Tag Archives: thankful


The final total on the money jar game was…


Giddyup! That makes Jim (with a guess of $103.75) our winner.  Correct me if I’m wrong.  Jim, you win a Pere Marquette magnet for your fridge… the train that goes from Grand Rapids to Chicago.

I liked it so much, I bought one for myself.

AND, one for Amy… the angel of a friend who met me in Union Station after a 2-hour delayed arrival and took my child with her three in-tow for a walk while I waited in line for over an hour to fix our connecting St. Louis tickets.  Amy also brought me a coke and a sandwich, a lunchable with a caprisun for Rylie, and a brown bag of surprises for the rest of our trip.  She sat on the floor with me in the waiting lounge while our children wrestled and let the industrial fan blow up their shirts like superheros.  If she weren’t already taken, I’d have asked her to marry me.

If you ever find yourself pregnant and stuck in a train station within 50 miles of Amy, I highly recommend her.

The trip was really, really decent.  It was.  Ry was beyond thrilled with the train. We could walk at will, plug in her dvd player, grab a snack in the lounge… so incredibly lovely.  Even with Friday’s insanity (We didn’t end up leaving Chicago until 6pm, and arriving in St. Louis at midnight as opposed to 7pm.), it was still better than a plane trip with kids.  Hands down.  I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

I will confess that I had some considerable trouble walking out of the house without Rylie Sunday morning.  It has nothing to do with my parents, or even the length of stay.  It was simply the fact that Rylie is old enough now to realize I was leaving without her… and asked me to stay.  It never crossed my mind that she would put that all together, but that’s me assuming her lack of voice means a lack of understanding. I warn everyone about that… but forgot it myself. 

Putting her to bed Saturday night was ridiculously hard and I began to fear that she would wake up the next morning and think, “My mom left me.”

Our lives are so intertwined… I am a mom, a therapist, an interpreter, a motivator, a bodyguard- so many things for my little girl!  It’s only been 2 days and already I am shocked at the amount of emotional and physical energy I am NOT using.  Shocked at how much less I use my voice.  Shocked at how calm everything is around here.

May this coming month be a rest for both of us.

Thursday, I’d like to tell you about some of the characters we met on our journey.

Y’all come on back.


to the volunteers

A big, hearty YAHOO to all of you who confirmed that Summer does indeed smell lovely through a metal screen.  It does me a world of good to know I am not alone.  Shoot, it does my entire family good to know I am not alone.

Yesterday was volunteer appreciation Sunday for all the nursery and Sunday School and youth workers at our church.  People, three things make me cry without pause:

  • children’s choirs singing ANYTHING
  • men and women marching in uniform
  • Grandma Betty at church

I was able to barely put some long overdue thanks into words the other night.  It is impossible to thank them enough… for the ministry they provide to our children AND to us in return, but it is a start.

To Louie, and all the pastors at BHBC
that you may know of the incredible work your staff and your volunteers are doing.
We came to Blythfield shortly after our daughter Rylie was born and we’d moved to a farm outside of Belding.  A year and a half later, we learned that Rylie would have some major difficulties with walking, potty training, and especially talking.  She has apraxia… the same thing adults recover from after a stroke.  She must learn to talk and control her muscles in ways typical folks don’t even give pause to.  As she entered a new Sunday School, I was concerned she would be lost amongst the ‘typical’ kids.  That, for all her special-ness and all her needs, that it would be too much to ask a volunteer to help her, to teach her.  
I needn’t have worried. I received emails asking how you could be of MORE help.  I received letters encouraging Rylie.  I received hugs from her teachers saying she was doing so well.  This past Christmas, we attended Ry’s first children’s Christmas program.  I sat on an aisle, prepared to rescue my wandering child from the spotlight of being different.  Imagine my surprise to find she was an angel.  No, really: she was an angel, with wings and curls and songs.  She sat with a ‘helper’ and waved to us incessantly, but it was clear she was comfortable and having a ball.
You see, for one hour every week, Rylie is simply another child.  No one knows her IEP, no one checks on her therapy goals for that week, no one corrects the way she holds a pencil.  She’s just Rylie… and she is so very well loved by the Kids’ Kingdom volunteers.  They know her name.  They know her heart.
Last year, we had Gideon who immediately began making up for the speech deficit we have in Rylie.  He is loud.  And for the first 5 months, he was a sad little man.  His legs were casted and braced, he spit up constantly, and he rarely made it through a service without needing his mother.  Loudly.  I thought we were destined for reform school and church in the lobby for the rest of our days.
I needn’t have worried.  Every week, Grandma Betty took my child and pushed me up the stairs until it was time for him to eat.  Every week, she claimed him- sweet talked him- for that hour… or 20 minutes… and let me rest.  In no small thanks to all the nursery volunteeers, that boy is now the happiest, sweetest, handsomest little man you’ve ever seen.  He’s still loud.  But, I think it’s because he’s looking for Betty.  I do.
I’m trying to take a huge, beautiful story and cram it into a letter’s worth of space.  I imagine, as a pastor, you feel the same way on a weekly basis trying to tell the Good News on a budget of time.
If I must be brief, let me say this:

