Coolest Christmas Present EVER!

We spend every Christmas Eve with Mark's family.  We make a day of it - we drive to Bowmanville in the morning, and spend the day going for walks down by the creek, knitting, caring for babies, playing with children, and doing all sorts of lovely relaxing things.  Our family is very warm and welcoming, and a fun part of Christmas with the Vanderherberg's, is that there are usually guests.  It's such fun to spend it with others who may be a long ways from home, or may not have family members to spend Christmas Eve with.

One of our Christmas traditions is our gift name-exchange.  Instead of buying gifts for everyone, we draw names at Thanksgiving, and just buy for that one person.  It keeps it simple, and since we have so much to be grateful for already, it's more just fun to do.

Emanuel, the best 'big cousin' ever, giving Hannah kisses while she gets a bottle from (Great) Bepe Rose

So yesterday, after we finished our gourmet Christmas dinner, we had a time of gift opening for the children so they could go to bed after the sleigh ride (yes, we even do an old fashioned horse-drawn sleigh ride every year!).  Then later on, the adults would have their time to exchange presents.  This year, we had a little extra time between kids-presents and sleigh-ride, so my sister-in-law, Laura, with a giddy school-girl smile, asked if she could give her gift, and handed me a brightly coloured thin and small gift. 

Auntie Laura with Caroline

Laura is very sweet and thoughtful.  She is always creating and working on new projects, so we have a lot in common.  You can check out her blog here.  She is an incredibly creative person, so when she has your name you never really know what to expect.  She seems to come up with such good ideas every year.  I wasted no time opening the gift.  Inside was a brown envelope, which was unopened and had her name on it.  Slightly confused, I glanced at the return address, which read "Mustard Seed Interiors - PA".  My heart almost stopped.  I opened the envelope, and inside was a PERSONAL letter, written to me, from Miss Mustard Seed!  I'm talking, a solid, pen-and-paper, hand-written card, with my name on it!  Laura had written to Marian (aka Miss Mustard Seed) and told her about my business, and asked her to write me a note of encouragement.

In a recent blog post written by Miss Mustard Seed, she talks about the day her book was released, and she went to Indigo to see it in the store, and she totally dorked out when she saw it - she took pictures, danced around, got really excited, etc.  I totally dorked out.  Right then and there.  My entire extended family witnessed.  I was clutching the letter, doing a funky dance amongst all the babies and wrappings on the floor.  Finally I settled down enough to explain to everyone there who Miss Mustard Seed was, and ask, "Should I read it?" to which everyone (of course), shouted, "Yes!"  I began the letter:


Your sweet sister in law told me a big about you and shared your lovely blog with me.

(I freaked out and shrieked, "She was on my blog?!  Oh my gosh!")

     The piece you painted in Grain Sack looks amazing!!  I cant believe you found the time while caring for twins.  Wow!
     I just want to encourage you in your journey as a furniture refinisher & blogger.  Remember that everyone starts somewhere and your journey is YOUR journey.  Let God lead you in a way that works for your family.  You never know what He'll use or how He will work.
     Just work hard, stay balanced and enjoy wherever it goes.

     Have a wonderful Christmas!
     - Marian 

I dorked out quite a bit more after that, which included smothering my sister-in-law and bouncing on Mark's lap.  Needless to say, I was pretty excited.

For some odd reason, my babes are incredibly happy when they're naked.

The gift also included Miss Mustard Seed's book, "Inspired You" (which I read all the way through this afternoon).  She also gave me gorgeous vases to decorate my furniture with for photographing, so you will be sure to see those in the near future.

Laura, sipping tea, with Anna (from Ukraine) who just learned how to knit.

Later on, we talked more extensively about my business.  I told my family a little of Marian's story - how she was married to a youth pastor, and started painting furniture as a means to supplement their income.  I told them how she is incredibly humble, down to earth, simple, and stupidly talented.  My family really encouraged me then, on pursuing my business, expanding my blog, and going along with wherever opportunity takes.  My brother-in-law Michael said, "And Jen - if you ever publish a book - you can be sure that we will ALL be in Indigo the day it releases, dorking out with you!"

Michael cooking dinner
This year I have just felt so overwhelmed by the bounty of the goodness of God in my life.  I have so much - and more - to be grateful for, and yet he continues to lavish on me, more and more.  I'm incredibly excited for the new year, with all the opportunity and adventure it holds.  My deepest prayer is that God will be honoured in all I do, and that His name will be exalted in all my work.

1 comment:

  1. Merry Christmas Jen! What a wonderful, thoughtful Christmas present! It is so nice to have your family and friends behind your dreams.

    Your munchkins are so cute!

    Looking forward to discussing painting endeavours further with you in 2013!

    Nicole xx