Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Single Man

Chris and I watched this movie last night.
I highly recommend it!

vegan for life

my good friend sarah got tatted today, and i got to watch all of the action!
the tattoo she got is the national vegan symbol. she is vegan and very passionate about it. she teaches me about it all the time. she even makes the best vegan cookies around!

she was having so much fun!

the final product!

she got her tattoo done at pincushn's in holland.
her tattoo artist was chris, and she had many recommendations for him from a number of other people. so, if you want a well-done tattoo, go to pincushn and ask for chris.

for all my twenty-something friends

5 Key Things I learned in my 20’s

October 02, 2009

(via Brad Lomenick,

1. Use your 20’s to build a foundation for your 70’s. Create deep roots that will give you a foundation for when you are older. Finishing well means starting well.

2. Don’t worry about climbing the ladder. There’s no longer a ladder anyway. It’s more like one of those spiral staircases. And sometimes you are going across or down when you think you might be climbing. So don’t worry about it. Spend your 20’s learning and having life experiences. Travel, explore the world, take on projects that seem fun.

3. If your “career” path doesn’t make sense to anyone except for you, it’s okay. My 20’s: college at University of Oklahoma, wrangler on a guest ranch in Colorado, management consultant, business development officer, Magazine and media company, strategic business plan developer. WOW. That is all over the map. But God was orchestrating steps very clearly for what was next in my story. And continues to do so.

4. Be diligent and aggressive in developing your friendships and relationships. Create a core group of close friends who you want to do like with. This group may change a bit over the years, but it is imperative to find a circle of trust that you are committed to and they to you.

5. Figure out who you want to be, not what you want to do. Who you are is more important that what you do or where you live. Spiritually, financially, family, emotionally, relationally. Find two or three older, wise “sages” that you can learn from and count on as help.


northern michigan

i could sum up this past weekend with three things:
good friends, bike rides, boat rides

chris and i began the weekend by driving up north to harbor springs in the pouring rain with no driver's side windshield wiper. no worries, though--we made it safely to corinne's in harbor springs.

on friday morning, luke, corinne, chris, and i woke up, grabbed coffee at wooly bugger's, and drove to mackinac where we caught arnold's ferry to the island. we chose this line because they gave us a coupon for bike rentals with our ferry ticket purchase--these bikes were the best deal on the island!

we rode the ferry over to the island while rain was misting us, and i was upset that i chose to wore shorts. once we reached the island, though, the sun came out and we enjoyed a beauitful day!

we walked up and down the main road for a little while checking out some shops. after a little while we stopped at mary's bistro for lunch. we ran into alayna g. from hope (she was the hostess)! she ended up buying our table a delicious dessert---thanks alayna!

after lunch we rented two tandem bicycles and rode around the perimeter of the island. the landscape was beautiful! and we all had so much fun riding together.

shortly before dinner, we decided that we had seen all of the island we possibly could without spending too much money, so we headed back to harbor springs for dinner. we took corinne's family's boat out on the bay, and her and luke were great captains and gave chris and me a tour of the area from the water. we then drove the boat towards the docks downtown and went to turkey's for dinner. corinne and i had delicious salads (i had one of the best strawberry-spinach-pecan salads i've ever tasted), and the boys ordered a cutom-made pizza with jalapenos. delicious dinner. we then headed back to corinne's where i fell asleep early while everyone was talking, and chris woke me up and tucked me into bed.

saturday morning, corinne and i delivered breakfast-in-bed to the boys while they were watching the tour de france. we lied around for awhile then went out on corinne's jet ski. i wish i had a picture of the four of us crammed onto the one jet ski to show you. it was fun!

we then headed for glen arbor. chris and i made a pitstop in traverse city to visit with josh. we had dinner at taco house, and i finally ate a cherry burrito after hearing about them for the past two years from all of the boys. we then met up with matthew and johnpaul, and the five of us went to moomer's for delicious ice cream!

chris and i then headed towards glen arbor, where i was finally able to feast my eyes upon the glory of the most beautiful location in all of michigan. glen lake is gorgeous. chris and i also saw one of the most beautiful sunsets of our lives while en route from tc to glen. sadly, i did not get a good picture of the sunset, nor did i take any pictures while at luke's.

