Sunday, December 31, 2006

Toilet Paper

Could someone please drop off a couple rolls of toilet paper? :)

We've had three extra kids in the house this weekend and we ran out yesterday morning. I haven't made it to the store yet. Oops.

Why I fell in love with him...

E has the best sense of humor, even when all is serious. I sent him an email and here is the out of office automatic reply I received:

I will be out of the office from Monday, January 1 thru Monday, January 15, returning on Tuesday, January 16. During that time, I will nave no access to telephones or email. Heck, I doubt I will even have electricity. If you need to reach someone in Quality, please send an email to...

And I am sure he sensored himself for professional purposes. :)

Why Me?

I've been wrestling with a lot of questions this week. Waking in prayer every morning and wondering in my heart what the future holds. I listened to the worship service this morning and my heart was spoken in Andy's prayer when he said something to the effect of God choosing to use a man who has doubts and fears, insecurities and brokenness (this is what I heard but it could be that I heard what I wanted to hear). My heart cried out with relation to these words. I look around me and see so many more capable people. People who do well in new situations, adapt quickly, talk with strangers with ease, love well, attract people, and move people. I take days to adapt, stick my foot in my mouth anytime I talk to people in passing, and freeze when I talk to strangers, can't even always carry a sensable conversation with my good friends. There's more I think I'm not good at but this is not a pity party. It is called doubting. And I realize deep in my soul that doubting and worry is a cop out. God has a plan for me to be useful. I am wiggling my way out of it by doubting who HE is in me. I am right when I say I am nothing because alone I am just that. But it is because I have HIM that I am breathing and serving.

My last overseas trip during a frantic car ride a new friend shared a verse with me and I've held in it my heart so I may not worry, "...All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:16

Why me is becoming where me.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

A New Day

God has awaken me earlier than normal the last two days. I forgot how I penned it in my written journal early yesterday morning. How grateful I was to be awaken by Lucy's snoring from the sniffles and her legs lassoed over my torso as she rested her head on Eric's mid half back beside me. I smiled to myself as I remembered a little girl about 27 years ago doing the same thing to her parents. I was remembering how grateful I was to be able to care for my children while they are sick. I forgot throughout the day how I awoke. Smiling and feeling blessed beyond words or measure. I've also been having weird and humorous dreams. My last dream before leaving my warm and safe slumber was about my medical doctor from when I was young through early adulthood. He is normally a very serious and blunt man. Not much room for feelings. In my dream he moved his practice into his home where his whole family could be together. He quizzed me in front of children playing and at the end he played an unusual instrument for me and Beth, encouraging her to play the drum along with it. The point of me retelling some of this odd dream is this: I don't see people or situations in real life how God sees them. Throughout the day I often lose sight of the things God places in my heart early in the morning. Yearning today to see things more like God and thankful each days is anew.

Friday, December 29, 2006


A bit of an emotional day. Too much to blog. I am feeling a bit sucked dry. More antibiotics. This time all six of us. Thankful tonight that we have the option of clinics and medicines and though it hurts to pay the medical bills and the pharmacy tab somehow the money flows. Remembering tonight that many people don't even have the option of clinics and pharmacies...and that I sound like a broken record. :)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Nightly Ramblings

I started a little organizing today. It turned into a frustrated mommy with little people running through my piles. :) I am trying to prepare myself spiritually for the road ahead (I really am trying! I just messed up...) so I began by saying a bad word in front of my kids after my new favorite coffee cup broke to pieces on the tile foyer floor. It was a good lesson in forgiveness and "mommy's a big sinner" as Lucy says. Days are running short, funds are drained from the last month, and my mommy patience is below tolerable. But I am remembering tonight how grateful I am just to "be". Maybe it is PAS (pre-Africa syndrome) but I am tearful and don't want to blink a second away from these days off with the kids. I found a pile of my paring knives gone from the drawer and recalled a hoard of sticks that had been "carved" out back. I don't ever want to forget these days.

Totally unrelated. I realized today I put off the issue of skirts for my trip. At Calvary we don't need to wear skirts so I surely don't have but one in my closet. But, I took some capri's I didn't like and made them into a skirt. Something accomplished for today. Eric is "cleaning" in the garage...I think it is more like a re-discovery of years past.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

More lessons on Acceptance

I have been humbled over and over by the generosity of people who have come out of the woodwork to support our trip to Liberia. While in the Old Mennonite bookstore in our home town we met a woman originally from Iowa. She moved to Kansas after her husband died and she lives with her daughter. She volunteers at the bookstore and engaged us in a very interesting conversation on missions. As we prepared to pay for the study bibles and other old keepsake books for our trip, the kind woman slipped us some money and said to me, “I would rather support a young couple like you who is willing to go to Africa for God than the mega churches.” I was so taken aback and I held back tears as I thanked her.

