lie down and get some energy back, so headed upstairs with Riley for a nap.

Then my phone started ringing. I stumbled out of bed, but couldn't find it anywhere... not in my laptop bag, my office, under couch cushions... and yet I could still hear it ring. The sound was coming from the kitchen, but again it wasn't anywhere to be found. After significant further investigation (and another missed call) I finally found it.

In the trash.

In an old Wendy's bag.

And who had been calling me? Oh right, the coworkers that I'd set up a meeting with. Had I remembered that I had a Friday afternoon meeting? No. Had I prepared for it? No.


Thankfully they were gracious and rescheduled for Monday. Hopefully I'll be able to get my head on straight again soon!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thoughts on Jesus For President

First of all, an excellent book. Scriptural truth woven through excellent storytelling is a great way to read non-fiction, at least for me. I think the questions this book asks are very, very important. Some might be tempted to dismiss this book as liberal (or even hippie), but they would be truly missing out. I love the idea that it doesn’t matter so much how you vote on November 4th, but rather how you live every day of the year.

Shane and Chris, in Jesus for President, do an excellent job unpacking the political framework of the world in which Jesus lived, and how he deliberately chose to do ministry a very different way. While he didn’t operate under standard imperial guidelines, he was still able to spin the political rhetoric of the day on its head. Fascinating to read about. The authors also make it clear that Jesus wasn’t passive toward the needs and frustrations and sorrows of people, but chose a different, creative way of going about his work on the earth.

“All of this is an invitation to join a peculiar people – those with no king but God, who practice jubilee economics and make the world new. This is not the old-time religion of going to heaven; this is about bringing heaven to the world.”

Amish for Homeland Security? An interesting concept. Shane and Chris make no bones about the fact that they are extremely anti-war. They artfully weave stories and quotes and truth about the fallacy of “redemptive violence” and demonstrate that creative non-violence simply works better to achieve life change and good in this world. It is a stronger argument for Christian non-violence than I’ve ever heard, and I love how they wrap anti-voilent/war ideas into their “pro-life” stance. As they view it, life is precious from conception to death. What I’d really like to hear, however, is their perspective on the significant war and violence we see sprinkled throughout the Bible – especially the Old Testament. While I agree, for the most part, with their stance on non- violence, I think leaving this issue out weakens their argument significantly. That said, I still think they’re on the right track. One little idea that sticks with me is this:

“I’ll die for you, but I won’t kill for you.”

A lot of the stories and ideas the authors use when they point toward what Christian political imagination could and does sometimes does look like are incredible – and a little overwhelming to me. They talk about alternative, intentional communities where sharing, debt cancellation, and mutual aid are the name of the game. They give examples of people who have changed their lifestyles to become less dependent on oil and cheap labor in Asia. Others refuse to live in the suburbs so they can live in solidarity with the poor.

“Our individuated lifestyle of single-family dwellings, a car per person, and a house full of “my” stuff purchased cheaply from China makes it harder to follow Jesus, even for those with the best of intentions. When your house is built on sand, you waste energy keeping it from being knocked over.”

“Perhaps there is no more dangerous place for a Christian to be than in safety and comfort, detached from the suffering of others” – Shane’s mom

There is a lot that I buy and eat and wear that has probably passed through the hands of someone that was mistreated. And yet I haven’t stopped doing normal grocery and clothes shopping. I don’t know if I could ever welcome an unrelated homeless woman with Alzheimer’s into my home to live with my family. Am I making lifestyle decisions to cut back on my consumption of oil, knowing that there is a significant connection between oil and war? Not really.

I haven’t yet made these lifestyle changes, and honestly don’t know that I will. But God is big enough to change my heart as He sees fit. Thankfully this book simply suggests some ways others are living out their faith, rather than trying to tell me my life needs to follow a 5 stop plan. Reading this book re-motivated me to serve those around me, walk the extra mile, and turn the other cheek. And to remember that the way of Jesus is always going to look quite different than the ways of this world. After all, my ultimate hope lies not in partisan political options but in Jesus Christ and His kingdom.

For more information, see the book's website or listen to Shane tell you about it himself. Also, I recently listened to a fascinating discussion about some of these topics between Shane, Greg Boyd (author of Myth of a Christian Nation), and Chuck Colson on Krista Tippett's radio program Speaking of Faith. I recommend it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

More Beach Stuff

For those of you asking about dogs and beaches, from what I understand they're not allowed on about 95% of them. However, after a brief google search for dog friendly spots along Lake Michigan, I was delighted to find one about 15 minutes away (by car, unlike the last one, which was a 15 minute walk). Yee-haw.

