Category Archives: Canadian Women

Wonderful Women

I know some wonderful women whose names you’ve likely never heard.

They aren’t famous.  But each has done something special to help others in her community.

Blog Photo -- Mr and Mrs. Claus - Eddie Grant Photo

Photo thanks to Eddie Grant

Raphaelita Walker was the wonderful Mrs. Claus, a role she performed at the Jamaican Canadian Association in Toronto every Christmas for more than 40 years. (Her husband Gifford was Santa Claus.)

The children loved her. Adults loved her. Being Mrs. Claus was just one of Raph’s contributions to her community.

Raph celebrated her 90th birthday in December. She died on Valentine’s Day. 

Thank you, dear Raph, for all you’ve done, for so many.

~~

The other women are members of my church community.

Book Photo At Launch with Jane

Jane Carson, a retired teacher, musician and painter, has attended St. Thomas’ church for decades. She’s done much to help families here and abroad – particularly families with small children. But Jane’s most quiet ongoing ‘ministry’ is sending cards and letters to people who she thinks need to be cheered up. Thank you, Jane.

Blog Photo - Olive Ormiston who knits prayer shawls

Olive Ormiston makes prayer shawls. She’s one of the main knitters at St. Thomas’ Anglican. They create the shawls for those going through a tough time: personal or family illness, bereavement, and other times that test one’s soul. 

Every shawl is blessed by St. Thomas’ Anglican’s priest, Canon Claire Wade. Claire herself is a woman of wisdom and great strength.

Blog Photo - Canon Claire blesses prayer Shawl

Photo by Hamlin Grange

Joanne Schuetzl helps to distribute the shawls. Having survived some scary health challenges herself, Joanne keeps an eye out for others in the community who may need a prayer shawl, and gently approaches them.

Blog Photo - Cynthia and Joanne

Joanne and Cynthia at Wedding

Hooray for these women and other stars in our communities!

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Filed under A Good Home, Canadian Women, Wonderful Women

Valerie Rowley – Beauty Inside and Out

In 2014, I ran a series about Valerie Rowley, her husband Chris and their lovely home, garden and pets.

Blog Photo - Val and Chickens

I was impressed by Valerie and Chris’ relationship – their obvious love and respect for each other.

I also liked this fact about them and their home: despite being an interior designer herself, Valerie didn’t renovate her home all at once. It took 20 years of patience and work. And though she created a beautiful home, it was above all, designed for comfort.

When Val’s illness worsened recently, my heart hurt for her and Chris and their family.

I remembered how she and Chris generously shared their home with my blogging community, and your warm responses to the series. So, knowing that Valerie loved flowers, I asked some of you to send a photo of your favourite flower for her. Many of you replied by Facebook or directly to my blog.

Valerie was very thankful for those flowers. 

Valerie died yesterday. She was surrounded by Chris, her daughter and son and grandchildren, and other loved ones. We wish and pray for comfort and strength for them at this tough time.

Some people have a special touch for creating beauty — in one’s surroundings, and in one’s heart. Valerie touched people in this way. In addition to being a gifted and well-known designer, she was a very positive person who had a way of lighting up a room with her sense of humour, frank talk, unpretentious ways and that beautiful smile. 

“Have I ever told you how much I love your spirit?” I wrote in what would be my last email exchange with her. “You draw people to you because there is a kind unpretentiousness about you, and an interest in others. I took to your presence like a duck to water … the warm look of welcome on your face, and the delight when you laugh, are  lovely.”

I am thankful to have known you, dear Valerie.

Prayers for Chris, Tamsyn, Jon and all who love you.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under A Good Home, Beauty, Canadian Families, Canadian Homes, Canadian Women, Couples, Flowers, Grace, Valerie Rowley