Celebration Sunday!!!

Happy Birthday, Courage Church!

It sounded crazy!
It was in an interesting part of Detroit
culture where 28 languages are spoken in a
2 mile radias.
It was nine years ago this weekend
that Chilly & I,
along with our three daughters,
8 young adults and a handful of newly arrived
post-high school students opened a brand new church
we lovingly called, “REAL CHURCH!”

Over the years we’ve meet in different locations-
including rented spaces that had never been churches
and probably never will be again (like a bar/concert
venue and a condo penthouse clubhouse!) ha!
Then, in late summer of 2012, God unexpectedly
plopped a gorgeous old building in our laps.

Besides building changes, amazing people from
around the area & around the country have
committed to this ministry. Others from
the dedicated “original starting team”
moved on to other places were God directed.
The heart of the church has remained the same-
“Living a real love from a real God in a real
world.” And that is not for the faint-hearted!

Following this exciting gift we changed our name
to Courage Church. Notice that both names are far more
than titles, they’re VERBS! It tells who we are and
what we do! Carefully listening to the voice of God’s
leading, being in Detroit, making constant changes,
always rejoicing over the beautiful things Jesus
does in the hearts of anyone who will let Him.
Anything worthwhile takes hard work & faith…
a faith in God that is lived out in Courageous
ways on a daily basis!

So today… we rejoiced together, all of us in
one historical old building with room to grow!
A building made special only because people
who love Jesus meet there… and people who
join them can meet Jesus, there, too!
(Several did exactly that today!!!)

To the many of you who have been a part of
this wonderful story of Courage Church,
thank you! Your priceless involvement
has left an eternal mark on the lives
of every face in this picture (and the
many people they represent).
Your efforts matter…
Oh good grief… I started typing zillions
of ways that many of you have given to
this ministry, but that’s not possible!
I had to delete that attempt.
Some of you have never even set foot
in this state, yet you’ve joined
with us!

Thank you for loving Jesus & having the
Courage to believe in His love for
Detroit and His calling on our lives!

Courage Church online giving

Wordless Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Sweet, Tough, Funny, Obedient, Joyful,

Talkative, Friendly, Smart, Insightful,

Huggable, Considerate, Observant,

Helpful, Creative, Mini-Chilly, My Boy,

7 years old!

Happy Birthday, Maximus!  I love you!!!


Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday for Moms 


ps… that’s a super mario bros cake in case you were

trying to figure it out. He was very involved in it’s construction, too.



Ode to My Man, Chilly

He’s Chilly.

It’s his birthday today.

We meet 24 years ago this month.

He’s encouraged me countless times since then.

He’s cracked me up countless more times!

He’s pushed & inspired me  to live stronger.

He is just what I need.

He’s pushed & inspired many, many others to live stronger.

He’s held up a high standard… preached it and lived it!

He’s unafraid to tackle to the controversial issues;

doesn’t shy away speaking the truth, even if it ticks off those convicted

He is bold and real.

His commitment to his family never comes into questions…

He puts us first.

The stereo-typical-pastor he is NOT… I’m so grateful!

He is dedicated to us.

His humor &  ability to find it in a multitude of settings keeps

life from being boring & “regular.”

He is humorous!

He leads with the courage to forge new paths

but also with the compassion that breeds love & courage in those who follow.

His temper is never lost; calm but passionate.

He is a reflection of Christ’s leadership.

He is the one who we celebrate today.

The birthday boy, the one I love.

He is My Man!

Happy Birthday, Chilly!



That was years ago! Ode to Mariah



She was born all pink & sorta pudgy…

she’d make a cute little “birdy beak” with her mouth if she was hungry

and if we noticed that little birdy face soon enough she wouldn’t even cry.

That was 19 years ago.

She’s still beautiful, not pudgy, and is slow to complain.

She’d smiled often. Laugh easily. Stand up on a little chair & sing out

countless songs of happy praise to Jesus.

That was years ago…

but she still does all those things (well, everything

except for standing on little chairs!)


When she was a toddler/preschooler, our youth ministry was hundreds of students

in Youngstown Ohio &  she was in the thick of it… and assumed that ALL

teenagers in the entire city were “her REPO kids!”  I had to watch her

carefully in the mall cuz she’d manuver her stroller closer to teens

and then just chat it up with them… even if they were complete strangers.

(She opened the doors for us some great conversations that way).

That was years ago.

But today she can still be found talking to strangers about the love of Jesus.

Her elementary school teachers loved her cuz she was nice to everyone.

So nice that the she was purposely seated next to the “class trouble maker”

for three straight years because she could “handle him and get him to

settle down & do his work!”  (And then she had to deal with him at home, too,

cuz he lived one house down from us!)

That was years ago.

But she’s still a kind, smiling face to a variety of people.


After completely her first year of Jr. High, God moved us to Detroit… and

her homeschool career began. It wasn’t easy, but she worked at the transition

with a smile (even when tears filled her eyes). Soon after, when I was

sentenced to “bed rest” for weeks while I was pregnant with her brother,

she stepped up and became the family cook as a 7th grader.

That was years ago.

Now she braces & faces transition with faith… and can totally rock it in the kitchen.


This list could go on… and on & on.

Years worth of stories and memories.

Yes, this beautiful person entered our lives 19 years ago.

And today we celebrate her!

We celebrate, you, Mariah.

Being your Mom is a total JOY!

I loves you years ago,

I love you now.

I’ll love you always!

Happy Nineteenth Birthday!






Few Words Wednesday, Zoe’s Bday!

Our baby girl is now 11 years old.


spunky, full of life, loves Jesus, full of ideas, creativity, songs, watching out

for her younger brothers, keeping her older sisters on their toes,

dancing, cooking, trying new things, unintimidated, confident,

aware of others, reads her Bible every night, cracks us up, a lovely person I totally love being with!… and  much more!


She created a Chocolate Ice Cream Layered Cup-O-Cake  for her celebration.

Here’s how she did it… in pictures!






And, as part of the fun, everyone dipped pretzel rods into yummy

chocolate and decorated them with colorful sprinkles. Then later

each person took home their tasty treat! (except for a couple people

who forgot theirs… and we accidentally ate them after lunch today)









6 years

Yesterday our “Little Man” turned 6 years old.












He’s a delight.

So Smart. So funny. Loves to crack me up.

He’s been reading since age 3 1/2 and takes in information every

waking moment!

His understanding of Jesus warms my heart and his compassion

for other people melts it.

There’s so much I could say…

But most of all:

Maximus, I’m so happy that Jesus choose me to be your Mommy.

I love you!


Happy B-day, Chase

This cute little guy had a birthday this weekend!
We had lotsa fun celebrating with him.
Besides getting to bowl at church & share cookies with his
friends, he had friends over later to play & decorate their
own cupcakes.
Happy B-day, Chasey. You’re my little present from Jesus!

He turned 5 this week!

Max had a birthday this week.
(This is his “clown-painted face” and his
Big-Top-Tent” cake.)
For an entire year he’s been asking if he could go
to Chuck E Cheese for his 5th Birthday.
So, in honor of that request, the carnival games
that Chuck E offers and the Carnival wii game
he purchased with his Birthday money from Grandma
and Papa… we had a carnival day.
And… in honor of the fact that Chuck E’s food is yucky,
we ate BEFORE going & then used coupons to get
huge handfuls of coins & only play the games with
the big smiling mouse!
Here’s photo update of our day earlier this week…
(The Taco Bell employee gave us SIX free drinks
with the purchase of one! We’ve never ALL had
our own cups before!)