Posts filed under ‘community’

Blog continues…

My blog continues  over at www.carolynwilker.ca. Look for Storygal’s Blog. Come on over and see my posts in my new site. Here’s a few of my recent posts:

http://www.carolynwilker.ca/blog/2016/08/21/rcmp-musical-ride.shtml

http://www.carolynwilker.ca/blog/2016/09/11/going-home-to-the-fair.shtml

 

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September 13, 2016 at 12:28 pm Leave a comment

Bringing in the New Year

Once a month I post over at the Canadian Writers Who Are Christian blog. Here’s a taste of what I wrote this month, so early in 2016.

22581694128_cdbe97abd6_z                                                                                        At the Fall District 86 Toastmasters conference in Blue Mountain

 

Bringing in the New Year—Carolyn R. Wilker

 

We’re nearly two weeks into 2016, but for a few moments I want to reflect on the old year that we’ve just put aside.

This past year was momentous in so many ways and sad in others. Three people in my circle of acquaintances and friends—some for as long as 30 years—died in 2015, plus one young teen who attended our church. As I mourned the loss, I also felt grateful to have known Kathy, Susan and Patricia, and Samantha. I reflected on the blessings they brought to my life. Susan was part of my early writing life and edited my first book, Once Upon a Sandbox. Kathy had invited us to her place when we were new members at the church and then to the Bible Study she often hosted. Patricia was a kind and generous neighbour who became a friend, and Samantha is gone too soon at the age of 16.

Even while I mourn the loss, there were good times aplenty. My husband and I gained a new granddaughter, an addition to the two small grandchildren we already have. I had new publishing credits (Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon and Tower Poetry) and requests for a column in our national denominational magazine, Canada Lutheran, and publication therein, but also invitations to do my memoir workshop in new locations to new organizations. There have also been new friendships in the making and a fabulous writer’s critique group in my corner.

Read more here.

 

 

Canadian Networker Fall Business Expo Fall Business Expo in Kitchener, Ontario

January 12, 2016 at 12:37 am Leave a comment

Yet another loss

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Late in November as I began to make plans for Christmas, I thought about my friend Patricia. It had been some months since we last talked, not because I didn’t think of her, but more a case of the commitments in my life with family and work. I picked up the phone that Saturday to call her. I was surprised to get the message: “This number has been disconnected.”

Maybe I had dialed incorrectly. I tried again, only to get the same message. It was a puzzle. I knew she had not been well and I thought back to our conversation in August when she told me that she didn’t know how much longer she could keep going. Her health was not good, with a mix of diabetes and heart and lung problems. She seemed to be just hanging on and though she was still in her apartment, she was receiving daily help. Had she been admitted to hospital? Was she in a nursing home, unable to communicate? Had she suffered a stroke? So many thoughts raced through my head. My heart rejected the other possible option—that she had died— but in my mind I knew it might be possible.

I told my husband about the call and my concern for her, and so late that evening he did a google search for her name and came up with the answer. He told me next morning that he had found the shocking news. I opened the email, hesitating, and then clicked on the link. There it was on the funeral home website, her obituary. It had been months earlier. A beautiful photo of her and a very short obituary saying she is “survived” by, and a list of her children and grandchildren, as well as two great grandchildren.

How could I have missed that? I went back to the obituary notice. There was no mention of a funeral service nor a time of visitation, but it stated the cemetery where I knew they had a stone. I had been there when she asked me to take her awhile after her husband had died, and so we had gone there one cool fall day.

There may not have been any mention in the newspaper, and because her adult children, whom I’ve never met, seemed to be always at war with each other, there would be no one, except her brother, to notify me. I had received no such call or a message of any kind, nor would I be first on their minds or even in their list of “people to be called.” When I got past the fact that she had died, I learned that her life had ended just days after my friend Susan, whose life we celebrated in August.

Tears flowed freely down my face. Another friend lost to 2015, but one where I could not console her family nor celebrate her life in the formal way. It occurred to me that she might not have requested a traditional visitation and memorial service. Who would have performed her last rites, or did she even get that option?

My daughters reminded me that even if I couldn’t be there at the time, I could still make a donation or do something. I looked into laying a spray of greens on their cemetery plot, because Christmas was one of her favourite times of year, but no such thing was allowed. It would have to be a particular style, and so I discarded that idea for making a donation in her name.

