Posts filed under ‘music’

Earthen Vessels

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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Ida’s turn at Pictionary

 

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

Piece by Piece book signings

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Please note that I have several book events already set up for Piece by Piece

 

April 13th, at Family Home Health Care Centre in Palmerston ON, from 11 am to 3 pm

May 11th, at Tavistock Public Library, Tavistock ON, at 11 am, reading and signing books

And I will be at the Tavistock Fall Fair in September. More news on that one later. All of my books available at this event.

More in planning stages

March 14, 2019 at 3:15 pm Leave a comment

Where Lost Things Go

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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

The things we do as grandmothers

 

 

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on holiday outings together

 

First I’ll declare outright that I am a grandmother. Have been for awhile and our count is up to five. I don’t have to raise them or pay attention to their financial keep. But I can spend time with them and I enjoy being with them.

We bake cookies together, plant garden in season. We play, read and do puzzles together. Those things I like. And recently we had a cookie decorating session, with plenty of icing and add-on decorations.

 

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Decorating Christmas cookies with all the trimmings

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supervise their play

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Enjoy the out of doors, even the shadows the sun makes in our paths

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join in their make believe

When we dare to sit with our small grandchildren, we learn a little about what they’re thinking. When we engage with their play, they learn too.

We have no guarantee how much time we’ll have to enjoy these young ones and so it’s a good thing to build the relationships at an early stage. It builds trust too.

There’s no doubt that it takes energy to play with them, especially the smallest ones, but the time we spend together and the smiles make it worthwhile.

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Looking after the garden we planted together

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checking on the fairy garden and building the path for fairies

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climbing into his car

I’m grateful that my grandchildren all live in the same city. It takes only minutes to get there. We get together for dinner, for play and special celebrations.

I look forward to spending time with them at Christmas, to see the delight on their faces as they open their gifts from us, for the hugs too. And today we will go to the older grandchildrens’ school for the holiday assembly. We sit back and watch them perform and then see their surprise when they see us on the way out. Blessed beyond measure.

 

 

 

 

All photos on this site, unless otherwise noted © C. Wilker

December 19, 2018 at 3:02 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.

 

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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.

 

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Birgit’s Cafe

 

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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.

 

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 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.

 

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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

The Heat Goes On

Today I posted over at The Word Guild blog as I usually do once a month. Here’s the opening of my post.

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No, not the beat. It’s the heat. Not so long ago we waited for the heat to come. Now we’ve got it in spades. The ground is dry again, the grass is dead, but thank goodness for the rain we had that filled  our water barrels and soaked the ground. Our plants stood up taller and had a great growth spurt afterwards. it’s as though they were saying “thank you.”

 

 

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This spring’s garden after the rain

 We could use another good rain shower for the crops and gardens. Then people wanting to picnic and have outdoor events might holler no. There’s no pleasing us humans. Some like it hot, some like it cold, some like it … in between.

We can be picky, or maybe it’s particular. Many times we just complain, but God is used to that. He’s heard it before. Centuries of it. One most notable being the philosopher in Ecclesiastes who felt nothing was right. People worked hard and got nothing for it.

 

granddaughter helping with gardening tasks, 2017

Read more here.

July 11, 2018 at 6:19 pm 2 comments

More Lessons to Come

I’m back to this location after working on a different site for the past year and a half. I hope you’ll continue to follow me here.

Today I posted at The Word Guild blog as I do once a month.  Today is about continuing to learn. If that’s what you do, it’s a good thing.

 

More Lessons to Come

As long as we live, we really ought to keep on learning. The other option to that is being stagnant or dying. Tough words, but they’re true. Think of seniors who take up university studies. They now have the time to devote to it and they want to keep learning. Or people who do crossword puzzles to keep their minds active.

I teach seniors at a community centre. Now that they have more time on their hands, and perhaps a little extra cash, they often strive to learn new things and keep their gray matter (brains) working. In my class they’ve learned about writing. Two of my students have written their life story and had them published. Other classes I’ve taught include learning about setting up a blog and writing posts, as well as storytelling. Bucket list or continuing to learn doesn’t matter, but what does is their willingness to keep on being a student, regardless of their age.

Recently I watched a video of seniors in a dance lesson on a Facebook post. In the article and accompanying video, the writer quoted a study out of McGill University in Canada in which researchers and participants discovered that “learning the steps necessary to tango actually improved brainpower and balance.” The participants were seniors who had “experienced a fall within the last year and were scared of falling again.” Otherwise the seniors were healthy. It showed that when we learn something new, the brain develops new pathways and the mind becomes more alert.

Read more here.

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April 11, 2018 at 4:23 pm Leave a comment

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