Elegant Words

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery is an excellent read.  Here are some elegant illustrated quotes. 

At the Museum of Modern Art in New York

At the Museum of Modern Art in New York

What does art do for us? It gives shape to our emotions, makes them visible, and, in so doing, places a seal of eternity upon them.

Women on a beach in Borneo

Women on a beach in Borneo

The peace of mind one experiences on one’s own, one’s certainty of self in the serenity of solitude, are nothing in comparison to the release and openness and fluency one shares with another, in close companionship.

At a tea ceremony in Hong Kong with my Mom

At a tea ceremony in Hong Kong with my Mom

The tea ritual……. has the extraordinary virtue of introducing into the absurdity of our lives an aperture of serene harmony.

My favorite Winnipeg band Royal Canoe

My favorite Winnipeg band Royal Canoe

In the end, I wonder if the true movement of the world might not be a voice raised in song.

Hiking in Akaka Falls State Park Hawaii

Hiking in Akaka Falls State Park Hawaii

There’s so much humanity in a love of trees, so much nostalgia for our first sense of wonder, so much power in just feeling our own insignificance when we are surrounded by nature…

My husband and sons on a Habitat for Humanity Build in northern Thailand

My husband and sons on a Habitat for Humanity build in northern Thailand

I’m going to stop undoing, deconstructing I’m going to start building… … What matters is what you are doing when you die… … I want to be building.

Dave's Mom with one of the Royal Doulton Figurines she loved to collect

Dave’s Mom with one of the Royal Doulton figurines she collected

Beautiful things should belong to beautiful souls.

Woman praying amid a crowd at the Wailing Wall

Woman praying amid a crowd at the Wailing Wall

Those who seek eternity find solitude. 

Along Philosopher's Walk in Kyoto

Cherry blossoms along Philosopher’s Walk in Kyoto

Perhaps the Japanese have learned that you can only savor a pleasure when you know it is ephemeral and unique

Other posts……..

Rise Again

Behind Every Pair of Eyes

Inspiration in Sioux Lookout Ontario

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Filed under Books, Inspiration

Gypsy Girl

Italian Apple Girl by Etienne Adolphe Piot - photographed at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

Italian Apple Girl by Etienne Adolphe Piot – photographed at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

This is a favorite painting of mine at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It is called Italian Apple Girl by Etienne Adolphe Piot  and was painted in 1890. The young woman’s eyes are riveting. They stare straight at you. The girl is offering you an apple from her hand and that gesture reaches out to the viewer and draws them into the scene.  The girl has a wise knowing look. This painting has been on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery for all three years I’ve worked there so I feel like I know this girl well- the rich reds, blues and yellows of her clothing, her bushy eyebrows, her shy smile, her strong slender arms, the straight part of her hair, her dangling earrings, and the shadows beneath her eyes.  Recently I attended a Winnipeg Singers Concert and the world-renowned Tracy Dahl sang a piece from the Donizetti opera The Gypsy Girl. The whole time she was singing I had an image of this painting in my mind. 

Other posts……..

Wars- Dread of Mothers

The Beginning and End of Life

Portraits or Landscapes?


Filed under Art, WInnipeg Art Gallery

The Book Lady

book table selkirk thrift storeThis is what my book table looked like when I arrived at the Selkirk MCC Thrift Store on Wednesday. Anywhere from ten to thirty or more boxes of books are donated each week. I have been working as the book lady at the shop for the last few months, sorting and organizing and shelving books to sell and I really enjoy it. 

at the thrift storeOpening all those boxes of books is always a bit of a mystery. What will I find inside?  Often the entire book collections of people who have died or moved are donated and as I look through their books I really get to know them. Recently I went through a woman’s collection of more than a hundred cookbooks with photos, notes, cards, lists and concert programs tucked inside. This week a school had weeded their library and donated hundreds of children’s books. book shelvesThe shelves are organized with sections for magazines, children’s books, mysteries, novels, recipe books, romances, non-fiction and inspirational material.  However when I arrive each week everything has been all mixed up by browsers and I have to straighten everything out. book table

After a few house of work my book area looks like this. I’ve packed up some books to be donated to other charities, thrown out some books that are dirty or torn or very out of date, put many out on the shelves in the store to be sold, and picked out art books, coffee table books and travel books to be displayed on special occasions at special prices. 

I usually end up buying a few books myself before I leave either for gifts, my own personal reading or  for the church library because I’m the librarian at Bethel Church. 

