The Write Stuff

Some the members of the Hamilton Mountain Writers’ Guild have been working on our next anthology. That’s right. Volume Five is in the works.

This spring I had been working feverishly on my contribution. I wrote some stuff out and sent it to my writing team for feedback. Draft one. I worked on it some more. Draft two, draft three, draft four, draft five.

I sent it to Laura and Scott who are editing geniuses. Then it was worked on some more. Draft six. Then sent it back to Laura and Scott. Draft seven.

Then sent it to our Book 5 Proofreaders. We have some amazing folks helping us polish our words up. Ron was assigned to help me and boy, was he ever helpful. He sent easy to follow suggestions to have it publication ready. Draft eight and prepare the bio. Sent it back. Oh oh, the formatting went wonky. Fixed it and sent it back. Then I got the blank template and inserted my story.

Then I had to send it to Neil. I sent it off with a ‘WooWoo I am done’ subject line and attached the two documents. It was a little bit later that I realized I had sent Neil a copy of the blank template. Sheepishly, I resent the template, this time with my story in it. So now it will go through the formatting process and hopefully we will have a book available on Amazon this fall.

Once that work was done I had no deadlines and no assignments. I really do work better under a deadline so our writing team has been assigning each other (optional) homework. That has been fun. We all come up with such different stories with the same assignment. Looking forward to doing that some more.

There is a fun Facebook group that I am a part of. When people find photographs, often from thrift stores, they share them in this group. Sometimes there are clues and other members try to help the new owners of the photographs. Sometimes there is detective work done and photographs have some mystery about them solved. Other times there is no information and the members of the group start making up stuff about the photograph content. They give the people names and make up stuff about them. Last week I had some fun.

Collette shared this picture….and the fun began.
Ellen started us off with a name.
Not so sure about that but that sure was a fun little thing to write. The funnest part is when others contribute to the tale and the story takes on a life of its own.

What do you see when you look at the picture?

A Puzzlin’ Post – 2020

Earlier I posted about the books that I read in 2020 but I also managed to put together a few jigsaw puzzles this year. Some were very basic that I did with grandchildren. Others were larger and sat on my puzzling table for weeks on end. I confess to being a Ravensburger Puzzle Snob. I only buy second hand puzzles and they are always Ravensburgers.

I take a picture of each completed puzzle picture and number and note missing pieces. This year I created a puzzle summary page for my family photo album.

The photo album is a bit thin this past year in part because of all of the events we were not allowed to celebrate. We had booked a European cruise with friends. Cancelled. We had been invited to Dirk and Grace’s anniversary. There was no Joldersma Cousins Day. Our youngest turned 30. My mom turned 80. We had a 40th wedding anniversary. Christmas. All things we were not allowed to gather for. So instead of memorable events I photographed each puzzle I finished.

Big or small, I took a picture of each one. Now some of them came with some of the pieces stuck together (woohoo) and some of them had missing pieces. Some of the pieces were so obvious and easy to find and others I just stared and stared looking for any place that I thought might work. It looks like my piece total for the year is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 26,000.

I started this one in November.
I suppose it will count for 2021

One of the puzzles I bought had a second puzzle included in the box. There was no picture but I did it anyway. It turned out to be the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Castle and I didn’t even count it in my total because it was not a Ravensburger. (See I told you I was a Ravensburger Snob)

I am part of a Jigsaw Puzzle Small Group hosted by a lovely lady from our church. We gather and puzzle about every three weeks. It is fun to work together on puzzles and we end up laughing a lot. We look forward to being able to gather once again, once it is declared safe to do so. Until then, happy puzzlin’.

Books I Read 2020

Time for my annual list of the books I read in 2020.

The oh-so-charming Mitford series.
Ah! Marie. Maybe one day I will tackle tidying up.
A classic that I enjoyed
I do enjoy Malcolm Gladwell
Always enjoy Catherine Cookson stories
A quick little book about giving
I enjoyed this celebrity memoir
A devotional that was to take me through the year but I read it too quickly.
Ah, Jane Austen. I needed to read some Austen to get in the mood for a writing project that is coming up.

