Category Archives: Family

Stitched with Love

dorothy's quiltI brought this framed baby blanket along this weekend when I went to Saskatoon to meet my new granddaughter.  The blanket belongs to her now. jantz family 1894The blanket was made by Marie Gerbrandt Jantz my great-grandmother shown here around 1894 in Hillsboro Kansas with her husband Peter and their eight children. My granddaughter’s middle name is Marie so she shares a name with her great, great, great-grandmother. jantz family 2 (1)Marie and her family immigrated to Drake Saskatchewan in 1906 when this photo was taken.  My grandmother Annie is standing closest to her mother.  It wasn’t many years later that Marie’s husband Peter died. schmidt wedding 1My grandmother Annie married Peter Schmidt and in 1925 they had a daughter Dorothy Marie who was my mother. mom as babe0001The night my mother was born  her grandmother Marie came to stay at her daughter Annie’s home.  She brought along a beautiful blanket she had stitched for the new baby. My mother was given the second name Marie after her grandmother. grandma marie jantzMarie spent the rest of her life living with her daughter Annie. She died when my mother, her granddaughter was sixteen. Because she lived with my mother’s family for so many years Marie played an important role in my mother’s life. 

1952 weddingMy mother grew up, became a teacher and married Paul Peters. mom dad meI was born in 1953 and my grandmother Annie passed on the baby blanket her mother Marie had made for my mother Dorothy Marie so my mother could use it for 1973I grew up, became a teacher and married David Driedger. baby blanketIn 1979 when my son was born my mother had the blanket framed and gave it to me at a family baby shower.  I hung the framed blanket in our nursery. I have kept it all these years wondering what I should do with it, but when my son and his wife decided to give their daughter the second name Marie, I knew that the blanket should go to her because it was my granddaughter’s great, great, great grandmother Marie who had made the blanket for her own granddaughter Dorothy Marie. 

I probably won’t be around to know what happens to the blanket in subsequent generations.  My hope is that even if the blanket itself doesn’t get passed on the love and sense of shared history it represents will be a reality for many generations of our family to come. 

Other posts………..

A Writing Inheritance From Two Grandparents

They Left Us Everything

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Twin sisters who were my grade five students in Hong Kong and invited me to watch them play tennis one evening.Me with the same twin sisters when they graduated from high school seven years later. My grandmother Annie Jantz and her sister Marie in 1902

With my sister outside a restaurant in St. Boniface.

My father-in-law Cornelius Driedger and his two brothers Abe and John

Sisters in a Palestinian refugee settlement near Bethlehem. 

My mother and her siblings in the 1930s.

The children of our guide in Siem Reap Cambodia who took us to visit his home.

With my two brothers at a family event in 2000.  My grandmother Margaretha Peters is far left. She sits with her sisters and sisters-in-law at a family reunion. 

My husband Dave and his brother Paul on the golf course. Two sisters walking on a beach in Borneo. Brother and sister in Malaysia on the dock leading up to their house on the water. My father with his five sisters. 

A watercolor that was on exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery by Inuit artist Pitaloosie Salia. It shows Pitaloosie and her sister Aqsatunnguaq.  My grandfather and his brothers.  My grandfather is right in the middle. 

Twin sisters at a Wushu competition in Hong Kong eating lunch. 

Other posts of photo collections………

On a Boat



The Magi



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Puzzling With My Sister

My sister and I like doing jigsaw puzzles but neither of us had thought to bring one along to Merida, Mexico. It took a little searching but finally I found a good selection in an educational toy store in a large mall.  I bought one for our house in La Ceiba and one for my sister’s house in Merida. I decided to go with Mexican themes for both of them. The one at my house was a picture of Mexican food.  It was not an easy puzzle but over a period of a couple of weeks and in between visiting and eating and glasses of wine and lunches and phoning our Dad together and cups of coffee we got it done.  The puzzle at my sister’s house was very challenging!!  I admit I only put in a couple of pieces.  Luckily my sister had  friends visiting for a week and they are both excellent puzzlers so they helped Kaaren do the puzzle.  

I found a couple of websites that list all the benefits of adults doing jigsaw puzzles. It can improve your short term memory, develop problem solving and visual spacial skills and boost your intelligence quotient.  It can lift your mood,  help stave off dementia, lower stress levels, increase attention to detail and foster cooperation and collaboration.  And I would add  provide an opportunity to do something enjoyable, challenging and fun with your sister. 

Other posts about puzzling……….

I’m On My Own Now

Globe Trotting Vicariously

Puzzling with the T-4s

Puzzling a Family Christmas Tradition



Filed under Family, Mexico

Films That Mirror Life

The world of film offers a way to explore some important changes that are happening in families.  I’ve watched a variety of movies and television series lately that illustrate some of the new family dynamics developing in society.

The number of Canadian children living alone with their father has increased by 35% in the last decade. Statistics Canada says this reflects a growing acknowledgement of the important role of fathers in family life. 

eighth grade movieThe movie Eighth Grade available for rent on Amazon tells the story of a dedicated single Dad raising his teenage daughter who is beset with self- esteem issues, anxious about her appearance, her friendships and her online presence.  Although she finds her father bumbling and irritating at times he is the rock in her life always there to listen, tell her how great she is, and to provide protection and support.

Nearly 16% of Canadian couples will struggle with infertility in 2019. Only 5% had problems conceiving children in 1985. Many different factors contribute to this increased rate. While new ways of helping such couples are constantly being explored infertility is still very difficult.

private-life-poster-thumbThe movie Private Life on Netflix looks at a couple Richard and Rachel who desperately want to conceive a child. They’ve tried everything but won’t give up.  I found their story heartbreaking even thought it is told with a sense of wry humor.