Just a few hours later as we were at the gas station airing up a tire and getting gas my phone rang. It was my dad. He said we should come back to the house for a visitor. We went back and were surprised to find an old family friend. She told us that they and their grown children decided to forgo gifts for the adults this year and give the money to our trip instead. I could no longer hold in the tears welling in my eyes. I am overwhelmed by the sacrifice given from friends and family and even total strangers. This last gift also came from a dear friend who is suffering from cancer (the daughter of the visitor). Just a few years older than me, I imagined the conversation between her siblings and her parents as they read our letter and decided to give to this mission. God is a God of providence and a God of unexpected blessings. On days when I doubt and I am overwhelmed by this calling he has given us I will remember my friend and her family giving in the midst of a day in and day out battle of their own yet they still believe in God working through us.


We only got stopped once (for a headlight out and a sobriety was Christmas Eve). Had the lights turned on for us twice. And was pointed at by a passing cop warning us to slow down three times. No tickets. All in all it was a good trip.


Lucy told someone this weekend that she was a Vegenarian.

Christmas Tradition

Every year we either leave a sickness with my brother and sister's families or take one home. This year I think we did both. :)

Beth has been running a high fever for a few days and has the "strep throat" voice. Today Alex has the headache and flu symptoms poor little Carlie suffered through Saturday and Sunday.

I am pretty sure I passed a stone Christmas Eve so just a few more to go before I leave for Africa.

"We grow through suffering." (can't remember where I read this but it was good)

A Drive Down Memory Lane

The house I grew up in.

Our "honeymoon" house. (13 1/2 years ago it was grey)

The first house we bought. I was 19 and it was yellow...

...and the garage was bigger than the house. Our first baby was born here.

Our second and third babies born here. Our favorite house but we outgrew it quickly.

We lived here when Lucy was born. This is also the last house we lived in in Kansas where most of the kids' memories lie. The house had issues but the neighborhood was worth it. We miss this neighborhood!

We didn't have time to capture them all but wanted to get a record of this for our kids. These were the important ones.

Merry Christmas 2006..with the Buller side

We forgot to charge the camera so this is all the pictures I was able to get. I've been promised more soon via email. :)

Masks went over well again and again, one of mine missing from the picture (but I think it's a different kid this time).


Lucy captured another victim for the tierra club. :) Papa is a good sport.


My brother's family was missing this year. So Jake was the lone boy at the Decker Christmas. The rest had playmates.

Carlie loves to dance. She also took to Beth.

Alex and Hannah

Somehow one of the Buller kids didn't make the picture but the Chinese masks were a hit!

Merry Christmas 2006

The Decker Christmas started with a meal...

Beth read the Christmas story.

Hannah played the piano.

(Jake practiced his Christmas songs but the guitar kept falling on Moby so we had to leave it behind in Iowa)

And ended with some fun gifts and lots of pictures with the cousins (continued on the next post). :)

Lucy is still Lucy away from home

Within minutes of arriving and Grandma and Papa's Lucy was ready to get a bath and get dressed. She tried on every pair of pants in the suitcase and created pure chaos. I love free spirits. :)


I failed to mention the generosity of our friends who loaned us their Suburban at the last minute. On Wednesday, a few days before we left, we realized our own Suburban was going to take over $300 to fix and still may not be incredibly reliable. Although I was a little psycho about the kids not eating in their new vehicle, and the dog staying on his blanket in the back, and making sure no one wrote their name on the windows with their fingers, and making sure their smelly little feet stayed under blankets and not on the back of seats, it was a relief to not worry if we'd get to our destination or not. How do we thank someone for such a blessing? I have struggled with this for almost a week now. But then, while I was reading to Eric to keep him awake, I found this:

"He who recognizes the breath of God in another can truly let another enter his life, too, and can receive the gifts which are given to him. In this way it is possible to allow another the joy of giving something. The difficulty this presents in our time comes out in this confession of a contemporary man: 'To accept something gives me the feeling of dependence. This is something I'm generally not used to. I manage my own affairs and I'm glad I can. Whenever I receive something, I don't know exactly how to handle it. It's as though I am no longer the center of my own life and it gets a little uncomfortable. Actually that's a silly thing to say, for I'm not letting someone else have what I myself like to have. I don't let him have the joy of giving.'"
- Henri J.M. Nouwen

Hmmm. Being on the receiving end makes you think.