So of course that is where we went last night.

More sniffing and licking and getting paws wet for Riley, who loved every second. We walked down along the water for quite a while, just enjoying each other, the lake, and our puppy. Josh even taught me (successfully!) how to skip stones.

And let me just tell you - it was beautiful. Both nights now - just pure and gorgeous and serene and wonderful all around. And since we're still in mid-May, it was both cool and mostly deserted. Perfect for a leisurely stroll.

There is just something about beauty in nature that turns my (often distracted) mind toward my Creator. I'm so thankful for glimpses of Him in the "rocks and trees" and "skies and seas." As I sat there tonight listening to the waves roll in, I grabbed a handful of sand and looked closely at it - the thousands of little grains in tans, blacks, and browns. And it hit me anew. As big and majestic as God is, He still knows about every grain of sand. Like hairs on my head. The little details of this world - and my life - don't escape Him. Incredible.

This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears

all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.

This is my Father's world: I rest me in the thought

of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; his hand the wonders wrought.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

We Broke The Rules Last Night...

And took the little bugger to the beach.

And despite being a little afraid of the waves rolling in, he LOVED it. He isn't a water-lover by any means, but enjoyed getting his little paws wet in Lake Michigan. Chasing gulls (and sniffing out their droppings), however, was the best part.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday Morning Meme

I was tagged by Sarah last week, but haven't gotten the chance to respond until now...

I am: cold.
I know: that I was overly-optimistic when I didn’t pack a coat for the summer. Michigan is still chilly these days.
I want: a bubble bath.
I wish: there was no pain and sorrow in this world. (Thankfully that is still yet to come.)
I hate: arrogance.
I miss: warm weather in Bloomington.
I fear: something happening to Josh or Riley.
I feel: a little queasy after eating too many sour gummy bears.
I hear: Regis and Kelly on TV in the next room.
I smell: doggy smells. Not bad ones. It is just that my “brownie boy” is sitting next to me.
I crave: a good cup of coffee.
I search: for missing keys, pens, papers, phones, etc. All the time.
I regret: certain social blunders. From, like middle school. They still make me cringe to think of them.
I love: to talk.
I ache: in my neck because I think I slept on it wrong.
I care: deeply about my friends.
I always: try to smile.
I am not: perfect.
I believe: Jesus died for me.
I dance: often. And not well.
I sing: often. And better than I dance.
I cry: about once per month. Josh has learned to not try to figure it out. Sometimes I just need to cry.
I fight: with Riley when we walk together. He pulls.
I write: blog posts and emails. Lots of emails.
I win: not as often as I’d like. I don’t like to lose.
I lose: track of time when I’m with friends.
I never: eat peanut butter and jelly together, although I like both separately.
I confuse: right and left sometimes.
I am scared: of finding bugs in my food.
I need: a shower.
I am happy about: being in Michigan.
I hope: for fun-filled summer. The delicious, good-for-the-soul kind we’ll never forget.

I am tagging: Julie. But I'm up for anyone playing along. I like the open-ended-ness of this one.

Friday, May 9, 2008

We're Back!

... to the land of El Matador tortilla chips, Fox Sports Detroit (the first thing Josh checked when he walked in the door of our rental home), and Meijer. We spent some quality time (and $) there last night. I did a little dance in the chip aisle.

And Josh was excited to watch the Tigers on TV as we were unpacking.

Life is good.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I'm not great at finishing what I've started.

This includes closing dresser doors I've opened, reading to the end of books, and following-through on goals. Little things, big things, and in-between things. Mostly on a personal level. When the going gets tough, I don't always get going. How long have I been working on reading Jesus For President? And I really like that book! I don't know that I've EVER finished a devotional. (Fiction, however, I always finish. Quickly. Go figure.) There are times I knew I should get on track with regular times with God, and then let it fall by the wayside after a few weeks. And I hated every moment of running, so the mini-marathon fell by the wayside in January. Sigh.

I'm not proud of this characteristic of mine, and it rears its ugly head more than I'd like it to. This struggle reminds me of this verse, and makes me thankful for what follows:

Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

And follow-through just happens to be one of those things God is really working on in my life. Remember when I talked about really wanting to get out of my rut and grow in my faith? I think finishing and following through on things directly relate to ideas of goodness, self-control, and perseverance. Some ingredients for growth.

