Hello. Welcome.

I'm a very determined kind of individual. Sometimes my determination is misplaced and things get very ugly. But, sometimes my determination leads to laughter, deep thoughts, and words on paper.

I write everything. I'm not very good at filtering ... so you will see it all. Maybe there will be a little inspiration for someone else along the way. I hope so. My sister also likes to guest blog and I'm sure you will appreciate her wit and wisdom.

Friday, March 31, 2006

now for new york city and after

I'll soon have pictures back from my glorious weekend... and I'm so EXCITED! I did have a pretty hard transition on Monday back to real life. I wasn't quite ready for all the projects, reading assignments and presentations. But, back to the bliss of break memories:

So, I made it to New York and pulled into Penn Station - not the most desirable of sights in the city. My friend alli couldn't pick me up just then, so, on the advice of my sister I went out to look around. I was lugging my 50 lb. bag around, so that was a little cumbersome, but it was great to be out and around all the people. I wandered through some stores, pretended interest in some sale items, and talked to my mom about my safe arrival:).

That night I went out to eat at Columbus Grill with Allison, after getting the tour of her apartment. I LOVED it. She is such an amazing and independent person! I chose the chicken satay with peanut sauce and we had wonderful conversation... She is a great guide around the city and the next day we had so much time to talk because she's a full-time dog-walker. I assure anyone it is not as glamorous as some movies make it out to be. She hasn't yet had one of her dogs get tangled with another whose walker is dashingly handsome and charming....but it was wonderful all the same.

While she was getting one of the dogs in an exclusive apt. building by Central Park, I hung out outside and started talking to a very nice man who was definitely from a different country, but I couldn't place his accent - from Africa maybe? Anyway, his name was Sekou and he wanted to go dancing on Saturday night. he was totally legit..actually he started by asking me for directions but then it turned into what kind of music i listened to. anyway, i got his number...i know sounds sketch. but no harm as long as he doesn't have mine.

anyway, i got to see ALlison's school in SoHo and wander around on my own until MY SISTER CAME DOWN from Port Chester. We had quite an adventure of running, oh probably 100 blocks to get to the famed babycakes vegan bakery for two delicious cupcakes... which we ate in the hot dog joint next door, because babycakes was just closing when we got there.

so... then i picked up my mom on friday and we had a glorious weekend of giggles, wonderful food, lots of walking, great views, amazing conversation, and well what else can I say but everything that we did? ...except I have to get to my next class.

so I will leave the rest for another time...again. I will hopefully post some pictures soon.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

wow. too much to tell

It's hard to know where to begin when so much has happened in the past few weeks. I guess I'll just skip to my spring break last week because that is most recent and exciting. My sister and mom have already wrote about it and almost completely captured my feelings of amazing. Yep, if feelings of amazing made sense, then that's what I would call my spring break. It was lovely, reflective, restful (not in a free-schedule sense, but in a happy full schedule sense), and full of fellowship with friends and family.

I first left with four of my housemates to Washington, D.C. My friend lives in a nearby suburb and we arrived saturday night to St. Pat's Day welcome baskets and her amazing dad who had prepared appetizers and (under his wife's careful instruction:) a meal full of green - split pea soup, irish soda bread, salad, pistachio salad, and mint ice cream. We were stuffed and oh-so-happy after the 10 hour drive...my friend's driving skills are superb, by the way.

Then, I'm convinced it was no coincidence that her church was having a missions conference that weekend! We got to hear missionaries from the U.S., Africa, and Europe, and also got to take part in a women's group listening to missionaries on Tuesday. I am so thankful! We, of course, also hit the monuments, memorials, and museums, and art galleries. I loved taking time to stop by each painting, sculpture, or flight exhibit and just stare. I guess it makes me feel cultured...isn't it funny that when you see someone admiring an exhibit you assume they have some vested interest or knowledge of the subject. I wish I knew enough to have a conversation about each piece, but I guess my stare is more trying to figure out how it got chosen above something else, or how in the world someone thought to put so many switches in the front of an airplane. Anyway, I definitely thought of my grandpa when I was going through the aviation exhibits. Aside from the fact that I was once convinced he flew a fighter jet in WW II (which he didn't, I guess i completely made that up from a dream or something), I know he likes planes and I was even caught up in the progress made.

