Monday, December 27, 2010

Ponder These Treasures

Boxing Day fell on a Sunday this year, but our vicar had not wanted to have a service on Boxing Day so he let others in the church organise a service if they wanted one.

The Nativty we have by the tree

I went along and there were not many there. But I was struck by the fact that the vicar had boxed up all the things of Christmas from inside the church and so you would never have known it had been Christmas the day before.
Not a trace of candles, tinsel or a manger scene.

I was struck with a feeling of loss.
Christmas this year hadn’t been quite the same with the death of Moeder and I had had a bit of surgery under general anesthetic straight after, so the excitement of the Birth of Jesus Christ was not quite in our home.

One of my Nativity scenes from Avon
As I sat in church looking around and listening to the sharing, I felt grieved by the passing of Christmas and picked up my Bible.
I read from Luke 2 the best description of the first Christmas story, the birth of Christ. Although you can also read it in Matthew chapters 1 and 2 the passages from Luke is the one read at Nativity plays.

In chapter 2 of Luke there is the account of the Shepherds in the field watching over their sheep.

Another from Avon
Now I have always been under the impression (my thoughts only) that the shepherds visited Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus, after his birth, (Christmas Day) so that when they had visited the baby in the stable and then went out rejoicing, it was the new day – Boxing Day as we know it - and so Christmas is still with us. I mean shepherds were pretty lowly people in those days and wouldn't have been listened to by others, so it would have taken awhile for the message to 'get through'.

I then found comfort (as God usually does for me from His Word) in verse 19 of Luke.

19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart

And then I realised the truth for me of Christmas, Boxing Day and for ever after;

‘pondering these treasures in my heart.’

Mary had discovered something more of what her baby was to be and I  too continually learn new things of God and His love for me.

So Christmas and the joy of it will be forever in me. I do know the true meaning of Christmas and the sacrifice of why Jesus came to earth, but for this moment I gained a further insight into the wonder of God.

Both these decorations are on our tree
This decoration was given to me by Theresa a couple of years ago.

All scripture is from the New International Version

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Dairy Farmers take on Santa

Every year a dairy farming family, that some of our children went to school with, put out a display in one of their roadside paddocks. It is usually the week before Christmas and as they are on State Highway 1 every car, truck, tourist and local see it.

It makes me smile when I see the children, now grown ups (like ours) and some still farming on the farm, putting up the display or just come around the corner, forgetting that this family do it and then there it is.

Of course it is not quite PC for Santa but then neither is snow in New Zealand so if you believe in Santa (or Father Christmas) then you have to make allowances.

Yes so Christmas is nearly here.
Take time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and if you are reading this today in the rush of things...

Psalm 46:10

He [God] says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

All scripture is from New International Version

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Belated Birthday

Yesterday evening when I was off to bed Harry came down and asked
"Are you expecting any mail?"
"No", I replied.
"Well this has arrived. Some one has just walked up the front steps and left it at the door"

Looking at the parcel, it was addressed to me but to our old address across the road.
It was from my sister and in it were four wonderfully wrapped gifts.

When you receive gifts wrapped like that, you almost don't want to unwrap them as they look so pretty. But me being me I just had to there and then, Imean the card was not a Christmas card.
What a lovely selection of things just for me that I just love.

Some silicone cup-cake cases, chocolates, Susan Boyles Christmas CD, "the Gift" and a magnetic shopping list.
And the card told of how she knew it was late but really I didn't care it was just so nice to be remembered and that in her busy life she had sent me some lovely things.

Thank you Ailsa you special sister

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


This is another recipe from my manual training days when I was 12.
We had to rub the butter into the other ingredients with our fingers but I now use my kitchen whiz.
Another thing when we were taught this recipe, was that we had to measure all the ingredients exactly making them level on the measuring spoon by running a knife along the edge of the spoon.
For some reason I still do that!


