Thursday, December 30, 2010


Where the rubber meets the road, where faith is put into practice. The idea is sparked on a mountain top, but it never goes as first planned. And here I am.

About six months ago, I determined to just trust God. All the time. Just trust. And I have, for the most part but there are times I want to grab a hold of that wheel and push Him back in the passenger seat.

Nothing significant to show for yet, but internally things are moving and changing. I didn't know how much growing I have to do. In the big picture God is keeping quiet but behind the scenes there is something always going on.

I am emotional, but I am happier. My angry times are shorter. I have peace. I laugh more...even though it can be rough. I am MUCH more forgiving. I am so excited to see the changes God has made in me. I like myself now. I am content yet awaiting the next move to make. I don't fear failure as much. I don't compare me to you, and all the other wonderful people out there. It's me and God. I like that.

It's blah now because I'm not on the mountain top, but I am in the middle of everyday. But I kinda like everyday now.

There are great books to read on success and how-to, but I think the most important thing for me to learn right now is to live everyday living. Paying bills, laundry, cooking dishes, diapers, errands, band-aids, fights, people, honey-do's, prayer requests, awaking and laying down at night. That is what I need to learn. Praise God.

Do what I need to do, when it needs to be done, praise God.
Pray about everything when I feel like worrying, praise God.
Stop complaining, praise God.
Don't put unnecessary restrictions or expectations on myself or others , praise God.
Ask for help, praise God.
Have fun, praise God.
And when I know what God has told me, know that I know, that I know, that I know that is. He is, praise God.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Not My Finest Hour

This is for all you Moms that think you've messed up today. Can you beat this?

After taking the girls shopping for a jewelry box, and spending 25 minutes mulling over decorative boxes because my middle girl never can make up her mind immediately, getting home way too late and throwing some freshly purchased frozen pizzas in my filthy oven, and trying to pacify my hungry toddler for just a few more minutes, I asked my oldest two to pick up a game of dominoes (one of their Christmas presents).

Mind you, my living room is still piled high with presents and suitcases full of stuff to be put away. I have made progress, bit by bit, but not too much while my children are stirring. A few minutes later I ask my little angel if the dominoes are put away and she cheerfully responds that they were.

A bit more of time had passed when I was trying to organize some clothes, the kids were jumping on the bed (loudly) and I almost tripped over the tin box of dominoes that had been picked up, but without a lid and still in the middle of the floor. I snapped.

I kicked the box against the wall, dominoes flying, and started screaming. I picked them up and thew them in the trash, ordering them to either start picking up or go to bed without supper. Brookie, being her stubborn self, marched off to bed. Summer was petrified and stunned. She was too busy trying to figure out what went wrong to obey my threat. I sent her off to bed. Savannah said she left her watch in the car, which was parked in the garage, and did not find it the first two times I sent her to search for it. Meanwhile, I was screaming, throwing things, out of my mind mad. Max, my little partner in crime, mimicked my emotions and yelled right along with me.

Summer peeked out of her room. She had finally found a few words to say. In her seemingly fake sobs, she said, "Mom.......sniff, sniff,...I....I don't really feel loved right now....." oh no, child. I was furious. "YOU don't feel loved right now? What about ME? You completely ignored me when I told you to clean! I just bought you a jewelery box that took 25 figgin minutes to pick out and you don't feel loved? GET BACK IN THERE AND DON'T SAY ANYTHING TO ME UNLESS YOU ARE APOLOGIZING!"

I return to the trash can to retrieve the dominoes. They were a gift and I really couldn't throw them away. Savannah announced to me that she could not find the watch and I yelled, "well, you better ask God to help you because you are going to find it TONIGHT!" As I angrily dig through the coffee grinds, I hear her sweet prayer. Not more that two minutes later she's back with the watch. She then proceeds to give me a hug and says she's sorry for not listening.

About five minutes later, Summer did the same, followed by Brooke. They joined Max with pizza and giggles and more hugs than I deserved. At one point, I had to redirect Summer to eat at the table. She smiled, sat down, and "Mom, you aren't going to be pest again, are you?" Pest?....hmmmm. Oh, my. Yes, I said the "p" word and she caught it, sort of.

I love my family. We are all so very imperfect, but these children just don't seem to know what a grudge is. I never cease to learn from their innocent giggles and hugs, even immediately after a throw down. They frustrate me to no end...until their child like love takes over and fills me with more joy that one would think was possible. I love it that we all can talk about our failures and frustrations to learn from and in turn love...even more.

