New “Christian” Movies Coming Out

I was browsing through movie trailers, i noticed three new “Christian” films coming out.

Grace Unplugged:

A Strange Brand of Happy: (rebecca st. james)

I’m in Love with a Church Girl: (Ja Rule, a Baldwin, AND Vincent Pastore)

I feel excited and nervous about these three movies.  Excited because perhaps these movies will help those who don’t yet know Christ meet Him and maybe, just maybe, help dispel some of the negative (though in some cases well earned) stereotypes of Christians.

Nervous to attach “Christian” to these movies because our (Christians) history with pop culture and media hasn’t always been that stellar.  Whether it’s extremists who are the dominate voice, poor quality productions,  appearing out of touch/naive to the “real world”, or gross misrepresentation of the faith, releasing three new movies seems like a big, scary deal.

I know many of my friends and classmates from Asbury went into media communications to make awesome films, influence culture, and change the world.  Could these films be the start of a revolution?

Anyone friends of mine involved with these productions?  If you’re in the media industry (any field), what changes (good or bad) have you been seeing?

And last, what’s your favorite and least favorite “Christian” production?

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Another Birthday for Josh No. 29

Josh’s birthday always makes me sentimental.  Far more sentimental that most other yearly events.  I’d say second most after Christmas (nothing beats Christmas in any category :)).

It’s hard to believe another year has gone by.

Josh had another awesome birthday party.. this year, the Epic Man Party was a Mario Kart Wii tournament (12 participants!) and a food theme of “junk food”.  It was more like gourmet junk food, but junk food nonetheless.  I’m pretty sure everyone gained at least 5 pounds.  Total, the menu took at least 8 sticks of butter.

Okay, some pictures:


Mario and Luigi.  Luigi is our dear friend and housemate, Steveie. She was “Game Master” and kept track of all the brackets, points, and made sure people followed the rules.  :)


Mario, Princess Peach, and Luigi. :)


Carmel, chocolate, potato chip fudge. Made by my sister, Jenny.


We had two types of chicken drummies, a potato chip encrusted and this one, a Faygo Root Beer glazed.  I marinated it over night and then also brushed it over and over with the glaze. ;)


The Pioneer Woman’s Spinach Artichoke Dip.  Enough said.


Snickers popcorn, made by our friend Christina.  Delish. :)


And the (now famous) beer candied bacon.  I used a dark porter beer. :)

These are just a few from the whole spread.  Most all of these recipes can be found on my Pinterest on: Josh’s Junk Food 29th.

Being that it’s Josh.. his birthday was celebrated 4 days straight. :)  His party was on day two and on day three, Josh and I went bowling and out to dinner at Macaroni Grill.  Being a good wife, I let josh beat me in all 4 games. ;)ImageImage

A lovely night.

Day 4 was the day of the biiiiiggg surprise! :)  In December, my mom and I came up with a great idea.  We’d rally Josh’s friends and family to pitch in toward one big gift.. a table saw.  We named it the Josh Table Saw Fund or JTSF for short.  Through trickery, secrecy, and plain dumb luck, we managed to keep it all a secret from Josh.  It was difficult.


During round 1 of the Mario Kart tourney (day 2 of celebrating), the Game Master made it so that Josh’s first matches were in “The Cave” aka the basement.  While he was playing, a group of guys went outside and brought the saw in from the car and hid it in Steveie’s room.  It was HUGE.  Much bigger than I expected.

Day four was the day of the big reveal.  We went to a nice dinner at the Quarter Bistro with my family and his mom’s family.  Yum.   After that we came home and had leftover ice cream cake and port.  After that, Josh got to open his cards and present!   Here he is putting it together and showing it off. :)


All in all, 15 different couples / individuals gave to the JTSF!  Josh was so surprised and beyond thrilled.  I think what I love best about all of this is that so many people recognized what Josh is good at and LOVES and then worked together to serve him and help him do what he loves!  :)  He was up wayyy too late last night assembling it and I’m pretty sure he slept with a big smile on his face all last night. :)  Also, he’s been showing everyone at work pictures of his new toy all day long.  :) Thanks to everyone who contributed to my husband’s joy and happiness.

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Josh’s Magical Workshop

Josh has been hard at work in his magical workshop.

