Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pink Day in Canada and Grace's new camper.

Last year, in 2014, my hubby began a new job at Coast Capital Savings, a credit union.
He is a project manager and he loves his new position. He was hired full time last October.
Coast Capital celebrates pink shirt day. To see my hubby wearing a pink shirt is quite a sight!
This is supposed to bring awareness of bullying and stamp it out, especially in schools.
Of course, I realize this can only be done with a complete change of heart.
Pink will not stop any bully that I know of.
I had my fair share of bullying in elementary school, and it continued into high school.
This was mostly due to my lack of fashion sense, as my parents couldn't afford to buy us the latest fashions so I wore hand me down clothes from cousins and from the thrift shop.
My parents never took us to the hair salon, so our hair styles were quite different from the rest of the school gang. Therefore I was picked on quite a bit, enough to make me go home in tears.

In high school I took my stand as a Christian young woman and refused to wear slacks/pants. I felt a young woman should look like one, and I wore skirts and dresses to HS. Oh my goodness. I was the only one in my grade who did that. There was an older girl two grades above me who also did it. I was teased unmercifully. I must have looked like a sore thumb indeed, but looking back to this time in my life, I'm glad I stood my ground, and didn't back down because of unkind words.
You will probably laugh at the thought, but in each generation there are things which come to the forefront and you have to decide how you will live your own life. In the 1970's the wearing of slacks/pants was a HUGE issue, as up until 1970 it was mandatory for all girls to wear dresses or skirts to school. Now I've changed my mind, as pants are totally accepted for girls and women to wear, and I think they are more modest than skimpy skirts! Plus they are a whole lot warmer in the winter months.

It's very important to stand up for what you believe in. You don't have to rant, rave, or argue the subject, just stick to your guns. I'm thankful I had supportive parents and a loving home to go to at the end of each school day. Grade 8 and 9 were rough years, but I believe they shaped my character and made me strong. The joy of the Lord was my strength too, and I was deeply involved in a lovely Baptist church from 1970 - 1976, which helped in my personal growth. I was saved while attending that church and learned how to study the Bible and memorize scripture.
 In Grade 10 I found new friends and developed a core group and the bullies left me alone after that. I also developed my artistic talents and became known as an artist, rather than a weird person without fashion sense. I learned how to sew, and made a lot of my own clothes.
I will never forget the difficult times, but the good times outweigh them all, and I remember my HS years with extreme fondness.

On another subject, I believe I'm still very weird.
I love to collect dolls and doll props like this Our Generation camper, sold at Target.
Target stores arrived in Canada only 2 years ago. The Metrotown location opened in Dec 2013.
I've never cared for it as it has high prices compared to Walmart and Superstore.
We are on a tight budget as Robert's new job is quite a bit less than what he made in his own company years ago. So I use money I've earned by sewing, writing or doing surveys in order to feed and nurture my doll habits. Tee hee...

I bought this camper at the Target store, on sale for only $52 Cdn!
It's the cutest thing ever. My dream was always to own or rent a camper like this and travel across Canada to PEI. It will never come true, so I've settled for Grace having her own dreams.
I bought the Timbits carton (Christmas ornament) last Dec at Tim Horton's.

Another of my hobbies is playing around in photo programs and editing the pictures I love to take.
Isn't this neat?
I always say, a person cannot get bored!

Loretta Houben

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Our Canadian flag: 50 years old

The Canadian flag celebrates 50 years today!
I was only 4 when it was introduced so I don't remember the occasion.
I love the simplicity of the design and I love red and white and I love maple leaves.
It's distinctive and plain. It looks really good when flown against a blue sky!
I'm grateful I live in Canada.
Loretta Houben

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day, 2015

Aren't they cute?
My parents, Susie and Jack Williams.
Leona picked out the pink rose for Dad to give to his "Juliet" from "Romeo".
True love lasting 60 years!

Me and my parents at their home.

Me and my Romeo, Robert.

After eating out at Boston Pizza, a tradition of ours.
We had the heart shaped pizza of course!
We shared a chocolate explosion cake.
I love you more, dear Robert!
Loretta Houben

Thursday, February 12, 2015

60 years ago...true love!

Isn't this romantic?
My parents, Jack and Susie Williams, first met on February 20, 1955.
That's 60 years ago! 
They are still together after all these years.
What do you think is the reason for sticking together all this time?
I believe it's because of their strong faith in God, and their determination to make their marriage work through the good times and the bad.
Of course there are many ups and downs in a marriage. It takes dedication and perseverance and patience to live with each other through thick and thin.
I will interview them and post some more about their lives together.
Loretta Houben

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

5 years ago today: Olympic torch fever!

Five years ago, on February 11, 2010, we were so excited because the Winter Olypmics were about to take place in Vancouver BC. Well, I was excited once the torch relay went through our neighbourhood. Before it all began I wasn't sure about the cost, and our winter weather was non-existent! We are having similar weather this year. It's very warm and balmy, no snow on the mountains, lots of warm rain and the spring flowers and pink trees are bursting into bloom.

