Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

This is the card I designed and sent out to friends and family this year! I got them printed at Costco, which is quite an economical way to do cards.

Elements of the card are taken from the Stock Exchange, and are for personal use only, so I can't offer this card for sale.

The words in the background of my card are from my very favourite Dutch Christmas Carol. "Ere Zij God" The lyrics are:

Ere zij god, ere zij god

In den hoge, in den hoge, in den hoge

Vrede op aarde, vrede op aarde
In de mensen een welbehagen
Ere zij god in den hoge,

Ere zij god in den hoge

Vrede op aarde, vrede op aarde
In de mensen een welbehagen
In de mensen, een welbehagen, een welbehagen
Amen, Amen.


Glory to God! Glory to God!
In the highest, in the highest, in the highest!
Peace be on Earth, peace be on Earth
To the people whom God delights in.
Glory to God in the highest, glory to God in the highest!
Peace be on Earth, peace be on Earth, peace be on Earth, peace be on Earth
To the people, to the people whom God delights in,
To the people whom God delights in, whom God delights in.
Glory to God! Glory to God!
In the highest, in the highest, in the highest!
Peace be on Earth, peace be on Earth
To the people whom God delights in.
Amen. Amen.

My DH and I were in Florida for a time just before Christmas, but wanted to be home for our grandson Eli's first Christmas, and to enjoy Judah's Christmas too. One of the most memorable moments of our day, Judah telling us "I like presents!"

It was a lovely day, despite the occaisional bouts of sadness, missing our loved ones who have gone to glory. I pray that all of you had a very Merry Christmas. We had a busy, long day, but one that was filled with love and laughter with friends and family.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Feeling Blue again

On November 13, at around 10:30 in the morning, my Aunt May and Uncle Cor were on their way to visit my uncle's (and my Mom's) sister  for a pleasant birthday visit. (Uncle Brian's and Aunt Henny's place is pictured below) They were in Orangeville, on their way north, when they were hit by a pickup truck that ran a red light. Whilst I was baby-sitting in the nursery at church, Uncle Cor was being air lifted to St. Micheal's hospital in Toronto, and my Aunt went to the local hospital in Orangeville. Her injuries were not as severe as his.

She had to wait, while hanging upside down, for the rescue workers to get Uncle Cor out of the van, before she could come out of the van herself. It was a frantic day of phone calls. Uncle Brian was called, he had some tough phone calls to make as well. Our family is large, Mom is one of nine, and I have 22 cousins, most of whom are married and also have kids, and the next generation is on the way too. All together, I think there are around 90 of us.

Uncle Brian was there very quickly to help, and do what he could in this tough situation. He had nothing but high praises for our EMP's, the police, and even the local people who witnessed this horrible accident.

Mom's call to me came shortly after we came home from church, "there's been a horrendous accident" "it's very bad", and "we need to pray". As I got the details from Mom, I began to shake with dread, and after the call where she told me that my Uncle's skull was fractured, and his lungs were filling with blood, I thought, sadly, crying, perhaps he's already left this earth, and is on his way to heaven. I was so scared.

When Mom called at around 4:30 in the afternoon, our worst fears were realized, my uncle was gone!

This was my dear cousin Annette's Dad. Annette had only passed away 8 short months ago! This just didn't seem right or fair!

We had just had a gathering at my Aunt and Uncle's place, on October 22, after a very nice memorial service that was held at Shalom Manor, where Annette had resided for a number of years. It was a very nice visit, and the last words I heard from my Uncle were words of welcome, and he thanked me again for the piece I wrote about Annette in a previous blog post, and to come back and visit any time. I said that we would. You just never know...

This photo was taken at one of our family reunions, this was a game to guess what this object was used for.

Uncle Fred on the left, Uncle Cor, on the right. "what is this thing?"

My cousin had some profound words of wisdom at the funeral home. "We all have a number, we don't know what it is, and we don't know when it will be"... but every birthday, anniversary, family reunion, every opportunity to spend time with our loved ones, is very important and should not be missed. "I mean it, I'm not joking!" (Hugo is the kind of guy who likes to joke around!) When we were young, he would drive our Oma crazy with it. "Oh that Hugo!" she would say. She surely did love us all, though. She sometimes tried to hide the little smirk that threatened to appear when she chastised him!

