Sonya Braun

Sonya Braun

Springfield North community correspondent

 Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North.

Recent articles of Sonya Braun

De-stressing before winter arrives

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De-stressing before winter arrives

Sonya Braun 3 minute read Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022

I don’t know what your October was like, but mine felt like the fall train went off the tracks.

First were the dentist appointments. I had been procrastinating on that for the past two years. Not a good choice apparently. The crisis sent me down some research rabbit holes, distracting me and eating up my time. It is amazing the wisdom of people in the kinds of foods they traditionally ate to stay healthy and have strong teeth and just as important, the way they prepared it. (I did get a second opinion, at the encouragement of my neighbour, and there was a better alternative available).

Then, my kids were sick for a week, followed by the parents. As is my custom when the nose runs profusely, I felt cold sores coming on — the worst ever. More research and trying remedies. Providentially, the one remedy I bought for post-dental work was also indicated for cold sores and made the biggest difference.

While recovering, I started watching a video series by someone who healed himself of cancer.

Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022

Dreamstime

Taking a walk — by yourself or with your family — before or after supper, is a wonderful stress reliever.

It’s harvest time on the Prairies

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It’s harvest time on the Prairies

Sonya Braun 3 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 21, 2022

At the end of August, I snatched up the opportunity to hitch a ride with my brother to our hometown in Saskatchewan as he returned to help with combining. I brought my youngest son along, as well.

It was a glorious time to see family and return to my roots. But it was also a reminder of the ups and downs of farming and the determination and grit required.

The plan was to do about three days’ worth of combining, get a few odd jobs done, and return to Winnipeg. (My brother’s fields had been destroyed by hail and/or diminished by grasshoppers and lack of rain to the point of being a write-off, so he only had to help my mostly-retired Dad with his field of durum wheat).

There was some time to get the machinery ready, and then came the rain. And more rain. Those dry Saskatchewan plains got their first real rain since June — a whole inch! Although farmers prefer rain after crops are in the bin, this rain was something to be thankful for.

Wednesday, Sep. 21, 2022

A trip home to help out on the family farm was a reminder of the hard work and difficulties that farmers face each season.

Appreciating the beauty of nature

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Appreciating the beauty of nature

Sonya Braun 3 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022

Do you enjoy flowers?

As I walk in my neighbourhood, I admire people’s creativity. Some yards are carefully landscaped with perfect perennials, shrubs, and grasses. Some need a bit of attention to rein in the weeds. And some shout, “I love flowers”. Kind of like my mom’s yard. She loves to plant passels and passels of annuals because they bloom all summer and give her joy.

I am a mix of all three. I long for tidy, well-placed, easy-to-maintain plantings — and I did get closer to that in a flowerbed I overhauled this spring. There is still a lot of “wildness” in my yard, which is fun but could use some restraining. But I love the bright cheeriness of flowers, and my neighbours tell me they enjoy what I’ve planted as well.

I also love wildflowers.

Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022

Some gardens simply shout “I love flowers!”

Making the most of Manitoba summers

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Making the most of Manitoba summers

Sonya Braun 3 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 29, 2022

The record-high heat last week kept us in our house, despite it not being air-conditioned, while my friend from India was having a great time at Grand Beach. While it’s true that some of us fare worse than others when it’s hot, I have to stop and ask myself, “Why do I tend to stay indoors when the weather isn’t just right?”

Do you do this, too? Or are you an all-weather, outdoors kind of person?

Up until recently, it has been so easy for me to get outside and work in the yard, something I love doing. Now, it’s getting all complicated (can you tell I tend to over-think?) with the addition of extreme heat and humidity, and the onslaught of mosquitoes. Yet, haven’t I spent enough time in my house over the past two years? I need help!

My hope has been, that maybe if we don’t have our air conditioner replaced, not only will we save money on utilities, we will also get outside more in the summer. Maybe not the straightforward solution I was thinking.

Wednesday, Jun. 29, 2022

The record-high heat last week kept us in our house, despite it not being air-conditioned, while my friend from India was having a great time at Grand Beach. While it’s true that some of us fare worse than others when it’s hot, I have to stop and ask myself, “Why do I tend to stay indoors when the weather isn’t just right?”

Do you do this, too? Or are you an all-weather, outdoors kind of person?

