Launching Not One Book But Three

first three rebelight booksVast Imaginations is the first writing group for children’s authors I joined after moving to Winnipeg. On Sunday afternoon three members of that group launched books at McNally Robinson Booksellers.  The trio of novels were all published by a new Winnipeg press called Rebelight whose motto is crack the spine: blow your mind.  deborah froeseDeborah Froese one of the Rebelight founders, and a Rebelight editor, told us a little bit about the creation of  Rebelight Publishing and did a wonderful job of introducing each of the authors. suzanne costiganEmpty Cup is the name of Suzanne Costigan’s book.  Suzanne’s novel is about a seventeen year old girl named Raven whose mother kicks her out of the house after Raven experiences an abusive attack from her mother’s boyfriend. Will Raven find the inner strength to survive and create a better life for herself?

melinda friesenMelinda Friesen’s book is called Enslavement and is the first of nine novels she has written. Rielle James, the heroine of her futuristic story, has become a slave after her family’s arrest.  Will Rielle manage to escape and be reunited with her family? larry verstraeteLarry Verstraete has published more than a dozen non-fiction books but Missing in Paradise is his first novel.  Larry’s book is about a boy named Nate who has found a box of clues among his dead grandfather’s belongings that just might lead to real treasure. Will Nate find it? mcnally launchA good-sized crowd had come out for the launch. It was interesting for me to listen to Melinda, Larry and Suzanne read from their novels, since I had heard sections of all three of their manuscripts at our authors’ meetings as we read aloud and critiqued one another’s work.  authors signing booksThe three former Vast Imaginations’ members all thanked the authors in their writing groups for their help and support. I have also received so much valuable feedback and advice from other writers. Every time I share a manuscript with my peers my manuscript gets better. 

I hope that someday I too will be able to publish a work of fiction and have the opportunity to thank all the people who have helped me on my writing journey. On Sunday Larry, Melinda and Suzanne provided inspiration to me, and I’m sure many other aspiring writers, as they boldly launched their books out into the reading world. 

Other posts about writing for young people…….. 

Writing For Children is Hard

Writing Poetry For Children

What An Improvement

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Our Weekend

Our weekend was a bit of a whirlwind. I’ve been experimenting with this Word Out program. So here is our weekend at a glance.Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 5.59.44 AM

Other weekend posts…….

The Weekend Go- Go-Go Weekend

Not the Weekend I Expected

Super Bowl Weekend

Labor Day Weekend

 

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Opposite Profound Truths

The opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth.

Niels Bohr-Nobel Prize winning physicst

Sara Wenger Shenk, the president of Anabaptist  Mennonite Biblical Seminary used that quote in her sermon in our church a few Sundays ago. She talked about how we must sometimes stretch ourselves to nearly the breaking point as we seek to create a spaciousness in our families, our churches and our world that will allow us maintain an attitude of respect and a peaceful relationship  with those who may believe in profound truths that are very different from our own profound truths. 

The Santa Maria Del Fiore Cathedral in Florence Italy photographed in January 2009

The Santa Maria Del Fiore Cathedral in Florence Italy photographed in January 2009

Tori Gate at Itsukushima Shinto Shrine in Japan photographed in March 2009

Tori Gate at Itsukushima Shinto Shrine in Japan photographed in March 2009

The Taj Mahal Mosque in Agra India photographed in January 2008

The Taj Mahal Mosque in Agra India photographed in January 2008

The Buddha in Hong Kong photographed in December 2005

The Big Buddha in Hong Kong photographed in December 2005

Baha'i House of Worship Chicago photographed in November 2011

Baha’i House of Worship Chicago photographed in November 2011

Grace Mennonite Church in Steinbach Manitoba photographed in November 2011

Grace Mennonite Church in Steinbach Manitoba photographed in November 2011

Maori Meeting House in New Zealand photographed in

Maori Meeting House in New Zealand photographed in December 2008

Westminister Abbey in London photographed in August 2005

Westminister Abbey in London photographed in August 2005

Other posts……

The Breath of Life

To The World Peace

Luau With the Mormons

 

 

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Sliding on the Sand

school boys in vietnamWhen we were in Vietnam we drove by a group of school boys who were sand sledding. I asked our driver to stop so we could get out of  our van and watch them. vietnamese boys sand slidingThe boys had these burlap bags and they were using them like sleds to slide down the sand hills by their school. kids in vietnamThe boys thought is was funny that I was so interested in what they were doing and when I started taking photos they offered to pose for me.  with boys in vietnamI had Dave take a picture of me with some of them and while we were doing that the principal came out of the school and walked over to see what was going on.  Our guide explained that I was a teacher from Canada and I was just interested in the children and the game they were playing. boys in vietnamSome of the boys were wearing the uniform of the Young Pioneers a communist organization for young people. vietnamese boywI loved the delight on the boys’ faces and the way they were having so much fun with something so simple. 

