Archive for September 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Family Tree

This week, my Uncle John sent me a link to my family tree.  He's really diligent in keeping an accurate accounting of all the uncle's, aunt's, children, grand children and great grand children that have been born into the Vandermolen clan.  It keeps us all connected as the family starts to get larger and go their separate ways.  It keeps us grounded in our Dutch heritage.  I just LOVE my Dutch heritage!

Here is my grandfather and grandmother, young and full of life.  Oma was a nurse who fell in love with my Opa only after a little coaxing on his part.  She would say with a twinkle in her eye that despite his "long nose" she eventually fell head over heals for him.  She loved to tell the stories of how they met and what trials and triumphs they endured together.  That included immigrating to Canada following World War II and leaving all their family behind in Holland . 

It took great courage to start fresh in this new, untamed country.  My grandfather picked beats in the frozen fields of chilly Alberta.  My grandmother cared for her 7 children in a small, rat infested shack in the middle of winter and hoped for better days. 

I always felt a great connection with my ancestral homeland and we have visited the Netherlands a number of times.  But, sad to say, I had no idea who my family was or what cities they hailed from.  Never the less, one year we happily toured Holland by boat, slowly traversing the canals and waterways in search of some feeling of connection with my family from times past.

But, things are looking up.  I now know my great, great, great, great, great grandfather, Willem Jans was born in Doezum, Groningen in 1711. 
This is the church in Doezum........
And this is his gravestone........
He lived and died in Doezum.  I find that FASCINATING!

I am so excited that there are long lost family members in Holland who have taken the time to set our family tree up on-line.  I'm thankful that my Uncle John has faithfully kept us all in his archive and generously added EVERY ONE of us, which is an enormous job!  We Dutch people of Reformed backgrounds tend to procreate rather vigorously.  It's in our GENES.

When I look at old black and white photos, my mind is filled with wonder at what life must have been like for my ancestors and what metamorphosis has occurred since Opa Willem Jans was walking on this earth.  He never left Doezum, Groningen.  He could never have imagined what amazing inventions were still to come in the generations that would follow.

But I am most thankful to Opa Willem Jans for the passing on of the Reformed faith which he taught my great, great, great, great grandfather who then passed it on to his son and so on.  What an amazing gift to have shed upon the many generations of Vandermolen's who have come and gone. 

The Lord has blessed my great, great, great, great, great grandfather Willem Jans with many generations of families who have embraced the gospel of grace, teaching them to work hard, pray hard and praise our heavenly God for the greatest blessing of all, the metamorphosis of our sinful nature into children of God!  That is something truly wonderful.

Now, I'm off to check on more of my family history to figure out where I got my innate charm and easy going personality from.  They tell me I take after my mother.......
I don't know, I just don't see it.  Do you?!

Now, don't forget to check out Between Naps on the Porch for lots more METAMORPHOSIS going on out there in blog land.  You'll love all the exciting things going on out there!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Orchids By The Thousands Have Just Arrived

Our trucks have just arrived from California.......

and they are jam packed with GORGEOUS phaeleanopsis orchids........

On Monday they will be in my favorite Big Box store all over BC and Alberta.......

and they are so CHEAP that you can buy just ONE.......

or you can buy them in multiples and create something like THIS.....

 Now THAT'S and orchid arrangement, don't you think?

I was so inspired by my orchid today that I had to make sure the kitchen was in PERFECT order before I set it on the table. 

Unfortunately, now that the main floor is so clean, I feel obliged to get my second floor organized as well.  Maybe I'll put an orchid in everyone's bedroom, just as if we were staying in a high end hotel.  I am sure that at 15 years old, my Danny Boneduce will REALLY appreciate the effort!

Don't forget to stop by my favorite Big Box store on Monday to get your FRESH phaleanopsis before they're all gone!  At this price, they are going to sell FAST.

Did you know that it's Fertilizer Friday over at Tootsie Time?  She's got lots of great blog posts you can check up on regarding anything GARDENING so run on by and check her out this weekend.  You're going to just love the things she does in her little greenhouse, I promise.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Strange Things Have Been Happening

Have you ever taken a look at your child and wondered "Where on EARTH did you come from?!"

