I think I could make a pretty good argument that I have the best family. We’re definitely not perfect and it’s taken many years but I think we’re finally starting to get into a rhythm and understand each other. So I’ve decided to brag on them a little bit.
My dad – My father is one of the most brilliant men I know. He is sharp, intelligent, respected, wise, and fiercely loyal. If Al Mueller is on your side, you can conquer the world. My dad was raised in Southern California and Souther Arizona. From the stories he’s told, he had a pretty wild growing up years filled with stories that keep us laughing for hours. I think my mother still doesn’t let him share some of the things he did as a teenager. She doesn’t want to give us any ideas. He has a Master’s in Business from UCLA, worked on Wall Street in a highly competitive company for over twenty years. As kids, we lacked nothing. Somehow he made juggled his high pressure job with helping my mom raise three young kids. Every Saturday morning he got up, went out to Dunkin Donuts or the local bakery and brought home bagels and donuts. Saturday mornings with dad were the best. He made a point to spend quality time with each of us kids. If we had a dream, he did everything in his power to make it happen. He took us to Bulls games, Cubs games, wonderful family vacations, and school shopping. In 2000, things changed and he felt the Lord calling him in a different direction. Ministry. In Colorado. We were all like…. ummmm. Colorado is a million miles away and they have mountains. not cities. Our friends were in Chicago. Our lives were in Chicago. Amidst our protests, he followed God’s call on our family’s lives and moved us to Colorado Springs. Within the year, he left the company and tried to figure out what was next. He decided to start his own business. One that matches donors with ministries and provides due diligence, follow-up, and accountability for the funds. My father shouldered the burden of not only starting a business in one the worst economies we’ve seen but raising and providing for a family in a way that reflects Christ’s glory. When people ask me who my dad is, what he does, or they know him, I am the proudest daughter in the world. He is amazing and I respect him more than anyone I’ve ever met. I made the decision to move back to Colorado and live with my parents. There was tension at first and then my dad saw how broken I was, especially after I had emergency gall bladder surgery. Instead of pressuring me to move out, or making sarcastic remarks about the fact that I was still living at home, he embraced me and told me I had nothing to worry about. Even as a little girl, I’ve always known that he would do whatever he had to to protect me. I’ve never been afraid. I’ve never had to worry. I don’t think there is a greater gift the Lord could have given me then to be Al Mueller’s daughter… even though he wanted to name me Albertina. I love and RESPECT you dad!!!
My mom – oh goodness. I don’t even know if I have enough words to describe the depth of my love and appreciation for my mom. There is not a better woman that exists on this planet. Being raised in South Dakota, my mom is down to earth, honest, and funny. She has this incredibly silly side that has come out much more now that I’m adult. She is simple and loves to love. Her heart bleeds for young moms and encouraging them. She’s feisty and protective. When I was really sick last year I had to deal with a pharmacist at Walmart who gave me the wrong amount of drugs. I called my mom in tears because I was miserably sick, waiting at Walmart and just wanted to be home. I explained the situation and how rude the pharmacist had been. I got home (about ten minutes later) and she asked me a question about the dosage. I thought it odd but then she went on to explain that she had called the pharmacist and chewed her out. Her explanation? “I can talk to my kids like that but NO ONE ELSE CAN!” Even though I was 23, her protective instinct came out and she yelled at a total stranger for treating me the way the woman did. I was mildly embarrassed but felt incredibly loved. Thought my mom and I differ on most everything, I know she’ll support me no matter what I do. She’s always been my rock – the one I bounce ideas off of, even if I know I won’t like the answer. My mom is also the most selfless woman I know. She gave up school with one final class of nursing school, to move to the other side of the country and support my dad. They were broke and living in a tiny apartment in New York City – so very different from her small town of Pierre, South Dakota. Yet they made the best of it, and I have no doubt it’s because of the love of my mother. Two year after they got married, they had a brand new baby and my mom found out she was expecting again. By this time they were living in Chicago. Right before Christmas, I turned one and sweet red-headed Mike was born. Needing to get out of the house and to buy Christmas presents, my mom took both of us to a department store. Naturally, I decided to run away. My mom could hear me giggling inside the clothes racks and had no choice but to hand newborn Mike to a stranger and take off after me. It wasn’t long after that she leashed me. She was 26 when she did that. I’m halfway to 25 and I can’t imagine taking one child let alone two babies to a store right before Christmas. Her fierce loyalty and gumption encouraged my dad to move our family halfway across the country to support his dreams. She walked me through my angsty high school years, never giving up on her teenage daughter who was pink and girly and dramatic. She got me flowers and surprised me by flying in my child hood best friend for my 16th birthday. Her tenderness and thoughtfulness has bled over into my life and all of the good things about me are because of the influence of my mother. If I can someday be half the woman she is, those around me will be incredibly lucky. Just last night she held me close while snot was running down my face and the tears were pouring out. She sat in the dark and rubbed my back until my sobs turned into sniffles. She prayed the most beautiful prayer I’ve ever heard over me. I could seriously go on for days about the amazing things my mom has done. Above all I’ve appreciated her sincere heart and her love for the Lord and my dad. Her relationship with Christ comes before everything. Then comes the love and respect for my father. We respected my dad because my mom consistently showed him respect. He was the head of the household and she made sure we knew that. I don’t think a man could ask for a better wife.
