Psychology about shopping– and it’s time to shop

Since people are shopping and planning for Christmas, this might be a good time to share this article that Cathy Mendler, fellow newsletter writer, put up this week. It’s not her article but she too was looking for a way to help her readers get organized. She is an organizer, after all.

These science-backed secrets reveal why and how you spend, to help you become a more mindful shopper; this is the subtitle of Lauren Gelman‘s article.


Christmas Tree in the Snow


My mother, after all, taught me a few tricks about shopping, one being don’t take your children shopping (except if they have to try on shoes, perhaps); and I’ve learned since that grocery shopping on an empty stomach may be one of the worst enemies of someone trying to mind their food intake (thanks to Weight Watchers for this tip). I’m sure I can come up with more than the attraction of holiday music and the store that’s been decorated since Halloween. Those who work in malls may be very tired of “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” even before Christmas Eve arrives, at least that’s what my daughter said when she worked retail over the holidays.

Now if you’re just going to have coffee with a friend and you’ve got your shopping done, you can listen to the holiday music as much as you want or tune out the music while catching up.

Read more of Gelman’s article here:

angel ornament

Perhaps this article will help you keep your sanity and enjoy Christmas, because it’s not just about the  gifts you get. There really is more to it. More about that in an upcoming post.


November 22, 2014 at 1:36 am Leave a comment

Creativity in Us–Canadian Writers Who Are Christian

On the weekend I spent an enjoyable day with two friends at “Christmas in Paris”—an event we had never attended before.

I’d heard about it and decided it would make a good day trip. Doris and Amanda’s schedules were free and so we set out Saturday morning for Paris (Ontario, that is). Driving country roads instead of main highways, we watched the panorama of trees with coloured leaves, many still on the tree and the ground carpeted with more.

To read more, go here.


Stay around a little longer and read the posts of other Canadian Christian authors. You’ll be entertained, enlightened and uplifted.








gourd made into ornament

November 11, 2014 at 1:02 pm Leave a comment

Thanks Giving–Canadian Writers Who Are Christian

Today I posted over at Canadian Writers Who Are Christian.

When was the last time you were told to give thanks? Could you do it when you’re going through some challenging times?

I’ve struggled with this countless times, because, being human, I can always think of the negative and struggle to find the positive. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, I read, “Rejoice always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances.” I struggle with that, even when there’s good stuff happening in the middle of overwhelming tension, and I anticipate and await the outcome or the next big thing, just as in our recent experience.

Read more here.

Carolyn Wilker is a member of  The Editors’ Association of Canada,The Word Guild, Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship, The Baden Storytellers’ Guild and Toastmasters International.

Carolyn Wilker 2

image002Once Upon a Sandbox

October 11, 2014 at 1:41 pm Leave a comment








patience Waiting makes us exercise patience. What or who made you wait today? Perhaps it was waiting for your children to get dressed for the day, to come to breakfast, to tidy up toys. Or it may have been waiting on someone who is recovering from illness or injury. Waiting on a bus, waiting on a park bench, or waiting, like the boy in the picture, for the birds to come and eat the treat you left for them.


Jeff Goins writes in  The In-Between:

Our journey is full of rest stops…that signal the arrival of things we anticipate. Sometimes, they’re worth the wait.



Love is patient, love is kind…  (1 Corinthians 13:4, NIV)

October 5, 2014 at 12:38 am Leave a comment

Sainte Marie among the Hurons–Maranatha bus trip– Part 2


Continuing on our tour of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons from the bus trip a short few weeks ago.

DSCF8188Even our well-versed guide was not sure about what these waterways were meant to do– and it wasn’t to bring the canoes into the settlement from the outside. That would have taken too long. Might it have been for irrigation? Did they have gardens they needed to water?







This is one enormous canoe.  How many people would paddle in this one?



DSCF8193I don’t think I’d want to skin this critter. You’ll recognize it by the stripe.




DSCF8194Fox pelt?




