Dec 12, 2011

Are you still looking for that perfect Christmas Gift?
Check out these books at MennoMedia!
For Young Children:  Quills
Porcupine loves her life. She's surrounded by friends who listen to her clever stories, and she has a body full of shiny quills that she brushes each night. But one day Porcupine's quills begin to fall out.  Porcupine's happiness quickly turns to confusion and fear. She believes no one can love a porcupine without quills. Then her friend Giraffe stops by with a special gift and a message of acceptance.
Many circumstances leave us feeling alone, embarrassed, and unlovable. Thankfully, God gives us friends and family who love us unconditionally, whether we are bald, hairy, or somewhere in between.  For children ages 4 to 8.

For Young Children:  Sensing Peace
What does peace smell like? What does it taste like? Feel, sound or look like? Through Sensing Peace, children ages 4 to 7 are encouraged to see what peace looks, sounds, feels, tastes and smells like in their everyday moments—things like laughing, cooking, gardening, singing or sharing ice cream.  Through this encouraging and delightful story, children will realize that peace isn’t something big out there that only adults can know about—they already experience and create peace in meaningful ways each day.
For Older Children:  Plant a Seed of Peace

Forty-three delightfully illustrated stories of peacemakers from today and the past will capture the imagination of children of all ages. They tell of people whose lives point to something beyond themselves--a transforming faith in God. Readers learn how to put their faith into action so they too can grow a better world.

Simply in Season Children's Cookbook will help children make the connection between what they eat, where it comes from, and when it is in season. This colorful and chock-full-of-photos cookbook makes it easy and fun for children to think and cook in season and to center food around the table and give thanks for it.

Like the blog, Mennonite Girls Can Cook—the book—is about more than just recipes. It's about hospitality, versus entertaining; about blessing, versus impressing. It's about taking God's Bounty and co-creating the goodness from God's creation into something that can bless family and friends, and help sustain health and energy.
Click here to read an interview with blog founder Lovella Schellenberg about the origin and goals of Mennonite Girls Can Cook.

For Adults:  The Naked Anabaptist
Anabaptist Christians have been around for almost 500 years. But what does Anabaptism look like when not clothed in Mennonite or Amish traditions? Writing from Great Britain, Stuart Murray peels back the layers to reveal the core components of Anabaptism—and what they mean for faith in his context and ours. It’s a way of following Jesus that challenges, disturbs, and inspires us, summoning us to wholehearted discipleship and worship. Read this book, and catch a vision for living a life of radical faith!

Dec 1, 2011

Women of MCEC “Celebrating Women” 

On October 20th, 175 Women of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada met  at Breslau Mennonite Church  for the first Fall Dinner Meeting of ”Celebrating Women”.  Warm conversation and good food prepared by Dorothy Horton and the volunteers from Breslau Mennonite Church preceded the evening program.  Music was provided by Lifted Voices: Carolyn Burkhardt, Jennifer Jacobi, Nancy Mann, Wendy Priebe, Susan Pries, and Peggy Roth.  Chair of the Personnel Committee, Kathryn Good,  introduced Lisa Blackburn, the new WMCEC treasurer.  Liz Koop, President of Mennonite Women Canada, brought greetings and presented the different ways we could connect with each other and hear about what is happening at the national level.  She also thanked the women for their past support of various projects.
A highlight of the evening was the recognition of three women from different eras who were recognized for their contributions in the church, conference, community and beyond, often in ground breaking experiences.  Florence Steinman, president of WMSC 1986-1993,  Kara Carter, WMSC scholarship recipient, on her journey to seminary and pastoring and Hannah Redekop whose initial mission trip to Guatemala at the ripe old age of 14 ignited a passion for active participation in missions.   Their words of challenge and encouragement which included “Do what you are called to do and accept it when it comes your way”, “When God calls you he will equip you”, “Go for it” and “Encourage each other” resonated in our hearts.  Linda Brnjas, who was ordained to the ministry on October 23, lead in a prayer of blessing.  

The guest speaker for the evening, Wanda Wagler-Martin, continued on the theme “Celebrating Friendships of Women” and left us with the challenge to invest in ourselves, treasuring our relationships and opening ourselves up to continuous learning and accepting the challenges we are faced with.

Women honoured for their contribution to women’s ministry and mission in church, community and beyond (left to right):  recipient Hannah Redekop with presenter Kristen Ollies, recipient Kara Carter with presenter Doris Gascho and recipient Florence Steinman with presenter Dorothy Shantz.

