Wednesday, November 21, 2007

thanksgiving party

Last night my apartment hosted a small feast. We crammed twenty-two people into our apartment that sometimes feels tight with four of us in it. It was a blast.

This is our dinner table. Isn't it pretty?!
And this is the "kids' table." Every proper family thanksgiving needs one, right?
Anna, carving the turkey
This isn't a very good picture, but it gives you some idea of how difficult it was to move around with one giant table, one small table, a whole lot of food, and a whole bunch of people!
Jon, Kristin, Kristen, Joanna, Steven, Ross, Jeannette, Analisa, Carolyn, Dan, and Tyler
Noah, Mike, Joe, John, Zach, Anna, Laura, and Nicole
And my wonderful roommates, Analisa, Jeannette, and Laura!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

finally, some pictures!

Last weekend I finally dragged my camera out of its hibernation. I had been feeling like my pictures never really looked much different from pictures I've taken before, seeing as I spend time with the people I've been spending time with for years doing the same thing we've done for years. So I stopped taking pictures for a while and just enjoyed life. But I finally decided that you all might appreciate a few pictures, so I did my best! Here is a short documentation of the "wine and cheese party" that Kristin and Anna (they live together in a house near campus) hosted last weekend:

Me, Joanna, and Kristen L

Nicole and Anna

Dan and Mike

Joanna and Kristin O

Me and my roommate, Laura

Saturday, October 20, 2007

a few of my favorite things

This is my favorite time of the year. It's fall, which of course is most people's favorite time of the year (or perhaps I have a distorted perspective!). However, it's also my favorite time of fall. Ever since I started at Hope, the changing seasons have brought on new transitions. As a post-college student now, the changing seasons seem to still bring on new transitions. This is my favorite time of season because I've been here long enough to be comfortable and feel established and to know what I love about being here.

So I thought I would share some of those things with you:

I love drinking coffee on the weekends. Actually, I'm in JP's right now, enjoying pumpkin spice coffee and a muffin. A few weeks ago I decided to start drinking only black tea during the week and coffee only on the weekends. Slurping down some coffee in the five minutes I have before I have to walk out the door in the morning might enable me to not have a headache later in the day, but it is not the enjoyable experience that made me love coffee in the first place. Why waste it like that? Drinking coffee is an all-around much more enjoyable experience now that it is restricted to the times when I actually have time to enjoy it!

Another thing that I love is our writing/art group. Many of my close friends also enjoy writing and the arts. Most of us are writers, but most of also have another creative outlet. Jeannette, Noah, and Steven, for instance, are musicians. Joanna is a dancer. Anna draws. We have been getting together weekly to talk about, share, and practice art together. Our central reason for the group is to use the arts to know each other better and worship God together. I feel like it has given me a whole new reason for writing, and I am loving it!

Three or four days a week I spend an hour and a half at middle school lunches. This time with kids is certainly one of the highlights of my week every week. There are two middle schools in Zeeland: Creekside and Cityside. I think I like it so much because it's a place where I feel wanted and needed. Ironic, isn't it? My memories of actually being a middle schooler are certainly not quite that positive! I suppose everything is different when you come into it with a new perspective.

I've also been enjoying studying in the library from time to time. It seems that now that I'm not a student, I can't get enough of the freedom to study whatever I want whenever I want it. Lately I've been reading a lot in a social psychology textbook. It's fascinating stuff.

Of course, there are many other things that I love and that I do. This is just a little sampling of my life. :)

the marathon

So, a couple of weeks ago I ran a marathon.
I didn't plan on running a marathon.

The night I got back, I went over to Noah and Kristen's apartment for a short while. Kristen made me eggs (with onion and potato and cheese!) and toast, and they both sort of goggled at me for most of the time I was there. Later, Noah told me that he was writing a piece about my running the marathon. I suppose it was something that had continued to sit in their minds since I told them I had gone twice as far as I had intended.

He said that it reminds him of the body of Christ. Obviously, I was physically capable of doing it. But I never would have run 26.2 miles if I had not been surrounded by 45,000 other runners and millions of onlookers. Imagine what we're capable of doing for Christ, but can only do with the support of the rest of the Body. Interesting, isn't it?