I've heard that goodness (at least in 2 Peter) has a connotation of excellence. As in, the kind that athletes and musicians have. The kind that comes from practice and discipline and doing something (that may not be so exciting) over and over again. I'm bad at that. I usually find something else to do.

Self-control? Denying myself something good or exciting (for something better)? Like sitting down to watch American Idol instead of spending time alone with God? Or grabbing a snack instead of my running shoes? Yes, I could use an extra dose. Or ten.

And of course, the most obvious choice, perseverance. I don't have a lot of it. Not when it comes to unimportant things like shutting closet doors (yes mom, I still struggle with this!) or finishing books or even running. Or important things, like devotional times.

I think the practice of perseverance is one of things I may not immediately see the benefits of. At least in some areas. I mean, reading to the end of a certain book isn't a huge deal. Nor is cleaning the kitchen right after I bake muffins. But consistently making a point to follow-through in life's little areas may prove very worthwhile down the road when I need perseverance in friendships or my marriage or when my walk with the Lord becomes painful or difficult.

So where do I start?

My gracious heavenly Father hasn't convicted me of too much off the bat, thankfully. But He has laid on my heart to finish the Beth Moore Bible study I started in January. I had to miss several sessions for vacation and work, and I fell behind. My church group has long since finished it, and dang it, I'm going to finish too. I'm actually on the last week in the workbook. Such a good feeling. And the thing is, I'm learning and growing through those daily studies. I really enjoy them. I'm also tracking nicely on Jesus for President. And when we get to Michigan, I'm going to lace up those sneakers. Anyone know of a good 5K to run this summer or fall in Michigan? Julie, want to find one together?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Best Worst Sportscast

Have you seen this yet? Tell me you have. Just in case, I had to post it here.

I'm not usually one to laugh when others are having a rough time.

Really, I'm not.

But this is hysterical. Other than the "boom goes the dynamite" line, my favorite part is when he mouths an apology to the camera.

Am I a terrible person?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Its Time For 100 Things About Me

No, it isn't a milestone. Just for fun.