once we arrived at luke's, chris sat outside with the tubergen men while corinne and i watched 'dear john' inside with the ladies. afterwards, corinne, luke, chris, and i went out on the boat for a midnight swim. the moon lit up the entire surface of the lake, and the lights under the boat shone light down into the depths of the crystal clear water of glen lake.

we began the day on sunday by biking into glen arbor for breakfast at art's, and then we went to cherry republic (another place i have been hearing about for a while now). we spent most of the day hanging out at luke's house with his family and riding around on the boat.

luke took some airme pics on his iphone on sunday. here are a couple:

chris and me biking around glen.

the artist that hung out all day painting glen lake.

i can easily say this was one of the best weekends of my summer!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


last night, i drove to grand rapids where i met up with chris, ryan, and amber, and we drove to the imax theater to see INCEPTION. we snuck in our jimmy john's sandwiches and enjoyed the movie. the imax was pretty cool because it almost felt 3D, even though it is not. inception was mind-blowing and left me with some questions, but i still enjoyed it, and i loved spending time with chris, ryan, and amber.

afterwards, chris and i grabbed some ice cream from jersey junction and talked for a while. great night.

while i have seen the trailer for HP7 multiple times before, i saw it again last night in the imax, and i am EXCITED.

holland hundred

this past weekend i had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with chris and his family. i joined the cox family for dinner on friday night at chris, his dad, and his two brothers prepared for the holland hundred bike ride the next day.

saturday came, and i periodically received text updates from chris telling me how far along they were, along with commentary about how he was feeling. i shared this news with sarah, chris' sister-in-law, whom i had the chance to spend all day with and get to know a little better. we shopped at the farmer's market, has lunch at the good earth cafe, and enjoyed the refreshing waters of lake michigan at riley street beach.

we finally got a text saying the boys were 15 miles from the finish, so sarah and i met up with amber, ruby, and chris' mom, and we drove to the herman miller factory, where the boys were supposed to finish. we expected to find a big banner reading "finish" and a huge crowd of people waiting for their loved ones to finish their rides. instead, we found a small tent filled with water and bananas in a near-empty parking lot. so, us women created our own cheering section for our men. they finished! and i am so proud of them for riding 100 miles together.

(photo courtesy of amber's blog)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

summer cuts

the smell of freshly cut grass is delightful.

holland, summer 2010

back in holland for the summer.
i love this place. i love holland for its location on lake michigan, for its beautiful but quaint downtown, for hope college, for the friendly faces that greet me almost everywhere i go, for the farmer's market, for the friends that are here, for the weekly summer events that this city offers, and for so much more!

since i've been back to holland, i have been working full time at the van wylen library. van wylen is a wonderful place to work because my co-workers are awesome, the bosses are great, and we have weekly patron count contests in which the losers have to bake cookies for everyone else. i have not lost yet, but i have been close. this week, my good friend sarah russo was one of the few with the lowest number of points in the contest, so she baked cookies--delicious vegan/choco chip/cranberry/walnut/oatmeal cookies. WOW! they were GOOD.

this past weekend, i got to spend time with a lot of wonderful people!
thursday: kelly, maria, lyndi, and her friend lori
friday: hillary, emma, parth, david
saturday: mom & dad, emma
sunday: emma, sarah, eric, david, maria
monday: christopher

while i love being in holland and being close to the people i love here, i do miss home. i miss megan, alyssa, and lauren; i miss mom, dad, and natalie; i miss my grandmas, aunts, cousins, and uncle; and i even miss my cat, even though my allergies flare up around her. i love holland, but i really miss the comforts of home, such as: watching sports on tv on summer nights with my parents while the sunset shines in through the family room windows, bonfires in the backyard with mom or with good friends, alyssa and megan, lauren and her dog sonny, talking with natalie, bike rides with mom, dad's breakfasts and other good meals, etc. etc. etc. it's hard to be away from home when you don't know when you will be home next. i don't want to complain, though, because like i said, i love holland, and i love my job here.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

fourth of july

holiday weekend, and a good weekend it was!

every time a holiday comes around, i think it's fun to soak it in for all it's worth. i enjoy having many people to spend holidays with in many different places. i have my immediate family, my mom's side of the family, my dad's side of the family, friends at home, friends back in holland, and chris and his family. not only do i love seeing all of the people i love the most, but i also love celebrating important events!