Submitted by Phyllis Ramer

Nov 24, 2011

The Business of Everyday Life

Retreat Planning Committee with our Retreat Speaker and Entertainer.

This year's MCBC Women’s Retreat was a wonderful event, filled with laughter, fabulous food, (including a chocolate fountain on Friday night) visiting with old and new friends and learning about being a “Woman of Honour”. As in all previous years, we have our retreat at Camp Squeah/Squeah Retreat Center.

Upon arrival for the retreat weekend, each woman receives a goody bag with some appropriate theme based goodies. This was started 3 years ago and the women love these special treats.

Western style decor!

An all female Worship Team from Living Hope Christian Fellowship
led us in some wonderful singing before each session. Photo by Kelly Ens

Above: Ann-Michele Ewert
Our weekend speaker, Ann-Michele Ewert, came to us via M.E.D.A. (Mennonite Economic Development Association) . She spoke about the Proverbs 31 woman and drew parallels between the women in the Bible and today’s women. How, even in Bible times, women had businesses that helped support their families and sometimes, sustained whole villages; the same way many women still do today. She herself is involved in a business called Jolica. Their motto -- "Changing Lives Through Conscious Commerce and Giving Back" was an excellent fit for this year's retreat.
We invited women with home-based businesses to come and join us for the weekend and gave them the opportunity to show us what they do, tell us why they do it and what or who inspired them to start a home business. Eleven women responded to our invitation and participated by showing us their products and hopefully also inspired the other weekend participants to maybe start a business of their own.
Retreat Planning Committee with our Saturday morning surprise guests - 5 of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog and cookbook authors.
Saturday morning 5 of the “Mennonite Girls Can Cook” blog and cookbook authors came for a book signing. The 60 books that “House of James” had provided for this purpose were scooped up in a flash! Fortunately, we had anticipated this and had prepared stickers to be signed that could then be pasted into a book purchased after the retreat.
Saturday afternoon there was time to enjoy nature at it's best and the more adventurous group went for a hike!

Having reached their goal --- a picture to remember the hike!
Both hiking photos by Kelly Ens

Eleanore Isaak
While others preferred an easier activity! A cupcake decorating workshop with Eleanore Balzer Isaak, owner of “Elly’s Studio of Cake Design”, in Chilliwack, came and taught the class on how to assemble a puppy dog cupcake.
Some yummy puppy dog cupcakes!
Saturday night was Cowboy night, in honour of our Special Guest, and a group photo was taken to remember the occasion.
2011 Group Photo by Kelly Ens
Doris Daley - photo by Kelly Ens
Doris Daley, cowboy poet from Calgary, AB was our evening entertainer and women had so much fun listening to her as she told us stories and recited her poetry. You wonder how she would connect to our weekend theme? Well, writing and reciting poetry is her "home-based" business!
This was followed by a live auction with the proceeds going to M.E.D.A. who will assist us with providing loans to women in Third World countries and help them to start a business which will allow them to feed their families and to send their children to school.
When all was said and done, we had raised $922.00 for this purpose! We are so thankful for everyone’s enthusiastic participation.
Statistically, we improved our attendance by 7 women this year with Saturday having the best attendance. We also caught the attention of a number of younger women and hope to build on that for next year. In total we had 101 registered participants this year.
We are already looking forward to next year, Oct. 12 – 14 when our speaker will be Jackie Ayer – Family Counsellor (and the pastor’s wife) from Crossroads Community Church in Chilliwack. Our theme for next year will be geared towards “Self-Image” and we hope that many of you will plan to attend. Please put the retreat on you long-term schedule and we will see you at Squeah next fall!
Until next year! Photo by Kelly Ens

Nov 19, 2011

2011 Saskatchewan Women in Mission Fall Retreat
by Ruby Harder

“Spiritual Growth and Learning” was the theme of the Annual Women’s Retreat sponsored by the Saskatchewan Women in Mission on October 14 - 15. Seventy women attended. It was an inspirational time held in the beautiful Shekinah Retreat Centre.

Friday’s session began with a delicious banquet followed by entertainment by the Chris and Louise Friesen family singing and playing their instruments.

Rose Graber, pastor at Grace Mennonite Church in Regina, was the guest speaker. Her meditations were based on the book, “The Cup of our Life” by Joyce Rupp.   Each woman brought a cup to the retreat to be a symbol of her life.

