Sunday, December 28, 2014

Speechless

I'm a talker.  I usually have something to say about most things.

But, Thursday, I was speechless.

I had trekked over to Lennox to fetch Grandma for the day.  I had wanted to get her early enough in the day so that she didn't feel forgotten.  Getting out of Hilda's always involves at least one stop.  Letting others know she was departing is important to Grandma so we headed to the kitchen window.  There was a smattering of little old ladies and men sitting at the dinning tables visiting.   Grandma tapped her empty coffee cup on the counter to get the cooks attention and then proceeded with her goodbye.

I felt a soft pull on my sleeve.  Expecting the usual conversation about who I am and what we were doing I turned to look into the dimming eyes of a woman I had seen before.

"I feel sorry for you,"  she declared.

I must have looked confused because she looked from me to Grandma and back.

I must have looked a bit stunned.  "Well..." her voice trailed off.

I returned my attention to Grandma, shepering her out the door and into the van.

The words of that elderly lady echoing in my head.  I wrestled with the meaning behind them.  She felt sorry for me because my Grandma is not the kindest, gentlest woman.  She wants what she wants and she expects certain things.  She is not quick to extend grace or mercy.  And it comes out in harsh tones and a bad attitude to those around her. 

I thought of all the things I should have said as Grandma sat in the recliner reading the newspaper.

I should have said, "Oh, don't feel sorry for me.  She loved me when I was difficult to love.  When I got into the perfume and lipstick and bathroom spray.  She loved me when I ruined her yellow bathroom rug and when I hid during cleaning time.  She gave me a chance when everyone else didn't think I was responsible enough.  She welcomed me into her home when I needed a place to crash in high school before basketball games.  She supported me by coming to watch me cheer even though it was terribly loud.  She loved me when I moved away and rarely saw her.  So, really, don't feel sorry for me.  I'm sorry that you don't get to know the better side of Grandma."

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Refining

As a little girl I always wanted to be a mom.  It was the number one thing I played.  I think I just really wanted to be in charge, like my mom was. 

As a mom I really don't want to be in charge.  It is hard.  Everyday I make all these decisions that seem little but the voice in my heart keeps telling me they will make a difference. 

So I am full of fear.  All those little decisions.  Go to timeout.  No Kindle for you.  Tell your brother you are sorry.  Change into clothes that match.  Stop shouting (said while shouting).

What if those decisions are wrong?  Really wrong. 

And then there are the big mistakes.  Offhandedly giving permission for my boy with allergies to eat a cookie.  Not thinking twice when he said he felt funny.  Having to apologize for not paying attention and protecting him.

Would God really refine me at the cost of my child?  Job 32:10 says so.  "For He knows the way that I take, and when He has refined me I shall come forth as gold."  He will refine me.  He will also sustain me and never leave me and give me wisdom I lack.

Oh, thank you, Lord.

Dear Daniel: The dreaded year

Oh, my!  Daniel, the dreaded year has arrived.  Three has historically been one of the most difficult with Anderson boys.  The terrible twos were never an issue, it's three.  That in between year when you can do it yourself but it is often faster for Mom to do it.  The year when you want things to go your way and have a hard time dealing when they do not. 

You already throw around  "I don't like you, Mom."  It's okay.  I understand.  And as I tell you, it's okay if you don't like me, I still love you.  Prayerfully, someday, my methods will make sense to you. 

I get so much delight from you.  I don't know anyone who can play with cars, trucks, planes, and blocks like you do.  You have this fantastic imagination.  And the way you can stack objects not normally stacked is amazing.  Your singing also makes me smile.  You can belt out a tune like nobody's business.

People often comment on how short you are.  You are short but you wear the bejeeberz out your pants.  Something I treasure!  In fact, I just took a pair from your drawer and put them into Micah's.  (He can't quite wear them yet, don't worry).  What you lack in statue you make up for in personality.  One day while on our weekly grocery shopping adventure you were trying to "help" Mom get John on the right track.  You were letting him have it and this lovely little elderly man just about wet his pants laughing at you facial expressions and vocabulary. 

You are learning more and more about Jesus and that is the most important thing.  You love to sit for a story and while your prayers are often hard to hear I know God hears them.  (I do know that Aunt Sara is well covered in prayer by you.)

I pray that next year when I get to write to you again we have come out stronger, more obedient, and closer to Jesus.

You are a sunshine, Daniel Jeffery.  I love you nose to toes!
Mom

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dear Micah: My Sunshine

Dearest Micah,

Sorry your letter is so late in getting out.  You turned one over a week ago and I am just getting to this all important letter.  Lord willing, you will someday get to read these little notes I jot down here.

