Saturday, July 16, 2011


This is one of my favourite photos from Elma's last visit. Elma had some ideas for lemons and pots (and cracked pots), and then I asked if I could write words on the lemons.

The word sterkte is Dutch for strength. It's one of those words that is part of a unique vernacular surpassing time. Amongst Dutchies, when you don't know how else to express comfort or encouragement, you say sterkte.

And the word comes to mind tonight as I reflect on my Oma DeJonge, my dad's mom. Her 90th birthday was this week, and many members of the extended family were going to celebrate today together. But, last night, she had a fall, and her party was replaced with quiet recuperation in her room.

She is a tough cookie. Her life has not been easy. She lived through war in Holland, fell in love with a brave young man whom she met when he hid on her farm from the Nazis. She visited him when he was eventually captured, married him, moved to Canada with him, raised four great kids, and buried him eleven years ago. The details are worth writing into a book.

She often writes me letters because her hearing is not strong for phonecalls. She has always encouraged me, especially in these last five years when our family changed with Rachel and Janneke. She says she doesn't know how we manage with raising two disabled daughters, and I remind her of how she apparently managed with all the incredible stresses in her life.

Sterkte. Lean on the Lord. Put one foot forward. You just do it.

To you, Oma, sterkte.

These last few days have been busy with different things. This week's visit to Mac was quick and simple - I like that. Rachel visited her nephrologist (kidney doc) who seems less concerned about her kidneys now than six months ago. That means we need to visit him once a year instead of twice a year. I like that too.

Here are a couple of photos for fun:

We finally received our second JennSwing! Janneke is thrilled. Really, she is.

Apparently, Advil is now so potent, the factory insists on wrapping the entire bottle with safety wrap (?). (We go through a lot of ibuprofen in this home.)

And sometimes, our suppertime turns into an impromptu soccer clinic: Tonight was the offside rule, brought to you by red peppers, cucs, and carrots.

Peace for your weekend.


Bernie Pot said...

Sarah: Thanks for your posts, I appreciate the updates and the stories of others including your grandmother. And, also, the cucumber was conclusivly not offside as his foot was not touching the playing surface. Bernie.

Linda said...

Hi Sarah! I enjoy reading your blog stories. You are in my prayers often. Love the picture of the soccer clinic :) I just received an email story - maybe you've heard it before- but it made me think of you and your theme of pots...

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.
At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.
But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.
'I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.'
The old woman smiled, 'Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?'
'That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.'
'For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house..'

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.
You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.
SO, to all of my cracked pot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

Alissa said...

Sarah - I had been praying for a word or scripture to share with another friend and had the thought to see what you had written lately on your blog. I have my word: sterkte. Thank you. You are a comfort and encouragment to so many. I'm grateful for your blog!