Other posts about Vietnam…….

Calculator  Conversation

Teamwork

The Red River Valley in Hanoi

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School For the Deaf- My Father-in-Law’s Birthplace

school for the deaf tiege ukraineMy husband Dave stands on the porch of his father’s birthplace in Tiege Ukraine. cultural centre tiegeThe sign by the front door tells us the building was a cultural centre for the people of Tiege, but when Dave’s grandparents lived there at the time of his father’s birth, it was an abandoned School for the Deaf and Dumb which had been operated by the Mennonites. 

Oma and Opa Driedger

Oma and Opa Driedger

Dave’s Oma and Opa had been living on a farm in Schoenfeld but were forced to abandon it in 1920 because of the danger from roving bands of criminal outlaws led by a man named Nestor Makhno. Opa had already escaped the bandits’ bullets twice and so when a farmer in Tiege offered Opa a job he and Oma decided to move there.   Along with a number of other families they lived in the Mennonite School for the Deaf and Dumb. With its kitchen and dormitories it was a suitable place for homeless Mennonites to find shelter. 

The Driedger family twenty years after immigration. My father-in-law in the centre and his sister Agatha to his left were both born in Ukraine

The Driedger family twenty years after immigration. My father-in-law in the centre and his sister Agatha to his left were both born in Ukraine

It was while his parents were living at the School for the Deaf that Dave’s Dad was born. Sadly it is also where Oma and Opa’s first little daughter Kaethe died of pneumonia.

school for the deaf and dumb mennonites tiege ukraineOma told a story about something that happened at this school when they were living there. Dave’s Dad Cornelius was a very small baby and there was a real danger that he would die after he was born. Oma had just lost her little sixteen month old daughter the month before and she couldn’t bear the thought of losing another child. She took her baby outside of the school and broken-hearted stood on the grounds crying out to God to save her child, promising that if God did, she would dedicate her son to God and the work of the church. Perhaps having his mother tell him this story influenced Dave’s Dad in his decision to become a pastor.

School for the Deaf and Dumb Tiege Ukraine early 1900s

School for the Deaf and Dumb Tiege Ukraine early 1900s

The Mennonite community had a well-developed infrastructure in Ukraine to care for vulnerable people in their colonies. There were orphanages, institutions for the mentally and physically handicapped, elderly homes and hospitals. The Russian Revolution forced the closure of most of these facilities because the ruble was devalued by the new Soviet government. The money that had been deposited in the bank to maintain Mennonite institutions like the School for the Deaf and Dumb became worthless.

marein taubstummenschule Tiege UkraineThe school was actually called the Marein Taubstummenschule. It was named after the Tsar of Russia’s mother Maria, a former Danish princess. “Taub”- means deaf in German “Stummen” means dumb and ‘Schule’ is school.

mennonite school for the deaf tiege ukraineIn an article in the Mennonite Historian published in September of 1982, a Jacob Driedger writes an article about visiting the village of Tiege in 1917. He says,
“There was a stately two-storey building, a school for the deaf and dumb. It was a large complex with a number of auxiliary buildings. The students here not only learned to talk but were also taught a trade. The school drew its students from a wide range of communities. “
school for the deaf tiege ukraineIn an article in the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia I found this entry ……
Marientaubstummenschule (Mary School for the Deaf), at Tiege, Molotschna, South Russia, was organized in 1881 and named after Czarina Maria on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the reign of Alexander II, who granted the patent for the school on 21 December 1881. The school did not actually get started until 1885, and did not have its own building until 1890, having been conducted in a house in Blumenort owned by Gerhard Klassen, a great friend and supporter of the school. A Protestant Armenian, A. G. Ambartsumov, trained in Switzerland, was largely responsible for the idea of the school and was the first teacher 1885-1891. The school was established by the Halbstadt district civil government (later joined by the Gnadenfeld district), with the moral support of the churches, and the two representatives of the two districts on the board of directors (a total of nine directors) always had to include one elder or preacher. mariataubstummenschule tiege UkraineThe school in its full development had a nine-year course equal to the regular elementary school curriculum with five teachers and 40 pupils. It was supported by freewill offerings coming from all Mennonite groups in Russia, and had a small endowment fund.  The school was a great success. P. M. Friesen said of it, “This first charitable institution of the Mennonites of Russia is a precious jewel and deserves all love and zealous support.”

