Posts filed under ‘artists’

A Women’s Retreat

Could it be two weeks already since our women’s retreat. I look at my planner and it most surely is. Last year our retreat was cancelled when the church camp was closed for the winter and until May. Our retreat, originally Mount Zion Lutheran Women’s retreat, is always held in late April and has been held at Camp Edgewood at Eden Mills, ON, for many years. This year we were in for a treat because we were at Stone House at Hidden Acres near Shakespeare, Ontario.


We ate, gathered and learned in this building, and the accommodations were good too. We had time to explore the camp in free time as well, so we weren’t indoors all the time.

Our theme for the weekend was “Seeing God in Surprising Places.” We arrived early evening on the Friday, unpacked our gear and food contributions, dug out our Bibles for worship and greeted each other. It had been two years since our last gathering so it was good to see each and catch up on what’s happened in others’ lives. Among them were two newcomers to the group, and they came with musical instruments.

Friday evening’s questions for pondering included these questions:

What’s the dream/project or vision you feel called to in this time of  your life?

What is one tangible part where you can start where you are?

In small groups we talked about seeing God not only in church, but also in the community and where we’re asked to serve.

A really interesting question that we carried with us in our conversations for the weekend:

Where do you see assigned seating?

In the world there is assigned seating, but in the kingdom of God, there is not.



Saturday morning, we gathered again for discussion and worship. And we changed our seating arrangement often that weekend.


As women, we  are called upon for many roles. We’re often wives, mothers, sisters, care givers. Add in work commitments and we may be business owners, employees, and in my case, a writer too. We often have many identities. We talked about identities that we carry around.

Some of the questions we were asked included: Which ones need to shrink? And which ones need to grow?

Pastor Anne kept adding on layers of questions for us to discuss in our small groups: When does one identity fight for prominence (my own words) over another?


Pastor Anne Anderson, our spiritual director for the weekend, handed out nesting Russian dolls for us to open  until we reached the smallest one. The last one was indeed very tiny.


Most dolls of this sort that I’ve seen before were similar to this one, where all the dolls are modelled after women and they get tinier and tinier as we open up one layer after another. I had never seen the kind that housed different characters within.

One question on Saturday morning for us to ponder on our own:

If Jesus could talk with you personally today, what is the message he would give you?

Consider that question any time and come up with your own answer.


We followed the discussion about identities with an activity.


some of our results



After lunch we did a craft directed by Helen Weber. Here’s one example of our journal and jar with journal topics.





We ate, we laughed, sometimes cried as we shared things in our lives, knowing that what we said in confidence in the group stayed there. We enjoyed each other’s company. During spare time, we went outdoors for a walk and enjoyed nature.







One of the other buildings at camp



A new person to the group. We sat on the swings and chatted. We both love to take photographs.



And some of the time we just sat and visited.



Here are a few questions that we contemplated that you can too:
Where do you encounter God?

How do we celebrate who we are? And how do we live that out in a diverse society?



May 5, 2016 at 12:32 pm Leave a comment

This is Christmas

Another of my favourite performers. Enjoy and Merry Christmas.



December 25, 2015 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment

Christmas Eve Day

We’re nearly there, at a day we celebrate every year. Presents bought and wrapped, cards sent and received, a tree in our living room. Often a Christmas party or two as well.  And the creche on the window ledge.




the stone creche after our story time


I asked my granddaughters who are 4,6 to help me set it up. They were  here for the first two days of the school holiday.

“What’s a creche, Grandma?”

“You’ll see.”
I got out the box and invited them to help me unwrap the figures, but first we took out the stable, and I began to tell the story of a man and woman travelling a long way to a place called Bethlehem.

We unwrapped the other characters and I named the items— the angel, shepherds, Mary the mother and Joseph the father, and of course the baby Jesus. There were shepherds and sheep to unwrap too, but not wise men for they didn’t come to the stable. Also a donkey for travelling and a cow for the stable.

I moved the white stone pieces around as I told about Mary and Joseph travelling a long long way, then how there was no room in the inn, because so many people had come there, but the inn owner said they could stay in the stable out back where they’d be protected from the wind.

I told the girls about the shepherds in the field watching their sheep and how an angel came to tell them the good news of the new special baby, then more angels appeared in the sky and sang to them and about a special star in the sky. It was not an everyday occurrence to see an angel so the shepherds were afraid at first. But then they were excited to see the baby, so some of them went to find the stable while the others watched the sheep.

“What do you think a shepherd would take as a gift for the baby?”

“A toy?” said the six-year-old.

“Might they bring a baby sheep? They can get the wool cut off and make a blanket for the baby.”

They nod their heads.

“The shepherds were really excited about this special baby and they went and told other people before they went back to the fields.”


I stop there and let them ponder this much of the story. Better in smaller parts. Besides they’ll learn more later. I let them play with the figures and move them around.  And the photo is the way they ended up. It’s fitting they’re all there together at the end of the story. Think I’ll leave it as it is for now.



