Tuesday, December 31, 2013

the church library: part 1

In our old church building the library, aka the dungeon, was located in the basement of basements. Although it was filled with wonderful books, the horrid location of the library did not allow everyone to enjoy it.
With two flights of stairs to go down before entering the library, the people who had a hard time getting into the library were:
-those who were in wheelchairs
-those who walked with a walker
-those who carried an infant carrier, a diaper bag slung on the shoulder, and a purse and a toddler in the other arm
-those who suffered from claustrophobia
-those who were allergic to the musty and moldy smells (and that was not from the books)
- and those who walked with a cane entered the library at their own risk

With an increasing church membership (especially among the little ones), this library was not only inaccessible for many, but crowded. The little three and four year olds loved to sprawl out on the floor and read while their older siblings were in Sunday School. It certainly was a cute sight:)

~ The Old Library ~


Moving into the NEW and much bigger library of our new church.
Next blog post: pictures and layout of our new library and how it works.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Drop Box - A Story of Saving Lives

As Brian Ivie, a university student, boarded the plane bound for Seoul, South Korea, little did he know that his life was about to change - and his eternity.
 Ivie had read about a South Korean Pastor named Lee Jong-rak in the Los Angels Times who was busy saving the lives of unwanted, physically and mentally handicaped babies that were left to die along the cold sidewalks of Seoul. After raising $20,000 Ivie and a team of ten others made arrangements to meet Lee and document his ministry.
Twenty-six years ago, Pastor Lee's first born son was born severely deformed and this caused Pastor Lee to question God's goodness. He wondered what good can come from his son. Pastor Lee began to visit other disabled children and before he knew it, Pastor Lee and his wife lovingly took in two more orphaned disabled children. Through out the next years, eleven more disabled children came to live in their home. Pastor Lee shared, "Some of those kids would hurt themselves. Most would scream and wail...but when you're with them, you're called to remember that none of us are easy to love. That all of us kick and scream, and yet God died for us."
Pastor Lee's small four room home functioned as an orphanage, and a church, and yet he felt called to do more. He installed a drop box into his home where unwed mothers, mothers of physically and mentally handicapped babies could place their babies.
The drop box was designed with a thick towel covering the bottom,and lights and heating to keep the baby comfortable. There is a bell on the outside to ring when the baby is placed there to alert Pastor Lee and his wife. A sign by the drop box reads, "This is a facility for the protection of life. If you can't take care of your disabled babies, don't throw them away or leave them in the street. Bring them here to a place of safety and protection."

Mothers have placed their babies in the box at all hours; some with notes attached to the baby: "Sorry, sorry, and I love you my son. Mom loves you more than anything else."

Ivie and his film crew grew close to Pastor Lee's family while living with him. Lee's loving care was contagious and Ivie would look around and think of the burden it would be for this fifty-nine year old man to care for close to 20 disabled children. And then he would look at Lee and see him grinning from ear to ear. While these babies' lives were being saved, Ivie's soul was saved. He became a Christian while making the film. He said, " I saw all those kids come through this drop box with deformities and disabilities, and eventually - like a heaven flash - I realized that I was one of those kids too; that I have a crooked soul, and God is a father who loves me still."
Ivie won an award with his film and received $101,000 which he said that he would use to continue telling important stories. In Ivie's acceptance speech he spoke about relying on God for every breath that we take and that is what he learned from the orphans.

Here is a link to the three minute trailer called "The Drop Box"

Pastor Lee. You will never read this, but you are a man of inspiration. We can see your loving care to these children and know that you cherish them. Your selflessness is apparent, spending all of  your time devoted to caring and serving. Now that our family knows about you, you will be in our prayers. Thank you for your example!

-I first read about Pastor Lee in a World magazine and then searched the web for more information-

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 18, 1962

December 18, 1962. It was a dark and blustery winter evening as Jilt and his wife Jacoba stood at the end of the driveway of their small war time home, waiting for a chance to cross the road. They had plans to spend the evening at their church celebrating Christmas with friends, singing and enjoying one anothers' company. Being actively involved in the church community was not something new for Jilt and Jacoba. Before they immigrated to Canada, Jilt had served as a deacon in their church in Holland and now here in Canada he was an elder. Although being immigrants in a new country for the past eight years was challenging Jilt and Jacoba had the pleasure of witnessing their daughters and son marry. They joyfully welcomed grandchildren into their lives. Their youngest son, Garry still remained at home and Jilt kept busy with his upholstery business.