If you’re following on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the amazing rocking horses he made for Wink and DR for Christmas. :)  Here’s a reminder, because I’m THAT proud:

1 of the Rocking Horses

He’s also built a shelf, a raised garden bed, a bean trellis, and more.  He’s been a busy guy.

His most recent big project was at the request of my sister and brother in law.  They wanted a bookshelf for their son’s second birthday.  No big deal, Josh had a pattern in mind, a basic plan, but then.. he consulted me for ideas and I said.. “What IF we made it look like a rocket ship?!”    He let out a big sigh  and got out his graph paper and begin to draw.

Before painting, barely put together. :)

Before painting

This project took longer than anticipated.  I think mainly because of its complexity.  Josh made the shelves all inset in their own little slots, he but banding on all the edges, and did a lot of detail work.  It was a lot of fun watching him tackle such a difficult project and winning.

All done! View 1

All done! View 2

The big reveal! How else would you wrap a rocket shaped bookshelf?? :)

Wink got the blankets off and exclaimed, “wow.” Even 2 year olds know good work when they see it! :)

My rocket bookshelf. :)

Great work, Josh!  And, happy birthday, Wink!

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a Pinterest mother’s day

I’ve recently journeyed onto Pinterest.  I held out a longtime because it was clear that Pinterest is something that had the potential to be a time suck.

Time suck (n): Something that’s engrossing and addictive, but that keeps you from doing things that are actually important, like earning a living, or eating meals, or caring for your children.

Pinterest has been a lot of fun (great recipes, if nothing else!) and I haven’t lost too much time from it.  I came across a post a couple weeks ago about a family art project.

The blog is super cute, called “Attack of the Twins” and sure do have their hands full.  So here’s the original post:

So the basics are that they used canvases, 1 inch painter’s tape, and finger paint.  I sent the posting to Josh and of course, being us, we thought it was a great idea but we could do it better. :)

We decided to do the project for Mother’s Day.  We’d make the canvases and then when Wink got here, we’d sneak him out to the garage to paint them.

Here are the before painting pics:

Now you may have noticed that we didn’t just use 1 inch tape to make the letters.. nope.  Josh made a sheet of painters tape, drew out the letters (my hero!), then we cut them out using knife blades, last step was gluing them down to the canvas with Ben’s fancy canvas glue.  . This took a LOT of work.  We are two grown ups, with no kids, and when we were done, we know why that family just stuck the tape on. :)

Then when Wink came over, we tried to convince him to come out in the garage and paint.  He would not.  Not if Pa came, not if the music was turned down, “no.” “no.” “no.”   Josh was freaking out a little bit that we’d been stressed / worked hard on the project and now, Wink wouldn’t paint. :P  We ended up bringing the project inside and having Mama help.

2 hands!

Things got crazy and Wink started painting with his feet. :)

We stashed them out in the garage so Tutu wouldn’t see them drying.  We unveiled them during card and present time and Mama and Tutu LOVED them!  :)



The Artist and his works.

This artist is very up and coming.  He has a very bright future. :)

This was an excellent project and I strongly recommend it! :)

Messy, messy, fun. :)

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Happy Birthday, Wink!

In the beginning of May, my sweet nephew, Wink turned 1!  It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year since his birth.  It’s been an unbelievable miracle to watch him learn, grow, and develop his own little (okay, it’s quite large..) personality.

My mom (Chian) is an amazing scrapbooker.  She can scrapbook both on and off line!  Here are three online books she made to commemorate Wink’s wonderful first year.

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It’s been a great year of all the firsts- first smiles, kisses, tongue clicks, words, steps, messes, hand washes, giggles, and the like, and believe it or not- the 2nds, 3rds, and 4ths are even better. :)

Happy 1st Birthday, Sweet Wink!

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A Really BIG Announcement!

We have a really BIG announcement!

SO BIG that it encompasses all 3 of our blog themes- Life, Love, and Home Repair!

What is it already?!  :)

Josh and I are very pleased to announce that our good friends, Ben and Emily, along with their baby, David and dog, Winston, will be moving in with us! :) *

Ben, Emily, and DR

Ben, Emily, and David :)

Ben, Emily, and David are longtime family friends.  Josh and Ben have been friends since high school and Ben has been a large part of Josh’s growth as a Christian.

Ben just finished his Master of Fine Arts at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.  He’s an amazing artist.  Here is a piece he made us as a wedding gift!

