Category Archives: Mother’s Day

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………


What Does Your Mother Do?

A Hat for Mothers Day

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Sunday Morning Surprise and Thinking About Zoos

Thank you, florists!  On Sunday morning I was reading an article in the Winnipeg Free Press called Business is Blooming about how florists in the city had been flooded with an unprecedented number of requests for delivery of Mothers Day flowers on the weekend.  They were putting in long hours to make sure all the orders were filled.  A few even said they were going to be delivering on Sunday.  

Just then I got a text on my phone.  A flower delivery would be arriving at my door in a couple of minutes.  My children and grandchildren in Saskatoon had sent me a beautiful arrangement filled with lilies, tulips, roses, daisies, and lots of other gorgeous flowers.  I loved it! The Free Press article said although Mother’s Day is always busy for florists this year they were setting records.  One woman who had been in the business since 1972 said she had never seen anything like it. Since children could not invite their mothers to their homes for meals, or take their Moms out to restaurants, or drop in at their mother’s home with gifts they were sending flowers instead.  I know people might not consider florists essential workers but their extra efforts to connect mothers and their children yesterday were appreciated. 

Elephant I photographed at the Barcelona Zoo

On Friday Dave and I went to Assiniboine Park and decided to walk all the way around the outer perimeter of the zoo to try and see some of the animals.  It was pretty chilly so most of the zoo inhabitants were inside but we did catch a glimpse of a group of bison, a couple of antelope, and some llamas.  We saw a worker cleaning out a cage and Dave, who loves zoos, wondered when it would be possible to visit the zoo again. I wondered aloud how zoos around the world were managing financially during COVID-19. 

Lion I photographed in the Phoenix Zoo

Yesterday a segment on CBS’ Sunday morning talked about just that. There is a possibility some American zoos may have to close permanently. Even though no one is paying to see the animals they still need to be cared for and fed. This means zoos are “hemorrhaging money” as the CBS segment puts it and without government help, many may have to shutter their gates for good.

Our grandson checks out the polar bears swimming at the Assiniboine Park Zoo

A CTV story says the situation is very similar here in Canada. Zoos have laid off 60% or more of their staff but they must keep some essential workers to feed and care for the animals. At the Calgary Zoo, it costs $500,000 a month to buy food and provide veterinary care for all the animals.  Without the cash from visitor entry fees and purchases at zoo gift shops and food concessions, zoos across Canada are looking to private donors to keep them afloat.  Some say they will be bankrupt in just a couple of months. 

Giraffe I photographed in the  Taronga Zoo in Sydney Australia

I know zoos do a lot to educate us about animals and this, in turn, can inspire us to protect them and their habitats.  Some zoos take in animals that have been mistreated or abandoned and give them a safe home. Zoos do important research into animal behavior.  They support international breeding programs for endangered species and protect endangered animals from poachers. Many people, including my husband, think zoos are great, but……….

Hippo photographed at the Merida Zoo in Mexico

I have always been a little troubled by the fact that we cage wild creatures for our viewing pleasure.  Can that be good for their physical and mental health?  Zoos often separate animals from their families.  Scientists tell us orca whale mothers and their children suffer real and deeply felt grief after one of them has been captured for a marine exhibit.  I know many things are being done to make zoos places where animals can have more space and freedom and live in a more natural habitat but I still wonder if they are such a good thing.

The current crisis is making us rethink the way we do many things. The way we interact with the animal world will certainly be one of them. 

Other posts………..

We Saw the Polar Bears

Art in Bloom

The Life of Pi Argument

The Language of Flowers

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mom dad meI still think about my mother every day, but the vacuum she left in my life when she died is slowly being filled by an overwhelming sense of gratitude for how blessed I was to have her for my mother. I was also blessed to have her as a role model for the ‘mothering’ responsibilities that each one of us is entrusted with in various areas of our lives as nurturers and supporters and care givers and cheerleaders and sources of affirmation. My mother set the bar awfully high in that regard but she remains an ongoing inspiration. 