In her first meditation, Graber reflected on the empty cup. God dwells in us and pours transforming love into our lives. Her second meditation was on the broken cup. We experience pain but without pain we do not grow. We also experience joy and hope through prayer and God’s word.

Optional activities included a book discussion on “Home” by Marilynne Robinson late Friday evening and stretching exercises before breakfast on Saturday morning.  There were opportunities for the women to walk in the beautiful autumn setting, visit, relax, have a mini-pedicure, purchase Ten Thousand Villages items, or view the exhibits of pieced blankets and homemade belts.

The closing session on Saturday was led by the members of the executive and programme committee. They focused on the cup of compassion and the cup of blessing.  Meditation on the cup of memory became a meaningful communion service to end the afternoon. 

Nov 15, 2011

4 Grandmas 4U --- Our Farewell Thoughts

One important lesson we’ve learned is that the life we live is in constant change. We change in our spiritual, physical, and emotional way and of course we change in things we do or can do.

The 4 Grandmas (Donna Driedger, Hedie Harder, Marlene Froese and Elva Epp) worked together over the course of 9 years and prepared and catered meals out of the Saskatchewan MCC Kitchen for many and various individuals and groups. Along with the meal preparation, we had a wonderful time sharing our lives – the joys, the sorrows, the laughter and the tears. Then the business “Made Just For You” closed and our times together came to an end until Erna Neufeldt, President of Women In Mission, invited us to write for the new blog just started. The 4 of us agreed and once again we shared times together, many of those around the lunch table.

During those times we had wonderful moments of memories as we revisited our history of family food and meals our mothers prepared. Together we wrote our blogs and once again shared our lives.
We knew, this spring, that changes had entered our lives as the physical needs were very different. So now, we bid farewell to all of the readers of this blog and move into a new phase of life.

All we ask of you is to remember how special food is. Jesus told many stories and parables around meals and our best relationships are built around the table where we can prepare the food to feed the body and share in that “food” that feeds the soul.

God Bless all of you as you cook, serve and love. Thank you for sharing in our lives.

Farewell from, Donna Driedger, Hedie Harder, Marlene Froese and Elva Epp

Oct 17, 2011

Mennonite Girls Can Cook, Herald Press, 2011.

Mennonite Girls Can Cook is a blog about recipes, hospitality, relationships, encouragement and helping the hungry—and now it's a book, too!

Like the blog, Mennonite Girls Can Cook—the book—is more than just recipes. It's about hospitality, versus entertaining; about blessing, versus impressing. It's about taking God's bounty, and co-creating the goodness from God's creation into something that can bless family and friends, and help sustain health and energy.

Borrow (free) or Purchase this title
from Mennonite Church Canada Resource Centre here.

Questions or suggestions?
Please contact the Resource Centre
or check our loan policy.

Loaned books are sent anywhere in Canada - free of charge - both ways!

We'll profile a new title at this blog every month

Aug 25, 2011

Wonderfully Made: Women, Faith and Self-Care, by Terri Plank Brenneman, Faith and Life Resources, 2011.

This year's Mennonite Women Canada Bible Study.

To offer good and healthy care to others, we need to nurture and replenish ourselves, our primary resource," writes Terri J. Plank Brenneman in her preface to this Bible study. Wonderfully Made provides careful study that validates the importance of personal wholeness. As the author shares wisdom learned from her journey with infertility, readers will connect their own life experiences with sound scriptural and psychological principles helpful in self-care.

Wonderfully Made, commissioned by Mennonite Women USA and Mennonite Women Canada, is a beautifully written gift for women's gatherings, Sunday school classes, retreats, or individual reading and inspiration.

Borrow this title free
from Mennonite Church Canada Resource Centre here.

Questions or suggestions?
Please contact the Resource Centre
or check our loan policy.

Loaned books are sent anywhere in Canada - free of charge - both ways!

We'll profile a new title at this blog every month

Jul 22, 2011

Erna Neufeldt welcomes incoming
President, Liz Koop

Greetings to you!
As the new President of Mennonite Women Canada, I thank-you for checking out our blog and I encourage you to leave a comment.  

The 59th Annual Meeting and Luncheon was held on Friday July 8 during the Mennonite Church Canada Assembly sessions at University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario. Bev Suderman Gladwell of Kitchener shared a devotional on “Celebrating Connections” with the 150 women who attended. The business consisted of accepting past minutes and annual reports with Lois Mierau, our Secretary-Treasurer presenting our “Opportunities for Giving”. President Erna Neufeldt gave her final report, having served in that position for 6 years. She welcomed Liz Koop (myself) in her new role as President with a candle ceremony. If you are interested in more details please read the full report in the next Canadian Mennonite written by Barb Draper.

