A Woman's Voice


“If we all did things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” ~ Thomas Edison

“So many of us limit our praying because we are not reckless in our confidence of God. In the eyes of those who do not know God, it is madness to trust Him, but when we pray in the Holy Ghost we begin to realize the resources of God, that He is our perfect heavenly Father, and we are His children.” ~ Oswald Chambers


MEMORY LANE ~ On Saving Memories ~ September 14, 2011 by Sally Gilchrest-Unrau

Posted in MEMORY LANE by doloresayotte on September 14, 2011
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A Wo-Man’s Voice

Everyone has a story. Some of them get told, some get written down, but there are those that settle in the minds of their owners …remain there for years…and never get shared. Those stories instead …are the lost ones. As the generations pass on… it is impossible to imagine the millions of interesting stories that have never been told.

A writer friend of mine published a book…Faspa… that is full of memories…stories that were told to her by family and friends…it was a wonderful way for her to capture people’s memories. A wonderful way to give people a chance to remember them…a wonderful way to give their stories a permanent place in the world.

I read that book and it made me think about my parents…wondering what stories they might have had but never shared…what kinds of memories they might have safely tucked away…waiting for the right person to show interest…waiting for the right time…the time that never came. My parents passed away a number of years ago…and I was either too young…too busy…or just not interested in their stories until recently…. and now those stories are lost forever.

As a three-time breast cancer survivor…life, mortality and death became topics of daily thought for me… cancer made me wonder about my stories  …I began to think of all the stories I had to tell…mostly to my daughter…Will she too… be either too young, too busy or just not interested enough in them enough until it is too late???…I wondered if after my death… would she wish she had taken the time to ask me about them like I now do about my parents???

Instead of wondering any longer I bought a new journal and began to write. I wrote to her about me…. about her…and about our lives together…I wrote to her about the day she was born and the day she went to her first concert without permission. I wrote to her about her dad and her step dad… I wrote and I wrote and after the first journal was full I bought another and another.

I haven’t written in those journals lately…but…I know I will…. And when the day comes that I am gone…and that will occur …my hope is that my daughter will find my journals and I hope she will enjoy reading my stories…my memories .For me, my journals are a small piece of me that I can leave behind… and when she reads my words… I hope she will see my face and hear my voice …and I hope that my stories will answer some of the missing question she may have about her life and mine.

Thank you Sally for such an insightful and touching post.

Sally is the Author of  the delightful children’s book, Sam’s Weird Afternoon



THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY ~ Genetics And Depression ~ March 10, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

Posted in THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY by doloresayotte on March 10, 2011
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Over thirty six years ago I gave birth to twin daughters. I didn’t even know I was having twins until the day I went into labor. You can well imagine our surprise and delight. Our two-year old daughter was equally delighted with her two new baby sisters.  Soon after I gave birth, many people asked me if twins ran in my family.  I answered, “not to my knowledge”.  Shortly after that I heard from extended family members that there were indeed many sets of twins on both my husband’s and my side of the family.  I only discovered this fact later on in life because now this information had more relevance to my particular situation.

In some of my recent posts, I’ve been discussing the topic of depression. I have briefly touched on the premise that depression can be anger turned inward.  Today, I am going to discuss another opinion I have about depression. I am no medical professional. This is only a personal opinion based on my own experience with depression.

Perhaps, you have already been exposed to the word “predisposition” .  This is the word I am going to use to elaborate on what I refer to as the genetic link to depression. We have already heard, when referring to the medical model, that certain physical illnesses are genetically linked like heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and so on. Due to this genetic link we might be more apt to get or inherit these diseases from our ancestors.  I think that a similar analogy can also be made with other illnesses like depression. When I suffered my severe bout with depression in my early thirties, I had a better look as to why I was suffering from depression when many of my peers were not.  This realization was similar to when I gave birth to twins. I learned that many of my family members had also suffered in a similar way.  When this debilitating illness became more relevant to me, I had a better look. In doing so, I discovered that there seemed to be a genetic link because there was a long list of family members who shared my plight.

I came to the conclusion that one of my genetic weaknesses had to do with depression. I now refer to this as my “genetic predisposition” to this particular condition.  To me, it is no different from any other genes that we might inherit.  In my opinion, having this “predisposition” does not necessarily mean that we will suffer from depression or other forms of mental illness. What it does mean is that we might have the propensity to be depressed if a traumatic event occurs in our lives to “trigger” an episode.  Such traumatic events may include the after effects of combat, the death of a loved one, divorce, job loss, financial woes, stress, etc. Some of these events are impossible to control and can have a devastating effect on those with  a “predisposition” to depression. 

