Sunday, November 26, 2006

My Thanksgiving Blessings

For the past week, I have been focusing on the many things that I am thankful for. The Lord has granted us multiple blessings, and I need to share them with you.

1. I am thankful for my God (the following are from 120 Reasons to Thank God by Connie Moore
a. That I can put my trust in you. Psalm 16:1
b. You are mindful of man. Psalm 8:4
c. That your way is perfect and your Word is proved. Psalm 18:30
d. That you gird me with strength. Psalm 18:32
e. That you will strengthen my heart. Psalm 27:14
f. I know that my times are in your hands. Psalm 31:15

2. An amazing husband who loves me.
a. He spends time playing with our children
b. He works hard to provide for us.
c. He is even willing to change diapers on a frequent basis.

3. A wonderful Mother-in-Law -- Phyllis Hall
a. She is faithfully serving God in Uganda.
b. She has never once told me how to run our home or raise our children.
c. She loves the Lord with all her heart.
e. She is constantly praying for us.

4. My wonderful parents, sister, and brother
a. They serve the Lord faithfully here in Kansas
b. They opened their home for us to live.
c. They love the Lord sincerely.
d. They are praying for us.

5. My Children
a. The Lord has given us three healthy and energetic children.
b. They are teaching me much more than I am teaching them.
c. Although they have their moments, they are usually obedient.
d. I love the hugs and kisses they come up and give me for absolutely no reason.
e. They are willing to forgive and forget my mistakes.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Winter Wednesdays at the Zoo

Today Mom and I decided to take all of the kids on a walk through the jungle. Timmy held Kara's hand as they walked across the suspension bridge. Kara Lydia and I stopped to take a break on a flat slab of rock (a.k.a. bench). The jungle was exciting as we had lots of birds come within a couple of feet of us. We even saw two Scarlet Macaws!

Andy fell asleep in an Orangatains arm. Thankfully the monkey was very kind and stayed very still while Andy slept so he wouldn't wake up.

From the jungle to the African pride lands, we had a wonderful time. Timothy enjoyed playing with the lions. We watched the lions, the elephants, the zebras, and the giraffe's as they played. The Hippos stayed quietly in their lake. It was difficult pushing the stroller through the jungle, but we made it out alive without any scratches.

Our adventure today was great fun -- then we hoped in the van and left the zoo. Seriously, I have now added a new activity to the girls play schedule -- Wednesdays at the zoo (when the weather is nice enough). Every Wednesday through the winter, the zoo only charges a dollar a person. With such a low price, we can hardly afford to stay away!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Daily Herald's Tribute to Oma

Last week after Oma's obituary ran in the paper, a reporter called Opa and said she wanted to do a feature story on Oma. We were all excited about this, and so I wanted to share the article with you. This article was printed in the Chicago Daily Herald on Tuesday, November 21, 2006.

Everyone loved heroic, generous ‘Grandma Jo’
By Liz Clemmons
Daily Herald Correspondent

Johanna Boerma ~ 1925-2006

Throughout the 25 years she spent as a lunchroom mother, Johanna Boerma often dug into her own pockets to make sure the poorest of children could receive ice cream.

Thousands of students from Jane Addams Junior High School in Schaumburg and Albert Einstein Elementary School in Hanover Park were the recipients of special treats, clothing and hugs from Mrs. Boerma, who was known as “Grandma Jo” to her small charges.

“The kids who didn’t have coats, she would throw her own coat over them so they could play outside for recess,” said Samuel Boerma, her husband of 56 years.

Children learned many life lessons in the lunchroom under Mrs. Boerma’s watch. Students involved in a disagreement were taught how to resolve differences without being sent to the principal’s office. Those newly arrived from another country were taught English. And children with learning disabilities were shown that they could achieve more than they thought was possible.

“She treated the handicapped kids like normal kids. She got them to do more by giving them a task to do. And then she would reward them,” explained son Fred Boerma.

Mrs. Boerma even saved a student’s life when she walked into a room where the despondant child was about to cut his wrists. She talked him out of ending his life and made sure to keep in touch with him to offer encouragement.

Just last year, the former student, now an adult, called Mrs. Boerma to thank her for helping him.

A resident of Hanover Park for 37 years, Mrs. Boerma died November 13. She was 81.

Throughout her life, Mrs. Boerma tried to make the children around her happy although her own childhood was far from idyllic. Nazi-occupied Holland in World War II was a dangerous place for a young girl who was part Jewish. Wearing the Star of David on a sleeve, which the Nazis demanded those of Jewish ancestory to do, was often a death sentence.

“Wearing the Star of David was like having a target on you. Many were shot right in the streets,” explained Fred Boerma.

Mrs. Boerma’s mother got around the requirement by sewing the star on the inside of her family’s clothes. Recently widowed, she was forced to move her four daughters from place to place to keep them safe from the Nazis.

“It’s amazing the strength she took from that. She grew up with nothing and went on to concentrate on children. She believed that children are the future,” said daughter-in-law Billie Boerma.

Mrs. Boerma was known as “Grandma Jo” not only in the lunchroom but in her neighborhood as well. She was a surrogate mother to countless children, especially those of working mothers. During a one-year period, she had babysat for all 28 children in the neighborhood. The offspring of those children would come to know the kindness of Grandma Jo, who always remembered friends and co-workers with homemade baskets of treats during the holidays.