Here I am, only a few weeks away from her January 1st birthday, when she would have turned 72, when I traditionally called to wish her a happy birthday. I’ll have to commemorate her in a different way, by telling stories or writing about our friendship and what she meant to me. I’ve already shared the story of our first meeting with our youngest daughter and another friend. The rest will come in time, but for now, I know that she’s without pain and suffering.

My prayers, as I pass the apartment building where she lived, have been for her children and for a peaceful spirit for her. I have no photo to share except for the link to the funeral home that posted her last photo, but I printed out the photo and notice for my own remembrance.

I do have one consolation there, that she knew God and prayed often. She told me so.  And she often thanked me for things I had done, such as taking her to appointments, picking her up after a hospital procedure, taking her places, including to our home to sit and have a cup of tea outdoors and just enjoy looking out at the garden.

I think her body was just too tired to go on. Our goodbye was that last call in August. An uneasy message, but there you go. Sometimes that’s all a friend will have, apart from good memories.

Goodbye, Pat. Rest in peace.

 

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All photos on this blog are copyright of C. Wilker unless otherwise mentioned.

December 20, 2015 at 5:15 pm 2 comments

A fine Christmas concert

 

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Yesterday afternoon my husband and I, and our friend, Judy, attended a choir concert at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Kitchener with Inshallah (a group numbering 130)and the St Peter’s choir and all the musicians involved. The church was filled and so was the front of the church with singers and musicians.

The choirs sang pieces from around the world—England, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, New Zealand, Latin America, Brazil, USA, Korea, Germany and Poland—in English and in other languages. A few selections were: He Came Down, Helpless and Hungry (Paired with What Child is This?), Come Now, O Prince of Peace. We as audience members were invited to join in on traditional carols as well as the refrain of several choir selections.

Senior pastor, Mark Ehlebracht delivered a moving message on who Christmas is intended for and how we often want to set aside the troubles in the world to enjoy a Christmas for children, when really Christmas is for all of us.

As well we heard from Judy Nairn, Executive Director of Hospice Waterloo Region. That organization is recipient of all donations from the concert. Nairn spoke of how the organization provides services to those diagnosed with cancer and their family members. She said people often think of Hospice as the “end of the road” when it’s so much more than that.

Directors for the choirs were Debbie Lou Ludolph (Inshallah) and Peter Nikiforuk (St Peter’s Lutheran Church) with Bradley Moggach on piano, Bill Gastmeier, Ian Sommer and Don Neville on guitar. Playing percussion were Julie Hill, Don Neville and Daniel Corrigan. Kristine Lund of Wilfrid Laurier University  Seminary, played violin and Joshua Ehlebracht and Peter Nikiforuk on organ for carols sung by the congregation. What a joyful sound and a reminder of  God with us in a world that’s not always so welcoming.

We were delighted to hear that portions of this concert will be used for the Christmas Eve broadcast this year and again on Sunday, December 27th at 10 am EST via CTV Southwestern Ontario and will include vignettes and Christmas greetings from around the world.

The last, a favourite—Silent Night— with candles lit and lights turned down, was our closing carol before the postlude.

Perhaps you’ll tune in for one of those broadcasts and enjoy the music as much as we did.

 

December 14, 2015 at 1:35 pm Leave a comment

And the weather changes– again

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Sunday morning we woke to snow and today the snow is still there. The tree branches were coated  and snow lay in the hollows between the branches too. And snow lay on the ground, staying this time instead of snowflakes that melted on landing  the day before. My granddaughters were excited to see the snow. For them it means tobogganing, snowmen and making angels in the snow, not to mention skiing since they live near a ski hill. We have a photo of them in their full snow gear that their mother put up on Facebook the same day. After all, we’re in Canada.

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bits of my garden plants peek out from the snow

 

It seems we’ve moved into winter quite suddenly. The air is clear and striations and clumps of pinkish white cloud hang in a bright blue sky at this hour. Snow sits on the lap of evergreen boughs until a wind comes along and shakes it off, scattering the snow like a tiny windstorm of snowflakes.

Like the kid’s hide and seek game that I play with my granddaughters, we say, “Read or not, here I come.” And so winter says this to us, “Here I am.”

 

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The snow may melt later in the week and return again. After all it is late November, and we have nearly a promise that outdoor rinks may have a tough go this year. A mild winter may be the case, as the newspaper article declared, but we’ll see. Weather people have been proven wrong more than once before.