DSCF8196Dressed in the black robes of the priest and posing with two members of our bus group.



DSCF8198Looking into the courtyard




DSCF8199More canoes, birch bark, I think.


DSCF8202Pastor Peter Kuhnert at the mission. Other members from the bus trip stop to talk.




DSCF8203Ruby is thankful for her washing machine at home. Scrubbing clothing on a washboard is a lot more work. On the other hand, there would be no French women along on this mission. Did the men do the laundry here?



DSCF8205Tour guide Emily was open to our questions and answered willingly with what she knew.




DSCF8209 The chapel where the priests led services for the Hurons and other French people who had come to work. See the vestments on the left, the elaborate altar cloths and candles. Now what was it that they put in that little door on the altar? Hmm. Oh, I remember, it was the communion bread.


There was a hearth in this room and a dirt floor, more comfortable for the Hurons. The priest would put his robe on out front so the people knew there was no trickery, and the priest would face the people, not the altar, to lead the service.

Whereas the priests were willing to suffer cold and discomfort in following Christ, the Wendat people preferred warmth and comfort.


DSCF8213Another costumed guide, but I cannot remember what the workers were called. Can anyone fill in this piece of information? One of the French workers, anyway.




DSCF8214There came a day that some of the Wendat people wouldn’t put up with the Christian interlopers anymore,  and they tortured and killed Brébeuf and Gabriel Lalamonte.  When the mission was burned to the ground by the Jesuits on their departure, they took along the bones of the two men and left them in Montreal for a time. The bones have been reburied here in the place where they did their mission work.

There were Huron people who thought their life was better since the Jesuits had come, but obviously there were frictions within the Wendat.



DSCF8212No fancy candelabras, but these stands did the job. Vestments were quite colourful.





DSCF8215Here’s the longhouse where Autumn waited to tell us about the Huron people and their way of living. Sounds like women had a lot of power. A young bride could accept the gifts of someone courting but reject the young man if he didn’t provide for her. She could keep the gift even if she rejected him.

Watch out for the smoke, but when you’re inside closer to the fire, it’s not as bad. Still maybe we returned home smelling a bit like we’d been in a smoky place. It was certainly in my nose awhile afterwards. Would I have gotten used to it if I were a native girl? Probably.




DSCF8218Autumn, the second guide, dressed in native women’s wear. She told us a lot about the women of that time.

Trying to remember, but I think the long house was more of a winter home. Am I correct on that? And the teepee structure below was more for summer. I think the long house would be warmer with all those people sharing the space, but a woman would still be given privacy for childbirth.






DSCF8220One of the letters by a priest in 1633, written by hand, of course. More of these in the main building of the Museum.


After a scrumptious hot meal prepared by Mrs. Bell and some helpers, we had time to look around, get another group photo.  Then a bus ride over to the shrine.



DSCF8226Our travelling group for the day with Marjorie in the middle




DSCF8233The Martyr’s Shrine. It looked rather imposing and glorious in the sun. The shrine was built in 1926. There’s much to see here.



DSCF8240 A certain stained glass window of the Wendat chief teaching Brébeuf about living in this land.

We had our Sunday service in the Filion Centre on the basement level of the church. The message was more of a reflection and discussion on how the tour had affected us and what was particularly impressing to us. I thought how brave Brébeuf was to come to this land and then to  live with a native family for months to learn their language.


At the close of worship, hymn books were gathered and we boarded the bus for the ride home. We’d been fortunate to have good weather and awesome tour guides.



October 1, 2014 at 12:38 pm 3 comments

Sainte Marie among the Hurons–Maranatha bus trip– Part 1

Recently, I had the opportunity and privilege to join Maranatha Lutheran Church on their yearly bus trip—this time to Midland and the Martyr’s Shrine. The Sunday was Holy Cross Day, which their pastor, Peter Kuhnert, said was a fitting trip on such a day.

