Category Archives: Family

Statistics and Bible Verses

I sometimes think statistics have become the modern-day equivalent of Bible verses.

Both statistics and Bible verses are handy for proving almost any point. There are people who have a barrage of Scripture passages on the tip of their tongues ready to provide substantiation of any viewpoint. Quotations from the Bible have been used to defend all kinds of crazy things including……..the earth is flat, human beings never walked on the moon, women should be silent and education is bad. I read a story in the New York Times about an American pastor using Scripture to justify his advice to administer corporal punishment to babies. 

Statistics are often used like Bible verses. Pick a cause or an idea and you will probably be able to find a statistic to back up your opinion of it. It can be unsettling for people of faith when Biblical quotations are used to defend radically different ideas. Statistics can be equally unsettling.  

Take marriage for example. A Canadian statistical study on marriage looked at what factors lead to divorce and which indicators give couples a better chance to have a lasting relationship. Looking at them I can’t figure out whether my marriage has a good chance or not. 

dave marylou

Dave and I when we had just started dating and I visited his family in Leamington

My husband and I did not live together before we were married. This is in our favor since 35% of Canadian couples who cohabitate before marriage get divorced compared to only 19% of those who don’t live together. 

wedding 1973I got married at the tender age of 19.  My husband was 20. According to statistics, this makes it three times more likely we will end up in a divorce court compared to if we had waited until we were over 30 to marry. 

We attend church regularly and this is a statistic in our favor since it improves a couple’s chances of staying married. 

Another statistic would suggest shaky ground for my marriage. Women who work outside the home, as I have always done, have a higher rate of divorce. 

So which statistics should I take seriously, the ones that say my marriage has a good chance of surviving or others that say it doesn’t?  

on the la ceiba golf course with dave

Dave and I on the La Ceiba Golf Course in Merida Mexico last winter

I won’t be using Scripture either to predict the success of my marriage. “Those who marry will face many troubles,” says Saint Paul in the seventh chapter of 1 Corinthians.

“It is not good for people to live alone”, says the narrator in the second chapter of Genesis. 

Other posts……….

Is Marriage a Good Thing For Women?

Celebrating our Marriage History in a Historic Building

Bucket List For Marriage

Chinese Wisdom on Marriage

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Auntie Millie

Last week I ran into Mildred Schroeder at the Folio Cafe on the grounds of Canadian Mennonite University. It was the second time that week we had bumped into each other. I asked the friend who was with me to take a picture of me with Auntie Millie. When I was a child growing up you didn’t refer to your parents’ friends just by their first name. It wasn’t considered polite. But using their last names seemed too formal so we referred to them as aunts and uncles even though we might not be related to them in any way. Mildred was a dear friend of my mother Dorothy’s so I grew up calling her ‘Auntie Millie’ and I still do.

My mother and Auntie Millie as young women

Auntie Millie and my mother spent their childhoods on farms across the road from each other in Drake Saskatchewan. They went to the same elementary school in Drake, both attended a private Mennonite high school in Rosthern Saskatchewan, and both came to Winnipeg in the late 1940s to attend Canadian Mennonite University. They both married in the early 1950s and had families but always kept in contact with one another.

My Mom with her friend Millie at my parents 60th wedding anniversary

I just took their relationship for granted as a child but realized as I observed Millie and my Mom near the end of my mother’s life how unique and special it is to maintain a life long friendship like my mother and Millie did.
Auntie Millie is 95 years old and is still very active. She attends an exercise class regularly, goes out with friends for coffee and is pretty savvy with social media. She is my Facebook friend, reads my blog faithfully and often comments on my writings.
Whenever I see her it’s like getting a glimpse of my mother who died in June of 2013 and each time we do Auntie Millie mentions how much she misses my Mom. Seeing Auntie Millie always makes me just a little emotional and makes me miss my mother too, but I am always glad when we meet. 

Other posts……..

My Mom Starts School

My Mother’s Friends

My Mother’s Button Box

My Mother’s Childhood Christmases




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T is for Together




Tractor Riders



Together then

Together now

Other posts………

44 Years

Celebrating Our Marriage History in a Historical Building

Two Trees – Forty-One Years


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Dad’s Treasures- Part 5- A Tender Photo?

grandpa braiding grandma's hairI found this photo when I was helping my Dad do some downsizing for an upcoming move.  My grandfather is braiding my grandmother’s hair.  They are both in their 90s at the time. At first glance, this is a rather tender picture.  Grandma was no longer strong enough to braid her long hair so her husband was helping her.  

My grandmother had beautiful long hair.  Sometimes she let me comb it for her.  Grandma only told me after my grandfather died that she had always wanted to have her hair cut. But my grandfather insisted she leave it long. So she did until he died.  

Shortly after Grandpa died Grandma got her hair cut and permed.  When I visited her and complimented her on her new hairstyle she said she had always admired my other grandmother who had beautiful short, white wavy hair. 