MW Canada’s Communications Committee was formally organized in January 2011 and is currently working on the second issue of our newsletter called “Connections” due out on September 15. (See side bar for link to newsletter.)

During the next few months I am planning to update this blog, so if things don’t look the same or certain items are missing the next time you check, please be understanding and patient. Feel free to comment on the progress!

Wishing you all a wonderful summer!

"Celebrating Connections" - an interactive devotional 

May 30, 2011

Fasting & Feasting - The Jesus Diet

It's been a month since BC had it's Inspirational Day.

Saturday, April 30th greeted us with beautiful and warm sunshine.

Some of the Japanese Cherry trees on the streets around Sherbrooke Mennonite Church were still loaded with blossoms.

We started the morning with a short Memorial Service, remembering our 27 sisters that went to meet their Lord & Saviour since last year's Inspirational Day.

A rose in memory of each loved one!

Our song leaders: Rachel Cornelsen and Charlotte Froese

After a special musical tribute by our two song leaders, we moved on to a short business session where we approved the following items:

1. - a new logo for MCBC Women's Ministry

2. - a new fund raising venture with the ONEbean Coffee Company
3. - a renewed commitment including $$$ to Mennonite Women Canada

We also informed the ladies that MCBC Women's Ministry now has a Facebook page which is slowly gathering a few friends.

We asked the women if they had received a copy of NEW Mennonite Women Canada "Connections" issues and by far the majority had actually received a copy and those that didn't got it in the Program Booklet for the Inspirational Day. The response to the new layout and all the stories in the issue were very favorable and encouraging.

We took a nice long lunch break which allowed time for lots of visiting and even a walk around the neighbourhood.

The meal was healthy and delicious but left the women waiting for more..... in particular, dessert or "Platz" even though there was a wonderful fruit centerpiece on each table that was actually meant to be our dessert! Are wondering what else was on the menu? ...well, let me tell you!
Remember the title? "The Jesus Diet"? ---- prepared was a menu of foods that Jesus could possibly have eaten during his time on our broken planet.

A delicious lentil soup and pittas filled with a seafood (tuna) salad was the main course. There was an assortment of nuts and olives and, of course, the fruit platters.

Our beautiful dessert platters!

After lunch everyone reconvened in the sanctuary where the afternoon Worship Service began with an explanation about our yummy meal and everyone could hear the "ahhaaa" and a few schuckes from the audience.
Suddenly things made sense! Such fun!!!

We then proceeded with the program as outlined --- songs, verbal and visual presentations and an offering.

Above are two special music treats -
on the left - 3 generations of the
Pavez family from
First United Spanish Mennonite Church, Vancouver ---
and on the right 2 young Schroeder sisters from
Sherbrooke Mennonite Church singing
"I love Jesus better than Ice-Cream" Pizza or Borscht.

Our three speakers from left to right -
Pastor Ingrid Schultz, Dr. Helen Eng and Katrina Goertzen

Our special guests, each an expert in their own field, taught us about how to take care of ourselves.

Nutritional Wellness - our first speaker Katrina Goertzen (Nutritionist) instructed us about the value of good nutrition, clean and unclean foods - including a very appropriate PowerPoint presentation.

Physical Wellness - Dr. Helen Eng (General Practitioner) spoke on the importance of our physical well being, the "dos and don'ts" when traveling abroad and yes... the need to exercise!

Spiritual Wellness - Pastor Ingrid Schultz from First United Mennonite Church concluded our afternoon sessions with a short meditation based on Psalm 34:8-10 and Luke 5:33-35.

After the offering, our fall retreat at Camp Squeah was introduced and each woman received a retreat registration brochure which can also be found online here. The afternoon program concluded with an invitation to next year's Inspirational Day which will take place on Saturday, May 5th at Bethel Mennonite Church.

We hope that our event was a blessing to those that attended and are grateful that through our humble offering we can also bless 3 additional ministries; Camp Squeah, the MCC Refugee Food Bank and the Samuelito Day Care Centre in Bolivia.

Ohhh .... and the "Platz" and coffee?
Yes, we still enjoyed them before going home! ! !


Note: When the program was done and the women were still mingling, a mother and daughter walked up to me and informed me that they were visitors from Bolivia. They wanted to let me how much it meant to them that MCBC Women's Ministry and the Sherbrooke Planning Committee had decided to support the Samuelito Day Care Centre. Apparently, both of them , as well as, a number of other women in attendance were quite familiar with the Centre.