Every day before I lay you down for nap I sing you a song.   
You are my sunshine, my Micah sunshine (I had to change the words since there are four of you sunshines running around).  You make me happy when skies are grey.  You'll never know, dear, how much I love you.  Please don't take my Micah Sunshine away.

Then you lay right down with the dinosaur blanket your Aunt Sara bought you and go to sleep.

It wasn't always like that for us.  In the beginning you thought naps were for cats.  I'm glad you've come around. You grew so much this year.  I've seen it happen three other times but I think I was paying extra attention this time since I knew you were the last baby.  You learned how to roll, crawl that adorable army crawl, and now walk a few steps.  {You made John's day when you walked three steps to him today!}  You've learned to sleep through the night, take a great nap, and lay {mostly} still for a diaper change.  You have learned that Elijah is the one to go to when you need to be held.  Daniel plays the most.  And John is the one to find when you need to roll around and have crawling contests. 

You are a ray of sunshine, Micah.  Your smile and enthusiastic greetings warm my heart.  Your squeals of delight when Daddy comes home from work are so delightful.  Your tenacious attitude and love for banging things together makes me smile.

You even pose for pictures.


I keep praying you love Jesus as much as your brothers do.  The way you follow them around, I suspect some of that love will rub right off and grow into a relationship all its own.  

I love you nose to toes, Micah Moomer!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Choosing Where to Dwell

"One person had minor injuries after hitting a culvert in an accident on Cliff Avenue, south of 77th Street."

That's how "IT" got described in the Argus Leader.  Nineteen words.

I am thankful "IT" only amounted to nineteen words.  "IT" could have amounted to many more words in an entirely different section of the newspaper.

I choose not to dwell on that. I choose, instead, to dwell on giving thanks for a God whose hand of protection extended over us at 8:25 on Wednesday, November 26.

Us.  My baby and I.  My baby who won't remember a single thing about "IT".  Who has not one scratch.  Not one bruise.  Not even a sore muscle from being whipped around.  He didn't even have a shard of glass on him from the blown out window.


I choose to dwell on giving thanks for a God who brought along a calm and loving good Samaritan.  Who calmed my baby when I could not get out of the car.  Who warmed him up and then showed me his picture so I could know he was really okay.  Who summoned my dearly beloved.

I choose to dwell on giving thanks for a God who swipped our van into a ditch and culvert instead of an oncoming car.  Who allowed sore muscles and pretty purple bruises instead of surgery, casts, or coffins.

A split second was all it took.  A fishtail followed by panic followed by a scream.  But still I choose to dwell on giving thanks for a God who knew it was happening, who knows the outcome, and who knows me.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dear Elijah: A heart like yours

Oh, boy!  You turned 9 this week.  Nine!  How can that be, Elijah?  I won't bore you here with the long, dramatic version of your birth that I regale you with every year.  You've started to roll your eyes at my dramatics.  {Is that something that happens when you are nine?}  I just wanted you to know something. 

You have a great heart!  I think the thing that cemented my suspicion was the first time I witnessed you give sacrificially.  Totally unprompted.  Someone had come to see Dad and had brought their son along to play at our home on 131st Street.  Before he left, he raced back to your room with a book you wanted him to have.  You presented it with a simple, "I want you to have this."

Your giving has not waned.  Once you started gathering money from various birthdays and holidays Dad started you on the road to tithing and saving.  10% was the minimum but you always gave the most to the tithing section.  Your little heart hurt for other children who are in need so you made a gift to Children's Hunger Fund. 

We celebrated your birthday on Wednesday.  There was not much pomp or circumstance about it but the money from relatives poured in.  On Sunday you had a grand plan to buy some Pokemon cards.  What you wanted would take most of your money.  During church you saw David and Mrs. Hill.  You've come to really like them and their desire to obey God by building a school in South Sudan.  Suddenly, during church you leaned over and said, "I want to give them some of my birthday money so they can help the people in Sudan."  I have to confess I had a hard time holding it together for the rest of the service.

I love your heart, buddy.  You have a heart like His.  A heart that cries for the orphan.  A heart that yearns to help and lift the spirits of the downcast.  You teach me a whole lot about loving people and about giving sacrificially. 

You are my sunshine and my joy.  I love you and am so proud of the man you are growing into.
With Joy,
Mom

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Glimpse at the List

2014 is the year of Gratitude for me.  I should have known that meant curve balls were coming and I would have to look extra hard some days to find the blessing.

300.  New babies:  Evelyn Marie
295.  Getting to know neighbors
310.  Micah clapping with pride or for randomness
244.  Morning dance parties
305.  Worship that brings tears
320. Falling leaves that blow into the neighbor's yard
240.  Daniel singing praise at church

And this.....
Daniel and his co-conspirator Caleb.  These two can giggle like nobody's business.  It warms my heart!
