And now for a new category for me: digital books from the library. This was the first year I downloaded books from the library and I will be doing more of that in the future.

Recommended by friends on Facebook. It did not disappoint.
Beautiful. Brilliant. Epic. I need to own a paper copy of this book.

And even another category for me. Audiobooks. Woohoo! Great for taking on my walks.

A good read
It was ok
A children’s classic
What a great read. I have such respect for Barack and Michelle Obama.
Classic Gladwell
Oh, David. You would be such a fun friend to have. I watched his Masterclass on writing. Brilliant.
Listened to this before I saw the play (online) Such a wonderful look at Lin Manuel’s brilliant mind.
Touching. A glimpse into the hero of Jeopardy.
Such a powerful story. Our world needs more kindness.
Mr. Sedaris,
you are enchanting.

Christmas Ornaments

It was fun decorating for Christmas this year. We had given our artificial Christmas tree to Andrew and Kate and decided to try something a little different. We actually have two ‘trees’ and they involved some creativity. The first one I made with some sticks and wire. Pretty simple but it was fun to make.

I have added a few more ornaments since this picture.

The second one I tried to copy from a picture I had seen on the interweb years ago. I nagged our son Henry to build me the frame and he did. It is just two sticks of wood with some hinges and hooks. Three lighted pine garlands woven back and forth and the ornaments completed the look.

Joldersma Christmas Tree 2020

Our tree has never looked like those perfectly adorned specimens that would grace Martha Stewarts home but we like it. The ornaments mean something to us. They have interesting stories and wonderful memories all hanging from hooks on our tree.

Our daughter Shirley made these. So pretty.
When we were on a river cruise in Europe, a German craftsman handed out wooden trees. I coloured mine.
We used to share Christmas Day with my cousin Arlene and her family. When Arlene hosted we always had the most creative place card holders adorning the table. It was always fun to see how many we could steal off of the table to take home after the meal.

Many of our memories are tied up with our church family.

I made these years ago at Coffee Break
The girls made these at the girls club at church.
One of our most exciting Christmases was 1987 when Henry was born on Christmas morning. A lady from our church who taught all of our children Kindergarten gave us this memory maker.
I have a couple of friends who like to
make fun of the size of my purse.
From the wedding of Jordan and Alison who just had a new baby.
My friend Amy is an exceptional knitter. They live in Georgia now and we miss them.

May you enjoy the blessings of this season. Merry Christmas from Martin and Anita Joldersma

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 28

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last five years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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‘Long time – no post’ about my walking project. I have still been out walking I just haven’t been confessing for a while. 

With the COVID restrictions in Ontario, it became my intention to stay as far away from other people as possible while I was meandering. The rural roads of Glanbrook have really been most pleasant to walk down. Most of the time I see no one and I never come even close to the physical distancing limits set by our province. Usually, it is just a wave to a fellow walker or, more frequently, a bicyclist. I try to give a brief wave of thanks for the vehicles who either slow down or move over to let me know that they see me. I feel a little hard to miss with my high-vis vest on but I am grateful for all of the considerate drivers out there. I confess that I occasionally have a properly distanced chat with a homeowner or fellow walker and people are always so kind.

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For much of the spring and now into the summer, I have mostly been wandering around Binbrook and Mount Hope and the other tiny hamlets that have been pretty much swallowed up by belonging to a larger municipality. Sometimes there is only a sign as the clue that the little cluster of houses for a stretch was a separate community – a small community but a community nonetheless. I have come across a number of the Haldimand and West Lincoln boundary signs which provide much satisfaction.

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Sometimes the map is wrong about the fact that the road is still a road. This one used to be a road but is no longer.

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Someone in Binbrook has a wonderful sense of humour.

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I estimate all of Glanbrook will be covered by September. The last road I will walk on to complete this part of the project is Glover Road. It is symbolic of beginnings as I will pass the first house we bought together just before we were married.