God works in mysterious ways! To Him be the Glory!

May 8, 2011

A Mothers’ Day Litany

Voice 1: Like a mother eagle teaching her young to fly, You push us to stretch our wings and risk falling. Yet You do not abandon us but lift us up, protecting us from evil.

All voices: We thank You protecting God.

Voice 2: Like a mother bear, furious when her cubs are in danger, You bring justice on those who oppress the young.

All voices: We thank You, compassionate God.

Voice 3: Your Spirit comforts us as one whom a mother comforts.

All voices: We thank You, nurturing God.

Voice 4: Holy Spirit, You are everywhere, the Lord and Giver of life. We praise You for the gift of mothers, through whom You give us life.

All voices: We thank You for their willingness to nurture life, for their trust in You to guide them through the labour of childbirth, the uncertainties of youth, the letting go of young adulthood.

Voice 1: We thank You for all those women, who did not give us birth, but through whom You give us abundant life.

All voices: We thank You for school teachers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters, pastors, elders, Sunday School teachers, supervisors, and friends who share wisdom.

Voice 2: We ask Your tender mercies on all those whose mothers now sing with the heavenly chorus, for those whose tears are not yet dry.

All voices: Grant them Your peace, which passes understanding.

Voice 3: We ask Your comforting presence on those mothers who have buried sons and daughters.

All voices: Grant them the grace to trust their loved ones to Your never-ending care.

Voice 4: We pray for those who are alienated from their mothers by harsh words, distance, misunderstanding.

All voices: Grant them Your grace to forgive and to love again.

Voice 1: We pray for mothers whose children have met a violent death.

All voices: Deliver them from anguish.

Voice 2: We pray for mothers who work but cannot earn enough to feed, clothe and educate their children.

All voices: Wake us to our responsibility for common welfare.

Voice 3: We pray for mothers who are dying of AIDS and other diseases for which we know no cure.

All voices: Raise up among us caregivers for their children and expand our compassion.

Voice 4: We pray for mothers who are guardians for grandchildren whose parents are unable or unwilling to care for them.

All voices: Grant them courage and strength and patience for the living of each day.

Voice 1: We pray for mothers whose children face limitations of intelligence, emotional, or physical ability.

Voice 2: Deliver them from hovering; grant them wisdom to encourage each child’s full potential with You.

All voices: We thank you, oh God, for those who have committed themselves to us:

Voice 3: for those who have been there in our times of trouble and heartache to encourage and support us,

Voice 4: and in times of joy and celebration to share that joy, and give it even more meaning and worth.

All voices: We thank you, oh God, for all those who have been prepared to grow with us, learning the meaning of commitment and faith as they lived it out each day, so that faith became an exciting shared experience in deepening understanding of the world and of ourselves.

May 5, 2011

This month I'm highlighting something different -
not one resource but MANY!

Why not bring the Resource Centre to you -
in one of the following ways:

  • Cheaper by the Dozen program. Borrow 12 books - on a variety of themes and topics - and peruse them for an extended 6-week loan period. A great way to browse before you buy!
  • Displays. Borrow 20 books - on a specific theme/topic for a women's meeting, day retreat or weekend conference. We'll help tailor the display to meet your occasion.
  • Invite staff. Our Mennonite Church Canada staff are available to speak on a variety of topics. Various international workers are on North American itineration. Check our Speakers' Bureau.

Questions or suggestions?
Please contact the Resource Centre
or check our loan policy.

Loaned books are sent anywhere in Canada - free of charge - both ways!

We'll profile a new title at this blog every month

Apr 28, 2011


An Easter celebration that stands out in my memory did not take place on Easter Sunday but rather Good Friday. It was April 1963. Our second daughter, Evelyn was born on April 8 of that year. We went to my Mom and Dad’s to commemorate Good Friday. All my siblings, their spouses and children were there. We were so proud to show off our new baby girl! It was beautiful outside, everyone was in shirtsleeves and the kids had a great time looking for their Easter goodies hidden around the farmyard. Life was good - we had our third child and were very happy for our little family.

A traditional food for us on Good Friday and Easter was a chilled dried fruit compote which is delicious with potato salad. The pluma moos recipe follows.

