Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

I love new beginnings and fresh starts!
They are my favorite!

As a kid, I survived by fresh starts. I was one of those kids who caused a lot of trouble. 
If it hadn't been for forgiveness, grace, and Mondays, I may not have lived to be as old as I am.

I loved Mondays when I was little.
Week after week I would make make goals for coming week.
Goals like going through the week without a spanking.
Or not making anyone mad.
Or just plain, staying out of trouble.
I never made any of my goals.
I just couldn't stand being good for that long!
At least I tried.

2011 has been a year full of change, growth, laughs and a lot of other stuff. 
Growing up hasn't been as easy as I imagined it. 
The last year has been full to the brim with blessings. 
Sprinkled with struggles.
Overwhelmed with God!
He has been so good!

As I look back, there is not one regret.
Not one hard time that the Lord was not able to use to grow or strengthen me. 

Now, a new year is about to begin.
What are we going to do with it?

More than ever before, the coming year seems unknown. 
Every other year, I at least have a pretty good idea of what the New Year will bring.

This year, it feels a bit like taking a leap into a the great unknown. 
Except.... it's not. 
Because God is in control.
Because I don't hold the future, He does
The future may be unknown, but it in the hands of the Creator. 
The Savior. 
The hands of God.

No matter where the Lord has me in 2012, I want to learn to know Him more.
I want to take this year and set it aside. Give it to the Lord, for His purpose and glory.
I want God to take my life and use it as a vessel, for Him! 

Happy New Year, everyone!
May this coming year be full and overflowing!

Have Thine own way, Lord!

"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."
Corrie ten Boom

"God has wisely kept us in the dark concerning future events and reserved for Himself the knowledge of them, that He may train us up in a dependence upon Himself and a continued readiness for every event."
Mathew Henry.

Another year is dawning
With the chance to start anew.
May I be kinder, wiser, Lord,
In all I say and do. 

Not so caught up in selfish gain
That I would fail to see
The things in life that mean the most
Cost not a fancy fee.

The warm, kind word that I can give,
The outstretched hand to help, 
The prayers I pray for those in need--
More precious these than wealth. 

I know not what may lie ahead
Of laughter or of tears;
I only need to know each day
That You are walking near.

I'm thankful for this brand new year
As now I humbly pray, 
My hand secure in Yours, dear Lord,
Each step along the way.

Kay Hoffman

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A "Vunderful" Time Was Had by All!

Whew! That was a fun weekend!

Have I ever mentioned that I love Christmas?

It was a great Christmas....
Click here for pictures.
I was completely spoiled!
One of my favorite gifts..

Peter made it for  me.
It is a flamingo.
He had asked me what my favorite animal was... I said flamingos.
It's true.
I'm not an animal person (Besides my dog...).
Flamingos are so cool.

They  are pink.
They are super unique.
They're pretty!!!!
They are not everyone's favorite animal.
They are flat out cool.
It is a special gift because it was special (Make sense?).... I love it!

We got a new game called "Settlers of Catan."
Don't ever play a game with Jeffrey!
He is SO competitive!
I mean... winning is not everything.
OK... it is the point of playing, but...

The truth be told.
Jeffrey makes my competitive side come out.
I usually try to hide it.... but with him, I just can't!

My Oma and Grandpa John came....
Oma is the Dutch name for Grandma.... my Oma is very dutch!
When I was a kid, I wanted SO badly to just be able to say "grandma," like all the other cool kids!
Now, I think I am the cool one... I have an awesome "Oma." Not all kids can say that!

If you don't know what a Dutch person acts or looks like... come see my Oma.
She even has an accent!
I love accents!
When a customer has an accent, I ask them lots of questions just so I can hear it!

Oma eats a TON!
When I say that... I'm not kidding!
Everyone in our family has a huge appetite.

If you come to our house and say you aren't hungry... my mom might start crying.
She can't stand it.
If you don't take seconds... you obviously don't like the food.

We went to an Awana event and they announced that there was a limit on how many hot dogs you could eat.
It was made because the year prior my brothers had eaten too many!

So believe me... we eat a lot!
When Oma comes to visit... she out-eats all of us.

We went to an all you can eat buffet.
We all ate until food was coming out of our ears.
When we were all done.... Oma ate for another twenty minutes.
When she finally finished her plate... she said, "I could still eat another plate!"
We all stared in disbelief.
The crazy thing is, she is extremely skinny!