During our stage-one restrictions, we were not allowed to go to get our haircut. This was a challenge for me as I started to look and feel like a sheepdog.

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As the weather got better and the sun shone stronger I had to remember to put on sunscreen. I confess that one day I did not do that. I had worn a hat and the sun managed to give me a great horizontal tan line (more burnt than tanned at that point) on my forehead.

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This I solved, rather ingeniously, I think. I put sunscreen on the burnt lower half of my forehead so that the next walk would burn the top half of my forehead and – voila – my forehead was even again. 

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The difficult thing about country road walking has been finding a place to park. Most rural roads do not bode well to pulling your car over to the side of the shoulder and just leaving your vehicle whilst you traipse about for a couple of hours or more. Church parking lots have been convenient and a few businesses as well. I usually leave a note. I parked at Gourmet Meats last week, took a five-mile walk, and then went in to buy some really yummy steak kebabs for the weekend. I did find a lady on a local Facebook group who graciously allowed me to park in her driveway a couple of times. Thanks, Genevieve. 

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This whole walking project has allowed me to meet so many nice people. I chatted with this gentleman.

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He was waiting along Dickenson Road to watch the famed Lancaster airplane from WW2 take flight from the Warplane Heritage Museum. It is not often that you can see them fly. Truly a sight to behold.  

Next time I will give a rock report. Until then.

Restriction Reflection – part 2

One of the things that I find most difficult during these times of restriction is the way we are not permitted to attend funerals and visitations. Not that I have a particular fondness for those types of events. For the loved ones of someone who passes away, it can be such a very difficult time and who am I to intrude on their loss? But it feels like the right thing to do – to be there and shake a hand or give a hug or relay a memory. Some funeral homes have adapted with the co-vid situation by providing online streaming services and that is helpful but it is simply not the same. Interment ceremonies have been restricted to the barest number of family members.

It is not that I really find such joy standing in a receiving line ready to offer my condolences. As much as I can be accused of being verbose, I find I am usually at a loss for words. Really good words. I want to say really good words. Words that would encourage or offer insight or wisdom. Usually, I just mumble something that I can only hope is appropriately sympathetic.

I also find that the older I get – or maybe it is the ‘mental-pause’ that I am currently mood-swinging my way through – the easier I find it is to cry. For most of my adult life, I have not generally identified as a crier. I like to be a little more in control of my emotions – especially in public. But now I tear up at commercials, choke up during sad movies and I even quaver at the patriotic singing of ‘O Canada.’

So when a dear man from our congregation passed away I wanted to do something but I didn’t know what. The church often does it’s best loving through casseroles and pots of soup but I thought I would try something different. Since the private interment was at a cemetery just down the road I decided that I would just stand – far back – and just be there. No interacting – just standing quietly and respectfully and prayerfully. Then I thought I would make a sign to hold as I stood. That meant I had to find words that would represent a little bit of what our whole congregation was feeling.

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It seemed to be appreciated by the family – especially by those who could not be there.

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Wil and Sharon also came to stand.

* * *

There have been more losses since then – some were expected and some were a shock. I find that I really do ‘weep with those who are weeping’ and I still don’t have the perfect words to say. But I suppose life is really just full of hellos and goodbyes. It does feel good to be a part of a faith community that shares our goodbyes as a family – a church family – and I am blessed to be part of a wonderful one.

Mrs. Verdonk passed away last week. She was a past member of our congregation and a wonderful role model. She had a servant-heart and blessed many while she lived. I learned so much from her.

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Since the graveside ceremony was close by once more, I made another sign and went to stand. Quietly, respectfully and prayerfully and it felt like an honour to do so.

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It just seemed like a good way to let the family know that, as a congregation, we loved the dear soul that was their mother and she will be missed. May God grant comfort to those who mourn.

Confessions of a Street Walker – Part 27

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last five years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

walking-feet-clipart-qsdkpvj

Most of last summer and fall I spent on the sidewalks of Ancaster and Dundas. I have a few left to do but most of them have been covered. I confess that I stayed off of the rural roads over the winter because I usually found the shoulders weren’t wide enough to hold slushy piles of snow and me.