school for the deaf and dumb mennonites tiege ukraineIn a blog post Rudy Baerg who worked for a number of years at The Mennonite Centre in Ukraine says, “In its time the School for the Deaf and Dumb in Tiege was a state-of-the-art institution and had the reputation of being the best school for the deaf in all of Russia. Teachers were trained in places as far away as St. Petersburg and Frankfurt.”

school for the deaf and dumb tiege ukraineMuch of the evidence that Mennonites once made their home in Ukraine is disappearing. There are still some buildings left however, and we were fortunate that one of them happened to be Dad’s birthplace and we were able to visit it and see it for ourselves.

Other posts about Mennonites in Ukraine………

 A Spreading Oak

Station of Tears

The Disappeared

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The Womens

womens washroom sign

On our drive home from Saskatoon a couple of weeks ago we stopped in a small town for lunch. When I went to the restaurant washroom  this was the sign on the door.  It reminded me of my grandfather who I often heard refer to a group of women as ‘the vomens.’  He used the plural form of woman plus an added ‘s’.  Grandpa would claim that ‘the vomens’ in the family were in charge of things,  so his opinion didn’t matter. (He had a wife, five daughters and seven granddaughters.) In actual truth Grandpa was definitely the head of the house and most often had his way.  My Grandma did some ‘modest kicking up of her heels’ after he predeceased her and she could finally make her own decisions. 

Just for a minute outside that bathroom door in rural Saskatchewan I could hear Grandpa muttering with a smile, ‘the vomens are in charge’ and shaking his head.  The ‘vomens’ weren’t really in charge in Grandpa’s family and much as I’d like to see it happen ‘the vomens’ still aren’t really in charge of the world, as this picture of the recent G20 summit in Australia indicates. world leaders at the G20 summit
Only four of the leaders were women. Something is very wrong with that picture. At least half of these world leaders should be women. Perhaps when ‘the vomens’ are in charge, or at least are equal partners in running the world, we will see some truly significant changes for the better.

Other posts about women in charge…….

Half the Sky

Is the Solution to Ending Terrorism Really This Simple?

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

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Ten Abandonded Places

My friend Michelle, who lives in Hong Kong often posts photos of abandoned places she comes upon in the city. Another Facebook friend Jim from Pennyslvania, takes photos of abandoned buildings. Jim and Michelle inspired me to look back through my photos searching for abandoned places  I have photographed.

I was visiting Herschel Saskatachewan doing research for a novel when I photographed this abandoned barn

I was visiting Herschel Saskatachewan doing research for a novel in the fall of 2012 when I photographed this abandoned barn

This is only one of hundreds of unfinished and abandoned homes we saw in Jamaica

This is only one of many unfinished and abandoned homes I photographed in Jamaica in January of 2014

We were on a trip to Savannah Georgia when I photographed this abandoned house

On a trip to Savannah Georgia in 2006 I photographed this abandoned house

I chaperoned a student trip to Cambodia in 2011 and photographed this abandoned temple in Angkor Wat

I chaperoned a student trip to Cambodia in 2011 and photographed this abandoned temple in Angkor Wat

Of course the buildings in Pompei Italy were abandoned for good reason as I discovered on a 2010 trip to Italy

Of course the buildings in Pompei Italy were abandoned for good reason as I discovered on a 2010 trip to Italy

While biking in Yangshou China in 2005 I photographed this abandoned house

While biking in Yangshou China in 2005 I photographed this abandoned house

We drove by this abandoned windmill in 2011 in Ukraine. It was built by Mennonites.

We drove by this abandoned windmill in 2011 in Ukraine. It was built by Mennonites.

In 2013 we visited the abandoned cliff dwellings of the Salado people built in the 1300s in the Tonto Forest in Arizona

In 2013 we visited the abandoned cliff dwellings of the Salado people built in the 1300s in the Tonto Forest area of Arizona

Abandoned temple in Tulum Mexico photographed in 2006

Abandoned temple in Tulum Mexico photographed in 2006

In November of 2010 when we visited Bangkok I photographed this abandoned graveyard overgrown with weeds

In November of 2010 we visited Bangkok and I photographed this abandoned graveyard overgrown with weeds

Other 10 Posts

Ten Things I’ll Remember About the Ballet Going Home Star

Ten Favorite Things About Arizona So Far

Ten Remembrance Day Images

Ten Things About Tulum

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Filed under Arizona, Herschel, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Nature, Reflections, Thailand, Ukraine