Has it ever happened to you that  you pause for a moment and consider whether or not they have  inherited YOUR side of the gene pool or your husband's?

Do you catch yourself wondering if maybe your kid was accidentally switched at birth by the hospital nurses........
Well, it has crossed my mind on occasion!

Lately I've even been thinking that Mini Me may even have been abducted by aliens in the middle of the night, taken to a far off galaxy where her cranium was probed with futuristic mind bending tools that have altered her brain function.  Strange things have been happening lately and it's starting to freak me out!

She does all sorts of whacky things like tape green plastic on the walls in her bedroom, pin dark blankets on the windows to block the sunlight, affix home made tinfoil reflectors to lamps so that she can get just the right light.........

and spends the next 12 hours locked in her bedroom with her computer and webcam. 

"What are you doing in there, darling?!"  I ask at her door.

"MOM!  I am BUSY and need PRIVACY"

Oh my, this can't be good. on earth is she DOING in there.

And then suddenly I receive a Facebook notice:  Mini Me has posted a video. 

Wanna see what she's been up to?

Yup, she's been up in her room drinking coke in front of the computer!  How many times do I have to tell her not to eat or drink by the COMPUTER?!

And now, as a proud mother of a very talented VIDEO EDITING guru, I would like to officially SHOW and TELL the following clip for your viewing pleasure.  And once you've done checking this out, hop on over to My Romantic Home to see all the other Show and Tell posts for a whole lot more fun!


So Glad To Be Home!

We are finally back on North American soil......and so very happy to be home again!  This morning we took an early trip out to Vancouver to apply for ANOTHER travel permit but this time only the BIG GUY will be going.  He is off to Rio de Janeiro in a few weeks to participate in meetings while the Reformed Churches of Brazil hold their national Synod in Cabo Frio.  Once again the application process has been handled JUST IN TIME.  He leaves on the 15th and his visa will be ready for pick up guessed it........the 15th!

We managed to be done with the application at the Brazilian Consulate nice and early so we decided to find a nifty place to have brunch in the down town core.  After having been in Asia for the past 3 weeks, we were just enchanted by the beauty of Vancouver.  The buildings are so picturesque and clean, the streets are well kept and organized, and there are no TRACTORS, COWS, or CAMELS anywhere to be seen!

We stumbled upon this lovely restaurant/tea merchant place that was just adorable.  After a wonderful breakfast of fresh fruit, scones, scrambled eggs and jasmine tea, we wandered through the distinctly Asian style shop attached to the dining area.  As I passed the inspiring displays full of exotic looking things from India and China......

I couldn't help but wonder WHY I was so enchanted with the place.  I mean, I have just come back from the Orient where traffic jams, crouch toilets and enormous crowds of people are the norm.  We worked long hours in sweltering heat, fought through the crowds in the busy markets, ate food that was spicier than my little Canadian palate could handle.......and even though I thought I had had ENOUGH of Asia......I found this little place was just wonderful.

And then it HIT me.

The Urban Tea Merchant is so adorable because it's filled with all sorts of gems that make Asia such a special place in a North American setting.  It wasn't necessary to worry about:

1.   Is there  a "normal" toilet for me to do my business? 
2.   The eggs would NOT be served with a birds beak attached. 
3.   No chicken legs would garnish my fruit plate.
4.   No Oxen would be waiting outside in the street when we were done.

But best of all.......

My family is only minutes away from me. 

Can you tell that I'm happy to be home?!

Oh, and you KNOW I bought some outrageously expensive tea.  Give me a shout and let's have a spot of tea some time soon.......or you can always just leave me a comment below.  That's almost as good as getting together, right?


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Heavy Rains In India Make Travel Difficult

Here we are in India, trapped in our hotel. It is raining so hard that not too many people dare to venture out. So we stay warm and dry inside while we wait for our suppliers to show us their finished samples.

Now, if you're going to get trapped in India, the Park Plaza hotel is definately the right place to be.
The bathroom boasts handmade soap and personal luffa sponges......
and the bed is big enough for 4!
Hopefully tomorrow the rains will subside and traffic will start moving again. In the meantime, I guess we'll just have to keep in touch by Blackberry messenger.
Text me!