Oma thinks we are all the greatest....
When we are cooking, she looks over our shoulder in amazment that we are such culinary geniuses!

She makes us laugh!
Dutch people have a strange sense of humor.
They enjoy laughing at each other... they also enjoy laughing at themselves.

My mom has this trait.
It is rather great.
When they make a mistake or do something crazy... they find it just as funny as the onlookers.

I have a story about Oma.
We were little.
Mom was in the store.
We were in the car with Oma.
We didn't know if Oma was saved... this really concerned me.
I had a sudden stroke of genius ... "Johnny... flow with me." (I don't think I actually used those words... but, I'm sure it was something similar.)
Then I started singing at the top of my lungs...
I sang about how Jesus died for us and we all needed to accept him into our hearts. Johnny joined me and together we sang and sang....
I laugh and blush at the memory.
Poor Oma.
At least we had good intentions.

We went shopping yesterday (Tradition!), it was fun.
I didn't buy much... BUT, I convinced mom and Jo to buy lots!
This was a HUGE accomplishment! 
I employed myself as their "Personal Fashion Consultant."
"Jo... think, exotic!" Hehe... that didn't go over well.

I love clothes... hate spending money, therefore buy thing on extreme clearance or at "pre-washed stores." (Aka. Thrift stores)
Mom and Jo don't care all that much about clothing, hate to spend money on themselves, therefore don't get clothes.
I forced them to try thing on and they both found stuff they really like!
I'm so proud of them.

So now that you read all of my random ramblings... Have a "vunderful"  night!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas... so I don't have time to really write a blog... 

Instead I will post a bunch of pictures from yesterday and today!!!!

This kid stole the day!

My Oma (Grandma) is here!!!!
Grandpa John!
Two of my favorite people!
My hero!!!
Pete and mom look so serious!
It was white!
She's so perty!
We kinda went nuts.... :)

Guess what this is...
Hint: It sometimes called "liquid gold."
One of Johnny's presents... the shirt she's wearing, not the baby.
Mom despises pictures!

"I ate so much, I think I'm going to throw up!"
Said Jeffrey, as he ate some more!

Mug shot! (Get it... the mug!)
We got a new game!
Jeffrey is SO competitive!
Oh, I guess I kinda am too....

Beauty and the Beast!
It has been a very merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wonderful Life, Wonderful Savior!

Maybe it's because it isn't even six in the morning yet.
Maybe it's because I have a really good cup of coffee.
Maybe it's because a really good song just came on the radio ("I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin).
Maybe it's because I love this little shop and making coffee.
Maybe because it is freezing outside but super warm in here.
Maybe it's because I was just talking to my Beloved (Jesus!)....

I feel overwhelmed right now.

Overwhelmed by God.
By His love.
By the fact that He cares about me!
By all of the blessings He has given.
Because I am precious in His sight!
Because He made me the for His purpose.
Because He is in control... of everything and everyone!
Because it really is, "A Wonderful Life!"

Because He is flat out amazing... and He is mine!

"A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord...."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Life... it matters!

I almost died last week.
I'm absolutely serious!

You know how in the movies, the person driving down the road looks out the window and see's a huge truck coming straight at them. Everything freezes, then you just see a huge explosion.
Well, that is exactly what happened to me.
Besides the huge explosion.

Everything froze. I just waited for the explosion.
Thankfully, it didn't come.
BUT.. I seriously sat there thinking, "Wow, I'm gonna die!"

Then, somehow I was safe. I think God had a bit to do with that!

It scared me to death (Which completely defeats the fact that I lived...)!
The whole way home I was shaking.
Shaking, crying... and thinking.

What if I had died?

What would I be remembered as?

Would there be people I wished I would have impacted more?

Would I be remembered as a woman was concerned about the hearts of others?

Would my siblings remember me as a sister who showed them God's love?

Have I made a difference in the lives of the people I  love?

Had I used my precious time to the fullest.
Had I used it to glorify the Lord?

Would they cremate me or have me embalmed?

So many questions ran through my brain...

Death doesn't scare me.
How can eternity with the Savior scare you?
It was humbling to think that God gave me more time.... to do the work that He has for me.
It is pretty exciting to know that God has a plan for me!
"He's not finished with me yet!"

