Saturday, February 17, 2018

Grandpa John G Williams 130th birthday!

130 years ago today, February 17, 1888, my paternal Grandpa, John Griffith Williams was born to Joseph and Elizabeth Williams, in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales. 
He seems to have been quite a character. He immigrated to Canada in 1910 at the age of 23. He was the only one in his family to do so. He never went back to Wales. 
He married Ellen Egerton in approximately 1918 or 1919. She was also from North Wales, so I have a hunch they met over there. They had 2 sons together, but sadly one of them died in 1925, and then Ellen died in 1926. 

Thankfully for me, Grandpa re-married Alma May Palmer in 1928 when he was 40, and their first son, my Dad, John Herbert, was born in 1929. Grandpa had 6 more children, 9 in total.
This photo shows my grandparents in my parent's home celebrating their birthdays together. Grandma was born January 20, 1908. She was 20 years younger than her husband.

Grandpa on the left, Robert in the middle, William on the right. Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales, approximately 1910.

A young Grandpa on the prairies, probably Alberta.
He lived there for a while, then moved to Spalding SK.
He loved horses all his life, winding up taking care of the horses for Crystal Dairies in Vancouver BC in the 1940's.

This is my favourite picture of Grandpa. You can tell he was a real character. He moved to Vancouver in 1941, and began a new life working at Burrard Dry Docks during WWII, and having 3 more children here. By the time I knew him, he was a very quiet man, and quite frail. At least that's how he appeared to me. He died in June 1974. 
Happy birthday, Grandpa! Thank you for your adventures which led you to Canada.

By Loretta Houben

Friday, February 16, 2018

A Valentine's gift...

I participated in a Valentine swap exchange for the first time in a Facebook group I belong to. Today (Feb 16) I received my gift from Louise White, a new friend. She lives in the USA, so the package was held up at customs, I suspect. I sent her a gift too. I forgot to take pictures of it.

Louise's gift was packaged in a red box with red polka dot tissue paper. It was so pretty when I opened it! And very well packaged. Inside there was a delightful array of lovely gifts, including chai tea, chocolates, serviettes, a lacy doily, Valentine decorations, a pretty card, a beautiful beaded stuffed heart ornament, and stickers for my dolls.

I just love it all.

I think I love the stuffed heart the best, and the darling doll stickers. What a sweet gift!

By Loretta Houben

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Christmas tea!

I really miss having teas. I used to do it quite often, but lately all is very quiet in the House of Houben. Last Saturday Robert was at Camp Icicle and Leona was finally over her winter illness, so she came over for a hot cup of water, as she no longer drinks tea. I really need to find some tea buddies! My parents rarely come over now as my Dad is very frail, and my Mom won't come alone. 

I set out my fine Royal Albert china, with the beautiful poinsettia pattern. Leona gave me the teapot for a Christmas gift in 1981. The rest of the collection was also gifts. I just love this set.

I used a red cloth tablecloth. I usually buy them at Winner's store so they are quite inexpensive. I set out my candles each season in the fall and winter, as it brightens up the dreary dark nights. I love candles!

I had given all my baking away, so I set out Walker's shortbread and Cadbury fingers with fresh raspberries. Leona may have stuck to hot water, but I had reams of cups of hot tea!

By Loretta Houben

Monday, December 11, 2017

Robert's first book!

I'm thrilled to report that Robert, my husband, had his first book published!
Well, self-published, but it would have taken reams of money and time to publish it any other way, and then it might have been difficult to find a publisher, so Robert decided to go through Amazon and now his book is available on Amazon dot com or dot ca.
It's either $3.02 US for an electronic version or $6.99 US for a paperback version.
It's also available for $3.83 Cdn for electronic.

November 21, 2017: Robert holding a copy of his first book which arrived from Amazon on this date! It's very thrilling. Congratulations, Robert!

I finished reading Robert's first book last evening. It was weird to read a book written by him. I was filled with a bit of angst that he'd beat me to publishing his first book, but I always was as slow as molasses in winter, so it isn't very surprising. Then after the first few pages of set up and description (always necessary for any story) I delved right into the plot and was immersed in the time and era of Israel, Jerusalem and Bethlehem and the accompanying lives of the characters in scenes which took place just before the birth of Christ. I found the characters to be believable and likeable, even King Herod (to a point) and my favourite scenes were the ones with Thomas, the little shepherd boy, and of course David and his journey along the way to Bethlehem. I found it to be thought provoking and enjoyable. If you haven't yet bought a copy, please do so! 

By Loretta Houben

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Happy 62nd anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Happy 62nd anniversary, dear Mom and Dad!
I find it hard to believe, but you've remained together through thick and thin, the good times and the tough.
You've remained true and faithful to each other.
It's rather astounding in the world in which we live.
Not many seem to take marriage vows seriously and they divorce right, left and center.

But I'm thankful you two decided before God to remain dedicated to one another, forsaking all others. You didn't give up at the first glitch, or separate when your first son died prematurely, 60 years ago. 
Your love for God has strengthened you, and Christ's love has held and carried you through life's storms and joys.
This, to me, is what marriage is all about.
May God bless you richly on your special day.
Love from Robert and Loretta

I sent special greetings to CTV morning news, and they put a special anniversary greeting on TV last Friday.
HERE is the link to the clip. 

My parent's greeting is number five in the greetings for the morning.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Lady Diana; 20 years ago....

I will never forget the disbelief and grief I felt on hearing that Lady Diana had died in a stupid and senseless car crash, due to a drunken driver.
It took me years before I even began to believe it. I thought that there was some conspiracy to get rid of her, but no, it was simply a horrendous act, and she should never have got into that car. But then, she should never have married Prince Charles, in my opinion. Poor dear Diana. 
I'll never forget her.

By Loretta Houben

Monday, August 21, 2017

Aug 21: solar eclipse!

Today, August 21, 2017, there was a solar eclipse over certain states in the USA. Here in Vancouver BC we had an 87% eclipse but without special glasses I didn't notice anything unusual except a murkiness in the air. The sun dimmed a tiny bit, but if I wasn't aware of an eclipse happening I wouldn't have noticed anything.

Here is Kelsie, age 16, laying in her first partial eclipse and she didn't seem aware of anything. But she's half blind, so that isn't surprising. 
The next solar eclipse in these parts is in 2042 I believe. I'll be 82 so I might get the special glasses then. LOL!

I remember the solar eclipse on Feb 26, 1979. Here is a video clip of it from online:
1979 eclipse

And here is a photo I took this morning, showing a bit of eclipse shadows through the tree!

By Loretta Houben