Monday, December 27, 2010

18 months...

Turning the lights on and off.
Pulling everything in reach out of the kitchen.
Pretending to read.
Wanting to help.
Food. ananas, onse, appe, suice, ilk, aaaa! aaaa! aaaa! (translation: anything sweet)
Hugs and kisses.
Mimiking about anything his sisters do.

I love this age. He can understand me and obey me. When I say, "shut the door", he shuts the door and has a smile that beams how proud he is. If only that would last.....

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

Got the Christmas tree up 2 days before we left. I wonder how long it'll take to get it down?

The Christmas play! And those songs we've been listening to since OCTOBER!!!

Nose piercing.

Plaza lights, Sheridan's, and Pajamas.

Max dancing in the kitchen to Christmas songs.

Gingerbread houses at Exploration Place.

Children's gift exchange shopping at Wal-Mart....Baby Alive, guitar, Baby Alive, and Barbie Mermaids....

Two weeks at Grandma's Two. Weeks. I'll bet Grandma and Grandpa are partying it up tonight...or cleaning.

Lots of tears. Ellie moved :(

Baking peppernuts, cookie cake, chocolate covered pretzels, puppy chow, chex mix. And eating a lot.

Spring Rolls for Christmas dinner!

Saying Goodby? or Hello? to the Driggers.

Catching up with Dana Banana!

Good Night, GorillaGoodnight Gorilla.

More tears.

Shower! Wedding! Gift opening at the Warkentine House!

Christmas Eve at Ebenfeld and Suderman family Christmas.


Extended Suderman shower!

Remembering that the best place to be is where Sook is. But so very thankful for a wonderful family when we can't be together. Praying for more favorable circumstances.

Even more thankful that God is always near and very dependable. Even to the point of Jesus leaving his throne and entering earth as a baby. The blessings of this sacrifice touch me several times daily. Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Happy Holidays and blessings to my friends and family!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Few More Thoughts on Loving God

As I was taking a shower, I was thinking about yesterday's post and hoped no one took it like I think love is the answer to everything- that we don't have responsibilities of conduct or should never have war or confront an enemy. I also cannot emphasize enough how essential the Bible's wisdom is. But still, loving God is reading His word and loving people is confronting evil.

Even though I in saying this I am admitting that I do watch Glee on occasion (because I like the music numbers), here is a quote that is stuck in my head:
"With the exception of parents, nothing messes up a person like High School". Yikes! Glee thinks parents are worse than High School?

Even though I was raised as a Christian, I am burdened with things that don't add up. One of them is that there seems to be a contradiction with the verse, "train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." and the stats of how many young adults leave the church. Some may be quick to judge the individual that left, but that is not what the verse says. It was instructing the parent, not the child.

If I were to teach my children that they should wake up every morning and draw purple polka dots on their legs, eventually they would see how ridiculous that was and stop... for good!

I'm wondering if many young people are told the laws of the Bible without having the love for God. That really isn't "the way he should go", and he may see how ridiculous following a bunch of laws are and leave for good. Not because he is ignorant, but he sees through pointless religion. However, I don't think that the answer is turning your back on God, but the answer is turning your back on the laws and running toward God.

If this is true, parents can make a difference in how their children understand God by making Him real to them. For instance, praying for courage when she is scared, asking for the fruit of the spirit on a bad day, and praising God when something exciting happens. The power of the faith of a child is a beautiful thing to witness! And when they make their faith, that grows through their love for God, as a part of their everyday lives, it will be very hard to part from that. At least it is for me.

Having said that, I will be the last to throw stones at any parent. It is a hard job and even when you do things by the book, some will still leave. My children are still young and I would not want to write their future now and have egg on my face later! However, it is this very thing that drives me to find out what I can do to show them the joy a person can have just loving God.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


In being a parent and being a child of a parent, a wife, and employee, a church member, and a friend, I have come to the conclusion that much of your happiness depends on what your expectations are.

If they are too high then you are unhappy when they are not met. If they are too low, you can't enjoy the fruit of the work put into it!

