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