PLUMA MOOS (dried fruit compote)
4 quarts water
4 cups dried fruit (raisins, apples, prunes, apricots and peaches)
1 small pkg. cherry jello
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 tbsp cornstarch mixed with cold water

Cook until fruit is tender. Add sugar and cornstarch mix and cook for a few minutes. Remove from heat and add the cherry jello. Cool, then add canned cherries. I also add canned peaches before serving (optional).

When we were kids we would go to my Grandma and Grandpa Koop and they would have Kliesse (homemade noodles) to put into the Pluma Moos. It was not my favourite but some liked it a lot.

1 cup water
1 egg
pinch of salt
Add flour to make firm dough.

Roll out fairly thin. Let rest for 15 minutes. Sprinkle flour on rolled dough, cut 1 inch strips. Pile strips 4 layers high. Cut into noodle size. Boil and cool. Use in Pluma Moos if you like.



Apr 26, 2011


Easter in my childhood, in my parenting and even now as a Grandmother is one of the greatest celebrations of my life. The beauty of the season is part of its delight; snow melting, sun shining with warmth, blue sky with fluffy clouds, call of birds returned and a renewed earth waiting to produce new life.

In the church community it was the celebration of new life given us by the death and resurrection of our Lord. Singing the Easter morning songs of Alleluia were some of the best rejoices of that day. In German, we sang Rollt ab den Stein, Jesus Lebt. At Rosthern Junior College, a Mennonite residential high school, we sang In Joseph’s Lovely Garden. It was so liberating and such spiritual glory.

Around the Easter family table, in the food preparation and the jolly Easter hunt, “eggs” were in great demand. My Grandmother talked of needing 100 dozen eggs -- it could have been true because almost every food that was prepared needed eggs and also coloured eggs were hidden for every child; sometimes as many as their age.

The recipe I want to share is one more of the life-giving, cholesterol filled treats.


Sauce: 1 cup sour cream
1 cup sweet cream
1 cup butter or margarine
8 egg yolks
3 1/2 cups sugar

Bring this to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly as it scorches easily. Remove from heat, cover and let cool.

Then using 3 pounds of dry curd cottage cheese and the cool sauce the spread is made.
1. Using a blender, put in 3/4 cup of sauce and 1 cup of cottage cheese. Blend but do not puree. It must mix but retain some texture of the cottage cheese. Pour into a bowl. Repeat until sauce and cottage cheese are used and you have 2 bowls of blended mixture

In one bowl add 1 tsp of vanilla, and mix. In other bowl add 1 tsp grated orange peel and 1/3 cup chopped dates. Mix.

2. Get 2 j-cloths and place into a colander that is placed into a large bowl that will collect extra liquid. Into each j-cloth pour one kind of mixture. Cover and secure in cloth. Place a plate over top and set a heavy item on top to press out the liquid. Leave 2 - 3 days.

3. Just before Easter, take solid-like mixture out of cloth and put into container ready to serve and spread on the Easter Bread Paska. Yummy, healthy and special!


Apr 23, 2011


Paska was introduced to us by our Mother who immigrated from Russia in 1926 with my Grandmother and 2 Aunts.

Mom remembered the Easter bread she had learned to love while living in Russia and introduced this tradition to our family. My Father did not know of paska, as his Mother baked “kringle”, an 8-figured iced roll.

Paska was usually baked in large tins from juice or other things, resulting in the shape of large mushrooms. Often we looked for tins of different sizes so we could make more unique shapes. Some paska were also made into loaves.

The paska were covered with a soft white icing, usually almond flavoured, and then sprinkled with small candy of all colours, called sprinkles. Because the icing was so “yummy”, we tried to cover the entire paska with it, which made it rather difficult to handle and slice. Eventually, Mother decided to shape the paska into buns, therefore covering them entirely with this icing. This was definitely easier.

We remember the smell of paska baking, the lemon and almond aromas very well. Several years ago when we moved to a different home, we did not have an oven for awhile and it was close to Easter. Our son-in-law invited me to their home to bake the paska. He had not grown up knowing about paska, but had become very fond of it.

All eyes of our 7 grandchildren shine when they see the decorated buns at Easter time. Yes, it is “yummy” paska, and the following recipe is the one my Mother used. Most paska are shaped as buns at our home; however I use some tins and line them with parchment paper. This way the paska come out of the tins very well.