Here I am, on Kingsway near Boundary only 5 blocks from our house.
Just as Robert snapped the picture, the torch bearer turned away. But it was still very exciting. There were mobs of people and you could feel the thrill in the air. The Olympic flame was passed along and continued into downtown where the opening ceremonies took place the next evening, on February 12.

The first few days of the Olympics were rainy and overcast, but then the sun came out. It was a wonderful time which I think I'll always remember with great fondness.
I blogged extensively about it. Just click on "2010 Olympics" in the right hand label.
Loretta Houben

Monday, February 9, 2015

February 9: Family Day and Matthew's 26th birthday

Today is Matthew's 26th birthday.
We spent it together as it was a holiday, which is something new here in BC and the first time it fell on his birthday. Isn't that cool? We drove out to Fort Langley BC and browsed in the Village Antique Mall, about the only one left in this area. Matthew spent his birthday money in a hurry. Tee hee...he found a set of Bohemian style cocktail glasses, and a crystal decanter. I bought a vintage 1960's Valentine and two pretty Avon Asian style perfume bottles, suitable for 18" dolls.
We had lunch at a 1950's style diner, eating delicious homemade style hamburgers.
After having coffee sitting outside in a little cafe's courtyard under the overhang while the rain gently cascaded down, we headed to Ikea in Coquitlam, where Matthew found a few household items he needed, including pot racks for the kitchen. Later we went downtown and ate supper at the Noodle Box on 4th Avenue. It was a really nice day. 

December 1991. These few photos are about all I've scanned in so far from the 1990's.
I dislike scanning. Isn't this a cute one showing Matthew talking with his Gramps?
This is our house at 3349 Monmouth Ave. Gramps and Grama lived down the street.
Those were such happy days.

August 1991; Matthew and I at White Pine Beach in Port Moody.
I made our matching outfits. Matthew has always enjoyed beach time.

October 1991; Matthew and his little tractor and trailer set.
He enjoyed our big yard at this house.
These times seem so long ago, like some golden dream.
I'm glad God blessed us with one son. Of course I always wished for more but it just wasn't in the plan. Matthew, I wish happy days and golden dreams for you too in the years which lay ahead.
Happy birthday!
Loretta Houben

Monday, February 2, 2015

Books I've read in January 2015.

I adore reading! I found the above image on Pinterest. I have a cabinet full of old books similar to these. I should take some photos soon. I love their beautiful bindings and the old engravings inside, plus the delightful stories of days long gone.

This is Anne Perry's latest Christmas book, 2014.
Matthew gave it to me as a gift, which has been his tradition for many years now.
I read it in one day. It was very well written. I love Anne Perry's writing.

In January 2015 I read a total of 4 books which for me is a large amount!
I re-read "A Christmas Journey". I love Anne's Christmas novels.

Being in the mood for Anne, I also re-read her first Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novel,
The Cater Street Hangman. This is one of my all time favourites of hers.

Then I turned to a deeper novel by George MacDonald.
It was written in 1866 and re-published with modern English in 1985 by Dan Hamilton. 
I love George MacDonald's writing. "A Quiet Neighborhood" is a romance set in Marshmallows, in rural Victorian England. A young vicar, Harry Walton, begins work in his first parish. Oldcastle Hall is the center of the area in which he lives, and hides dark secrets.
This is a theme MacDonald loves to weave through his stories, which contrast the evil side of human nature, along with the grace and forgiveness of a loving Heavenly Father.

I discovered George MacDonald's novels in the 1980's when they became popular again due
 to revising and republishing. I collected nearly all of them, and they are stored in an antique walnut book cabinet in my living room. I haven't re-read them in a very long time, so I enjoyed this book immensely. 
Here is a paragraph from the book:
"What a horror of darkness seemed to hang over that family! What deeds of wickedness! But the horror came from within; selfishness, and fierceness of temper were its source; no unhappy doom. The worship of one's own will fumes out around the being an atmosphere of evil, an altogether abnormal condition of the moral firmament, out of which will break the very flames of hell." 
(page 132)

A famous quote which you may recognize is on page 145:
"If, instead of a gem, or even of a flower, we could cast the gift of a lovely thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels, I suppose, must give."

In another part of this book, an old woman is dying, and she says:
"I don't see how He can think of everybody, at every minute, like. I don't mean that He will let anything go wrong, but He might forget an old body like me for a minute, like."
The young vicar responds:
"You would need to be as wise as He is before you could see how He does it. But you must believe more than you can understand. It would be unreasonable to think that He must forget because you can't understand how He could remember. I think it is as hard for Him to forget anything as it is for us to remember everything, for forgetting comes of weakness, and from our not being finished yet, and He is all strength and all perfection."

His writing is quite profound and very refreshing, so I always read his books fairly slowly.
But how I do love them!
Loretta Houben