Monthly Archives: July 2017

Name That Driedger Family

dave and great nephew

My great nephew shown here with my husband Dave did a terrific job as one of the game announcers for Name That Driedger Family

Another one of the competitions during our Driedger family gathering was a ‘name that family’ story game.  There are four Driedger brothers and one representative from each of their families formed a panel of game players.  Each panel member had four photos on sticks to hold up, one photo of each Driedger brother. When a game announcer read a story like…….’when this Driedger was a teenager she stole a car’ or ‘when this Driedger was a little boy he saw a spider in the bathtub and didn’t take a bath for a month’ the panel members had to decide which of the four Driedger families that story came from by holding up the correct brother’s photo.   They got bonus points for correctly identifying the individual person within the clan the story was about. trivia driedger challengeIt was so much fun to hear all the crazy stories and we learned new things about each other as we listened to them. paul hugs

My brother-in-law Paul’s family won this challenge.  They were ably represented on the panel by Paul’s granddaughter shown in this photo to his left.  Here he gets a congratulatory hug from her as well as two of his nieces. 

Other posts…….

The Amazing Race Driedger Style

The Driedgers at Spring Training

Family Fun

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More Visible But Not Equal

I saw the movie The Women’s Balcony at the Toronto International Film Festival Theatre this week. It reminded me of just how far we’ve come in giving women an equal place with men in religious institutions and just how far we still have to go. 

women's balconyThe Women’s Balcony is a Hebrew film about a synagogue in Jerusalem being influenced by their new young conservative rabbi who wants women to worship separately from men in a closed room at the side of the temple. The women want to worship in an open balcony right in the same area as the men worship. Eventually the women leave their husbands because they are siding with the new rabbi.  The women raise the money for a balcony and manage to get it built. They return to their husbands who facilitate the removal of the conservative rabbi and the return of their older more flexible rabbi. Progress has been made although the fact that official power in the synagogue still rests with a man, or that women still sit separately from their husbands in a balcony isn’t addressed in the film. Reading about the film later I learned it reflects the ongoing divide in Judaism between orthodox and liberal factions and their differing views of women’s roles in the church. Women are becoming more visible but are still far from equal. 

church mennonite heritage village museum

Church at the Mennonite Village Museum with separate sides for men and women. 

I can remember attending my grandparents’ church where men and women sat on different sides of the sanctuary.  I grew up in a church where there were no women pastors or leaders.  Thankfully those times have changed in some Christian churches but in others women still have no voice and are not represented in leadership at all. This lack of equality for women in the Southern Baptist Church is what led former American President Jimmy Carter to publicly announce he was leaving the denomination after his family had belonged to it for generations. A council created by my Mennonite denomination in 2016 to oversee a time of transition in our national church body contained eight men and one woman.  Women were more visible than they would have been in the past but they still were far from equal. 

In my lifetime women have gained greater representation and influence in religious spheres but the journey is far from complete. 

Other posts……..

Questions After Watching the Film Silence

The Children are Watching and Listening and Wondering

A Woman I Wish I Knew More About

 

 

 

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Filed under israel, Movies, Religion

A Century is Only a Spoke

louis riel quoteDeeds are not accomplished in a few days, or in a few hours, a century is only a spoke in the wheel of everlasting time.  – Louis Riel

This quote in the shape of a wheel is displayed as a touchstone at the heart of a groundbreaking exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario called Every.Now.Then: Reframing Nationhood. Louis_Riel public domainLouis Riel who spoke the words that make up the wheel design was a Metis leader who fought to preserve Metis culture and land rights. He was accused of high treason by Canada’s first prime minister Sir John A. MacDonald, convicted and hung. 

Entrance to the Every. Now. Then. exhibit -Art Gallery of Ontario

This year Canada celebrates its 150th birthday.  The Art Gallery of Ontario wanted to give voice to groups like the Metis in Canada who might feel they have little to celebrate.  The exhibit Every.Now.Then: Reframing Nationhood gives Metis, First Nations, black, Asian, transgender and other marginalized Canadians a place to tell their story.  

Métis_and_Red_River_carts public domain

Metis men with a Red River Cart, a mode of transportation for the Canadian prairies invented by the Metis. Could this be the kind of wheel Louis Riel was envisioning when he talked about the spokes in the wheel of time?

I spent an enthralling afternoon in Every.Now.Then: Reframing Nationhood and will be doing blog posts about what I saw and learned in the coming weeks. One hopes the exhibit and others like it will help to speed up Riel’s one wheel spoke forward a century pace towards greater inclusion and equality for all Canadians. 