Anyway, this is my favorite photo from the marathon, lifted with gratitude from my mother's blog:

Friday, September 7, 2007

Well, I have officially gotten settled in my new apartment and started my new job. (Pictures will be up soon!) And I thought it was just about time to update you on Life After the Summer After Graduation In Which I Pretended to Still Be A Student.

I'm living with two girls I lived with last year, Laura and Jeannette, and a girl I only recently met, Analisa. The apartment is really coming together! We are even having a housewarming party tonight, dubbed by Jeannette the "I don't want to grow up" party. I already really enjoy living with these girls--it is a special thing to share your living space with people who know you so well.

On Tuesday I started my year at the Bridge, and I already feel even more certain that I am where the Lord wants me to be. It is a wonderful thing to build relationships and get to know people and have that count as my JOB. It is new territory for me, though. It's been a long time since I've spent much time with middle-schoolers! Every day is a new learning experience. For instance, I met one girl on Tuesday, felt pretty certain that I hadn't made much of a connection with her, and the next day I ran into her at lunch and she talked my ear off, and now we have a friendship. I guess you don't always know what's going on in kids' minds!

September is looking to be a pretty light month--my two focus programs, Bridge to Excellence and Suspending Bridges, don't officially begin until October. So right now I go to lunches at the middle schools (both intimidating and crazy fun!) most days, go to meetings occasionally, and hang out at Drop-In on Tuesdays and Thursdays. My job is to get to know kids. I don't think I could have asked for a better job.

In other news, you all might be interested to know that Boatwerks closed. That's right, gone. Not out of business, just done. Apparently the owner had a beef with the City of Holland and made his point by shutting down the restaurant. There sure are some crazy people there!

Well, that'll do for now. I am in the process of documenting both Life and Job in photographs... you'll see them soon. :)

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Here is a transcript of the #1 Conversation of the Summer, occurring between almost any pair of people between the ages of 20 and 25:

Person #1: So, what are you doing this weekend?
Person #2: Oh, I'm going to a wedding.
Person #1: Oh really? Me too!
Person #2: There sure are a lot of people getting married, don't you think?
Person #1: Absolutely!
Person #2: I feel like everyone I know is married or getting married or wishing they were getting married.
Person #1: Me too!
Person #2: Crazy world, huh?

Anyway... just thought I'd put it in print.

AND... Congratulations, Ellen and Joel, Nicki and Matt, and Abby and Phil :)

Signing off from the SECOND post of the month,

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

a bit of photo-taking

The other night Mike and I decided to go play with his new digital SLR (okay, I mostly played with my wimpy digital :P) while the sun was setting on campus. And I thought I'd share them with you. :)

That's it for now! This summer has been a frightfully slow time of picture-taking.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

why we should all have friends who have macs

Some of you might be familiar with Photo Booth, a program that comes standard on the MacBook, I believe. Anyway, here's a sampling of the fun that Jeannette and I had the other night on Steven's computer:

I hope you can imagine how hard these made us laugh. :)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Few :)

Per the request of Brad Irving, D.O. (and my mother, of course :P), I am forgoing my intended bedtime in order to post the following pictures:

I took the first three on our day off in New York City (one is with Stacy, my co-leader, and the other is with my friends Theresa and Leanna), and the last one is of some of the kids we we got to hang out with this week--Naya, Soular, Ra'Ish, Brittany, and Antonett. They were a joy :)

More to follow, my dear family, more to follow... :)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Truth, the Emergent Church, and 1800-word Religion Papers

This morning I woke up at a nice, reasonable 9am or so and began working on my 1500-1800 word final paper for my religion class. I'm writing about the command in Deuteronomy and Matthew to "Love the LORD your God" and some of the ways in which it should be manifest in our lives, particularly referencing what we've discussed and studied for class. It was a fairly normal Saturday morning--Laura was sitting in the red chair typing on her computer, Val was eating her oatmeal and writing an email, I was drinking coffee (out of a particularly nice blue mug from IKEA) and just getting to the post-brainstorming draft-writing process when Val and I returned to a topic of conversation we've been having for weeks: the emergent church.

