Subscribe to Syndicate
Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter

You are here


Free our kids

By Tamara Petkau | Jun 23, 2014 | 1 comment

The other day I was enjoying a night out sans children. However, even if children aren’t physically present, they are still always in our hearts, on our minds, and still dominating the conversation. Honestly, I don’t even know what I talked about before children. Perhaps world events. Probably not.

Me vs. Aunt J.

By Tamara Petkau | Jun 18, 2014

Life has been… hectic. I am reluctant to use the word “busy” because I hate how society has come to embrace the word like a badge of honour, or throw the term around as an excuse for everything. And I find that the more people use the term, the more empty their schedules, and lives, appear. With such a harsh interpretation of the word, you can see why I try to stay away from it. And yet, it still creeps up into my vocabulary, and into my life. But I digress.

Making meaning of the attack

By Cassandra Bangay | May 29, 2014 | 2 comments

When I shared the story of my attack, I got a wide variety of responses from my friends, family, and co-workers. It is difficult to know what to say to people after things like this happen, so I was grateful whenever someone attempted to talk about it with me or to give me advice.

Thoughts on someone else’s thoughts

By Tamara Petkau | May 27, 2014 | 1 comment

One of the best gifts my father has ever given me is an online subscription to The New York Times. He has always been an ardent fan of good news sources. The man has a ridiculously insatiable desire to learn. It was inevitable that such an appreciation would be passed on to his children as well. However, while my father devours every article on current events and sports, I tend to skip over the bleak headlines and head straight to the more superfluous articles and slide shows in the House and Garden and Style sections. Hardly academic, but enjoyable nonetheless.

The attack

By Cassandra Bangay | May 27, 2014 | 3 comments

As many of my friends already know, I flew directly from Bogotá to Canada in early May, rather than journeying to Barrancabermeja to complete the final month of my stint on team with CPT. I have been asked many questions about what happened to me, so I will describe the incident here. If reading about violence is a trigger for you, I recommend you stop reading here.

This Easter. . .

By Tamara Petkau | Apr 17, 2014

This Easter is going to be different.

I probably sound hypocritical stating how uncomfortable I am talking about death in one post and then writing about that very topic in another post. I didn’t plan on talking about it anymore, but lately, it’s all we’ve been talking about.

On Sunday, Boo came out of her Sunday school class proudly holding a colorful beaded cross. “It’s a cross,” she stated proudly. And then her whole face and demeanour changed. “Jesus died here. I am so sad. Jesus died. Why did Jesus have to die?”

Lost and looking

By Tamara Petkau | Apr 10, 2014 | 1 comment

“But we can't do this forever, and we face the much wider problem of poor air quality every day. The Saharan dust will pass, but we will continue to fail its citizens on air quality. Children's developing lungs are at particular risk, both long- and short-term.” –The Guardian

When Parallel Lives Collide in Bogotá

By Cassandra Bangay | Apr 08, 2014 | 1 comment

Before I left Canada, I met up for coffee with a friend of mine in Waterloo—a pastor named Steve Tullock. We talked about my upcoming work in Colombia with Christian Peacemakers Team, and he told me about Colombian friends of his who had gone to his church in Canada.

Life’s Big Questions and how to avoid them

By Tamara Petkau | Apr 01, 2014 | 1 comment

At this moment, I am sitting in the warmth of a sunbeam, sipping a cup of tea, and enjoying a quiet afternoon while both my girls nap. What a glorious moment. Or, at least it would be, except for the dead ladybug sitting in a jar on the windowsill next to me.

It’s springtime. Dead bugs are a common presence around here. But this bug is different. For starters, she has a name. Odette. And she is loved dearly by my eldest daughter, Boo.

Birthday wishes and other first-world problems

By Tamara Petkau | Mar 20, 2014

This past week we celebrated a pretty significant birthday in our family. Baby E, who will now be referred to just as E, turned one! I am experiencing every emotion possible.

Like every mother, I wanted to make E’s birthday special. I wanted her present to be thoughtful, useful, and oh-so-fun. I hand-painted her a card to show just how much I love her.  I invited her favorite people over to help us celebrate, and I thought long and hard about just what her first cake should be.

A bullet-proof illusion

By Cassandra Bangay | Mar 13, 2014 | 2 comments

I set out on my first accompaniment with Christian Peacemaker Teams early in the morning on Tuesday, February 18.

For shame

By Tamara Petkau | Mar 11, 2014

The other day, in celebration of the impending spring weather, I went for a run around the neighbourhood. I didn’t go far, but at the end, I was tired-tired of the scenery.


