Sunday, March 27, 2011


As I sat at my kitchen table this morning with my husband and 3 boys (the girls are at a sleepover), I found myself staring out my kitchen window. And then I realized, I was remembering...

My hands triggered the memories.
 My hands?....... yes 
They resemble my mom's. As I get older, they look more and more like hers.

And as I peered out the window noticing the sunshine in all its glory, I began to remember her. 

I remembered her sweet embrace,
her beautiful face,
her veiny hands,
her pretty brown eyes,
her smell,
the love she unconditionally gave to me.

I realized that I don't talk about her much on my blog.
She's gone now. She went to be with the Lord in July, 2004.

We had our moments as every mother and daughter does and maybe that's what keeps me from pondering and writing.
The fact remains that she was one of my heroes.
She cheered me on always.
She believed in me as a person.
And even though she wasn't always happy in her marriage to my dad, she taught me the importance of being a devoted, loving wife; one that pays attention to her husband and his needs.
She showed me how to carry myself as a woman.
She told me I was smart and that I can achieve great things. And I have.
And after the Lord got a hold of my heart, brought me to my knees, and I received him as my Lord and Savior, I had the privilege of praying with my mom years later so that she could be a Daughter of the King as well.
How beautifully sweet.

And when I was growing up, she would sing this song to me,

You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy, when times are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away.

And when she was in the hospital and her life was coming to an end, I sang that song right back to her. She was in a coma, but she smiled as I sang and with great difficulty her face gently moved.

I love that my sweet Jesus can use the bulging veins on my hands to remind me of one of THE most important people in my life.
My Mother. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

mantel fun

I've seen shutters used on top of mantels on several blogs and I love 'em. I found a pair over at Goodwill for $3.99 and transformed them.

I usually paint in my garage or outside. Not so with cold temps. Have no fear, my basement is the perfect place for such an endeavor. 

I used paint I already had which makes it really cost-effective. 

And this is the end result. Whatdaya think?

And as my mantel reads... may you enjoy all the bountiful blessings that God shows you in the mundane, the everyday, the almost unnoticeable, and in the absolutely obvious!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Highlights of our first year back from England

Today marks one year to the day that we have been back from our 2 year adventure overseas in the U.K. We got to do some great things and see some amazing places while there and it warrants an entire post of all that we cherish and miss from our time there.

But today we celebrate all that has happened within the past year and being able to record it on my blog will allow our family to cherish it through the years.

Take a walk down memory lane with me.

These first 2 are not so much highlights, but are important things worth mentioning that lead up to our transition from the U.K. to the U.S.
This truck was filled in its entirety with our many belongings. My hubby's company was gracious enough to let us bring most of our things with us only to have to pack them up 2 years later for our return.

When we got to the airport in Chicago, our flight to Kalamazoo was canceled. That should not have come as a surprise to us since that flight gets changed often. We found ourselves scurrying to find 2 rental cars that would fit our 14 suitcases in to get us back to Battle Creek. Once we got there and settled into our hotel, we closed on our new home...

We hired a friend to paint every room.

We lovingly turned it into a home.

Our children became very familiar with our hotel since our stay was about a month long.

Our kids reunited with their cousins and were able to enjoy themselves at a wedding in Indiana.

We celebrated our first Easter and traditionally colored eggs. Take notice of the boxes in the background.

We traded in the Lymm Dam for the Busse Pond. Our friends, Mike and Liz, gave us their little boat to explore the new waters. It's Austin's hope that one day he'll be able to make a great catch. He's tried, but it hasn't been easy. 

The kids love it when Daddy takes them for rides on the quad. Austin, Braaten, and Melanie can operate it as well.

Melanie Grace turned 10 in her new home.

She had a great birthday party since all of her friends helped to celebrate it with her.

We acquired 3 new kitties from 3 different litters. We thought they were all girls and named them Ying (the gray & white one), Molly (the dark one), and Lily (the red and white one). Stay tuned for a post about our discovery of which one really is a boy.