It's been quite the hot issue in our house and in our group of friends lately. Do you all know much about what has been labeled the "emergent" or "emerging" church? It's one of those tricky things that really eludes a concise definition, but from my understanding, it is most generally a movement towards a more experiential rather than theological view of Christianity, among other things. Churches are beginning to emphasize a practical, everyday spirituality in which we really strive to do the things that Jesus commanded us to do. On the other hand, "emerging" churches also sometimes end up rejecting foundational theological study and the absolute truth of the Bible. I don't really know a whole lot about it--its lack of definition makes it really hard to understand clearly. It seems like "emergence" is on a continuum, meaning that not all churches that are emergent are necessarily labeled as such. But it has been really fascinating to talk about with my friends and try to form an opinion about.

Anyway, we were specifically discussing this article about Rob Bell.

The article pretty well slams him for his book Velvet Elvis, which I have not read. Val's been doing a lot of research into it, trying to look at it from all angles. She knows a lot more than I do, but I've been participating in the conversation some. It seems to me that there are "emergent" ideas everywhere I look--in chapel, classes (including this religion class), my church--that I never seriously questioned until I heard the label. So I think that there must be some true, good, biblical things in it, but also some really dangerous ideas.

Just curious as to what you guys think. :)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

holland and the killer bunnies

I sat for a long time with worry over my decision to forego the weekend in Chicago with my parents, sisters, brothers, and niece for a normal weekend in Holland. Those who know me are not surprised at my indecisiveness. However, it's a funny thing. Why would I choose the normal, even the mundane, of life at home over a chance to see and laugh with my whole family all together for the first time since New Years?

I'm still not sure I can articulate it correctly, but I think it has something to do with possessiveness of place. I see my life in Holland diminishing like snowbanks in March, and it's easy (although foolish) to believe that my family will have these opportunities forever. And so I try to keep Dimnent Chapel, JP's espresso, and the family in Christ with whom I live frozen in winter for as long as I can, hold them as close as I can. I'm still (and probably will always be) trying to find how I can not hold these things with tight, unforgiving fists, but rather with the grateful surrender God calls us to in Romans 12 and Colossians 3. As with most things, there is a balance to be found.

And so I try to find it. And I do not regret my decision--I only wish that I could have been in two places at once. I actually have a particular affinity for the mundane and everyday of this place. The people here give lazy afternoons, Meijer runs, and late-night kitchen conversations such depth! We didn't do a whole lot besides sit around talking and playing games! And of course homework and church and that sort of thing. I did introduce the girls to Killer Bunnies, though. At first they were a little weirded out, but we laughed, and then we took a spontaneous break to spend half an hour or so chatting about unusual questions like, "What did everyone's grandfathers do for a living?" After that we returned to the game and, somehow, it was enormously funnier. I know I haven't laughed like that in a very long time! It was a blast. We hope to introduce it to more of our friends sometime soon--maybe this coming weekend. Thanks a lot to EB and Brad for giving it to me!

Well, I'm off to a coffee shop to do some writing, Career Services to do some research, and the photo lab to do some printing. Hope everyone's enjoying the melting snow! Here it's creating big lakes all over the roads and the wind (last night the temp was close to 40) feels like a heat wave. Here's to the first tease of Spring.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

snowed in

There have been some requests for snow pictures. However, when the wind chill is -16, I do not particularly enjoy going outside at all, not to mention taking my gloves off and my camera out. So, here are a few pictures from the Day that Church Was Canceled in Holland. Yes, it's true, almost every church in Ottawa county was canceled today, I think! They had the churches running on the bottom of the screen on the TV last night like school closings. So, this is what we did this morning (along with a few shots out our window):

Hope everyone's enjoying the snow :)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Birthday Weekend

I have been a rather lousy photographer lately, but I did take a few this weekend!

This is me and Tami when we went out to Van Raalte to go sledding. Unfortunately, I don't have any actual sledding pictures! It was a good, fun, icy time!

And here's me and Mike with our first birthday cake. We ate the other one on Saturday, but I don't have pictures of it. Both were delicious.

My dear roommate Jeannette and I. And Laura Peterson peeking up behind us.

Me and Laura Peterson at the beach for sunset. I saw the clear sky and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try to catch a beautiful Holland sunset over Lake Michigan, so we went!

