Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Traveling through Europe...in our imaginations!

"Traveling" through Europe during this cold, long- lasting winter has been a highlight for our family!
It all started way back in December when my friend made us a mouth watering, homemade lasagna (as in making the noodles from scratch - something I would never attempt!) Having a meal given to you is great, eating something so superb is even greater! This called for a celebration. We invited our newly married brother-in law & sister-in law over and we got carried away with an "Italiano Christmas."
That evening homemade flags and maps were hung up, Sicilian sparkling juice was poured and we dished up even more Italian food.
I printed up fun and interesting facts about Italy and we took turns reading about this scenic country. Who knew they had the most elevators in the world or that the chances of getting pick-pocketed were pretty good according to statistics?! 
We had Italian music serenade us in the background.
This evening was so successful we needed to explore another country: England!

Fish & chips, coleslaw, English breakfast tea served in tea cups, warm scones topped with whipped cream and jam all made for a delicious meal! Our English neighbour loaned us flags and maps. Again we  took turns reading our little slips of paper with fun and interesting facts about England. With the English music playing in the background, the atmosphere was "lovely."

Welcome to Poland!

We ate Polish candy straight from Poland. We learned in our fun and interesting facts that the candy section in the grocery stores is the biggest section of all. Our boys wanted to move there!

These evenings have been a blast...we have enjoyed preparing food from these countries and learning about their geography and history. Reading the fun and interesting facts involves all the ages and the music, especially the Polish Polka(!) truly adds to the atmosphere.
Next up...we are taking a break from Europe and heading to America, specifically the 1950s era to have a "Vintage Diner" themed supper. Burgers, soda, milkshakes, banana splits - here we come!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


In January my parents had a 60th birthday celebration. Friends and family came to join in celebrating the 60 years God has given them. We heard stories, laughed, talked, and enjoyed delicious food.

My sisters and I prepared speeches for this special occasion. In a strange way it was a hard speech to write. There were so many stories- both funny and serious, snippets of conversations, and words of encouragement that ran through my mind. In the end I narrowed my speech down to the topic of
 "Living Beside Dad & Mom."
Here are a few paragraphs from the speech:

About ten years ago, Adam and I sat down in dad and mom’s living room and told them we bought the old, rundown grape farm next door to them. Considering we did not know a thing about grape farming or tractors, dad and mom probably had some hesitations about our investment but they didn’t share their misgivings with us.
They have been slow to criticize and interfere and instead they have been quick to encourage and often throw in their full support.
They allowed us to live with them while we worked on home renovations, and when the time came for harvesting grapes – they slaved away right beside us. When they couldn’t help with the picking and sorting of grapes  - they sent my sisters over to help. The whole grape harvest ended in a flop, and when we decided that grape farming was not for us, dad and mom just nodded in agreement, and as per their style they didn’t say a word.
We then decided to plant bushes, hundreds of them. I am not sure what we were thinking because we have the worse clay soil in all of Ontario, BUT, once again dad and mom didn’t say a word to deter us, nor did they question our plans. Instead they came along side us and hoed away in the hard clay.
When all of those bushes shrivelled and died and we realized that working the land was not for us, a big solar barn was built on our property rising high into the sky blocking dad and mom’s view of the escarpment. Again, we did not hear a word from dad and mom.
And then came the time we thought we should start a hobby farm and fence posts were pounded into the ground. Again dad and mom didn’t say a word knowing that they would be the ones called when the chickens and pigs escaped. And that is exactly what happened. Dad has helped our dog while she was in labour, delivering a breech puppy, and he has been a huge help when the animals have escaped blocking paths and chasing the animals down.  Mom, on the other hand stood there, pointing to the chaos and laughed her head off.

As our family grew, so did the number of trips to the emergency room. Dad and mom have always rushed right over after getting my crazy, frantic calls. They have either come along to the hospital or have stayed back to babysit the rest of the children while we have had to seek medical help. Again, I think they have shaken their heads in dismay at some of the happenings in our home, but they do not say a word.

