About Me

Hello, My name is Suzanne and I am writing this blog to share my life experience as an artist, designer and person of faith. It is my hope to encourage, motivate, uplift and support those who seek to use their God given gifts and talents to serve. For it is by God we are all endowed with such gifts, and talents, and it is to God's good work that they can be returned. All the artwork and content posted on this site is the property of Suzanne VanRaemdonck. There is a registered copyright and trademark and cannot be reproduced without specific contractual agreement given by the artist and author.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Death & Life After

Hello Dear Blog,

It has been such a long time since I have made an entry. Since my last session the bottom dropped out of my life. My dear cherished husband of 24 years was diagnosed with leukemia and died 6 mo's later. That was almost a year ago. April 11, will be one year. I am still trying to pick up the pieces of what remains of my life and start again. I am 53 years old and have worked at home with my husband for the last eight years. I couldn't bare the thought of spending winter in Michigan alone in the house we shared with all those memories, so I fled to California which is where I am from, to stay with and care for my 84 year old mother. I still feel adrift and brokenhearted. I don't quite know what to do with myself, nor do I have any concrete plan for the future. All of my life...friends, home (or what I once called home) family (or what I thought was my family),my adult children, everything seems so uncertain. I wish that God would have taken me with my husband the night he took his last breath, but for whatever reason I have been left here.
I am grateful for the resources and provision God has supplied me with, but very uncertain of what to do next. I don't like being in Michigan without my husband, it was his home. I feel better being in California in my old familiar territory and my mother needs my help. I plan to go back to MI. and sell everything my husband and I collected together over the years because it doesn't make any sense to drag it across the country. I have no place to put it and it reminds me of a life that no longer exists. This will of course also be heartbreaking.

There is someone new in my life...well sort of new. We have been in and out of love with each other since I was 16 and we have come back together now. He has been a great help to me but we are very different. I don't know if we can fit together for a lifetime or not. I know that only time will tell this but in the meantime the relationship often confuses me, and for many other reasons it is very complicated.

This is the first time I have spoken of this online. It just needed to be said.
Please pray for me.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Busy Times In My Garden

Well, now that summer is half over, and all my gardening issues have been tended to, hopefully I'll be able to be a bit more diligent about keeping my blog up.
Actually a gardeners job is never done...at least not till around the end of October here in Michigan.

Aside from all the work I have been doing outdoors, just last weekend I wrote a letter to the District Superintendent of my church to request becoming a candidate in the Local Pastor program in my area.

I have been feeling the call to ministry for a very long time but apparently was not completely ready till now.
God's timing is perfect and although sometimes I wish I would have gotten started several years ago when I first began to feel the nudge, I would have begun without all the experiences God has led me through since then and boy have they made me stronger. Both in my faith, my marriage, and as an individual.

I will be teaching my first ever Bible study class this Fall at my church. It is going to be about women's roles in the Bible and the roles we play in the church today, as well as how we carry over those roles into contemporary life as Christians. I am very excited to be given the opportunity to lead in this capacity and can't wait to get started.
I am also going to have the chance to deliver my first sermon in my church on August 8Th. It's really funny because I don't like to have attention brought to myself, I don't like to get up in front of people and I don't much like to have people looking at me. But when I think about speaking for God, I feel no fear. I am filled with humble enthusiasm and I have a sense that this is what I was always meant to do.
It is the best feeling in the world.

So for all of you out there who are still searching for your purpose, I encourage you to keep digging deep inside yourself. Ask yourself questions like: What do I really love to do? But more importantly Why do I love to do it? If your answer is "Because it makes me feel good." Then you need to go on to: Why does it make me feel good? What specifically about this makes me feel good? And keep praying, the answers will come.



Sunday, June 6, 2010

What Happened To May??

Image Title: "Wild Child" by Eric VanRaemdonck
All rights reserved. Available as Fine Art Notecard at www.ArtisticNatureDotCom.etsy.com

Well I have had yet another head spinning month, and I must say that God does work in the most amazing and mysterious ways!!

I could not write before this because since the middle of May I have been planning a very unexpected trip.

For those of you who read my blog, (bless you) you may recall that I mentioned that my son was going to be graduating this year with his PhD in neuroscience.
And that he was receiving an award for the work he has done both with his research and for being published in a science journal before he graduated.
He was to be honored at UCLA on May 18Th and because of the fact that my husband and I are full time caregivers to my husband's dad, plus the fact that I had just been to CA. in January, though it broke my heart, I just didn't think I could be there.

My ex-husband who lives in CA. emailed an invitation to my husband and I for a dinner he and his wife would be hosting in David's honor after the award ceremony.
Well this really drove home the thought that I couldn't be there and I had to email them back to tearfully tell them so.
A couple of day's later, I received another email from my "ex" with yet another invitation.
He said that they knew how much it would mean to David to have both his mother and little sister there on such an occasion and that they would like to extend the invitation to fly my daughter and myself out in time for the ceremony. They wanted this to be a surprise for our son so I couldn't write anything on my blog until after the event, just in case my son should read it.

Soooo, We had a wonderful time, the expression on my son's face when we first came pulling up in the car and he saw me was priceless.
This was the first time I ever had the opportunity to see my son speak publicly and he was amazing! Of course none of us understood a word of it but we knew it was some very heady stuff.
So my son's a genius!! No Really.

