Friday, February 25, 2011


If I'm a sucker for anything it's a good sale at Hobby Lobby.

Now, if you're a Hobby Lobby frequenter like I am, you know that they often have entire sections of the store listed at 50% off. Today was no exception when it came to the 50% off signs hanging everywhere. But, as I was walking into the store, I saw a sign that proclaimed something even better - an 80% off special clearance section of household decor.

For a brief second I considered refraining myself from walking through the clearance aisles. That's as long as the refraining lasted - a brief second. Here are the sweet deals I found today!

I think they are so great. The best part is that when Rob saw them when he got home he liked them too!

Last night we started to work on the bathroom project. By we, I mean Rob. I tried to start working on the mirror for the bathroom but as we were taking it apart we broke a decorative piece off the corner so I couldn't proceed in the painting process until I got four new decorative wood pieces for the corners (i.e. the REAL reason I went to Hobby Lobby today!).

We continued working tonight and we are both very please with how things are looking so far! So far the ceiling has a two fresh coats of paint (and actually looks white now), everything is taped off and Rob just finished cutting in with the first coat of paint on the walls. I successfully glued the new pieces to the mirror frame and applied two coats of primer to the frame and one coat of primer/one coat of paint to another project I'm working on. Tomorrow we'll move the toilet so we can paint the walls and hopefully we'll have things put back together in time for Jon and Bethany to come over tomorrow night!

I will post pictures of the finished project as soon as it's done, but until then - here's a few pictures from tonight. We've had a great start to our weekend and it's only bound to get better from here. Hopefully the same is true for you and yours!

I promise I know how to focus the camera as nicely as Rob does.
But, he was using the electric sander in the bathroom on some patching he did last night.
When I opened the door to take his picture, this is exactly what I saw: all that fuzziness is dust!

Friday always gives me reason to rejoice. I love it because I get to look forward to a weekend spent with Rob without work and without (much) homework for him. But, thanks to Chapel at Kuyper College today, I was reminded that EVERY day - not just Friday - is made for rejoicing.

"The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad!" 
Psalm 118:22-24

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


When Rob and I were house searching back in the fall, we saw a lot of houses that would need a lot of work just to get the house to a "liveable" state. When we walked through the house we're now living in, the first thing we realized was that any work that we did to it would simply be to update it and make it our own - it was completely move-in-ready, save a few leaky faucets - but really, who doesn't have those?

We've done quite a bit of updating since we moved in - removing paneling and nasty wallpaper from the kitchen, new trim in the living room/dining room/hallway, new paint, etc. - and now we're ready to move on to another project: the bathroom. Right now the bathroom is painted a gray color (well, except for the pink section behind the toilet because the last person who painted didn't feel like moving the toilet to paint...), has some lovely gray laminate on the floor and is adorned with a variety of mismatched cabinets including an old school medicine cabinet and a falling apart light fixture.

The picture doesn't look too bad, but believe me, it looks different in person. Take a look.

So, starting this weekend the updates begin! I must say, I'm fairly proud of our low budget project so far. We're using some leftover paint from another project, I found a mirror on Craigslist and I'm going to refinish the frame, we found a great light fixture at Home Depot on sale for under $30 and we have a project in the works that involves 3 vases we found for $0.99 at a Salvation Army Thrift Store!

After the improvements are made, I'll post some more pictures. I'm excited to see if it will all come together like the picture I have in my mind right now. I'm certainly hoping that it does!

As strange as it might seem, a lot of times when I think about the bathroom and the shower, I always bounce back to a class I took at Kuyper College. And no, it didn't involve anything about bathrooms or showers. It was a class lecture about baptism. At one point during his lecture, our professor suggested that every morning when we wake up, we ought to exclaim: "Thank God I'm baptized!" He then went on to suggest that when we got in the shower in the morning or after mowing the lawn or a major workout - we ought to be reminded of the same thing: our baptism in Christ. When he first said this, I wasn't sure why he was making the connection between my taking a shower and my baptism into God's family.

I think the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 26, Question & Answer 69 explains the connection best.

Q & A 69
Q. How does baptism remind you and assure you
   that Christ's one sacrifice on the cross is for you personally?

A. In this way:
   Christ instituted this outward washing
   and with it gave the promise that,
      as surely as water washes away the dirt from the body, so certainly his blood and his Spirit wash away my soul's impurity, in other words, all my sins.

(Acts 2:38; Matthew 3:11; Romans 6:3-10; 1 Peter 3:21)

As surely as my morning shower washes away the dirt from my body, so certainly does Christ's blood wash away all my sins. Just like the dirt and sweat and grime flows down the drain, never to be seen again, so certainly does Jesus Christ remove my sins as far as the east is from the west.

So tomorrow morning, instead of spending my time in the shower dreading the fact that I'll have to blow dry and straighten my hair when I get out, I think I'm going to spend my time thinking: "Thank you, Jesus, for washing away my souls impurities (and I have a lot of them) just like this water is washing my body clean."

Our bathroom might be getting a remodel, but more than that I'm eternally thankful for the way the forgiveness and grace of Christ allows us to be remodeled to be more like Him every day.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


It's been snowing non-stop since about one o'clock this afternoon. And it's not just a few fluttery flakes falling gently from the sky - no, I'm looking out my front window at millions and millions of little flakes rushing to the ground. Where I saw grass this morning, I now see the snow piles reappearing. Good thing Rob got a snow shovel for Christmas! After the last snowstorm a couple of weeks ago, it took us two and half hours working together to shovel our driveway and sidewalks (that's what we get for living on a corner lot!) - better that than a $195 fine from the City though, I suppose! Here are a couple of pictures from the last storm.

