Category Archives: Holidays

Father’s Day

On this Father’s Day, I am grateful to my Dad for many things including……

Giving me a safe and secure home to grow up in
Providing my family with so much produce from his garden
Paying for my university education
Footing the bill for our wedding and supporting us in many different practical ways in our married life
Being an active participant in family activities
Gifting our family with a trip to Disneyworld as well as other holidays
Doing endless work to maintain a family cottage we all could enjoy.
Showing love and support and interest, in his grandchildren as they were growing up
Warmly welcoming his grandchildren’s partners into the family
Being such a good role model in the way he maintained close and supportive relationships with his siblings
Supporting and caring for my mother as she had a thousand dialysis treatments and experienced many health challenges
Demonstrating the gold standard for what it means to be a dedicated and caring professional
Inspiring me by his example to see the world for myself

I will be the first to admit there have been ups and downs in my relationship with my Dad. He and I certainly did not always see eye to eye and he set a high standard for his children that I had to work incredibly hard to try to meet. He was honest to a fault and that wasn’t always easy to hear. Dad was spare in his praise and did not show emotion easily until later in his life.

But now as I provide support and care to Dad as he struggles with ever-advancing dementia I can put those things in perspective and see how some of them were probably even good for me. I can also look back with great appreciation and gratitude for the many gifts Dad gave me and the important lessons I learned from him.

Other posts……….

My Dad Hasn’t Lost His Green Thumb

Looking at the Newspaper with Dad

Dad’s Treasures- A Fern

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10 Victoria Connections for Victoria Day

Since today is Victoria Day I thought I would post about some connections I have with the name of the monarch Queen Victoria whose birthday is being honoured today.

Westminster Abbey London

I once went to a church service at Westminster Abbey in London. Queen Victoria’s coronation service was held there in 1838.

Last October when we visited British Columbia’s capital city of Victoria which is named for the Queen, my brother and his partner who make their home in Victoria took us for a walk along the ocean.

During the six years I lived in Hong Kong I took this tram up to the top of Victoria Peak countless times. You could walk all around the mountain named after the Queen and have marvellous views of the city of Hong Kong.

Keeping birthday books was made popular by Queen Victoria. I have my grandmother’s and my great aunt’s birthday books both more than a century old.

A wonderful young woman named Victoria was our walking tour guide in the city of Kyiv during our trip to Ukraine. Funny, smart, knowledgable and well-spoken I often think now about Victoria and hope she is okay.

We pull up to the Victoria Beach sign

In 2013 we visited Victoria Beach named for the Queen. Victoria Beach is 100 kilometres or so north of Winnipeg. We walked through the interesting community.

When we lived in Hong Kong we took many our guests down to Victoria Harbour to see the light show there at night. Here we are on the harbour named for the queen with my sister and brother-in-law.

This beautiful 1997 wall hanging by Victoria Mamnguqsualuk Kayuryuk is one I have talked about with many visitors to the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

Outside a wine store on Queen Street in Toronto while on a walking tour of the city. Queen Street was named after Queen Victoria.

My husband and daughter-in-law at the Regina Folk Fest

Our family once attended the Regina Folk Festival. Regina is Latin for ‘queen’ and the city was named after Queen Victoria when it was founded in 1903. The Folk Festival was staged guess where………in Regina’s Victoria Park.

Other posts……..

One Hundred Year Old Birthday Books

Seen Walking Down Queen Street in Toronto

Victoria Beach- A Checkered Past

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Mothers In Our Family

My maternal great-grandmother Maria Gerbrandt Jantz with her husband Peter and her eight children.

My maternal grandmother Annie Jantz Schmidt with her husband Peter and her four children.

My mother-in-law Anne Enns Driedger with her husband Cornelius and her five sons

My husband Dave’s paternal grandmother Margaretha Friesen Driedger with her husband Abram and her five children.

My paternal grandmother Margaretha Sawatsky Peters with her husband Diedrich and her six children.

My mother Dorothy Schmidt Peters with her husband Paul and her four children.

My husband Dave’s maternal grandmother Gertrude Unrau Enns with her husband Heinrich and six of her seven children.

My great-great paternal grandmother Agenetha Friesen Peters with her husband Daniel Paul and three of her children.

My husband Dave’s maternal great-grandmother Margaretha Thiessen Enns with her husband Peter, her five children and four daughters-in-law.

My husband Dave’s great-grandmother Katharina Warkentin Driedger with her husband Nicolai Driedger and her four children.  

Me with my husband Dave and our two sons.

