The Community Associations’ Winter Carnival 2016

Today was a day filled with children and activities definitely outside my comfort zone.  Today the Community Association held its Winter Carnival.  Today I played with children of all ages. Some were three and some were eleven and the others were all the ages in-between.

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Yes, I helped out at the colouring contest table sponsored by the Ogden Seniors 50+ Activity Club.  We had a multitude of Christmas pictures to colour, crayons, and prizes to be won.  The kids lined up at our table excited to spend a few minutes shading stockings, wreaths, and Christmas trees with the waxy crayons. A chance to win a five dollar McDonalds gift card was an easy enticement for many of the young people tagging along behind their Mom or Dad as they wandered from booth to booth.  Alone in their zone, they chatted quietly about their schools, their ages, their siblings and in some cases current world events. “Yes, I am good with colour and drawing”, “My favourite colour is pink”, “I don’t live around here”.  One young artist didn’t want to enter the colouring contest, he knew he wouldn’t be back this way again.  Another so intent on her art, didn’t say a word.  Quietly, she slid the crayons back and forth transforming the white paper to green, yellow and red.

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The carnival, so much more than our little colouring corner tucked into the back of the hall. It is a gathering place.  A place where old friends can reconnect after months or years of not seeing each other.  I ran into a young woman I hadn’t seen is 10 or more years.  I knew her as a cashier at Safeway working part time while in high school.  It took me a few moments to shake off my past image of her and accept a new one. So grown up now.  She has two children and is the imaginative creator of unique candy bouquets.   This event is a hub where local entrepreneurs  set up business for an afternoon, hand out their business cards in the hope of a future sale or commission.  Where home based artisans can share their artistry, adding to the vibrancy of our community.  The hall was filled with the soothing scents of peppermint soaps, chocolate arrangements, and the sharp aroma of herbal oils.  My eyes were treated to the sparkle of semi precious stones strung into bracelets and necklaces, and the bright warm colours of knitted winter hats and scarves.

Christmas carols hung on the air and kids acted out their favourite Christmas messages on the 80 year old auditorium stage.  The floorboards creaked as a Taekwondo team kicked and jabbed their way through their sparring program.  Little girls dressed in mukluks, their faces painted as Hello Kitty,  turned and twirled as they worked to figure out the hula hoop moves so easily managed by the older more flexible teenage girls.

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The Calgary Multicultural Orchestra treated everyone to a selection Christmas songs including winter wonderland, jingle bells and the first Nowell. (that is how it was written on the sheet music)  A beautiful and inspiring arrangement brought the sound of Christmas to our hearts.

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At the end of the day everyone had fun, Christine and I tried our own hands at colouring, and four young aspiring artists won gift cards worth the price of a McDonalds Happy Meal.

 

December 2016   Cheryle

LEARN TO MEDITATE FOR FREE

Orientation Day is coming and as usual I become more excited with each day counting.  I volunteer as an Assistant Meditation Instructor for Willpower Institute North America, a non-profit organization that specializes in teaching Samatha Meditation.  Samatha meditation is the technique used by the Forest Monks of Thailand to achieve tranquility and gain wisdom.

Each year, the six month Free Meditation Instructors Course begins with Orientation Day when the Venerable Meditation Master from Thailand, PhraDhammongolayarn Viriyang Sirantharo , speaks to new students about the 6 month course he developed as a way to achieve his vision of world peace.   True to the heart of a Buddhist Monk, Luangphor does not require anyone to pay to attend the course.

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Luangphor, the loving honourific by which we call PhraDhammongolayarn, is  96 and has been an ordained Monk since he was a young man of 20.  It took him 20 years to translate his meditation experiences into the three text books, which form the basis of the theory portion of the course.  In addition to instruction in theory,  the course includes the  practice of walking and sitting meditation.