1 cup flour
4 Tbsp cornflour
4 Tbsp icing sugar
Pinch of salt
125gr butter (cold from the fridge)

Place all ingredients in a kitchen whiz.
Pulse a little for the butter to be cut up a bit and then process until the mixture forms a ball around the blade.
Roll out onto a floured surface to half a centimeter thick.
Try not to over work the mixture or it will loose its buttery texture
Cut into shapes and place on a tray lined with baking paper.
I use cutters for special occasions like Christmas but other times I just cut into squares.
Prick each shape with a fork and then bake in a preheated over at 160ºC for 20 minutes.
Cool a little and then finish cooling on a wire rack.

This year I am making up a little hamper for my parents as a Christmas gift so I have individually wrapped some of the shortbread to add to it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

I heard the sirens a couple of times before I remembered what they were for.

Every Year Santa comes around our town giving out ice blocks and lollies to the local children.

Ever since we arrived here over 25 years ago our children have waited at the gate once they heard the sirens for their treat.

This year was the first time there was no one in our house hanging out to meet him.
Even the last few years Daniel would greet Santa’s helper with a water pistol so as to get to Santa first as the clown had his own and would readily use it.


The sound of the sirens has the added sound of Christmas songs, as the gaily decorated fire engine, from the local Volunteer Fire Brigade, approaches your home.

Santa, his helper the fairy and clown, walk the street and a ‘fireman’ hands out the ice blocks.The fairy has a basket of lollies to give one "for the other hand".

Out side our house they even honked the horn but Katrina had already told me, when I woke her to get dressed to receive her treat, that she didn’t need to see Santa.

My last baby had grown up. 

OK she is sixteen but I realised it was now time to make sure the Grandchildren come to play the day the Tirau Fire Brigade give back to the community.

Monday, December 13, 2010

As Carefree as a Sparrow

I was reading a devotion from my daily readings - The Word for Today a free booklet from Rhema Broadcasting.

While John was a prisoner on the Isle of Patmos, far from his loved ones and surrounded by the cries of abused captives, he had a vision of Jesus. He writes, ‘…When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead…’ (Revelation 1:17 NKJV) Incredible revelation in the midst of confinement, chaos and pain; that’s how it works! The difficult circumstances you’re going through right now can actually clear your perceptions, cause you to seek God as never before, and find answers for your life. John’s predicament proves that negative experiences don’t hide the Lord; they reveal Him. Instead of destroying you, Satan’s attack can actually develop you. Yes, it stresses you, but it also stretches you spiritually. There’s a place in God where fiery trials consume everything except your desire to know Him.. It was Paul’s all-consuming goal: ‘I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ.’ (Philippians 3:8 NIV) There it is: no reservations, no retreat, and no regrets; just a desire to know God intimately and a commitment to ‘go all the way with Him’. 

I was reminded of the time, in November 2004, when I was ill with a breakdown called Anxiety Adjustment Disorder.
At the time I was admitted into the Henry Bennett Centre at the Waikato Hospital which is the ward for the Mentally Ill.

At times I found I did not know what to pray for any more. I knew God was there right beside me but even my thoughts were 'scrambled" as to what I needed.
I even thought I had let God down by not coping as I was a Christian. I mean where was God in all this!
On the second day as I sat in the locked fenced courtyard waiting to see if I was allowed to stay with my friends I watched some sparrows having a dust bath and scratching in the grass for bugs.
I thought I wish I was a sparrow, free to fly away and with no worries.
As plain as can be God told me to look up in Matthew 6:25 onwards the scripture of how He cares for the sparrow and how I was not to worry about a thing and how I was so valuable to Him. I was so happy and relaxed in just that short time I knew I was in God's hands even then and that my faith could never be taken away from me.

Matthew 6:25-34
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. 

All scripture is from (New International Version)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sweet Peas

Today I went out for lunch with the Aunty Pearls Club.
It is a group of woman over the age of 50 and we wear our pearls. Events vary depending on what might be going on in a near by town so we can all go together or we may just meet up for fellowship as arranged by The Three Duchesses.
Today was just that; morning tea, lunch and a swim if you wanted at a beautiful home out in the country with views of the Waikato River and native birds in amongst the bush.
A great time of just relaxing, sharing in food and fellowship at this busy time of year.

On leaving I was given a bunch of beautiful sweet peas, that as I type are still filling the house with their fragrance.
I particularly love this bunch as they are in my favourite colours of purple.

