newborn-featureby Jon Farmer

It's easy to be cynical when glossy greeting cards and slick ads make holidays seem like superficial excuses to spend money. But as much as consumerism strips the spirit of a holiday it's important to remember why we celebrate, especially on Mother's Day. We all literally owe our lives to our mothers but the commercial expectations of a North American Mother's Day can taint authentic gratitude. As we celebrate mothers and motherhood today, let a small dose of perspective be a suitable antidote.

Mothers are incredible. They carry developing fetuses for 40 weeks, then give birth to babies and nurture them. The mother's hormonal shifts and physical changes to her accommodate the pregnancy and culminate in a birth that requires a baby to exit its mother's body – one way or another. Our mothers literally bleed to bring us into the world.

Language is important here. Saying that a mother 'gives' birth should remind us that a child has received something through the process: life. Every other gift we ever receive is a bonus on top of that first one. But as a culture we take birth for granted. Readily accessible and capable healthcare, caricatured portrayals of birth in popular culture, and polite avoidance of health-related topics in every day conversations make birth seem normal and simple.Enough of that. Today we express gratitude because the price of motherhood is high and too many women around the world die just becoming mothers.

cdss-musicians-featBy Jon Farmer
I could tell it was going to be a good afternoon as I was walking up the steps. The murmur of conversations and laughter mixed with fragments of music and poured out of the St George's Hall. Inside, dozens of contra-dancers mingled while musicians tuned their instruments on the crowded stage. It was the last afternoon of the Country Dance & Song Society's Owen Sound event and I was there to find out about contra dance.

tree-planting-featTuesday May 5, St.Mary's High School helped plant maple trees in the Pottawatomi Memorial Forest.
The grade nine students assisted the Grey Sauble Conservation Foundation with planting maple trees along the fence line, as well as picking garbage and cleaning up the conservation area.
The Pottawatomi is one of the three memorial sites the Foundation maintains.

river-2-featA guest columnist for "Between Our steps"

By Lynn Wyvill
This morning while walking up the old lane, I felt warmth in the sun that touched my face. I felt it right through my light jacket to my shoulders. It was as soul-enriching as the hug I received from my two-year old grandson last week in Hong Kong. This kind of feeling goes deep inside me, where words are empty and where I want to open my chest of memories and lock it away, So I write them down. Even when I cannot describe the joy, the sheer happiness of that daffodil shoving its deep yellow richness through the dead fall grass, the pencil finds a way. Not always, but often the path to my self expression lies at the end of my Bic pencil.

Cathy-Hird-Forgiveness-featIn 1986, the United Church of Canada made an apology to the aboriginal peoples of this land. The moderator at the time said in part, "We confused western ways and culture with the depth and breadth and length and height of the gospel of Christ....We tried to make to make you like us and in so doing we helped to destroy the vision that made you what you were...We ask you to forgive us and to walk together with us in the Spirit of Christ so that our peoples may be blessed and God's creation healed."

The apology was received by a representative group of First Nations people. Two years later when the church's general council met again, an elder said that the apology was acknowledged but not accepted. She said that aboriginal people within the church "hope and pray that the apology is not symbolic but that these are the words of action and sincerity...."


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