Monday, January 24, 2011

a year to the day

Have a you ever been inspired to write a post that begins in your head as something very simple, succinct, and sweet?
Today I'm not sure which way this one will go because it's about a subject that is near and dear to my heart; one that I have also hidden somewhere in a secret place in my head and heart.

It's about Fletcher.

Today marks exactly a year that he passed away. I wrote about it here right in the thick of the pain and heartache. I don't think I've uttered a single word about it since, at least on this blog, but I certainly remember him almost on a daily basis the love that he brought to our family.

Braaten was giving Fletch all kinds of love in our old kitchen back before we moved across the pond. I dare say she is the one in which his tragic death has affected the most. I can't say for sure as we all have grieved in different ways as this year has gone by.

Melanie looks like a little peanut in this photo. I think she is probably about 7 years old (She is almost 11 now). And just like Braaten, she adored him.

I remember this photo so well. It was when we had been separated from Fletcher for months because we were waiting for his shots and everything to be updated so that he can join us in England. We all felt his absence as we were trying to acclimate to new life in the u.K. It felt like if he was with us that our transition would have somehow been easier.

This picture makes me smile because he was resting his chin on my hand as he slept. He was one tired pup!

Hi buddy.
Just writing about him again helps in the healing. I haven't taken the time recently to conjure up too many thoughts, although having said that, I just told the story about how he died to someone and got choked up again.

Taking care of him was a lot of work, but I wouldn't have traded it.
I walked him around the Lymm dam everyday and it kept me trim and him happy in doing so. He would run down into the water no matter how cold it was to get a drink and chase some ducks. He almost always came home wet and dirty and mama had to clean him up.

Not sure what he was hunting here, but it must have been a squirrel. 

After that particular day of hunting, he ended up looking like this and I was not too happy. 

In his spare time, he enjoyed a game of twister. 

And it looks like Mel was giving him a talking-to.

It's ok, Buddy. 

Golden Retrievers have a way of melting my heart. Look how pretty he is!

That boy could not get himself back up the hill. I had to go down and help him up. Not a fun day for me.

Austin is funny in this one. 

These kids loved him to pieces.

This is the beautiful family that was Fletch's home away from home. 
As any sane expat family would, we traveled as often we could. We made the best of the opportunity and tried to see as many places in Europe as possible. That meant Fletcher needed a place to stay. So one day Jane offered their home to him. And since I really didn't want to put him in a dog shelter, that was the best offer in the world.  

I loved how our British friends put themselves in front of an American flag for a photo. They went to an Independence celebration with us and then decided to do this for us. They also made it into a Christmas tree ornament which lovingly hangs there during Christmastime.

Megan and Amy are a couple of my daughters' best friends in the whole wide world. See I warned you about this post. Now I'm talking about best friends and traveling. Speaking of travel... their family is coming to see us in August of this year to stay with us for a week and then we all will travel out west to see the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. 

Ava and her mom, Mayra, my dear friend from NJ, came to see us in England. 
Braaten took several photos of Ava and Fletch together.

Fletcher was a well-traveled canine. We were all in Scotland here. 

And this picture will forever remind me of one of our last walks together. It was a couple of months before he died, but it was a beautiful walk. 
Shawn and I took him all around Lymm taking in all of the scenery that we had gotten so used to. Our time in the U.K. was coming to a close and we wanted to capture all of the beauty there. We snapped photos as we walked so that we could always cherish them.

Icy water didn't keep him away from a nice, cold drink. 

And this is the big snowstorm in Northwest England in January, 2010. It was the biggest snow that they had had in 30 years. I came to find out recently that the U.K. got record amounts of snow again this winter.

And so it goes. Our dear boy has been gone a year and we think of all the love he brought to our family and wonder when it will be time again to have another furry friend.

For now I guess it'll be chickens and kittens, but the kids ask often when we can have another pup.

If you made it this far, thanks ever so much for reading.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What I've been up to...

I'm on a new journey it seems. 
Once I moved back to Michigan from England and started to see the potential of our new home., I started to realize that I could start a business here. What business do you ask? 

A chiropractic office right here at home. 
God started to bring patients my way when I wasn't even talking much about this new opportunity. Friends of mine, and people I see on a fairly regular basis, approached me and asked where I practice or do I have my own and it made me think. 

And for the first time in 19 years as a doctor of chiropractic, I began to realize that God skilled me to do this even for myself. I gained experience and knowledge through the years by filling in for other docs, by working full-time in Pittsburgh running an office, and most recently by working part-time on a regular basis for a doctor in Battle Creek. 

