Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Now He Has All The Time In The World

On Tuesday, July 14th, 2015, the Lord took home to heaven our dear Father.  His final few days on earth were a time of great blessing, a time when we could sit together around his bed and sing Psalms and Hymns of the hope we have in Jesus.  This was the hope he talked about often.  A hope so great it was a message he yearned to share unreservedly with his family and friends.  And yet this weight of glory was so heavy for him.   His greatest regret in life was not being able to adequately put into words what his heart was so full of.

Dad was born in Holland just 4 years before the outbreak of WWII.  He was a darling little fella who could literally charm the potato peels off a German soldier, managing in this way to keep a few scraps on the family dinner table during those lean years.  Never a very good student, his educational career ended early and he entered the workforce where with his gift of ingenuity, he thrived.

Once he was able to do what came easy to him, his passion for working hard took hold.  An engine of productivity, Dad came to Canada and started his own electrical business with just a VW Van and a few tools.  On the strength of that meagre beginning he was able to marry the love of his life and raise a God fearing family of 6 kids.  He provided them with a warm home full of music and gospel.  He ensured that all his children were educated according to the promises he made at the baptismal font and in the ways of the Lord.  He gifted them all with his passion for hard work, love for their neighbour and most important of all, the joy of faith.

However, having been drenched with blessings from above his whole life long, there was one thing Dad most desired of the Lord which to his great disappointment he never received.  What he truly coveted was the ability to speak easily and clearly, most especially about the love Christ has for all mankind.  With little formal schooling and a learning disability for stumbling blocks, Dad yearned earnestly for an easy way with words.  He would often feel frustrated with himself for not being able to quote scripture or paraphrase the great Church fathers like Augustine and Calvin.  After retirement he began a diligent course of reading in hopes of loosening his tongue with a deeper understanding of the faith.  However, the more he read, the more the words eluded him.

"There's not enough time anymore." we heard him mutter not so long ago from his wheelchair prison.  His eyesight was failing, making reading an impossibility.  His hearing diminished along with his vision, so that even conversation could be quite frustrating for him.  His life long pursuit of lady wisdom was at an end as the fog of old age and disease descended slowly upon him.

And yet, for those who knew Dad well, his greatest virtue was the fact that he wasn't a man of many words.  Rather, he was a man of much work. His heart was full of compassion for his neighbour and without saying a thing he showed what it means to be a man of God.  If you needed food, he gave you bread.  If your marriage was falling apart, he sat with you late in the night and prayed with you.  If your car broke down he gave you a ride to work. If you lost your job, he would hand you a shovel and show you where to dig a hole for a project he came up with on the spot.  

James 2:15 "If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."

Recently,  the building contractor Dad worked for many years ago came to visit.  Frail and thin Dad sat in his easy chair by the window, a shadow of the man he used to be, chatting about the good old days on the job site.  "Pete" his visitor declared "I knew that I could even trust you with my wallet!".  Dad's eyes lit up with unshed tears.  This spontaneous testament spoke to the way Dad communicated his faith best.  With few words but much honest work, he demonstrated the ways of a man saved by Christ unto a new life.  

Dad's ultimate desire may never have been granted here on this earth but we are deeply comforted to know that he has finally received that ultimate prize for which he yearned so earnestly.  He sits before our Father's throne, with tongue loosened and wisdom granted, there to praise Him for all eternity!

Now he has all the time in the world.


And that is enough to raise your thoughts to what may happen when the redeemed soul, beyond all hope and nearly beyond belief, learns at last that she has pleased Him whom she was created to please. There will be no room for vanity then. She will be free from the miserable illusion that it is her doing. With no taint of what we should now call self-approval she will most innocently rejoice in the thing that God has made her to be, and the moment which heals her old inferiority complex forever will also drown her pride… Perfect humility dispenses with modesty.” 


Sunday, July 5, 2015

"Thy People Shall be my People" - A letter to my daughter

Dear Daughter;

A week has passed since you married my son.  He whisked you off to a sandy beach somewhere warm where you played in the ocean together, he learned how to eat snow crab straight from the shell and you got a nasty sun burn while snoozing in the sun.  

It's a pretty good bet that you have already had your first major argument as man and wife.  It was probably over some silly thing like Reuben setting his wet swim trunks on top of your brand new suitcase, leaving a salt water stain and ruining the fabric.  Or maybe he was unwilling to go into that one last store you really wanted to check out with all the pretty bathing suits hanging in the window just begging to be tried on.  Trust me when I tell you, dear daughter, that thing you argued over will end up being one of your favourite honeymoon stories to tell your kids some day!  

