Saturday, 30 August 2014

Back to School...Soon

Where has summer gone? In some ways it seems like yesterday when the holidays started, but in others, oddly enough, much longer. Most likely because there was so much going on in the last two months. Let's see:

  • cleaning the school 
  • waxing school floors
  • cooking and baking
  • preparing for a conference
  • gardening
  • sewing
  • spending time with family and friends
  • canning
  • writing
  • hosting the International of Hutterian Educators
  • reading, (not as much as I would have liked)
  • hosting friends from Germany
  • and preparing to resume classes   

Yes, a very full and satisfying summer, for sure. But next week, it's back to school. I chatted with a few of my students a few days ago; they seemed very excited about coming back to school. Moms always tell me, towards the middle of August, summer fun/free time loses some of it's lustre and children are eager for classes to resume. 

So, for those of you who are going back to school soon, I found this great quote for the start of the new school year. I actually picked it up at the conference I helped plan. Thanks Hutterian Brethren Book Centre!                                 

Friday, 22 August 2014

What Kept Me From Blogging:

In recent weeks, I`ve spent little to no time in the blog world, (but with good reasons) - I wasn`t visiting other blogs and certainly not writing on my own, other than a few posts here and there. Needless to say, I`ve miss it. I`m not going to promise that will change now, for I can`t, not yet, anyway... That`s right, classes start soon, so preparations for that takes priority. Plus, I`m expecting visitors from Germany in a few days.

I`m on summer break, well, if one can call it that. It`s a break away from classes, for sure. But this is summer on a colony, so there`s tons of work: cooking, baking, gardening, canning, berry picking....

Besides all that, I was part of the planning committee for the International Conference of Hutterian Educators, which took place in Winnipeg, Aug.13th - the 15th. This took up a good chunk of my time, but it was all very worthwhile. The conference was a huge success, getting rave reviews from those who were part of it! We had phenomenal keynote speakers, outstanding presenters, a variety of interesting vendors and many, many attendees: dedicated community leaders, teachers, parents and young people. I`m extremely grateful that so many took time from their busy summer to take in ICHE 2014! Here are a few photos to give you a glimpse of this great gathering at the beautiful Victoria Inn:

Our Artist in Residence, Victor Kleinsasser

           A storytelling session with Dora Maendel and Joe McLellen

Kent Julian, our final keynote speaker 

The Victoria Inn served the most fabulous food one could wish for at a conference! Every meal made you feel like you were royalty, being catered to by well-dressed, efficient and friendly waitresses and waiters. Sitting down at those beautifully set, round tables was a grand experience, every time!

Our gorgeous centre pieces, which matched our conference colours perfectly, came from Schapansky`s in Portage la Prairie - delivering them all the way to Winnipeg! These bouquets added an elegant and cheery look to the classy decor. 

When I had a few minutes during the past few months, I did some writing - I`m working on a book. But more on that at some later date. Its something I`m certainly very excited about and I can`t wait to tell you more, However, it will have to wait. So stay tuned!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Surviving Henry - Erin Taylor Young

About the Book:

Sometimes you seek out love. And sometimes it broadsides you.

You don't always know what you're getting into when you bring home a puppy. You hope for laughs and cuddles, long walks and a wagging tail. And sometimes you get . . . Henry.

Henry is a boxer who suffers from Supreme Dictator of the Universe Syndrome. He vandalizes his obedience school, leaps through windows, cheats death at every turn, and generally causes his long-suffering owner Erin Taylor Young to wonder what on earth she did wrong that God would send this dog to derail her life.

But this rogue torpedo of a dog wasn't sent to torment his owner--well, not just to torment her. Through all the hair-pulling and questioning of her own sanity, Erin learns something very powerful from Henry, a dog who brings new meaning to the concept of unconditional love.

Through his laugh-out-loud antics and jaw-dropping escapades, Henry will careen into your life and steal your heart. 

My Review:

Well, Henry didn't steal my least not in an I-want-a-dog-like-this kind of way. Because nothing could be further from the truth.  Just looking at the picture makes me think his name should be Trouble.