And her....
My Lydi Girlie!  Those eyes and her sweetness, a cure for all that ails me.
And don't forget...
Micah Mookie, Micah Man, Moomer, whatever you call him his smile calms frayed nerves.
 There are four other young men but they move too quickly for me to capture their joyful faces which I also count among my blessings.  One of them calls me Aunt Suzie.  One of them has a uniform that ensures he can sell popcorn to just about anybody.  Two of them entertain with hilarious magic and charm. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Like Mom

I've been told I am like my mom twice.

The first time I took it as a compliment.  My mom was organized, efficient, a super multitasker, and loving.  That woman could make a list and get it done like nobody's business.  And at the end of the day, despite any butting of heads, I knew she loved me; she told me so.

The second time, I stopped in my tracks.  Maybe this was not a compliment after all.  My mom had trouble pushing past the dark.  She had an addictive personality.  She was rigid and needed things done her way and in her time.  {Someone I love calls that putting the process before the people.}  She yelled when she was angry or frustrated.  She hated asking for help or appearing weak.
 

The hard thing is I am like her.  I am rigid.  I love a list.  I have trouble with the dark.  I yell.  I ...

But the better thing is I have something she didn't.  I recognize my weakness but I'm not afraid to call out for help.  The help I seek is eternal.  I continually go back to the worn pages of Philippians and Joshua and the Psalms.  The help I seek is rooted in promises centuries old from one who has never broken a promise.

Being like Mom doesn't have to be a compliment or an attack.  But, for me, it has to be something I consider as I go to my Father seeking wisdom and growth; mercy and grace.


Monday, September 1, 2014

A few funnies

We are a non-stop comedy factory over here.  Most days I couldn't script the things these people say if I tried.

A snippet.

Around the dinner table one night, Elijah declared he was going to be a rancher (he's moved on from his desire to be a cook at IHOP).  John chimed in declaring he was going to be a farmer.  Not missing a beat, Daniel declared he was going to be a cower and ride cows in the garage.

John is not a fan of school.  Frankly, it cuts into his play time and that is not cool.  We had recently watched  a Percy Jackson movie that has the song "Highway to Hell" in it.  Well, walking down the hallway during open house what song should be darling blue eyed boy start belting out?  Yup, "Highway to Hell".  I tried not to laugh too much since the irony of choosing that song was lost on John.  I also let him know that song would probably be frowned upon in school.

During dinner one night we were eating something with beans.  John, upon taking a big bite, says, "This tastes like beans."  Well, that's good since it is beans!  He got a little offended that Chris and I were laughing at his expense so Chris tried to explain to him why it was funny but he still didn't think it was funny which made it all the more funny.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Temptation

Summer comes to an end in two days when the big boys go back to school.  It has been a challenge being a stay at home mom with four kiddos home this summer.  The big boys felt like they got gypped on fun since going to the pool or any other great adventure was met with a ,"Sorry, but that is more than Mom can handle."  The little boy and baby felt like they spent the summer getting in and out of the van & stroller as we shuttled around.

So, last week when the whining and complaining and crying hit their crescendo I was pretty sure psychiatric services were in my future.  Then, I got message from an old supervisor.  It was a job offer.

A job.  In the real world.  With adults.  And reading real books.  And teaching things I love.

I was tempted.  I reasoned.  I negotiated.  I pleaded with God to give me the green light to leave this hard job called motherhood behind for a few hours each day.

He didn't budge.

And then the still small voice revealed the real root.  It's not that I wanted to escape motherhood.  It's that I wanted to know I had done well.  To know that those who are out there remember little ol' me fondly.  I know that someday I might be able to go back.

So, I thank the Lord for today and try not to think too much about tomorrow.  I thank Him for the ways He shurs me up; for the encouragement He sends my way.  

And I resist temptation.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Girls

Last week "the girls" were here.  Affectionately labeled so to differentiate from the boys who typically live here.  We signed on to host three college girls who have been traveling I-29 all summer putting on a Jesus camp.  And, as is typically the case when one thinks they are going to bless someone else, I was immeasurably blessed by these young women.

Jess, Emily, and EmJay (who is also an Emily) moved in on Saturday night.  I knew we would hit it off right away when Emily asked for crackers and mac and cheese.  A girl after Daniel's heart!  All of these girls fit so well with our family.  They snuggled the boys on Pizza Movie night.  Shared their technology.  Asked questions only Chris could answer.

I got to have conversations I don't normally get to have.  We talked relationships, when you know it's love and how to be happy single.  We talked about messy families and how God works through us to heal them.  We talked about fitting in and liking what God thinks more than others.  We talked about fitness, missions, food, roomates, and shared silly stories about our crazy days. 