Jilt and Jacoba in their younger years.

On December 18, as Jilt and Jacoba crossed the road dressed in their warm winter clothes, a car came barreling around the corner. With the smell of alcohol on his breath, William C. aged 38 headed straight for Jilt and Jacoba throwing them on to the roof of his car and then tossing them into the air. Jacoba, just two months shy of turning 60, died upon impact and Jilt, 66, died of his injuries two hours later in the hospital.

Their son, Garry, was playing the organ in the living room of their home when he heard the screeching of brakes and then a loud thud. Instantly he knew that it was his parents.
Jilt and Jacoba's children were called and told that a terrible accident had taken place and to rush to the hospital. Tragically they never saw their parents alive again.

(Jacoba and Jilt are on the right - two years before their death)

The next morning, the newspaper headline read, "City Couple Killed By Car."
The family, in their shock and grief, made calls to their friends and family in Holland, wrote obituary notices, and decided on funeral arrangements.
My dad had just turned eight when his grandparents were killed and although he remembered his grandparents small, little home, with the organ taking up most of the space in the living room; he also remembered spending time there, the rabbits that his grandfather raised, and the upholstery business in the back shop. My dad said that he will never forget the phone call of that night, watching his parents' shocked faces and then the rush to leave for the hospital.
1Thessalonians 4:13-18 was written on the obituary notices and what a blessing it was for Jilt and Jacoba's children to know that those who die believing that Jesus died and rose again will always be with the Lord. They were able to comfort one another with this (vs 18).

Reading the old newspaper articles from 1962 and asking my grandparents questions about the accident has made me reflective and has challenged me.
*I was reminded that life on earth is a journey and we will leave behind a legacy. How we live now, the decisions we make, the words we speak, and our actions determine what kind of legacy we will leave.
*We often say, "the Lord willing." On that winter evening, Jilt and Jacoba closed the  front door of their home and a few moments later they were taken from this earth.
*This accident occurred exactly one week before Christmas Day. While the Christmas season may be "merry and bright" for us - not everyone is celebrating. Those around us may be in a hard place in their lives and we need to come along side them and be understanding and sympathetic.

Tonight, Adam and I look forward to celebrating Christ's birth in our church. Exactly fifty-one years ago, so did my great grandparents. Last night my grandfather said to me that generations come and go, but one thing remains - God is faithful and He is good!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

a new kind of cookie

Our boys, also known as the Voortman Cookie Taste Testers, gave their hearty stamp of approval on a new kind of cookie that Voortmans wanted to try out - a cookies n' creme wafer. This past summer when they performed their taste test, they rated this new wafer as "the best ever, unbelievable, and beyond delicious."
This week my dad came over with the first packaged "cookies n' creme" wafer to show the boys. The boys were totally excited and thrilled that they were part of this new kind of cookie.
That evening while the boys were making lunches for the next day, I over heard one boy say to the other, "I am so excited to bring this new wafer to school. Do you know how much stuff I can get if I trade this one wafer?!"

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

ordinary days make up the passage of time

Nate and Andrew

Caleb and Andrew

At tight I fall into bed exhausted but thankful that it has been an ordinary day. There have been some bumps and bruises, bickering and problems to resolve, BUT, we are all still alive and the house is still standing in the midst of it all. Now, the challenge is to dig deeper and  not only be thankful for the big things, but to be content and thankful in the small ordinary things, the mundane, the routines of daily living, the same days repeated over and over again.
Each ordinary day is a gift and enjoy them because they make up the passage of time!
"Embrace this gift for the day. The life of faith is lived one day at a time and it has to be lived not always looked forward to -  as though the "real" living were around the next corner. It is for today we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow."  Elisabeth Elliot

Monday, November 18, 2013

Good Books for Children

On Sunday's after supper, we take the opportunity to read good and wholesome books to our children. I wanted to share a few of the books that we have read through and have loved.