God is Love, and I have seen Him here.

I would imagine that’s your message, too.
Thank you, everyone, for loving our 2 very special kids and, in turn, their parents.  I thank my God every time I remember you.

with love and –much– appreciation,  the Mulders

If YOU’RE a volunteer… thank you!  Thank you, thank you.

Thursday we’re talkin’ about baby chicks.  Y’all come back now, ya hear?


We’re in Texas!  For months now, we’ve been planning a surprise road trip to Texas for Thanksgiving.  Dad knew, but mom didn’t.  We were extremely successful.  I believe there was an accident at 2pm on I-35, and that was due to my mother screaming when we walked in the door.  Curt will return this weekend, but Ry and I will stay until December 11th or so and ride back up to Michigan with Dad. 

While we are happy to be ‘home,’ it was not a brilliant plan.  In fact, let me give you some pointers in case you ever decide to do the same:

• Please be 6 months pregnant and in need of a restroom every 15 minutes. I can give you a list of all the nice(r) restrooms along the way from Gary to Memphis to Little Rock to Arkadelphia to Dallas to Belton.

• Please bring along a three year-old who is not even still when she sleeps.  

• Please be frugal and drive.  Obviously.  20 hours in a car is MUCH more exciting than airport security and fold-down trays.

• Please have your husband herniate 2 discs the day before leaving and enter experimental therapy at the doctor’s office to survive the trip. To make it really awesome, he should be unable to sit for more than 30 minutes at a time.

• Please, at mile 1000 of 1260, exchange your child for an alien that screams for solid ground and freedom. 

Our trip was extremely uneventful, thankfully.  We had no traffic, no cops, no mishaps… nothing until the Hillsboro construction that’s been in-progress since I was in high school.  It will make you want to pluck out your eyelashes one by one and turn around and head for home even though you’re only 1 hour from your destination.  But, we made it.  And, we are thankful.

We are thankful for this holiday and an excuse to be together before our little family expands.  We are thankful for cousins coming in town to share the table with us and for friends to visit and play with us.  We are thankful for safety and vacation and childhood beds.  We are, simply, thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours…

Y’all be safe.


:: housekeeping ::

•  The TexasNorth hoodies are making their way across county and country.  Except when I forget.  Sorry, Liz. Let me know when you receive yours, ok?  I need that 4% of sanity back.  I hate it when special things are in the mail… somewhere… out there.  AND, if you’ll take a photo of you and your new BFF hoodie in a fun place, I’ll put you up on the blog.  If you’re sad you missed out we DO have a few extras.  Send me a message and we’ll see if we have your size in the version (heads or tails) that you want.  If you’re sad about your version… if the size is just totally wrong or the hardcore headshot is just too serious for you or the tails version is making you walk lopsided, we can switch you out.  Just give me a yell.  We’re all about happy people here at TexasNorth.

• I spruced up the comment section a bit.  You can now reply directly to another person’s comment if ya like.  Fun! [insert me clapping here]

:: home ::


We moved to Montcalm Avenue in October of 2006.  Rylie was born a month later.  While the structure is original (an old migrant house), we gutted the entire thing and basically started from scratch.  When we finally spent our first night (the day before the very first hayride) the outside siding was 90% finished, the inside had one coat of paint, the basement was unfinished, and drywall patches were numerous.