The smell is not only true to their name but the memories are flooding back of my grandparents place.

They had a huge vegetable garden, a glass house, grew vegetables and had fruit trees and hens that seemed to supply much more than they could ever eat.
Their flower gardens were fill of flowers too, but every Christmas one side of the garage was a mass of brightly coloured sweet peas and I have never seen anyone else grow as many in one place!

I have Christmas Carols playing in the back ground at the moment and I am reminded of my dear Granny. We would go to their place for Christmas and there were always many family members there too. Granny and Granddad would produce so much food for as many people as there were there and then still have left overs.

One year my small family of Harry, our first born and I went to spend Christmas with my sister in New Plymouth on a dairy farm as they couldn't get away at that time of the year.
We wanted to reproduce the kind of Christmas meals Grannny made and realised how much work she and Granddad put in to make these all happen.
I don't think they would have got much sleep on Christmas Eve.

But that Christmas day Granddad and Granny were going to my parents for afternoon tea, but they didn't make it.
They had a car accident and Granny died in hospital later that afternoon.

So Christmas has had mixed feelings over the last 29 years but the delight of sweet peas and the thoughts I have of my wonderful Granny as I prepare our Christmas feasts bring a smile of how special she was.
Granddad and Granny - George and Ada McEwen 1979

Monday, December 6, 2010

A New Rose

I have bought a new rose and it is planted down the driveway garden.
A lot of my roses are bought for a reason, with a story that goes with them.
It's a beautiful yellow and I bought it to remind me of Moeder (Aleida Van Lent).
We had yellow roses in the casket bouquet and even the name seems fitting.

The casket being carried to the plot at the cemetery.
Father Jim in the white sun cap, the Funeral director.
Jjust behind him walking on the far side is
Richard Van Lent,
Daniel Van Lent is carrying the casket front left,
Nic Van Lent, front right.
Tracey Van Lent is centre left (Nic's sister, you can just see her face in front of Nic in the photo),
Theresa Van Lent is centre right.
Andrew Smith is carrying rear left and his younger brother
Anthony Smith is rear right.
Christopher Van Lent is walking to the right in an opposite position to his brother Richard on the far side.

Arriving to where Henk her beloved Husband lies.

Harry can be seen with his arms folded between the funeral director and Nic.
Paul the youngest of the siblings is in the blue shirt and dark glasses, second from the left facing the graveside.

Chris the eldest grandson.

Rose Marie the only sister is in the yellow with Grant her partner (obscured). Tracey Van Lent with her hands clasped in front and Andrew (Rosie's eldest) behind her

And the beautiful spray for the casket is to the right with the bright happy yellow roses.
In fact the whole spray is a reminder of the flowers Moeder often had in vases around their home.

Prayers for the Family

Prayer for Mum

We thank you loving Father for taking Mum (Aleida)
from sickness into health and from suffering into joy.
We lift up our hearts in thanksgiving for her life;
for all that she was to us,
and everything in her life that reflected your goodness and love.

“Lord Hear our Prayer”

Prayer for Dad

We thank you Father for Dad (Henk) whom we love but see no longer.
We rejoice in your promises of blessing to those who die in the Lord,
so know Your light shines upon him.

“Lord Hear our Prayer”

Prayer for the Family

For us as family we ask that You strengthened us by Your continuing presence.
Set our hearts at rest and banish our fears.
Surround us with your continuing compassion
that we too may share with her, Your gift of eternal life.
through Jesus Christ Your Son.

“Lord Hear our Prayer”

Prayer for the Family

We thank You for the commitment from those who cared for Mum,
especially in the last few years.
We ask that you bless them mightily for their loving compassion and friendship.

“Lord Hear our Prayer”

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Aleida Nicolina Van Lent

My beautiful Mother in law.

Aleida Nicolina Van Lent

On 20th November 2010, Aleida was released from her long struggle, to be reunited with her beloved husband, Henk. Aged 85 years, she was the loved mother and mother-in-law of Harry & Fiona, Frank  Suzanne, Rose Marie Grant, and Paul; loved Oma of Chris, Theresa, Richard, Jennifer, Tracey, Andrew, Anthony, Sarah, Nic, Daniel, and Katrina; and Overgrootmoeder of Ryan and Evelyn. 