My walking project moved along fine over our cold Canadian winter but there were some weeks that the sidewalks were too snowy or icy. It was those weeks that I stayed very close to home or went to the mall to get my 10 miles per week done. When the sidewalks were clearer I also got most of Binbrook’s built-up area done.

I am really enjoying the warmer spring weather. Now, because of Co-vid 19, we are all supposed to be distancing ourselves from one another. I am happy to be able to walk on the ruralest of the rural roads of the greater Hamilton area where I am not even close to being close to anyone.  As it is with most of the rural routes the difficulty remains with where to leave my car while I am out walking.

Last fall I did some walking in rural Mount Hope and Ancaster. We have friends who allowed me to park in their driveway whilst I trompled my way down the country roads in their area. Thanks Gord and Glenda! They were lovely roads with their own charms.

Some notes on those walks:

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The lower right map shows a part of the road that I missed. An accident on Highway 6 forced me to detour and head east and add another 3 miles to my walk that day.

20191028_135454I was tempted to jump in the back of the wagon but they were going in the opposite direction.

I passed a baked goods manufacturing facility I know as Oakrun Farm Bakery. I don’t know what they were making the day that I was walking past but boy did that ever smell good.

I was able to stop by a cemetery where Danielle’s body lies – I confess that the tears still flow and I am thankful for such a peaceful place.

I was walking down a very quiet road when a car pulled over. It was my friend Diane who lived nearby.  It was nice to see a friendly face.

I have taken to wearing a hi-vis vest as I want to be as safe as possible on country roads. I am presently wandering around rural Binbrook.

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A windy day in Glanbrook near the city boundaries. I confess that my attempt at a selfie thumbs-up appears only moderately successful.  :  )

Restriction Reflection

One of the things that I really miss regarding the Co-vid 19 epidemic restrictions is my church family. We belong to Immanuel Christian Reformed Church in Hamilton Ontario and it has been my church home for pretty much all of my life.

My church family has been so very instrumental in shaping me into the person I am today. They have been a huge part of my faith journey and have helped me grow up. They rejoiced with our family and they also wept with our family.  Even the people who have come and gone – we are still connected. I very much miss communing with the saints who gather there.

That first week that we had restrictions, our Sunday services were canceled and our building was closed. We met as a small group that we are a part of called a Faith Family. An emailed liturgy was provided and our tech-savvy hosts had queued up the songs for us to sing along with. It was good to be together.

Then, even those small gatherings had further restrictions.

Fortunately, our church staff is managing to video-record replicated services with an appropriately socially distanced media crew (awesome job – thanks guys) to maintain a  sense of community for us. We get an email with a link and we join with many of our congregation on Sunday morning and meet digitally for worship.

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We can even go to the service in our pajamas.

20200329_102958_HDR(but we won’t – because Martin would never go to church in his pajamas)

 It does feel a little strange to worship with just the two of us but we are grateful for the attempts to keep us connected. It is good to pray for ourselves and others. It is actually good to be able to pause the service for discussion and that is a feature that would be difficult to use when worshipping in person.

Hearing from our amazing pastors and some of our wonderful musicians helps bring some of that feeling. I love the fact that Martin often plays some of the songs we sing at church but there is nothing like singing together in our sanctuary.

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As we approach Easter we have been focusing on the theme of Lament and it sure seems applicable given our current situation. Last week we had a video testimony from a courageous young mother who so eloquently described her lament. We were inspired by her words and pray for her often.

I typically take sermon notes in a journal that I bring to church with me. It can look like I am doodling my way through a sermon but I find it helps me concentrate. I find that I can also look back and remember much more clearly after I have taken notes.

Sermon Notes

So we will wait. Until this is all over.

How will it change us? How will it change me?

That is yet to be seen.

But we do not wait without hope.

And it is this hope which fills us with joy despite our circumstances.