 

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Last evening when I drove to our daughter and son-in-law’s home to pick up my husband, who’d got their furnace going, I noticed their crescent was rather icy and so I took my time walking from the car to the house and back. The furnace was running again and the house was warming up again. They were ready for the cold night and we had a safe drive home too.

 

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If you’re not ready for winter yet, time to pull out the snow boots, mittens and hats. Get the snow shovels ready. We’ve already used ours.

 

What do you like best about winter?

 

November 23, 2015 at 1:04 pm Leave a comment

Giving Thanks

This evening I contributed to Canadian Writers Who Are Christian, as I do once a month. Today, because it’s Thanksgiving weekend, I wrote about giving thanks. Not just for a vast array of things, but for those who produce food for us to eat.

After our opening hymn, “We plough the fields and scatter,” this morning, our pastor asked the children what they are thankful for. One said “family” and his little sister said the same thing. And that’s okay, because those things are important too.
When Pastor Claudine mentioned farmers and harvest, it occurred to me that city children do not have the same understanding of harvest that I would have had as a child, or even children growing up on a farm today. City kids don’t see the crops growing, as I did, unless their parents take them to see family in the country. They don’t see wheat in the field being cut, threshed and loaded into a barn for later use. They wouldn’t see all the time and energy or even understand how much the sunshine and rain affect the crops or see the worry in parents’ eyes when too much rain flattens a good stand of grain or hail beats down the corn.

Read more here

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Dad riding the old restored tractor in the Tavistock Fair parade

 

 

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garden earlier in the summer

October 12, 2015 at 1:31 am Leave a comment

Through the Locks by Boat

Back to our holidays and something we did for the first time. My husband and I had watched from the sidelines as boats went through locks in Peterborough and in Midland area, but this time we experienced it while riding in our daughter and son-in-law’s boat.

We had a clear day and my daughter packed a picnic lunch, water and juice boxes, and extra snacks for the children. We set off from the trailer and got settled in the boat, life jackets and all.

DSCF9150 We saw a bird on one of the other boats as we pulled out.DSCF9152Here’s a better shot.  It’s a stork.

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DSCF9155Leaving the park behind, I noticed how the boat makes a trail that looks like a dolphin’s or whale’s  forked tail. It’s slightly cooler out here on the water with a bit of breeze.

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From http://www.boatingontario.ca/Articles/tabid/71/ID/42/PageID/61/The-Trent-Severn-Waterway-Trenton-to-Bobcaygeon.aspx

Buckhorn – Lock 31 is a very busy spot in July and August, so keep a good watch for downbound traffic as you turn into the lock.

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Waiting at the first lock at Buckhorn for all the boats to be secured. As a boater, our son-in-law is a safe operator.

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Looking up to the top to see how far the water will rise. She already is a  good helper in putting out the bumpers to protect the side of the boat. It was also a very warm day and we’re wearing our sunscreen.

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I cannot remember all the spots and which ones they were. We went through Buckhorn Lock, 31, then Lovesick Lock, which was #30 on the way to Bobcaygeon.

LoveSick Lock: There’s a story to that name.

Lock 30 – Lovesick, tucked in on Millage Island, is hard to spot, so look for the red day beacon on Wolf Island to guide you in and around the green buoy to the lock.There is no road access to the lock, so the quiet and beautiful surroundings make this the place to be in this area. In peak season, plan on arriving early and grabbing a space on the lower lock wall.You’ll also find space on the upper walls in a park-like setting.

http://www.boatingontario.ca/Articles/tabid/71/ID/42/PageID/61/The-Trent-Severn-Waterway-Trenton-to-Bobcaygeon.aspx

After LoveSick Lock, we passed many rocky islands, with the wind in our face and the sun overhead, then through Burleigh Lock

By this time we’d gone through two locks, had a picnic at Lovesick Lock and then one more lock

DSCF9166 Some grand boats on this stretch of water. Think we’re back at Buckhorn.

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Many interesting cottages and homes along the lake

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DSCF9170Getting to be good boaters

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Canoe pulled up to that island. Is there even a cottage there?

DSCF9209 The open water, the sky. The sun was hot but we’re cooler on the water. Still a sunburn at the end of the day in spite of  applying more sunscreen part way through our outing.

DSCF9213 Along the lake shore on our way back to the resort. It’s been a good day and the girls are tired.

DSCF9172 A nearly deserted island?

DSCF9200 On our way back to the resort, and the girls slept part of the last stretch. It was a good day.

Photos copyright C Wilker unless otherwise noted

August 26, 2015 at 10:56 am 4 comments

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