8 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cream, heated
1/2 cup milk, heated
1/2 cup soft butter
1 cup warm water
1/2 tsp salt 2 rounded tbsp fast-rising yeast
1 tsp vanilla 1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp lemon extract grated rind of 1 lemon
10 - 11 cups flour

Beat eggs and add sugar. Heat milk and the cream, add butter. Add all 3 items to egg mixture.
Add warm water, salt, vanilla, almond and lemon flavourings, lemon rind and mix well. Mix yeast with a cup of flour and gradually add enough flour to knead into a soft dough. Let dough rise until about double in size (it rises well in a slightly warm oven). Knead down and let rise again. Make into buns or put into well-greased, or lined tins. Bake at 325, until the buns are brown, about 20 minutes -- tins will need about 45 minutes. Ice with a regular icing with added almond flavouring and decorate with sprinkles. Enjoy!


Apr 22, 2011

How Deep the Father's Love for Us

This morning I attended our church's Good Friday Communion Service. It was a very moving service and one of the songs we sang was particularly poignant for me. I have sung it before but today it seemed to be the perfect song to sing. I have copied the words below and pray that by sharing it with you, you will receive a blessing this Easter weekend.

How deep the Father's love for us, how vast beyond all measure,

That he should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure.

How great the pain of searing loss; the Father turns His face away,

As wounds which mar the Chosen One bring many sons to glory.

Behold the man upon a cross, my sin upon His shoulder;

Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.

It was my sin that held Him there until it was accomplished;

His dying breath has brought me life—I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom;

But I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection.

Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer,

But this I know with all my heart: His wounds have paid my ransom.

Music and Lyrics by Stuart Townend. Copyright 1995, Kingsway's Thankyou Music (PRS). Admin. EMI Christian Music Publishing. CCLI License #923708

Apr 13, 2011


Women of MCEC Spring Enrichment Day
  • Maple View Mennonite Church, Wellesley, ON
  • Saturday, April 16, 2011, 9:45 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Speaker: Susan Allison-Jones
SK Women in Mission Enrichment Day
  • Tiefengrund Mennonite Church, Laird, SK
  • Saturday, April 30, 2011, 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Personal stories by Mryna Sawatsky, Mary Krause, Tena Siemens
MCBC Women’s Ministry Inspirational Day
  • Sherbrooke Mennonite Church, Vancouver, BC
  • Saturday, April 30, 2011, 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Speakers: Ingrid Schultz, Dr. Helen Eng, Katrina Goertzen

Apr 7, 2011

Introducing MW Canada's NEW Communications Committee: On January 27 four women met with President, Erna Neufeldt, via a conference call to talk about how this new committe would work. Our mandate is to help MW Canada by communicating information to you via a redesigned newsletter, this blog and our website.
Our hope is to provide a place where we, as Mennonite women from across Canada, can talk about what we believe, how we are living what we believe and what values we aspire to. We want this to be a place where we nurture and encourage each other through the telling of stories and sharing of information. We welcome submissions and encourage you to send us your stories and comments.

The first issue of our newsletter "Connections" is now available at our web site and is is being sent out to churches via MC Canada's Equipping Package. It will also be available at your area Enrichment/Inspirational Day.
Members of the committee are: Waltrude Gortzen - Naomi Unger - Barbara Draper - Liz Koop -

Mar 29, 2011

Ideas for Dinner Leftovers from 4 Grandmas4U

Food Leftovers: Dilemma or Delight

Once more we are placing containers with leftovers from the supper we just ate into the fridge. What will I do with these tomorrow? I might just wait for a few days and then they will possibly not look good and I can throw them out without feeling guilty. Or, as part of the senior world, I could go for lunch with a friend and suggest that my husband (I’m still lucky to have one) could eat the leftovers for lunch and that would be that. But, I put them in the fridge with the possibility of eating them sometime.

We who grew up in the forties, fifties and sixties experienced the need to save every leftover. Some of our (the 4 Grandmas’) parents lived through hard times in Russia before coming to Canada in the 1920’s. In the difficult 30’s that followed our parents tried to be good stewards as well as frugal.

Using leftovers can be a creative, innovative experience. Trying to get the “makeover” word into a food reality and do it so no one can recognize that they had this food before.

I have 2 recipes that I want to share with you. The first recipe is a new dish using leftover fish.

Catch of the Day in Alfredo White

To make the sauce, brown 1-2 tbsp butter and garlic. Whisk in 3 tbsp flour and add 1 cup chicken broth, whisk and boil. Make sure it is smooth and thickened. Add 1 cup or more of whipping cream, salt and pepper to taste and bring to a simmering boil. Add chunks of fish, peas and carrots, corn, or other vegetables from fridge or frozen. Serve over pasta or rice. Add raw vegetables or a salad. Just like that, a new yummy dinner.