If you expect your children to make you look good, you will be miserable. In doing this, we are putting someone else's expectations on your children. How unfair! Like when we expect our children to stay still at the DMV because a stranger may give you a dirty look.
After Savannah was born, I couldn't believe how hard motherhood was! Yet we kept adding children and somehow we made it through. The fourth has been the easiest! Could it be that it is because I wasn't expecting to get adequate sleep, I was more content? I knew how messy they are? I didn't care if he walked at 10 months or talked by 14?

Being a recovering discouraged perfectionist, I can recognize how many times I have put unrealistic expectations on my family and friends. Every time...disappointment. I also thought God's expectations of me were more than I could do, and then I was disappointing God and was a failure. God's expectations would be too high for us if it weren't for Jesus. But thankfully we have Jesus!

Abraham and his family received a promise. God promised that Abraham would receive the world. It would not come to him because he obeyed the law. It would come because of his faith, which made him right with God.

Do those that obey the law receive the promise? If they do, faith would have no value. God’s promises would be worthless. The law brings God’s anger. Where there is no law, the law cannot be broken.

Romans 4:13-15 NIrV

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.

1 Corinthians 10:23 NKJV

From what I can see, God's plan is very simple! We are the ones that complicate it!! But he knew that we would so, through his servants, He wrote a very detailed Bible. One with stories to relate to, one with beautiful poetry and extraordinary wisdom. It was complete with drama, history, genealogy and prophecy. Interesting yet useful. But to put it simply, this is what it comes down to is this:

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, love your neighbor as yourself.

Mark 12:30-31 NKJV

With what I have experienced so far, I conclude that if these two commandments are made a sincere priority in all of life, everything else will fall into place.

As far as the expectations I have for other people, I think that it would be best if I only set expectations that are necessary. I expect the girls to be quiet at night because there are so many in such a small area, we need to be respectful of other's sleep. That makes sense. But they are children and they will need to be loud and crazy sometimes!

I expect and effort involving the time and quality when doing schoolwork, but I cannot expect that they will always be good at everything.

I expect that they treat each other with respect by talking out their arguments, knowing they will have arguments.

I expect that they care about their hygiene and appearance, fully aware that we might not share preferences in style.

God wants a relationship with us to show us what he made us to do. Only he can tell us that. Listening to unrealistic expectations of others may limit our potential. But when someone does, we have the freedom in Christ to look to Him for our plum line and give grace to those that judge unreasonably. For we are all human.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What I Want

A few months ago, I had a positive pregnancy test. That's not a good thing since I had a tubal ligation after Max was born. It was either a tubal pregnancy or a miscarriage.

I was overwhelmed by the feeling of guilt. Did I do the wrong thing? It made a whole lot of sense at the time to prevent another pregnancy but..... I cried a lot. I asked God to somehow save this baby. Even if I didn't want it at the time, I would be thankful for him or her someday. However, I am not pregnant, so whatever that was did not result in a new child, at least not here on earth.

During this confusing time, God asked me, "what do you want?"

Good question. I didn't know how to answer that. I'm used to just going where life takes me. I needed some time to think about that. The last two months have been full of soul searching.

Many circumstances have changed. This is not the way I thought it would go. Ever.

Do you have moments where you just know something is going to happen- not because you will it to happen but when everything just seems to fall into place in an uncanny way? That's what's happening. Now I want what seems to be happening to happen, but there is not evidence of it...just a hunch...or a leading...

Ellie is moving. I just came to a point where I was so busy that she is probably better off with my parents. I'm sure that I will be relieved, but yet miss her terribly. Sook's business took a hit and he's not sure he wants to replace the work. He's thinking about changing careers. So it dawned on me one day, why not move? We can then still see Ellie and help out my parents (and they can maybe help us out too! nights??) I started to get excited.

Then I thought, where would I love to live? Maybe near my Grandma's place? I'd have to build a house? I had just told Sook that I didn't ever want to build. Not like we can afford it anyway, but just for the heck of it I started looking at housing plans and saw ONE out of hundreds that I loved within 20 minutes. But after analyzing it for a few days I thought that some of the rooms looked a little small...and then found the exact same house plan only bigger!!!   I can see myself in it..the dining room would be an art room instead and the living room would be a music room. I'd also want a plant room on the side of the nook. But that won't happen right away. Maybe never, but it's just so uncanny. Oh, and I've looked at the land I'm interested in building it- love it. (I'm also picking out paint and flooring just so I'll be ready if and when..)

