Category Archives: Holidays

Why Is It Called Remembrance Day?

A child’s burned tricycle I photographed at the Peace Museum in Hiroshima

Adult: Tomorrow is Remembrance Day.

Child: Why is it called Remembrance Day?  What should we remember?

Adult: We should remember that many people have died in wars, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, World War I and World War II, the Boer War, the Crusades, the battle that Joshua fought at Jericho.  We should remember that whenever there is war soldiers die, grandparents die, parents die, and most sadly of all children die. 

Child: You mean children like me? 

Adult: I mean children like you. 

Child: I’m glad those wars are over and children aren’t dying anymore.

Adult: But they are.  Right now in many places in our world there is war and violence and children are dying. 

Child: That’s very sad, but I guess there is nothing I can do about that.

Croatian child at his father’s funeral during the war in 1991. Photo by Ron Haviv. I photographed it at a museum in Dubrovnik last month. 

Adult: Oh but there is. 

Child: There is?

Adult:  Yes, on Remembrance Day the most important thing for each person to think about is what they can do to bring peace to the world. 

Child:  I’m just a kid. There’s nothing I can do to bring peace to the world. 

Adult: You’re wrong about that.  Have you ever thrown a little stone into a pond, or a puddle or a lake?

Child: Sure. Lots of times.

Adult: And what happens?

Child:  The stone makes a splash and then these little ripples spread out around it and keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger. 

Adult: That’s just how peace works. Our world would be a much safer and happier place if everyone would try their very hardest to get along peacefully with the people they work with and play with and live with. 

Child: You don’t mean people like my sister? She’s not always so easy to get along with. 

Adult: That’s exactly what I mean! Peace in the world starts by trying to bring peace to families and schools and playgrounds and neighbourhoods.

Sisters playing with a skipping rope on their floating boat home. I photographed them in Halong Bay Vietnam

Child: You mean trying not to fight with other kids at school or home is going to make a difference?

Adult: You bet it is! Countries are made up of families and communities. Peaceful homes and communities make for peaceful countries and peaceful countries make up a peaceful world. 

Child: So what you are saying is that I can be that little stone that starts all kinds of peace ripples out into the world? 

Adult: Absolutely!

Child:  Hey that’s pretty awesome! I can be a peacemaker. 

Adult:  Not just you. Everyone can be a peacemaker; children, teachers, parents, neighbours, communities, cultures and countries. 

Child:  I guess it’s not that easy a thing is it, for everyone to live in peace with each other?

Adult: It’s a very hard thing. People have been working at it since time began. 

Child: Is it possible?

Adult: We have to believe that it is. 

Friends I photographed at an elementary school in Bali 

Child: So it is up to me to try to get along peacefully with my friends, my parents, my brothers and sisters, my teachers and the people in my neighbourhood. 

Adult: That’s right!

Child: I’ll sure try. 

Adult: That’s all anyone can do. 

Child: So that’s what Remembrance Day is all about. It is remembering that war is a terrible thing that causes sadness and pain. It is remembering that I can do my part to bring peace to the world. 

Adult: You’ve got it exactly right! Now you know what to remember on Remembrance Day.

Soldiers graves I photographed at the Sai Wan War Cemetery in Hong Kong including those of many Canadians 

Other posts…….

Remembrance Day Images

Utah Massacre Remembered

War is Hell For Children



Filed under Holidays

15 Reasons I Am Thankful to Live in Canada

I am thankful to live in a country where………….

women get the vote quebed

Posing with statues of  female suffragettes in Quebec City

I can vote to elect my leaders

I don’t have to worry about health care costs

pride parade (1)

Marching in the Pride Parade in Steinbach. Photo credit- Grant Burr

People are free to marry the person they love

There hasn’t been a war in my lifetime

Diversity is celebrated

Window at my church

 I have the freedom to worship as I please

Women have the right to make the choice about what happens to their bodies

Capital punishment has been abolished


Waterfall in Cox’s Cove Newfoundland

There is a wealth of natural resources 

There is a good education system

prairie grasses red river bank

Prairie grasses in the park at the end of my street

There is gorgeous scenery 

We have world-renowned writers, musicians, artists and actors

We have sensible gun laws

We give parents leave to stay home with their newborns

We allow people to die with dignity

Sitting in the speaker’s chair in the House of Commons Canada

On Thanksgiving Day I am thankful to live in Canada. 

