June 29, 2008

Lessons Learned

We went to the party last night and had a good time. There were no where near 400 people, but there were enough people to hang out with and talk to. Everyone seemed to know Rich from somewhere, each one saying how great of a guy he was, retelling a story from one of his past events. Apparently, he does four different events annually and since he is from California throwing parties like this is normal to him.

After checking it out and feeling pretty safe, Tony went home and I stayed for a bit longer. The water slide was not finished, although Rich did go down it the night before. Nobody that we talked to was willing to give it a shot. It looked quite dangerous.

I met a variety of people, and they were all pretty fun. Our neighbor Kent was there. He introduced us to some people, including the guy that is responsible for all of the crazy manikins in the windows of houses throughout the neighborhood, as well as the guy that owns the house with the two cutest dogs ever and an outrageously beautiful garden that Kent insisted we walk through.

The party was catered and there was an open bar. The food was good and the drinks kept coming. They had my favorite. Orange juice and vodka. Each drink tasted better than the last one.

So I learned a few lessons last night:

1- Don't walk home alone from a party. Especially if it is dark out and you have had a few drinks. You may trip over something that your neighbors left out in the sidewalk. Instead, call your husband when you are ready to come home.

2- If you spill your drink, that does not mean that you should go get another one because your cup is now empty.

3- You should never call people when you are drunk, even if it is your mom (perhaps especially if it is your mom). You will tell them things that you probably should keep to yourself.

4- If you haven't had any alcohol in a long time, you should not try to make up for it all in one night. You will definitely have a headache in the morning.

I did have a good time, but have no intentions of making this any sort of habit. I never went through a 'wild' phase in my teens. I had enough other crap I was going through. So I saw last night as the perfect opportunity to have a good time in a safe environment, and took full advantage.

June 27, 2008

Meeting the Neighbors

Tony and I try to take a walk every day, at least once a day. This is not only good for the healing of my back, but also good for us to meet new people and enjoy being outside. The neighborhood we live in is perfect for taking a leisurely stroll, wandering around, making a quick trip to the library or store, as well as enjoying the array of houses and unusual characters that you run into.

We just returned from our first walk today. First stop, yard sale. I saw the sign on a post and had to go. We got a good deal on some very unique picture frames, two dollars for eight of them, and talked with a guy about his work history and how much he loves working at Costco.

On our way to the yard sale we passed something strange... next to one of the houses is a huge open lot (which is rare to see down here) and towards the back of it there were a group of people building something. On our walk last night, we noticed the same people had turned their cars and trucks to face this thing that they were building to light it up. My curiosity was certainly piqued. It was all I could to not run over to the back of the lot and ask what they were doing. I refrained, deciding it would turn out to be humiliating.

So on the way back from the yard sale, we noticed the people were now close to the sidewalk, and I took full advantage of the situation to ask what they were building. One of the guys coolly replied, "A water slide." Sweet. I asked if it was for kids, he replied, "Yeah, a bunch of kids" pointing around the circle of adults standing there.

He then introduced himself and told us about the party tomorrow. It is for all of the people that live within one block of him and will be catered with a bar. Sweet. His name is Rich and apparently they are planning on having about 400 people there tomorrow. I asked if they needed any help getting stuff finished and volunteered Tony to help.

I'm excited to check it out, a little nervous because we don't really enjoy parties, but this one sounds unique and definitely worth checking out. Hopefully it will give us a chance to have a good time and get to know some new people.

And as we were approaching our place, we saw Harold. He is this nice man that lives next door to us and his family has lived there for fifty some years. We had a nice conversation with him and headed inside after checking on our plants.

Events like these never happened in Jenison and are the very reason why we needed to get out of there. I am really enjoying this neighborhood, especially the people that make up the neighborhood.

June 25, 2008

Sunday's Adventure

Starting off on the bridge.

This bridge is the oldest longest bridge of its kind and is only wide enough for one vehicle at a time.

