Saturday, December 29, 2012

Santa's Work Bench!

2012 was a year to remember. 
We started our Christmas by all attending a Christmas Eve Service,
Envision singing  'Silent Night',
a cappella style with candles lit throughout the sanctuary.

When we arrived home, we watched those eager eyes search the tree
and enjoyed watching the young ones open their gifts,
observing their facial expressions of curiosity, excitement and anticipation.

One of our famous traditions has been to 'Unwrap the Gift'
In order to qualify you need to roll a dice of 6,
wear the mittens, touque and scarf and try to open a carefully packaged
gift which was wrapped tightly and secured with packaging tape.

This is no easy task...
There were three levels of surprises.
At one point the screwdrivers were needed to open a hard drive casing.

There is always a lucky winner...a gift card.
I remember playing this game at my first Christmas, (40 years ago)
when I became an official member of my husband's family. 

Suddenly, Santa appeared out of the work shop..with something for Oma. 

And the fun began, as everyone watched in surprise as I slowly
opened and unwrapped the most unique gift ever.
It consisted of different sizes of wood doweling, screw drivers, screws.
Really what was I suppose to do with this?
A hand crafted note of instructions accompanied the package,
which made absolutely no sense to me.
 Was, this another Funnel Story?
Was it a directional guidepost?
Was it a weather vane?
A place to hang delicate laundry?
What's your guess?
The whole family was stunned.

Christmas Day found some of us on the snowy peaks of  Mount Thom,
while some folks at home attended to the turkey and stuffing.
Word of Caution:  Don't wear running shoes in the snow!

Can you find the pickle in the tree?
Another German tradition from years ago...
This is a great way to disassemble your tree.
Christopher became the prize winner for the second time.

Several rounds of Rook and Dutch Blitz
kept the competitive family spirits burning.

A packaged gift of cinema tickets lay awaiting for the next day.
Off to the cinema to watch 'Les Miserables, a stunning musical.

This was one special Christmas well spent in more ways than one.
Spending time with those I love most.

Tune in again...
to see what Santa had created in his work bench.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The True Christmas Spirit!

I heard a soft knock at the door.
I opened the door to see smiling faces  and angelic voices singing...

"Away in a Manger"

As I looked at these beautiful faces,
I suddenly thought of the 20 children
that entered the gates of heaven these past weeks.
Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air....

Can you imagine Jesus calling them softly by their names,
gathering them around his lap and
letting them know that he would take care of them?
Can you imagine all their questions?
He would assure them that He would take care of their
Mommies and Daddies.
We continue to pray for healing for the families.

Join in with your families and sing praises to his Holy Name!

Instead of trying to comprehend his incarnation, intellectually,
learn from the example of the wise men.
They followed the star and found the babe and fell down and worshiped Him.

Look to Jesus as your star for guiding your life.
By now, I'm sure your homes are as ready as can be.
Baking, decorating, gift wrapping, shopping, stocking stuffers. 
As you gather with family and friends share the message of Christ.

"And so it remains; that the life brought to the world
so long ago in the face of a helpless baby,
is the same Life that transforms the Human Heart
and the same power that Transforms the World."

May you all feel the closeness of Jesus presence during this Christmas Season.
Jesus is the Gift that truly keeps on giving.
He invites us to come to Him in a state of being childlike
and enjoying the simple pleasures of life.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Live, Love & Laugh!

In our home you will find the words,
Live, Love & Laugh engraved on the walls.
This year I found a small ornament and hung it on my tree.
This has been a week of a laughter for me.

We started the week with a MGCC Party.
When we get together with our husbands, we all enjoy a good laugh.
We do not cook on those evenings.
We just enjoy getting to know each other, yet we're still in the kitchen.
You can read all about these events on Judy`s or Lovella`s Blogs.

I thought putting up the Christmas tree would be simple,
following the same procedure as last year.
Until, my husband walked into the house with this contraption.
It's a large funnel, with tubing.
And I sneeringly said,
"What on earth is this?"
And he jokingly responded, that someday we will all be in wheel chairs,
and we will need to be more resourceful
than lying on our backs trying to water the Christmas trees.

He simply explained his mad method. 
It truly was a simple yet functional to give him credit.
I think he's heading to the Dragon's Den.
I of course got the giggles and could not stop laughing,
as I slowly demonstrated pouring water through the funnel.
"See, you don't need to bend any more." he stated.
I imagined implementing many other functions with this new tool.

We had a light dusting of snow today.
Just the perfect tone to set the evening for our evening Christmas Party.
Our church community hosts Life Groups, where people come together,
in homes and have an opportunity to grow and connect,
while learning spiritual truths from the Bible.
It is also a place to love and be loved and experience community.

Tonight was the evening of the annual White Elephant Exchange.
One mans junk may be anothers treasure.
Judy, not knowing, grabbed my wrapped gift first.
She opened it and found a funnel.
And there was a loud burst of laughter.

No, Judy, it's not a horn!

"What am I supposed to do with this?"Judy questioned.
I was rolling with laughter on the floor,
as I was trying to explain the role of it's new function.

By now, the men all chimed in and they all had their
own interpretations of functional services for a funnel.
Our contagious laughter worked well with this group.

Then it was my turn to pick a gift,
I heard one loud burst of laughter from the fellow next to me.
He was watching every move as I slowly opened the small packet. 

My unexpected gift brought more laughter.
The evening seemed endless of laughter.
And next year we will follow the same procedure again.

