Category Archives: Reflections

What Are People Saying?

I just checked and it has been a whole year since I shared comments people have made about my blog posts.  I LOVE comments. So here are some I’ve received in the last year. 

women firefightersMy post called Include Me Please talked about the need to use inclusive language when we are referring to people and also to animals.  A blog reader named Katie wrote that when she worked as a naturalist intern at a National Park, her supervisor called all animals “she” unless they were known to be male. Then Katie adds……”In our church the pastors never refer to God as “he,” which I appreciate, though it does lead to contrived-sounding language sometimes. Also on Mother’s Day a church choral ensemble sang “The Lord is my Shepherd,” and throughout the entire song referred to the Lord as “she.” It was very moving.”

door to jacob hamblin home

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

My post It’s the Women Who Impress Me was about the wives of Mormon pioneer Jacob Hamblin. It received a comment from  a great great-grandson of Jacob Hamlin’s who shares his famous ancestor’s name.  He said that the more he learns about his great great-grandmother Rachel the more impressed he has become. She was a true inspiration.  

A blog reader named Robert commented on the post I did about seeing Galileo’s shopping list in Florence Italy.  Robert provided a link to a website that talks about other famous shopping lists.  

After seeing my post about Sacagawea the Shoshone women who was a guide for Lewis and Clark I received a message from the relatives of George Drouillard.  They say he was the official guide and interpreter for the Lewis and Clark expedition and they aren’t happy Sacagawea gets all the publicity. 

Photo by Joe Bryska/Winnipeg Free Press

My friend Hans responded when I wrote about the death of Roland Penner.  Hans said Mr. Penner had been instrumental in his own decision to become a lawyer after he heard Mr. Penner speak in 1967. Later it had been Hans’ privilege to be a fellow law instructor of Mr. Penner’s at the University of Manitoba. Hans recalled a time when Mr. Penner won a case by quoting a Bible verse, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

When I posted about fond memories of visiting my grandparents’ farm readers responded differently.  Some had similar positive and endearing experiences with their grandparents but others sadly had grandparents who were distant figures they actually feared. 

Lot treats us to a night out at the gala movie premiere of Bruce Lee My Brother

When I did a post about a friend Lot Sze from Hong Kong who had died, Peter another blog reader who knew Lot wrote about the wonderful host Lot had been to him and his wife when they visited Hong Kong. 

Illustration from blog post called Youth Perspectives on Racism by Tom Yoder

When I wrote about an American businessman I visited with in Portugal who is disgusted with Christians that voted for a racist like Donald Trump an American blog reader named Bill talked about the students in the college course he teaches who expressed similar sentiments in a class discussion. I was excited in February when  the Musée de la civilisation, in Quebec City asked to use a photograph of a grandfather rock from one of my posts in an online virtual exhibition. After I wrote the post Can Your Marriage Survive Lollygagging Perry one of my blog readers suggested it provided the perfect material for a children’s book and Gabe another reader introduced me to a new word coddiwomple which means…… to travel purposefully to a vague destination.

That’s just a very small sample of the many comments I received on my blog posts in this last year. Did I mention already that  I LOVE to get comments!

Other posts……….

What Are People Saying 2017

What Are People Saying 2016

What Are People Saying 2015

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2018 Retrospective

broken arm (2)“Your wrist is broken.” A slip on the ice sent me to the Pan Am Clinic in January of 2018.  I emerged with a lovely lavender cast.chapel of bones“Consider one day you will reach this state too.” Those words were over the doorway of the Chapel of Bones in the city of Faro. Inside were a thousand monks’ skeletons. It was certainly the most macabre place we visited during our February sojourn in Portugal. mcdonalds in porto“This is the most beautiful McDonalds in the world.” We were in Porto Portugal in March and our guide showed us the stunning art deco architecture in the city’s downtown McDonalds.  It featured a stained glass window behind the counter, an elegant chandelier and a huge bronze eagle over the doorway.

salvation army“Can you help me?” In April while walking down Winnipeg’s Main Street I encountered a young woman from my home town who had just been released from prison. She needed directions to a thrift store where she could buy clothes. She was staying at the Salvation Army hostel temporarily.  I listened to her troubling family story. I learned about the violent encounter that had landed her in prison. She hadn’t graduated from highschool. I gave her some money but couldn’t stop thinking about her. What chance did she have alone in the city and without any financial or family support? my amazing mom chicken soup“I had an amazing Mom.”  In May a story of mine was published in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book called My Amazing Mom.  I wrote about how fortunate I was in the 1960s to have a mother who talked to me honestly about sex and human reproduction.