Thank you McGills from the bottom of our hearts!

On the road again...

Saturday morning we woke up and fed the kids cream filled donuts with Christmas sprinkles. At least it was free if not healthy. :) We got about an hour down the road and we realized Lucy was still wearing last night's pull-up. Hmmm. Eric reached in his pocket and said, "I have her panties in my front pocket if she needs them." Ok. Not something you repeat without the full story attached. The longest drive home in history but we made it by about 2 pm Saturday. We missed a Christmas, convinced my dad to help me wrap presents for an hour and a half, and then sat down to a 20 course meal my mom prepared. No hunger this trip.

On the road...

Left for Kansas three hours later than planned, stopped to finish Christmas shopping on the way, at 2 am gave up getting there and my dad booked a hotel. Eric took Moby into the hotel first, leaving him alone in the room to carry in kids. I'm surprised we didn't get kicked out after he barked so much. :) I slept with two little girls' knees and feet in my back (but I had TWO little people to keep me warm when we decided to turn off the heater because it was making a horrible noise and no one could sleep) and Eric had a pleasant night of slumber with Jake. We were just grateful to have a place to lay our heads.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

T'was the night before traveling...

  • Woke up at 5 am to start baking for E's work.
  • Scurried around trying to pick up the house and get it back to a state of organized packing.
  • Ran errands in every corner of the city.
  • Went shopping...first trip out this season...not much luck finding things off the list.
  • Hurried to a toy store minutes before picking up the kids to peacefully shop for the nieces and nephews.
  • Picked up kids...a few minutes late.
  • Visited Moby's 10 offspring with 10 kids. The numbers worked out pretty nicely.
  • Jake got his haircut...although he refused to REALLY let her cut much off.
  • Took the kids to the bookstore (still trying to check off the shopping list). Lucy proceeded to run up and down the wood floor, shaking the old building from here to the North Pole.
  • Thought I could make it through the toy store one more time and get a few more things. Stayed about two minutes and left carrying and screaming, melting Lucille who yelled at the top of her lungs all the way to the car...two blocks down from the store.
  • All the kids fell asleep in the car on the way home.
  • Sent Eric to ring the bells at Fareway for 2 hours (great family memories being made tonight).
  • 8:43 pm. Starting to pack. Starting laundry. Starting 8 dozen cookies for 4 kids' school parties.
  • Lucy is still sleeping...

My Girl

I stole this off of Cassie's blog. :) The puppies eyes are open and they are sooooo cute. The kids are trying to talk me into one. Moby doesn't need company. He has a cat to play with.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Seriously, we just wanted a smile.
Beth lost her tooth just in time for Christmas pictures. They are like twins now!

Music to my soul

This is the kind of music we hear around here. Beth reads to Lucy in the top bunk before bed.

Not so traditional birthday cake...

E turned 35 last week. His birthday cake fell in the odd "Buller" category for cakes. No one around here likes a white or chocolate simple cake. :)


I sat down for coffee this morning with 3 of my favorite people. People I learn from, people I'm inspired by, people who remind me of who I want to be and what I want to do. Today I am behind on laundry (ok, nothing new there...), I haven't purchased any Christmas presents (except for the ones we brought home from China), and I haven't even begun to think about driving to Kansas in a few days. But I feel focused. I feel God working around me. I feel like whether I'm on board or not God is still going forward with His plan and I can choose to live or miss the blessings of this life He has for me (which thankfully don't always include laundry!). I choose to be on board.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Mommy the Grinch

I've been feeling a bit like the Grinch who stole Christmas this past week. Too much yuckiness in this household and I haven't been a fun mommy. So tonight, I decided to secretly make the kids' favorite holiday goodies - peppermint swirl cookies. While I was whipping up the frosting I heard Beth and Lucy down the back steps playing:

"And pretend I was the mommy and I was going on Bacation because I was sick..."

"And pretend you had to give your baby up because she sinned too much."

