Lifestyle

An Open Letter to My 5-year-old Daughter

by Vicki

My darling little lady,

How has this day already come? How have 5 whole years gone by since I first held you in my arms and prayed that I would live up to the name “mama”? Prayed that I would have the answers to all your ‘why’ questions? Prayed that I would have the words when your heart was broken? Prayed that you would know how loved and treasured you are?

You have always been a joy to our family. Your smile, contagious laugh, fits of giggles, and desire for a good time make our lives entertaining (if not a bit busy). You keep your Daddy and me on our toes (already) and I can only imagine that that will continue as you get older. You already ask the tough questions and desire a deeper knowledge of the world around you. You love passionately, you feel deeply, and your heart breaks with injustice and unfairness. You are intuitive and often pick up on people’s emotions before they have even been expressed. You are empathetic and you want to make sure your people are taken care of. You are loyal, almost to a fault (other people can have cute babies too, you know!). You struggle with trusting the unknown but, when the questions get hard and the answers seem harder, you willingly and determinedly repeat “I know that my God is good”. You’ve already made us so proud in your short life and we know you are destined for big things. You are our little lady. We love you so.so.so much.  Even more than that, you are God’s little lady. And He loves you even more.

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On your fifth birthday there are some things I want to tell you. Some things I pray you’ll keep close to your heart, that you’ll remember each year as you get older, and that will help you navigate this crazy thing called life.

  • Life is hard. It has been hard since the fall into sin and it will be hard until we are Heaven-side. People will be unkind, toes will be stubbed, little brothers will get bigger and beat you up, people will have things you want but cannot have, you will get sick, tests will be failed, pimples will appear before first dates, friends will be lost, you will spill water and milk and tea, you will be hurt, you will cry, your parents will disappoint you, you will feel like no one understands you, and you will feel alone. BUT!
  • Life is good. It hasn’t always been good. But Jesus, He made it good. When those hard things get you down, please remember, please know…that He’s got you. He died for you. He made it so that one day there would be no more tears, no stubbed toes, no wardrobe disasters, no failed grades, no unkind words, and no loneliness. And so, when life feels hard, remember that life is good because of Jesus.

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  • Life is beautiful. There is beauty all around you. There are breaths of fresh air, trickling streams, towering trees, glistening sunshine and full rainbows. There are smiles, laughter, soothing melodies, baby giggles, rich dark chocolate, soft sweaters, and warm cups of tea. There is forgiveness. There is redemption. There is a life redeemed by the blood of our Saviour. There is a place for you at the foot of His heavenly throne where angels will be singing praises to our King! I can’t think of anything more beautiful than that!
  • Life is love. There is no life without love. You have been blessed to be born into a world where you are surrounded by love. Your daddy and I love you so much. There is nothing you can do, or say, or think that will make us love you less. You have grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings that love you. You have friends and friend-families that love you. You are a very loved young lady. But, when those people fail you or disappoint you or seem too busy for you. There is Jesus’ love. And His love is the most important. His love is the love that makes this life possible. Don’t forget that. His love never fails, never disappoints, and He’s never too busy for you. He loved you so much that he gave His life for you, so that you could live this life well, and the next life even better!

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  • Life is a choice. Each day you make the choice to live this life. Choose to live it well. Live it loving others. Choose to be kind, caring, honest, joyful, determined for the future, peaceful, controlled, patient, and good. Choose to run this race well, to finish with honour. Like I’ve already said, its going to be hard, but Jesus lives in you. And He has given you everything you need to choose to live this life well.
  • Life is about Jesus. Be you in this life. Be uniquely you. Don’t let others dictate who you are or what choices you should make. But, be you…in Jesus.  Because this life really is all about Him: Jesus. Love Him. Trust Him. Live for Him. Do this, and it all will turn out okay. I promise.

You have so much life to live. Live it well. Defeat your dragons. Fight your battles. Discover your paths. Dream your dreams. Play your music. Dance your two step. And: Love your Jesus.

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Love always,

Mama.

Lifestyle

He Never Lets Go.

by Vicki

A couple of years ago I went through a very hard time. Things I had thought were truths were revealed to be lies. Supports I thought I had, disappeared. Control I craved, was taken away. All coping strategies I had learned in my 20+ years of life, failed.

I felt lost. I felt broken. I felt betrayed. I felt alone. And I felt angry….at God.

It was a dark time. A dark time that was no worse or better than the dark times that every person has faced, is facing, or is going to face. But it was my dark time. And it was hard.

During that time I struggled with understanding where God was in all of the pain. Someone (a dear someone) told me it was okay to question God about my pain, my struggles, my disappointments. They told me that I could go to Him and tell Him that I was upset and angry. They told me it was okay to tell God all of my feelings, not just the good ones. So I did. I told Him. Repeatedly. In anger and in sorrow. And through His word, a devotional I was reading, and some words from those around me, He answered.

I was broken in order that My God could be revealed to me. I was brought low so I could learn to trust and hope in Him.

