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Scandanavian Tour
V
iolet visits Holland

You are invited to come along as we explore the beautiful, historic land of canals, wooden shoes, and windmills with Violet as our tour guide. Here she is, smiling in anticipation of visiting what she calls storybook land. Ready to go?

This past summer, Violet had the grand opportunity to travel through the Scandanavian countries and see fascinating historic places in this picturesque storybook land, hosted by her friend, Sue. She toured through five countries and saw a wide variety of sights. In this post, I’ll focus on Holland, and share the others with you soon.

Here she is reading up ahead of time on all that she will see and do. Hello Amsterdam!

Amsterdam is the capital city of Holland. It is a marshy, low land, below sea level and full of canals. Many buildings are built on stilts to hold them high and dry. So don’t be surprised when you see the buildings leaning a bit. Here is a pretty little sidewalk shop.

I found this map of Amsterdam showing how it is made up of many canals. I read that it has 165 canals that cover 60 miles of waterways! I wonder, are the canals named, liked streets?

Violet visited a park that was pretty and green. In one area a road goes over the park on a bridge, and Penny met this fun lad underneath, helping to hold up the road. Now she’s helping too.

Hey, come along and hop in, we are going to cruise on a canal!

Oh, the beauty of the water, the trees, and the historic buildings. How lovely!

Bicycles are a popular way of transportation here. They are found everywhere, even at the bottom of the canals. Whoops!

Sunshine and pretty boats and bridges.

In the picture above, I enjoy seeing all the colors and artistic shapes of the tall buildings. Also, I think that the red houseboat on the right looks really homey with its awning shade and pink flower pots. I found a video online that invites you to tour a houseboat on display, and thought I would share it here. How fascinating to see the possiblities of a floating house.

Holland is also famous for its traditional wooden shoes, or klompen.
“Wooden shoe wearers claim the shoes are warm in winter, cool in summer and provide support for good posture. The wood also absorbs perspiration so that the foot can breathe.” Here is an interesting page I found on Why walk on wooden shoes?

This clogs and cheese shop has a man making wooden shoes right here. How fascinating to watch! What an art!

The Zaanse Schans is a historic windmill park with many great old wooden windmils that were collected and brought here to preserve them. Several are still operating to grind spices, press oil, and saw wood.

These are the end of Violet’s pictures, but I’d like to add a little extra here.

When I think of Holland, I think of Corrie ten Boom. I have often read her book, The Hiding Place, that tells of her family’s watch shop in Haarlam and the work they did to protect and hide Jews during World War II. The price they paid was high, they endured arrest and cruel prison camps; but Corrie lived on to witness to the fact that God’s love is deeper than the world’s deepest darkness.

Below is the ten Boom house in Haarlam, just west of Amsterdam. They affectionately called it the Beje. A nickname short of the road’s real name, Barteljorisstraat.

The Beje

Barteljorisstraat 19
2011 RA Haarlem, Holland

When looking online for information about the ten Booms, I found this interesting blog post that tells an overview of their story and gives a tour of their home. The Corrie ten Boom house by Kevin & Amanda.

I was fascinated to find that their home itself has been preserved as a museum in tribute to the ten Boom family and at this site you can get lots more detail and even take a virtual tour.

One more quote from this humble, playful and loving woman.

Did you ever wonder, where do all those Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes go after being packed by so many generous folk each year?

We posted here about the shoebox Penny helped to pack last year: Packing a Shoebox With Love.

Then in November of last year, 2017, my clothespin doll, Violet, got to travel with our friends Don and Cindy, to visit the biggest Shoebox Packing Center in the country, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Would you like to see what they were up to?

occ logo

Volunteer at a Processing Center


“Millions of shoeboxes are collected during National Collection Week, the third week in November every year. Before these special gifts can bring hope and joy to children around the world, each one has to be carefully inspected and made ready for overseas shipment by volunteers like you. You can help prepare shoeboxes for delivery by volunteering at one of our eight processing centers across the United States. About 80,000 volunteers serve annually at our processing centers.”


Quoted from the Samaritan’s Purse website – here.

There is a long line waiting to get started today, come on in and see what happens here!

Once we check in, we get assigned to our station. There are 60 stations in this plant, with 12 volunteers working per station, 6 on each side of the bench.

Each shoebox that was packed, (maybe in your hometown) is brought here to be inspected. The inspectors open each box to see, first, if there are any forbidden items inside. See the list of “inappropriate” items hanging there to remind them? This list changes sometimes depending on which country these shoeboxes will be going to. Filler items piled in those center baskets are available to replace anything that must be removed. As far as possible, each box still contains what the giver meant it to.

