Posts filed under ‘arts’

Author Afternoons– I’m on!

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be part of Author Afternoons. On Saturday, June 29th, from 1:00-3:30 pm,  I’ll be at the Waterloo Visitor and Heritage Information Centre on 10 Father David Bauer Drive, Waterloo.

I’ll be giving a workshop titled Begin to Write Your Memories. The workshop will be hands on, as in you get to write, so bring paper and pen or  your laptop and be prepared to participate.

This is a new initiative by the City of Waterloo Arts and Culture to introduce residents and visitors to the authors in the area. It’s exciting to be part of it.

See you there!

2019 Author Afternoons_Social Media Square-01

May 17, 2019 at 12:02 pm Leave a comment

Harry’s Trees and Les arbres de Harry

Carolyn's Book Front Cover layout

This Saturday, May 18th, I’ll be at The Living Outdoors in Cambridge with my books, especially my picture books, Harry’s Trees and Les arbres de Harry, illustrated by Maja Wizor.

Come and see me there, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Bring your children or grandchildren and pick up a colouring sheet for the contest. Then bring the coloured page back to the store  by a certain date to be entered in the contest.

The Living Outdoors nursery and gift shop is on 486 Main Street Cambridge, ON N1R 5S7. It’s a busy time for nurseries and could be a full house.

JPEG 2 For Carolyn - Les_arbres_de_Harry_French_book_2018_Front_Cover

If you have a child or grandchild in French immersion, you might prefer this edition. Same story, same art, but in our second national language.



a sample of my artist’s work



May 16, 2019 at 11:31 am Leave a comment

Earthen Vessels



Pastor Annette shared the music she had chosen for the weekend retreat ahead of time so that I could learn the pieces on my guitar. I was intrigued by the theme—Earthen Vessels—and the theme song by the same name, written by John Foley of the St Louis Jesuits. Each retreat member was to bring an earthen vessel hidden away in a wrapper of some sort.

Twenty-three women met at a church camp for our yearly Mount Zion Women’s retreat.  Worship, theme, food and crafts are all planned in advance, assuring an organized and enjoyable weekend for all.

Upon arrival at the camp, we greeted each other. There’s always someone coming for the first time and those who return year after year. This time one of the new people had ministry experience and the other, from my hometown, was in seminary.

We introduced ourselves, put our earthen vessel, still concealed, on the floor in the centre of the meeting room. We were to write something about that vessel and not put our names on the paper. The papers were mixed up and we picked one from the envelope. Then the activity was finding the person who got our note. After everyone had found the person with their note, we revealed our vessel and shared its significance to us. There was everything from an antique container for liquor to a newer vase or pitcher that someone used for pouring maple syrup. My vessel was a small container that was made by my friend Valda who’s done a lot of pottery.


our earthen vessels

We ended our first evening session with worship, and sang two of the songs the pastor chose. Social time followed with all kinds of snacks around the large kitchen counter in the Stone House.

Doris and I had an 80-something senior sharing our room. We settled in and I told Pat a bedtime story, one I’d written for my first book. It brought a few chuckles. Was it the late snacks or the anticipation that kept me awake a long while? I don’t know, but I did eventually sleep.

The next morning, we had breakfast on our own, with the choice of muffins, toast, fruit and cereal. And the early bird, Donna, had the first pot of coffee ready. By nine am, Anne led us in stretches and movement to some lively music. Another tradition of this group is a lively game of Pictionary on Saturday night.


We started the morning session by examining the meaning of vessels that have cracks in them and watched the video with Leonard Cohen’s Anthem. After that thought-provoking poem, we considered how we, as earthen vessels, also have cracks in us, and we pondered how God loves us in spite of those cracks. One exercise was breaking down some old clay pots and discussion of those things that cause breaks in us. And when we have those breaks and let God in, that’s letting the light in.


Arlene and Ida putting finishing touches to their craft

Our pastor leader found something interesting as she prepared for the weekend, that there’s a Japanese art called Kintsugi, in which an artist puts pieces of pottery back together with a sort of glue to which gold is added “that give a new lease of life to pottery that becomes even more refined.”