Mark just introduced me to Ghost Ship. They are a Christian band that I have fallen in love with. One of their songs reminded me of that time of questioning and of learning to trust and hope in the God who holds the heavens and earth in His hands. If I’m being honest, I am still learning to do this and probably will be for the rest of my life. But the song was a happy reminder of who our God is, what He is capable of, that He is holding each of us in His hands and that (even in our darkest times) He never lets go.

The song is called Orion. Click on the link to take a listen. The lyrics are below.  I also love their songs called ‘Lion Man’, ‘Where Were You’, ‘Mediator’…really all of them!

‘Orion’ by Ghost Ship

I asked God, “What have You done?
Everything I love is gone.
Why must I endure this pain,
won’t You come and save me?

Tell me are You listening,
do You hear my shouted pleas?
Will You answer me this day,
won’t You come and save me?”

I was answered by my Lord,
“Can You bind Orion’s form
or guide his path?”
I looked up and answered, “No,
but You can, so I will hold
in Your strong hands.”

The hands that own the stars above,
will never let me go.
The one who holds the heavens up,
in Him I put my hope.

Yeah, who am I that You should love,
and bind in Your embrace?
Well, God is this who holds the stars
and guides me in His grace

I look at the deep dark sky,
mighty throne of the Most High.
I’m aware of my true place,
won’t You come and save me?

Still I know that You are near,
speaking comfort in my ear.
God, I long to see Your face,
won’t You come and save me?

I was answered by my Lord,
“Can You bind Orion’s form
or guide his path?”
I looked up and answered, “No,
but You can, so I will hold
in Your strong hands.”

The hands that own the stars above,
will never let me go.
The one who holds the heavens up,
in Him I put my hope.

Yeah, who am I that You should love,
and bind in Your embrace.
Well, God is this who holds the stars
and guides me in His grace

You bind me to Your ways
and guide me in Your grace.

You never let me go,
the grip of God will hold.

(taken from http://www.songlyrics.com/ghost-ship/orion-lyrics/)

Lifestyle

‘Goodness and Loving Kindness’

by Kara


“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7, ESV)

This afternoon, I had the privilege of listening to a sermon delivered by one of the most joyful seminary students I have ever seen. His demeanor in his greeting, singing, and preaching all pointed to an overflow of thankfulness to his Saviour. It was an amazing attitude to witness, and it was contagious.

If I’m honest, I often bury or even lose the complete joy there is to be found in Jesus. I forget the greatest gift, and focus on the earthly fears and concerns. I grow tired, I focus on me, and I no longer feel joy, but in its place, there is a deep, gaping hole.

The message this student brought was more important than his attitude, but his attitude made it all the more applicable. He preached on humility, good works, and, without necessarily saying the word, joy.

In Titus 3, we find Paul’s reminder that Christians must be ‘ready for every good work’. We are to be loving, peaceful, and courteous. But Paul does not simply give a command, he gives a reason.

He tells of how we were once foolish, disobedient, slaves to our passions, and hateful. We were undeserving of love. Then verse 4 begins with a beautiful ‘But’.

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour…”.

God saved us, from ourselves, out of Grace. Beautiful, wonderful Grace. And in that we have joy.

Good works are not cumbersome. Being courteous is not a constant biting of the tongue. It is an overflow of thankfulness.

Do Good.

Because you were lost.

But now you are found.

My heart filled with joy as I heard this reminder. I hope yours does as well. May you go forward this week in the Joy of Jesus.

 

 

Lifestyle

#FridayIntroductions

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This is us.

Vicki, Katie, Kara, Danielle.

Most of these pictures were taken by Rita Zietsma Photography . Even though they were taken less than 1 year ago some of them are already out of date – our family is definitely in “baby stage”! I guess we’ll have to book another session sooner than later.

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Hi! I’m Danielle. The oldest daughter – the leader of the clan. Well, at least in theory.

I am married to a wonderful man and we have been blessed with four children. Our days are filled with baseball, soccer, crafts, reading, and fort building.

After staying home with my kids for the past 8 years I am beginning a new chapter in my life – that of a working mom. When our three oldest return to school this September I will be right there with them – as a part time teacher in the grade one classroom.

I hope you enjoy reading about our life,  thoughts, and antics.

VGrootheest Fam Katie 2016 Sep 17_2

Hi.  My name is Katie.

I am the coffee of Three Teas and a Coffee.

I love coffee, reading, gardening, plants and my family.   Not necessarily in that order, though it depends on the day  😀

We are a family of 6, though 2 of us are still in-utero.   I believe my 2 unborn children are no less my children then my born children, which is why they already count.

My husband, will is a carpenter; which is good, because we tend to buy old, run-down houses that need a lot of work.   We are currently renovating our second home.  I am currently thinking why on earth anyone would do this once, let alone twice.  Just kidding.  I enjoy it.  Most of the time.

Atticus (3.5) is my first born. He is a ball of energy, loves the outside, loves books almost as much as his mama and loves to eat.  He loves the animals we have accumulated so far, and is constantly asking for more. Vivien (2) is my second born.  She is fiercely independent, until she isn’t.  She loves ferociously, which means the animals try to avoid her.  She is a nonstop ball of energy, until she’s not.  When she is tired, she lays down. As I said the twins are still in-utero.   I will let you know their personalities once they make them known.

