Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Better Butter

This puddle of melted butter in our microwave started
our day in the best way ever. True story.

You see, in our house, an attempt to soften butter so
it's spreadable, which ends in butter that could
be sprayable is a sweet reminder for Peter and I.
We call it "doing-an-Oma-Meinen" :)

When I called Oma to tell her I was dating a farmer she was
pretty excited. When she found out he was a dairy farmer
I think I actually heard her clap her hands. Needless to say,
she became quite fond of Peter in a very short time.
We used to visit her in Brampton and our times together
always involved lots of food and lots of 'farm talk'.

One of my very favorite memories of Oma was when she
took us out to Mother Tucker's restaurant. We left her
apartment and headed for her little car, but when she saw
Pete's Ford F150 sitting in the parking lot, she decided that
we should take the truck instead. So the three of us piled into
the cab and drove along McLaughlin Road with the country
music on, Oma sitting high and proud in the passenger seat
so everyone could see her. When we got to the restaurant,
before Pete could run around to the other side of the truck
to help Oma out, she had already opened the door and hopped
down like a young spring chick. It was awesome.

But, back to the butter...
Another time we were there, enjoying the dutchiest
of dutch lunches ever - soup and buns, when Oma
realized she was out of butter. She had a block in the freezer
and proceeded to take it out and put it to thaw in the
microwave. Well, we weren't really paying attention and
the next thing we knew the butter was completely melted
and Oma said some choice words in dutch. Well Peter
just grabbed his bun and dipped it right into that soupy
mess and then and there Oma's heart melted right
along with that butter. When we left she grabbed my hand,
squeezed it, and whispered into my ear that Peter would
make a 'fine husband'. We were only dating at the time,
but I definitely knew this was the man I wanted to spend the
rest of my life with. And Oma's approval meant so much to me.

Oma never got to see Peter and I married, as she passed
away a few months after our "Butter Date".
But I often think of how much she would have loved to
watch our family grow and see her and Opa's great-grandchildren
out in the barn with the cows. I still pick up the phone to call her
sometimes and tell her stories of what's happening on the farm
and the mischief the kids are getting into, because I know she
would have loved it. I hope those fleeting moments of forgetting
she's gone never leave me. And when they do, we'll just keep
telling her stories so our children can have a piece of Oma in their
hearts. Gracie Jo's name is from Oma's (Grada Johanna) and
sometimes I wonder if in naming our daughter after her, we
haven't planted a seed of Oma's spirit in her heart.
Gracie Jo is bossy, nosey as all get-out, steadfast in her faith
and has a love for her family that is more fierce than a wild fire.
And I'm sure when Oma meets her namesake in heaven
she will be prouder than a peacock - as she was of all her children,
grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

We sure miss her.

But 'doing-an-Oma-Meinen' always helps.
So, next time you melt your butter into a puddle
in the microwave, don't fret. Just laugh, sop up the mess,
and talk about your favorite 'Oma Meinen' moments, and
how God has blessed our families through the generations.

And, pour it on, because everyone knows that butter is better!!

"...we will tell the next generation

the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
his power, and the wonders he has done.
so the next generation would know them,

even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.

Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds..."

~Psalm 78:4, 6-7~

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Forgiveness flowers...

The day the Lord created hope
was probably the same day he created Spring.
-Bern Williams

There's something about this season that always gets me.
It seems that everything I see
everything I smell
everything around me

is calling me.
is teaching me.
is reminding me.

Last week I definitely had a meltdown.
After a morning of trying to clean up the flowerbeds,
plant the garden, hang all our bedding on the clothesline,
clean up breakfast, make a hot lunch, sort calves for shipping,
and take care of the kiddos I ended up in a
puddle of tears at the kitchen sink.

When dear farmer husband came in
to find frazzled wife scrubbing dishes like
they needed some form of corporal punishment
it all came undone.

"Is everything okay?" he asks tentatively.
"No." is the very terse response.
"What's the matter?"
"Can I help you...?"
(At this point, a simple 'yes' would have been a good
response, and an acknowledgement of husband's kind
heart, but I was too wrapped up in my own self-pity,
so the conversation continued...)
"With what?" I cooly reply
"Well," he hesitates, "what needs to get done?"
And I look him directly in the eye and say
"Can you be more specific?" he asks.
And I reply, "E-VER-Y-THING!"

What followed was sweet husband suggesting that I not overdo
it, and just let some things go and focus on one thing at a time.
I'm embarrassed to admit that my reaction to this wise suggestion
was 'that the last time I checked the cleaning/cooking/ choring/childcare
fairy did not reside at our house, and if I didn't do it, it wouldn't get done.'
Or something like that. Said unkindly.

Definitely frustrated, husband retreated to the safety of the
barn while I was left behind to stew. I continued my attack
on the poor, defenseless kitchen and came to the old milk bottle full
of daffodils I cut from the garden that morning. As I rinsed and
trimmed their stems in the sink, my anger and aggravation
seemed to wash away as quickly as the dirt down the drain.