I love being the book lady.  I’ve helped with many other jobs at the Thrift Store but this is the perfect one for me!

Other posts………

I’m a Shop Girl 

The Palace Theatre

Good Will and Good Memories

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Filed under Books, Religion

Music, Great Conversation, Spiritual Journeys and Flowers

faith and life male choirMy husband Dave is now a member of the Faith and Life male choir and I joined him when he gave his first performance at a fundraising banquet for a Mennonite nursing home this week.  I was seated beside a delightful woman named Marian who told me all about her years living in Berlin during the Cold War, the four-year old orphan she and her husband had adopted from Vietnam, and the wine tasting fundraiser she is hosting in her home in November for the Winnipeg Singers choir. We found we had endless connections. She and her late husband were good friends with the former editors of the Mennonite Mirror, a magazine for which I was a staff writer for many years.  Marian’s husband was born in Gnadenthal where my Dad was born. Marian had lived in Newton, Kansas and knew my aunt and uncle there. She had been a nurse in the hemodialysis unit at St. Boniface Hospital where my mother was an out-patient and Marian had visited Hong Kong where I lived for six years.

bethania nursing home fund raiser programI really enjoyed the talks at the banquet by the nursing home chaplains who described some of the things they try to do to enrich the spiritual journey of people nearing the end of their lives. This included assisting them in writing their memoirs, planning meaningful worship experiences, listening to their stories, helping them reconcile with their children, singing with them, guiding them down the path of forgiveness with people who may have hurt them, and in one case helping a woman find and reunite with the child she had given up for adoption. 

flowers centrepieceIt was an interesting evening. My husband’s choir sounded great and I got to bring home this beautiful table centerpiece. I took the Henderson Highway bus there and had the pleasure of walking the last kilometer or so to the Douglas Mennonite Church down the beautiful Chief Peguis greenway pedestrian trail. 

Other posts……..


Musicians Encountered World Wide

What Will You Be Building?

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Filed under Family, Music, Religion, Retirement

Mystery Sentences

dave readingDid you know it is international book week? One promotion of the event  instructs you to…….. Grab the closest book to you, turn to page 52, and post the fifth sentence. Don’t mention the title. Here’s mine! Can you guess what book it is from?
“Why they just don’t let on. Like she was a regular person.”

working in my office writing bookAnother promotion I’ve seen by fellow writers is to go to a current manuscript you are working on and post sentence 22.  Here’s mine.

“Mama’s worry snakes up two flights of stairs and ricochets off the sloping ceiling of our attic bedroom.”

Can you guess what I’m writing about? 

Other posts……

My Book Flood

The Writing Life

They Remembered the Books

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Filed under Books, Education, Writing

Was it Really 40 Years Ago?

dave cmu gradThis past weekend was the 40th anniversary of my husband Dave’s graduation from Canadian Mennonite University. We spent Saturday afternoon on the university campus reconnecting with college friends.  I was able to have a nice visit with a former roomate and Dave chatted with some guys who were his college basketball teamates.  Unfortunately only two other people from his graduating class showed up but we looked up the rest of the class in an old yearbook and talked about where they might be now.ml kissing dave at his grad We had been married for two years in 1975 when Dave graduated. We lived at CMU, then CMBC in a small basement suite and shared a bathroom and laundry facilities with a half a dozen other couples.

Dressed up for the graduation banquet

Dressed up for the graduation banquet

I was teaching kindergarten in St. James at Lincoln School and commuted to work from the college campus where Dave was finishing his Bachelor of Theology degree. 

dave cmu grad

The community of people on our college campus played such an important role in our lives. After all Dave and I met each other there in our first year of college. It hardly seems like 40 years ago. 

Other posts……..

A Controversial Wedding Photo

Words of Wisdom from Winnipeg Mayor Bill Norrie

She’s Done It Again

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Filed under Education, Family

Hat Inspiration

gardener in hat hong kongYou cannot hide in a hat.  You will be noticed. 

marylou in hat in fijiA great hat can change your day. 

hat lower fort garryThe right hat may activate our imagination of the past

hat prague museumWith the right hat, nothing else matters

man in jerusalemLeave everyone wondering which is more interesting…you or your hat.

vietnamese street sellerThere’s just something special about a woman in a hat.

beach vendor baliA great hat speaks for itself

marylou dave grad icsA hat can say more than words.

boy in indiaKeep calm and wear a hat. 

Other posts……..

Friend Inspiration

Rumi Inspiration

Hong Kong Inspiration


Filed under Inspiration