Other posts……

God of Eve and God of Mary

What Does Your Mother Do? 

Missing Mom

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Missing my Mom

This is my second Mother’s Day without my Mom and there is still rarely a day when I don’t think about her and miss her. Yesterday I attended a Pembina Trails Voices concert. Some words from the song Wanting Memories by Ysaye Barnwell resonated with me. 

mom holding newborn 1953I thought that you were gone, but now I know you’re with me.
You are the voice that whispers all I need to hear

me and mom 1954I know that I am blessed,
again, and again, and again, and again,
and, again.

The words of the song reminded me that my mother’s love continues to bless me and her voice of affirmation and faith still whispers to me when I need it most. 

Other posts……..

What Does Your Mother Do?

Mothers at the Met

Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore

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Mother’s Day Kitsch

It’s the day after Mother’s Day and mothers are trying to find places to put the sweet little gifts they’ve received. Their hearts were touched by the sentiment the presents conveyed but what to do with all those cute knick knacks they get year after year? I was working at the Mennonite Central Committee Thrift Store on Selkirk Avenue in Winnipeg last week and Mother’s Day kitsch was flying off our shelves. I took some photos before it was all gone.

If Mother's Were Flowers I'd Pick You

If Mothers were flowers I’d pick you

Mother's Day Teddy Bears

Mother’s Day Teddy Bears

A Mother's Love Makes All Things Bright and Beautiful

A mother’s love makes all things bright and beautiful

Plaque for Mother's Day

Plaque for Mother’s Day

You who bears the sweetest name

To one who bears the sweetest name

Mother's Day poem and Canada souvenir all in one ornament

A Mother’s Day poem and Canada souvenir 

What to do with your Mother’s Day kitsch? Bring some of your collection to the Thrift Store and we’ll sell it next year. Profits from our sales help to provide food, clothing, medical care and other services to needy people around the world. You’ll be helping others and have room left on your shelves for the new Mother’s Day kitsch that will be coming your way in just 364 days.

Other posts about the Thrift Shop……

I’m a Shop Girl and I Love It

Other posts about Mothers……

What Does Your Mother Do?

Thinking About Mothers At the Met

Big Mother

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Missing Mom

This is my first Mother’s Day without my mother. I miss Mom every day. I am so thankful for having a mother like her who was my number one cheerleader and supporter. I could always count on her unconditional love for me.  Good things were always better when you shared them with Mom. Bad things were never quite as bad once you’d talked to her about them.

This week I received a letter from one of my aunts. She acknowledged that Mother’s Day might be hard for me, but reminded me that in loving and supporting my own children and grandchild, I pay tribute to my mother and keep alive the love and care she gave to me and my siblings.


Other posts about my Mom…….

Dorothy Marie Peters 

Let Me Call You Sweetheart

My Mom

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Mothers at the Met

Mrs. Mayer and Daughter by Ammi Phillips 1835

Mrs. Mayer and Daughter by Ammi Phillips 1835

When we visited The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York I was overwhelmed! I knew I couldn’t possibly see or study everything in the short time we’d be there. I needed a theme! It didn’t take long before I realized I was being drawn to all the intriguing representations of motherhood. I decided to take photos of any piece of art that depicted motherhood in some way. Here is a selection of my favourites. 

Mothers nourish their children.

Mother and Child- Bamama People- Mali- 15th Century

Mother and Child- Bamama People- Mali- 15th Century

Mothers teach their children

Jungle Tales by James Jebusa Shannon 1895

Jungle Tales by James Jebusa Shannon 1895

 Mothers are role models for their children. 

The Way They Live by Thomas Aushutz 1879

The Way They Live by Thomas Anschutz 1879

 Mothers carry their children till they can walk on their own. 

Mrs. Brindley Sheridan and Her Son- by John Hoppner 1797

Mrs Brindley Sheridan and Her Son- by John Hoppner 1797

Mothers create a home for their children.