I found our music worshipful and moving and the sessions provided great discussion. We listened to videos by Dr. Brené Brown, Jeff Christian, and the esteemed Jean Vanier, winner of the Templeton prize for his work founding L’Arche. All of these speakers had one thing in common, that they were willing to show their vulnerability. Jean Vanier said in the clip we heard, “Connection is why we’re here; it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”


We ended our retreat with another session of worship, including communion and anointing of hands to go forward and use them in connecting with others and serving God while we did so.

I left the retreat encouraged, enriched and inspired as I know others did by their last words at our sessions. We have much to think on over the coming days and look forward to retreat next year.


Ida’s turn at Pictionary


May 2, 2019 at 2:24 am Leave a comment

Resurrection–A Mystery to Many

Imagine yourself heading to Jesus’ tomb the day after [Jewish] Sabbath, very early in the morning. The birds might be singing or all may be quiet. You’re bearing spices to leave at the tomb. A special friend like none other—who healed sick people and even brought the dead back to life. One who taught with authority, sharing stories that made you think about life in a new way. And now he’s dead and you’re doing the last thing you can to honour him.

Imagine coming close to the tomb that had been sealed and seeing the large stone that once blocked the entrance. It’s been rolled away. And suddenly the things you brought don’t seem adequate. The gift intended is not what’s being asked now.  Suddenly that cross has a new meaning and you’re not sure what’s expected now.


Empty Tomb


In the gray dawn

I say goodbye to one

whose hands brought life from death

whose words confounded kings and priests

The cave is shadowed and dark

a boulder rests unneeded, but not unheeded

rising light exposes

folded cloth in an empty cave


compounding yesterday’s drama



i turn


in a voice as soft as morning

He calls my name


© Carolyn R. Wilker, 2007 Esprit


Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed.

IMG_20190419_1307110 (2)

Sanctuary dressed for Easter morning,  photo © C. R. Wilker

April 21, 2019 at 10:54 am 2 comments

Where Lost Things Go



This morning I posted at The Word Guild blog as I usually do once a month. I took my two oldest granddaughters to the movies during the Christmas vacation, an event we all enjoyed.

Where Lost Things Go

During the recent holidays I took my nine- and seven-year-old granddaughters to see Mary Poppins Returns. In anticipation, them with popcorn in hand, one asked why we were there so early, the other answering her question, to be prepared.

“At some movies, there’s a line-up of people,” I said.

Indeed the popcorn was disappearing into their mouths as we waited to get into the theatre. We talked about other movies going on there and about waiting until the staff was done getting the space ready. (How much popcorn lay on the floor?) It seemed like we were the only ones at that door, a bit surprising after all the previews for this movie.

The clean-up was done; we could go in. We’d talked about where we’d sit — not too close to the screen or at the back. Now it was time for them to choose the row. One wanted the aisle seat and so we found our place. Here we sat in a quiet and empty theatre, me and my granddaughters. They wondered if others were coming. I said I was sure more would come and speculated that the theatre might not be full (which turned out to be true). Most of their popcorn and drink was gone by that time. The girls had counted rows and seats across the middle. I didn’t expect them to sit still just yet or to be perfectly quiet. The popcorn and drinks diminished even more. Would we have to make an exit to the washroom in the middle of the movie? No, it happened before, while previews played and the feature was not yet begun.

The clean-up was done; we could go in. We’d talked about where we’d sit — not too close to the screen or at the back. Now it was time for them to choose the row. One wanted the aisle seat and so we found our place. Here we sat in a quiet and empty theatre, me and my granddaughters. They wondered if others were coming. I said I was sure more would come and speculated that the theatre might not be full (which turned out to be true). Most of their popcorn and drink was gone by that time. The girls had counted rows and seats across the middle. I didn’t expect them to sit still just yet or to be perfectly quiet. The popcorn and drinks diminished even more. Would we have to make an exit to the washroom in the middle of the movie? No, it happened before, while previews played and the feature was not yet begun.

Read more here.

January 12, 2019 at 1:40 pm Leave a comment

Off to Owen Sound

My husband and I took a little get away to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary. We chose to go north to Owen Sound and stay in a Bed and Breakfast there and booked it ahead.

We had a clear day for the drive, some cloud cover but a lot of sun too. Listening to Stuart McLean from Vinyl Cafe series helped pass the driving time too and then different scenery and new places along the way. I looked forward to the time away from household responsibilities to see different places. We were not disappointed.