Bethany wasn't afraid, no matter how many times we ask.

Beautiful Bethany

Picture by Bethany.

Bethany decided we must pose this way.

Three of us together.

June 23, 2008

Saturday's Sunset

The two rainbows.

Bethany took this picture - we have very few of the two of us together.

So serious.

Beth is a little cold.

Sisters. She has grown up too quick.

Bethany loves swimming in Lake Michigan, especially when the waves are big.

Did I mention the sunset was unbelievable?

Not really sure what they're doing, but Tony is such a good brother to Beth.

End of the night. Finally in warm, dry clothes and ready for our car ride home.

June 22, 2008

Yesterday's Chaos - Today's Headache

We woke up at 7am yesterday to head out to the farmer's market. We arrived home with only eggs and strawberries to be put away, then packed and prepared for our trip to Muskegon.

It had been nearly a month since we made the trip, and the first time driving for that long after my surgery. We had a full day planned, and were hoping for the best.

First stop, my mom's house. We spent a few hours with my mom and sister at the pool and had lunch together. After lunch, we played a quick game of cribbage, and I must say I skunked Tony. Not to brag, or anything.

We were then off to my cousin's open house with my sister in tow. Now, this was my cousin on my dad's side of the family, so most of these people had only heard about my sister, if that, which made introductions quite comical.

We killed some time at a local park before meeting up with my mom and the man she has been dating for dinner at Mango's.

Having more time to kill before the sunset, we headed to a playground I had never been to before at Kruse park. As we pulled in we saw some familiar vehicles and quickly familiar faces. We ran into Daniel and Katie and their children. It was absolutely the best surprise. We were able to spend some time with them before the approaching bed time demanded they go home.

Fortunately, we were able to stay and witness one of the most astonishing sunsets I have ever laid eyes on, complete with two rainbows. Tony took some great pictures that I may post later when I figure out how to access them.

Being the spontaneous person he is, Tony convinced Beth that we should all go swimming as the sun set, and dive in once the sun had sunk beneath the clouds. So, in our clothes, we went swimming. I believe that was Bethany's first Lake Michigan sunset, and it will certainly be one I always remember.

After we were all cold enough and ready, we found a restroom to dry off and change in and headed home, fully exhausted.

We arrived home at 10:45pm and unpacked the car, set up Bethany's temporary bed, and settled in for the night. We fell asleep around midnight, after squeezing every possible ounce of energy out of me.

So it is no surprise this morning I woke up with a headache so strong it felt as though I drank something I shouldn't have, and way too much of it the night before. The combination of the food we ate as well as the activities we thoroughly took advantage of wiped be out.

I was able to do some exploring with Tony and Beth this morning, finding a unique playground as our destination. However, right now, I am in bed trying to get rid of this headache and pleading with my back not to hurt. So far, my back is agreeing with me. But Tony and I decided I have pushed myself enough and to rest for a while. Tony and Beth are currently walking to the library and will spend some time there while I have time to recover.

June 20, 2008

This Post is For Daniel

At first glance I didn't think much of this sign. But, Daniel, I know how you find signs of warning to be hilarious and once I found the humor in the sign, I knew we had to capture the image and share it with you.

June 18, 2008

A First For Me

So this is the first time I have ever put pictures on my blog. I don't know if it will become regular or not, but anyway, I had to capture this moment.

These pictures show one reason why I love this apartment, and one reason as to why I love Tony.

The apartment has many unique features, such as this closet Tony is standing in. There are also the built in shelves, the bay window overlooking the street, the porch that is perfect for reading or just relaxing, and a kitchen has a perfect nook for our table.

Tony is in our closet, standing on top of a shelf in the back that is big enough to store a lot of our stock20 supplies. Tony has masterfully organized this small space that is our apartment to be an efficient place to live. Everything in our kitchen has a place, and often is in its place.

