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Matters of the heart. And the couch. And this might the longest post ever. And title.

I seriously considered not posting this post (wow, that sounds redundant).  When I told Jared that, I was expecting him to give me an understanding look followed by, “Ah, I understand” but what I actually got was, “You should.  People will want to read it.”

Whether you make it all the way to the end–which I hope you do because I need your help–is up to you.

Okay, here goes.

I’ve been working pretty hard to keep things light and witty around here.  Blogging about our life has helped me appreciate the small things happening in and around us, as well as keep a good attitude.  And while I think I’ve hinted or straight up written about this before, this has been a really… odd semester.  So, thank you for reading our life updates, and thanks for being our friends.  Our family friendships have obviously prompted this blog, and a fringe benefit for me has been a delightful place to reflect and appreciate the blessings of life.  Let’s be honest–though sometimes I bottle and reflect, sometimes I word vomit and reflect.  And writing here has allowed me to reflect and process life in ways that I wouldn’t have otherwise.


We both thought opportunities would blossom out of this internship with La Vida.  Nothing blossomed.  It’s been a good experience, for Jared’s recreation management professional development, and it obviously meets his undergrad internship requirements.  This means he will be getting his undergrad degree in a month, so that’s a good thing (though I’m sure it doesn’t feel like graduating for him, since it really just feels like he’s been working).

When we discovered that our tentative plans with La Vida fell thru, we started praying about what’s next.  But, our hearts were pretty hard.  I think we were both feeling like we got burned.  Our attitude (in the words of people out here) was “pretty wicked messed up”.  Instead of a posture of trust, relationship, and openness to what God might have next, we were trying to get make an appointment with a Cosmic Life Planner.  We weren’t seeking something authentic, we just wanted a schedule.  A plan.  With directions.  And diagrams.

Somewhere in here, we started attending this church called The Harbor.  It has a very ywam-esque feel to it which made it feel familiar.  God has been getting a hold of our hearts through worshipping there, softening us.  Wooing us.  Reminding us about who He is.  And why we love Him.

( I write this so that God may get the credit He deserves.  Also, I write this as if Jared and I have had identical spiritual and attitudinal experiences–obviously this isn’t true.  But it is a little nutty how similar our attitudes and following call to repentance of that attitude has been).

In the process of taking us back to the basics of thankfulness, gratitude, appreciation of relationships and Relationship, God has been asking us to relinquish our understanding of him as the Cosmic Life Planner.  Succinctly, He’s been asking us not to have a plan.  Or, at least not get so bent out of shape about having a life plan, or having all the answers.  Or diagrams.

At the beginning of all this craziness, we got the idea of going to grad school.  I’m confident this was a providential idea.  Even while we were surrendering the need for control and life plans, God provided what we need to do for the next couple years.  Another reason I’m quite confident that it’s God’s plan?  Grad school was not on either of our radars… we’d kicked around the idea that maybe in a few years one of us would go to grad school, but we kicked it around like we talk about having a puppy, “eventually” and “someday”.

This whole semester it is like God has been working on us like a piece of leather, working to make us more supple, more usable, and for me, more comfortable with who I am.  And it’s been painful at points, and I’ve been frustrated and teary and upset.  But, we’re finally starting to enter the point in the process where can rejoice about the growth and change in attitude that God has brought.   God’s brought us back to the basics of joy about salvation, love for Christ, deep appreciation for life that is truly life.  

I summarized this post to Jared earlier by saying “When we got here, we just wanted a plan from God.  Now, we just want God.  And He’s asked us to surrender the summer.  Completely.  That will sound crazy to people, but we’re so at peace about it, it doesn’t matter.”

That’s right.  We don’t have summer plans.  Summer.  That season right around the corner.  No plans.  Well, no plans isn’t the most accurate way to communicate “the plan”.  We do have a plan.  But it’s flexible.  It’s God’s plan, so we’re just trying to listen.  And obey.  And sit in His presence.

Thus, I fondly refer to our summer “plans” as the “Non-Plan-Plan”.

I think I call it the Non-Plan-Plan because it’s so far from what either of us expected.  It’s not a plan either of us would have created, muchless developed into a diagram.  This plan does not have objectives.  Or subpoints.  Or indicators.  It’s not measurable.

It just is.

What is the Non-Plan-Plan, you ask?

We’re going on TOUR!  Yes, tour.  Like a band.  But we promise not to sing.   Or, I promise not to let Jared sing.  Or hold a tambourine.  And I won’t play jazz flute.  Because I despise jazz flute.  Oh, that’s beside the point.  Focus.  Focus, Mary.