1. I have a very common name.
2. I like hard boiled eggs.
3. But only the white part.
4. I do, however, like deviled eggs.
5. When I'm wearing slip on shoes (could include clogs, flip flops, ballet slippers, etc) I slip off the one on my left foot when I'm driving and rest that foot on the seat. Very comfortable.
6. I love to read, and always have a "to read" list a mile long.
7. I usually go for fiction first.
8. Before I worked for Z I was a bank teller.
9. Then I was an account opener for about two months.
10. Then Z finally caved in and I got a job there.
11. When Josh and I got married, we had all 8 grandparents present. No one had passed away or had gotten divored and remarried. Just eight.
12. Since then we've lost one, Josh's grandpa.
13. We'd like 3-4 kids someday.
14. And we hope they come after Josh is done with school. We're planning accordingly.
15. I have a small immediate family (Just two parents and a brother)
16. I have a large extended family.
17. My mom has four sisters.
18. My dad has four sisters and four brothers.
19. I grew up surrounded by cousins my age.
20. Thankfully, most of them lived nearby.
21. I started to be a coffee drinker when I was 15 and I worked at a drive-through coffee shop.
22. That was my first "real" job.
23. I used to babysit a lot. I loved it.
24. There are several skills I would like to learn:
25. Piano (I stopped lessons at like age 14)
26. Sewing/Quilting
27. Photoshop
28. We plan to take Riley to doggie training lessons this summer. He isn't a bad boy, but he could learn to stick closer to him mom and dad when outside.
29. I'm a very social person.
30. My earliest friend is my cousin Erin. She is four months older than me.
31. When we were both 12, waiters at restaurants would hand her a kids menu and me an adult menu. It used to drive her CRAZY.
32. When I was a teenager my mom told me she would pay me $100 to grow my hair out to "boob level."
33. I tried, but it never got long enough.
34. I met Josh in college, at the University of Michigan.
35. I loved my U of M experience.
36. But I'm thankful Josh chose Kelley (IU) for grad school. It has been great for him.
37. I really like to scrapbook and make cards.
38. I can go a little wild in hobby lobby.
39. I received a bunch of gift cards to Hobby Lobby for Christmas.
40. They're now gone.
41. I'm sometimes tempted to post pictures of my crafts on this blog, but I don't want to seem full of myself.
42. But I enjoy looking at other blogs for crafty inspiration.
43. I'm not good at remembering to bring things with me when I leave the house.
44. I usually am at a loss to find keys or my cell phone.
45. I really like my job.
46. I'm really thankful I can do it in Bloomington and in St. Joseph.
47. I'm curious to see where God leads us next.
48. I have gold ballet slippers. I enjoy them; Josh does not.
49. My brother and I are 3 1/2 years apart.
50. He is younger than me.
51. I've always wanted to get my belly buttom pierced.
52. I enjoy listening to audio books - when I'm driving, doing chores, working...
53. When I was 18 I saw myself getting married in my late 20's.
54. I got married at 21.
55. We had a very pink wedding. I loved it.
56. I have been a bridesmaid once before - in my friend DeeDee's wedding.
57. I love Balsamic Viniagrette dressing on my salad.
58. I could survive on freshly baked bread and butter.
59. I've been on a Lord Of The Rings kick lately. Just finished listening to all of the audio books a couple weeks ago.
60. I'm currently listening to The Hobbit.
61. I kind-of like McDonalds.
62. Especially the Sausage McGriddles.
63. I love BasicGrey paper when I make cards and scrapbook.
64. A League Of Their Own is one of my favorite movies. It has been since age 13 or so.
64. ELF is my current favorite, however.
65. I don't offend easily.
66. I probably tell people TMI from time to time.
67. My first car was a 1983 Mercury Marquee.
68. Keep in mind I was born in 1983.
69. It was a pea-green yellowish color. And some rust spots.
70. His name was Ralph.
71. My cousin drove a junker that she called Henry. Ralph and Henry were friends.
72. I played with dolls longer than my friends did.
73. But I loved Molly and couldn't give her up. She came to college with me. Dressed in Maize and Blue. Granted, I no longer played with her by that time.
74. I still really love the American Girl Store in Chicago.
75. My mom can't wait to bring my as-of-yet-not-conceived daughter there.
76. There and Disney World. Boys can come on that trip.
77. I enjoy playing Settlers Of Catan.
78. I am usually reading at least 4 books at any given time.
79. My husband thinks this (and many other things about me) is crazy.
80. I hope we get visitors in St. Joe this summer.
81. I used to be very insecure. God has been working on me in this area for the last five-or-so years. I have a ways to go, but I'm thankful for the progress that has been made.
82. I went to a private Christian high school.
83. It was big. Christian schools are popular in Grand Rapids, where I grew up.
84. I don't know what kind of school we'll send our kids to.
85. From Kingergarten to 4th grade I went to a public Montessori school.
86. What I appreciated most in 5th grade (when I switched to a Christian school) was that they had good art supplies. There must have been budget cuts in that area at the public school.
87. I love babies.
88. I also love baby names. Just ask my husband. I make him talk baby names at least once a week.
89. I have a hard time grasping the idea of time zones.
90. I love pancakes.
91. When I was little my mom used to make heart-shaped ones for us on Valentine's Day.
92. Oh wait, she still does that!
93. At this point, I don't see myself going back to school for anything.
94. But I'm open to it.
95. I'd like to live in a foreign country for a few years.
96. I like to waterski, but I'm not very good at it.
97. I also enjoy driving the boat.
98. Since I failed the whole half-marathon thing, I'd like to sign up for a 5K one of these days.
99. It would be more my style.
100. I like cottage cheese on my Ruffles potato chips.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Year One: Complete

Yes, Josh has completed his first year of B-School! He finished his last two exams yesterday. He has worked hard this past year and done really well. I'm very proud of him!

Hard to believe he is half done already. At this time next year he'll be wearing a cap and gown, and we'll be preparing to start our new life somewhere. We don't know where yet. But somewhere.

It's exciting.

And now we're getting ready to move to Michigan for the summer! And the search for a place to live mercifully ended. We DID find a place to rent in St. Joseph, Praise the Lord. We are thankful Josh will have a quick, easy commute and that we'll only be 6 blocks from the beach.

Yes, you read that right! WOO HOO. I'll put that bathing suit to good use.

Here's "our" "new" place:

We welcome any and all friends who would like to visit!

We leave in less than a week! Thankfully the place is furnished so the packing will be minimal. Clothes, craft stuff (of course!), some pantry items, sports stuff, and work stuff will round out the list. And now that Josh conveniently has some extra time on his hands, he is being put to work! Willingly. This week he has dropped off and picked up dry cleaning, gotten oil changes for both cars, and deposited money at the bank. LOVE IT. I believe he is packing kitchen stuff as I write this.

AND my very cute and sweet husband just came home from errands with a cup of Starbucks and one of my favorite movies. What a keeper.