Our Love Story

We met aboard the 150 foot Tallship Windy II somewhere on Lake Michigan, between Grand Haven and Muskegon. It was August of 2003.  Darren was already working as a crew member and Mandy, who was along for the sail as a passenger, asked how he had gotten such a cool job. He told her the Captain was looking for new crew and sent Mandy to talk to him. Three days later, Mandy joined the ship's crew for the journey back to Chicago. We became fast friends over our love for Jesus, sailing, movies, and good food. Thanks to cold winters in the Windy City, we saw each other mostly during the warm seasons when the Windy and Windy II sailed, and began a long distance relationship in late 2004.

Fast forward to just before Christmas 2005. We got engaged on a frigidly cold winter night in Grand Haven and began planning a July 2006 wedding. It was crazy! There are so many details that go into wedding planning and bringing two families together. On our wedding day, it was sunny and rainy and hot. And it was SO. MUCH. FUN! 


Photo credit: Brenda Hoffman Photography

As newlyweds, we finally got to live in the same city full time! Darren's photojournalism training and internships during our first two years of marriage took us from our first home in Columbia, Missouri to Chicago; St. Joseph, Missouri; Muskegon, Michigan; Everett and Tacoma, Washington; and then back to the lakeshore of West Michigan. We've lived in downtown Grand Haven since 2009, where we adopted our fur-baby, a cat named Jeeves, in 2010, and welcomed our daughters in 2012 and 2013.