Just Moved by Henry Mosler 1870

Just Moved by Henry Mosler 1870

Mothers make their children feel beautiful.

La Coiffure by Picasso 1916

La Coiffure by Picasso 1916

Mothers risk their lives for their children.

On To Liberty by Theodor Kaufmann- 1867

On To Liberty by Theodor Kaufmann- 1867

Mothers care tenderly for their children.

Mother and Child by Mary Cassatt 1899

Mother and Child by Mary Cassatt 1899

Mothers share their delight in their children with their partner.

Conversation Piece by Lilly Martin Spencer 1851

Conversation Piece by Lilly Martin Spencer 1851

Mothers encourage their children.

Madonna and Child by Filippino Lippi 1483

Madonna and Child by Filippino Lippi 1483

Mothers are their children’s protectors.

Latona and Her Children Diana and Apollo by William Rinehart 1870

Latona and Her Children Diana and Apollo by William Rinehart 1870

Mothers work to provide for their children. 

The Lacemaker by Nicolaes Maes 1655

The Lacemaker by Nicolaes Maes 1655

Mothers establish meaningful rituals in their children’s lives.

Story of Golden Locks by Seymour Joseph Guy 1870

Story of Golden Locks by Seymour Joseph Guy 1870

Mothers can do many things at once for their children.

Two Hands by Claudette Schreuders 2010

Two Hands by Claudette Schreuders 2010

Mothers comfort their children.

A Young Mother by Bessie Potter Vonnoh 1896

A Young Mother by Bessie Potter Vonnoh 1896

Mothers have enough love for all their children. 

Chloe Burrall Smith and Her Five Children by Ralph Earl 1798

Chloe Burrall Smith and Her Five Children by Ralph Earl 1798 

If you enjoyed this post you might also like………..

What Does Your Mother Do?

What Artwork Reminds You of Home?

Big Mother- An Unusual Sculpture

Bride of New France- The King’s Daughters


Filed under Art, Childhood, Culture, Family, History, Mother's Day, New York, Parenting

Bride of New France- The King’s Daughters

Did you know that both Hilary Clinton and Angelina Jolie are descendants of young women sent to New France (now the Canadian province of Quebec)  in the 1600’s by King Louis XIV? Both the American Secretary of State and the Hollywood actress have mothers with French Canadian family roots. 

I just finished reading the book Bride of New France by Suzanne Desrochers. It tells the story of The King’s Daughters or ‘fille du roi’, young women sent from Paris to New France at the request of governor or intendant Jean Talon. Talon wanted to turn a struggling colony of fur traders and ex-military men into an agricultural settlement. The fact that the colony contained only 45 females for every 1000 males posed a major obstacle to Talon’s plans. He asked Louis XIV to provide financial incentives to encourage young Paris women to come to New France, marry and settle down and raise families. Nearly 1000 young women many of them orphaned or homeless came to Canada between 1663 and 1673. 

Arrival of the Brides by Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale

Desrochers’ book gives us an authentic, gritty portrait of these women quite different than the elegant paintings done by many artists. The ocean voyage was brutal. A good number of the brides died from fevers and malnutrition, the others arrived in New France dirty, sick and disillusioned. Even the bonuses offered by the king for getting married and having at least ten babies was not enough to make some women follow through and stay in the colony once they got a taste of the mosquitoes, harsh winter weather and the  threat of attack by the Iroquois. 

In Desrochers’ book. We meet Laure, an accomplished seamstress and inmate at a Paris institution for homeless and abandoned women who dreams of setting up her own business someday. Instead she angers her superior and is sent to New France as a punishment. Laure is spirited, independent and self sufficient. She marries a ‘lily-livered’ fur trader and then somewhat unrealistically I think, has a relationship with an Iroquois man. The romance is not portrayed in any kind of fairy-tale way however. 

Filles du Roi – 1665 by Ralph Bennett

This book arose out of research for the author’s masters thesis and she includes plenty of historical details and background material.  You learn a lot about the settlement in New France and the fille de roi but in a way that is interesting and rarely detracts from the plot. 