You see, daffodils remind me of my Opa.
He died in the spring two years ago and the return of
this season is always flooded with memories of him.
And as he was quickly overtaken by cancer we watched him,
a hard working, physically strong and industrious Dutchman,
fading away, his body weakened to the point of being bed-ridden,
but his spirit was full of love, joy and thanksgiving.

I was immediately stricken by my ungrateful heart.
I had just spent a morning working with my husband, digging in
the dirt on a glorious sunny spring day while our children
played - laughing, running, enjoying every moment - at our side.
My dream since I was a little girl.
And I was complaining.

I saw Peter come driving up the driveway, and I knew
I had been awful to him. I quickly went to apologize,
but before the words were even out of my mouth
a bouquet of daisies, my favorites, were placed in my hands.

Forgiveness offered, even before the offense was admitted.

That is love.

Opa's daffodils on Oma's crocheted doily.

A thankful heart, even in trying situations.

Receiving His love.

And these tulips, which sprung up with no doing of my own,
but because of the thought, care, and effort of
someone who came before me.
It made me think, what seeds am I planting in the lives of
others? What will be reaped, because of what I've sown?

Sharing His love.

I'm so glad each day is a new, fresh start.
Let's try again, shall we?

May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, O LORD,
my Rock and my Redeemer.
~Psalm 19:14~

What seeds are you planting these days?

May God's grace be with you as you seek after Him!
And enjoy the spring flowers :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Easter Memories - Part 2

Feasting with family - what we do best!

The Crazy Table :)

I can't believe she's only 5!
This girl has grown up so much in the last
little while... *sigh*

Jello egg, anyone?

Levi loves to eat.
He comes by that quite honestly, he is a Koobs you know.

(And the cut on his forehead? From the ice cream cone the
day before - really, who cuts their head on an ice cream cone?)

Lots of new calves this weekend.
Get up little guy!

And while the others are hard at work in the barn...
there goes Levi down the sand pile again.
I'm pretty sure he brought half that pile home with him.
You should have seen the bath water that night!

A great, big pile of lovin'!

Bye-bye Grandma!!
Thanks for the great day!

An Easter celebration full of family delighting in
each other and sharing the love that we've been given
because of what He did. Now this is LIFE!!!

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in faith
by praying in the Holy Spirit,
staying right at the center of God's love,
keeping your arms open and outstretched,
ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ.
This is the unending life, the real life!
~Jude 1:20-21~

Easter Memories - Part 1

Oma and Opa's hill is perfect for running, rolling and...

...rumbling and tumbling.
Poor Levi, a face plant into your ice cream cone
is never any fun.
Nothing better than a good cuppa coffee
and a handful of (semi) faithful furry friends.

I'm not sure who had the most fun, but
I am sure that at the end of the day there were
3 very tired kids and one pooched puppy!

Hmmm....who's walking who?

Channeling the Beach Boys...ahem...
"Two girls for e-very boy!!"

Nothing beats a good walk after a great meal!

Now, what's down this hole??

Country roads, take me home,
to the place I belong!

What a perfect way to end the day -
snuggled up in Opa's lap.

Celebrating Easter.
Celebrating life.
Celebrating love.

"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"
~2 Cor. 9:15~

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Eggs?

When Silas told me that Easter was about
candy and finding eggs from the Easter bunny
I realized we had a serious problem in our home!
Too much T.V. time and not enough moments
preparing my family to celebrate the
death and resurrection of our Saviour.

How had I missed this incredible chance
to share our Lord's deep love for our
children with them?

My heart was truly humbled and I was reminded,
again, how important my job as a parent is.

And, especially at times like this, is I am
so thankful for His grace!

So, in an attempt to connect the true
meaning of Easter with what the kids were
seeing all around them, we made our own
special eggs. These ones remind us of
the NEW LIFE that we have been offered
because of His death.

Our Easter egg, full of the story of Jesus' death and resurrection.

What's a good crafting time without lots of
newspaper (because when Levi paints, nothing
is safe!) and dad's old work shirts for smocks?

Can you tell Gracie likes painting just a bit?
This is our 'Sin Tin'.
We're just starting it, but when the oldest two
are in time out, they have paper and pencil to
write about or draw a picture of what they did.
Then we put the paper in the 'Sin Tin' and
pray about it together, telling Jesus we're sorry.
(And, yes, I think I will definitely will be adding
my own papers as well...) Once it gets a bit fuller, I
will empty the tin when the kids are not around.
Then we can talk about how Jesus forgives our
sins and they are GONE FOR GOOD!!
We'll see how it goes. If any of you have ideas
for explaining the concept of forgiveness to
3-5 year olds, I would love to hear them!

I love how Silas' tongue sticks out just a bit
when he's concentrating really hard :)

And, like I said, when Levi is painting - nothing is safe!
For some reason his brain translates "Only paint on the
PAPER!" to "I should probably put this stuff on my lips,
because that would be really fun!"

An egg-cellent egg-stravaganza of EGGS :)

And just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glorious power of the Father,
now we also may live NEW LIVES.
~Romans 6:4~

We pray your Easter was a powerful reminder
of Christ's love for you.
May you walk in the new life he has given to you.
It came at such a high price.
And He did it

Much love and Easter blessings,
from the Koobs Klan