Coming home allowed me to rejoin my girlfriends here.
(Natalie, Jamie, Sarah, me, and Liz from left to right)

God gave Jamie her new little blessing, Emma Lynn, on May 22nd. She will be turning one in just 2 short months. 

We excitedly learned how to turn our new swimming pool from this icky state,

to this one! 

We enjoyed many a pool party once we officially opened it and Mondays were designated pool days for friends that could make it.
I don't know about you, but I'm sure looking forward to summer days again. Springtime is fast approaching and with it brings so much to look forward to  as well.

Our move back allowed the boys to get back to playing baseball with the Marshall Recreation League. 

We were able to celebrate with Sydney as she graduated from Harper Creek High School.

Her two uncles were acting like a couple of yahoos with grass skirts on their heads!

Our first trip to Lake Michigan was amazing! That water was so warm that Sarah and I played in it for an hour. 

From the time that Austin was a little boy, he would always ask his Grandpa Busse how many eggs he collected from their hens. He persistently asked them through the years as we talked to them from NJ and later from Michigan when we eventually moved there. It was only natural that we would get chickens when we bought this house. Shawn and Austin built a chicken coop for our new girls. 

Our friends gave us their chickens when they had to move. They are the best chickens and lay 7 to 9 eggs a day even in the dead of winter.

Aren't they lovely eggs? That giant one had to hurt!

Our family vacation was to D.C. in July We were in Georgetown here. We didn't have nearly enough time to spend there, but enjoyed what we did see.

Melanie, Austin, Cooper, Braaten, and Grant had fun in our nation's capitol, but it sure was hot!

And if you are in Maryland at just the right time, you must partake in eating crabs. 

We got to visit our friends, Barb and Skip. We didn't know it at the time, but it was the last time that we'd get to see Skip. He passed away on January 30th of this year. We sure miss him.

We got to see all of my nieces and nephews as we gathered at a Spanish restaurant and then spent time in a local park.

We also reunited with some of my best friends in all the world: Annette, Natasha, and Mayra. Mayra's daughter, Ava, is on the left and Natasha's daughters, Victoria & Elizabeth, are on the right. 

We went swimming at the Jersey Shore. It was Jerseylicious! I've never even seen that show, but the title is descriptive for our experience.

Visits to Indiana as often as possible are taking place again and since it's our kids' favorite place to go, we are really happy about it.

Family from Indiana and New Jersey, on my mom's side, came up to visit us in Michigan. We had about 28 people sleeping in our home or outside in tents. It was so much fun! We took them to Lake Michigan for a beach day.

We got to see our Pastor's son, Caleb, get married to Annan. What a beautiful day it was.

Our girls played on a volleyball team for the first time. It was fun for our family to watch them play for the Battle Creek Homeschool Hawks.

Melanie (bottom left) also played soccer for the first time. It's a good fit for her. She is looking forward to spring soccer coming up soon.

It was a huge deal for us when we sent our oldest, Austin, to Marshall High School after being homeschooled for 7 years. It has been an amazing & successful transition for him. He is really excelling.

A few of my friends and I got to surprise our friend, Sarah (the redhead on the floor), for her 40th birthday. She is not easy to keep a secret from, but we were very successful. We gave her a scrapbook filled with letters of love from each of us with pictures. 

Austin made the freshman basketball team. It was a good season and now he is on to baseball.

We quickly became reminded of Michigan winters.

Grant & Cooper turned 9 and had a sledding birthday party.

We celebrated our first Christmas in our new home. 

And had a party for the 2nd teenager of our family, Braaten, as she turned 13 in January.

And the latest, most exciting venture is the chiropractic office we are opening in our home:
Busse Family Chiropractic!
I've been in practice since 1992, have worked full and part-time, and did not know that God would put it on my heart this year to finally open up my own office. I'm amazed at all He is doing to make it happen and I'm humbled to care for people in this way. Truly.

There have been ups and downs, tears and laughter, sadness and tremendous joy in this past year. We are incredibly blessed and grateful to God for all the joy in the journey he has allowed us to experience.