Ok, maybe I should've made the cookies a few days earlier. They are scarred for life. :)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Change in Plans

Full weekend. Turned into a day in the ER. I'm too groggy for details but I'm reminded that my plans aren't always God's. :) At one point I was on the verge of throwing up a bunch of stuff they had just given me and I refused medicine to help because I'd be knocked out. I was seriously still planning to make it to church to fulfill my responsibilities. Eric over ruled me. So I'm just waking up from my drug-induced sleep and ready to sleep some more.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Africa needs all of us

Go to this link. Read this article. Pray. Africa is screaming for help.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I am constantly reminded each and every day how God takes care of us. I think it's always happened but I am increasingly aware of Jesus in the people around me. Today was no different. Many things happened today to remind me. One in particular stands out. Tonight Eric and I had a lack of communication about the evenings' events. He was staying at work to serve a Christmas dinner and I had our family signed up to ring the bells. I am getting over this sick crud but I still have two kids down with it. I realized this double booked situation at 5:40 pm. We had to be at Fareway at 6 pm. Supper was still cooking since I hadn't planned to take the kids. I pulled supper off the stove top, loaded the kids, and grabbed movies and blankets. We headed to Fareway. I had a prime parking space where I could keep an eye on the Suburban and run out if needed. About half an hour into our two hour slot, my friend Karen came in to grab food for their small group. When she left, she handed Alex gummy bears, which alone made her night. About 2 minutes later her husband, Jamie, who just had surgery last Friday, walks in and says "go home." It was very hard for me to give up the responsiblity and I gave him a hard time. He told me Karen was gone so he was stuck and wasn't leaving. I reluctantly left. I called Eric and told him how bad I felt that Jamie was missing his bible study, that they paid a babysitter to get out alone, and instead he was ringing the bell for me at Fareway. I am humbled by their generosity. Eric said to me, "They are good people." He told me to get over my pride and accept their generosity. So I took these little people home and fed them dinner. I can't tell you how much I appreciate how kind they were to me. Thank God for Jesus in the form of the Brookharts tonight.

3 out of 6 Ain't Bad

Three of us down sick. Three more with minor symptoms. Hope it doesn't spread any further. E had a pretty crummy birthday. I tried...I even made battered scallops. :)

(sorry...for some reason this morning I woke up with a bunch of 80's songs in my least I didn't title it LOVE HURTS or DESPERADO)


Last week I bought jam at the store. I just haven't had time...

It DID about push me over the edge, though.

Monday, December 11, 2006


I made a good save this morning. I woke up groggy, still no voice, no clean laundry, kids not wanting to get out of bed. I started searching through a pile of laundry for a little person shirt and trying to think if they had anything going on today at school. What day is it? Something going on today. Lightbulb! E walks in the bedroom (after he had to iron his own clothes, only 1/2 of which I laid out because I was feeling too yucky last night so he too had to search for a clean shirt today) and it hit me. It's his birthday. Poor guy is neglected. :)

Happy Birthday Big E!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Night Out

Tonight I'm looking forward to a night out with E. It will be the first time in a long time...and not in another country! Our alone time is becoming more available and I am grateful. I give him a hard time (because it's my job as wife...I'm pretty sure it's in the bible...) but he has been looking out for me this week. He called around to my friends frantically checking on me while he was out of town and couldn't get me to answer the phone. (seriously, who answers the phone when you're sacked out and sick??) Cassie showed up on the doorstep, Cheryl W. was tackling the bedtime routine, and many more were taking calls from my worried husband. I am a lucky girl. Tonight we sneak away for a bit. I can't wait.
I've been kind of sick. Sick and very out of it. Yesterday when I drove to Iowa City to save my bible study membership status (while dizzy and my head was pounding), I wept when God reminded me of my friends and how they have stood by me this week. Thank you. I love you all.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I just had a very huge scare here. Jake and Alex came barreling in the door screaming and crying. They were so scared because Beth didn't get off the bus. They were afraid she'd fallen asleep. I quickly called the school and they were putting a call into the the driver. I sat here and waited for what seems like forever. While I was waiting for them to call back, Beth came bursting in the door, nose red and tears flowing. She forgot to get off at the bus stop and she was afraid so she got off on the next one and ran all the way home. I was a little miffed at this since it is freezing cold and she was confused on which way was home. Imagine a seven year old wandering the streets. I am so thankful she made it home. I realize we are all human and these things happen. But the fear of losing one of these little people sends the shakes right through me. Thankfully God is in control and not me. I couldn't handle the job.

Africa Bound

It is official. We are leaving for Liberia January 2nd in the wee hours of the morning and returning the evening of January 15th . My parents have graciously agreed to return for the whole two weeks. We are so blessed to have retired parents! (Liberia is the small brown country on the coast)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

When you send a guy to buy a cake for another guy...

You get Hello Kitty.
Happy 40th David!

And while we were visiting the puppies...

Lucy needed to go #2. So she just sat down right next to the Jessica and did her business. (the puppies were in their laundry room/bathroom in their basement.) I think we may need counseling.

There's 10!

Harper had 10 puppies. Moby is quite the stud. :)