Painting by Ben Cowan

Painting by Ben !

Ben likes to cook, listen to NPR, fix bikes, play with his son, and eat beans.. among other things.  He’s a jokester and is rarely serious (but can be serious, when necessary!).

Ben dressed up for our wedding rehersal

Emily recently finished her Master of Social work and enjoys serving others.  She’s a full-time mom to David Reed (7months) and is amazing at it!  She enjoys sewing and crafting, is into natural baby care and diapering, and is a general delight to be around.

Emily with her In-laws in 2009

We are beyond excited to be sharing life with them.  It will be a great adventure- full of awesome moments and a lot of learning experiences.  :)

Having a whole other family means that Josh and I have been in overdrive trying to make our house currently set up for 2 into a home for 5 (plus 2 cats and 1 dog).

Some of the things have been embarrassingly simple and perhaps things we should have done over a year ago when we moved in.. like.. getting curtains for 2 of the bedrooms. :P

Curtians in David's Room! Clouds!

Curtians in B&E's room! With sunburst grommets!

Other things are simple logistics, like, how are we going to share a kitchen and pantry space?!  Luckily (for us!), Ben and Emily are packing away most of their kitchen items so we don’t have to do a MAJOR kitchen overhaul.  We just need to be sure everyone has a place to keep their food items.  This sounds simple, but I’m the person who sees a good deal and buys 10 of something, so condensing down our food supply (that could rival any fall out shelter) was difficult.  Here’s what we ended with (be impressed):

Pantry Made for 2

Cupboard Made for 2

Other home repairs that have been made are also logistical.  One that I won’t be showing you a picture of is Josh’s overhaul of our closet.  Before Ben and Emily were going to be moving in, we had our clothes in multiple closets.. but gone are those spacious days.  Josh used a Rubbermaid system and totally overhauled our closet into an amazing clothing keeper.  Amazing.

Josh has been spending a lot of time in the attic during this transition, no he’s not hiding. :)  One thing he did was install a light in our pimped out closet.  He also installed a ceiling fan in Ben and Emily’s room and a venting fan in the bathroom.  The ceiling fan was a piece of cake compared to the venting fan- he had to cut a big hole in the house, in the bathroom, and he did all this in 90 degree weather!  Roasty, toasty.

B&E's Fan

Fan for 5

We’re working hard to make space, spruce things up, condense our belongings, and make a welcoming space for them.  They will arrive with their U-Haul tomorrow (May 31st!)!  It’s going to be great growing and sharing life with them.

Come on over anytime and introduce yourselves to them! I know they’d be more than happy to meet more friendly Ann Arbor faces. :)

Sweet Cowan Family

Silly Cowans :)

* Sorry to those of you who thought it was baby news. :)  It kind of is baby news.. we’re getting a baby.. but his parents are coming too. :) <3

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What’s New, Josh??

Josh has some pretty exciting news-

He has a new job!  He had an amazing 3 years at his old employer but knew it was time to move on.   He will of course, miss his amazing co-workers. :)

We are trying to be forward thinking- what are our goals for the future?  For our future and current) family?  For Josh’s career?

Probably one of the biggest reasons for the job switch is that in the future, we’d like to have a large-ish family and we’d like me to be able to stay home with the kids.  With Josh’s old job, there was no way we’d be able to do that.  My part-time income was/is a necessity to our budget.  Hopefully, with the new job, we’ll be able to keep me at home!  Things will be tight but doable.  :)

So what’s this fancy new job?  Josh is the foreman at Coffer Contracting!  Jon Coffer, the owner, is a long time friend of Josh.  Josh and Jon once had a construction-y business together and Josh credits Jon with teaching him many of the skills he has today.

Coffer Contracting is based out of Dexter, MI and serves many areas in the Ann Arbor / Metro D. area.  They are a Christian company, do great work, and are competitive bidders. If you need handyman work done, want a new bathroom or addition on your house, if your roof is falling off, or you have another task that you need done but think it should be left to the professionals- get a hold of Coffer Contracting!  They’d love to serve you.

Jon is married to his amazingly sweet wife, Marta.  They have three children with one on the way!  They are a delight and we look forward to becoming better friends with them.

Marta and Jon, 2009

Marta and Jon, 2009

We are very excited about this new path and trust God to walk us down it!

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