Other posts………

A Controversial Statue

Treaty One Land

Manitoba is Metis

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Filed under Art, History, Toronto

The Amazing Race Driedger Style

Posing with some of my Amazing Race teammates for the mannequin video challenge on a slip and slide mat

During our four days on Pelee Island with my husband’s family we participated in a number of fun events planned by two of my nephews and their partners.  One was The Driedger Amazing Race.  The more than thirty people in our family were divided into four teams and each was assigned a pick up truck to travel to various destinations around Pelee island. chloe team blueI was on the blue team and one of the first things we did was paint our faces to advertise our team color.  We got bonus points for our face art.  

champion swimmer

My niece is an accomplished triathlete so we were lucky to have her on our team for the distance swim.

Our first event had my niece swimming out to a buoy in Lake Erie to grab a plastic bag filled with puzzle pieces.  puzzle solvingThe three youngest members of our team had to assemble the puzzle before we could move on. 

justin ali and chloe word searchThen we were off to the Pelee Island School where we found a word search puzzle at the base of the flag pole with lots of words related to our family. We had to find and circle every one. 

icecream eating

My brother-in-law John the most senior team member working on his ice cream cone.

One challenge had the oldest member of our group downing an ice cream cone in under two minutes. 

bra tree photoPelee Island has a bra tree to promote breast cancer awareness and one of our challenges was to throw a bra up into its branches.  We decided to pose here as well for a team photo since we got bonus points for submitting interesting team photos. 

golf challengeThere was a golf challenge where we had to chip golf balls into hula hoops for bonus points cemetry runand a gravestone search in a cemetery where some of our Mennonite relatives are buried.

making zwiebachWe had a zwiebach challenge in honor of Dave’s Mom who made the best zwiebach in the world.  For my non-Mennonite readers zwiebach are buns that are two tiered.  We had to form them from play dohzwiebach toss and then toss them into a bucket some distance away. 

inuk shuk puzzleOur final challenge was fitting a big box full of painted pieces of wood into an outline to create an inukshuk within an alloted time.  solving the inukshuk puzzleWe figured it out with just seconds to spare. 

One of our other photo submissions was this one where we pretended to row a boat full of flowers

I happy to report that our blue team won the Driedger Amazing Race returning to home base a full sixteen minutes ahead of our competition. 

Other posts……..

I Did the Limbo on the Golf Course

The Driedgers Bike Boblo Island

The Driedgers Go Hiking in Arizona

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Filed under Family, Sports

A Family Party

I won’t be blogging for the next week or so as we head off to Pelee Island where we will be staying in a place with no wifi.  We are having a huge family party with all of my husband Dave’s siblings and their partners, our nieces and nephews and their partners, our great nieces and nephews and our own children and grandchildren. Lots of fun family time awaits.

I’ve put together a book telling Mom and Dad’s life stories

The family party is in honor of my mother-in-law Anne Driedger and my father-in-law Cornelius Driedger who have both passed away, Dad just one year ago.  The party has been in the planning since we met for Dad’s funeral last June.

My father-in-law’s family on Pelee Island in the 1930s.

One reason it is being held on Pelee Island in Lake Erie is because my father-in-law lived there for nearly a decade after his family immigrated to Canada.  

This family party will honor Mom and Dad’s  legacy. I am really looking forward to it. 

See you in a week!

Other posts……….

Anne Driedger

Good Bye Dad

 

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Wined and Dined at a New Restaurant

At the Chaise Lounge with my friend Meena.

We’ve had house guests for the last two weeks and before they left Winnipeg they wanted to treat us to dinner at a restaurant of our choice.  We decided to pick a restaurant we had driven by hundreds of times and always thought we would like to try.

The Chaise Lounge has a beautiful walkway lined with plants and flowers.  We ate on the porch, but a peek inside showed it was a little more elegant.  The food was good and we had an enjoyable time visiting with our guests one last time.  

Meena is to the far left in this photo with my teaching colleagues in the English department in Hong Kong

We got to know Meena and Anil when we lived in Hong Kong and Meena was our colleague 

Meena far right was a member of our Hong Kong book club

and a member of our book club.  Meena and Anil now have children living in Winnipeg so they make visits here several times a year and stay with us. It has been such a treat to maintain our connection with these Hong Kong friends.

For some reason Dave was playing hide and seek.

We all had different entrees at the restaurant and received a bonus dessert because service had been a little slow.  Not that we minded. It gave us more time to visit. 

Other posts………….

Hong Kong House Guests

Sculpture Garden Stroll 

Introducing Visitors from Hong Kong and India to Mennonites

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Filed under Restaurants, Winnipeg

Bear Town

Playing hockey can be a great experience for kids. Hockey teams can help community pride flourish. Hockey can bring people together.  Playing hockey can also be an awful experience for kids. It can batter civic pride. It can divide people.  Bear Town by Fredrik Backman looks at both the negative and positive sides of hockey.  It is set in Sweden but could happen any place where people love the game.  

bear townIn Bear Town hockey gives an immigrant kid a place to belong, helps a boy without a Dad find a father figure, gives meaning and purpose to the life of an old man, provides camaraderie for a hockey phenom whose parents don’t have time for him, and inspires hope in a dying community. 