And this was about as colorful as the sunset got. Still kind of cool though, right? :)

The Sunset Watchers Who Braved the Cold: Laura Peterson, Jon, Lindy, and me.

Hope you all enjoyed them! See, I'm not a totally hopeless blogger :)

To Tokyo Nik

In response to your comment about the socks and jeans, I'm afraid I know very little about the supposed tradition of intentionally posing feet for photographs. Instead, I offer you this quote one of my professors shared with us today in class: "When something is going on, something else is going on, too. Write about the latter." (William Stafford... not an exact quote) "Foregrounding the background" often makes for the best art. Not to infer that the comment about my dear friends' feet was exactly what I'd call "art," but giving attention and meaning to that which is usually ignored at least adds interest to life--or to a lame blog post!

Oh, and thanks for the birthday wishes, Nik. You, too, Uncle Dave, Kathryn, and Mom :)

Saturday, January 27, 2007


According to what seems like a long-standing Hope College tradition (candles are strictly prohibited in on-campus residences), I blew out colored toothpicks in the shape of a 22 for my birthday. Here's me, Mike, the birthday cake Val made for us, and the jeans & socks of some of our dearest friends:

And maybe I'll have more pictures for you later :) It's been a dry season of photo-taking for me... but I do have a few more.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Worthless Post #1

Do you ever find that the longer you neglect something, the higher your expectations get for your first return to it? You don’t clean your bathroom for a few weeks, for instance, you know it’s really not worth doing at all until you have time to get all the soap scum up. You ask for an extension on a paper, that paper better be more eloquent and well-worded—practically publishable, really—than it would have been had you turned it in on time. You don’t have time to read a novel for six months, so you know you must deliberate for weeks over which one to pick for your time off over Christmas break. And it’s even worse with habits you are still only trying to form. For instance, if you start a blog, post enthusiastically for a couple of days, and then find your inner store of words (or photos, as it were) totally dried up, you better have something really witty and original to post when you return, something so profound that you clearly had been pondering it for your full four-day absence, struggling over each word, sweating out draft after draft.

After all, who really wants to read what I’ve written about how little I have to write about? [You do. I know you do.]

If only to ward off the certain Rise of Expectations were I to post nothing, and in anticipation of many more Worthless Posts to come, I remain yours,

if-you-can’t-do-things-well-at-least-do-them-Halfway in Hudsonville

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The Shaky Face

Quite the popular photo-taking technique at Hope this year, the Shaky Face is a fantastic way to release excess energy. Just shake, snap, and laugh!

I think Noah especially has the gift for it.

I can do it too: 2006!

Mom and EB made these cool "photo for every month" entries. I figured I'd give it a shot--it is harder than you might think!

1. January:
I returned to Hope College after a summer at home and a semester in Scotland. This was taken at sunset on Lake Michigan (definitely not Sheboygan).
2. February:
A pretty low-key, poorly-photographed month. These are some good friends I spent time with. Yes, those are purposeful fake smiles.

3. March:
This photo of my kitchen makes the list just because I like the picture.

4. April:
These are the girls I lived with, just before we took a Res-Life-sponsored trip to the Melting Pot for dessert :)

5. May:
I went to the beach with Brad & EB (and Carolyn, though we didn't know her name yet!) to take family pictures... this one's my favorite (and I think it made EB's list, too!)

6. June:
Carolyn Ann was born on June 30. She looks so tiny in this picture compared to how big she is now!

7. July:
I spent the summer in Holland, and had a wonderful time getting to know some friends better and actually having time to spend with them!

8. August:
Kristen and I worked together all summer cleaning the library. We filled that library with laughter :)
And this is August, too... I cheated. I had to include my trip to Colorado, where I got to see (and laugh with) my dear friend Ellen :)

9. September:
The semester began and many of my closest friends returned to Holland. Here we are celebrating Jeannette's birthday in our apartment.

10. October:
We took a family trip to Chicago to see Dad run the Marathon. Here's Carolyn, EB, and the train.

11. November:
These are the wonderful girls I lived with! I'm making kind of a funny face, but everyone else looks good. This was taken after Jeannette's senior voice recital.

12. December:
Our apartment hosted a Tacky Christmas Sweater Party. In this picture we're trying to do the "shaky face," but apparently none of us has quite mastered it...