We painted toe nails.  They colored their hair (ah the high school memories).  We got coffee.

At the end of the week, I cried when they left.  Daniel has asked every day when "the girls" are coming back.  I sure pray the Lord crosses our paths again someday. 

Jess showing Daniel the monkey in our backyard. 

Daniel wondering why he couldn't have painted nails too.

Saturday family picture

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer Fun

We finally got summer weather this week.  So, we finally pumped up the pool I bought last September on clearance.  We invited the neighbor boys and had a party.


Hello, my name is Micah.  I am nearly 8 months old and I love outdoors and eating.

Elijah's new favorite pose.  I'm not sure when he got so big.

Proving he's a "man" by jumping into freezing water, John is always up for a dare.

For Daniel, it's all about the splash and throwing things in
Brotherly love for Mom's sake.
 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Reminders

Sometimes I get too comfortable in my life.  I forget the blessings.  I forget gratitude.

This week I was reminded how ridiculously blessed I am.  I experienced first hand how a matter of inches and seconds can change everything.  Ever. Y. Thing. 

Thursday morning I prayed that the Lord would equip me for the day.  That He would give me what I need specifically to mother each of these very different boys.  That He would keep me mindful of Him all day.

Around 4 o'clock John and Daniel were playing in the basement.  Around 4:15 there was a large, loud crash and a scream for help.  A desperate, scared scream.  I was unprepared for what I saw at the bottom of the stairs.

A bank of lockers we had put in were laying on top of my darling blue eyed boy.  Heavy metal lockers.  Lifting them and trying to get John out I cried out. "Oh Lord!"  It was all I could muster. 

A few inches.  A head instead of a leg.  His arm instead of the fleshy part of his femur.

Around 5 o'clock I started getting ready to grill dinner.  Around 5:15 there was a fire and a cry for help.  A desperate, scared cry.  I was unprepared to fight the fire.

A new propane tank was leaking and as I reached to turn it off it burst into flames.  Rescuing John and Micah from the deck and getting Daniel out of the backyard happened quickly but then things started to slow down.  I had the fire extinguisher but I could not remember how to use it.  I called for the neighbor while another neighbor ran to the rescue.  As he grabbed the fire extinquisher the tank made a loud sound and fire burst everywhere. 

A few more seconds.  Our house instead of the grill. 

I live a ridiculously blessed life because He allows me to.  To take that for granted is selfish and so ungrateful.

I cried Thursday night.  I cried for what could have been.  I cried for His great mercy on our family.  I cried in repentance of my sinful heart.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mist

"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." James 4:14

A mist, here and gone in a moment.  This was a week of mourning.  Three lives lost, three mists vanished.

Tuesday I found out a boy I had attended high school had passed away.  While not close with him now, back in the day we had been close friends.  He even took me to my senior prom when no one else would.  He left behind a wife and four children and countless friends.  I was troubled all week about how it happened and why.  Then the Spirit led me to realize it wasn't really about how or why.  What really bothered me was the thought that 36 years was not enough and how unfair it was to his wife, his children, his parents, his sister.  While I prayed and sought comfort, I remained uncomfortable because in truth I cling too tightly to this life.  To my life. 

Wednesday I cried with my dearest friend at the news that her father had passed away.  Resting in Heaven, free from the work it took him to breath, were not much comfort to a friend who was heartbroken.  Able to have a great spiritual conversation with him a few months back she is thankful he knew the Lord, but her heart still hurt.  My heart hurts for her, I know the sting of loosing a parent.  A mist here for 70 some years and now vanished. 

Thursday I tried to pull the covers over my head and avoid the day.  Twelve years ago my mom, a mist for 47 years, vanished.  God grew me a lot after her death; in hard ways He revealed himself to me.  And as I celebrate those years of growth I still dread July 10.  I hate the memory of Chris coming to talk to me at the Black Hills State library where I was studying.  I remember thinking he was so sweet for coming to surprise me.  I remember the realization of what the visit was really about.  In the days before everyone had a cell phone he had received the news from my beautiful sister and was the one to bring it to me.  I hate the feeling it brings to my heart.

I am a mist who clings too tightly to this life.  
Who works daily on letting go of my selfishness.  
Who is counting blessings to grow more grateful, more beautiful in the sight of God.   
Who is "counting it all joy" to be in a season of testing because I want more than anything to develop perseverance so that I "may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." {James 1:2}

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Yikes

While spending time at my in-laws Chris dug out a very old, small motorcycle.  Yikes!