We left St. Philip parking lot only a few minutes after our proposed departure time, and with a prayer for safe travel and thoughts to ponder if we had been living at the time of the Jesuit missionaries to the Wendat people, whom the priests came to call the Hurons.


On the way there, for the first while, we watched the scenery go by and chatted with our seat mates. Mine was Marilyn from St. Philip, whom I got to know a little better as she knit away on a prayer shawl. I was beginning to think that was a good way to pass the time but two of us knitting in the same seat might not have worked so well.

Tradition on their bus trips includes singing their way to the destination and so we sang favourites of Maranatha members. As well as those songs, we sang the Huron Carol, written by Father Jean de Brébeuf in the 1600s. Pastor Peter Kuhnert also gave us some history on the settlement.



We’ve arrived at the site. Now for the bus driver to park and for all of us to get off the bus and embark on this adventure.




Here we are at the welcome centre where we watched a video about  the work of the Jesuits among the Wendat people. Coming to this place in the 1600s meant travelling by ship across the oceans, then by canoe and portage until the group reached the settlement.






Our tour guides Emily, dressed as a French worker who would have come along with the priests, and Autumn (behind the desk), clothed in typical garb of a native woman at the time (mid 1640s).

Having toured the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough this past summer, I recognized that canoeing and portaging at that time would have been quite the journey for priests who probably weren’t used to such rustic conditions, unlike the Wendat people. We learned that Brebeuf lived with a native family for months to learn their language. He desired to present the story of Jesus to the people in a way they could understand.

Wikipedia says, of the Huron carol that Brebeuf wrote:

the song’s original Huron title is “Jesous Ahatonhia” (“Jesus, he is born“).

He wrote the song in the

The original words of the carol in the Wyandot language (Huron).

Ehstehn yayau deh tsaun we yisus ahattonnia
O na wateh wado:kwi nonnwa ‘ndasqua entai
ehnau sherskwa trivota nonnwa ‘ndi yaun rashata
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia.


and in 1926, the English version was transcribed or translated by Jesse Edgar Middleton.

‘Twas in the moon of winter-time
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead;

Go here to see the rest of the song in both Wyandot and English. This is one of my favourite Christmas carols that I look forward to singing each Christmas season.


At the end of the video, the screen magically rolled up and we had an open door to the mission.




DSCF8158Emily is not just a tour guide; she’s an amazing historian and so thorough in her explanations that we had few questions. Well. maybe more later.




DSCF8159Can anyone who was on the bus trip refresh my memory what this structure was?




Sitting at the mission table with our guide.

Emily tells us how the French were not so delighted to eat the fare of the Hurons, but grateful that they could learn from the natives of the land how to live in this rugged land. She told us of the French bringing in animals and that they would bring a cow. Rather a striking and humorous image of a cow riding along in one of their very large canoes so that the missionaries and workers could eat more than corn and squash.


DSCF8164The sort of squash the people would have lived on.



DSCF8165Dried food hanging from the ceiling.

We learned that the Wendat people ate their food plain whereas the Jesuits used spices to flavour their food. The Huron people did not see why the French would use spices in their food. To them, spices were medicine.



DSCF8166Emily telling us about the building where the priests held their silent retreats and prayed. The rooms would have been dark except for the light of candles.




The spaces were small and the beds not so long either, apparently too short for Pastor Peter.

By the way this is a working museum. We could try out chairs and beds and sit on benches.



DSCF8176Entering another courtyard from the retreat building


DSCF8178Rather ornate altar in the working chapel where the priests came very early in the morning to stand and pray to God.



DSCF8180Not serious as the priests would be. A woman in our group offered to take my picture there so I smiled for the picture.





DSCF8181Rather colourful vestments that the priests wore.




DSCF8182Our guide showing us how to make cedar shingles for the roof.




DSCF8183Tools of the tin smith. The Wendat were impressed with the iron that the French workers brought and that they could shape and use for tools. They often traded goods for pieces they could use. Each man carried a certain weight of iron as they came on the trails. Heavy trudging, I think.





