Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Little Landon

I was thinking this week of a vivid memory I had when I was four years old.  I was in the back of the big black Econline van with Mom at the wheel.  Becky, who was a couple of weeks old, was strapped in beside me.  We had to stop at the one-lane Bailey bridge to let another car go by.  As we waited to let the car over the wooden planked bridge, I looked over at Becky and wondered “Will she ever grow up?  It’s taking forever for her to get bigger – babies are boring.”

In the next moment we were over the bridge and time seemed to accelerate.  Becky is now a godly woman and has a family of her own.

Landon was a little fussy the other night so I took him downstairs for a little one on one.  I turned on the iPod, put on my favourite tenor - Kenneth McKellar, poured myself a nice glass of Niagara red wine, and settled down on the couch with my little Landon.  In the stillness of the moment, I caught myself thinking about that moment at Bailey bridge.  Would Landon flash through our lives?

Thankfully, time seemed to be suspended on this quiet evening as we listed to Kenneth McKellar sing By Cool Siloam’s Shady Rill.

By cool Siloam’s shady rill
How fair the lily grows!
How sweet the breath, beneath the hill,
Of Sharon’s dewy rose!

Dependent on Thy bounteous breath,
We seek Thy grace alone,
In childhood, manhood, age, and death
To keep us still Thine own.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Guest Post! "Our Mom"

This was a speech written by Jen Rumbos and Melinda Pouli on the occasion of their mom's 60th birthday.  Enjoy!      - Greg Slingerland

One thing was certain – the teal carpet that had graced the living room and staircase for so many years had to go.  Dad was suffering from renovation spending fatigue and was in no mood for a whole scale renovation.  Mom blamed Dad’s bad hips and knees for being a home decor Scrooge.  After a lot of discussion, Dad finally gave the green light for painting, and ONLY painting.  Mom was desperate – the teal carpet taunted and mocked her.  Desperate times called for desperate measures.  Mom purchased two gallons of paint – one gallon of latex and one gallon of oil and came home to a quiet house.  Details remain unclear but the two cans of paint somehow “opened” and “tumbled” all the way down the stairs.  I don’t know how it happened Bill” she said in an innocent voice when Dad came home later that day.

Yes, we all know that Mom is a sweetie and is content as can be.  Whatever our Dad says….goes. Mom would never think to get her way…hahahaha…RIGHT!   Mom has an amazing capability to agree with Dad’s opinion and then, blink a few times and do the complete opposite. “Oh no, I don’t need a new kitchen, Dad is too busy anyhow.”  I would look over at Dad, who was reading the paper, and he would be rolling his eyes...knowing full well that the kitchen would be ripped to shreds in a matter of weeks.  Sure enough, wood, paint and countertop samples were littering the house.  This would happen often…. “That big window in the living room is such pain for DAD to wash on the outside”.  “It’s fine, INE...we don’t need a new window.”  The next week we came for coffee and I’ve never seen such a crystal clear view of our backyard.  I just looked over in disbelief at Dad, and he was rolling his eyes again.  

We started to ruthlessly tease Mom about getting her way and she protested. “I don’t replace everything!  See that hideous chandelier hanging in our dining room?  I don’t NEED a new one...this one is fine.  Oh, I know Bill just adores that light…well, too bad…it’s ugly.”  Of course she neglected to say that she had just spent over $100 on frosted globes, which didn’t look much better.  Now, how was she going to get a new one without it looking like she was once again going against Dad’s wishes?  “...hmmm…I know!  I’ll pretend I am going to do the economical thing…(even though I already blew a hundred bucks), and I’ll spray paint it pewter. Hmmm…but what if it actually looks good?  Ummmm…I know !  I’ll spray paint it while it is hanging up…and get new curtains, a table, and a new wall paint colour out of the deal!”  Yes, unbelievably she twirled that chandelier, at a speed similar to Port Dalhousie’s carousel on rocket fuel, making sure that the pressurized can of spray paint blasted at full speed and destroyed the room.  Dad came home to the ugliest, plastic-y looking light he had ever seen, and sure enough a week later, Mom was beaming alongside her newly installed light and fully renovated room. 

In all seriousness, Mom is the sweetest Grandma to her 21 precious grandkids.  A number of years ago, our whole family headed out for a holiday up north together.  We were all crammed into one large cottage, and Mom decided to flex her “grandma muscles”...