Other posts………

Thanksgiving and the Kitchen Table

Pumpkins For Sale

Giving Thanks

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Filed under Canada, Holidays

Christian Easter Images Enriched

I photographed this painting Nuestro Senor el Desollado (Our Lord, The One Who is Flayed), 2004  by Paul Pletka at the Phoenix Art Gallery .  It depicts the staging of the crucifixion of Jesus traditionally done in Mexico during Lent. Interestingly in this painting the artist has mixed Catholic images with  images from ancient Mayan and Aztec religions, the religious traditions of Central America prior to the Spanish occupation.

Pletka’s painting reminds me of Parfleches for the Last Supper an artwork in the collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery where indigenous artist Robert Houle uses images from his Anishinaabe spiritual heritage to represent each of the disciples who shared Jesus’ last meal before his death with him.  

Our understanding of the stories from our own faith heritage can be enriched when we open them to interpretation by those whose faith ancestry is different, and in the case of the heritage of these two artists,much older than our own.  

Other posts……..

Another Creation Story

Another Last Supper

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Filed under Art, Holidays

And The Crucifixion Has Continued

Faces of children who died in the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Photographed at the Chernobyl Museum in Kiev Ukraine. 

Visitors walk in front of a list of more than 5000 names of children who died because of shoddy construction of school houses during the Sichuan earthquake in 2008.  The list was created by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and was photographed at the Art Gallery of bottles boil water Don't Breathe Don't DrinkBaby bottles and water glasses filled with contaminated water and bacteria from 96 northern Canadian reserves with boil water advisories. Art piece Don’t Breathe, Don’t Drink by Ruth Cuthand. Photographed at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Tricycle ridden by a child in his front yard when the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.  Photographed at the Peace Museum in Hiroshima.Image of the cemetery at the Carlilse Residential School in Pennsylvania which operated from 1879 through 1918. Photographed at the Heard Museum in Phoenix Arizona.Memorial stones outside the former home of the Zuntz family.  Children Esther, Harry and Miriam died in the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1942. Photographed in Frankfurt Germany. 

Child victim of the Pol Phot regime beginning in 1975  during which 2 million people were killed in Cambodia. Photographed at the Killing Fields Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Coffins of victims of the police massacre of apartheid protestors in Sharpville South Africa in 1960. Thirty of the nearly 400 killed and injured victims were children.  Photographed at the Nelson Mandela exhibit at the Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg. 

Other posts……….

Standing Up For Children

Thoughts About Children


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Filed under Childhood, Holidays

Happy Belated International Women’s Day Again

In 2018 I forgot to post about International Women’s Day on March 8,  and so I did a post that proved very popular on March 9 instead where I looked at some of the women I had featured on my blog in the past year.  I forgot again yesterday and once again I’m following up a day late with descriptions and links to a dozen posts I’ve done about amazing women in this last year on my blog.  


I was truly fascinated to learn about Helena Penner Hiebert who was the first Mennonite woman to graduate from a university in Canada and the first Mennonite woman to teach at a university in Canada! Some say she was the first Mennonite baby born in Canada. 

Christine_Elliott public domain

Christine Elliot has nearly a decade of experience as a member of the Ontario Legislature, served as the auditor for one of Canada’s largest banks and has an international award for being an outstanding citizen because of her pro bono legal work.

In a post called Women in Politics I reflect on why two very capable and competent and experienced women were passed over for the leadership of the Ontario Conservative party in favour of a much less capable, competent and experienced man. Ontario isn’t the only place where this happens. 

anna arnold hedgemanIn a post called The Matilda Effect I wrote about a woman named Anna Arnold Hedgeman who was a key person in the successful organization of Martin Luther King’s march on Washington in 1963 even though only the efforts of the male organizers were publicly recognized. My post looked at other women whose inventions, discoveries and creative work was falsely attributed to men.

marion t

Marion Tuuluq in a jacket she designed

Creating Beauty was the name of a post I published about Inuit artist Marion Tuuluq who fashioned true works of art with needle and thread.  

simeon and Anna Dutch artist Jan Van't HoffIn my post I Want To Be  Like Anna I looked at a hundred year old woman from the New Testament who is a role model for how I want to live the last season of my life. 

ruth bader ginsberg public domainA post I titled The Audience Applauded For Her  talks about five interesting things I learned about American Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg after watching the documentary film RGB. 

she persistedI introduced a new children’s picture book by Chelsea Clinton in my post She Persisted. Clinton’s book profiles women around the world who have broken gender barriers to excel. 