Three years later, we have two mortise and tenon porches (which will receive metal roofs in Spring).  We have red metal siding.  Only the bathroom needs it’s 2nd coat of paint.  The basement is 50% finished.  There is a wood stove that provides 80% of our heat in the winter.  We have a garden, we have 5 acres of tension fencing, we have 35 chickens, and we have 8 longhorn cattle with 4 calves on the way. 


Home for us is 900 square feet.  It is 2 bedrooms with another in progress.  It’s warm in the winter and cool in the summer… and it has the best view anywhere around.  Home is quiet and calm (when the cows aren’t loose and the chickens aren’t battling for bread).  Home is a place where every corner hides some personal achievement.  I stained those floor boards.  Rylie found a screwdriver and that’s why there are pockmarks in the wall.  Curt… well, Curt did everything.  Electrical, heavy lifting, painting… everything.


I like our home.  I like that this is a place that will continue to grow with us over the years.  I am so grateful for all the hands that have helped along the way.  I love that people feel comfortable in our little, dusty home.

I am thankful for our home.

a little bit of this, a little bit of that

:: housekeeping ::

bookThe Best. Week. Ever. Recipe Swap deadline has passed.  The extension has passed.  Even the grace period has passed.  To be fair to those who sent in their recipes and to me, who still cannot see straight after editing 132 pages of words, it’s over.  Folks have their swap partners and the book is finito.  BUT, all is not lost.  If you missed out on contributing but would still like a copy of the goodness, I have a deal for you: donate $15 to a local food charity in honor of Thanksgiving and I shall send you a (PDF) copy of the book.  Fair?  Fair, I say.  For you swappers, you will receive your (PDF) copy once your partner has received their magnet and oven mitt.  Super fun, folks… this book is going to Rock. Your. Kitchen. 


I have been fortunate in my short life to have travelled… a lot.  Being born into a military family, I learned to pack young and sit longer.  I started in Texas, then on to Germany, then Kentucky.  Germany followed (again), and we finished in Texas.  During and after college, I continued on my own… to North Carolina, Ireland, Spain, and California.

onward, 2005

I have seen London, Paris, and Rome at sunset.  I have watched my father work Checkpoint Charlie in times of Cold War tension.  I have wandered the back streets of Prague and I have spent money from before the Euro dominated.  I have camped in Yellowstone, climbed mountains in Switzerland, and skied nearly every slope of the Zugspitz.  I have eaten in the markets of Costa Rica, rafted rivers in Colorado, and prayed in the smallest of French Latin churches.  I have rocked climbed on the Appalachian Trail and the in desert of Joshua Tree by a full moon. I have stood where Julius Caesar fell, and I have danced where Sinatra once sang.   

I am a gypsy.  I am a backseat rider, always willing to navigate or eat in questionable places.  I am not afraid of language or diversity.  I am grateful for the chances I have had to explore and watch and wander.  I know not everyone is born into a travelling family… or even has a personal desire to leave the county.  But, I was born into the idea of change.  That change can be good as long as you yourself remain strong.  For me, it is in the moving that I became stable.  It was in the journey that I found home.

I am thankful for adventure.



Yo.  October nearly killed me, Folks.  I am so excited that month with all its random appointments and parties and fundraisers and almost-hayrides is finito.  Now, on to my favorite month with my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving.  And Ry’s birthday.  And soup.  I love soup.


This is my necklace.  I wear it every day… the only jewelry save my wedding bands and Aggie ring. The necklace, crafted by James Avery, was given to me by a friend… just because.  Because she loves me.  Because it’s simple and beautiful.

The necklace reminds me of lots of things.  It reminds me that monograms put your last name in the MIDDLE.  I never knew that.  I reminds me of who I started life as: Mary Kathryn Sebeck.  It reminds me that I am loved, even in my grand  imperfection.  And, it reminds me that however introverted I may be, I was built to live in community.  I was made to have relationships that are deep and wide.  I was created to grow with strong, wise, beautiful people surrounding me.  Laughing with me.  Crying with me. Cooking with me.  Doing nothing with me.  I cannot, no matter how hard I try, live this life alone.

I am thankful for my friends.