this fourth of july holds more weight in my heart than past independence days. why? when i visited scotland, i saw the prisons of war in edinburgh castle. american soldiers were held in these prisons during the war for independence (revolutionary war) against britain, and some american soldiers carved their initials into the wooden prison doors. one solider even carved an american flag into the door, and it is still there to this day! seeing the pride of americans of the past (the first americans) was powerful. they fought hard for the freedoms that we have today, and i am thankful for that.

i am extra thankful to be home this independence day. while i was in england, i thought about the fourth of july, and i realized that the british don't celebrate it--it's just another day to them. ( i mean, they shouldn't celebrate it. this was just a "wow" realization for me). once i thought about this, i was excited to return home; to return to the comforts of home; to return to the comforts of america.

i am grateful to say that i got to spend this holiday weekend with the most amazing people in my life:
i started the weekend off on thursday by spending the afternoon with two of my greatest friends, alyssa and megan. ice cream, laughs, chit-chat, and panera.
on friday, my family had family day and we went to sterling state park and enjoyed a day at the beach- complete with bocce ball, reading, and napping. i finished the day off by watching dexter with my parents.
on saturday, i drove to devil's lake to the cox family cottage, where i enjoyed a lot of delicious grilling (thanks to the grillmaster ryan), giggles from the beautiful baby ruby, good conversations with amber and sarah, an extremely festive party at the sandbar (we didn't exactly enjoy this--we just viewed it from a distance), and boat rides and sunshine galore.

amber took a lot of great photos, so i stole some from her facebook:

stadium seating around the grill

playing beaver box (aka cornhole)

chris and ruby. aren't they the cutest?

on sunday, i awoke to a yummy french toast breakfast compliments of mama cox, swimming with all of the cox children, and more grilled foods. over the course of the weekend, chris and i were able to sneak away for a few minutes at a time and sit together on the boat and talk. these were some of my favorite moments. overall, i had a wonderful time, and i didn't want to leave.
i left, though, to drive home and enjoy some time with my own family. as soon as i returned home, i jumped back in the car with my parents, and we drove over to my grandma's house. most of my mom's family was over there, and we had a bbq (yes, more grilling), numerous types of salads, and delicious desserts. i had a beer with my dad and uncle ray for the first time. that was fun, although i did not enjoy the beer itself (miller genuine draft). when my uncle ray saw me open the beer, he hit his beer on the table and exclaimed, "this is awesome!" after dinner, i sat around with my mom and aunt bonnie for a long time, and we all talked. my cousins zack and kyle then began lighting off small fireworks: firecrackers, smoke bombs, fountains, etc. i had a lot of fun, as i always do, sitting with my family "oo"-ing and "ah"-ing at the fireworks.

i had a wonderful weekend, and i hope you all did too!
celebrate the freedoms and comforts that we have here in this country!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

home sweet home

oh boy, is it good to be home.

i loved england, and i love the memories that are stored carefully in my mind, but i sure do love the comforts of home. chris' arms wrapped around me in the tightest hug (every time), my mom's bad jokes, good coffee, toilets that flush, ice cream with good girl friends, plush carpets, bonfires in the backyard, morning television with my dad, and the list goes on...

leaving liverpool was bittersweet. after teaching my first ever lesson, i felt a deeper connection to the children in my classroom (and my partner allison feels the same way). those were our students, and it was extremely hard to say goodbye to them. allison and i taught a writing lesson using a collaborative book. since the students at northway primary school were learning about staying healthy (and since the world cup has been on), we had each student write a page about a particular sport-each table group wrote about a different sport. the students each wrote a page about the sport his or her table was assigned to, and each student drew an illustration on his or her page. once play time came, the students asked if they could keep working. "that is a sign of a lesson well taught," mrs. delaney (our mentor teacher in year one) told us.

here is a page about football (soccer) that one of our students wrote and illustrated:

all of our students hugged us as they walked out of the classroom for lunch, just before allison and i left northway for the final time. we got a class picture with our students right before their hug line began though. here we all are:

i am now home in michigan, and i am enjoying summer living.
this week, i have spent time with chris, my family, and my best friends from home. tomorrow is family day. saturday i am going to devil's lake with chris' family. sunday i am going to my grandma's for 4th of july celebration (and possibly a toledo mudhen's game). monday i return to holland!