You know how George in "It's a Wonderful Life," had a huge reality check....
God gave me a reality check and a wake up call all at the same time!
I wasn't sleeping... but it was needed.

I realized that life right now... in the moment, matters.

The smiles we give to strangers... they matter.
The times we put aside time for younger siblings... they matters.
The laugh we give to humor someone's ridiculous joke... it matters.
The time spent with my Savior... it matters.

Life is precious.

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise!

And just because I love this song...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Music to My Ears!

The "Christmas spirit" has been seriously lacking  in our house this year.
This morning we figured out why.

Jo and I were discussing how weird this Christmas has been when suddenly we both had a light bulb thought... We realized that we hadn't had music on!

In the Soderberg house... we listen to music, ALL the time!!
ESPECIALLY during the holiday season.

Well, our computer broke,  depriving us of Pandora and the only CD player we have.
Thus, we have been without music for almost this whole season!
Tragic! I know!

No wonder we have been such duds!
No wonder Christmas has rushed by without us!

We felt pretty brilliant!

We had one of the boys connect my laptop to the sound system.
Music was heard!!!!
Christmas has arrived!

I know Christmas is about WAY more than the music... but in our house, it makes a big difference.

A few minutes after the music was playing, Jimmy was belting out a song when he suddenly shouted, "Christmas is here!!!!"

It truly is!

Just a few minutes ago, we were all enjoying Josh Groban's singing...when it suddenly stopped and Peter said, "Well, that's enough of that!"

Saturday, December 17, 2011


When I sing...I don't look at mom.
She has this petrified look on her face.
I never understood why... until this morning.

We had our church Cantata.
Marian sang a song.

I was SO nervous the entire time!
I sat there acting as though I was the one who was going to sing.

I shook. My stomach hurt.
When she stood, up to sing my knees started knocking.

As she was all I could do to plaster a smile on my face.
I now understand why  mom looked so scared.
Mom loves me so much that when I sing... she get's all of the "nerves" too.

Poor dear... I sang an awful lot!

P.S. Marian nailed the song!!!!!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

"Christmas time is here..."

I love Christmas!!
"It is the most wonderful time of the year..."

I love that I can listen to songs about Jesus on a secular radio station.
I love the busy malls! (I know that is crazy!)
I LOVE baking!!!!!!!
I love our old village set that Beth and I spent hours playing with as kids!
I love our fancy village set that we could only look at!
I love gingerbread men!
I love dressing for the season!
I love drinking coffee! :)
I love hot apple cider.
I love saying "Merry Christmas!" to a stranger.
I love watching Christmas movies with the family.
I love Christmas plays.
I love decorating.
I love wonderful sweet songs about Christmas (Silent Night, What Child is This, Mary Did You Know.).
I love the crazy/ridiculous/meaningless Christmas songs (Santa Baby, I Want a Hippo for Christmas, All I Want for Christmas is You. The Grinch Song.)
I love dressing up!
I love seeing others happy.
I love making coffee!
I love the food!
I love games.
I love eggnog!
I love going to Elephant Exchanges and totally scoring at them!
I love my family... and the fact that Christmas isn't the only time that we spend time together!
I love Jesus who has blessed and loved me way beyond what I deserve!!

I love that the season is not about Santa, presents, or food... its about a baby, who's life changed the world forever!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom & Dad!

It is my mom and my dad's birthday today!
You read that right.
Their birthday is on the same day!!!!
Pretty cool, right?
Oh, and guess what!
Their anniversary's are on the same day, too!!!!!!

They are exactly ten years apart.
Dad says, when he turned ten, God gave him his greatest gift!

I love my parents!
They make me happy!

Between the two... we are way beyond blessed.

Some great things about my parents.

My parents care about everything, big or small, that goes on in our lives
There is nothing too small or too big to talk to my parents about.

Their marriage is a picture of something beautiful!!
A picture of Christ!
Mom and dad have been married 24 years and they still love each other, SO much!
It is sad that that is getting rare these days.
Mom and dad go on a date at least once a month.... and they get excited about it!
It is pretty great to have parents that are still in love.