A bit of glare on the  picture, but you can still read most of the information about the double fireplace (shown below).


There’s much more but I’ll stop here for today and continue my post on the trip in a few days. Stay tuned for Part 2

Photos by C. Wilker. Use by permission, please.


September 26, 2014 at 7:10 pm Leave a comment

A Homer Watson Tradition and a New Display

The Homer Watson Gallery in Kitchener is bursting with new exhibits again. This month and until early November, artists Deborah Pryce, Diane Young and Anita Kunz have their work displayed in the various rooms. Deborah’s work is hung in the Calley room, Diane’s in the adjoining room, and Anita’s in the Homer Watson Gallery.










In Sacred Cows, Anita looks at social situations in which we give far more prominence to people in society than perhaps they are worth.


In an article in Waterloo Region Record, we learn that Anita’s art work has been printed in many “prominent magazines such as Time, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, GQ, New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek and Atlantic Monthly, among others. Or you have on your personal library shelf one of the 50 book jackets she has illustrated.
In addition to magazines and book publishers, the acclaimed freelancer has worked for record companies, design firms and advertising agencies.”

From Anita’s artist statement:

I’ve always been fascinated by social issues and how we react to certain people in our culture. The subject of celebrity is endlessly fascinating to me, especially how we elevate some arguably questionable people to a higher status…




Another of Anita’s works of social commentary, Elvis’s Sneer, but after all  he’s only flossing his teeth just like we’re meant to do.

The Waterloo Region Record’s article in the Saturday paper,  titled “International Illustrator Returns Home with Exhibition at Homer Watson Gallery,” focuses on Anita’s work but also mentioned the other two artists.






Diane’s  interactive display of busts invites the visitor to try to figure out what the expression says, then to flip up the small sign and see what the artist was thinking. I loved that feature of her exhibit.



DSCF8059Dianne with one of her expressive creations, but I will let you go there and figure it out for yourself

In her display, Robert Reid of the Record says,

Diane Young’s 11 bronze-coloured, naturalist, clay busts are commissioned portraits, encompassing male and female, spanning the spectrum of ages from young to old and bridging cultures.



From Diane’s artist statement:

From the moment I first held clay in my hands, I knew that I had found my life’s passion. I have always been fascinated by the human face and it has become the sole source of my inspiration…


DSCF8078                                                                                                  Another of Diane’s creations and I didn’t guess what she was thinking. I had an entirely different idea.



DSCF8081An interesting juxtaposition that Deborah noticed when we looked around the gallery a separate day from the opening. We can see into the Calley Room and view one of her pieces.




DSCF8036Deborah arranging a bouquet of flowers that were delivered for her on opening day.


DSCF8035 A more abstract look at how change affects people.







Opening of her artist’s statement “There’s a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen, Anthem. And more:

The difficult stuff in life has a way of tarnishing our lustre, hardening us or pulling us into our cocoons. So, too, the creative spirit easily gets crusted over from neglect, fear of failing, disappointments, or even by the safety of the tried and true.




DSCF8043At the opening reception, Deborah talks with Darlene. Supporters included family, friends, fellow choir members and others from the church community.





Introductions at the opening reception. Stephen Woodworth, Conservative MP for Kitchener Centre (Ontario), congratulating the artists and offering a few words to guests




Faith Heiplinger, Executive Director at the gallery, introduces each of the artists and asks them to describe the focus and meaning of their works in the exhibit


My friends Deb and Lorraine, and I went out to lunch a few days after the opening, then at the gallery afterwards we  had more opportunity to look around and ask Deb about the work involved in her exhibits and the meaning that went into those creations.


I am so proud of  you, Deb, and the incredible display of your artistic expression. And I was pleased to meet Diane and Anita and see their amazing work as well.






Photos by L. and C. Wilker, and this last one by L. Ballard.

September 19, 2014 at 12:09 am Leave a comment

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