Posts filed under ‘storytelling’

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

Memoir Writing Opportunity

Do you know of a senior, who lives in Kitchener, who maybe doesn`t get out much but who would like to begin to share their stories. Everyone has a story.

I`m pleased to have been offered the time to present my workshop.

Senior Connections Jan 11

http://www.carolynwilker.ca

Canadian Networker Fall Business Expo

December 30, 2015 at 4:05 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.

 

 

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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

District 86 Toastmasters Fall conference

In July, I completed a proposal for a workshop for the fall Toastmasters District 86 conference in November. It seemed a long time until the conference, but these things must be done ahead of time to give the organizers time to sort through the submissions and select the workshop presenters.

From our holiday spot in the Kawarthas, I completed the last steps of submission and enjoyed my holidays while awaiting an answer. The best thing, indeed, after submitting anything for consideration, from a poem to a book manuscript or a workshop proposal, is to forget about it and go on with other things, like holidays with our family and a visit to a Toastmasters club in that district.

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Buckhorn Lake resort

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Naturally Speaking Toastmasters, Peterborough, ON

It was early September before I received the phone call one evening from the Education chair, Jacklyn Payne, that my proposal had been accepted. I was excited and anticipating the conference when I would present, but I had to get down to work and build up my workshop from the ideas and outline I had presented. Between other commitments, it was time to get to work on it.

A lot of thinking and writing went into that workshop. Research too, that I would use to support my workshop, titled ASK for Direction on Mentoring.

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Here I am with my workshop assistant, Doris Tuckett, on the Friday afternoon.

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and my second workshop assistant, Albert.

Toastmasters calls these assistants Activators, which is really a scientific term. Our networking breakfast business associates got a ‘charge’ out of my response to this.

(conference photo)

 

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My music stand came in handy as we had no lectern, but the sound equipment (mic and speaker) came with me from Kitchener. Thanks, guys at Sheridan Sound, Kitchener, for being so amazingly helpful.

(conference photo from Flickr)

 

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Some of my engaged audience members, listening and then laughing about a story I told

(conference photos)

Thanks to both Doris and Albert for making sure the details around my presentation were covered, and to Chris  Brown, President of our  Energetics Toastmasters club, who helped take down my equipment and get it to the car.

 

23004361822_7834bfaef8_z(conference photos) At head table, left to right: Gary Schmidt, Vitaliy Fursov, Janice McDonald

 

After my workshop was past and my things put away, I sat back and relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the conference, the speakers and contestants for both Humorous Speech and Table Topics contests, and of course Gary Schmidt (shown above at left of speaker Vitaliy Fursov), a past Toastmasters International President. I had really hoped to hear more from him since he travelled so far to be with us.

I couldn’t miss our own district speaker, Neil Dunsmore, who backed up much of what I said about mentoring in his thought-provoking, lively and inspirational keynote speech on Saturday morning. He also spoke of his own mentor, Dawna Bate, a fellow member of his first club. He often “bounced ideas off her” on what he should or shouldn’t keep in his speeches. He gave us much to think about.

Thank you, Neil. One great highlight of the entire weekend.

 

22590966708_c3ed652991_z(conference photo) Neil, a quiet moment in his keynote

Neil also managed the sound board and mics for the speakers at the main hall presentations and dinners as well as the contests.

 

The times I attended my book table, I had opportunity for conversation with others who came by to check out my table and tell people about the books I was selling.

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My book table in the Petun Room at the conference centre

 

Now it’s more than a week since I gave my workshop and attended the rest of the conference, District 86 Fall Toastmasters conference in beautiful Blue Mountain near Collingwood. I’ve received some lovely compliments on my workshop, for which I am very grateful. It was a good experience over all, and giving a workshop to fellow Toastmasters, you really need to be “on your toes.”

 

Oh, and if you’re on Facebook, look for the Energetics Toastmasters and my page (Carolyn R. Wilker) and like us too.

November 27, 2015 at 3:21 pm 6 comments

One more post for Lang Village

The day at Lang Pioneer Village included a lot of stops. Our next one was the cider mill where people brought apples to be sorted, pressed and made into cider. The girls know about apple picking and they’ve tasted sweet apple cider, but this was interesting.

 

 

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DSCF9137We saw a big apple peeler and lots of barrels

 

DSCF9138We walked through an old barn where many piece of equipment were on display. It was a good place to stop and sit for a few minutes.

 

DSCF9140And a wagon without a horse. The girls climbed  up and had their picture taken.

 

DSCF9142We walked down the lane and across the bridge to reach the flour mill

 

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Here we are inside the mill with the guide showing us how the wheat is ground into flour. I was impressed how the young man there showed the girls the process on a level they could understand. He talked about and showed how the flour was ground, what flour was more valuable, and about all the equipment and what it did. We went up to the top floor of this large stone structure, looked at all the hoppers and tools, and looked out the window at the water below, then back down all those stairs and outdoors again.

We enjoyed the day and the girls were very interested in many aspects of this place. I’m sure we’ll be back again another year.

Thank you so much to all the guides and volunteers for telling us about the village and the people who lived in these places and worked at these jobs. Thank you for taking special interest in the way children understand might view the place and time. You made it a special day for them and us.

 

August 13, 2015 at 1:20 pm Leave a comment

Shakespeare Had it Right

This morning I posted over at Canadian Writers Who Are Christian as I usually do once a month. Here it is:

In his time, William Shakespeare knew a thing or two about the stage, but curiously, a thing or two about life as well. He wrote:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

You may not think you’re on a stage, but really you are. While you might not be acting to earn your wages, people still watch what you do, how you behave.

Think of all the people who have been part of your life for a short or long time. Friends who seemed to disappear from your circle when they moved away or when life circumstances changed for one of you and you were no longer able to spend time together. Or a friend died and you seemed cut off from the family since you were merely a friend and not family. Many exits and entrances indeed. 

Read more here.

cradle Bethlehem

May God give you much peace and joy this season in the middle of wherever you find yourself.

December 12, 2014 at 3:32 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?

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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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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