Sunday, June 26, 2011


For my birthday present, S. wrapped up my existing computer. When I "opened" the wrapping paper around my screen I discovered that he created a new blog on word press for me. I now get to look professional so I better get my act together! The site is:

We are still working to move everyone listed as followers over and getting the details figured out but feel free to hop over there- I'll post at that site from now on.
Happy Birthday to me!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hudson at Five

Last month I was making dinner and Hudson was drawing at the table. Completely out of the blue he looked up and said, "Mom, I want to ask Jesus in my heart."
Surprised and wondering what brought this on, I asked, "Why, Hudson?"
With a sudden burst of intensity he answered, "I just love Him SO MUCH!"
I clarified, "So you want Him to forgive your sins and you want Him to be your best friend? You know that means you serve Him instead of just doing things you want to do? You want to honor Him and obey Him first?
Yes, Yes, Yes.
We prayed.

We had been having some problems with Hudson telling the truth whenever he felt backed into a corner. That next week I came into the garage and S. told me about a neighbor boy who dumped out fertilizer and made a mess on the side of the house. One look at Hudson's face told me the neighbor was not the only boy at fault.
"Hudson, tell me about what you did on the side of the house."
He looked at me, wheels spinning, and I knew what he was considering.
I interrupted his thoughts urgently: "Hudson! Right now there is a battle in your thoughts. Part of you really wants to lie so you don't get in trouble. Remember you asked Jesus in your heart. He can give you strength to tell the truth right now. Stop and ask Him to help you. I'm going to go in the house and pray. You stay here and tell Dad the truth."

I walked out. After concentrating a long time in silence, he told the truth and dove into S.'s arms.
That night when tucking him in I said, "Hudson, I can see Jesus in your life. I am so excited that He helped you tell the truth and I am so excited that you listened."
Very seriously he said, "Mom, it was really, really hard." Then he grinned relief and hugged me tight.

Hudson at five wants to know how everything works. I hope this never changes about him. He recently asked, "Are cars battery powered? How does the car use the gas? Why does a car need an engine and a battery?"
Then we pulled into a gas station and as I got out he began crying. Hard. "Mom! I never got to see how you pump the gas! I don't know how it gets in the car."
Soon the three older kids were all unbuckled and standing next to me watching the magic of the gas pump: "Here's where my card goes in. I unscrew this cap...never, ever, ever unscrew this cap until you are sixteen..."
Satisfied, they all piled back in and I waved an apology to the car behind me waiting for my demonstration to be over.

One aspect of Hudson that has been remarkable this year is his role as a brother. He is a peacemaker. In fact, we have had to intervene from the other kids taking advantage of his generosity. There is, however, a line that can be crossed. When someone has pushed too far we see gritted teeth, balled fists, and a reddening face. We're all smart to back off and let him cool.

He has surprised me in his relationship with Little Girly.
Darla was the one to talk, plan, and make room for a baby sister. Hudson has been the one to stick with it. This morning as I got ready, Hudson played cars next to Little Girly. She scoots and inevitably can't reach her toys. He would play, and patiently give a toy back to her. He'd play more, then make his way over to give her a pacifier. On and on it went. When he walks in a room she lights up and kicks her legs. He sings her all of her favorite songs, takes her dirty diapers out, and kisses her until she can't take it anymore.

My "little" boy has already lost six teeth.
Many have been knocked out and appropriately, Hudson is passionate about hockey. He has been practicing on roller blades to keep up with our Canadian neighbors who play hockey in front of the house. He is by far the youngest but with how hard working he is, I don't doubt he'll learn to keep up.
Hudson took swimming lessons this year and swallowed half the pool- I mean... learned how to float a little.
He loves legos, riding his bike, working in the garage (with real tools), and using the weed eater or hedge trimmer by himself (with a cautious dad "spotting" from behind). He even likes playing polly pockets with his long as his doll can climb up "dinosaur mountain" to conquer all the meat eaters (yes, this was a real scene from this week's playtime).
In the fall Hudson will start kindergarten. I'm planning on homeschooling him for this year and am looking forward to the ways it will grow him and expand our relationship.
My prayer for him this year is that his heart will not only be sensitive to the Lord but that he will begin to know God's voice. I pray that as he begins school he would develop confidence and love for learning. I ask for protection over his sensitive heart.