While I said no Chris explained how he had ridden such a bike at Elijah's very same age.  Yikes!

video
I have to admit I am proud of my careful-kid for trying something so daring.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Growing in Faith

Three year and two days ago Elijah prayed to accept Jesus as his Savior.  He had been asking good questions and actually prayed, unprompted, while showering.

Yesterday, Elijah proclaimed his faith to a small bunch of friends in Spearfish.  Chris baptized him in the Spearfish Creek.  It was shockingly cold from all of the rain but so meaningful.  In fact, God cleared the weather just long enough for us to baptize him.  Literally, it was down pouring moments before and it was down pouring just after we got back in the car.

Being baptized at camp will be a great memory for years to come.  We did it in a little pool right over the foot bridge we have to walk across to get to Team Meetings and Pep Talks.  Elijah has been attending camp for 7 years at it is a highlight of our year.

video
video

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Matched Set

People are forever commenting on how the Anderson boys are a matched set.  Sometimes I see it.  Like in the picture below, it could be Daniel instead of Elijah.  Sometimes I don't.  John stands out because he has darling blue eyes.
Elijah could be Daniel in this one.  Aren't they just so sweet?


John at 5 months
Micah just hit the 6 month mark of life so off we went to the doctor.  I knew Micah was a big boy, just lift him and you can tell he is, let's say, solid.  I could not, however, remember how big the other boys were so I dug through the closet to find out how they stacked up.

They truly are a matched set.  Solid would describe them all.  All four were at or around 19 pounds.  Most were about 27 inches long.  John was the exception here.  I could not figure out why my memory of him did not contain rolls on his thighs.  Well, it's because he was 29 inches long at 6 months.

Daniel at 6 months, the mischievousness is already in that smile.

And while they are a matched set on the outside, this week has again shown me how miraculously created they all are on the inside.  John is my procrastinator, let me charm my way out of it man.  Elijah is my leader, let's get it done man.  Daniel is my two year old who entered the terribles this week.  Micah is my people person.

Teachers have told us they would request or love to have John after having Elijah but you don't get another Elijah with John.  You get a John, who loves God and works to reconcile his desires to do the right thing with his desire to entertain.  He told me the other day that he prayed that God would help so picking weeds would go faster and it did.  And I am certain Daniel and Micah will be different too. Daniel shows a tendency for learning quickly and a tendency to try to get a laugh out of the crowd.
Micah at nearly 5 months

So, they may all look alike but the only matched set I am hoping for is a set of hearts that follow the Lord all their days.









Here are a couple of other pictures I couldn't resist.  
Baby John.  Oh, that hair.  How I loved that hair.

Matching jammies from Mrs. Jill.  John could be Micah in this one.



Sunday, May 25, 2014

Interview with a Birthday Boy

Friday my blue-eyed darling turned 6.  The two days prior he spent on the couch barfing his little guts out but Friday he was back (mostly).  I remember the day he came into the world as if it were yesterday.  Chris and I were late getting to our scheduled c-section and the nurses were a little annoyed with us.  It was the calmest birth in my history of birthing.  The worst part was the shot to numb me up.  John came into the world the smallest of my babies with a head full of dark, dark black hair and gorgeous blue eyes.  He was a serious baby who laughed little.

Now he is a fun loving boy who laughs at even the dumbest of jokes.  I interviewed him to commemorate moving up from one hand to two hands old.

1.  What do you want to be when you grow up?    Veterinarian

2.  Favorite food: Mint ice cream and French toast (really anything with syrup)

3.  Favorite color: Gold

4.  Least favorite food: CHICKEN!

5.  Favorite Bible Verse: John 3:16

6.  What is the best thing to do in your spare time?  Play outside and ride my new bike

7.  Will you ever get married? NO

8.  Where do you want to live?  San Diego because it is warm.

9.  What is your favorite sport to play? Football, I want to play for the Cougars (USF, yikes I better start saving)

10. I wish I had a _________.  Tape gun so I could tape people to the wall

Chris got John a "present" he was less than thrilled about.  Sardines.

He outgrew is old bike so he got a new one for his present.

Happy birthday donut, an Anderson tradition!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Filling the Silence

"Too skinny. Too small. Sinker not swimmer. The horn on the bus goes beep beep beep."

Sitting in the reading nook, Daniel's sweet voice carries through the house.  The boy talks or sings all day long.  He was an early talker, like his biggest brother, Elijah.  He really started talking All. Day. Long. once the biggest and bigger brothers started school in August.  Suddenly, there were no other voices to overshadow his and he takes full advantage of that fact All. Day. Long.  Often he takes people by surprise because they don't expect a toddler to answer their, "How are you?"  with an actual answer.