On her wedding day - April 1953

On our  wedding day - August 1978


Me, Mum and Harry - 2004

And Oma with our children, clockwise from the top; Theresa, Daniel, Katrina, Jennifer and Sarah.

She was a wonderful Christian lady, who longed for all her children to follow in her belief's.

It is a great comfort for me to know that she gave her life to Jesus at a camp my mother went to also.
I now know she will be in heaven with her Maker.
On the last day before she died I was able to read from the bible, sing a couple of songs and pray blessings on her.

What a privileged.
John 3:13-21
13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. 

All  Scripture is from New International Version

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Louise Cake

Another recipe to use up jam is Louise Cake.
Traditionally it is made with raspberry jam but you could use any flavour.

100gr butter
½ cup sugar
2 eggs (separated)
1 ¼ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder

Raspberry jam
½ cup sugar
½ cup coconut

Cream the butter and first measure of sugar.
Add the egg yolks and then the sifted flour and baking powder.
You could make this in a food processor and process until it forms a lump on the blade. (Use cold butter)
Press into a tin about 20cm square. Or you could just roll it out onto a tray.
Bake for 5 minutes at 180ºC

Spread with raspberry jam.
Beat the egg whites until stiff and add the second measure of sugar and the coconut.
Spread carefully on top of the jam.
Return to the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Double Chocolate Surprise Muffins

This is a lovely recipe to use up left over jam and it is a good recipe to use at Easter using small caramel eggs instead of the jam.
It is taken from Alison Holst's  More Marvellous Muffin book.

1 ¾ cups of flour
4 tsp baking powder
¼ cup coca
½ cup sugar
½ cup (100g) chocolate chips

75gr butter
2 large eggs
¾ cup milk
Extra chocolate chips

Stir the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Add the chocolate chips and toss with a fork.
Melt the butter in a separate container, until just liquid.
Add the eggs and milk and beat with a fork until smooth
Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and fold in about 14 times.
Do not over mix (some bits of flour may still be showing).
Put about a tablespoon of mixture into the base of 12 medium muffin tins that have been well greased. (I use margarine on a kitchen paper towel to grease them)
Place about a teaspoon of jam in a blob, in the middle of each muffin.

Carefully cover this with the rest of the muffin mix trying not to over mix the mixture in the bowl as you do so.
Make sure the jam is covered – that is why it’s good to use a blob of jam rather than a ‘spread’.
Sprinkle with a few extra chocolate chips if you like.
Bake at 200ºC for about 10 minutes until the muffins spring back when pressed.
Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes before removing.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Special Mail

Don't you love receiving real mail and parcels through the letter box.
You open the box and there is something, other that a bill or organisation asking for more money, after you gave to them once before.

As I have mentioned in another post I am on a forum.
The magazine it came from is now no longer in print but the forum is still going as it the website that includes two other magazines. The members are all on-line freinds so we are still posting and keeping in touch.

We had another mystery KK, in that we have been given names and address for someone who wanted to be apart of it. We had to find a calender and post it to our mystery friend. Either one of our area or something the person you are sending to likes.
I have bought mine but am waiting on the address to post it to, but last week I got mine.
It's not quite so much a surprise for me as the others are all Australian so they have to put addresses etc on the packet, (and I will have to to them) but it is still so nice to receive that specail something in the mail.

Not only is it a beautiful calender of the sort of gardens, relaxing places to sit, but there was a post card of the area my friend is from and a lovely little Christmas decoration.
It will go on the tree each year and I will think of her.

Monday, November 8, 2010

When the plans turn around

Yesterday I had great plans to get some more work done in the vegetable garden and some baking done to use up the eggs that are mounting up around here. Katrina counted 37!

But then a good friend invited Harry and I out for the afternoon to talk and go for a walk.
As Harry had wanted to get back to watch a delayed broadcast of the rugby game played earlier in the morning, (All Blacks v England - shhh don't tell him the score) we went earlier so we could get back in time.
However once we were there it was a lovely lunch with a few families and Harry was able to sit and watch a DVD recording of the match on a bigger clearer screen.
Well wasn't he happy - no adds and the All Blacks won.