“If it had anything to do with kids, she was for it. She didn’t have that much money or education, but she was the richest and smartest person I knew,” said Bev Wilkes, who lived next door to the Boerma family for 37 years.

Mrs. Boerma’s generosity was apparent during one summer when Hanover Park hosted a Little League tournament. One team from out of town had nowhere to stay. On two hours’ notice, Mrs. Boerma took in half the team while her neighbor took in the other half.

For five days, a group of 15-year-olds were cared for and fed, and their white uniforms washed everyday.

“What are you going to do? You can’t put these kids out on the street,” was Mrs. Boerma’s opinion.

Bev Wilkes called her friend and neighbor a true humanitarian.

“She opened up her heart, her house, her arms to everyone.”

Mrs. Boerma is survived by her husband, five children, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My Little Mommy

Kara has become quite the little mommy. She wants to do everything that I do. Some of it is cute, and some times it can be a little frustrating, but I think it is the biggest complement she can give me. She has also enjoyed cuddling with me before bed lately :-)

The other day after JA finished giving Kara a bath, Kara came out of the bathroom with her towel on her head and said "Like Mommy."

Thursday after I brought Kara and Lydia home from the library after storytime (I had left Andy at home with my mom), Kara decided to share with Andy. She had found some cherrios sitting on the table, and I saw her place one on the floor right in front of him. As I stooped down to pick up the cherrio while telling Kara how sweet it was for her to share but Andy couldn't eat cherrios yet, I discovered just how much Kara was sharing with Andy. She had already placed a cherrio in his mouth. I now need to keep a better eye on my little mommy.

A couple days ago I walked into the living room and found Kara trying to play with her little brother. I thought it made such a cute picture I had to snap it.
Today Kara had a playdate with a couple of kids we met at storytime. She had a blast - new toys, and we helped make pies for Thanks- giving. Here Kara is smashing cookies for the pie crust.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Good Bye Oma, I Love You

This afternoon the Lord took my Oma, Johanna Boerma, home. Oma was one of the most courageous women I have ever known. Living as a Jew in Holland during the Nazi Occupation she had many experiences which she rarely spoke of.

A few years ago, while I was living with Oma, I read the story of Corrie Ten Boom. After I finished reading the book, I spent an entire day with Oma just listening to her tell me the stories of her own experience during the war. She told me stories ranging from her sister hiding out in a quaranteened hospital to herself stealing bread to eat and jumping over walls to run away from the Nazis.

That same day that Oma told me the stories, I was able to ask her about the day she became a Christian. She told me of her sitting in church, hearing the message of salvation, and then later that week asking Christ to be her Lord.

I wish I would have had a recorder to record the stories she told me that day so I could pass them on to my children. But then I also wish that my children could have known their great-grandmother. I praise the Lord that someday I will see Oma again in Heaven, and I pray that my children will someday know her there also.

Oma's obituary can be read at this site

Friday, November 10, 2006

Fun Photos

Aunt Gayle, we want to say thank you for the wonderful PJ's. They are keeping us nice and warm at night. And they fit great (a little big, but just enough room for us to be able to wear them all winter). We love you, and we miss you!
Kara and Lydia

P.S. Andy will be able to fit the sleepers in a couple of weeks and then we will post a picture with him.

Aunt Beth is Looking for her frog prince! But in the mean time, she's going to settle for a handsome nephew :-)

When Kara and Lydia were born, I made them each a blanket. This summer while I was in Canada, I spent some time making Andy's blanket (I'm thankful we were able to find out he was a boy -- I didn't know with Lydia, so I had to wait until after she was born to make her blanket). Here you see our little Tigger sleeping on his blanket.

Below is a picture of Andy's bed for the present time. Opa had ordered a Moses basket from him on E-bay, but unfortunately the seller never sent it. So we are still waiting to get him his real bed, but for now the laundry basket is the perfect size for him, and it fits perfectly between our bed and the wall.

Tennis Play

At the beginning of October we went to one of Elizabeth's Tennis meets. Across the street from the tennis courts was a playground area with water spouts.

Here Kara had a bit of a surprise as she got caught in the middle of the spouts. Lydia also got a little bit closer than she wanted.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Fun Night -- October 31

I thought I had my last pajama party back in High School, but I was wrong. This year's Halloween Alternative (Fun Night) was a Pajama Party. JA even bought me new pajamas to be able to wear to Fun Night. I decided to take the girls for part of the time (JA was working, and I wanted them to be able to go). We stayed for an hour and a half -- We all had a great time, even Andy who was getting passed around.They had planned a bunch of activities for the kids ranging from popping baloons to pulling each other on sleeping bags. Kara didn't want to participate in the organized games, but she had a fun time playing and just running around. Lydia quickly found her way to the food table and munched on a cookie for most of the time.Both girls enjoyed riding on the little car that one of the families had brought. Kara especially enjoyed pushing Lydia on it.Andy was content to be held and sleep (of course that's about all that could be expected of a four-day old. We had a great time, and it was definately better than going out trick-or-treating (the girls still ended up with a huge bag of candy).

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Brother & Sisters

Here are some pictures of Kara and Lydia with Andy.