After reading Bride of New France I realized these women played a key role in the founding of my country. 737 of the fille de roi stayed in Canada, married and raised large families who established a strong, vibrant agricultural and commercial settlement. 

On Mother’s Day it is particularly fitting I think to pay tribute to these adventurous, brave women who came to Canada to raise families and in turn helped build our nation. 

If you enjoyed this entry you might like these posts that look at relationships between First Nations people and European immigrants……

Caleb’s Crossing 


You might also like these posts about strong and independent women……

A Titanic Story- Annie Funk

Mennonite Maids

Agnes McDonald’s Railroad Adventure

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Filed under Books, Canada, Family, History, Mother's Day

What Does Your Mother Do?

What Does Your Mother Do?  I wrote this article for The Daughters of Sarah, a Christian feminist magazine in 1988. The editors asked seven-year old Bridget Bernardi of Bloomington, Illinois to illustrate the piece. I think the article reflects the multi-faceted ever-evolving view we have of mothers. 

what does mother do- child's printingThe week before Mother’s Day, in my second-grade classroom, I had asked the children to write a story about something important their mothers did. “Try to think”, I said, “of one of the most important things your mother does.”

The stories seemed easy to write, and within ten minutes or so my desktop was covered with literary efforts. That evening after supper I began to read the stories. mother vacuuming by bridget bernardi age 7

“My mother cooks….. My mother makes the beds….. My mother vacuums…… My mother washes dishes….. My mother does the laundry….. My mom makes my lunch……My mom looks after our baby….. My mother cleans up.”child's drawing of mother sewing by bridget bernardiThe next morning I sat down with the children on the rug at the front of our classroom. “I realize,” I said to my students,” that all these things you have written about are things you see your mother do all the time. You like it very much that she does these things for your family. But I want you to write your stories again and this time I want you to think of something your mother does that has nothing to do with housework. Think of something really special your mother can do that maybe no one else’s  mom can do.”child's drawing on woman painting by bridget bernardi

The children returned to their seats. My new assignment didn’t seem as easy as the first. Pencils gripped tightly in sweaty little hands moved almost painstakingly across the page. Tongues were sticking out and perspiration glistened on some brows. By the end of the day however, I was able to leave for home with twenty-five new stories in my backpack. turning summersaults child's drawing by bridget bernardiI had an enjoyable evening reading their new efforts.  “My mom can turn somersaults… My mom can play the piano…. My mother grows beautiful plants…..My mother is a teacher…….. My mother works in a nursing home……..My mom sews dresses for brides…..My mother can draw just excellent!”child's drawing of playing piano by bridget bernardiTwo stories really stuck in my mind. Two girls wrote about the work their mothers did on the family farm. Their combined efforts went something like this. 

“My mother works on our farm. She feeds the animals and looks after them. When one of the cows has babies, she helps. My mom mows all the grass on our big farmyard. She helped my dad pour the concrete for the floor of our new barn. She drives the truck when we combine. She gathers eggs and milks the cows. Sometimes she even manures out the barn. Mother does lots of important work on our farm. “

the work my mother does

That year my students and I prepared lunch on the Friday before Mother’s Day and invited our moms to school to share it with us. After the meal, we put on a little program. One of the girls read her story about “My Mother the Farmer.” I watched tears trickle down her mother’s cheeks as her daughter described the work her mom did on the farm. The mom told me later she had been touched to realize that her daughter had actually  noticed the many jobs she did on the farm. 

The next year I happened to teach the younger sister of one of the girls who had written about the contribution her mother made to the family farm. At the beginning of the year, I sent home the standard form to be filled out asking for birth dates, parents’ occupations, and other necessary information.   The previous year the mother had written ‘housewife’ in the blank beside ‘mother’s occupation.’ This year when the form was returned it said in the same blank in capital letters, FARMER. 

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La Promise

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Filed under Childhood, Education, Family, Holidays, Mother's Day, Reflections