As S. has begun working out at home recently, Hudson has been putting on his own workout shorts and shoes. We saw him out in the backyard doing push ups and he regularly takes out workout equipment to "do my exercise". He attempts to do yoga poses in the living room and when he caught me giggling at his concentration during chair dips, he sternly looked over and said, "I'm getting strong and healthy."
Ahh...he is. And I am very much looking forward to what being five entails for my strong and healthy boy.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

She thinks his tiller's sexy

At first I thought I found my husband attractive because he was handling a machine and smelling like man...
Then I realized even more than that it was because he was doing it all for the health of our family (can't wait to plant extra carrots, beans, and squash to puree for Little Girly), and for his wife who despite selling the house- really, really still wanted a garden. Not only that but I didn't even ask or beg, he voluntarily spent his Saturday afternoon doing this. And that my friends- is a turn on.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Decade of Dutch

S. and I just realized that we passed the 10 yr. mark living in our little Northwest corner of the country this month. What began as a summer of work turned into a decade and- behold! I believe that foreign feeling might be roots! Alas...they might be attaching to the ground!

When my dad threw out the idea of moving to Lynden I was getting ready for my senior year of high school. "Just for fun" we came up to visit the small Dutch farming community. I found it quaint, endearing, and beautiful but knew enough to not take my dad seriously the first time around.
The seriousness grew quickly, however. That summer, as I drove my '89 Ford Tempo north following a line of U-Hauls and vehicles, I was almost laughing. Are we really doing this? I unpacked my room and enrolled in a new school mere days before my senior year began.

Being Dutch myself, I had never spent time with people other than my family who shared our heritage. It was a strange adjustment. We weren't the blondest, tallest, cleanest, or the most frugal anymore! I liked Lynden but had no plans to stay as college was coming quickly.

After three years of college and a year of marriage nowhere felt settled but I was accustomed to that because we moved often as I grew up. I was hoping S. might take a job in Southern CA, we were looking at grad schools on the east coast. But... we ran out of money. I evaluated our checkbook and told S., "we can pay one more month of rent or we can pay for a U-Haul. If you don't have a job by Wednesday then I say we call U-Haul."
We did.
My parents assured us that they could park a trailer in their driveway and connect us with some summer work in town. S. bar tended at the town's resort and I worked in the raspberries. By the end of the summer I began considering finishing school online so we could stay. We found a tiny house on Main Street with a window seat and a whopping 840 square feet. That's all it took for us. We made an offer and began to unpack some boxes.
By fall we visited a new church in town and on our first visit the worship director approached us. "I'm so glad you guys are here. You want to help us start a youth ministry?"
S. wasn't so sure. I was very sure. We said yes...

and one summer turned into another... and another... and another.

I went to our town's Farmer Day Parade Saturday and was reminded of the many reasons I love this town. I love that every year we see the Parade with the tractors, berry pickers, and children dressed in traditional Dutch clothes.
I love that in every hard season of the past decade I have experienced huge support from other families in town- financially, emotionally, prayerfully. I love living in a place that has a rich heritage of trusting the Lord. I love the smell of raspberries, the excitement of harvest, the big deal we made about the two lane road growing to four lanes.
I love that the lady from craigslist called for directions and actually guessed what neighborhood we live in because the pictures of our van showed familiar trees in the background. I love that the high schoolers who roll their eyes that there's nothing to do in this town, move away and then come home realizing that having a community of people to BBQ and play soft pitch with might be a little more lasting (and less expensive) than clubbing or going to events in a bigger city.
When I was at my sister's house on Thursday I realized my boys were on a tractor with a strange man. When I went out to retrieve them I realized it was that older gentleman that calls me "Tadema" (my maiden name) with a Dutch accent because he knew my grandfather 40 years ago. Love that.