We are ENJOYING this Spurgeon book right now. This is one for your own personal bookshelf. The short chapters are easy to understand with great depth and vivid illustrations. Spurgeon had a gift of finding deep meaning in the every day and this is a book that our whole family has loved reading through and has helped create some great discussions.  I highly recommend it! (The book does make the assumption that you are from England, so you may have to do a little explaining to the younger ones explaining their currency and such.)

Each one of these Miller books have been read through and enjoyed. The missionary stories especially have sparked interest and it has been good to read about the different places where man has been called to serve.

We would love it if Christine Farenhorst would write some more amazing stories to share with us!

These three books written by William Boekestein captured our attention. He did a fantastic job relaying history in a way that children could understand and at the same time show how God divinely orchestrated events so that the confessions, creeds, and catechism could be written and taught.

 "Not By Sight" is a collection of short chapters of people from the Bible. The author takes the story and makes it come alive in a beautiful way but it remains biblically accurate. At the end of each chapter there is a practical application to meditate on. I am currently reading this book and it has been very moving. The love of Christ, His tender heart, and loving kindness that He showed to people just makes you marvel. I wanted to include this book even though it is too hard for children, but teenagers and older would benefit from it.

Joel Beeke's devotional series for children has been well received and our two oldest have read the series multiple times since we bought them.

And I just had to tell you about these DVDs. Wonderful! The footage is great, the information beneficial, and best of all God's name is continuously praised. These are great for all ages!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

time change and a joke

Last year my dad stopped by on a Saturday evening wishing our little guy a happy birthday. Dad then asked me if it was the "time change" that night. I gave a laugh and said "YEP." Now to me that laugh was to be interpreted, "wouldn't that be a funny joke!" To my dad, a little more serious than I, it was "yes it was time to change the clocks tonight."
Our family woke up the next morning, welcoming a new Sunday and did our regular race to get ready for church on time. Usually when we are getting ready for church, our boys keep an eye on the neighbour's (my parents) driveway to see when they are about to leave for church and then we try to beat them. My dad is very predictable on Sunday mornings with getting into the car, backing up to the end of the driveway and then driving forward to the walkway. Usually a few minutes later my mom is ready and off they go.
Now that particular Sunday there was no action at all next store. We finally got the family loaded into the van and we took off, with the boys proclaiming victory. We had beat grandpa and grandma for once! Half way down our road, I felt my heart sink into my toes, and my hands took on a sudden clamminess. With a very serious, whispered voice I said "Oh no! Adam, I think that my dad took my half hearted attempt at a joke seriously and they think that church doesn't start for another hour."
 Ever calm Adam said to wait and see, and what happens will happen.
 Not so I told myself. This was no good at all.
 We shuttled our little ones into the babysit and then sat in the pew and that is when I saw the empty organ. "Oh no, oh no, oh no."
 Not only was my dad who never missed church now missing church, there was no one to play the organ. I started to do some quick problem solving.
 I could sort of play the piano, but it is better if only the four living room walls heard me. Not a congregation of four hundred people... I hurriedly scanned the song selections to see if I could attempt to play the piano. Four flats. Groan. Now my heart was beating very rapidly. I turned around and told my cousin sitting behind me that this was not good. Not good at all. He had no idea what my muttering was all about. And then, another organist walked down the isle and made himself comfortable at the organ. I almost hugged him.
After the church service was over we made our way home and the minute I stepped inside the phone rang. It was my dad. "Kerrrrrrri." Yes, I know. This was a joke gone bad.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Truth for Today

The ladies in our church bible study are going through the book of Hebrews using the John MacArthur study guide. Here's an exert from the first chapter that is beautifully written.