Around March he began the question phase of his life.  While John preferred to ask why, Daniel prefers to ask "What is that?"  This is an all encompassing question used to determine both objects and people.  It also comes in handy in the grocery store.  There are a million ways to answer this without offending any one person who is being pointing at.  Elijah preferred "Who is that?" and it usually got us wrapped into a conversation with a stranger who had to comment on my petite talker. 

Not that we get out of those conversations.  Daniel was loudly proclaiming the gospel from the grocery cart a few weeks back when a dear, sweet older lady stopped me.  "He sure has volume doesn't he?" She said, very quietly.  I agreed and tried to shush my Jesus loves me singer.  "Oh, never try to squash his voice, dear,"  she continued. "People have told me to speak up my whole life.  You let that voice be loud." 

Or there was the week when Daniel was scolding his brother John with the exact words I had used just moments prior.  The older gentleman getting pizza next to me could barely contain this chuckle.  It is quite something to hear a toddler saying, "John, you keep your hands on the cart we'll talk about letting you have a sucker when we are done."

Daniel's second favorite question is "What?"  He uses this to make you think he didn't hear you, thus getting you to repeat what you said four times before finally giving up.  I am pretty certain he got it the first time but finds his amusement in controlling the adults in his life.  This little man of mine is dangerous. 

I cannot think of a more joyful way to fill the silence of the day than with Daniel's sweet voice as he talks to his animals, reads books, sings wonderful mash-ups of songs, and questions my every move.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Dear John

 
Dear John,   You made it!  You have successfully finished your Kindergarten year.  It was fun (mostly) and a little bit hard too, uh?  I am so proud of you.  This year I saw you learn how to let others go first.  You learned how to read and discovered that words are everywhere!  You learned that some times people are not nice but that we can love them anyways.  You fell in love with Mrs. Otten and declared her the best teacher ever.  I am so proud of you!  (I think I already said that.)

You are growing up so quickly and I love the personality God gave you.  You have such a heart for people and care about them.  I also saw a very sensitive side to you this year.  What other's say is not always kind and you learned the power of words first hand.  I pray you carry that lesson with you always.

You never cease to amaze me, buddy!  You finished your whole AWANA book and reviewed it all with minimal help from me.  Keep God's word in your heart and call on during those tough moments. 

Let's have a super fun summer, ok?  Lots of playing and getting dirty and giggling.  I have missed having you at home with me and can't wait for the house to be full of boys again.

Thanks for all the joyful moments!
Love you most!
Mom

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Questions in the Dark

It was a question whispered in the dark.

"Are you happy?"

Just moments before, my dearly beloved had read a desperate note from a friend who was blindsided by his wife's decision to seek a divorce.  This isn't the first friend this has happened to.  It's our third.

All of which brought a whispered question.

"Are you happy?"

I didn't want to answer that question.  I had been wrestling with that question.  That question isn't really the one that should be asked.  I know emotions and my heart are deceitful above all else.  Jeremiah 17:9 confirms that.

The question that really should be asked is, "Do you love me enough to stick it out?"

No and yes. 

I am not happy.  I am worried.  I am tired.  I am overwhelmed.  I am sick at my selfishness & my slothfulness.  I am frustrated. Momming four boys and being a wife to a man in ministry is more than I bargained for.  More than I am equipped to handle.  But life isn't about making me happy.  Life is about doing hard things like disciplining my children, nursing a baby in the middle of the night, taking care of the crew alone while my beloved tries to spread the love of Jesus to lost athletes.  Life certainly is not about what I can handle because who would need Jesus then.  I certainly know I need a Savior; that is abundantly clear each morning when I open my eyes to my darling blue eyed boy and his little brown eyed buddy seeking breakfast while my grey eyed baby coos in his crib until someone rescues him.

I will stick it out.  I love my beloved dearly.  Nothing in my life gets easier without him.  Just him asking warms my heart and gives me a glimmer of light. 

I am clinging to Proverbs 3:5-6 so much these days.  "Trust in the Lord WITH. ALL. YOUR. HEART.  and lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."  He's got this all figured out already.  And I am so thankful for that.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Micah Man

Oh my Micah Man!  How we love you.  I would say that four months has gone quickly but that would be a lie.  There have been days and nights, little man, that have felt like years.  But, oh, how we love you.

Here is what we know about you so far.  You love a face.  You love to look at faces, to talk to faces, and smile at faces.  You do not like to be left alone, ever.  You love your brothers, especially that big one who carries you around.  You hate tummy time and are content to lounge on your back (just so long as a face is close by).

You smile with your whole face.  You have deliciously chubby legs that make Mommy say silly things and tickle you.  You are ticklish on your cheeks and neck.  We will all do the most ridiculous things to hear your little giggle.