According to Nancy Schimelpfening,  “The causes of depression are not entirely understood, but are thought to be multi-factorial. Studies indicate that depression is, at least in part, an inherited condition involving abnormalities in neurotransmitter functioning. Although inheritance is an important factor in major depression, it does not account for all cases of depression, implying that environmental factors may either play an important causal role or exacerbate underlying genetic vulnerabilities.”

In a perfect world where there were no traumatic events, possibly there would be no depression. I don’t know.  I do know however,  that this is not a perfect world.  Although, we have no control over our genetic make-up, in a lot of instances we do have some control over the “triggers” that may cause our possible depression. From my personal frame of reference, this was what I have strived to achieve in overcoming my own depression. What I am basically saying here is this. If you suffer from symptoms of depression, the best course of action is to try to figure out what is causing it.  This is the first step. After that, you may just succeed in figuring out what to do about it.  If the “triggers” are within your power to control or avoid, your depression may also be managed more effectively. What do you think?        

MY FATHER’S PARTING GIFT — August 23, 2010 by Sharon Smyth

Posted in A WOMAN'S VOICE,MEMORY LANE by doloresayotte on August 23, 2010
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A Wo-Man’s Voice  

I grew up in a small prairie town with my parents and 3 siblings. The four of us kids spanned 17 years – I was in Grade 12 when my little brother arrived. In between was another brother – 3 years younger than me and a sister – 10 years younger than me.  Needless to say – my mother had her hands full. There always seemed to be diapers on the clothes line!

Our grandparents lived on a story book farm on the river – 2 miles out-of-town. We had a very close relationship with them –  birthdays and Christmases were always celebrated at the farm. Every summer, when school was out, my brother and I would hop on our bikes and off we would ride to the farm. We explored every inch of those 100 acres and knew every animal that moved. Then we built a wooden raft and paddled down the river. We were free and our imaginations ran wild! One day we were explorers in the jungle on our raft, and the next day we would be in the hayloft searching for baby kittens , even though Grandpa said there were none. All this without any adult supervision – we only returned home when we got hungry. Mother was glad she didn’t have to amuse us as the garden took up most of her time in the summer.

This continued on till we finally had to grow up and move on to adulthood. Our visits to the farm were limited now as we no longer lived nearby and our free time was replaced with work, marriage, mortgages, etc.  

After my grandparents died, my parents moved to the farm. It was always my Dad’s dream to spend his retirement years on the farm where he was born and raised. My baby brother was now in high school and was fortunate to be able to live there with my parents for a few years before he too had to move on.  My sister also spent a fair bit of time there as she travelled frequently and used the farm as her home base.  Her cat became the farm mouser.

One day last summer, my baby brother was home on vacation and took my Dad  fishing.  

My Dad fainted on the way and a quick trip to emergency resulted in many tests, ending with a diagnosis of brain cancer. Prognosis – 2 months to live. Our world was shattered.

My dad was fortunately able to spend his few remaining days at his beloved farm with me and my siblings visiting weekly.

What would become of our precious farm? My mother at this time had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and although she was quite functional, my Dad was the main caregiver.  Our stress levels were rising. My Father passed away on August 6th, 2009. My sister stayed at the farm with my Mom till she was placed in the nursing home in town.

All of us siblings knew that the farm had been homesteaded by my grandparents over 80 years ago and nothing was ever thrown out. At one time we had approached my father about starting to clean out some of the buildings and his exact words were: “When I’m dead and gone you can do whatever you like!” When would we find time to go through all of it? Every building was packed to the rafters with “stuff” – some junk, some treasures. Well, reality set in and we set dates to meet and start the cleaning out process. 

As siblings we saw each other when we could – family events mainly, as we were living in different cities and had our own lives. Now we were going to be spending weeks at a time together. Would we get through it? My biggest concern was that it would somehow hurt our family relationship as we had not spent this much time together since we all lived at home. We decided to stay at the farm and work morning till night. And, that’s what happened – it was a whirlwind. It was heart wrenching for all of us but we reminisced, laughed, cried, and worked! It was one of my best vacations and our family is better connected than ever!

The day of the auction arrived and we sold everything – it’s true – one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Then we sadly put up the “For Sale” sign. The real estate listing said: “Quaint property with an awesome view overlooking water, wildlife and meadows”. She described it perfectly – our childhood retreat!

A year to the date of my Father’s funeral, we sold the farm. It was over, but the good times we had will live in our memories forever and our family was intact. While the death of my father was very sad, the task he left us to perform became his parting gift to his children.

Thank you so much Sharon for sharing such a lovely, heartwarming story with us. 




RECEIVING LINE — July 28, 2010 by Violet Nesdoly

Posted in MEMORY LANE by doloresayotte on July 28, 2010
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In the last few days I’ve been looking through old photos to assemble an album for an upcoming family reunion.  Studying the familiar faces, now gone, reminds me of their lives. For example, there’s Aunt Helen. Let me tell you a bit about her.