Violet found a friend. ♥

Once each shoebox passes inspection and is ready to go, it is taped shut and bundled into the waiting cardboard boxes.

Very often throughout the day a moment of silence is taken to stop all labors and pray unitedly for the packages being sent from here right now.

Cindy wrote: 11/27/17   “Becky, the boxes today are going to the Ukraine and Africa, we have processed 45,000 boxes so far today. Violet is taking in all the experience with us.  This is an amazing project!!!”

Lunch Break. Taking a little rest.

Don is waiting with a tape gun where the cardboard boxes come down the conveyor belt to be piled into giant stacks.

Cindy helped to enter the tracking numbers for those who are following where their box is going in its travels.

The stacks of boxes are lifted by forklift and loaded onto semi trucks to move them on toward their final destinations.

A giant panel colorfully illustrates the travels of a shoebox.

Packing, Collection Centers, and then the Processing Center to prepare for shipping.

Worldwide Distribution, where leaders are trained to use “The Greatest Journey” and host outreach events where the Gospel is shared and the shoeboxes are handed out. Then this results in Discipleship and Multiplication – spreading the word and building churches.


The Greatest Journey

“After receiving shoebox gifts, many children are invited back to participate in our discipleship program, The Greatest Journey. Through this 12-lesson course, which includes Bible stories and Scripture memorization, they learn how to follow Christ in their daily lives as they share Him with friends and family. More than 14.9 million children have enrolled in this program since 2009.”

The Greatest Journey

The little fellow in this giant poster below is holding a copy of “The Greatest Journey.”

What a great privilege it was when Franklin Graham himself stopped by to personally thank the volunteers here. There was a little program presented with skits and special music for everyone to enjoy.


Violet is here in the stack of wrapped packages on display in front of the speaker’s podium. A close up shot…

And a disant shot, can you still see her?

Merry, Merry Christmas to all!!

The Samaritan’s Purse Headquarters is located in Boone, North Carolina. There is a processing center here, but it is not as large as the one in Charlotte.

Here Cindy met with a guard and a few other volunteers by the Christmas tree.

These ladies, once upon a time, were blessed to recieve a shoebox when they were young. Now that they are grown, they have come to help others recieve them too!

Their shirts are printed to tell where they were living when they got their shoebox!

Here are a few displays of distant countries where the shoeboxes go. Merry Christmas to many children in many places around the globe!

Cambodia
Thailand
Afghanistan

Violet’s trip also included a wonderful visit to the Billy Graham Library.

This barn is a tribute to Billy Graham’s early days growing up on a dairy farm. Violet got to make friends with “Bessie the Talking Cow” !!

Billy Graham’s pulpit.

These happy ladies work in the house; they enjoyed meeting Violet and hearing about her travels.

Here is where Billy Graham’s Bible is kept.

I’m guessing this must be Billy Graham’s father. Here is a neat article on him. Billy Graham’s Father and the Prayer Heard Around the World.

Our church, The Genesee Country Church, here in New York, is just beginning to do more with the Shoebox collecting. Last year individuals filled 138 shoeboxes. This year we hosted a big packing party in the gym and filled 236 boxes. We are thankful for Cindy and Lois who have organized so much, and their enthusiasm is spreading!

Here Don is helping in the corner of our gym where the boxes are brought and each is prayed for, that God would guide it and bless the special child who recieves it.

Even the littlest ones were thrilled to pack a box and pray over it.

Chosen, prepared and sent with love.

 

The colorful autumn days have come and gone so quickly this year.  We are now coated in heavy white snow, but here is a collection of autumn pictures from Penny’s adventures in the last month or so.  It is so fun to be reviewing these now.  Happy, thankful days.

 

 

Today, I’ll take you on one of my walks with Gracie out behind the farm.  We walked down this path, along with a little mud and a lot of sunshine.  We like to go exploring in the woods.  Anyone down inside this hollow log?  Hello??

 

 

A mossy log is so enchanting.  This is a good spot to sit, be quiet awhile, and think.

 

 

What a perfect shape and color of beauty.

 

 

Our dog, Gracie, loves to go for walks or fetch a ball.  Outdoors is her favorite place to be and her tail wags the entire time we are out walking.  So many things to explore and discover!

 

 

My brother grows lots of pumpkins, so we enjoy their cheery presence around the farm.

 

 

Here is one of the pallets where they sit for sale out by the road.

 

 

Rainy autumn days are delightful too, I like the character of the trunk of this maple tree contrasting with its golden leaves.

 

 

What is so fascinating about autumn puddles?  There is a restful stillness of leaves lying here.