Mike – Twelve months and 10 days my junior, Mike and I were as close as twins in our youngest years. We used to hug each other in the hallway in between classes at our preschool. Mike has always been independent and funny. As a little boy he had a knack for keeping us in laughter. That didn’t change as he got older. He was wittier and funnier the more his vocabulary grew. He also started getting to be part of the “cool kids” crowd. One that I was nowhere near. He was good at sports, smart, and well liked by his peers. The closer we got to middle school, the further apart we grew. While he was making the jokes, I was the brunt end of the jokes. Granted, I put him through A LOT with my lack of self awareness (See Confessions Day 2 – Home Run). He endured quite a bit. High school was tense. We fought often and our relationship essentially dissolved. College wasn’t much better. We just never clicked. I wondered if we’d ever like each other. I was too dramatic and he was too pragmatic. All of the changed one summer when out of the blue he called me to apologize for the way he treated me. I was dumbfounded. Speechless. I remember standing of the porch of the company I worked for with tears streaming down my face. The words I longed to hear were being spoken without any sort of prompting or begging. I’ve always respected my brother, however my respect multiplied tenfold at that conversation. We’ve gotten to re-know each other the past two years. He’s wise, funny, and kind. His heart is enormous. My brother takes the message of the Gospel seriously. He consistently pours himself out to others – with his time, money, and talents. Aside from his amazing spirit he’s incredibly gifted as well. He’s business savvy and has a knack for starting and running companies. I continue to be a wee bit envious of the way the Lord has gifted him. I’m so thankful he’s back the Springs and I get to see him more often. I feel like the Lord has given us a season to restore our friendship and continue to know each other. Sometimes I feel he’s more older brother than younger. I can’t wait to meet the amazing woman he’s going to marry and if any girl breaks his heart, I’ll kill her. 🙂
Jon – my little. My youngest brother is probably more like me than anyone else. We both FEEL things more than the average person. He’s funny, spunky, charming, flirty, and tender. Jon has a heart of gold and I’ve seen how he’s used his story to impact the lives of everyone he meets. Jon has overcome some incredibly challenging things. He’s never been a victim, only a survivor. I can’t imagine, nor do I want to, a life without Jon as part of our family. When he was first born he was my tiny little doll. I remember going to the hospital and holding him. Some of my favorite memories of my childhood are ones of my mom lettings us play with Jon when he was a tiny baby. He took the brunt of Mike and my schemes. When he was about 2 and we were living out in Arlington Heights, he wanted to climb a tree in the front yard because Mike and I were. We argued he was too little but our mom insisted we get the step-stool and help him up. So we did. Then we took the step-stool away and left him in the tree. I clearly remember a spanking that day. Jon was a beautiful little boy. He has this golden blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and a little cheeky grin that could almost get him out of anything. He always wanted to keep up with Mike and I. Being 4 and a half years my junior, he did a pretty good job staying up with us. When things in his life started to fall apart, I saw his love for the Lord strengthened. His faith came under fire, yet he was brave enough to do the things I never would have done. My littlest brother is my hero. Now he’s up in Boise, walking with high school and junior high kids, serving at Young Life camps, and trying to figure out what to do with his life. I am SO excited to see how the Lord continues to use him.
This is just a taste of why my family is so awesome. The Lord has used each one to strengthen and grow me. I wouldn’t change any of them or the life we’ve had for anything in the world. I love you all!!