There has been a significant increase in the number of same sex Canadian couples having children and raising families together. These families tend to live in urban areas. Their children may be biological or adopted or a combination of both. 

CIERRA RAMIREZ, TERI POLO, SHERRI SAUM, DAVID LAMBERT, NOAH CENTINEO, HAYDEN BYERLY, MAIA MITCHELLThe Fosters is a Netflix series that tells the story of Lena and Stefanie, a married lesbian couple living in San Diego. They are raising one biological and four adopted children together. Lena is the vice-principal at a charter high school and Stefanie is a police officer. Together they provide their children with a loving and stable home.

About 10% of Canadian children live in stepfamilies. About 30% of those children live in what is called complex stepfamilies, with both biological parents having some custody rights and stepbrothers and sisters playing a role in their lives.

The Netflix series Bonus Family examines just such a situation. Lisa and Patrick are a Swedish couple who have both left unhappy marriages to live together. Lisa has a son and daughter and Patrick has a son. They retain joint custody of their children with their former partners and Patrick and Lisa have a new baby together. It is a very complex situation and Patrick and Lisa seek help from a therapist team to try and sort it all out.

There are more Canadian children with disabilities and they are living longer. A Lethbridge University research report said this statistic raises concerns for parents who worry about who will care for their disabled children once they can no longer do so.

In the moving and inspiring Netflix documentary Far From The Tree we meet a whole series of families who are doing their best to find happiness even though their children face some major challenges in life.  One of the families profiled is that of Jason Kingsley a man with Down syndrome and his elderly mother Emily. Jason’s father has died, and Jason has no siblings. Emily expresses her anxiety about who will care for her son once she is gone.

Canadian families are changing and one way we can further understand those changes and think about them is to watch films and television series that explore a wide variety of family experiences.

This post was a newspaper column published in The Carillon recently. 

Other columns published on my blog…….

The Great Statue Debate

Women in Politics

On The Rock

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My Husband is Famous

Our family posing outside the Burton Cummings Theatre before the release of Royal Canoe’s album Something Got Lost Between Here and the Orbit in 2016. My husband Dave is front and center. 

When my husband’s favourite Winnipeg band Royal Canoe put out a call recently for people to appear in a new music video lip syncing lyrics to one of their latest tunes, Dave decided he would apply for the gig.  His bid for musical stardom was accepted and he was given an appointment to record his contribution to the video.  dave on royal canoe's 77-76The video was released last week and there is Dave featured in a tune called 77-76 from Royal Canoe’s upcoming new album Waver which will be officially released at the end of January.  According to an interview with band member Matt Peters on the Spill New Music site the song “is about seeing a storm approaching on the horizon. The ship is beginning to rock back and forth violently, but the captain is drunk. Your last captain was alright, but this new one is an idiot. You go up on the deck and see the sky darkening fast. In spite of that, all you can do is hope the crew can rally on their own and keep the ship above water. You always find a way.”

Check Dave out on the video here.  Why not give it a like and perhaps even a comment while you are at it? 

Other posts………

The Daily Bonnet Just Made Us Famous

Fun Evening in Toronto


Filed under Family, Music

Far From The Tree

What could make you stop loving a child?  

far from the tree movie posterAs I watched the movie Far From the Tree on Netflix I asked that question.  I marveled at the sets of parents it profiled who continued to love their children despite the fact they presented their families with fierce challenges and in many cases considerable heartbreak. Far From the Tree is a documentary that looks at parents with a child who is not like them, a child who defies that old saying about how much children often resemble their parents “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”  

In the film we meet Jack who is autistic, often violent and can’t speak, Jason who has Down Syndrome, Trevor who has committed murder, and Joe, Lena and Lioni who are dwarfs. far from the treeThe documentary is narrated by Andrew Solomon a gay man who wrote the book on which the movie Far From the Tree is based. In his book Andrew explores how some families, including his own, handle having a child who is very different than his or her parents, a child who presents the family with unique challenges.

Two things shone through for me as I watched Far From The Tree.  The first was that every parent in the film loved their child unconditionally. There was nothing their child could do to make them stop loving them.  And the second was how the families in the film managed to find happiness in situations where being happy might seem challenging. 

I highly recommend Far From The Tree.  Although not an easy movie to watch it is inspirational and a testament to the power of love. 

Other posts about movies that look at parenting……..


Right To Have Children? 

Why Do We Share Our Worst Selves With Those We Love the Most? 

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I learned about hygge at a wellness workshop I attended.  It is a Danish word that means ‘enjoying the good things in life with good people.’  The importance of hygge in Danish culture is perhaps the reason it is repeatedly listed as home to the happiest people in the world.  I just had a wonderful couple of days of hygge. Our children and grandchildren from Saskatoon were here for a visit and we were joined by our Winnipeg children.  The weather was sunny and warm and we spent a beautiful morning at the Forks making our way down part of the river walk, checking out some of the architecturally creative warming huts and trying out all the interesting things in the playground behind the Children’s Museum.  The next day we headed out to Fort Whyte where the younger two generations had such fun on the toboggan slide. Later we explored the tipi, the sod house and watched the bison. Our days together included a turkey dinner complete with my husband’s traditional bread pudding made with the help of our older grandson, a faspa with extended family, a lunch of home-made hearty soups courtesy of our daughter-in-law, a waffle breakfast, music making, some game playing, puzzling, drawing and coloring, visiting, story reading, stocking opening, sharing last year’s highlights and our expectations for the coming year, going out for coffee,and even a little napping and knitting.  It was certainly a time of hygge- “enjoying the good things in life with good people.” 

Other posts………..

600 Million Moments

The Breath of Life



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