 

 

Gentle rain patters on these red leaves.  Its almost like music to hear the rain fall.

 

 

Chilly days call for baking time; and so we’ll set about making pies.  Grab an apron, Penny!  Roll the dough!

 

 

This one is a cherry pie.  Dusty Penny stands back to survey her labors.  It is now ready for the oven.

 

 

The pumpkin pies will get an extra fancy touch of decoration this time, so we cut out leaves from the left over pie dough.  I must say, Penny, you are making quite a mess!

 

 

Oh, but isn’t it worth it?  Look at that beauty.

 

 

When all is finished and cleaned up, Penny gets to sample her very own mini piece of pumpkin pie.  Made from our very own pumpkins, I might add.  So yummy! (I ate some too.)

 

 

We celebrated Thanksgiving with so many things to be grateful for.  Our God is good.  I have enjoyed reviewing Ann Voskamp’s popular book, One Thousand Gifts, during this season.  Don’t we often get stuck on our disappointments and stresses and forget to take time to focus on God’s goodness?   When we accept whatever He sends with open arms, it transforms our thinking.  May His love shine in your heart and bring joy and freedom today.

 

 

 

Here we are, celebrating a beautiful summer.  The rains have been plenty lately and the gardens are lush and colorful.  I wanted to share a little of that with you, not that photos can do it full justice, but I hope this will add a little brightness to your day.

 

 

These hibiscus were grown by a neighbor who brought them over to us.  They are simply HUGE!!  One I measured was ten inches across!  I took a big one out and propped it up in the wisteria so I could pose Penny beside it.  It gave her a rather shrinking feeling.  What an enormous beauty.

 

 

“Oh, that we could reason less about our troubles, and sing and praise more!…

We can sing our cares away easier than we can reason them away.”

 

 

“Sing in the morning.  The birds are the earliest to sing, and birds are more without care than anything else that I know of.

 

 

“Sing at evening.  Singing is the last thing robins do.  When they have done their daily work; when they have flown their last flight, and picked up their last morsel of food, then on a topmost twig, they sing one song of praise.

 

 

“Oh, that we might sing morning and evening, and let song touch song all the way through.”

 

 

“Don’t let the song go out of your life

Though it chance sometimes to flow

In a minor strain; it will blend again

With the major tone you know.

 

 

“What though shadows rise to obscure life’s skies,

And hide for a time the sun,

The sooner they’ll lift and reveal the rift,

If you let the melody run.

 

 

“Don’t let the song go out of your life;

Though the voice may have lost its trill,

Though the tremulous note may die in your throat,

Let it sing in your spirit still.

 

 

“Don’t let the song go out of your life;

Let it ring in the soul while here;

And when you go hence, ’twill follow you thence,

And live on in another sphere.

 

quotes from Streams in the Desert  (May 5th ) – Mrs. Charles Cowman

 

 

 

 

A peek through the wisteria arbor at our sunflower “trees”.

 

 

 

Gracie in the evening rain at sunset.  I love this shot.

 

 

My quiet time lately has been in the Psalms enjoying these two books in the photo below with their comments.  Today’s reading was in Psalm 37.  “Fret not” is repeated three times in this Psalm.  Then I highlighted the thoughts, “Trust in the Lord and do good… Delight thyself in the Lord…  Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him…  Rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him…  The Lord upholds you…. He is ever merciful…  The Lord shall help… and deliver…  because they trust in Him.”

Don’t let the song go out of your life, (fret not), but cling to Him.

Rest in the Lord.  He upholds you.

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome back to our Hawaii tour with Evangeline!   (Click here to see the first post Hawaii – Part One)  We are enjoying this stunningly beautiful tropical beach.  Oh, the blueness of the sky and water and the softness of the sand.  How fascinating to find this odd turtle fellow traveling along at his thoughtful pace.

Seeing all this sand makes me think of the “grains of sand” verse in Psalm 139.  Do you remember it?   Speaking of how tenderly God loves us, the Psalmist says:

“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!   If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand.”

 

 

On the Big Island of Hawaii, Evangeline took time to do a little lounging on the Punalu’u Black Sand Beach.  What a funny idea, black sand!  So much of Hawaii is lava related!

 

 

More black lava is evident in this cove below.

 

 

Mike and Chip are exploring and trying to identify fascinating new water items.

 

 

Just think of the beautiful mind that created and formed these unique and colorful discoveries.  Our amazing Creator!

 

 

Could these be mulberry drupe shells?  and “ha ‘uke ‘uke”, a helmet or shingle urchin?  Fascinating!