I chose to review this book because I love dogs, and because Ms. Young is a humor writer - good combination, I thought. I enjoyed reading about all the mischievous antics this dog got into, embellished by the author's wit. The whole time I was wondering why someone would want to not only keep him, but write a whole book about him. Only a person with undying puppy love could have this kind of patience and dogged devotion. What I found extremely hilarious was the fact that the family used German commands for Henry; the K9 University Henry attended (Yes, seems like there is such a thing) suggested 'German-based commands in case you want to have your dog trained in personal protection. That way your dog responds to words a potential attacker won't know.' Makes sense, however, Henry ain't no guard dog, and never will be. University or not, he never did learn the meaning of, Heel - Foose, (not my spelling), Down - Platz, in German or English.

'Next week they teach the Lie Down session. Total catastrophe. Well, for us. Everyone else's dog gets it figured out. It's not a hard concept when you're wearing a choke collar. You lie down, you get to breathe. Not Henry... Nothing like having your own melodrama in front of a class of calm, recumbent dogs.'

If you have a dog lover in your life, this would be the ideal bone to throw their way!


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Snapshot Muse # 24 - Geh' aus mein Herz und suche Freud'

I love summer, because of the flowers! And I know I don't take enough time to just walk around our colony to admire them all. With a camera, of course. Maybe this evening will work.

I'm just a tad sad right now about my four beautiful pots of bubble gum waves at the school. Someone was spraying the crushed rock for weeds, where the planters stand and killed all four. Right when they were at their loveliest. It took me a few days to finally let go, and realize there was just one thing left to do with them - send them to the compost grounds. Never even got a chance to take pictures of them.

Oh well, such is life...and death. And we still have many, many more lovely flowers around. So I will try to forget these, forgive the person who sprayed and celebrate the plants we can still enjoy for at least another two month. My colony is blessed with quite a few avid gardeners, and I love to listen to their flower stories - sometimes it seems like they're talking about their children.

My song for this post is one by Paul Gerhardt and is one of my favourite summer songs, Geh' aus mein Herz und suche Freud:

Sunday, 3 August 2014

International Conference of Hutterian Educators (ICHE) 2014...

plans are coming together nicely, thanks to our dedicated committee. If you don't already know, it will take place at the Victoria Inn Winnipeg, August 13th -15th. That's where we had it four years ago and it proved to be a great location! There are plenty of rooms for breakout sessions and a huge hall for meals and vendors. And they serve fabulous meals. To learn more about this conference and our wide variety of great presenters and keynote speakers, go to our website: .

This past week a group of Hutterite ladies volunteered to help make our delegate bags. They are gorgeous, but also very special as proceeds go to the Grands 'n' More Winnipeg organization that supports grandmothers in Africa who have to raise their grandchildren.


Many thanks to our seamstresses from Fairholme, Baker and Elm River! You are simply wonderful for your time and efforts and for adding a beautiful touch to ICHE 2014!! We're also grateful that we were able to sew at the Baker sewing room - an ideal place for working together! I loved every minute of working with all of you. Again, on behalf of our entire ICHE 2014 committee, Vielen, vielen Dank!!!

And yes, there's still time to register. Click on the link above for details.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Miracle in a Dry Season - Sarah Loudin Thomas

About the Book:

It's 1954 and Perla Long's arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.

Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor...until he meets Perla. She's everything he's sought in a woman, but he can't get past the sense that she's hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla's unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.

My Review:

In this story,  the main character, Perla is running from her past with a suitcase full of secrets, but finds hope staying with her aunt and uncle in a small town, where nobody knows her. Those hopes are soon dashed, when people judge her and send rumours flying along the town’s party line. It was heartwarming how Perla continues to do good to the people who would like nothing better than send her packing. Casewell is one of her few friends, but even he is struggling with seeing beyond Perla’s past. Eventually though, he realizes he needs to forgive to move forward. While the area is plagued by drought, the little town works together to survive, and as refreshing rain brings new life, God works a miracle in the hearts of the Wise residents. This is a sweet story of ‘loving your neighbour’ even though they spite you, and the healing power of forgiveness, with just a touch of whimsical.


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Ripe and Juicy Goodness!

Some days I think I live in Paradise... minus the forbidden fruit tree. Besides all the fresh vegetables, we're having a berry beautiful summer - an abundance of gorgeous, tasty berries. As much as I'd like to give you a taste, Blogger doesn't give me that option, but I can certainly show you, make your mouth water:

 Nanking Cherries

Just some of the sweet blessings of living close to the land!