I came back from England with my Michigan license inactive and had to start taking continuing education to change that status to active. It meant taking 42 hours that the State of Michigan approves. I've been to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, to Dallas, Texas, and next weekend I'm heading to Chi town for the last 14 hours. It's exciting and scary at the same time. 

What I love about it all is that God has been preparing me for such a time as this to help people in the comfort of my home, with my children here homeschooling, and as I continue to take care of my household duties as a wife and mother. What a blessing!

Today I purchased used office equipment from my most recent employer and it made me see how this is all coming together so well. I'll keep you posted as Busse Family Chiropractic develops.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

first fruits

Proverbs 3:9-10 
  Honor the LORD with your wealth,
   with the firstfruits of all your crops;
 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
   and your vats will brim over with new wine.
This post started simply with a photo I wanted to capture as I looked out my front door at my neighbor’s place about 45 minutes ago. I thought, “What a beautiful picture that will be. Let me run and get my camera and capture it.” My secondary thought was that I had to blog about it, of course, mainly to share the beauty I was witnessing.
The next step ... Upload it onto my computer so I can boost the color.
And further, the Lord reminded me of this scripture verse about “barns.” So I looked it up at Biblegateway and found the perfect one. I think God was showing me again that He provides for my every need. 
Oh, how I praise Him.
I am amazed at God’s provision when I think about the decision we made many years ago to be obedient and tithe. We were of the mindset that we would not be able to pay all our bills if we gave “10%” or more. Oh my, would we have to get rid of cable? Would I have to stop buying scrap book supplies or that new sweater? The questions came quickly, but our obedience won out. God told my husband through a Promise Keepers convention that it was indeed time to do what He calls us to do in His Word. To give the first fruits of our labor.
After that Promise Keepers weekend, Shawn called me from work to share what the Holy Spirit was convicting him to do.I paused ... I was silent for a brief moment. My husband was quiet on the other end, giving me time to sort this out in my head. I said, “How?” Shawn’s reply, “I don’t know, but God does.” It only took a few seconds to reconcile the conversation that was taking place in my mind. My desire was to do God’s will with no further question.
On that very same day, and I am not exaggerating, my husband received 3 separate phone calls of new positions that he could choose from which resulted in a promotion and a higher salary. The increase totaled almost exactly 10%.
I praise Him.
My pastor often says, “God is not trying to take something from you. He is trying to give something to you.” How very true. He blesses us in relationships, in our marriages, with our children, and in our work.He gives us peace, joy, hope, unconditional love, and life. And if we receive Him as Lord and Savior, He gives us eternal life.
So what started out to be a simple photo of a winter scene turned out to be a reminder that I serve an awesome God who loves me with an everlasting love. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday Hodge Podge

My friend, Joyce, over at From This Side of the Pond, hosts this weekly blog carnival. I love it because she does all the work for me and voila! I have a post. :) Thanks Joyce.

So here are the Hodgepodge questions that I get to answer...
1. Every January 1st since 1976 Lake Superior University has published a list of words they'd like to see banished from the Queen's English. Words may be banished due to mis-use, over-use or just general uselessness and they receive over 1000 nominations. Here are the fourteen words/phrases they'd like to see banished in 2011-viral, epic, fail, wow factor, a-ha moment, back story, BFF, man up, refudiate, Mama Grizzlies, The American People, facebook/google when used as verbs, I'm just sayin', and Live life to the fullest.
What word or phrase would you like to see banished from our everyday vocabulary in 2011? You can choose one from the 'official list' or you can get creative and come up with your own.
     "Really???" When I moved back from England last March, I started hearing people say, "Really?" after something they disliked, didn't want to hear, sarcastically questioned, or just got into the habit of saying. I think I've said it twice in the past 10 months because it annoys me to say it any more than that. I know people that say it in every conversation and even more than once. Really???     

2. Do you consider opportunity something that comes to you or something you create for yourself?
     I think it happens both ways for sure. There are times when I feel led to do something, so I make a plan and get it done. And then there are things that seem to just happen or fall into my lap and in either case, I thank God for the opportunity.  

3. Since we're all eating healthy this month, ahem, what's included in your favorite salad? Is there dressing?
     I love mandarins in my salad or dried cranberries. So yummy!

4. The fourth Monday in January is said to be Blue Monday...aka the most depressing day of the year. The date was calculated using many factors including weather, debt level, time since Christmas, time since we've failed at our new year resolutions, low motivation and feeling a need to take action. Do you get the blues this time of year and if so what is something you do to lift your spirits?
     I don't feel like I get the blues around this time of year, but perhaps a little impatient while waiting for Spring to spring. 