Other posts………

Mothering

What Does Your Mother Do?

A Hat for Mothers Day

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Three Celebrations in One

All three Abrahamic religions are celebrating right now. This is the first time in thirty-three years that has happened.

Christ’s Appearance to Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection by the Russian painter Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov. -1835

Christians are celebrating Easter and remembering the story of the death and resurrection of Christ.

The Destroying Angel Passing Through Egypt- illustration for The Story of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation Told in Simple Language for the Young-by Charles Foster 1880

Jews are celebrating Passover and remembering the story of the exodus of their people from slavery in Egypt when the angel of death passed over the homes of the Hebrews.

Muhammad’s Call to Prophecy and the First Revelation: Folio from a manuscript of the Compendium of Histories- 1425- From the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Muslims are celebrating Ramadan and remembering the story of the angel Gabriel bringing revelations to Mohammad from God that would be collected in their holy book the Quran.

For the first time in more than three decades the celebrations of Easter, Passover and Ramadan overlap.

All three religions hold as sacred the story of Abraham making a covenant with God. All three believe in prayer as a means of communicating with God. All three have public houses of worship and use water in important rituals and ceremonies. All three extol the virtues of charity and kindness. All three are monotheistic religions that believe in one God and all three have holy books.

And yet despite all these commonalities Muslims, Jews and Christians have spent most of their historical careers in conflict or competition with each other.

Perhaps this year as we share a common time of celebration we will be led to look at all the things we have in common and come to accept one another with warmth and wisdom realizing that we have much to learn from each other that can enrich us all.

Other posts………..

Common Threads- Indigenous Spirituality

Faithless- Definitely Not

Common Threads- The Bahá’í

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The Last Supper or is it The First Supper ?

Every year during the Easter season I like to do an update on my Last Supper collection. I collect unique renditions of Leonardo Da Vinci’s classic work. I recently found this one called The First Supper.

It is painted by Susan Dorthea White an Australian artist in 1988. She wanted to challenge the patriarchal image of the original Last Supper so she painted thirteen women from different parts of the world. Susan has replaced Christ with an Australian Indigenous woman wearing a T-shirt with an Indigenous land rights flag. She has placed traditional Australian foods on the table and the rock you see through the window is called Uluru, a sacred site for Indigenous people in Australia that has been returned to them by the Australian government.

Other Last Suppers in my collection are………….

A Last Supper I photographed in the home of a woman who taught me a cooking class in Merida Mexico.
Our son poses with a Last Supper made from sand in Sedona Arizona.
During the past two Easters when the pandemic prevented people from getting together the Last Supper on Zoom became popular.
When I taught in Hong Kong Steffi Lee one of my students made this Last Supper for an assignment I gave about Renaissance Art
I snapped a photo of this one in a Ramen Noodle Shop in Kyoto Japan.
I photographed this one in the Palace of Diocletian in Split Croatia
I found this Last Supper at the Albert Gilles Copper Museum in Quebec City.
I photographed this unconventional Last Supper featuring classic Hollywood movie stars in a shop window in Phuket Thailand. It is the work of Italian artist Renato Casaro.
This Last Supper by Francisco Victor Newton de Souza an artist from Mumbai India shows the moment at The Last Supper when Jesus reveals one of his disciples has betrayed him.
I photographed this Last Supper in the Aboriginal Art section of the Museum of Sydney in Sydney Australia. Eleven disciples are facing Jesus but Judas the twelfth is turned away.

Other posts……..

What Did Jesus Look Like?

Ten Ways We Can Try To Be Like Jesus During the Pandemic

A Maori Jesus- Two Different Versions for Lent

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Mother Standing

Last Good Friday I wrote about how Mary Jesus’ mother must have felt seeing her son die. She was warned when he was born that her child wouldn’t be easy to love, that he would repeatedly do things that would pierce her heart like a sword. And he did.

Painting Stabat Mater by Tonya Butcher -2013

This contemporary image of Mary is by an artist named Tonya Butcher from Virginia.  It shows Mary standing at the feet of Jesus as he hangs on the cross. Tonya calls this piece Stabat Mater Latin words meaning mother standing. Stabat Mater is a 13th century Latin hymn describing Mary’s sorrow watching her son die on the cross.  The first stanza which inspired Tonya’s work is 

“At the cross her station keeping

Stood the mournful mother weeping

Close to her son to the last.”

Tonya says she is a mother herself and tried to put herself into Mary’s place, imagining what she would be thinking and feeling if what was happening to Jesus had been happening to one of her children. 