Many wonderful words were spoken at the funeral. I was very touched by Annette's husband's words. He was very simple and direct. He told us how happy he was when he came to Canada, that he had a "Dad" again, as his own father had passed away. He also told of how they had a period of time where he and his in-laws didn't get along very well, but that they had reconciled, forgiven each other, and he was so glad to have a "Dad" again.  His words of wisdom: "Love each other, forgive each other". It's so true, and so important!

Uncle Dirk reminded all of us that are two ways to see things in a tragedy such as this one. We can sorrow that he is gone, or we can rejoice that he was here. We can be bitter about the accident, or we can be better for having known and loved him. I certainly do enjoy listening to my Uncle Dirk, he has a gift, that's for sure!

At the funeral, Uncle Brian told all of us, that as an employee, he often would have opportunities to learn, and in one such opportunity, he learned that all of us have a "board of directors". These are people that we turn to when in need of some advice. He gave such a wonderful picture of this "board", you can just imagine the people on your "board". When you are a child, your parents are the only board of directors you will need, but as you grow older, your board gets larger, to include your peers, your teachers, your friends. Teenagers seldom include their parents, but some do. Then as adults, we turn back to our parents, and want them on our "board" once again. We usually include people who are experts in their field, and Uncle Cor was one such person. He was an excellent carpenter, and woodworker. He was a fine friend and companion, Uncle Brian reminisced over the type of day they would have had together, enjoying some time playing pool, "drowning some worms", and feasting together. That Sunday was to be such a day. Uncle Brian's concluding words were that Cor would always be on his "Board of Directors". It was a very touching eulogy.

There are many examples of Uncle Cor's craftsmanship throughout our family. Uncle Cor was the kind of man who would see a problem, and fix it. He told my parents that since they were getting on in years, they would need a sturdy hand rail on their stairs to the basement, so he built them one. He also noticed that the step outside was too high, so he came the next week to pour a new step out of concrete. He made the TV stand, the wainscoting, the shelving, and on and on....

Mom's house is full of memories of Uncle Cor. It's so hard to have lost someone in such a sudden and tragic way. Everywhere you look at Mom and Dad's house, you are reminded of him. How much more so at their own home!

Uncle Cor was also the caregiver to Aunt May. He built their house with this in mind, making it wheelchair accessible. It is impossible for Aunt May to be by herself in the home. At this time, she is living with her son.

Their home was built in a beautiful rural area; she had such a lovely view out of her window. Picture a comfy chair, sitting beside a large window, overlooking fields of wildflowers, and an abundance of trees. There is lovely natural light to cross stitch, knit or crochet by, and a wonderful little stand to hold your patterns right beside the chair, and a light in just the right spot, for when it starts to get too dark to stitch. I had wanted to ask my uncle to make a stand just like that one for me, but I never got the chance.

It has been a tough few weeks, and the first few days, I was very angry. I think I'm getting over the anger, but it's a tough one. I know this person did not intentionally seek out my uncle's van to drive his pickup into, but, it has been difficult. My Aunt has been handling things quite well emotionally, I think I would be a basket case. Can't even imagine losing my spouse that way! It's just all so sad! Another of my uncles, Uncle Al, said that "you won't be, you are given a gift" he was overcome with such a feeling of calm when his wife passed away, he knew he had to be strong for his family. The Lord surely does give this blessing, for I know it does not come from ourselves.

Well, I've been rambling on again about family tragedies.

In the meantime, Christmas is almost here, and life does go on. I've been busy making some Christmas card templates, and I've added a bunch to Etsy. They are great for photographers and digital scrapbookers, and those familiar with photoshop. They are layered psd files, ready to add your own personal pictures and phrases to.

These all feature my daughter, son in-law, and my 2 adorable grandsons! (aren't they ever so cute!?)
My daughter asked me to design a card for her, and I just kept going! She chose three of them, so even she couldn't decide which one she liked best!

Amazing photographs by Christina Claus! Check her blog, she is a fabulous family, children, and newborn photographer in the Niagara region.