December 24, 2015 at 1:41 pm Leave a comment

Lakefield Literary Festival

The first Saturday we were away was also the opening of the Lakefield Literary Festival, which my granddaughters shortened to the Festival. We planned to attend the Children’s time that was held at the Cenotaph Park, near the town’s library. Our granddaughters perhaps worried that they would have to sit a long time and hear someone read stories, but they soon learned otherwise for the children’s authors had lively presentations planned, in partnership with the Selwyn Public Library .


We arrived to see volunteers hustling around getting things ready and the book selling table in process of being set up and the Children’s Tent ready. People were setting up the book table, where Happenstance Books and Yarn were already featuring books by those authors, Ruth Ohi, Helaine Becker and Aubrey Davis.

According to the website,

The Lakefield Literary Festival celebrates its rich literary heritage each July on a weekend close to Margaret Laurence’s birthday, and showcases many current Canadian authors. The festival was created to celebrate the work of Catharine Parr Trail, Susanna Moodie and Margaret Laurence, among others, all of whom lived and wrote in Lakefield.


The piper walked up and down the green space then escorted the authors to the Children’s Tent along with students who would welcome and introduce those writers.

Ruth Ohi was first on the program and presented a lively time for the children and parents in the audience, telling us about how she started out drawing and writing stories as a child. She asked for a volunteer from the audience, gave the girl and start and stop signal to draw a scribble on the page and then she made a drawing of her own out of that scribble.


She showed how her stories started with words on a plain piece of paper and then were made into a book, but she also showed a drawing of hers when she was 5 years old. She drew quickly, almost always talking as she presented. Our grandchildren and many others were fascinated by her drawing and telling us of her story making. She kept the children’s attention and captivated them throughout.

Ruth Ohi

Her newest series, Fox and Squirrel, are sure to be a hit for the younger audience for the words and colourful art work. She is both author and illustrator.

DSCF9051MC giving us the information on the book table and other important things

Next on stage was Helaine Becker, who told us about her story planning, how some ideas didn’t work out and others did, and how long it took some stories to be done.

It was harder to get her photo since she seemed to face the other part of the audience for the duration, but her presentation engaged the children too, when she asked for audience members to be volunteers and help her in tell her story, Dashing Through the Snow. She talked about different holidays and set off in a new direction when we got to Christmas as a favourite.

DSCN2026She put on her Santa hat and handed a set of bells to each of the four volunteers from the audience.

Helaine Becker

At the end of her presentation, our granddaughters were ready for more than a stretch and so I stayed to hear the introductory story for Aubrey Davis along with his stories, of which there were several.

DSCF9054Aubrey Davis, a lively and engaging storyteller, who thanked the students for an intriguing opening to his part

Aubrey, a well-know author and storyteller whom I introduced at Latitudes in Kitchener about 4 years ago, began with a story that invited audience participation, one that the children enjoyed, then he told part of A Hen for Izzy Pippik, his recent storybook. He closed with another story that children often are fascinated with even if the bear does swallow the people who tromp across his bridge, but I won’t tell the ending here because some day you may hear him tell it again.

Aubrey DavisAfter the performances, I took my grandchildren to the book table to choose a story for their collection. One chose Dashing Through the Snow, the other Fox and Squirrel Make Friends, and together they chose another book by Ruth Ohi, Fox and Squirrel, for their baby cousin.  I will be sure to add A Hen for Izzy Pippik to my collection quite soon.

We stood in line for an autograph with Helaine Becker, but the line was pretty long for Ruth Ohi, and so we settled on sending her a message via Facebook to tell her how much we liked her presentation. And Aubrey Davis got an email too.
We talked about the Festival, as the girls called it, on the way back to their trailer.

“What did you like best?” I asked.

“Getting a book,” one said.

“Did you like the drawing part?” I asked.

“Yes,” the eldest one said. “It was amazing.”

And thus we wrapped the morning of the festival. Over our holidays we read each of their storybooks and this week, their little cousin received her book too and she got to hear her storybook, as read by her father.

July 23, 2015 at 11:32 am Leave a comment

Hallelujah, with a twist–My wishes to you for 2015

For some of you, as for me, there have been some challenges, sadness, disappointment in 2014, because, well people disappoint us no matter how hard they try to be good. Like us. A long-time friend dies and we feel lost without that person in our lives or there`s a broken heart when a marriage ends.

But there`s one who does not disappoint or let us down but is with us wherever we are. We have only to acknowledge that being in our life. God sent his Son, Jesus. He offers such grace that we are blessed by that enormous love such as we have just celebrated on Christmas Day. The story in Luke 2:6-7 (NIV):

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

To all my followers on this blog and for those who happen by and need encouragement, may 2015 be a year where some of your wishes and goals come to fruition and you have a new sense of divine purpose and leading. May this song be a blessing this year as you move forward to a New Year.

(This Hallelujah is different than Leonard Cohen`s song, although it bears Cohen’s tune with a different set of words. Think Greensleeves and What Child is This?)

December 31, 2014 at 11:15 pm 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

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

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