Up until recently, it has been so easy for me to get outside and work in the yard, something I love doing. Now, it’s getting all complicated (can you tell I tend to over-think?) with the addition of extreme heat and humidity, and the onslaught of mosquitoes. Yet, haven’t I spent enough time in my house over the past two years? I need help!

My hope has been, that maybe if we don’t have our air conditioner replaced, not only will we save money on utilities, we will also get outside more in the summer. Maybe not the straightforward solution I was thinking.

It’s time to build and rebuild our communities

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It’s time to build and rebuild our communities

Sonya Braun 3 minute read Wednesday, May. 18, 2022

I’m so excited about the warmth and sunshine ahead! With the past two years and the longest, coldest, snowiest winter behind us, I am looking forward to spending time outside and figuring out ways to get together with friends and neighbours.

Springfield North, with its nearby trails and retention pond, naturally draws me out of my house to enjoy walking, biking, and kayaking. I celebrated Mother’s Day by making good use of those opportunities. How refreshing it was to pull all the gear out from storage and get into motion.

After getting to know my neighbours a bit this winter, I’m imagining ways that we can hang out this summer. There’s nothing better for conversation than relaxing by a fire. I want to do that more this year.

I know one neighbour misses weekly gatherings since moving to our street. Maybe we can bring the barbecue to the front yard and have a community potluck feast. Maybe more than one.

Wednesday, May. 18, 2022

After two years of social distancing and isolation, many of us yearn to connect and reconnect.

Revisiting the joys of family

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Revisiting the joys of family

Sonya Braun 3 minute read Wednesday, Apr. 6, 2022

Family. It may not be a positive word for everyone, but it is for me. Today, I am especially grateful my kids were able to visit their grandparents at spring break.

Why is family important? What is so meaningful about spending time together?

Family is about shared history. Memories made together, in the best of times and the worst of times. There’s something special about saying, “Remember when?”

Family is about belonging and roots. A place to launch from and a place to come back to. A place where I am welcome and cared for.

Wednesday, Apr. 6, 2022

As the snow melts and we can together again, one of the best things will be the joy of family togetherness.
Dreamstime.com

Bridging the divide between ‘us’ and ‘them’

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Bridging the divide between ‘us’ and ‘them’

Sonya Braun 5 minute read Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022

Bridges. What do they do? Connect people on the opposites sides of a divide by allowing them to cross that divide.How we need bridges and bridge-builders in this time.It’s not easy building bridges. Especially over tumultuous or icy waters. Bridge-builders must understand the environmental factors. They must persevere through obstacles, including their own fear. Sometimes, as with the Confederation Bridge connecting Prince Edward Island to the rest of Canada, it can be quite a process just to decide whether to build a bridge or keep things as they are (that story can be found here: www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/confederation-bridge).Back to the present situation. The divide started gradually over the past year as people began making different choices about the vaccines that became available. Then, when vaccine mandates and passports came into being (it wasn’t that long ago), the divide became much deeper. And we can hardly recall the former days when this wasn’t so.So, what do we tend to do when there is a divide? We stick to the people on our side and view the others from a distance. When we hear something we disagree with on social media, we either stay silent or argue back, while staying firmly on “our side”. We develop an “us and them” mentality. I was recently convicted of this while listening to a sermon at church on love. The pastor declared there is no “us and them” with love — at least the kind of love described in 1 Corinthians 13, which in Greek is known as “agape”. That statement stopped me in my tracks. Was it true? I didn’t want to believe it, for I would have to change. I would have to change how I comment on Facebook, how I look at people who think differently, how I interact with them. I started to ask myself: What will my motivation be? What outcome will I desire? How will I treat people? How will I speak of people to others? Will I believe the best about them? Will I keep no record of wrongs? Will I be patient and kind, not easily angered? That day, the sermon changed my approach online. I had to stop and start over a couple of times. It’s hard to change! It will be a process, but an important one.Will you join me and others in bridge-building? Start conversations with your first intent being to understand. Listen to people’s stories. And maybe, we can come back together, crossing the divide, and move forward in greater strength and unity.Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield 

Bridges. What do they do? Connect people on the opposites sides of a divide by allowing them to cross that divide.

How we need bridges and bridge-builders in this time.

It’s not easy building bridges. Especially over tumultuous or icy waters. Bridge-builders must understand the environmental factors. They must persevere through obstacles, including their own fear. Sometimes, as with the Confederation Bridge connecting Prince Edward Island to the rest of Canada, it can be quite a process just to decide whether to build a bridge or keep things as they are (that story can be found here: www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/confederation-bridge).

Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022

Bridges. What do they do? Connect people on the opposites sides of a divide by allowing them to cross that divide.How we need bridges and bridge-builders in this time.It’s not easy building bridges. Especially over tumultuous or icy waters. Bridge-builders must understand the environmental factors. They must persevere through obstacles, including their own fear. Sometimes, as with the Confederation Bridge connecting Prince Edward Island to the rest of Canada, it can be quite a process just to decide whether to build a bridge or keep things as they are (that story can be found here: www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/confederation-bridge).Back to the present situation. The divide started gradually over the past year as people began making different choices about the vaccines that became available. Then, when vaccine mandates and passports came into being (it wasn’t that long ago), the divide became much deeper. And we can hardly recall the former days when this wasn’t so.So, what do we tend to do when there is a divide? We stick to the people on our side and view the others from a distance. When we hear something we disagree with on social media, we either stay silent or argue back, while staying firmly on “our side”. We develop an “us and them” mentality. I was recently convicted of this while listening to a sermon at church on love. The pastor declared there is no “us and them” with love — at least the kind of love described in 1 Corinthians 13, which in Greek is known as “agape”. That statement stopped me in my tracks. Was it true? I didn’t want to believe it, for I would have to change. I would have to change how I comment on Facebook, how I look at people who think differently, how I interact with them. I started to ask myself: What will my motivation be? What outcome will I desire? How will I treat people? How will I speak of people to others? Will I believe the best about them? Will I keep no record of wrongs? Will I be patient and kind, not easily angered? That day, the sermon changed my approach online. I had to stop and start over a couple of times. It’s hard to change! It will be a process, but an important one.Will you join me and others in bridge-building? Start conversations with your first intent being to understand. Listen to people’s stories. And maybe, we can come back together, crossing the divide, and move forward in greater strength and unity.Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield 

Bridges. What do they do? Connect people on the opposites sides of a divide by allowing them to cross that divide.

How we need bridges and bridge-builders in this time.

It’s not easy building bridges. Especially over tumultuous or icy waters. Bridge-builders must understand the environmental factors. They must persevere through obstacles, including their own fear. Sometimes, as with the Confederation Bridge connecting Prince Edward Island to the rest of Canada, it can be quite a process just to decide whether to build a bridge or keep things as they are (that story can be found here: www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/confederation-bridge).

Here’s to 2022…

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Here’s to 2022…

Sonya Braun 5 minute read Friday, Jan. 7, 2022

 

As we enter 2022, I feel like celebrating all things good and right in the hope that we can recover these qualities in the new year. Kind of like proposing a toast to a year that has yet to reveal itself, as if it were the best year ever.So, here’s to 2022, a year of rediscovering the joy of community and togetherness, free of barriers and suspicion and full of satisfying connection.Here’s to 2022, a year of releasing fear’s grip on our minds and embracing courage for our hearts, that we may press on in every circumstance, rather than shrink back.Here’s to 2022, a year of remembering the other — whether stranger, enemy, or friend — with compassion and empathy, for everyone is fighting their own battles.Here’s to 2022, a year of restoring justice and making things right where wrongs have prevailed, where humility brings admission, apology, and restitution — and forgiveness bridges the remaining gap.Here’s to 2022, a year of resolving to seek and speak the truth, for without truth there is no clear picture of good and evil or right and wrong — no accountability, no justice and therefore no freedom.Here’s to 2022, a year of reviving the art of hospitality — of reaching out beyond our immediate circles and inviting others in.Here’s to 2022, a year of renewing our spirits through time spent in the beauty of the outdoors, in prayer and meditation, and away from the clamouring world of constant busyness, entertainment, and information.Here’s to 2022, a year of recognizing the importance of purpose and contribution in life — knowing what we are alive for — and contemplation of what happens after we die — is there more?Here’s to 2022, a year of responding to the needs around us and resourcing those who are struggling with mental health or addictions, in financial or relational crisis, being abused or neglected, despairing or lonely.Here’s to 2022, a year of resolving to travel a different path from past years — a path narrower and less travelled, requiring steadiness and perseverance and a hope and trust beyond oneself.Here’s to 2022. A brand new calendar and a fresh start. A chance to reflect. A chance to renovate. How will we be part of creating much-needed goodness this year? Aspirations are only the beginning. Hard work is required. It is not easy to change. We must admit something is wrong with what has become normal. We must be willing to leave the comforts of the familiar. And when even that is not enough, we must acknowledge our own inability and pray for strength to do what is right, reaching out to others for support.Here’s to a truly new year in 2022.Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North. 