“I’m married to a guerrilla gardener.”  In June my husband Dave planted tomatoes in one of the raised flowerbeds in our downtown Winnipeg neighborhood.  Guerrilla gardeners work in areas they don’t have a legal right to use.  No one seemed to mind Dave’s tomatoes.  Folks usually picked them as soon as they ripened. “We’re going to make some memories.” That’s what we decided to do when my husband’s older brother John who lives in Ontario received a terminal cancer diagnosis in July.  We flew there and had a good time visiting, eating, going on outings, reminiscing, shedding some tears and celebrating John and his wife Linda’s wedding anniversary. “Was it ever hot!”  In August we joined our friends Ed and Millie on a canoe trip down the Assiniboine River all the way from Ed and Millie’s home on the river’s banks in St. James to our home near its banks in the Exchange District of Winnipeg.  It was 36 degrees the day of our twenty-kilometer paddle, but we made it! “He’s ninety years old! In September we celebrated my father’s 90th birthday. I created a slide show of several hundred photos illustrating Dad’s rich life as a family man, physician, community volunteer and traveler. 

Anna by Rembrandt

“I want to be like Anna.” In October I spoke at a women’s retreat and explored stories of Biblical women. My favourite was the hundred- year old New Testament prophetess Anna.  She was a little wild, fit, active, a life long learner, interested in the world, creative, articulate and passionate about her beliefs. I wanted to be like her. 

Newly published authors talk about how they broke into the industry at the Packaging Your Imagination conference in Toronto

“Take chances and care deeply.”  That’s just a sample of the many inspiring words of advice I received from the excellent speakers at a conference for children’s writers I attended in Toronto in November. 

“Take a deep breath.” I think we set a record in December of 2018 for social holiday functions attended. I told myself to take a deep breath and just enjoy it all remembering how blessed I am to have so many people to care about and who care about me.

Wishing all my faithful blog readers the best of everything in 2019!

 Other posts……….


Canoeing Adventure

Porto With Pedro

A Professional Driver

What Persistence

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On A Boat

On a fishing boat in Fiji

With the cruise ship that took us down the Main River in Germany

On a snorkeling boat in Jamaica

Setting off on a cruise through the city of Bangkok 

With my husband Dave’s family on a ferry on Lake Erie heading to Boblo Island to cycle

Canoeing down the Assiniboine River in Winnipeg 

On a boat after swimming with the manatees in Florida

Sailing on Lake Taupo in New Zealand

On a gourmet sailing trip in Costa Rica with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law

On a boat on the Sea of Galilee in Israel

With my husband on a boat in Barcelona

With my sister on a boat in Halong Bay Vietnam

With my friend Sue and our sailboat captain in Florida

With Hong Kong friends on a boat in the South China Sea

With my brother on a boat ride at Moose Lake Manitoba

Drinking snake wine with my sister-in-law on a boat in the Li River in China

With a woman who asked me to pose with her on a boat on the Yangtze River

Other posts……..

A Gourmet Sail

Modeling on the Yangtze

Sailing on Errol Flynn’s Boat

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Words To Live By- Be Nice

in grade five six classI photographed  this bulletin board  in one of the Winnipeg classrooms I have been visiting in the last six weeks.  I mentioned how much I liked it to the teacher and she said the motto had become a sort of touchstone for the class.  They referred to it often and the teacher was always happy when she heard students reminding each other about the ideas in the motto.  

Although the message  is aimed at kids  I think it has wisdom for adults too.  It doesn’t matter if we have the nicest house, or the best job, or the fittest body, or the prettiest face, or the highest income.  Those things don’t  make us nice people.  What does matter is whether we are friendly and generous and happy and honest and kind.  

Other posts……..