5. Do you wear a watch? Any other everyday jewelry essentials?
     Yep, I love wearing a watch. I just got a chunky one from Premi*re Jewelry that I love. On the other wrist I wear beaded bracelets that my friend, Sarah, has blessed me with over the years. I always have earrings on and I do enjoy necklaces. Joyce, I'm not sure if you recall... but I posted pictures from a trip to Scotland where we did a lot of walking and hiking, and you commented on my bling. Yes, I was wearing a long necklace. See here. :-) 

6. What is something useful you learned in high school?
     To treat others the way I would want to be treated. 

7. Do you use an accountant when completing and filing your income tax returns or do you attempt to muddle through all by yourself?
     An accountant for sure. For now we have a team of accountants through my husband's company because of our recent expat assignment in England. From what I understand, it'll take a few years to get everything sorted properly. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.
     Instead of writing a post, it's done now though obviously, I should be ironing my son's shirt for tomorrow. Whenever he has a basketball game, he has to dress up and wear a shirt and tie to school. I should be grading my 7th grader's quizzes and tests from the past week, and I should be getting my exercise done. Oh, starting dinner would be nice as well. So off I go to get those things done...

Saturday, January 08, 2011

My Beautiful 13 Year Old Girlie!

Happy Birthday, Braaten!

Last year I did a birthday post with a ton of pictures when Braaten turned 12. And just so I can get a birthday post up on her actual birthday, I am repeating a few photos and adding one from today. 

My little sweet was 4 months old here.

And I always get a kick out of this funny little picture. Check her out sitting there all relaxed with her foot on her knee. Ha! I love it!

She is a big 5 year old in this one. I love that big, beautiful smile.

And may I introduce you to Braaten Noelle as a teenager.

I love you, Braa, for your beautiful heart, your love for Jesus, your commitment to our family, the joy you have when you are with your friends, your silly, funny self, your help in our home, the laughter you bring, your lovely English accent, the style you have, how you want to remain pure for God, your love of music, how you enjoy watching movies and reading good books. I love your dimples, your long, thick, straight hair, how incredibly smart you are, how you love design whether it involves home or fashion, and how you always come up to me and kiss me on my cheek and say, "I love you, Mama." 

You are one special girl and I love you more than my own life.

I pray wonderful, rich blessings on you in the coming year and always, Precious.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

a smattering of things...

I have a new look here at "Joy in the Journey". What do you think?
All of the credit goes to Tricia Nae Designs.
Thanks, Tricia, for all you did to make this exactly what I wanted.

Well, Christmas time was wonderful! Our family loves celebrating Christmas... from the decorating, to seeing everyone's outdoor lights, to visiting with friends and family, to baking a gazillion cookies and passing them out to neighbors, to singing at our Christmas Eve service, to buying fun things to give, to eating the yummiest of foods, and, most importantly to celebrate our Lord and Savior's birth.

We love all of it!

 One thing my husband has done for years is take time off work between Christmas and New Year's. We cherish all of the hubby/daddy time we get with him. He loves taking the time to get things a bit more organized in our home, like the kids' closets, or the pantry, garage, etc. He's a doer and loves checking things off his own mental list. I love his mental list. 

Yesterday we went to Indiana just for the day for the Busse family Christmas at his mom and dad's. All of his siblings and their families came and we ate, talked, played games, did a white elephant gift exchange, let the kids open their presents, and just enjoyed being together. It was peaceful, relaxing, and wonderful. There was lots of napping going on, and basketball playing in the hay mow.

Can you believe these are the only photos I took all day!

Today it was time to put all of the Christmas things away. Boy, do we have too much stuff! It accumulates over the years and people give you things, and it's just a lot. I love all of my little chochkies (how does one spell that word?), snowmen, santa's, and ornaments that the children have made.

This year my hubby made a star for me to put over the mantel. I showed him a picture and described what I wanted. I got the idea from this blog. So I went out shopping one day and while I was away he made the star. How romantic! He went outside, collected some branches, tied them together, and strung some lights around it. I just love it! Next year I will finish it with the sign that reads, "Star of Wonder, Star of Night."

This is the star, but pardon my inability to use my camera to its best capabilities. I am more than frustrated by not knowing how to use the thing. We've had it for years! I believe it was last year that I was supposed to take a photography class and get a clue. I think I'll have to settle for learning things on-line and through bloggers.

On a much more serious note, I was reading a blog that sends me an e-mail when a new post has come out. Out of the sheer convenience of being notified, I usually click on it and read the post. To my horror and sadness, I found out the Edie's, from Life in Grace, home burned down to the ground. Praise the Lord her entire family plus their two dogs were safe. But how tragic. She wrote a post about it and the emotions she is feeling. All I can say is that she has one of the strongest faiths I have ever encountered. And through her pain, I must reflect on my own life and walk, and growth in Him, my Savior.

She will be ok, but it's only because of Him.