Thank you for reading this and I hope you find this blog interesting.

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Hi! I’m Vicki.

I’m married to my highschool sweetheart, Mark. He’s a stone mason, a member of our church’s worship team, an avid sports fan, a truly amazing father to our children, and my best friend (I’m the sappy sister!). We have three children – Peyton (4), Chase (3), and Dax (6 months). Our kids are each unique and special, and we thank God daily for blessing us with them.

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Dax joined the family after our photoshoot. He has been the best fifth addition to our little family!

I enjoy being a mom, visiting with friends, having a clean and tidy house, playing games, eating good food, watching HGTV, decorating (and redecorating) the rooms in my little home, Summer days, camping, snuggles on the couch with any of my three kiddos (and maybe my husband), listening (and dancing) to worship music withe my kids, and learning more about my Jesus.

Thank you for coming along on this journey with me and my sisters!

VGrootheest Fam Kara 2016 Sep 17_71

I’m Kara, the youngest of the four.

I am married to a farmer who plans to attend seminary and become a pastor. His name is Tsjibbe, pronounced ‘Chibba’, and we have a beautiful baby girl named Zoe.

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Zoe joined the family after the photoshoot as well. She is such a joy to our little (and big) family.

I recently finished by Bachelor of Arts with a major in Psychology and a minor in Theatre Arts.  Although I hope to one day return to school to get my Masters, right now I am a happy SAHM.

I love to bake and cook. I also enjoy knitting, crocheting, and sewing, although each of these hobbies are often neglected for months at a time.

I love writing, and am looking forward to writing for this blog!

Lifestyle

Our Very First Post

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Welcome to our very first post. Please, come along on a journey with us.

Imagine, if you will, that you have driven up to any one of our houses on any one of the rare days that we are all together. You would enter the house and, depending on the season, would be greeted with 10 pairs of small sandals and flip flops, damp towels and swim suits draped over chairs or hanging on hooks, or, you would see 10 pairs of wet boots strewn across the floor, snow suits hanging up to dry and many, many pairs of mismatched mitts lying all over the ground.

If you were able to navigate safely through this obstacle course you would enter into a home where you would hear little voices squealing with delight, shouts of victory as a game or competition is completed, belly laughter as big cousins make little cousins laugh, voices rising and lowering as a detailed game of house or cats or Playmobil or train is dictated to each other, the occasional squabble, and the general hum of happy children who love each other, and love playing together.

You would smell numerous aromas from oil diffusers, to fresh paint, to dirty diapers, to wood burning fires, to fresh baking or supper cooking, to paint and glue from kids’ crafts, to the sweet smell of fresh babies.

You would look around, and depending on whose home you had entered, would notice a 100 year old farmhouse being lovingly restored, a small townhome filled with DIY, a bright farmhouse with years of family history, or a raised ranch nearly completely renovated and fresh. Each house has different styles and decor, but each house feels like a home where people live, love, and grow.

If, after all of this, you haven’t been taken down by the tiny army we created, excited to tell you their latest stories or include you in one of their numerous games; if you haven’t been distracted by a project on the go, or a book left open on a couch; if you haven’t stopped to see what oil is diffusing or to sit and enjoy the warm fire, you would come to the dining room. And there, sitting on top of the table, you would see three teas and a coffee. And, when one of us isn’t changing a diaper, or settling a toddler dispute, or feeding a baby, you would see four sisters.

Four sisters completely different and yet very much the same.

You would see 10 years between the oldest and the youngest.

You would see 350 km stretching from the eastern-most home to the western-most home.

You would see a teacher, a modern-day pioneer, a planner, and an aspiring psychologist.

You would see a mother of 4, a mother of twins, a mother dealing with postpartum, and a brand new mother of one.

You would see university degrees and career diplomas.

You would see laugh lines and messy buns.

If you took some moments to listen you would hear laughter over childhood memories, emphatic (but kind) political debates, discussions about disciplining children, tears as heartaches and struggles are shared, encouragement for new journeys and for journeys that feel never-ending. One would tell of her chickens’ latest antics, another the latest stories in her classroom, another of her latest room “re-do”, and another of life as the wife of a student. You would listen as they discussed family budgeting tips, meal prep and planning ideas, vacation dreams and plans, and stories from last week. You would hear them share their favourite products, books, foods, and TV shows (for binge watching while cluster feeding babies). You would see them share their love for their Saviour and hear as they discuss their churches and latest devotions.  Even though their lives are different, they would, for that day, do life together.

You would leave feeling like you had witnessed something beautiful and messy, peaceful but chaotic, intricate and yet simplistic.

Our hope for this blog is that we can use it to experience these sister visits more regularly than just once every few months. We have something special in our sisterhood. Something that encourages, stretches, challenges and grows us.  What we want for this blog is to share our lives and to connect, with each other and with you.

We are four sisters. This is our one blog. Please join us.

Much love from, All of us.