We may get uprooted again someday. We are open to where the Lord leads. But on a recent drive with Mt. Baker in view
I told S., "I know I'll be fine with what the future holds and wherever we go. But if the Lord sees fit to keep us planted here... that is just fine with me."

Saturday, June 4, 2011


It came as no surprise after reading Gary Chapman's book The Five Love Languages over a decade ago that I am "words of affirmation". The premise of the book is that there are primarily five ways that we feel and express love: physical touch, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and words of affirmation. Like everyone, I need all five of these things but words resonate with me. In high school I kept a shoebox filled with notes of encouragement and affirmation. My poor mother and sister are not "words of affirmation" so I watch them put forth much effort (initially like fish out of water) to "speak my language". My poor husband often will tell me he appreciates me and I answer with "why?" hoping to hear a little more. I know...pathetic.

It makes sense then that as I'm raising a family, we talk much about our words. If one of my kids says something thoughtless or hurtful, they get an opportunity to make it right. They sit down with the person they hurt and share two things they love and appreciate about that person.
If there is a silly squabble over a toy my kids will be seen holding hands and repeating, "You are more important than toys. You are my best friend."
Yes, they repeat it after me but yes, truth is also being ingrained. If nothing else, they roll their eyes at me and then giggle together about their silly mom. I'll take it.
There are days that I feel like I am correcting and instructing every word uttered: "You need to ask him with a kind voice this time." "If the neighbor boy talks about your sister that way then what is your job as a manly brother who fights for his sister and her honor? That's right- you tell him he can leave if he has mean things to say. Do not ever join in with them again." "No, he is not a 'meanie'. That choice wasn't kind but speak something truthful about him now."

Then the clouds part. The sun's rays shine through. And I experience a moment where all the training comes together and I get to bask in beautiful words being said in my home. Darla is a very natural artist, brimming with creativity the rest of us only wish we could muster. It is then so meaningful to hear her build up her brothers: "Oh, wow Hudson. I didn't think about drawing a spaceship like that. Mom, did you see his cool spaceship?" "Everett- I can tell that's a person! Good job with his eyes, Everett!"
It helps having an oldest child who shows love through expressive words. When I was going to be gone for a day last month she said, "Oh, Mom I just don't want you to leave. Whenever you are gone nothing feels quite right...oh, I just love you and I want you by me all the time." Sheesh- how am I supposed to leave after that?!

My favorite is the random affirmations throughout the day. Hudson squeezes Darla and says to me, "Darla is the best. EVER. You my best friend, Darla." She lights up.
Everett told me, "Bruthy give me this motorcycle. Him a good bruthy."

I was laughing with S. about how we've trained the kids when he came home this week and told me my butt looked great in my jeans and I said, "You're the third person that's told me that today."
"What?! Who else is telling you that?"
"Actually Darla and Hudson."

The sweetest result of our words has been my older three kids talking to Little Girly. Daily I hear them speaking truths to her and I get to watch her five month old self soak it up. "Baby- you are so pretty! Look how cute you are today. You're the best baby ever. Oh, we LOVE you. Good job holding your head up! I hope, I hope, I hope you stay here forever. You're so cheerful. Mom- she really is the best, isn't she? You are so fun for us Little Bear."
Equally as beautiful is watching Little Girl receive it. She grins and kicks. How powerful is Truth spoken. When we speak blessings and God's love over her, she is focused and intent on our faces.
Particularly, Hudson melts me as he tells her how beautiful she is as I get her ready in the mornings. He has heard me telling her how God has made her, how she is a blessing to our family, how God has a plan for her life- and I've heard Hudson using some of my words when he's talking to her.

Little Girly had her first experience with baby food this week and S. and I were laughing at our three little cheerleaders: "Good job! Good job with that squash,
Little Girly! You are so big. You're a big girl now. Wow- you are a good little eater. Mom, did I eat as good as her when I was a baby?"
I finally had to tell them to give some space and quiet down because Little Girly would grin at the encouragement
and the squash would dribble right back out. Oh well, I suppose valuable things are being taught and instilled... perhaps as important as the skill of eating.