It takes a village…

And I sure live in a good one!

I would like to share with you a bit of our village activity in the last 48 hours….

Wednesday: My Mom and I go to Detroit to hang out with Olivia (15), Noah (13), Sonta (13) and Jean Marc (8)

Thursday: Aunt Dot drives to Detroit to help us bring everyone back to Grand Rapids. Anneliese (15)  comes from Muskegon and meets up with Olivia, Noah, Sonta and Jean Marc and they all sleep at Papa and Beppe’s.

Friday: All five kids wake up at Papa and Beppe’s. Early afternoon Aunt Suzi comes with Johanna (2) and hangs out with the five. Then she takes Sonta and Jean Marc and the eagerly hang out and await Peter (8) and Isaiahs (5 1/2) return from school. At 5pm Suzi comes with the current crew of 5 back to Papa and Beppe’s to drop off the five, who join up with the three who are there and pizza is enjoyed by 12, while Suzi goes to her book club. Papa and Beppe leave with Johanna to bring her home and soon we all meet up at Henry’s (17) highschool basketball game. Now the cousins are all happy since we add Karolyn (13) and Ellie (11) to the mix. And at the end of the game, Papa and Beppe take Peter, Isaiah and Jean Marc home to Suzi and Andy, Aunt Dot drops off Sonta, Karolyn and Ellie to my house and Arlene and Dan took home their older two and Liv and Noah for the weekend. Everyone has a cousin to hang out with and all will settle into their perspective places until Monday when cousin upset happens again and all should be sleeping in their home beds by bedtime Monday evening! We do miss Andrew and Ryan but they are busy this weekend at Wrestling tournaments.

This kind of kid coordination takes a lot of communication. We use phone, email, text and face to face….but even with that, messages get mixed up here and there.


In the end, the kids are happy and enjoy being together.

In the end cousins create memories as they talk late into the night and enjoy winter break together

In the end, I appreciate that I have a family that lives like a village…and I have to say, one of the best villages in town!



Adventure abounds…

I spent the first number of weeks of the  new year considering the word routine. I have begun to recognize that I often abandon routine for adventure. I want 2012 to be marked by my commitment to routine AND continue to live with a sense of adventure. I did not really believe that these two could go hand in hand….

And so I began to pray that God would help me discover the positives of routine and gently nudge me back to routine when I begin to veer towards adventure.  I spent a week at U 1st Fitness which was a week reminding me of the importance of routine. It felt right and fit so nicely with the prayers of my heart. I was nicely surprised by the adventure that accompanied my week in Texas and felt at peace with the discovery of routine and adventure….

And in January as I looked into February, I wondered if February would be a boring month. It was the next day I was invited to join the Open Heart’s Ministry Team for a one week trip to China. Next week Friday I will be heading on a one week adventure to China. I am thankful that amidst my exercise routine, meal routine and bedtime routine, I am being invited on adventure. I covet your prayers. I will post as I prepare this week about specific ways you can pray. Find an excerpt from the OHM newsletter below:

A year ago at the regional training in Houston, Texas we met a counselor serving in China.  He attended the event and learned about OHM for the first time.  He expressed a desire to take our material and training to China to help equip counselors there to care for the Chinese people.  During the spring of 2011 he began the process of translating our Journey Guide into Mandarin Chinese.  It felt like a big dream just a year ago, and on February 24th we are heading to China to train 20 leaders.  A team of six from Michigan will spend a week using the newly translated Journey Guide.  God’s faithfulness has been stunning in this venture and we look forward with great anticipation for how He will continue to move in China through Open Hearts Ministry.

We invite you to thank God for all He has done already this year, in just two short months, and please pray for the team going to China.  You can follow their adventures via the OHM blog ( and on the Open Hearts Facebook page.

In order to learn more about Open Hearts Ministry and Journey Groups, please visit:

I wonder how you are doing finding the balance of routine and adventure in your life. I don’t believe adventure has to include a trip to China, but I am thankful for this opportunity. I encourage you to consider what you are more drawn to, routine or adventure and strive to find a balance…I am learning that living balanced it really is a good way to live!