How do I know this?  Well, my dear one, I was once on that same beach, scorched by the same sun's rays, wearing that same adoring look in my eyes, gazing on my new husband as he played in the swirling waves so many years ago.  He was my all and everything as I know Reuben is yours.  In my youthful heart, bursting with love and admiration for my new husband, I thought that he was my Boaz and I was his Ruth.

"Wither thou goest, I shall go" was a refrain that echoed in my mind. "Wither thou lodgest, there shall I lodge" comforted me and gave me courage as we began our lives together in an old farm house just a few miles from where he was born.  His quiet and firm faith was such a joy to me.  A man not of words but of actions, he swept me off my feet with the soundless gestures of a steadfast servant full of selfless giving.  I silently prayed that I might be a crown of choicest diamonds and sapphires to adorn his head and bring him honour, giving my life to him so that he might be built up more and more.  

Dearest daughter, the most amazing part of Ruth's story for me though, was the vow she made to Naomi long before she ever met Boaz.  As those two weary widows, hearts full of suffering and loss, walked slowly back towards the land of Israel, Ruth knew without a doubt where her true hope and comfort lay. "Thy people shall by my people" she said.  She, a daughter of Moab, had the audacity to cling to the covenant promises she knew in her heart were hers, no matter where she came from.  

I identified with Ruth, feeling like a stranger in a strange land.  I came from a family broken and torn apart by divorce.  Sure, I shared the same history as my husband.  We were both born of dutch immigrant parents.  We were both baptized by the same Minister, wet with the same cleansing water at our baptism when our parents promised to bring us up in the way of the Lord.  We even went to the same christian school and sang in the same church choir.  

But my youth was messy and full of the baggage that comes with the dysfunction of a broken home.  I had seen the dark side of marriage and I was not sure I could learn how to be a good and faithful wife like I saw in my mother-in-law.  In those early years, I was so inspired by the way she prepared meals for her family, gathering her children around the table for physical and spiritual sustenance every night.  Every evening my father-in-law would fold his hands and pray a simple prayer, his quiet voice laced with a thick dutch accent, petitioning for those in physical and spiritual need, always following it up with a jolly "Amen!" and "Goede bekomst!" .  It wasn't fancy but it was truly from the heart.

How would I ever fit inside this family with such a completely different upbringing than I?

I know, my daughter, that these thoughts and fears are weighing on your heart at this time as well.  You were born a pastors daughter and Reuben a farmer's son.  You were born Presbyterian and Reuben Dutch Reformed.  You were born an American and Reuben a Canadian.  You were raised in a home full of good books and rich conversation while Reuben learned through calloused hands and heavy labor.  You express your needs and desires in words while he is most comfortable with unspoken gestures.  Could the two of you be any more different?

And yet the words of Ruth which comforted my fears all those years ago, "Thy God is my God", are the great constant we all share, no matter who we are or where we come from.  He is our Saviour and our Lord.  He brings all men together through the saving power of His love.  Let His word be your guide in your married life and He will light the path forward.  He will not let you falter.  

With much love;

Your Mother


Friday, May 15, 2015

Everything You Need To Know Is On Pinterest

Pinterest Inspiration picture #1

I have to tell you a secret.  I am ADDICTED to Pinterest.

Pinterest Inspiration Picture #2

I just can't get enough of it!

Our version of the White Rabbit in last year's May Day Parade

There are just so many wonderful things on Pinterest that tantalize the imagination.

Another Pinterest Inspiration photo
Once I find something I like…….

Wee Three Pinterest Photo Session
I get my team together……

Getting the shot is not as easy as it looks!
and we work hard……

A few things get in the way
to get it just right……

Some props are more challenging than others
which always takes a few tries!

We just have way too much fun!
Luckily my daughter, Lydia, also loves Pinterest…...

Pinterest Photo Idea number 4
and has a fantastic talent with a camera…..

A rainy day in April with Wee One posing for the camera
as well as the most photogenic children on the planet!

Together, we fuel each other's obsession!

A few weeks ago I found this amazing wheelbarrow planter on Pinterest and I just HAD to try make one for myself.

I scrounged up and old yellow wheelbarrow from the greenhouse and painted out all the dirt and dry cement with a fabulous cherry red can of Rustoleum spray paint.