Sadly right now there are mothers all over the world who don’t have to imagine that because they are in Mary’s place- mothers of children with a terminal illness, mothers of children in countries where there is war and conflict, mothers of children who are hungry or homeless, and mothers of children who are struggling with addictions.

Those mothers are standing at their own children’s crosses and weeping.

Other posts…………

And Mary You’ve Seen Hard Times

Mary With Knives In Her Heart

God Rest the Children

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Ten Green Things

Yesterday was a busy day. I taught a university course online in the morning, visited a book club to talk about my novel in the afternoon, and attended my writers’ group in the evening. So late last night I needed to do something fun and easy when I wrote this blog post. Although I realize I am twenty-four hours late in honouring St. Patrick’s Day here are photos of me that involve green things.

Standing on the green grass under a green tree at our friends’ wedding in Minneapolis
Swimming in the green waters of a cenote in Mexico
Modelling a green hat my daughter-in-law knit for me
Relaxing behind the green hedge in front of our hut in Fiji
My son and I both sport green jackets on a visit to the Grand Canyon
Walking on a green hanging bridge in the tree canopy in Costa Rica
Doing the limbo on a golf green with my nephews in Leamington Ontario
With a green turtle on Punaluu Black Sand Beach on the Big Island Hawaii
Visiting an art exhibit called Greenhouse Evening by Ray Fenwick at the Plug In Gallery in Winnipeg
Dancing in a green shirt in Borneo

Other posts…………

Green Gold

My Dad Hasn’t Lost His Green Thumb

Spiritual Wisdom From Anne of Green Gables

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Out with the Birds on New Years Day

On New Year’s Day, it was a chilly -30 degrees in Winnipeg. Despite the Arctic temperatures Dave and I decided to bundle up and went for an hour-long trek in Kildonan Park.

I thought we might be alone on the trails but I was surprised how many other hardy hikers we encountered. It was hope-inducing to hear our cheery New Years’ greetings to one another ringing through the crisp cold air.

I thought it might be too cold for any birds to be out but I was wrong. We had just closed our car doors when a huge bald eagle soared right over our heads, flying so low we could clearly see its bright yellow beak.

We took detours when the incessant pounding of two different pileated woodpeckers caught our ears. We spotted both of their bright red heads but weren’t fast enough to get a photo before they flew off.

No such problem with a group of chickadees in some pines. Dave held out a peanut from his pocket and one of them hopped right over to have a snack.

We spotted some crows too, their inky silhouettes stark against the white of the snow-covered trees.

It was mighty cold in Winnipeg on New Years Day but not too cold for the Driedgers or the birds.

Other posts…………

Lessons From Birds

A Bird on the Hand

I Kissed An Owl

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Happy Holidays

Seasons greetings to all my blog followers. Thanks so much for reading my posts and a special thanks to so many of you who have made comments, asked questions and responded in various ways this past year. I wish you and yours a safe holiday. May you find a measure of happiness and peace in whatever way you are able to celebrate. I am going to be taking a break from my blog till the New Year. See you in 2022.

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Light A Multitude of Candles

Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.

Those are the opening lines in one of my favourite novels, Anne Tyler’s Back When We Were Grownups.

Rebecca, the main character is a widow with four grown children who starts wondering if she is really happy. She begins to think about what her life would have been like if she had made other choices both professionally and personally. What is her purpose now?

Like Rebecca, as our life circumstances change, we often stop to reflect on what our new purpose might be or how the choices we made in life have impacted where we’ve arrived.

There are two key pieces of advice I always take away from Back When We Were Grownups when I reread it.

1. Don’t waste your time with regrets constantly thinking about what might have been.

Rebecca puts it this way. “Your true life is the one you end up with, whatever it may be.”

2. Live as richly and as fully as you can in the here and now. Rebecca tells this story to make that point.

When I was eight my aunt gave me a beautiful tall white candle with white lace around it in a spiral. I thought it was so elegant I saved it in my drawer to use on some momentous occasion. One day four years later I came across it in my drawer and it was all yellow and warped and the lace had crumbled. I’d never seen it burning and now I never would. Since then I light my candles any chance I get. I light them by the dozens, all over, all year. Multitudes of candles!

This Christmas in particular, when we may be feeling regretful that we can’t celebrate the season in the way we’d hoped to, or with the people we’d hoped to, it might be good to remember Rebecca’s advice to light multitudes of candles while making the very best of what life has given us right now.

Other posts……..

Another Year For Dave

The Big Picture And Finding Your Own Happiness

Astounding

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