Between the Maples B & B


We’d reserved for two nights at Between the Maples Bed and Breakfast on Second Street in Owen Sound. Having arrived close to the noon hour and too  early to check in, we thought we’d first locate the B & B. Having seen the house on the internet site, we knew we were in the right place.

We headed back to the downtown to look for a bite to eat. A helpful staff member at CAA Travel in Owen Sound had mentioned that the Artist’s Co-op had a lunch bar, so  after finding parking, we went in search of it.

I gathered steps on my Fitbit that day and it was nearly 1 pm by the time we sat and waited for our lunch to be served. Len enjoyed his soup and I had a tasty salad. We looked at the art in the co-op briefly since our metered parking would soon run out. We’d come back.



Birgit’s Cafe



Artist’s Co-op

We wanted to spend more time looking around so we fed the meter with quarters and headed back, first stopping at the music store we’d seen on the way. On our previous time passing the store, we’d met the owner and chatted with him. This time we entered Music & More and looked around.

“Back for a ukulele?” his wife asked.

I wanted to see what they had and so entered a long conversation with owner and musician David Fromager about the newer ukes that they sell to schools and people wanting them for their children or grandchildren. I already had one but I had my eye on those coloured ukes I’d seen at Arts Abound in St. Jacobs more than a year ago.  When we left the store, I had a uke tucked under my arm and some picks for playing.



 my new uke

As we still had time, we headed for the artist’s co-op again in the McKay building and looked around at the artist’s offerings—paintings, art cards, mugs, pottery, things made of wood, and textile arts too.

Then it was time to go and check in at our B & B. With the address now in our GPS, we drove  there and knocked on the door.

It’s a lovely two-storey home across from Kelso Park. Gord and Maggie greeted us, gave us a small tour of their place and showed us our room. We talked about breakfast options, especially with regard to my husband’s special needs. There was time before finding supper to relax awhile and get settled in.



That evening we went to East Side Mario’s out on the other side of the city and enjoyed a tasty pasta dish. The sun went down outdoors as we ate. The dinner was filling and with no room for dessert, we paid our bill and left. Thinking we’d like some snacks along for the next day, we went to a grocery store nearby and purchased a few things before returning to the B & B.

With the new uke in hand,  I looked up a chord chart on the internet to refresh my memory, and tried out my new instrument a bit before bed time. I thought of my grandchildren who already enjoy music and how I might teach them to play, if they wished to learn.

Thus ended the  first day of our little holiday.




September 30, 2018 at 12:39 pm 2 comments

Petroglyphs National Park


On one of our vacation days in the Kawarthas,  we stopped at the Petroglyphs Park, had our picnic first and then went into the education centre to learn more about it. While our daughter and son-in-law went to take the picnic stuff back to the van, the girls found a small caterpillar. They named it and pretended that it was their pet. When their parents returned they held the stick by the tree where they found it and let the caterpillar off the stick.

We were ready to tour the centre.





art and signs within that give visitors a feel for aboriginal themes and beliefs


Beautiful art combined with words



I appreciated this one, being a storyteller myself

We walked on down the path to the Petroglyph display. I was not prepared for what I saw, a large building surrounding the rocks, a place where we dared not take photos, so I kept my cell phone tucked away. Large windows let in natural light and the building is there to protect the art from eroding further.

Our granddaughters were invited to make rubbings with crayons of various shapes of the art in the teaching rocks and take them home.

According to the park website, this is the:

Largest known concentration of Indigenous rock carvings (petroglyphs) in Canada, depicting turtles, snakes, birds, humans and more; this sacred site is known as “The Teaching Rocks”

After our tour of the learning rocks we left that area of the park and stopped at a different place where we took a short hiking trail.



a photo of the Shaw family in this gorgeous scene


McGinnis Lake where we took photos was a certain kind of lake with layers of oxygen concentration. I didn’t have time to read the whole sign so I took this picture instead, to read later.


another snapshot on our way out


And on down the path returning to the van

This park was well worth the time and one could spend quite a bit longer in the centre viewing the displays, asking questions of the guides along with seeing the video shown in the theatre. Outdoors there were more places and paths to explore. We’d covered about as much as we could with the children who needed to move around more. That said, I believe they enjoyed certain parts of the adventure that day as well, even if we’d had a bit of a ride to find a place.

August 20, 2018 at 12:56 pm 2 comments

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