Andrew’s Amazing Tower of Teeth

So I belong to an awesome Facebook group called Weird Secondhand Finds That Just Need To Be Shared and the things posted on that site can range from wonderful treasures to oddities of epic proportions.
It is a badge of honour to find the weirdest of things. I think I have a weird thing that just needs to be shared. I will let you decide.

Before I tell you the story I will have to give you some background.
A number of our six children had to have orthodontic braces. Too many teeth and not enough mouth was the prognosis for most of them and so we spend a good number of years trotting our offspring off to a wonderful orthodontist (Dr. Taylor was great!)
For each child, the process started with a mould taken of the dentally-deficient child and then braces were applied. After a number of years, the teeth were brought into line and then another mould was made so that one could see the difference that our +$4400 investment made. And now for the story.

A number of years ago our last child flew the coop and made us empty nesters. This occurrence was not met with tears as I was too busy doing the happy dance. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids but they had grown up and they all started their own lives and families. That is a good thing.
When each child left they were supposed to clean up and empty out their rooms so I could repurpose the space. So when Andrew left I began cleaning out his closet. I have no idea how or why but Andrew’s dental moulds made their way into our house. We didn’t steal them but I can’t see how we would have taken them home on purpose. Either way, there they were up in the back of his closet behind some video games. The closet was not well lit and so I did have quite the fright looking at a bright white pair of teeth staring at me (actually teeth don’t stare – eyes do – but I think you get my drift)
Now possessing three such sets of bicuspidical delights is strange enough and I don’t know why it behooved me to stack the moulds and create a teeth tower, but I did. A few sticky dots and voila. From the malocclusion at the top through to the dental treasure at the bottom, this crowning achievement gets to the root of things.

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I don’t quite know what to do with my statue of teeth.
If I wait long enough, my kids will have to go through our possessions when dividing up their inheritance. Maybe Andrew will get them back.

So what do ‘ya think? Weird enough?

Sermon Notes

So Martin and I ran away from home but we are back now.

It was fun to stay with Fred & Amy and then visit with Henry & Janet and then Dick & Kathy. We even got a chance to see Mark & Heather. Down to Florida and back, we managed to put lots of kilometres on the new (to us) car.

The part of the trip that I want to write about was the church service we attended last Sunday. Our church has a number of missionaries whom we support. One of them is Pastor Mark and Resurrection Life. Pastor Mark is one of our past pastors and it was hard when they left as we missed them. I especially missed Heather as she came from a different background and it was a breath of fresh air when she shared of her thoughts and ideas – I enjoyed her perspective. It was good to see where they are now. Resurrection Life is a church plant that worships in an elementary school near Raleigh in North Carolina and we were able to visit there before heading home. We pray for them regularly and it was good to be there.

We arrived early and we appreciated being able to just sit and observe what this congregation was all about. The auditorium filled slowly and it was fun to people watch. You could tell it was a congregation of some really nice people. They are lucky to have Pastor Mark (and Heather) ministering among them.

While we were waiting for the service to begin, I noticed a young lady sitting two rows ahead of us and she was drawing. Now I like to take notes during the sermon by using interesting lettering or by drawing pictures. Despite the fun I am having with some stealth art projects, I am under no illusion that I am an artist. I am really not very good at it at all. I simply enjoy it. It often helps me concentrate with what is being said, and it helps me to recall it better once I have written it down. That said, only a few people usually get to see what I have drawn.

A page from my sermon note journal.

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After watching the young lady for a while, I went to have a few words with her. I guess I just felt it was important to encourage her to keep on ‘arting’.

It was a good service. We sang with them, we listened with them, we prayed with them and we shared communion with them. We regretted not being able to stay for the potluck lunch which followed but home was beckoning.

Before we left, the young lady handed me a piece of paper on which she had written a verse – for me – to keep.

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What a kind thing it was for her to share it with me. To me it was more than just a verse. It was a sharing – it was an offering – it was a welcome. I hope that I expressed my gratitude sufficiently and I hope she continues arting. Even if it was only for a couple of hours, it was lovely to be a part of that caring community.