Aches, Sweat, and Such

It is a daily slow dull ache. Details, things that catch you by suprise, smells, strollers...

Today on the way home from the office I drove by a medical building that just four weeks ago I was sitting in front of with all three kids while Shelly had an appointment. Things were so normal then. But today, that seems like a different life ago. We are calling then Josh and Shelly version 1.0 and now Josh and Shelly version 2.0.

Seeing that building sent me into a 6 hour funk. I don't know why, but the normality of what we had was so poingnant today...

Last Friday night, while we were still at the water-park/hotel, Jason, Holly, Shelly and I discussed our going back to work schedule. At this point, church planting is a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because the schedule can be so flexible, but it is also very tough because ther is no boss handing me a paycheck every Sunday. To make this things work, we have to GO AFTER IT. So this is what we discussed last Friday.

We decided that we would hit it hard last Monday. So this week we have been moving into our office and scheduling more Sundays for support. We cleared out one of the larger upper rooms, repainted, hung new lights, bought some cheapo office furniture, and began to move our books and stuff in. We worked up plenty-o-sweat.

Speaking of meeting space, I wanted to pass along an amazing blessing that God has dropped in our collective Greenhouse lap. For months we have been finagling, scheming, schmoozing, and generally working our ambition all we could... to no avail...

But a few months ago we bumped into Pastor Tom Archer from Common Grounds in Eastown (Fulton Heights)... As we developed this relationship Tom began to see our vison for Eastown, and we began to see his shephards heart. To get to the point, their fantastically big, old, charming, stain glass windowed, brick church is going to be available for us to meet in on sunday nights and is open for office space for a ridiculously good deal (details withheld out of good manners.) But let me tell you, they have really stepped up to the plate for us.

Here is a picture...

Looks like we are going to be starting earlier in the fall than we previoiusly thought. That is a good thing!!!

God is in control and we aren't. That is one of the only things I know, but it is a good thing. Just imagine all the chaos if I were God.

Blessing on you all...


First day back at church in Kalamazoo so josh could lead music. spent the majority of the service crying as everything seems related to Ava. Every song we sing, every Bible verse mentioned, and just being back at church without her. Lots of love from our church family. Then had a Greenhouse core meeting tonight here at mom and dad syswerda's. went well. we're getting psyched to kick this thing off. gives us something to concentrate on, maybe a small break in the grieving process. continue to be amazed at god's mercy and comfort he has shown us at a time like this. we serve an awesome god. so cliche but proving more true every day.

written by Shelly

Shelly's Reflections

Just got back from hanging out with some friends with a new baby girl. Surprised at how much our lives have changed in the past three weeks; from being the mom and dad of an infant and two toddlers to just two toddlers. It seems like my head is starting to understand a small fraction of it but my heart has a long way to catch up... maybe it never will. Josh and I have a lot of work and decisions to make in regards to our house (staying or selling), financial situations, and family stability issues. We are trying to see what is best for our kids while trying to make decisions that will keep us sane for the time being. I was listening to a Matt Redman song (I think that's who sings it) where the lyrics are "blessed be the name of Lord" and then goes on to say "you give and take away, you give and take away, buy my heart will choose to say Lord blessed be your name." I pretty much have to just whisper through the tears but we do hold this as the ultimate truth. God has been incredibly faithful to us through this.

Posted by Shelly

Family and Friends


Shelly and I wanted to take a second to tell you all how much we appreciate your love, support, and prayers. The amount of cards, phone calls, and visits the past two and a half weeks have been overwhelming (a positive thing!)

We have been staying at Shelly's parent's house in Allendale. They have a wonderful piece of property and a beautiful house that I have always loved coming to (not to mention how much Shelly and the kids love being here)... I guess when it comes down to it, it is a good place to heal. But even being here gets tiresome with so many people in and out. We have had the blessing of having two brief times away in the past two weeks. The Friday following the graveside service and open house, we took off for 5 nights to a beautiful beach house on the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan (thanks D & K).

Then Thursday afternoon the weather was kinda crappy, so we went to this hotel / indoor waterpark thingy (see pic)... and Noah and Zoe... and Elijah, Emmy, Ezekiel (my niece and nephews) had a fantastic time.

Our kids have been amazing through this whole experience. At first Noah kept asking, "weao babby Abba?" (that is what he called her, Abba). Zoe did the same, but has now picked up on the fact that, "Ava upa sky... Ava upa sky wit Jesus." Don't ask how our little 25 month daughter picekd up on that fact, but she says it so matter of factly... , like, duh you guys. Of course that is whtat is going on.

A Memorial

I have been fighting this for a couple years now (since whenever it was that blogs became the "it" thing to do) but I have finally given in and begun to write a web log.

Many of you know about the recent tragedy in our family. On August 1, 2005, our little Ava Nicole left this Earth after only being here with us for 3 short months. She was our third child, and she brought so much joy to our lives.

No sentence that Shelly or I might compose could capture the pain that we feel right now. No little bit of blogging will make Ava any more present to us. But hopefully as you read some thoughts or stories about her, or as you sense healing progressing in our lives, this blog will serve as a memorial to her, and to the hope that we have in the promises of Christ.