I do not remember a day that my parents haven't been sitting by the fire, dad reading the Bible to mom.
Many a time I have heard them praying together....
They would pray for the lives of each of us.
For our futures, plans, spouses, etc.
That God would be preeminent in our home.
For little and big things in our lives.
Let me tell you, it means a LOT to a kid to hear their parents praying!

Mom and dad have a great sense of humor.
They really have to with all the crazy kids they have!

Mom and dad love to sing.
I love singing with them!
They love to worship the Lord.
They also like it when you sing crazy/ hilarious songs for them.

When I was 13, I went to the Philippines with my parents!

It was the experience of a life time!
Our dear friend Jeff was getting married.
Dad was the best man, and I was the flower girl.
Somebody paid for mom to come along.
We were the perfect traveling team!
That trip will never be forgotten!
My parents an I had the time of our lives!

As a kid, dad used joke that he and mom wanted to go on my honeymoon with me!
I took him seriously!
I would plan that mom and dad would come along...
Why not!
They would make the trip more fun!
As I got older (Like eight...) I started thinking it really wasn't that great of an idea.
My little kid mind started feeling awful.
How would I break the news to dad!
He had so looked forward to it!
Would he be hurt?
I finally broke it to him... he laughed!

My parents have pretty predictable (and sweet) dates!
They go to Olive Garden and wait as long as they have to to get "their" table.
There once was a rumor going around the staff at Olive Garden that that was the table that dad proposed at!
My parents are always thinking of us and therefore they always bring us home bread sticks.
They love their dates!

They are the most amazing parents a kid could ever want!

Yes. I love them!

Their wedding .... Ya, a red dress!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Seven on Friday!

Ahhh.... Life is pretty good!
I love this time of year!!!!
It is wonderful!

I saw a post called  "Ten on Tuesday" on someone's blog.
They wrote ten random things on Tuesday.
It was cool....
But, it's Friday... and I can't think of ten...
So lets just call this "Seven on Friday!"

1. Something has been on my mind lately.
When I wake, it's there.
When I try to sleep, it's there.
While I'm making coffee, it's there.
You get the idea.

You may wonder, what could be SO special... that I absolutely cannot stop thinking about?

Well... here you go.

Your Life will never be the same!

"I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas. Only a hippopotamus will do!"
This song plays on the radio around five times an hour.
By the time I get of work... I am truly convinced that a hippo is what I truly want for Christmas!
It's a great song... but once you hear it... you will not get it out of your head. Ever!

Dad heard me singing it the other day and started singing it... just because he loves me.
Slowly  everyone in our family is beginning to sing it....
As I wrote this... three different family members came in singing it.

So... Just in case you hadn't heard it...
I have now made your life that much better!

2. I spent 18 years of my life convinced that I hated egg-nog. This year, I tried it... it is wonderful!

3. I have an embarrassing laugh.
It is... well, kinda, crazy sounding.
I have tried changing it... you know, so it's soft and musical...
It didn't work!

My laugh, when I really laugh, is weird.
I absolutely cannot think of words to describe it... just believe me, it's ridiculous!

The other day Beth came over and I was attempting to do her hair.
I don't remember what happened... but we were laughing. Hard!
Suddenly I stopped and listened to her laughter.
It was ridiculous!
I started laughing at her...
My laugh was ridiculous!
They were the same!
I pointed it out.... we laughed harder!
It was a ridiculous chorus of "weird" laughter!
We are both convinced that the other's laugh is worse... but in truth, they are the same.
This made me very happy... my laugh is not mine.
It's Beth's (She's older!), somehow I caught it!
Ha. Ha. Haaaa.

4.  Jesus is SO much smarter than me!!!!
I don't know why I worry and fear.... God is bigger!
There's a Veggie Tales song, "God is Bigger than the Boogie Man."
I don't believe in the Boogie Man, but I have the things in my life that I have to remember to give to the Lord.
I have to remember that God is bigger.
He is bigger than my plans.
Bigger than my dreams.
Bigger than my fears.
Bigger than the future... that seems to loom so uncertainly before me.
God is biggest!

5. Marian and I have our future husbands named (Dad came up with the names...)... Mine is Francisco, her's is Henry.
Jo can't remember what her guy was named .
When other girls say,  "future husband" or "prince charming," I say, "Francisco."

No, this does not mean I will marry a guy just because his name happens to be Francisco, and no, that doesn't mean I have to marry a Mexican....