But a few of us went for a walk down the farm to the river. The small peninsular on the right of this pic.

It was great to go for a walk, something I haven't done in a long time. We all chatted and laughed and made out way back at our own pace.

The paddocks we walked through were lush with spring growth. On the way I picked some of the wild grasses and flowers growing and was surprised at how awesome even the weeds are.

God even takes care of what we call weeds that for others would be a blessing in their parched fields.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Motown Fever

Motown - Motown was a record label founded by Berry Gordy, Jr. and incorporated as Motown Record Corporation in Detroit, Michigan, USA, on April 14, 1960.

Motown played an important role in the racial integration of popular music, as it was the first record label owned by an African American to primarily feature African-American artists who achieved crossover success. In the 1960s, Motown and its soul-based subsidiaries were the most successful proponents of what came to be known as The Motown Sound, a style of soul music with a distinct pop influence.

Motown has owned or distributed releases from more than 45 subsidiaries in varying genres, although it is most famous for its releases in the music genres of rhythm and blues, soul, hip hop, and pop. 

Putaruru College where my daughter attends have just recently preformed a show called Motown Fever.
They have practised for months and the polished performances showed it.
Credit goes not only to the students of whom sung, danced, played instruments and introduced the night, but also to their dedicated teacher Miss Atkins.
Some of the groups they preformed were

Diana Ross and the Supremes

The Marvelettes

Stevie Wonder with vocals

Martha Reeves and The Vandellas 

The Jackson 5

Lionel Ritchie and Dianna Ross singing a duet "Endless Love"

At the end of the show the students present their beloved music teach with gifts as she is leaving this year.
Katrina is embracing her.

Another performance by Katrina that I am so proud of.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Friend Rose

I have a dear friend Rose who's hubby has been very sick and is taking a long time to recover.
He has been in hospital for over a month now and its not known if or when he will go home.
But home as he knows it will not be here in our little town as their house is just not suitable for him and Rose will struggle with all the care he will need.
She is presently staying with one of her daughters and that is where they will make their home for the time being.
How ever it is over 50 kms away through rural country so not somewhere you just visit everyday.
To help with added costs and down sizing Rose and her daughter have been having a few garage sales.
One day I called while she was home and asked if I could buy some of her cups and saucer sets not just for me but for my daughters and she willingly let me help myself and charged me a lot less than I thought so I gave her more.

After I had washed them and was sorting them out I discovered one of the cups had a crack in it.
By the stain around the crack it must have been like that for awhile and I was a little sad.
I will use the saucer and plate as everyday plates etc and I am going to use the cup in my flour.
I have many cups/mugs that have broken handles that mean something and I am reluctant to throw them out so I put them to other uses.

  • I use them for holding pens etc on my bedside table and by the computer
  • One has ties for plastic bags etc
  • I collect left of dripping to use to feed birds
  • There are some as scoops in my bulk flour containers.
I like to have some things sort of eclectic rather than just plastic containers, scoops etc and enjoy the old fashioned way of reusing things.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Spicy Apple Muffins

These muffins are very tasty and healthy for you! They are still quite moist the day after making too.

1 cup of self raising flour
1 cup of rolled oats
¾ cup brown sugar
2 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

75 grams butter
1 egg
1 cup of raw grated apple (about two medium sized apples)
¾ to 1 cup of milk

Mix all the first eight dry ingredients together well, breaking up any lumps of brown sugar, in a large bowl.
Melt the butter and add the ¾ cup of milk in a separate bowl.
Beat in the egg with a fork.
Grate the unpeeled apple and press into the cup measure. Depending on how juicy the apple is will determine how much extra milk you need to add later.
Add the apple to the liquid and fold into the dry ingredients.
If the mixture is not wet enough for muffin consistency then add the other ¼ cup of milk.
Fill 12 medium muffin pans that have been well greased.
I use margarine on a paper towel to do this.
Bake at 200ºC for 12 to 15 minutes.
Leave in pans for 3 - 4 minutes before cooling on a wire rack