A wee bit wind-blown is Evangeline here as she is out sightseeing on a cloudy day.  Such expanse of moody ocean.

 

 

Now she is relaxing in a quiet display of water-related finds just her size.

 

 

 

Evangeline highly recommends this great bake shop from waaa-aaay down south.

 

 

Yummy, yummy, yummy!!  Such sweet and sticky deliciousness.

 

 

A bit of memorabilia to bring home in remembrance of that visit.  Now don’t get any coffee stains or frosting on Chip’s new hat, Evangeline!!

 

 

A unique bit of Hawaiian history was shared at this Kona Coffee Living History Farm.

Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s many Japanese emigrated to Hawaii and became industrious farmers of coffee.  One farm was this 6 acre Uchida Coffee Farm purchased by a Japanese family in 1913 and through two world wars it kept producing large amounts of coffee beans and macadamia nuts.  This farm has been preserved to display what their lifestyle in that period must have been like.

 

 

Hello there Mr. Burro!  I learned that coffee doesn’t come from “beans” at all but from the pit inside a fruit like a cherry!

 

My craft-loving side was tickled by this sewing machine in the Japanese home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evangeline wanted to perch in this display of native fruits bought locally.  A pineapple, of course, some stubby bananas, and hairy strawberries among others.  Juicy and sweet!

 

 

From the Big Island of Hawaii, our friends traveled on to Maui.

March is a good time to do a bit of Whale Watching, as the humpback whales are wintering here at the Hawaiian Islands and when summer comes, they head up to Alaska.  On the tour boat, our friends saw lots of whales in the water, and what a thrill to hear their song humming so deeply.  Psalm 148:1,7 says “Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights above…  Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths.” And so they do in song!

 

Then a trip on the famous Road to Hana.  An ad proclaims: “There are few words that can describe the beauty of this drive with its cliffs cloaked in green and lush valleys bursting with waterfalls. Curves hug the coast and gaze over an ocean.”   Rustic and jungle-like sometimes, and not for the faint of heart!

 

 

Another highlight was to see the Giant Banyan Tree in Lahaina town.  This huge landmark, covering nearly two-thirds of an acre, was imported from India and planted in Maui back in 1873.  It was a memorial to the 50th anniversary of the first American Protestant mission to Lahaina. It stands 60 feet high and boasts over 16 major trunks that spread out in all directions creating a shady place to congregate beneath.  Quite a landmark, I say!  (This is a borrowed photo).

 

Image result for free stock photos giant banyan tree maui

 

The Haleakala mountain volcano is unforgettable.  This “House of the Sun” is a sacred place of many legends in original Hawaiian folklore.  The mountain was formed by layers of lava increasing over the years.  This information sign explains the forming of the giant crater.

 

 

 

Here we are up above the clouds.  Magnificent!

 

 

An incredible view.

 

 

And some time was enjoyed splashing in the waves before it is time to say good bye to the Pacific Ocean.

 

 

Toward the end of the trip, a visit was made to the famous Mama’s Fish House.

 

 

Is your mouth watering for fresh local caught fish?

They say the menu lists the name of the fisherman who caught the fish and where he caught it.  Did I see octapus on the menu as well?

 

 

Outside the restaurant you can stroll down to the ocean, and enjoy the sunset view.

 

 

 

Here are Evangeline’s friends that so kindly included her on their trip to explore the Hawaiian Islands.  She had a great time and sends you all a Big THANK YOU!! for your hospitality. It was a good project for me to look up all these places and facts to flesh out this post.  I’ve learned a lot about Hawaii!   What a marvelous place.

 

 

 

Farewell, fair land of tropical beauty.

 

Psalm 148

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the skies.

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for at his command they were created,
and he established them for ever and ever—
    he issued a decree that will never pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
    stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all cattle,
    small creatures and flying birds,
11 kings of the earth and all nations,
    you princes and all rulers on earth,
12 young men and women,
    old men and children.

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his splendor is above the earth and the heavens…

 

 

 

And speaking of the Pacific Ocean, on the way home, our friends took Evangeline to the Big Basin Redwoods State Park in California.  The tour guide made friends with li’l Evangeline.  Imagine being a little clothespin doll among the giant redwood trees. Awesome.

 

 

*******

Postscript:   After Evangeline’s Hawaii visit in March, the news came that there was a giant volcanic eruption in one of the very places they visited.  The Kilauea Volcano was pouring out lava near Leilani Estates on the Big Island of Hawaii.  There 1,500 residents were ordered to evacuate their homes in May of 2018.  We were praying for their safety.  Quite a topic of interest after our friends were just there!