Then I planted it up with colour coordinating flowers.

Of course I couldn't help but go just a little bit further after I ran across these easy, peasy giant paper flowers…..

I got out my glue gun and scissors…..

and combined everything in a fantastic display that is ready to PIN!

So, this week at the store, we have decided to help YOU make your own Pinterest masterpiece since we are convinced you NEED to know how easy Pinterest projects really are.  All you have to do is register online at, bring your old "barrow" to the store this week on Saturday morning and we will have a Pinterest party all together!

You could make one of THESE…..

or these…..

or these……

or these…..


You could just troll Pinterest yourself to find the style you like.

But be aware that Pinterest is highly ADDICTIVE!

Don't say I didn't warn you.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mayhem for Mother's Day!

This is the week when all H - E - double hockey sticks breaks out in the greenhouse every year again!  And with it come a myriad of issues that are just too numerous to mention……

But I will mention them anyways since it makes for some pretty exciting blogging!

NOTE:  I was reading a new blog I found this week about the trials and tribulations of being in the floral industry, how tough and yet rewarding it is, and how important it is to find the joy in all the things we experience from day to day!  Who knew my twin was growing fabulous Wild Flowers in Skagit Valley, so close to home.  Looks like I need to put Floret Flowers on my bucket list of places to visit!

OK……now back to my story.

First off, our wholesale division is working out of 2 satellite greenhouses in Alberta and the Big Guy and I got the marching orders to see how we could help out in the prairies for the next 2 weeks.  My specialty is going around to all my favourite Big Box stores to check on the plants, water and spruce them up!

Depending on the weather, this can be an easy job…….

Brand new rental car with only 28 KM's on it now is a rolling garbage bin with 2000 KM's and counting!
or this can be a tough job……

Getting things to the stores in one piece over the winter washboard roads in the Prairies is not easy!
We encounter all sorts of issues……

The Big Guy manages to get stuck in the mud.  Don't even ask me how we got that thing back out!
the worst of which is WET FEET in my opinion!

I only packed enough for a few days worth.  I'm buying all sorts of strange things at the truck stop.
But in the end, we get the job done…...

and then Mother Nature throws us a curve ball!

In a friends backyard this morning in Edmonton!

However the craziness continues non-stop…….

Would you just look at the intensity on their faces…'s the wild, wild west out here!
And the hanging baskets just keep on rolling.

Fortunately, the Big Guy and I got a breather from the chaos with a flight in to Las Vegas on Tuesday night for a big Industry Convention.  Unfortunately, by the time we arrived we were too tired to check anything out besides a glass of Merlot and some appies in the piano bar.

The next morning we woke bright and early so we could check out the gardens at the Bellagio before the Convention opened.  What a TREAT to see such beautifully designed displays!

Behind the Front Lobby Check-in you can see this wonderful burst of colour.
Ginormous Foral Arrangements are everywhere!
In the Atrium

So much work and planning must go into these fabulous displays, no doubt!

Now, since my work at the Convention is TOP SECRET, I can't share any of my photos for now.  We are busy planning for next year and I have to keep those things on the down low.  Wouldn't want the competition to get a whiff of what we are up to for Spring 2016.  So, instead I sign off with a few more inspirational photos from this amazing hotel and say "Until next week!".

Beautiful classical garden out by the Patio Cafe
Our view of the Bellagio while getting a quick bite to eat at the Paris before flying back to Calgary
We may look old and tired but we try hard to make ourselves useful :)

1 Comment »

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Big Day is Almost Here - Are You Ready?

Milner Village Garden Centre Mother's Day display

At this time of the year, all of our work for the past 12 months comes to fruition.  365 days ago we started ordering our pots, soil, seeds, carry trays, trollies, plant tags, protective sleeves, decor containers, fertilizers and so much more.  All in preparation for the biggest day of our season…..


We have travelled the world in search of what exactly your Mom will want for her special day.

  Our entire team has been working hard behind the scenes…..

Our Container Garden Planting Team

They all take great pride in making sure you will get the pretties flowers on the market!

Our Drivers and their swampers

Our team is the BEST!

With such a fantastically creative team behind us here, we take great satisfaction in a job well done.  A celebration is in order, wouldn't you say?

Any excuse for a party

Cheers to the BEST CREW ever!

And now, I must admit that what I would really like for Mother's Day looks something like this…

One of my favourite things to do…..climb ladders with wine bottles at the top!