Well, anyway, DC was great - I loved the time spent with friends and my friend's family. On Tuesday I got on board a train (not worth the $84 I paid) to NYC Penn Station. My last memory of a train was to Colorado and I was very little. All I remembered was drinking orange juice and enjoying the trip. This train ride was quite different. It was an elevated train and it made so many stops in between DC and NYC. I sat by the nicest man. He was from the Philippines, but had been living in the US for 15 years and working as a structural engineer in Philly for 8. I was instantly interested, because I had friends who were missionaries in Manila and I had learned some Te Galo - the language spoken by some in the Philippines. We talked the whole hour and a half until he got off. Everything from favorite dishes - his dessert was flan, which I later had with my sister in Port Chester - to my wanting to be a missionary and his discouraging me from going to Saudi Arabia because it was dangerous. It was such pleasant conversation...

This is getting so long, and there is so much more to write!

I think I'll save my adventures in NYC and last night's NICKEL CREEK concert for a new blog tonight or tomorrow.

SPECIAL love to my sister, the best hostess in the world, Ali - an amazing friend and tour guide, my mom - the most positive in the midst of confusion gal around, and to my friends from a sweet 10 hr road trip.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

some pictures from the sweet dinner celebration in Feb

Here are some pictures from way back - the sweet dinner in February. A fun time was for sure had by all!


well, i met with a group on Thursday that will be planning the next Veritas Forum in January of '07 here at Hope. The theme is idolatry. They used G.K.Chesterton's comparison of idolatry being like losing your address. If you can imagine walking to a destination from your home and then on the way back making small changes, compromises to the plan, so that where you end up is so far from you address that you have no idea how to get home.

We talked about the idols of nationalism, pluralism, the american dream, self-image, our own construction of god. We are a people living in a state of sin. Our sinful state is pervasive in our biology, psychology, governemnts, politics, society, media, and churches - everything.

Talking about idols made me realize how much our story is similar to the children of Israel. Of course, we are not under the same covenant, but the pattern is the same. God's love always, his warnings, his commands, and then failure on Israel's part, then God's disappointment and then mercy.

I know this is not true for every account, but reading through any of the OT books will make you say, come ON! Don't you get it! Do what God says and you'll be fine! Interesting how it's so easy to see when we are not the ones who stray.
I have just thinking about idols and idols in my life lately. Powerful stuff. I love going back to some Derek Webb lyrics, "Oh, Lord, I'm crooked deep down. Everyone is crooked deep down."

hmmm...well, for some lighthearted news. it is an absolutely beautiful day here in MI! Sun, blue skies, and the faint smell of Spring in the air. I'm trying to figure out where my life will take me this summer and I've been looking for jobs around here, which should be interesting. One of my friends is going to hook me up with possibly a job at Captain Sundae's - the local ice cream shoppe where Pres. Bush stopped on his way through town.

Well, I should get to some weekend homework. I have my eyes set on next Friday, the first day of SPRING BREAK!

Monday, March 06, 2006

an evening ice skating

Saturday night was so wonderful! The day was work, nap, and a little study. Then we celebrated our friend Tricia's b-day with cake and ice skating in Grand Rapids. We piled in Mocha (my affectionate name for the Oldsmobile with over 250,000 miles) all dressed in cute winterwear, mittens and extra socks in hand. Rosa Parks ice skating is in downtown GR and so great at night! Of course, the Olympics had just finished and we were all thinking the same thing: figure skating. I donned the white skates and headed out onto the ice... the only thing that held me back from a perfect show was the subpar skates, the crowds of people at varying levels of talent, the rink being only as big as a roundabout, and maybe mostly my lack of talent. Oh, but it made for a splendid night! I did accomplish some spins, skating backwards, and lifting my leg. I thought that was deserving of a little recognition.