This apartment is small, but it works for us. It is perfect for us in this moment and I love it. Maybe I will post more pictures of the apartment later, or maybe you should just come over and see it for yourself.

June 15, 2008


Standing at Mars Hill, listening to the worship songs play and the people singing along, all I could think about was how disconnected I felt. Disconnected from all of these people, disconnected from worship, my heart disconnected from my head.

As the songs concluded, the speaker got on stage and spoke to my heart. I deeply connected with what was said, and was grateful we made it to this service.

But then we slipped out the doors without any meaningful interaction with another person, left the parking lot, and I wonder why not just listen online?

We have been attending Mars on quite a regular basis for nearly two years now, and yet there are only a handful of people I know from there, only two of which we are close to, and they happen to be traveling across the country right now.

The main reason we started attending mars is the exact same reason why I feel so disconnected; we needed a place where people didn't notice that we weren't there on a Sunday. We were warn out and deeply spiritually wounded from the way we were serving, as well as all the hurtful politics and petty conflicts within the small church we grew up in.

This large church not only offered a breath of fresh air, but we strongly felt the direction they were headed could show us our way as well. We walked away from most of the gatherings feeling, wow, that was exactly what we needed to hear and it gave us the hope that the Church is good.

And that played a major role in our decision to move away from Muskegon, closer to this place that offered authentic community for those who sought it and spoke often of Grace and Peace.

As time passed, we tried to get connected. To find this allusive community that Rob Bell speaks so often of. We have tried, we have stretched ourselves in many ways, and yet we have no community that we are a part of, no group of people to share life with, no kind people who surround us with love as we go through some difficult and dark times of our lives.

So now what?

Keep attending and working on finding community? I think that Mars Hill is doing good in the world, that they are showing people the love of Jesus, that there is something very special about that place, but it has its flaws, as do all churches, and I just don't know if it is where we are supposed to be anymore.

Find another church? There are plenty to chose from, but I wonder what the point would be. Besides, where would we even begin to start? I don't want to be a lifelong church-hopper. I hate looking for churches.

It feels like a blind date every week, and you are in control of whether there will be a second date or not, and if there is a second date, that means you are pretty serious and marriage is right around the corner. There is no "taking it slow" when attending a church. Each week that you are there is a major commitment. But how can you get an accurate idea of a church in one week?

Stop going to church? That goes against something deep within me, but I can't truly honestly offer real answers as to why it is so necessary to attend a church regularly, especially when the church you are attending doesn't even know you are there.

So, I am disconnected. I am hopeful that this angst in me means that there is something good around the corner, that God is preparing me in some way for something. But I am also afraid that I will continue to be disappointed by Church and this angst is in vain.

June 14, 2008

Quote(s) of the Day

"I hate pooping. It is too boring."

"Eww. Tony. That smells like somebody pooped in my mouth."
-Tara, after smelling one of Tony's farts.

***Daniel, don't you miss having Tony working with you in your basement?***

Another fun conversation:

Tony: Yum. Mushrooms. I love legumes.

Tara: They are not legumes. They are fungus.

Tony: No. Legumes.

Tara: No. (getting frustrated) They are Fungus.

Tony: You know why they are a legume? Because mushroom sounds like legume.

Tara: They are a fungus.

We went back and forth for a few minutes until Tony finally googled it and realized indeed, mushrooms are fungus.

June 13, 2008

It Feels Good

Things are getting better. Each day I can do more than I could the day before. I have cut back drastically on my meds (although I will continue to use the "I'm on drugs" excuse for anything I want).

Wednesday I drove again for the first time since before the surgery. Yesterday I went to a pot luck at Health Motion that was a going away party for my physical therapist. We just got back from an almost two mile walk.

I am still on some restrictions, but as far as the "big" things go, I am able to pretty much return to all normal activities. I am pretty sure Tony is just as happy about this as I am.