Someone has said that Jesus Christ came from the bosom of the Father to the bosom of a woman.
 He put on humanity that we might put on divinity. He became Son of Man that we might become sons of God. He was born contrary to the laws of nature, lived in poverty, was reared in obscurity, and only once crossed the boundaries of the land in which He was born-and that in His childhood.
 He had no wealth or influence and had neither training nor education in the world's schools.
 His relatives were inconspicuous and not influential. In infancy He startled a king. In boyhood He puzzled the learned doctors. In manhood He ruled the course of nature. He walked upon the billows and hushed the sea to sleep. He healed the multitudes without medicine and made no charge for His services.
 He never wrote a book and yet all the libraries of the world could not hold the books about Him. He never wrote a song, yet He has furnished the theme for more songs than all songwriters together. He never founded a college, yet all the schools together cannot boast of as many students as He has had. He never practiced medicine and yet He has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors have healed broken bodies.
This Jesus Christ is the star of astronomy, the rock of geology, the lion and the lamb of zoology, the harmonizer of all discord, and the healer of all diseases. Throughout history, great men have come and gone, yet He lives on. Herod could not kill Him. Satan could not seduce Him.
 Death could not destroy Him. And the grave could not hold Him.

Monday, October 7, 2013

after church struggles

  The sun is shining through the church windows and the last note has been sung as the congregation files out of the sanctuary. Peacefulness is felt in the air but as I step into the front foyer, mine and Adam's struggles begin. Cutting through the crowd of people I make my way to the babysit and sign out Caleb. He has missed his morning nap and his eyes are red. He is tired, hungry, and ready for his bed. I hold him close to soothe him and make my way to the next babysit. The door opens a crack and a ball of fire leaps out and takes off. I consider chasing Tyler but weaving through the crowds with a diaper bag, purse, papers and a baby is not that easy, not even for the agile. As I near the consistory door Adam steps out. With our eyes we signal across the crowd of people that boy#4 has taken off and is nowhere to be found. Adam starts to weave through the crowds and tries to remember what boy number 4 was wearing. Oh yes, he is wearing a bright shirt. This mother is brilliant and dresses him bright so that he is easy to spot. But that is also a problem, he is easy for everyone to spot and see what he is up to. There he is. He is tugging on great-grandma's purse and is trying to open it so that he can get some candy. Great grandma gives him a candy and as soon as we catch up to him, in a flash he is gone. Now we see him "begging" my mom for candy. (The kids only have to say "hi" and she opens up her purse) We think that he likes the challenge of my mom's candies because her gigantic King peppermints are meant for a horse's mouth. Tyler somehow stuffs the peppermint into his mouth and by this time Adam has caught up to him. Adam grabs him and holds him in a locked position. However within seconds slobber and drool is pouring out of Tyler's mouth all over Adam's clean pressed shirt and tie. Adam puts Tyler down to do some clean up duty, and poof, Tyler is gone again.
 Adam and I used to love after church time, fellowshipping with people. I loved standing in the library and placing some good books into the hands of eager readers, but I think that this will be on hold for the time being.
 We find Tyler again, nod hellos and wave to people and head off to the van. By this time Sunday school is almost over for the three older boys and we begin another round of activity - rounding them all up.
 Boy number 3 wants to go to his cousins house and after that is all arranged boy number 1 notices that there is now room in the van for him to have a friend over. Boy number 1 heads back into the church to find a friend. After some waiting boy number 1 comes back to the van with a friend and we wait some more for boy number 2 to show up. Boy number 1 graciously offers to head back into the church to find boy number 2 and we wait again. By this time, much time has passed, the parking lot is emptying and my impatient nature wants to leave too so that the baby can go to bed.
 Boy number 2 finally comes to the van but now boy number 1 is still missing. There are times that this can go in for another round or two before we are all finally buckled up in the van and can head off towards home.
I don't think that we are the only family that has these moments after church!
 And at least we haven't forgotten anybody at church...yet. That's another thing to remember on Sundays. Always do a head count before you leave church!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

summer from the homefront

Time spent with family and friends makes summer! Just like everyone else, our summer flew right by. There were times of relaxing, hard work, reading, visiting, swimming, and yes, there were times that pestering occurred too (we just didn't take pictures of those times!)


The boys and their cousins were treated to an hour of horse back riding. How they loved it!
My friend Christine and I spent a day shopping and exploring in St. Jacobs. What a treat it was to talk and talk and not rush home to make dinner. We had such a wonderful day and were sad to hear that it burnt down at the end of summer.