It was a fun night! We came back and had balloon wars, watched a movie, and I sang musical songs from the top of our table to anyone who would listen. After the initial, "Caroline, are you sure you shouldn't be a performance major?" they kind of just started to get annoyed and i realized that i can't hold all my singing desires in for one burst because it's too much for people to handle.

yesterday I got to talk to my sister in ny. she's is doing splendidly. She said next sunday she will sing My Redeemer at her church and I almost cried. I love her so! And the first time she sang that song at my church I accompanied her. I miss that! But, I will soon see her, my friend ali in NY and my mom is meeting us out there. CAN NOT WAIT.

here are some pictures of ice skating

still an iowa girl at heart

so... living in Michigan after a 18 year stunt in Iowa has caused me to straddle many cultural fences. I often defend my small town heritage in MI, but downplay them when I'm 'back home.' Well, anyway, I realized the other day how much my roots still show through. It was in something as simple as an oil change.

so... I had to get an oil change awhile back and I drew from my past experience in Holland when I accompanied my brother to the local Quick Lube. It was this fascinating place where you just pull into the garage, park, give some information on a clipboard, and wait a few minutes in your car while a mechanic changes the oil underneath the engine. Then, the garage door opens and you pull out - all in about 15 minutes. I had never seen this before! So, I traveled out of my way about 15 minutes to go to this specific oil place to get my oil changed. Seems logical, right?

Well, back home changing the oil meant dropping it off at one of the local car repair shops, of which we knew all the mechanics' names, and picking it up the next day. This revolutionary oil in and out went against all I knew. The new experience was fun, but I realized my ignorance recently when I was explaining it to a friend, "Yeah, and then I just went in and they did it right there! I didn't have to wait or anything." To which she responded, "You mean you've been to a place where they don't do that?" To which I replied, "Uhh, yeah."

Yep- I'm from small town Iowa. :) i still think things like knowing all the mechanics names is to one's advantage - relationships are crucial, especially with janitors, secreataries, and mechanics. I guess this whole Michigan thing is a long adjustment - I probably still won't get the hang of the overwhelming Dutch traditions and odd left-turns before I graduate, but one can only learn so much.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Wow, I just realized my last post took an interesting turn to prayer. i actually was trying to write about the letter I sent. Oh well!

So, yesterday after a couple classes I went to a leadership summit and then to look at houses for next year. We walked through a house and I think we're going to sign for it. It's crazy, because we won't be living in it until next spring, but we've got to make the decision now... I'm pretty sure one of the houses we looked at (currently rented to some frat boys) had some suspicious activity going on when we showed up, as evidenced in the smell and various trash littered around. But the lady assured us she was going to fix the floor, heat register, clean the basement, and she'd even throw in a couple rugs for the wood floors. Don't worry parents - we got a copy of the lease and are going to carefully inspect it before we make any decisions.

Anyway - then we helped my friend Katy get ready for our college's winter dance. My two other friends and I attacked her and she was done in 15 minutes - a record makeover I think. After that, Nicole, Styna, Tricia and I went to one of our favorite Thai places in town - Thai Palace. MMhmm. I love that it's tucked away on the north side of River - definitely a local spot we learned about from Nicole's dad. I had chicken with the famous peanut curry sauce.

Then, after watching a little history channel about how Caesar and the Romans built a bridge the size of four football fields over the Rhine River, some of us girls decided to have a middle school 'sleepover.' We went to Meijer (for all you non-Michiganians, Meijer is an upscale equivalent to Wal-mart) to look for matching sleepwear, but we ended up at Walmart where we found 2-piece pajamas for $3.00!! They were Christmas leftovers, but we ate it up! Then we went back home with the movie "Can't Buy Me Love," starring Patrick Dempsey. Patrick's character is a sad member of the geek squad who wants desperately to be able to sit on the cool side of the cafeteria. Well, he ends up 'buying' his popularity, and you can imagine what happens next! It was such a great time - and we stayed up late, crossed our legs and sat in a circle talking... just like the old times. A memory for the books - for sure!

Today is homework city - well, maybe a nap first (I'm actually at work right now). My list of 'things to do' is growing by the minute, but my housemate's birthday is tonight, so I've got to gear up for the next celebration!