It felt great to drive again. Absolutely great. This summer we are going to be trying to cut back as much as possible in how much we drive, but for me to go over two weeks without driving was very difficult. So to get behind the wheel again was good.

Last night spending time with others, laughing, and having a good time without being in pain was fantastic.

And today, going for a long walk with my best friend to the library was simply amazing. It feels great to get outside, to enjoy the neighborhood. But to do so with Tony made it even better.

I am becoming a normal, functioning human again, so right now I am feeling really good, and that is not the drugs speaking.

June 09, 2008

Dish Network Sucks

If you ever need television service, avoid Dish at all costs.

We had them and in every way they failed to impress.

Their customer service is horrible. The people that you talk to are rude and have inaccurate information about your account.

They are dishonest about the rates of services and the length of which those rates will last.

It is too complicated and frustrating to explain, but they screwed us over from day one and I am pretty upset.

I know that this blog will not have any impact on anything, but I needed to vent.

Dish sucks.

June 05, 2008

A Good Day

Yesterday was a really rough day. I had the chills with a fever of 99 degrees, according to our thermometer that gives a different reading every time you use it. I was in a ton of pain and was miserable.

After calling my doctor's office, the nurse said that Dr. Stubbart thought I was having a reaction to the anesthesia. I thought I would have already had the reaction, but apparently not. She called in a prescription for me that was an anti inflammatory boost, or something. You take six pills the first day, and the pills taper off each day until you take none.

After reading through the three pages of directions, warnings, and when to seek immediate professional help, I was a bit nervous to take the pills. The best sentence was at the end of the half page of side effects, it said "This is not a complete list of all possible side effects"

So I took the six pills, bringing my daily total of pills to an unnatural number, and hoped for the best.

Today I seem to be feeling a considerable amount better. I have had more energy and have been in a lot less pain. I even swept the floor (we have all hardwood floors in our new place and I was getting sick of dirt sticking to my bare feet) but when Tony saw what I was doing, he demanded I stop and rest.

So I did. I took a nap and have been taking it easy tonight. I am feeling better than I have in quite some time, and I am hoping that this does not fade, hoping that I continue to heal and get more energy each day.

I do not want any more set backs, any more obstacles in my healing process. It has been nearly a year since this has started, and I truly hope it won't be much longer until it is finished.

June 04, 2008

Time Flies

With everything that has been going on, I almost forgot about my birthday. Saturday I will be turning 22, and won't really be able to do much celebrating. I can't drive. Tony can't drive. And I am on drugs that make me tired. Even if I could go somewhere, I am not supposed to sit up for more than 30 minutes.

Last night I was laying on the hardwood floor, and I rolled flat on to my back which put me in immediate excruciating pain. I sat on the couch for a few minutes after that to calm down. When I went to stand up a few minutes later I kept falling back down. And I am still really sore. I put a phone call in to my doctor cause I am kinda nervous about it. I am still taking my pain meds regularly, and it seems like I shouldn't need to take them as often by now.

Anyway, I am sure I am fine, but I am just ready to be back on my feet like normal, exploring our new neighborhood. I haven't left this house since Thursday, and before that I was in the hospital for two days.

Sorry I guess this is quite a negative post.

On a positive note, the weather has been really nice and our tomato plants are growing really well.

to quote a mr.burke "just trying to find the pony in the pile of shit" :)

June 02, 2008

Sad Day

Some really amazing people that we have gotten to know over the last few months left today. They are going to be traveling the country in their van, returning sometime in September.

They stopped by here on their way out of Michigan, one last good bye. Stephanie is a generous, opinionated, intelligent, creative, loving, feisty woman that has quickly become a great friend. Tim is a gentle, sensitive, thoughtful, active, spontaneous man that has just as quickly found a spot in our heart.

They have challenged us to think about the world in new ways, accepted us exactly as we are, and supported us in some truly difficult times. This summer we will deeply miss them and we anxiously await their return.