Sometimes it`s good to sit back and have a good laugh 
from a different view.
We may come in all sorts, sizes and shapes....
but we know how to have fun.

"The most wasted of all days is that in which we have not laughed."

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Dancing Queen!

It was one of those days...when I got the call.
"Mom, can you be my dance partner?"
"You know I don't dance...." I said.
"But Mom, it's a dance-off at school, and I totally forgot about the event."
 "Please bring me an outfit, one for you and one for me." 
The grade fives will be so disappointed if I don't participate.

I found the right outfits.
A polka dotted dress for me, with black tights,
 and a black jacket, covering my naked  back...
(I could not manage to squeeze into a size 4 dress)
I found just the right beret to compliment my dress and
she wore a lilac colored dress over her jeans with a lilac colored mask.
She could of sold that mask many times that day.

And of course we both danced to the "Dancing Queen" by
the musical, Mama Mia.
I've always loved that musical and can still be seen walking out of the theatre...
dancing and singing to the music of the Dancing Queen.

You've seen our skillful and creative moves,
as we simultaneously danced across the floor.

 And the final score?
TENS from all of the judges....
We won the Dance-Off at my daughters school.
It was a pleasure to receive this honorable award from Simon Cowel.

We informed the class that we had been a mother-daughter team for many years.
There are times when you can get away with anything.

When I got dear man could not believe that I had become his Dancing Queen.
Finally I explained to him, how I had been deprived from this form of art.

One thing fore sure, that if we rush to pursue our daily routines,
life speeds by and we forget to live.

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."
Anne Dillard

Remember there is no such thing as in insignificant day.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Stuck on Tradition!

Traditions give the family a sense of identity, and belongingness. 
Our family has always had a tradition of celebrating the Advent Season, which means that we take time to gather around the table, focus on others,  rather than just ourselves.  When our children were small we lit the candles, read  scriptures and ate some favorite Christmas baking.  
Talking about food...our favorite cookie is the Pfeffernusse
 My recipe calls for a peculiar spice mixture which can only be found in a European delicatessen.  Our local deli has closed down.  Other's advised that I change up my recipe.  
My kids did not not agree.  I was on a hunt to find those spices.
Facebook saved my day, as I started complaining about local deli's closing down. 
How could I make these specialty cookies without the right spice package?  
To make a long story cousin in Calgary saw my pleading request... 

 My husband always brings in the mail, and said,
'You got your first Christmas gift."
I anxiously opened the package only to find...
a special package from Erika...

the special spices that had me searching the valley.

I was a happy camper...many packages and the famous candles.
You can't use just any candles.
They need to come from Germany.

My weekend was a we lit the candle and talked about Hope!

In the afternoon, those little hands helped me build a gingerbread house.

Meanwhile, I was busy making my favorite Pfeffernusse, spices and all.

It was beginning to feel like Advent.
Meanwhile just down the road, another family who loves 
to bake, will have their annual "Pfeffernusse bake off"
Last year these girls together with their Grandmother, Frieda made 
more than just one batch...they made a mountain.
Guess what these girls are doing again next week?
They sure look like they belong!

Sometimes it's good to stick to traditions.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Just Like My Mom!

Have you ever had this conversation with your family or friends 
where you talk about how your mother used to do things?

The other day when I was with Elsie, my SIL, she was asking me how I cooked my beets?
I replied.
"Dig them,
Wash them,
Leave the peel on,
and a two inch stem.
Cut the tops off at about two inches,
boil them for 10-15 minutes. 
Just like Mom"

She responded...that's exactly what my mom did.


Then when I was chatting to my sister about canning tomatoes, without question she responded...
"I can tomatoes Just like MOM!"

So then she asked, How do you freeze your apples?
"I peel them,
core them,
and dip them in salt water,
Just like Mom!"


We went out with some friends the other night to the ABC Restaurant in Abbotsford.
I kept peering at this family recognizing the children from my Sunday School Days.
I finally had the courage to step up and introduce myself.
Oh, did we have a good laugh as we acquainted ourselves.
He then responded,
"You talk 'Just like your Mom,' with hands flying all over the place."

We all know that somewhere, we have all vowed,
"We would do things differently!"
And yet, everytime I hear myself saying those words,
I sort of smile, thinking.
I am her daughter....she shared her life with me.
I now have the privilege of reading her journals....
and guess what?  I too am journaling..
"Just like MOM"

It's been twelve years that my mother has left us, all to early.
She was only seventy five.

I salute her every I walk past her photo,
and I thank her for the rich heritage that she so freely shared with me.

 I feel like she has missed out on so many milestones in my life.
Many times, I've said, Where is Mom?
But I realize that God  left me a special gift as a special reminder.

This little fellow was born on the same date, as her Celebration Day of Life. Nov. 27, 2008
What a gift...
He was over last week and wanted to make popcorn.
So I showed him how.
He thought it came ready prepared in a plastic bag from Safeway!

So we started from scratch.
I hauled out the old air popcorn maker.

 And the surprised look on his face as he watched it pop
and drop all over the place.

And we topped it off with just a bit of melted butter and salt.

 And he had his supper as he watched his favorite TV show.
I know it's no different than what my mom would of done.

Thank you Mom, once again for everything you gave to me.
And I love this special package...
 We will celebrate his birthday this weekend and I'll make sure
there are plenty of goodies and nibbles,

"Just like my MOM!"