6.  One of my best friends  growing up had a baby last night.
This is crazy!!!
We were just kids!
What is happening!!!!!
I am super happy for her!!

7.  Tonight is our church's "Adult Christmas Party."
Year after year I have stayed home babysitting... while the girls, mom, and dad went to the party.

This year I am FINALLY an adult!
It took me long enough!

I am SO excited to go!!!!!
If it is dull and boring I will be very disappointed!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Snips, Nails and Puppy Dog Tails...

You know how little girls are made out of "sugar and spice."
Well, little boys are made of "snips and snails, and puppy do tails."

Little girls are cute. No doubt.
But there is something great about little boys.
Something wonderful and sweet about the way little boys are.

When little girls fight, they use words and all end up in tears.

The boys get in a tiff, take it outside, "deal" with it, come in with a few bruises, but all made up!

Boys are so straight forward and honest.
"Peter, did you hit your brother?"

Little boys are just... sweet, in a rambunctious sort of way. :)

My brothers aren't little anymore... so they lost that sweet aspect.

BUT.... they do still have some good qualities.

My brothers have a great sense of humor...

They can be super sweet when they try to be.

They sing great!
If you are riding with the boys and "happen" to play the song, "Smile,"  the car will erupt with singing... they can't help it.
I will never be able to get them to sing "nice" together.
When I say, "Give me a little base?" Johnny stops singing.
"Tenor anyone?" There goes Jimmy.
Ya... I quit trying.

Once upon a time, the boys, Marian, and I made a music video... I would post it on here, but somebody (Ahem... Johnny.) accidentally deleted it.
We were the "Banana Singers!"
Our name came from the fact that we used bananas for microphones.
Good times!

Monday nights were always "craft night."
This meant girls downstairs doing crafts, boys upstairs watching football.

I would put on Johnny's clothes and be "Mathew Henry" (My name if I would have been a boy...) for the night.
The boys would crowd around me so dad wouldn't notice... as if it would be totally normal that a spare boy would join them.
It sounds desperate but who wants to do a bunch of gluing and sewing when there are all of those great commercials (Ya... I didn't really care for football.) going on upstairs.

There is that saying about "eating to live or living to eat..." my brothers most definitely live to eat.
My brothers love food and eat tons of it.
When we are making a recipe and it says, "serves six," we plan for it to feed three.

The boys have learned well from my dad, they are SUPER complimentary!

Our boys really prove the quote, "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach."

My brothers are not perfect... actually, they aren't even close!

Here are a few examples to prove this fact.

Just this morning, I was telling Jimmy one of the boys, "You know, with so many ugly kids in the world... it is pretty amazing that we happen to have three 'drop dead handsome' boys!"
He didn't miss a beat and answered, "Well, we made up for it with the girls."
Such a sweetie!
* Just in case you didn't get what he meant, he was saying the girls "bad looks" made up for the boys "good looks." Stinker.

The boys are obsessed with tormenting me with snakes.

I am afraid terrified PETRIFIED of snakes. I start crying and screaming at the sight of one.
If people love me... they never show me a snake.

Well, my darling brothers have made it their goal in life to scare me with those grotesque creatures.

One day this adorable three year old boy came up to me at church and asked me SO sweetly to come outside with him.
Ya... not so sweet.
Someone had found a snake... Errrrr.

They get this look in their eye, and I know that I might as well start crying.
Someone gave them snake rattlers.
I have had them thrown at me, hidden in my bed, or just shook right beside me.
I finally got dad to forbid them from tormenting me.

I've tried convincing them that I grew out of it... but then they want me to prove it.
I have even tried getting over my phobia ... it is no use.

By the way, my fear is Biblical, "there shall be enmity between the snake and the woman."
There is some serious enmity going on!

One last story, a few minutes ago, I realized (After my computer died.) that I had plugged in the wrong cord.
I looked at Peter and said, "Wow, sometimes I'm brilliant, but other times...."
Peter looked confused, "Really? Sometimes you're brilliant?"

Anyhow, on a nicer note.
I LOVE my brothers.

They are crazy, fun, sweet, loving, crazy, hilarious, and they are kinda cool too!

Johnny, Jimmy, Pete.... You are awesome!

Do you think he knows how cool he is?

This is Jimmy's, "You're eating my candy!" look!