Me with my two grandmas and Dave’s Oma at our wedding. My two grandmas are on either side of Oma. My Grandma on the left with the tall hat loved my other Grandma’s wavy white hair. 

It is lovely that my Grandpa braided my Grandma’s hair when she needed help. But if Grandma had been able to make her own choices about her personal appearance she wouldn’t have had hair long enough to braid in the first place.  Photos can often have a deeper meaning than what we might think at first glance.  

Other posts…….

Dad’s Treasures- Part 1- The Cowbell

Dad’s Treasures- Part 2- The Medical Bag

Dad’s Treasures- Part 3- The Hymn Book

Dad’s Treasures- Part 4- The Fern

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A Visit from Makhno

On a recent visit to the Mennonite Heritage Village Museum in Steinbach, this display depicting a raid by bandits on a Mennonite home in Ukraine in the 1920s reminded me of some stories in a family history compiled by my husband’s cousin John Braun. He talks about two times when a bandit named Makhno and his men visited the home of my husband’s grandparents Abram and Margaretha Driedger in Schoenfeld.

This is the blended Driedger/Cornies family. Abram is third from the left in the back row and his stepfather Johann is in the middle with Abram’s mother Katherina Warkentin Driedger Cornies. 

On one occasion Abram was about to be executed by Makhno’s men but one of them had worked as a farm laborer for Abram’s stepfather Johann Cornies and told the others not to shoot Abram because Johann had treated him fairly and kindly.

Abram to the right and his brother in Moscow during World War I where they served as medics a few years before the bandit raids took place

Another time the bandits came into the house and one of them demanded that Abram take off his shoes and give them to him. Abram was angry about giving up his good shoes but since he was at gunpoint he took them off and threw them on the ground in front of the man. Margaretha, my husband’s grandmother could see the bandit’s temper rising so she quickly hurried over, picked up the shoes and handed them contritely to him. After that, the bandits left.

Margaretha and Abram and their children Agatha and Cornelius just before leaving Ukraine for Canada. 

It wouldn’t be long before the constant threat of bandit raids would force Abram and Margaretha to flee Schoenfeld for a safer home in Tiege, then to take refuge with Margaretha’s parents in Petershagen and eventually to emigrate to Canada. 

Other posts……….

Family Picture

My Father-in-Law’s Birthplace

Sand and Salvation


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Siblings -More Important As You Grow Older

dad and louise fort whyte

A couple of Sundays ago Dave and I took my Dad and my aunt out to Fort Whyte for lunch after church.  While we waited for our food the two of them stood at the railing looking out over the lake and visited with each other.  I thought how great it was that Dad has a sibling nearby with whom he can have a close relationship, someone with whom he can share a conversation about shared family times from the past.  Dad had five sisters.  His oldest sister has died and another two don’t live in Winnipeg, but he has two younger sisters in the city he can visit with regularly. They frequently bring him home cooking and they go on outings together. I was chatting with a friend recently who told me how much she appreciates the time spent with her sister now that they are both older and not as busy with professional and family obligations.  I knew exactly what she meant. I too am enjoying times like that with my three siblings.  I looked at my calendar recently and realized I usually spend time with one of my siblings every week.  What a gift! A gift I hope we can continue to share till we are my Dad’s and aunts’ ages.

Other posts………


I Love My Siblings


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My Annual Moose Lake Fix

Once a year at least I like to go out to Moose Lake, to the cottage my grandparents bought in the early 1960s. After spending many wonderful years at the cottage with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins my parents took ownership and worked hard to maintain the cottage for several decades. It was an important place in the lives of my sons. My sister and I spent time there every summer with our four boys and often a gang of their friends. Now my brother and his wife have poured love and time and resources into keeping it a beautiful place that remains a touchstone in my life. We visited last weekend. Not a single year has passed since I first went there at age seven that I have not been to the cottage. I have lived in twenty-one different homes but Moose Lake has been a constant place in my life.It was there I learned to recognize the call of the loon and the slap of a beaver’s tail. It’s where I saw deer and bear up close and sometimes a little too personal and watched an eagle teaching its young to fly. It was there I felt the sun set my browned body aglow as I skimmed the lake on skis. It’s where I had to pull slimy eels off my skin. It’s a place where I learned to appreciate the smoky smell of a wood fire stove on a cold morning and the odor of the kerosene lamp that lit up the table where my uncle taught me and my cousins to play gin rummy. It’s the place I learned what a smore was and where I ate my cereal on the dock as the sun rose.
It’s a place where I can always breathe and relax and just be. I am so grateful to my brother and sister-in-law who have kept this special place in our family and provide me with my annual Moose Lake fix.purple flowers
Other posts………

Where I’m From – Moose Lake

Lord You Have Come to the Lakeshore

Early Morning Walk At Moose Lake

Wildflowers- Moose Lake

Moose Lake


Filed under Family, Nature