You do not like naps, unless Mommy holds you.  (We are currently working on breaking that one.)  You do not like bedtime, but have mostly fixed that one too.

You are the exact same size in almost every category that Daniel was at this age.  You seem bigger to me though.  We haven't tried solids yet but will after our vacation to the Milbauer Resort.  (You are going to love them as much as the rest of us do.)

Here are a few shots that your beautiful Auntie Sara took so we can all remember you at 4 months.  You were really loving her face; you gave her all your good smiles.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

On Not Despairing

  I will no despair; God is in control...God is always good...God is always watching...God is always with me. 

I had reason to slip into despair last week.  Chris headed off on Wednesday early morning for his yearly FCA Endurance board retreat in sunny San Diego.  On Monday, Daniel woke up barking like a seal.  By Tuesday night I knew things were going to get ugly.  A fever seized him and he could not shake it.  He spent two days on the couch before I finally called the doctor. 

Four nights of no sleep and then Micah started throwing up.  A lot.  I had spitty babies with the older two so I knew this was not run of the mill spitting up.  This was full on clearing-out-the-contents-of-the-stomach throwing up.  Only, I didn't put it together right away because Daniel was so sick.  And I was all alone in my parenting. 

Except I am never alone.  One night I saw every hour tick by on the clock as I bounced between Daniel and Micah.  And I called out.  I knew as long as I was awake I needed to make the most of it.  So I prayed and begged for relief.

He sent it.  Her name is Ashley (I love Ashley's; I have a step-sister who makes me smile.  She is an Ashley).  She needed a place to stay while visiting her boyfriend (now fiance) and we have an extra room and heart to use it to serve.  She watched the older three on Saturday so I could get groceries.  She snuggled Micah right to sleep so I could snuggle Daniel and fold the fifteenth load of laundry I had done that week.  She colored with the big boys and listened to their stories and even watched a super hero movie with them.

God is good and in control and watching and always with me.  Sometimes He sends a reminder in the form of a beautiful young woman.

And I thank Him.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Acceptance

I have come to accept my role as the sole woman in the Anderson house on Elm Street.  I have come to accept that cleaning yellow stains off the bathroom floor will be my plight for a few more years.  I have come to accept that any conversation about bodily functions will produce much laughter.  I have come to accept that any movie with a superhero will be watched with awe while any movie with a princess will be watched with yawns and groans.

I have come to accept that I will step on Legos.  I have come to accept that any sort of ball will be thrown in the house.  I have come to accept that wrestling will teeter on boxing. 

I have come to accept the ridiculous questions people will ask about the size of our family.  And how busy we are.  And how loud we are. 

I have come to accept that these boys have stolen my heart and will likely break it one day (like when they leave the house for good or bring home a girl for me to meet).  I have come to accept that sleeping through the night is probably not going to happen for many, many years. I have come to accept that all I can really do for them is pray like a warrior doing battle.



Friday, March 14, 2014

Conversation with a Two-Year Old

The scene:  Target, Friday morning, women's clothing

Daniel:  I scared

Mom:  Of what, buddy?

Daniel:  Jesus 
            (cue woman in next aisle to begin laughing)

Mom:  Why are you scared of Jesus?

Daniel:  Jesus died on the cross
           (cue woman in next aisle to turn red with laughing)

Mom:  He did do that.  He loves you, Daniel.

Daniel:  Noooo, Jesus no love me
           ( cue woman to possibly wet herself)

Mom:  Yes, Jesus does love you

Daniel:  (singing)  The Bible tell me so.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Parenting Me

Chris was gone for the better part of a week recently.  That means a giant spotlight shines on my parenting inadequacies.  In the midst of a particularly challenging moment I was nearly brought to tears.  The Lord whispered in my ear, "He is just like you as a child."

And he is.

Just like me.

Hiding during chores, waiting for others to do what he can clearly do himself, so concerned about what others are doing and thinking and saying that he cannot possibly get his own work done, speaking without thinking, lashing out in anger, crying in frustration, lying to save himself from trouble, leaving his things strewn about, distracted so easily he cannot get ready for school in the morning without ten reminders...

And that scares me tremendously.

I perhaps turned out "okay" (the jury is still out on that) but that is only by a miracle.  I cannot expect two such miracles in my lifetime. Can I?

So I pray.  Fiercely calling on God to rescue him from himself.  To protect him from himself.  To equip me to mother a child who is so like me that I get frustrated and angry.  I give him a fullness of grace that overshadows all the other things. A heart that strives to please God, and God alone.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Jesus Loves Me


For your listening enjoyment. video

Friday, February 7, 2014

I Love Football

I do.  I love football.  I love the manliness of the game. I love the strategy.  I love a great hit.