It looks like we're going to be digging ourselves out of this one too. Not twenty minutes ago did I walk by our dining room window which looks out to our driveway. My poor little car is buried already. I knew it wasn't possible that spring was here to stay, but I must say, I wasn't expecting this!

Storms like this always remind me of a verse in Job. Job 37:5-7 says:

"God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;
   he does great things beyond our understanding.
He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’
   and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’
So that everyone he has made may know his work,
   he stops all people from their labor."

Snowstorms mean kids start crossing their fingers and wearing their pajamas inside out in hopes for a snow day. Adults start complaining because the morning commute to work is going to be a disaster. Police are sending reports asking people to stay off the roads. Local news stations are posting articles about an accident on US-131 involving up to fifty vehicles, the highway closed for a ten mile stretch.

But, how often in the midst of all of those thoughts do we stop and recognize that it is God's thundering voice that commands the snow to fall "so that everyone he has made may know his work"? 

Maybe there's more to the snow than two hours of shoveling or another snow day or slower drive to work. Maybe God uses the snow to bring His GREATNESS and our HUMANITY into the light. All God has to do is speak and the snow begins or ceases to fall: greatness. When we try and conquer the snow we cause fifty vehicle accidents that close freeways for miles and end up complaining about the cold weather: humanity.

Instead of wishing that Spring would come, maybe we all need to take a moment and stop to recognize the One who controls the weather with only his voice and who gave his son to wash us as white as the snow that's falling around us. I can't think of anything better to dwell upon tonight.

How has God shown you His greatness lately?

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Well, I figured that since I love reading other people's blogs that maybe it was time to start my own. Not that I think people are going to love reading it as much as I love reading people's blogs, but perhaps it will be fun for me. That and I've always wished that I was a better journaler so that I could have written memories of the things that come to impact our lives in big ways. Maybe I'll be a better blogger than I am a journaler. 

We don't live an extravagant life by anyone's terms but our own, but we love life and truly living and I hope that maybe someday our simple yet joy-filled life can impact someone else's. That's why I chose the fonts I did for our blog title in the picture at the top of the page. I like to think that even though life can be a little bit "crooked" sometimes just like the's still what we know and love and can grow and learn from - it's still a gift from God.

For now, I'll begin with a few pictures in order to "introduce" ourselves.  

Picture #1 - The obvious. Rob and Stephanie. The ordinary people whose lives you've chosen to follow. Really all we hope is that the things we learn and do in our daily lives will someday change the world for Jesus - even if it is only in one person's life that change occurs.
Picture #2 - In November we moved into our first home and we love every bit of it! The last few months have been filled with painting and gradually hanging pictures on the walls. It's such a gift to truly feel like you're coming home to somewhere special. And now that we're settled, we can't wait to start opening our door to whomever wants or needs a comfortable place to be!
Picture #3 - Our family is most important to us. I think we've really learned that since moving away for our undergraduate studies and especially now that we're married. Our families have stood by us in everything and supported us in more ways than one. The best part is that when we got married, family doubled for us and we love both of our parents and siblings and are so thankful for the things they teach us about love.
Picture #4 - We LOVE ice cream. Probably a little bit too much. This particular bowl has my mom's homemade hot fudge on top. It doesn't get much better than that!
Picture #5 - We love to play games. Our latest favorite is "Quirkle" - it's great for two players who love strategy games! We play at least a couple of times a week.
Picture #6 - We love to camp. Some very good friends gave us a wonderful tent as a wedding gift and we were able to enjoy it 3 times last summer. We're hoping to get a lot of use out of it this summer too!
Picture #7 - Kuyper College holds a very special place in our hearts. Thanks to God's leading despite our other plans, we both ended up at Kuyper College in 2006. Rob asked me to be his girlfriend for the first time (yes, due to my fears, he had to ask again a couple months later...) on a bench at Kuyper College. We kissed for the first time in his dorm room on 1st Timmer (romantic, right?). Rob asked me to be his wife in the chapel at Kuyper College in 2008 and in 2009 we were married in the same Chapel. Oh, and we received a great education too. :) We both graduated with many special memories and lifelong friends and we both still work there part-time. 
Picture #8 - Rob is currently attending Western Michigan Univeristy, Grand Rapids Campus - working towards his Masters degree in Social Work. He's taking 3 classes this semester and that combined with full time work keeps him busier than we like...but he loves it and is truly looking forward to all he'll be able to do.
Picture #9 - Our latest big decision is that I will begin classes in August at Spring Arbor University. I will be studying for my Masters degree in Counseling. My goal is to become a school counselor with the intentions of gaining my community license as well to someday be a marriage and family counselor. 
Picture #10 - Rob has been working with a non-profit organization called MOSES for probably close to 10 years now. MOSES is an organization that facilitates mission trips for middle school, high school and college students. Rob started by participating on trips and now serves on the Boards of Directors. Together we lead most of the weekend trips to churches in Chicago and Detroit. We're looking forward to one in 2 weeks!
Picture #11 - We attend Rockford Reformed Church and we love it. We started attending 2 and a half years ago when I started my internship with their youth ministries programs. We've grown to love the community there and have been so blessed by working with the youth ministries and by the people we've come to know and most recently by teaching a 6th grade Sunday School class that is ASKING to study the Old Testament!
Picture #12 - One thing I hope for each of us is that we have people in our lives that inspire us and encourage us to follow God's will in our lives. Aaron and Gwen are some of those people for us. I'm not sure they understand just how much they encourage us just by living their lives for Jesus. They are beautiful people that have certainly changed our lives forever. They've been on our hearts a lot lately so I thought I'd include them here too.

So there's a little bit about us. It's a simple life that we live but we love every minute of it and we wake up every morning knowing that despite the trials we face...we've never been more blessed or more overwhelmed by grace.