Living Intentionally


The Salmon Saved Him


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Filed under Education, Reflections

Missing Sue

white lace covers japanese cabs

 With my friend Sue in a taxi in Kyoto

On Tuesday it was my friend Sue’s birthday and also the one year anniversary of her death.

mayan ruins in mexico

Visiting Chichen Itza in Mexico with Sue

In the last weeks of Sue’s life I would send her e-mails every few days that included photos and I would tell her about the things I was going to miss about her.

new hats with sue

Sue and me at the Mountain Brook golf course in Gold Canyon Arizona

Among other things I said I would miss golfing with her,

Hiking the Peralta Trail with Sue

hiking with her,

lunch rudy and sue hecla island

With Rudy and Sue at Hecla Island

talking and laughing with her,

jay and sue and me

With my friend Sue and our sailboat captain in Florida

vacationing with her,

funny mirror osaka

With Sue in a fun house in Osaka

having fun with her,

sue serves us supper

Enjoying a delicious and beautifully presented meal as Sue’s meals always were in the sun room of her and Rudy’s home

eating the wonderful meals she made and drinking her signature gin and tonics,

Playing bridge with Rudy and Sue in Thailand

and having her for a friend.  

Now a year later I do miss all those things about Sue and many other things too.  

Other posts………


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Should We Visit Hong Kong?

hong kong landscapeDave and I have this ongoing debate about whether we should visit Hong Kong again, the place where we spent six years teaching.  He’d like to go back. I’m not so sure.  Don’t get me wrong I loved Hong Kong.  I loved living there and working there and I especially loved all the wonderful people we got to know there who enriched our lives so immeasurably. 

chestnuts roasting hong kong In some ways a visit would be great- we could walk along the harbour in Man on Shan, ride the crazy little buses that careen down smaller streets, take the tram to the top of Victoria Peak, go for fresh fruit shakes and won ton mein soup and Thai food at all our favorite little neighborhood street places, enjoy the noise and life and beauty of the wet market, take the ferry across the harbour, have a foot massage, buy some roasted chestnuts from the vendors on the street, visit our beautiful church at the top of a mountain, watch the swimmers in Tolo Harbour, spend a quiet hour or two at the Chi Lin Nunnery or the Sai Wan Cemetery and………………..


On our recent visit to Ontario I chatted with a woman who had just returned to Canada after decades in Hong Kong and she said we would find the city unbelievably changed from when we left in 2011.  

hong kong farewell

Farewell party for us by friends when we left Hong Kong

And that’s exactly what I’m worried about.  I have great memories of Hong Kong and the people we knew there. But Hong Kong has changed and when I look at photos like this one of a farewell party of friends for us in Hong Kong I know that most of the people in the photo no longer live in Hong Kong and the ones that still do have new friends and new interests and are incredibly busy with work and family life. 

I’d like to leave my memories of Hong Kong intact.  I’d like to remember it the way it was. There are lots of interesting places in the world I have yet to see, have yet to make memories in.  I already have wonderful memories of Hong Kong. 

Other posts………..

Tears for Hong Kong

Chi Lin Nunnery

The Swimmers of Tolo Harbour 

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Filed under Hong Kong, Reflections

Show Me What You Can Do

bank of ghana

In 2017 Dr. James Kwegyir Aggrey’s picture was featured on the five cedis note of Ghana’s currency in honor of his educational contributions

Don’t tell me what you know, show me what you can do.  

On Sunday my pastor used that quote in his sermon. Its wisdom can be attributed to Dr. James Emman Kwegyir- Aggrey a turn of the century educational philosopher from Ghana. He obtained numerous degrees from American universities, was an educational consultant in many African countries and in the last years of his life served as the vice principal of a college in the Ghanian capital of Accra. 

Checking out Dr. Kwegyir-Aggrey’s impressive biography on various sites led me to a number of other quotes of his that were thought-provoking.  

About racial harmony he said…………If you play only the white notes on a piano you get only sharps; if only the black keys you get flats; but if you play the two together you get harmony and beautiful music.

On education for women he said…… The surest way to keep a people down is to educate the men and neglect the women.  If you educate a man you simply educate an individual.  If you educate a woman you educate a family.

On getting along with others he said…..  If someone scowls at me I smile back. If they scowl again I just smile back. I don’t often find a scowl a third time. 

On contemplating one’s future he said……Be patient, don’t lose heart, don’t hate anybody and make yourself worthy of good things

Dr. Kwegyir-Aggrey died in 1927 but his advice seems very timely some ninety years later. 

Other posts………

Wisdom From Dr. Seuss

Things My Mother Said

Sometimes You Just Need A Dose of Precious

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Filed under Inspiration, Reflections