Friday, September 10, 2010

Beautiful Bangkok

When I booked our tickets for this year's marathon trip to Asia, I found out from the aeroplan agent that our flight to India would take us through Bangkok airport. We would land at 10 pm and have to catch our connecting flight to Dehli at 6 am the following morning. My stomach began to cringe at the thought of trying to sleep on an airport bench for 8 hours while waiting for our flight.

"Are you SURE that is our only option?!" I asked the agent.

"Well Ma'am. You could take a later flight out so that you have time to grab a hotel and get a good night rest. Would a 20 hour lay over in Bangkok work better for you?"

What a great opportunity! We would get a chance to check out a city we had never seen before, even though it would only be for a few hours. I booked the lay-over immediately!

As it turns out, our hotel was such a peaceful spot........we never even ventured into the city that day. As a matter of fact, we booked ourselves 2 1/2 hours worth of massages each. We just took the day and RELAXED......ignoring all the wonderful sights we could have visited, choosing instead to enjoy a luxurious day in a most peaceful setting.

I have to admit, I do fill a twinge of regret that we didn't venture out a little further. Just seeing how beautiful the AIRPORT in Bangkok was...... makes me want to make another trip here some day.

In the meantime, we just enjoyed what we did see!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Oh How I Suffered.......

This is the Big Guy and myself, standing in a beautiful shaded driveway at the beginning of the summer, looking like the quintissential married love. If you didn't know better, you would think that everything in our lives was absolutely perfect.

But, the truth of the matter is, we have a dirty little secret. Yes, my friends, there is something about us that is not quite up to snuff. Actually, the Big Guy has always wanted me to get a little work done since he met me and thought we should go ahead with it before our trip to Asia this year. It's true, he has always wanted me to get.........

to get.........

to get IMPLANTS!


You see, I have a rare and unusual issue with my teeth. For some strange and unknown reason, two of my original baby teeth never fell out. That means that I have two TINY little teeth positioned at the very front of my mouth which are deteriorating rapidly and will eventually fall out. They are extremely fragile and over the years have begun to blacken. I worry daily that I will bite into a crusty bread while having a luncheon with important business associates and suddenly find myself toothless in front of them. I imagine my little tooth flying across the table and hitting the Walmart buyer directly in the forehead before gently landing in his glass of wine. It's a recurring nightmare that I can no longer live with sooooo......

We decided it was time to do something before my nightmare became a reality.

Together we trecked off to Vancouver to meet with a dental implant specialist......

and after many tests, xrays and 3D imaging of my jaw.....

it was decided that I was a good candidate for the operation. Special implants would have to be ordered from Germany to fit my extremely small bone structure but.......

I was going to get BRAND NEW TEETH! How exciting it all was.......

But someone forget to mention that there may be a slight amount of pain involved in the operation. They mention offhandedly the possibility that the implant would be rejected but that it was VERY RARE! I was going to be just fine......

Well, here we are, my blogger peeps, 2 months later, numerous rounds of antibiotics later, dental surgery and bone grafts, bottles and bottles of anti-inflammatory medication and endless sleepless nights filled with pain and tears have passed. I turned out to be the one in a thousand patients who has not achieved a succesful result.
I know, this is not a pretty sight! But, I wanted to make sure that you could feel my extreme pain so that you would send me your deepest sympathies for my failed implant procedure!

Let me tell you, I have LEARNED MY LESSON! No surgery is risk free. I may have joked to my kids that I wouldn't mind having a little nip and tuck to smooth out my laugh lines or tighten up my saggy chin in the past. I am a CHANGED WOMAN. No knife will ever touch this lady again unless absolutely necessary. You have my word on that.

By the way, I am scheduled to have this whole mess fixed back up in a few months once my face heals up........but I'm scared to death. I have a mind to go toothless for the rest of my life. You think the Walmart buyer will notice?


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What On Earth Are We Doing Here?

Sometimes I just can't help but wonder WHAT ON EARTH ARE WE DOING HERE?! I mean, it's just crazy! Little old us spend our lives running around hopping on airplanes......checking out factories in the middle of nowhere..........

not even able to read a simple road sign or even a poster........

designing things from scratch that will hopefully appeal to customers back home.........eating strange and exotic foods........without the simple convenience of a knife and fork.........It's enough to make a woman feel some serious twinges of ANXIETY!