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Meditation increases one’s mind power which ultimately allows the meditator to exact control over the emotions, to maintain a distance from the everyday drama and chaos.  It nurtures the mind, gives it the space to remember it’s true nature is love and compassion.  Getting beyond the looping thoughts, past the stress of anger, resentment and greed,  brings about a peace of mind that enables the meditator to move through daily life with ease and contentment.   It helps to improve sleep,  decision making, personal and business relationships and brightens cognitive activity.

2016 poster test 4.jpgWillpower Meditation Centres are also located in:  CANADA:   ALBERTA:  Edmonton, BRITISH COLUMBIA –  Vancouver, ONTARIO – Kanata , Richmond Hill & Niagara Falls  UNITED STATES:  TEXAS – Houston & Dallas,  CALIFORNIA – Los Angeles. THAILAND : there are over 100 branches in Thailand.  New centres have recently opened or are planned to open soon in a number of European countries,  in China and in India.

I invite you to join me September 3rd at 7248 -25th St. S.E., Calgary to see for yourself how this simple meditation technique can benefit you.  Click here to   Register for Calgary Meditation Instructors Course 2016

 

Cheryle –  August 2, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COME DRUM WITH ME

Drums on a Blue background   An unusual event took place in the Ogden House auditorium on May 5th, 2016.  For those members sitting in the lounge at the time, they heard and felt a rumbling never before experienced at the club.  What could it be?

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A drum circle, of course.

As we arrived, each of us looked around the auditorium, skeptically, and wondered what had we gotten ourselves into?  The chairs were arranged in a large circle with a drum sitting in front of each spot.  Jamie Gore,  a Drum Circle Facilitator with Circles of Rhythms, greeted us and invited us to select a seat and a drum.  There were colourful Cuban Tubanos, shapely Djembes, and graceful Frame drums, all waiting to release their voices with just a touch from a drummer.

Each drum style, is unique in the way it looks, the sound it makes and in the way it is played.

A cuban drummer a   The Tubano, a tall floor standing drum, is played by used two beaters to hit the drum skin and by striking the hard straight side of the body with the beater handles.

A couple of djembe drummers   The Djembe, a goblet shaped drum from West Africa, is held between the legs, and is tilted slightly forward to allow the voice of the drum to escape through the bottom of its hollow body.  The drummer beats the drum skin with their open hands or the drum rim with their fingers.

a community drum with two frame drums  The community drum and the frame drums are used to keep the beat and set the pace for all the other drums.  Historically,  the frame drum is believed to have been styled after the original drum, which was developed from the grain sieves used by ancient agricultural communities.

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As the short hour flew by, everyone had an opportunity to try out each style of drum, and to play one of the percussion instruments which had been laid out on the floor in the centre of the circle.

a painted drum  We drummed for ourselves, we drummed for each other, and we drummed for those fleeing the fires in the north.  We energized our bodies, our minds, we played with our hearts and our spirits.  The room vibrated and bounced to the sounds we made.  Our faces broke out in smiles, our feet tapped in rhythm while our arms beat in time to each other.

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A flute soars    Karin Foster, a musician and a Circle of Rhythms drum circle volunteer generously treated us to two haunting melodies played on her American Indian Flute.

A mother listens to her daughter play a  We sat quietly and meditated as her energy and love filled the room.

I had a drumming good time and look forward to the next drum circle, but from the looks on the faces of the members sitting in the lounge as we left, the next circle will need more chairs and more drums.

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Cheryle – May 2016

Originally published in the  Ogden House 50+ Seniors Activity Club – June Newsletter

 

 

THE 1st MY CIRCLE OF FRIENDS HEALING FAIR & TRADE SHOW

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Saturday, November 21st, 2015, was the debut of a new healing fair and trade show “My Circle of Friends Healing Fair and Trade Show”.  I believe it was a success.

The event provided my friends an opportunity to “Dip their Toes into the Water” of the healing fairs and trade show experience. Many had never before hosted a table where they promoted themselves as a healing practitioner, an artisan or an entrepreneur. One or two participants, extremely experienced, generously helped out their newly befriended colleagues with advice and gentle support.