Other friends told us about Geo-caching and that was a big hit. If you haven't heard about it, look it up. It is a great way to get outdoors and have everyone searching for a "treasure."  Just watch out for poison ivy.

Up north, we had a morning of fun with a skipping rope. There was high jump, partner jumping, push ups and skipping, and group skipping. The competition was fierce!
And then the rope became a finish line for human wheelbarrow races.
Apparently the races weren't just for the kids.


I had an "arrival moment" this summer. I heard the baby crying and all of a sudden he stopped. The boys picked him up and started playing with him. WOW! That has never happened before. Built in babysitters!

When Tyler turned 3 he still was not speaking. After some tests we found out that he had hearing loss. A quick little surgery corrected that and now we are finally able to communicate a little better. 
Good bye summer!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

my rant against bird bangers

Walking along the beautiful country road admiring the perfectly straight rows of grapes can be a serene experience until a loud KABOOM shatters the silence. The grapes are almost ready to be harvested, and the birds are busy feasting on these delicious grapes. Farmers watch their hard labours being eaten away so they go on bird-control by installing bird bangers throughout the grapes. A bird banger is a tripod sort of thing that has a telescope mounted on to the top. Fueled with a propane tank located below the tripod, the bird banger turns around and around and then randomly fires- KABOOM!! Very loudly. Usually three short blasts fill the air followed by a flock of birds quickly flying away for safety.
Normally it takes a few days to get used to these loud bangs but eventually you learn how to tune them out. The bird bangers even provide some amusement when guests who are visiting suddenly duck after they hear the first shot fired. To the visitors it feels like they are in enemy territory or are about to be hunted.
During the past few weeks we have had a bird banger in the field across the street that has had a maverick temperament. The banger started going off at 2:00 in the morning and shocked me awake. Ear plugs did nothing. Counting sheep could not get me back to sleep. Finally in desperation I woke up Adam who could sleep through an invasion and he wearily headed off into the night in search of this banger that was going off. I laid in bed worrying that he would be surrounded by a pack of furious coyotes. Adam was worried about a LOUD bang going off in his ear if he couldn't disconnect the bird banger quickly enough.
The next day I got the farmer's phone number and since then we have called him twice in the middle of the night because of this out of control bird banger. It is a little humorous hearing his golf cart riding up and down the road in the middle of the night.
There is another type of bird banger that is called a bird screecher. I think that the farmer was trying to be nice to us by putting this bird screecher right near our home instead of a bird banger. This bird screecher goes off every few minutes and it imitates different bird predators that scare the flocks of birds away from the grapes. What the farmer didn't know is that our boys are rapture lovers and have spent countless hours trying to perfect their red tail hawk call. Andrew does his red tail hawk call so well that the red tail hawk that lives by our house actually answers back. So in our house we have these loud screeches from our boys who are mastering their bird calls and then when I go outside there are more screeches!
I hardly dare to complain about these loud KABOOMS and screeches that go on during the grape harvest because after all we have chosen to live out in the country. In our defense, however, our family is so loud that if we lived in a subdivision, I would have to sleep with one eye open for fear of what our neighbours would do to us!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

up north 2013

We had a wonderful, wonderful week up north and were spoiled with many beautiful memories to bring back home.


Tyler woke up a little early one morning and after he emptied the kitchen drawers he was bored. At that moment my dad walked past our cottage to go fishing off of the dock and I sent Tyler chasing after him. After watching Tyler and my dad talking and seeing the beautiful sunrise, I decided that it was the best morning ever. One to cherish. 


Renee and Luke

This is Liam all of the way. Always interested in nature and exploring.

These three girly cousins spent most of the week dressed up and playing house. Just adorable.

You know that you have an "interesting" family when you pick up your little one from your aunt and he greets you like this.

Can't miss candy river. Its a one of a kind river where you can catch candy! Of course Tyler didn't remember it from last year so when he caught this candy he was shocked.

Heather and Daniel
These four boy cousins are so fun to watch. They are all born within a few weeks of eachother and their lively characters are taking shape. Some are daring, others more cautious, some more leader like, and others more peace maker like. They add a lot of spice and fun in our lives!