 My first memories of my mom’s younger sister are the flannelgraph stories she told us and the Wordless Book song she sang. When she came for a visit, Mom had her hands full keeping us from barging into her room first thing in the morning to see what magic she had in her suitcase.You see, Aunt Helen wanted to be a missionary. When she was turned down, she became a missionary to the kids of Saskatchewan where she worked with Child Evangelism Fellowship and organized and taught Good News Clubs wherever she lived.She was one of my maiden aunts – a single state which, at the time, seemed irrevocable. So everyone was amazed when she announced, the year she was 61, she was getting married (to an also never-married Dutch farmer from Grande Prairie, Alberta). “I’m sweet 61 and never been kissed,” she said with a self-conscious giggle.

You never saw a more in-love couple than Uncle Dick and Aunt Helen. She was a little bit of a thing – about 4′ 10″ and under 100 pounds. Uncle Dick said about her: “She’s a little woman, but she fills the house.” 

Together they supported missionaries all over the world with money, prayers, and hospitality. She prayed for her nieces and nephews – and there were many – mentioning each by name at least once a week. She also never lost her adeptness at finding a place in conversation to slip in a question about how things were with you and the Lord, and then handing you a tract from her stash.

She and Uncle Dick would go for an early morning walk every day and pray for the people they passed. The pastor officiating at her memorial said, “Any unsaved person walking that stretch of road was marked.”Aunt Helen’s world came crashing down when Uncle Dick died in 2002. Shortly after that, she went blind. But though she never had any natural children, the love she poured into others came back to support her in the daily visits of her adopted family and my brother. 

As she entered heaven I can just imagine how her face lit up as she caught sight of Uncle Dick, saw all the things her prayers and giving had accomplished, and then met all the people (kids and adults) she’d led to Jesus. Though at times her directness in talking about spiritual things embarrassed me and put me on the spot, I think she had her priorities right. Seeing her face again in the last few days had me asking, who will be in my receiving line when I arrive in heaven? 

(Adapted from “Don’t I know you?” first published on the blog promptings February 13, 2005)

© 2010 by Violet Nesdoly

Thank you so much Violet for sharing such a heartwarming story with us. It is such a wonderful story.

Violet Nesdoly is a freelance writer who lives in Langley B.C. Her stories, poems, reviews, articles and activities have been published in a variety of print and online publications. Her 2010 project is blogging daily devotions at Other Food: daily devo’s

Web: http://violetnesdoly.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/vnesdoly



MILESTONE BIRTHDAYS — June 21, 2010 by Barry Merrell

Posted in A WOMAN'S VOICE,WORDS OF WISDOM ~ A MAN'S VOICE by doloresayotte on June 21, 2010
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   A Wo-Man’s Voice 

I recently celebrated my 65th birthday. My wife, Lorraine, knows that I am not big on celebrating birthdays and I am really not thrilled about “surprise” birthday parties. I warned her in advance and she agreed to keep it small and simple. I trusted her.

On my birthday, the 5 family members she said were coming for dinner arrived at the front door on time and I thought that was the end of it. Little did I know!

It was a beautiful day and we went outside, sat on some lawn chairs, and enjoyed a birthday drink. Soon, a couple more family members arrived. Lorraine played dumb and said that she sort of opened it up if a few more family wanted to come. Then – a few more and a few more.

I admit that I can be a little slow at times, but I did finally put  it all together.

The day was topped off by my brother Lyle and his wife Sally attending, two of my ex old-timers hockey linemates showing up as well as a long distance phone call from my brother Don in Vancouver and an old hockey buddy in Henderson (Las Vegas), Nevada.


The next day, after I had a chance to reflect on everything, I realized how fortunate I am to have family and friends who would give up a week-end Sunday afternoon to attend a birthday bash for me.

So, at the end of the day, I still am not a big fan of surprise parties. But, I have to admit, Lorraine you got me good.

In this case, thank you for not listening to me. It was an absolutely marvellous day.

Just make sure you never do that again!
Love, Barry

Thank you Barry for sharing such a personal side of yourself with us and for being such a good sport about this birthday surprise! 🙂

Barry and Lorraine live in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Barry is employed by SunLife Financial as a Sales Manager.



“Happy times and bygone days are never lost…In truth, they grow more wonderful within the heart that keeps them.”  (Kay Andrew)


MOTIVATION — June 20, 2010

Posted in INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES AND ANECDOTES by doloresayotte on June 20, 2010
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“Any person who recognizes this greatest power…the power to choose…Begins to realize that he is the one that is doing the choosing and that friends, although they mean well, cannot do his choosing for him, nor can his relatives. Consequently, he develops real self-confidence based upon his own ability, upon his own actions, and upon his own initiative.”  (J. Martin Kohe)

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