By Tamara Petkau | Mar 11, 2014

Hello and welcome to my new blog. I’m excited to be here.

I have been an avid blog reader for many years now and, at any given time, I am following at least 20-some blogs. My preference tends to lean towards lifestyle/parenting blogs because, as a mother of two, they regale me with stories to which I can relate.

Muslim, Jewish and Christian Relationships

By Palmer Becker | Mar 11, 2014

Classes are going very well. Students are appreciating the role-plays, practical illustrations, and the newly published textbook, which was partially funded by Waterloo North Mennonite Church (Waterloo, Ont.).

Some people are of the opinion that Jews and Muslims have always been, and always will be, in conflict. This is not true. Ishmael and Isaac both received a blessing from their father Abraham (Gen. 17:20), and in the end they came together to jointly bury their father (Gen. 25:9).

Prime minister and taxi driver

By Palmer Becker | Mar 05, 2014

I got a warm welcome when I arrived at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, but, of course, nothing like the unprecedented welcome that Stephen Harper received!  He was here with about 145 parliament, news and support people. Some will worked on economic and trade matters that are important to the present government. I hope that they also sought to understand the political realities and that they will work towards peace in this land.

Recently I was talking to a taxi driver. The conversation went like this:

PB:  Were you born here in Bethlehem?

Called to Bethlehem

By Palmer Becker | Mar 05, 2014

I have received a new call from Bethlehem Bible College (BBC) and Mennonite Church Canada to go to Palestine/Israel for nine weeks to teach Pastoral Care and Counseling in the biblical towns of Bethlehem and Nazareth. There are over 70 churches and 55,000 Arab Christians in Palestine. Unfortunately, few of the pastors have been trained in the practice of pastoral care. I will seek to respond to some of that need. 

Learning about violence and peace in Colombia

By Cassandra Bangay | Mar 05, 2014

What does active pacifism look like? What exactly is violence when you get past the classic images of guns and combat? What unique insights does my Christian faith have to offer in an interfaith conversation about injustice and oppression? These were just a few of the questions I found myself reflecting on during my summer 2013 training with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT).

A Thought on Cross-cultural Learning and Faith

By Cheryl Woelk | Jul 28, 2013 | 2 comments

What does cross-cultural learning have to do with our faith?

I believe it's at the heart of the good news that Jesus taught and lived: Reconciliation with God and reconciliation with each other. These are not mutual exclusive concepts. When we reconcile with each other, we have a more full sense of who God is and how God works in the world.

Psalm 130

By Cheryl Woelk | Jul 25, 2013

A mini-retreat this week for me, with a couple nights spent at a local camp while my spouse leads the Bible time. Good time for reflection, writing, thinking, reading scripture, walking… and swatting mosquitoes. A poem from one evening...

We Shall Remain

By Cheryl Woelk | Jul 21, 2013

We Shall Remain is the title of a documentary series by PBS. We watched a few of the episodes while living in Virginia, where we heard very little of indigenous people, culture, or history.

Circles of Sabbath

By Cheryl Woelk | Jul 19, 2013
My hand rested on the shelf of books and I looked at the title of the volume under my palm. It was the same book that I'd remembered.
Another time, in the same small library, I'd pulled the book off the shelf and read it straight through in one evening. I'd resolved to live my life differently. To remember Sabbath… rest. Balance, rhythm, and the health and joy of God's gift of the Sabbath. 

A Case of Narrative Negotiation

By Cheryl Woelk | Jul 18, 2013
One class from my MA studies at Eastern Mennonite University's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding which continues to stick in my mind is a course called "Narrative Negotiation." We learned about the roles of worldviews in negotiating solutions to conflict and how sometimes it's not the issues or proposed solutions that cause a problem in carrying out a successful negotiation, but because groups are coming from completely different ways of seeing the conflict.

The Stories We Tell

By Cheryl Woelk | Apr 16, 2013 | 1 comment

Much has been written on this blog about the stories we tell. This narrative perspective is becoming a stronger one in many fields of study, including therapy, education, conflict resolution, and negotiation.

Everyday Epics

By Cheryl Woelk | Mar 14, 2013

More stories of the past at Kumomoto. Stories that complex-ify.

Stories of Salvation

By Cheryl Woelk | Mar 10, 2013 | 2 comments

Blame. Hatred. Lament. Ignorance. Shame. Defense. It might just seem like stories of the past, but the struggle for history brings out deep feelings, as I discovered in our visit last year to Kyoto.