Even the toilets give me reason to feel a certain amount of trepidation. I mean, how exactly is a person supposed to do her BUSINESS in a toilet such as this one?

Fortunately for me, I can say that I have FINALLY conquered this particular FEAR and am quite proud of this achievement, thank you very much.

But seriously, folks, there are moments in my life when I just wonder what is the purpose of these crazy things we do in life. Occasionally I am paralyzed with fear, just thinking about what new challenges lie ahead.......

Will I be strong enough to bare the next new adventure?
Can God REALLY see me in the middle of a world that is so ENORMOUS? Does He really number the hairs on my head, no matter where I am on this crazy planet? !

And then I remember that He calmed the stormy seas with just a word (Mark 4:39) and commanded me not to be afraid. He promised me that nothing will seperate me from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35). Nothing happens without the will of my heavenly Father.

What a wonderful comfort to know that all things are in His hands. Especially when the storms of life surround us from all sides. I am so thankful to know that He will care for my Dad who was been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer along with my beloved Uncle Pete who has Kidney and Bone Cancer. He will watch over the Panekoek family from Chilliwack, who's 23 year old son was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident and the Vanderpol family who's son fell in a construction accident and seriously injured his back. He will watch over us all and give us the strength to trust in His sovereign grace.
And now, knowing that we are watched over from above, I confidently go off on a new adventure with the Big Guy. I'll keep in touch whenever I get a chance!


Monday, September 6, 2010

Wedding Prompts Organizational Frenzy

In the weeks before our departure for the Orient, I found myself mixed up in a very messy business. You see, my daughter was asked to be a bridesmaid for her best friend Jo Jo. Since she has half of my DNA and half of the Big Guy's DNA, she is genetically bred to take such responsibilites very seriously. Of course, that also means that I feel a firm obligation to assist her in taking her responsibilities very serious.

The first thing on her agenda was to organize dishes for her best friends reception dinner. Unfortunately, since we had not properly re-organized ourselves after our last big shindig, it was a gigantic job to get everything washed, counted and boxed for the special occassion.
Many hours were spent with our hands deep in soapy dish water........
stacking, counting, or searching for all the missing pieces. It was such a frustrating endeavor to figure out where all the forks, knives, plates and mugs had gone.....

that I vowed to get myself completely organized so this would NEVER happen again.

That is when the even BIGGER clean-up began. First we emptied out an old shed that used to house all manner of useless stuff.,Then we slapped on a coat of paint, installed some new shelving units.......and in the end I got a perfectly organized room, complete with all my party essentials. I felt so EMPOWERED by all this organization. What a strange sensation knowing that everything now has its own proper place. It was such a heady experience that........I just had to keep going.

The next project we tackled was the garage. Here it is BEFORE......
with all the contents outside in the yard.......

and here is the final product of all our organizing mayhem! I wonder how long I can keep it looking like this? It's just not a natural state of affairs for me the be this neat and tidy!

Now, in the meantime, there was MUCH MORE activity going on than just getting ourselves organized on the home front. Of course, my Little Angel wanted to make sure her best friend had the most beautiful wedding ever so she organized a special surprise. She got all of us together to help her make some lovely party favors.

For the next few days we cut, folded...... printed, glued and tied ribbons till our fingers bled.......
not literally of course, because that would have made the party favors all dirty. As you can imagine, they ended up turning out just GORGEOUS and added a whole lot of color to an already beautiful table setting.

Now, if you think our involvement stopped there then you should guess again. No, when we help out, we REALLY take it seriously. As it turned out, both Opera Diva and her beau helped with the serving.........

making sure everyone was well watered and fed!

The wedding was most definately a wonderful event, complete with happy guests who enjoyed delicious food and wonderful friendship.

Just in case you were wondering WHEN I would get a chance to use all those wonderfully organized party essentials next, I will let you in on a bit of NEWS. Junior has just gotten ENGAGED to his Cinderella and they have set the big date for next January. I sure hope they will let me help them with a bit of party planning.........I just LOVE parties.