Held at Ogden House Seniors 50+ Activity Club the market vendors discovered new friends whose interests complemented their own, met with potential clients and introduced them to the many services and products being offered.

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We had an eclectic group of presenters; Brenda Harll, Senior Move Management Specialist II at Boomers & Zoomers Inc., explained how you too can be a “CLUTTERBUSTER”, Yvette Falconer, a Qi Gong Master and Instructor from Qi Gong Wisdom, led the audience in a series of Qi Gong movements and Heather Driedger, an Angel Empowerment Practitioner of Heathers Health Coaching, gave an inspiring talk on how to invite and Connect with your Angels every day.

The guests who joined us were also treated to:

  • The beautiful and unconventional live pine bough and copper ribbon wreath designs and jewellery fashioned by Jenniefer Milot Pickup of Designs by JMP;
  • The colourful and thoughtful paintings, the nature sourced necklaces and earrings created by native artisan Lee Deranger;
  • the soft tactile Fabric Creations designed and sewn by Brenda Cullum;
  • the gentle touch of Sara Dishke of Libra Wellness Inc., a Certified Bowen Therapy Practitioner and the glint ‘n’ glitter of her pendant jewellery;
  • the Intuitive Spiritual Guidance and Energy Balancing and Steeped Tea offered by Deirdre of Gaia’s Natural Therapies;
  • Food Allergy Testing by Kinesiologist Jackie Hooton of Heavenly Healings; and
  • The insightful artwork of Kim Szuta of inspiredART.

Jackie Hooton

Ogden House, a private members club located in the community of Ogden in southeast Calgary, hosted, “The Fare Café” in which 100% of the revenue will be donated to support Canadian Veterans. The Fare Café served several selections of sandwiches, including the most popular Egg Salad, Veggie and Fruit Plates and of course a plate of sweet shortbreads, Nanaimo bars and Gingerbread men, and coffee and tea. The Ogden House volunteers worked diligently setting up the auditorium, making, serving food and beverages, and cleaning up after the event.  I am sure Canadian Veterans will be grateful for this unexpected donation.

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Over all everyone received what they needed and more.  Some learned lessons in order to grow and others earned and gained new clients.  In general everyone enjoyed the event.

Please keep your eyes open for the next  “Circle of Friends Healing Fair and Trade Show.

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Cheryle L. Baker – Author, Photography, Creator and Promoter of My Circle of Friends Healing Fair and Trade Show

November 23, 2015

 

 

ALBERTA THAI CANADIAN ASSN 2015 STAMPEDE FLOAT

This year marks the first float entry by the Alberta Thai-Canadian Association into the World Famous Calgary Stampede Parade.

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The parade kicks off the city’s 10 crazy days of its’ western heritage celebration.   During good years, businesses shut down, parties rage, bulls are ridden and Stampede Park hosts thousands of visitors each day.  During poor years, businesses slow down, parties pop, bull is spoken and Stampede Park hosts thousands of visitors each day.

Participation in the Parade is a triumph for the businesses and non-profits who are lucky enough to be approved entry.  It means millions of people will see your float live or broadcast on TV.  The possibility of increased business because of the exposure can be translated into additional clients, revenue or membership. Not to mention the bragging rights that come with the acceptance of entry and the anticipation of receiving the coveted Best Float designation given by the Parade Judges.

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The current President of the Alberta Thai Canadian Association (ATCA) is an intelligent, tour de force woman, who has a definite vision of what the Association can achieve and the road map to its success.  She is able to rally the membership to whole heartedly strive to execute new ideas in order to deftly move their organization into the diverse cultural arena that makes up Calgary’s multi-national population.

ATCA Entry on the way

The ATCA entry, conceived out of love for their homeland Thailand and their desire to share it with the world, brought together over 100 people to create. Visionaries, organizers, planners, designers, builders, choreographers and audio specialists spent months working to achieve their dream of the beautiful float following the 80 people representing different aspects of Thai culture.