In Bear Town hockey creates a culture that entitles young men to think they can treat others violently. Hockey inspires vandalism and blackmail and fosters a locker room mentality that isn’t respectful of diversity. Hockey tears families apart and makes people feel hopeless. 

Bear Town is suspenseful.  It tells a story that will engage you completely. If  hockey has ever played a role in your life as a fan, parent or player it will make you think about that experience in new ways. 

Other posts…….

Thanks Terry MacLeod

The Shady Area Between Violence and Non-Violence

Healthy Environments?  

 

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Should Women With Young Children Be Politicians?

“Could Andrew Scheer have been elected the leader of a national party if he were a woman with five children including a newborn? “

In an essay in Macleans magazine Rona Ambrose, the previous interim leader of the Conservative party writes about ways to encourage more women to be involved in politics. She says we have to be willing to accept that women regardless of their physical attributes and family compositions are capable of holding government office.

Her comment about Andrew Scheer, the father of five young children and…….. the Conservative party leader who succeeded her, suggests we don’t always think of male and female politicians in the same way. There’s an assumption that mothers of large families with young children might not be the best political candidates, but fathers of similar families are.  Ambrose says this reflects not only the obvious practical challenges in such a situation but also ” the real, judgmental, and sexist perceptions that women face in politics. ”  

Women with young children should represent us politically.  They are in tune with the needs of young Canadian families and their voice is of great importance.  What things could we do to encourage and support them so they would not face stereotypical discrimination and so many practical impediments to political service? Should affordable child care with extended hours be offered on Parliament Hill? Should members of Parliament have more flexible working times, additional help with travel expenses so families can be together more often, and assistance with finding schools and housing in Ottawa? Should there be a greater openess to allowing children to be present in their parents’ work place on Parliament Hill?  Implementation of some of these changes has already begun  as this CTV News article suggests.

These changes will not only benefit women politicians but also support fathers like Andrew Scheer and my own member of Parliament Robert Falcon Ouellette who has five children, so they can share parenting responsibilities  more equally with their partners. 

Other posts………

Looking Back Instead of Forward

Could I Join the Conservative Party?

I Sat in the Speakers Chair

 

 

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A Grandmother for Jesus

Jesus’ grandmother Anne was one of the featured saints in a sermon in our church last Sunday.  The apocryphal Gospel of James has Anne’s story.  She was Mary’s mother and Jesus’ grandmother.  Artistic depictions of Anne show her playing an important role in her grandson’s life.  

virgin-and-child-with-st-anne-jpglucas-cranach-the-elder.jpeg

Virgin and Child with St. Anne by Lucas Cranach the Elder 1520

The sermon about Anne last Sunday brought back memories of two churches dedicated to Jesus’ grandmother I’ve visited. ste. anne's church jerusalemThis is St. Anne’s Church in Jerusalem.  I visited it on a school trip with my Hong Kong students. pool of bethesda jerusalemThe church is located right beside the pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed a man who had been sick for 38 years. This is fitting because Anne is the saint of healing. Interestingly Anne’s church in Jerusalem is at the same spot where there used to be a shrine to the Greek god of healing Ascelepius.  

statue of mary and her mother Saint Anne Church Jerusalem

Statue of Anne and her daughter Mary in the St. Anne church in Jerusalem. Like the Old Testament character Hannah, Anne thought she wouldn’t be able to have children and was an older woman when Mary was born. 

st-anne-churchIn Quebec City I visited the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré.crutches and canes st. annes

At the back of the church are all these cabinets filled with crutches and canes people have left behind. They didn’t need them anymore after visiting St. Annes’  church because St. Anne healed them. She is the saint of healing. 

da vinci the virgin and child with st. anne

The Virgin and Child with St. Anne by Leonardo da Vinci

I never knew about Ste. Anne till I visited the two churches built in her honor. It is interesting to realize there are religious writings that gives Jesus a grandmother who played an important role in his life just like many grandmothers do for all of us.

 

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A Kindred Spirit

I was having lunch in a Steinbach restaurant last week when a woman approached me. I recognized her right away as the mother of one of my students from many years ago.  Her son had made such an impression on me that I had taped a photo of him in my journal during the year he was my grade four student. The reason I remember him so well is because of something that happened while I was reading aloud Anne of Green Gables to the class.  We had just finished the chapter where Anne tells her adopted father Matthew  she believes the two of them are kindred spirits. The little guy pictured below came up, tapped me on the arm and whispered “You know Mrs. Driedger I think you and I are kindred spirits too.”  It was the highest compliment I could have received and I’ve never forgotten that moment.  

The boy’s mother who came over to me in the restaurant last week told me about her son’s stable career, his happy marriage and the fact that he was now the proud father of twins.  She even showed me a photo of his two tiny newborns. I was glad to hear my kindred spirit was doing so well.  

Other posts…..…..

Stopping by Woods

Kids and the Flood of the Century

The Children are Watching and Listening and Wondering

 

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Filed under Books, Education