Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Yesterday & Today

 It was on this homestead that the Bartel family settled in 1951.
Little did I know that I would share ownership in this farm.
In September 1973, I married John and soon there after I became a partner in the family business.
I had always heard of all the parties that the Bartel families had entertained prior to my time.

 Here is a typical after wedding party that happened at the Bartel farm in the early 60's.
Notice the street, Bustin Road lined with cars/pickups, from the 50/60's era
and the farm house in the back ground.
Dancing was not allowed for Mennonites,
so they decided to break the rules and called it 'circle games.'
Yes, the girls wore dresses...and the men looked smartly dressed.
Well those same people who were at this party years back have changed slightly.

On this day, July 10th, 2015 many of the same people came back and 
reminisced about the days gone past,
shared stories of long ago and reconnected around old-fashioned fellowship.
We gathered together to Celebrate Papa's Life of 103 years.

 "Where did all the Flowers go?"
"When a Man Loves a Women
"All You Need is Love"
"Hey Jude"
 Notice how the cars are parked parallel, down the long lane on both sides.
These automobiles look slightly different.
I wonder if they will ever become vintage.

 Has much really changed?
Not really.
Given an opportunity, family loves to come together to reminisce and reconnect.

 I always wonder how the next generation will connect with family?
Will they connect under tents and sing songs?
I wonder if they will be singing,
"Grandpa Tell Me About the Good Old Days"

"All I know is that we have this moment to hold in our hand,
And to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand.
Yesterday's gone and tomorrow may never come,
But we have this moment today."

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Auf Wiedersehen Papa!

 Our loving Papa has left us.
He took his last steps as he walked into the Mission Respite Center
on Thursday, June 25th.
Little did we know that this would become his 'hospice'
 He was surrounded by family when he took his last breaths a week later.
He has reached his final destination, where he is with his eternal God.
Papa was always known for his 'wave' of enthusiasm.

 Johannes Heinrich Bartel

March 2, 1912 ~ July 3, 2015

 We all drove the long road to Valley View Cemetery in Agassiz.
Yes, you will see somber moments, but you will also see that this was a joyous occasion.

 The grandchildren participated as honorary pallbearers.

 Families gathered together from far and wide.
Yes, this was a time to celebrate Papa's life.

 We were excited to introduce Tara to the Calgary Cousins.

 The little ones asked a question.
"How can we be so happy when Great Opa has died?"
"Shouldn't we be sad?"

How do children comprehend death?
This was something new to them.
Hugs, wiping tears and answering questions.
It was hard for them to comprehend that they would not see Great Opa again.

  Papa's only living brother, Siegfried, also 100 years old.
It was a difficult day for him. He is longing to go 'home' also.

Even Ivy captured the somber moment of reverence and respect.

 Scriptures were read and prayers were given as Papa's soul 
was committed to heaven.
Choirs were always part of Papa's life and
 soon the whole family joined in singing the beautiful hymn.

"The Doxology"

Thank you Pastor Rob Brown for guiding us through this week.
We know that Papa really appreciated your leadership as a Pastor.

A Service of Thanksgiving & Celebration was held at the 
Eden Mennonite Church where Papa was active as a lay pastor and choir conductor.
The scripture that Papa chose was from Psalm 103
Bless the Lord, Oh my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Psalm 103 at the appropriate age, 103!
Papa wrote his own obituary and planned his own funeral in 1995.

 He always loved music.  He had chosen over 30 songs that he wanted
sung at his funeral...we had to make some tough decisions.

It was beautiful to see how the grandchildren voluntarily offered
 tributes through music, songs, words and scriptures.
Really, how does one captivate 103 years into a one hour service?

Once more last goodbye for the family.

Trying to comprehend death.

 We knew that our Papa loved life and celebrated well.
We invited family and friends after the church service.
We were not prepared for 75 people...but everyone pulled together.

Cousins, of all ages entertained each other with laughter.

 The older ladies loved sitting on comfortable couches.

 While the older men enjoyed the outdoors.

 Younger cousins stood around connecting with one another.

The cousins have all grown up....and are reminiscing.

 Cousins sharing stories of times long ago.

 Does true  'Sisterhood' reveal itself any better than this?

Papa, you lived a good life and we know that you 
would of wanted us to have one more last 'Hurrah'
and that's exactly what we did.

"Beautiful and rich memories make for a hard and heavy separation.
However, gratitude transforms the agony of remembering in quiet joy.
We carry the past, and the beauty thereof, not like a thorn,
but like a priceless gift within ourselves."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Auf Wiedersehen!

Thursday, June 18, 2015


 I love living in the now and then...
but there are times when I just need to reflect way back....
Last year, I observed these women during my travels,
then someone suggested that I sit beside them.
Many milestones and events both good and bad have been etched into our lives.

Time passes.  
Life Happens.
Distance Separates.
Children Grow up.
Jobs Come and go.
Love waxes and wanes.
Men don't do what they're supposed to do.
Heart break.
Parents die.
Careers end.


Sisters, Girlfriends, Grand-daughters, Daughters,  Daughters-in-law,
Mothers, Mothers-in-law, Grandmothers, Aunties, Nieces, 
Cousins, and extended family.
They all bless our life.

When you walk that lonesome valley...they'll be there.
And sometimes you have to walk it alone...but they'll still be there.

When you are struggling with things and feeling alone....
We'll be there cheering you on, pulling for you...
When you just need to sit and read a book, Oma will be there. 

Chatting up a storm about life, marriage, kids,
the obligations and responsibilities.
Cling a few glasses!

At age 20 we worry about what others think of us;
At age 40 we don't care what they think of us;
At age 60 we realize that they haven't been thinking of us at all.
Waiting with open arms when you are at your ends wit.
Trust me, they'll be there!

Hey little girl, listen to your MUM!
Some day you will understand that your Mum knew what she was talking about.

 Listen to the farming gals.....gum boots, chasing cows, gardening, baking...
Sometimes we will even break the rules, no matter what.

I've learned that it does not matter...what age you are,
young or old....
When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead.  Nor did we know how much we would need each other.

 All you need know is that 'this is the time of your life.'
As time and nature work their changes and their mysteries in this world,
here is what I've learned:

The world wouldn't be the same without women and neither would I!