“Come kids, Grandma has CANDY!!!”  The kids ran to her, but no, she wanted them to catch it from the loft.  There Mom stood, way up high. “Here it comes!”   The children looked up to the loft with glowing, expectant smiles.  Their hands were outstretched as they waited for Grandma to toss some candy down.  The laughter was quickly transformed into shrieks of terror as the ringpop blitzkrieg began.  As candy slammed like missiles off the tops of their heads, the kids ran screaming and shrieking in terror, diving from the ambush attack.  Why was Grandma so VIOLENT?  As we iced bruises from the kinder surprise attacks and removed embedded jolly ranchers, we kids had to spend some serious time in therapy with our kids, explaining that, Grandma does love you…she just has a strange way of showing it!  She used to pinch us with her toes...just for fun!!!

As time wore on, Mom mellowed a bit…..or should we say melted a bit….You see, she always loved sharing things with her dear sisters…What better than to all go through THE CHANGE together!  We nieces have had quite the laughs watching our hot tantes and mom sweat more than members of the bomb squad.

 But, really seriously this time...we love our Mom to bits.  Her generosity, kindness and love towards those around her are such a shining example for us.  She brings new meaning to the word “hospitality”.  As you all know, the door s are always open at Mom’s place (unless she’s having them replaced because some paint somehow splattered them) and she is ready and willing to lend a listening ear, or a helping hand to anyone in need.  Her love for the Lord is evident in her daily walk and extends into her job at Shalom as well.  We hear so often what a great nurse Mom is, and how the residents love her. We agree!  On behalf of your five daughters, we love you so much!  We thank the Lord, for giving us such a godly, beautiful Mom!  We hope and pray that God gives us many more years with you.

Please, raise your glasses with us and toast one amazing woman, OUR MOM!!!!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Memories of the 'Old Church'...

Recently the congregation I am a part of moved into a new building (Vineland FRC).  While moving into a new church building is exciting and all, the move from the old building for the sentimental types (aka me) brought up a lot of old memories.  I know it's "just a building" but I can't help but think about all that has happened in that building - funerals, weddings, confession of faith, baptisms, and life changing sermons.

At the dedication service for the new building a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak about the lighter side of the 'old building'.  I've had some requests to put it on the blog, so here it is.  Enjoy.

There has been a lot of anticipation over the last couple of weeks, months and maybe even years as the plans and the building of this church building progressed.  We have finally made it here and we can look forward to a new unfolding chapter in our church’s history.

Everything has turned out beautifully too – the building’s facade, the organ’s facade, the fellowship hall, and the steeple.  Before we get too engrossed in this building, perhaps it would be fitting to take one last nostalgic look at the old building – a building that is rich in memories.

For a kid, the former Vineland FRC building held many secrets and mysteries.  Many questions would besiege my young mind.  Here are some of the questions that a couple generations of kids sitting in the old building would have thought about:

What was behind the red curtain behind the pulpit?  Was there some sort of secret room?  Did anyone live behind there?  Needless to say, I was very disappointed to find that there was just a brick wall, though I held onto to hope that one of the bricks released a secret door...

Was the white wrought iron railing in the sanctuary super valuable?  Did it have real gold highlights?  Did the Dutch immigrants bring it over from Holland?

What was in the floor safe of the lower basement (aka the dungeon)?  Pirate gold?  Knitted toilet paper holder dolls that were left over from the bazaar?  A first edition 1912 Psalter? A Martin Mans autographed music book? 

Why did the kitchen have thousands of tea towels?  What did the kitchen people know that we didn’t?

Was the nursery room with all of the cribs lining the walls once used as a zoo?

Who invented candy time right before the sermon?

Were people hiding up in the organ loft?  

Was there anything stored behind the dedication stone by the front doors?  A secret map perhaps? The Dead Sea Scrolls?

Were my parents allowing me to read too many Hardy Boy Books?

Where did all of those loads of gravel on the driveway always disappear to?  Had any cars every vanished in the mud?

Do the adults really think we eat the oranges in the Christmas Sunday School goody bags?

If the lights fell down from the sanctuary ceiling, would I get hit?

Was the stretcher at the back of the church used in the Boer War?

What was the little side room in the library used for?  Is that where all the bad kids were sent until church was over?

Will Fruit Loop necklaces still be in style when I am an adult?

What became of Pastor Schoul’s first commodore computer?  Did it hold its value?

What will happen when they run out of colours for the church phonebooks?

Does the clock at the back of the sanctuary work or does it just run slow?

Am I the only one who has counted all of the organ pipes?

And lastly:

What will this place look like when I’m older?

Classic shot of a Christmas Sunday School program.  I can still hear the recorders...
The kitchen.  Notice that one of the round garbage covers was not inserted properly.  This should not shock anyone who has been in that kitchen.  Struggling with those lids with the bowling ball like holes in them will not soon be forgotten.
The church basement - such a quiet and peaceful place.