Marie Laurencin in 1912

Marie Laurencin is a relatively unknown French artist who created intriguing works of art. She also  illustrated Alice in Wonderland and painted portraits of some well-known people. I explored her life in a post called Who Is She? 


 Priscilla by Houston artist Sarah Beth Baca 

In my post Meet Priscilla I look at the life and legacy of an accomplished New Testament woman.

door to jacob hamblin home

In the doorway of the Jacob Hamblin House in St. George Utah.

In a post called It’s The Women Who Impress Me I make the point that the Jacob Hamblin  home in Utah named after a famous Mormon pioneer should really be named after his wives since they kept his home and farm running. 

the daughters of Zelophehad by Glenda Thomas

The Daughters of Zelophehad by Glenda Thomas

Five Sisters is a post that tells a story from the Old Testament about five sisters who manage to change a law to make things fairer for women. 

It’s Harder to Hate Up Close is what I titled my review of former first lady Michelle Obama’s book Becoming.  This accomplished woman has some important things to teach us. 

Last year’s Belated International Women’s Day Post

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Filed under History, Holidays

Chreaster Really is a Word

One year when we were living in Hong Kong we didn’t come home to Canada at Christmas time but decided to fly back at Easter instead because our son was going to have a leading role in a Winnipeg production of Jesus Christ Super Star and we really wanted to see him perform.  Since we hadn’t been here for Christmas we got together with our family for what I dubbed a Chreaster celebration.  We marked Christmas and Easter at the same time.  I gave the children and their partners both a stocking and an Easter basket filled with gifts.  I even wrote a newspaper column about our Chreaster celebrations. 


Poinsettia and Lily photo by Sandy Keeton from the blog of the Saint John XXIII Catholic Parish in Perrysburg, Ohio.

I thought I had invented the word Chreaster but to my surprise I saw it in the headline of an article in The Washington Post this past week.  The columnist E. J. Dionne Jr. refers to Chreasters as people who only attend church on Christmas and Easter.  

Dionne says probably the Chreasters show up at church on holidays because they enjoy listening to familiar Christmas music and perhaps want to rekindle memories of their childhood.

He’d prefer to think they are people who have given up on the institutionalized church but still want to believe there is a transcendent being who creates beauty.  They still hope for a world where love and justice are the norm.  

I think a belief in a creative spirit and a hope for a better world is what motivates most good people in their daily life whether they never attend church, attend every Sunday or are Chreasters. 

Other posts…….

Indoctrination or Teaching? 

I Want To Be Like Anna

Violence in Christian Families

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Filed under Holidays, Religion

Finding The Magi Around The World

Magi I photographed on the streets of Frankfurt Germany. magi denny bond0001
The Magi by Denny Bond. This illustration was for a curriculum I wrote for Faith and Life Press. I love it that there are more than three magi, they are of different races and some are women.

Magi photographed on a front yard in Gold Canyon Arizona.

The Magi photographed on a tour in Nuremburg Germany. three wise men by linda syddick offering billy tea as gifts to mary and joseph pintupi people

The Three Wise Men artwork by Linda Syddick. The magi are offering billy tea as gifts to Mary and Joseph. I photographed this while visiting a museum in Sydney Australia. 

Magi photographed on the mantlepiece at my friend Debbie’s home.

Magi made of straw.  Photographed in Prague. the magi sagrada familiaThe Magi photographed on the outside of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

Program cover colored and illustrated by a student at Elmdale School in 1994( check out the Magi and star at the top of the program) . The program was for a Christmas drama written by my husband Dave. It told the story of two Magi named Henry and Gertrude who never got to Bethlehem. Music for the drama was directed by Craig Cassils and every child in the school had made a puppet to use in the production. 

Magi I photographed in the airport in Frankfurt Germany  Illustrations from the beautiful book I found to give my grandson for advent called Rocks Tell the Story of Christmas by Patti RokusYesterday on a snowy grey afternoon I stopped to take a photo of the Magi atop the Great West Life Building on Osborne Street in Winnipeg.  Apparently they have been adorning the building every holiday season since 1973. 

Other posts………..

The Magi Once Got Me Into Trouble


Filed under Art, Holidays