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The Thailand Sign Bearer, a young Thai woman dressed in a gold Thai Chakkraphat, led the way gaily waving, smiling and enjoining the audience to visit Thailand, if just for a moment. Next came the ATAC Banner adorned by the Serpent of Thailand and carried by four ladies.  Dressed in traditional Nung long skirts and Sabai shawls, they walked in front of two young men also in traditional dress who carried the Canadian and Thai flags.

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Following the Banner and the Flag Bearers were Thai and Canadian ladies in traditional dress carrying gold and silver Pan Pum offering statues.

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Next in line were the talented Thai and Canadian dancers who like fluid colour flowed along the parade route.  Their colourful outfits sparkled and jingled in the hot Alberta sun as they moved through the intricate dance steps to the music booming from the speakers mounted in the float.

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The last performers, the Muay Thai Boxers, like the protectors of Thailands honour, walked before the float.  Men, women and children throwing kicks, popping punches and entertaining the audience with their fighting antics.

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The last vision of Thailand on the parade route was the ATCA Float, drawn by a well camouflaged truck covered in fabric, ribbons and glitter.

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The float was adorned with a large triangular Golden Stupa, strategically placed amoung colourful exotic flowers and beautiful Thai ladies representing the 4 corners of Thailand. The lovely ladies, each outfitted in the traditional dress of their area waved and proudly exemplified the loving and generous nature of the Thai people.  A golden goddess waved from the centre of the float, representing a unified Thailand shining like a bright light out of the east.

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The passing of the float signaled the end of the ATCA entry, the audience members fondly waved and smiled as they watched a small piece of Thailand move further along the parade route.

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The Alberta Thai Canadian Association entry may not have won any official awards from the Parade Judges, but the award of confidence and success they won in their hearts is untouchable and immeasurable.

Cheryle July 2015

THE 2015 MULTI-CULTURAL FIESTA

THE MULTI-CULTURAL FIESTA – June 26 2015

Every year Ogden House 50+ Seniors Activity Club and the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society celebrate the multi-cultural heritage of their senior members.  It is a wonderful event in which seniors from all over the world, who now live in Calgary, come together for a pot luck and to share the unique cultures through dress, entertainment and food.

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I enjoy attending this particular event, as I can sense the seniors excitement as they fill the room, visit with their long time friends and meet new ones.  It is contagious.

INTRODUCTIONS

What is your name and where are you from?

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This year a minimum of 11 countries were represented.  Brazil, Guatemala, Korea, Nigeria, Poland, Denmark, England, Japan, Vietnam, Mexico, Nicaragua and a few others that I cannot remember.

ENTERTAINMENT:  Some of the groups practice their showcase performances for months before the fiesta.  Others have the confidence to wing it.

MUSICAL INTERLUDES

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SINGERS

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DANCERS

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HISTORICAL TALES & POETRY

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DOOR PRIZES & WINNERS

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POT LUCK LUNCH

For lunch, everyone brings an food item from their home country.  The auditorium fills with the smells of cooking from all over the world.  Noodles,  enchiladas, casseroles, Cornish pasties, cabbage rolls, chicken, rice, sandwiches, samosas, salads and fragrant desserts, their aromas mingle in the air to create an exquisite scent all of its own.  I made Canadian style Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad, it is my own version where all the ingredients are purchased from a store in Canada, therefore, as far as I’m concerned it is a Canadian dish.

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I find it exciting to see the dances,  hear the music and taste the delicious food from other countries.  It satisfies my worldly curiosity.

Cheryle  July 2015

Day 1 – 5-Day Black & White Photo Challenge

I have been challenged to post the 5 Day Black & White Photo Challenge by my blogging buddy hirundine608 of http://needleatseabottom.com/.  The criteria are to post a black & white photo for the next five day and invite another blogger to participate each day.  I have accepted this challenge.

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As for the second part of the challenge:  I nominate:  Donna George of Donna George Blogs.  I enjoy the photos on your blog and thought you might enjoy the challenge.   There is no pressure,  If you don’t want or are not able to participate.