(Pause blogpost here, Jared just brought me a coca cola and a pizza.  I love him.  Can food be a love language?  I think we like to love each other in the language of food love.)

Tour.  Right.  We’ll be wrapping up here in Mass about May 17th-ish.  Then we’ll be headed to Michigan.  We’ll be able to go to Ruth’s graduation from Calvin Seminary.

Hopefully, around the end of June we’ll swing out towards the Nebraska/Colorado area and visit the McDaniel clan.  Jared has some family coming in from out of town (hi, aunt Jenny!) and we’re going to try to make it out there for the shindigs (yay, wedding anniversaries:).  We also hope to spend as much time outside as possible, so hopefully we’ll get lost in some Colorado wilderness too.

We’re going to visit some friends in Missouri (hi, Jordan and Ruth and wee Henry!)… and hopefully by this time we’ll know where we’re going to school in the fall.  And then we’ll move there.  And, hopefully it’ll have a kitchen.  And, hopefully “eventually” will finally come, and we’ll have a Wee Puppy McDaniel.  And he shall be delightful.

This concludes our understanding of the Non-Plan-Plan.  We’re at peace with it.  It doesn’t involve professional development.  Or structured ministry.  But we’re confident it’s what we’re supposed to do.  And, we would love to see YOU!  Let us know where and when and we’ll try to include YOU in the Non-Plan-Plan.

My better judgment tells me to conclude this post here.  We just talked about a lot.  But my creative juices are weighing the next matter heavily, and I need help.

We have this couch.

It has a name, but I can’t remember it.  I think it’s Lenny. Or Lester.  It’s sad when you can’t remember your own couches name.  I hope this isn’t a reflection on my future parental skills. 

He’s been a really fabulous couch.  He’s in good condition.  He’s psychadelic (though most of the time he lives under a slip cover.  Unless that slip cover is in the laundry pile.  Like it is right now).

But, he’s also GIGANTIC.  Like, yeah.  He’s heavy.  And bulky.  He’s a hulk of a couch.

And he has this bad habit of getting the cushons mashed down into the back so that you’re sitting on the lightly padded wood.  See how the cushions are all mashed into the front?  It’s kind of uncomfortable.  But we all have bad habits, so Jared and I have been pretty forgiving of Lenny/Lester.

When we moved into our rooms here, Lenny/Lester had to go in the first room.  He couldn’t make it around the corner.  He’s too big.

So, we’re considering getting rid of Lenny/Lester.  It wouldn’t keep us from needing a trailer to get from point A. to B.  But, it seems like it would make moving easier.  Lenny/Lester is not a moving conducive couch.  I’ve moved every four months for the last sixteen months.  I move a lot.  We move a lot.  We need a moving conducive couch.  Sorry, Lenny/Lester.

Lenny/Lester, in his bulk.  And cushion.  Oh, Lenny/Lester, you’re such a conundrum.  

So, Jared and I are talking about leaving him behind.

Sorry, bud.

But, it’s true.

We have options.

I created a diagram for you.  That’s how much I love you.  And diagrams.   And I thought it would be ironic.

If you’re wondering what a bench couch is, please follow this link.  Sorry about the link, but I didn’t want to illegally copy their picture.

We’re guessing that it would be approximately the same price of thrifting for a new couch to creating a bench couch.  What do you think?  What would you rather sit on if you were coming over for pie?  Or, if you were spending the night, would you rather sleep on a big long cushion on the bench couch, or do you love a couch?

I have opinions.  But I want to hear YOURS.

Okay, Mary out.

4 thoughts on “Matters of the heart. And the couch. And this might the longest post ever. And title.

  1. I love the non plan plan! Great to hear that you guys are in a place of wanting God not just God's plan! Big difference. And ditch the couch man! You can totally get another one off of craigslist whenever you end up. Oh, and I think you need to swing by Costa Rica for a stop to visit the Kampers! You haven't ever met my kids! What in the world is wrong with this picture!?


  2. I LOVE this. Gave me a lot to think about. And it's Lester. I remember. Also, I like the bench couch, but I feel like it would get uncomfortable/annoying to lean on a bunch of pillows and have to adjust them all the time. Since you asked.


  3. Peace. God peace. I like it. Love it, actually. I agree with the above post about the adjusting of pillows. So, I would just Facebook post and ask if anyone has a mover-friendly couch they are looking to get rid of or donate to a good cause – it usually works! (Especially since you and Jared are the good cause!)


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