I loved football at an early age because it provided me with great time with my Dad.  We would sit together on Sunday and watch football.  Me cheering for the Denver Broncos and Dad cheering for the Saints.  I loved to play football with the boys at recess. { My motives for playing may have been less about love of the game and more about love of something else but...}  I loved watching my high school team play football.  The Orioles were not great at football but I loved watching the hard hits and hearing the crashing of pads. 

My favorite vacation with Chris was to Denver for a preseason game.  We were right behind the Bronco bench and my favorite player, Shannon Sharpe waved at me.  Yes, he looked right at me and waved.  Chris thinks I am crazy but I know it happened.  Really.

Being the mom of four boys I have hopes that at least one of them will love some football too.  Daniel loves to watch football and can throw like nobody's business.  John is a great tackle.  Elijah tried football this Fall and did super.  Micah, well we know he will be tough.  He'll have to be to survive in this house. 


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tied Up

When we got pregnant with Micah the conversation turned quickly to a discussion on how big the Lord may want our family.  Honestly, when we got married, I only wanted one baby.  Chris on the other hand had a different idea.  I still remember it as clear as if it was yesterday.  Driving home from Northwestern College of Chiropractic on Penn Ave.  The sun was shining and we were having a newlywed discussion about kids.  "I want 4."  He wanted four boys to be exact.  I choked and nearly hit a another car. 

Yes, I had always wanted to be a mother but four kids, four boys.  That is a little much.  What would I do with four boys?  How could we feed four boys?  But way back in 1999 I could put it all out of my mind because kids were seven years away. 

And now we have four boys.  During my pregnancy I felt like we were being told this was it for us.  Chris agreed that he also felt like four was what the Lord had in mind for us.  But, one can never be sure, maybe we are just reading things wrong.

But then we delivered Micah and my doctor said, "Wow!"  I'm laying on a table with half my body numb.  Chris is snapping photos like a paparazzi.  Micah is screaming.  "What, what is wow?"  I asked a bit nervously.  She went on to tell me that my womb was done.  The walls that hold a baby were so thin she was shocked Micah made it.  "I don't think you could hold another pregnancy."

With that, we were done.  No more babies from my womb.  I've been mourning that a little bit.  It is such a huge part of being a woman and has been such a big part of my life. Processing that that part of life is over for me has been mixed with relief and tears.  I am extremely grateful for the four beautiful boys we were given.  I am so blessed by the five pregnancies we had.

Monday, January 20, 2014

One Word: Gratitude

One word springs from a challenge by my dearly beloved's mentor a few years ago.  To seek one word to live out for that year.  I have tried to live out joy (twice and now for a lifetime), strength, attitude, and now gratitude.  As with most of my ventures, I started out just picking a word and then more and more sought the Lord to see what He has for me for the year. 

This year's word began working it's way into my heart way back in February of 2013.  These lovely ladies in my Bible study small group kept talking about this book.  A book about giving thanks and counting blessings.  I finally got my hands on a copy and read it.  Then I read it again.  Something about the message stuck with me.  In the Fall our women's Bible study did the study version of the book and I was certain God was telling me to start counting.

So in 2014 I am counting blessings and working on looking at the world through a lenses of thanks. It has already been a challenge.  Finding an attitude of gratitude while trying to help my Grandma, who is not sure she wants my help, is a challenge.  Giving thanks while Micah screams for big chunks of the day stretches me.  I know that is the point. 

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  1Thessalonians 5:18.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Dear Grandma

Dear Grandma,

I know you don't always believe this but I love you.  We had a rough one last week, didn't we?  You had had it with these kids telling you what you should and should not do.  I had had it with the snarky comments about my beautiful sister and hearing about your van.  So we let each other have it. 

"That is my van and I want it back!  Nobody told me I can't drive."

"They certainly did, you just don't remember.  Plus you can hardly get in and out on your own, how do you expect to drive?"

"Don't you turn on me too!"

The thing is, there are no sides.  Just two girls who are trying like the dickens to do the right, the loving, the responsible thing.  And honor you and Jesus above all.  It is hard, Grandma. So you know what, we went to the Lord.  Like I hadn't before; I should have known better. I prayed and prayed. 

He answered.  In a miraculous way; as He always does.  Your friend Joyce called and presented the idea of you moving to Hilda's Heritage Home.  You had agreed and I rejoiced. 

Another move on Saturday and I pray this is a place where you will flourish.  I know for sure I won't be so worried about you being alone all the time.  You even know a few people who live there and you are sure to make quick work of getting to know the rest. 

I love you, Grandma.   It is my pleasure to help take care of you.  After all you spent much of your life taking care of me. 

With Joy,
Suz