Ham Biscuit Bake

Cut leftover ham into chunks. Boil 2 cups mixed vegetables in salt water, drain. Mix a can each of cream of potatoe and mushroom soup with 1 cup milk, add to the vegetables and ham. Place in a casserole dish and bake at 375 degrees until it bubbles. Mix a batch of baking powder biscuits, space them on top and bake until browned. Serve with a vegetable plate or green salad and you have a complete dinner on the table. Surprise!

Marlene Froese

Leftovers, leftovers, so many leftovers
What to do - toss a few or make a meal
Now that’s a deal!

Beef Stew

Cut leftover roast beef into cubes, add onion, garlic, peppers, carrots, corn, peas, etc. Add beef gravy with mushroom soup and also leftover cubed potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Make a salad, biscuits and voilĂ , a meal.

Hedie Harder

Mar 28, 2011

Seek Peace and Pursue It: Women, Faith and Family Care by Elizabeth Soto Albrecht, Faith and Life Resources, 2010.

The annual Bible Study created by Mennonite Women Canada (together with Mennonite Women USA), ideal for women's gatherings, Sunday School classes, retreats or individual reading.

Christian families are not automatically peaceful ones, as Elizabeth Soto Albrecht writes in her preface to this Bible study guide. They must work toward that goal with God's help, following biblical examples and applying Jesus' teachings.

Through 12 sessions, Seek Peace & Pursue It examines topics such as parenting with love, gender and relationships, roots of violence in the family, and nurturing for peace. A closing worship service celebrates becoming families of peace.

Borrow or Purchase this title

from Mennonite Church Canada Resource Centre here.

Questions or suggestions?
Please contact the Resource Centre
or check our loan policy.

Loaned books are sent anywhere in Canada - free of charge - both ways!

We'll profile a new title at this blog every month

Mar 20, 2011

Prayer for Japan - March 18, 2010The stories and images of the devastating crisis in Japan are at times beyond comprehension and words. Carol Penner, pastor of The First Mennonite Church in Vineland, ON offers the prayer below for use in our congregations, providing specific words of care and petition for the many persons affected. If you wish to access additional prayers and worship resources that Carol has written check out her blog at

Prayer for Japan
Carol Penner, The First Mennonite Church, Vineland

God of Hope,
in this time of tumult we lay before you the country of Japan.
With their land still trembling,
they try to comprehend devastation too broad in its scope:
people killed and missing,
homes and towns and cities demolished,
the sea sweeping through with yet more destruction.
Our prayers are for the people of Japan:
Holy Comforter, bring your peace.

We are acutely aware of all who need rescue:
those trapped in buildings and remote areas,
those without food or clean water or shelter,
the injured, the terrified, the anguished.
Give strength and stamina to rescuers.
Give strength and compassion to medical staff.
Give strength and clear vision to leaders who mobilize relief.
Our prayers are for the people of Japan:
Holy Comforter, bring your peace.

A country stretched to its limits
and yet now the fear of nuclear disaster looms.
God of infinite mercy, stop this from happening!
This country, of all countries, has suffered enough
and knows the terrible consequences of radiation.
Help the authorities to make careful decisions in the coming days.
Give them strength and courage as they man their posts.
Our prayers are for the people of Japan:
Holy Comforter, bring your peace.

In this time of crisis for a country that is suffering deeply,
we pray for the Christian church in Japan and all people of faith
that they will be a calm presence
providing hope and help in such a time as this.
Aid those from around the world who are mobilizing support
so that their efforts can be effective and timely.
Give us open hands and hearts to help the people of Japan.
Thank you for being the Holy Comforter, who brings us peace.

Mar 16, 2011

Called and Shaped by Jesus: 2011 At-Home Lent Devotional booklet and children's colouring pages by Elsie Rempel, Mennonite Church Canada, 2011.

Even though Lent has started, it's not too late to introduce Chris and Selah to your family. Join these two friends as they embark on the adventure of responding to God's call. Adapting and simplifying prayers and themes from Winter 2010/11 Leader magazine, this booklet offers family activities that take you right through Holy Week.

New this year: colouring pages suitable for younger children.

Download this title free

from Mennonite Church Canada Resource Centre here.

Questions or suggestions?
Please contact the Resource Centre
or check our loan policy.

Loaned books are sent anywhere in Canada - free of charge - both ways!

We'll profile a new title at this blog every month