I have written a children's book series on cooking over the last few years, not for the intention of publishing, but it was fun for the kids. It has just been hanging over my head, always coming back to my mind..I should just go ahead and send it in.. I finally got one book sent to a publisher! It may be that this will be my first rejection, but still, I sent it! And while I was searching for publishers that take unsolicited submissions, I ran across a book contest for adult readers so I entered it, too. If nothing else, I'm having a great time. I'm hoping it's more, though.

I want my husband to love his job.
Financial freedom.
Time with extended family.
Resources to help others.
Wide open spaces!
To be content.
To travel.
To have the freedom to love life, doing what I love with those I love.

It is much clearer to me now. So, now we wait. And pray. And get my house ready to sell just in case Sook would find a great job in that neck of the woods. And brace myself to leave my home and friends here.

Oh, and as for more babies? I am completely content with my four. Although if a miracle happened, we would love it. Just not more tubal pregnancies, please.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Another Reason...

Okay, I don't want to spill my guts completely for my children's sake, but I'd like to say this...

I LOVE homeschooling. For many reasons. I don't think you should...unless you want to. But I want to. And I don't think it's any one's business as long as I am actually schooling. And I am.

It doesn't matter what school district I live in. Mine is in the top 16% in the country. I might change my mind, but there is a good chance my kids will learn at home until graduation.

I'm pretty sure I was a weird kid. I probably still am weird.:) There were other factors about my situation that made people wonder about me, but I can't talk about it. So, I didn't really fit in. But I didn't know it until I started the first grade! And since my students share my DNA, they have a good chance of being like me. I am not bitter, but I do remember many sleepless, tearful nights.

I want my kids to realize how wonderful and special they were made. Oh, please. Not for self-confidence, but to honor God and to enjoy their uniqueness. They have talents that they may never recognize if someone tells them they did a bad job, or can't see past the backwards numbers, or continually reward others that didn't try as hard just because they are more likable.

I wonder how things would have been different for me if no one would have told me that I wasn't smart? What if I could have learned at home at my own pace, focusing on the things I was good at?

So, it kinda peeves me when people are concerned about my children's social life. Social life? You mean the social life that tells you what kind of clothes to wear and what kind of music to listen to and what activities you should be in? Or the one that teaches them to ignore someone who isn't so cool or to assume the new kid is mean? Or is it the one that our main goal should be to impress others so that we can get ahead in life? Ironically, my kids that don't have near the social teaching are the ones pursuing friends at the playground...yes, my kids. The ones whose mother would rather not open up to a stranger or mingle with a crowd. And yes, I know, they are not perfect. They can be mean too. Just sayin.

Okay, I probably just ticked someone off. I am going to go back to the fact that this is a personal experience and a personal decision for me.

And this is only one reason. I. Love. Homeschooling.

I don't do it because I'm mad at someone from the past, but my past does influence my decisions today.

Oh- and by the way, I do have great memories, too. And great friends. And I am just fine. But so are my kids.

This morning I looked around past my mess and at my five. Three were sitting in the living room working independently. Two were wearing leotards. One was in a dress and patterned tights doing a cartwheel every two minutes.
One was subtracting. Out loud, she was imagining word problems that went along with her math.
One was problem solving aloud. In a professional secretary-like manner.
One made meatballs. And peeled potatoes.
One was dumping my spices out on the floor. (can you guess which one?)
And my pre-schooler was still in pj's giving me her charging hugs every once and a while.

I. Love. Homeschooling. I'm hooked.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Go Nuts!

I can't find the connector thingy that puts pictures on the computer so no pictures until I find it.

My kids are making me listen to the Christmas Station on the radio, so I am forced to listen to John Tesh. He made me feel guilty about using the real names and faces of my kids. I'm not going to change any names, but I might tone down the pictures, at least until this guilt wears off. Or until I find my USB.

While I was at the grocery store the other day, I saw a huge display of nuts in the shell. Impulsively, I bought them along with the nut cracker kit. I got so excited with the idea of teaching the kids about what the nuts looked like before they were shelled. I also knew how much fun they would have trying to open the nuts.

Just I had planned, Savannah spent nearly 45 minutes cracking open nuts, digging them out, and trying them.

In my plans, however, I forgot to take into account that I have a 17 month old that turns everything into a ball. He climbed on top of the table and started pitching the nuts in every direction- against the window, under the couch, and OUCH! at Mama.

It was educational and fun. And, as always, comical. Go nuts.