I just want to say that if there are any of you out there who are contemplating divorce, or who are already divorced and there are kids involved, just remember, your children aren't getting a divorce, you are.
My "ex" and I agreed that we would always do all that we could to keep our divorce from hurting our son as much as we were possibly able. We stayed as friendly and amicable as we possibly could under the circumstances. When we did disagree, we kept it between us and NEVER used our son as a pawn to try to turn him against one another to serve our wounded pride.
As a result my sons family simply expanded when each of his parents remarried and he had more people to love and help raise him.
The results speak for themselves.

Our son is not only very smart, but he is an easy going guy who doesn't take himself or anything else for that matter too seriously. (Well clearly he does take some things very seriously.) He enjoys his life and the relationships that God has blessed him with. When he was 3 years old and I was a single mom, I entered him in a small family run preschool. The woman who ran it said "I've never seen such a well balanced child".
Put you're children first and see how far they will go.

I also want to offer my public thanks to my ex-husband and his wife Leon & Annette(even though they told me to stop thanking them) for a lifetime of mutual respect, consideration and commitment to our son.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Time To Every Purpose


April was an unbelievable month. I haven't been able to create a new post since Easter!
During the month of April my father in-law was diagnosed with pneumonia and spent about a week in the hospital again.
He is back home and doing fine now. Although each incident seems to take a bit more out of him.

My mother was in and out of the hospital 3 times! She also developed pneumonia after having back surgery.
She is doing okay now, but I am not certain of her needs or how to address them from the other side of the country.

My daughter turned 21 and later announced that she is thinking about moving in with her boyfriend.

My son (who will be graduating this year with his PhD. in neuroscience) announced that he was interviewing at Harvard for a position in a Lab doing research for his "Post Doc" work.
He was then offered the position, which he has now accepted!
My ex-husband surprised me with an email invitation for a dinner he and his wife will be hosting after the award ceremony that will be held in our sons honor at UCLA.

We did our taxes and got them paid!

And I let my pastor know that I have definitely decided to follow the call and pursue an education to become a "Local Pastor" He then offered to let me deliver my first sermon in the month of May which unfortunately I will have to take a rain check on since I will be in L.A. at the time. Then last Sunday, he surprised me with an announcement to our whole church about my decision.

My head is still spinning!
Hopefully I will be able to keep up a bit better this month and make more than one post. Oh...I also believe I will be starting on a new commissioned painting for someone of their family home this month.
Who knows what May will bring.


The image you see above is a note card reproduced from one of my husband's original oil paintings. The title is "Respect". It is available through our shop at artisticnaturedotcom.etsy.com.
Please stop in and leave us a message to say you came by.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Little Brick House

This is the house my husband's father built along with his father,(my husband's grand father)which along with caring for dad we now maintain.
I made this painting for him for his 86th birthday. He was delighted.


Our Parents

I don't know how it happened, but it seems to me that our society has become dishonorable to our elders.
We push them to the background as if they are invisable.
I guess knowone wants to look at getting old so they are simply swept out of the way.
They are kept apart from families and society, sent to nursing homes and assisted living facilaties because knowone has the time or the room for them in their lives.
How Very Sad.

My father in-law turned 88 this month. By moving into his home with him, and taking on the role as his sole care givers, we have made great sacrifices so that he would be able to stay in his own home. Not the least of which has been butting heads with family members over differences of openion about the handling of his affairs and household.
This is unfortunately more the norm rather than the exception, as I have discovered in talking to others who have cared for their elder parents, as well as the professionals who are involved with helping us care for dad.

Now it is begening with my own mother who is all the way on the other side of the country from me. She had 6 children. Two of them have passed away and none of us still lives in the same state as her, or each other.
My sister and I are begening to deal with which direction to take for her care. She is 82 and has recently had surgery on her back.
I am glad that my husband and I have always stuck to our convictions about working at home so that we are now in a position to do this for Dad.
Now there just needs to be 2 of me.

Count Your Blessings.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Today the topic of our service at church was, Greed.

I have to admit I am a little confused over this in regard to money.
On the one hand we're taught that we're supposed to be satisfied with what we have, content and happy with whatever the Lord provides us with.
But then you have someone like Joel Osteen who teaches us that God wants us to have a prosperous and bountiful life, which I believe is true.
I think it is important that each of us strives to be all that God intended us to be.
So you have to wonder, "If I am stepping out in faith and facing my fears to live a life that serves God, but I don't see any fruit from my efforts...am I on the right track? Did I understand Him correctly? Have I made a mistake?

Is it wrong to aim higher?
To think bigger?

If that were true we would never have computers, heart transplants, or huge ministries that reach people all over the globe via television instead of just small town churches.

I would imagine the problem lies not with the desire to aim higher or think bigger, but with what you do with what you have, or what you want to do with what you hope to have that matters.
Of course we must ask ourselves...Why do I want this?

I think as human beings we cannot completely let go of feelings of greed, ego, etc.
All we can do is try to keep them in check.

I guess the question is...How do we find that middle ground of trusting that God has us in exactly the right place at exactly the right time, doing exactly what he intended for us to do, if what we are attempting to do doesn't seem to be going anywhere?

I welcome your input and opinions,
I'm always trying to grow.