Our younger boys especially like it at grandma and grandpas and on a number of occasions have escaped to grandma and grandpa’s reaching their home in Olympic timing. Adam has gone over there to pick up the little escapee only to find him happily sitting on a couch munching  a cookie, and watching TV. Adam has then had to do some serious disciplining so mom takes off to another room with her hands over her ears and then that is when she can no longer keep silent.  We hear, “These boys are still so young! Is it really necessary to take a hard line like that? Do you think those boys know better or do you think it is childhood innocence?”
Our boys know full well that they have grandma on their side because when they have been hurt or have gotten in trouble they stand at our kitchen window facing out to my parents’ home. With their noses smudged up against the glass and tears pouring down their cheeks, they wail “Graaaandma, Graaaandma!” hoping she will hear and rescue them.

A few months ago I noticed a furniture delivery truck slowly backing down their driveway. Mom was thrilled with her new furniture for the downstairs. I asked her what dad thought about the red couches, and heard, “He doesn’t know yet. I guess he will find out when he goes down stairs.” Two and a half months later, mom asked Adam to hang pictures in the basement. She felt bad asking for Adam’s help but dad couldn’t do it because he still didn’t know about the decorative make over in the downstairs. And this is how we grew up, with mom buying, selling, decorating, and re-decorating. Most of the time Dad was unaware of her plans until they were all finished or it was too late to stop the progress. This past summer dad came home from work and there was a man taking apart the back deck. Now they needed a whole new deck. Dad has taken this all in stride, being a great example to his son-in-laws!

A few weeks ago I woke up early on a Sunday morning and decided to go for a quick walk down our road. It was still dark outside and I was actually a little afraid thinking about the hungry coyotes living in the nearby bush. Just then, the lights went on in the music room at my parents’ home. I started walking towards the light. As I neared their home and looked through their window panes, I could see dad sitting on the organ bench, music spread out in front of him and his hands moving up and down the key boards. It was a comforting moment. When the lights lit up that room and shone out onto the dark street, I thought about our lives. Dad and mom have always been there for us. Through the dark times, they have supported us, encouraged us, loved us, cared and comforted us. They have spoken words of truth to us, gently correcting where correction was needed. They have listened to us, and many, many times over the years have we heard them say, “Take the high road. You will never regret it.” They have been slow to speak, quick to listen, always showing grace. During joyful times and during difficult times, their lives have reflected their love for our families, for our church, and for Christ. This is abundantly clear in their words and actions. We are so very grateful for you!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

comfort and inspiration

A few weeks ago in our women's bible study we were discussing Christian persecution. I thought back over the years and realized ever since I was a little girl, the thought of persecution towards Christians has terrified me.
 Would I be strong enough to suffer? Would I be able to stand firm in my faith and boldly proclaim that Jesus is my Lord and Saviour?

Later that afternoon I was reading about Corrie Ten Boom and this beautiful paragraph jumped out at me.

This is Corrie speaking. "When I was a little girl, I told Father that I was afraid I would never be strong enough to suffer as a martyr for Jesus.

 Father asked me,
"When you go to travel, when do I give you the train ticket? Three weeks before?"

"No, Daddy, the day I go to the train."

"That is so, Corrie. And so does God. He does not give you now the strength to suffer for Him, but if you should have the honor to be called to hard times as a martyr, He will give you the grace, the train ticket, just in time."

"God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind."

This story helped me. I hope it will help you too!


This is one of Corrie's special childhood memories:

"When I was a little girl I was sure that Jesus was a member of the Ten Boom family. It was just as easy to talk to Him as it was to carry on a conversation with my mother and father. Jesus was there.
One day when I was five years old, my mother watched me playing house. She saw me knock on an imaginary neighbor's door and wait for an answer. "Corrie," she said, "I know Someone Who is standing at your door and knocking. He is Jesus. Would you like to invite Him into your heart?" I said, "Yes." She put her hand in mine and we prayed together. Jesus didn't say "You are just too little." He just came and He never left me.

I love this beautiful story of Corrie's mother tenderly talking to her. You can be sure she was a praying mother and knew when to speak these wise words to her daughter, gently leading her.