As we enter 2022, I feel like celebrating all things good and right in the hope that we can recover these qualities in the new year. Kind of like proposing a toast to a year that has yet to reveal itself, as if it were the best year ever.

So, here’s to 2022, a year of rediscovering the joy of community and togetherness, free of barriers and suspicion and full of satisfying connection.

Friday, Jan. 7, 2022

 

As we enter 2022, I feel like celebrating all things good and right in the hope that we can recover these qualities in the new year. Kind of like proposing a toast to a year that has yet to reveal itself, as if it were the best year ever.So, here’s to 2022, a year of rediscovering the joy of community and togetherness, free of barriers and suspicion and full of satisfying connection.Here’s to 2022, a year of releasing fear’s grip on our minds and embracing courage for our hearts, that we may press on in every circumstance, rather than shrink back.Here’s to 2022, a year of remembering the other — whether stranger, enemy, or friend — with compassion and empathy, for everyone is fighting their own battles.Here’s to 2022, a year of restoring justice and making things right where wrongs have prevailed, where humility brings admission, apology, and restitution — and forgiveness bridges the remaining gap.Here’s to 2022, a year of resolving to seek and speak the truth, for without truth there is no clear picture of good and evil or right and wrong — no accountability, no justice and therefore no freedom.Here’s to 2022, a year of reviving the art of hospitality — of reaching out beyond our immediate circles and inviting others in.Here’s to 2022, a year of renewing our spirits through time spent in the beauty of the outdoors, in prayer and meditation, and away from the clamouring world of constant busyness, entertainment, and information.Here’s to 2022, a year of recognizing the importance of purpose and contribution in life — knowing what we are alive for — and contemplation of what happens after we die — is there more?Here’s to 2022, a year of responding to the needs around us and resourcing those who are struggling with mental health or addictions, in financial or relational crisis, being abused or neglected, despairing or lonely.Here’s to 2022, a year of resolving to travel a different path from past years — a path narrower and less travelled, requiring steadiness and perseverance and a hope and trust beyond oneself.Here’s to 2022. A brand new calendar and a fresh start. A chance to reflect. A chance to renovate. How will we be part of creating much-needed goodness this year? Aspirations are only the beginning. Hard work is required. It is not easy to change. We must admit something is wrong with what has become normal. We must be willing to leave the comforts of the familiar. And when even that is not enough, we must acknowledge our own inability and pray for strength to do what is right, reaching out to others for support.Here’s to a truly new year in 2022.Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North. 

As we enter 2022, I feel like celebrating all things good and right in the hope that we can recover these qualities in the new year. Kind of like proposing a toast to a year that has yet to reveal itself, as if it were the best year ever.

So, here’s to 2022, a year of rediscovering the joy of community and togetherness, free of barriers and suspicion and full of satisfying connection.

Wishing you peace and joy this season

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Wishing you peace and joy this season

Sonya Braun 5 minute read Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021

 It’s December already. The snow is here to stay. Brightly lit Christmas trees glow from the windows of homes along my street. I love this time of year.I love the way people feel drawn to show care through sending and receiving cards, being generous with time and money to help those with less, and baking and sharing goodies with neighbours. I love how this holiday brings families together and makes kids smile.I especially love creating atmosphere. I can go a little crazy with Christmas lights and candles. And I love Christmas music. Music is a huge part of my life. I grew up in a musical family. Being Mennonite, there was a lot of singing — my Mom’s side even attempted to sing Handel’s Messiah one year, much to my husband’s amazement.When I want to set the mood, I look for the classics — the carols and songs that have stood the test of time. It’s fun to find Christmas CDs at the library — I am still old-school — or buy something new if I can. This year, my favourite borrowed albums feature Nat King Cole, Pentatonix and Johnny Reid.Music is such a wonderful gift. It can stir our emotions with its beauty and at the same time convey deep meaning through its message. It can transport us to other times and places: special times in our lives, places real and imagined, different points in history. It can also inspire us to lofty pursuits.As I prepared to write this article, I searched for “best Christmas carols” and came across a list of 30, top of which was O Holy Night. Written by Placide Cappeau and Adolphe Adams, with English translation by John Sullivan Dwight, it tells the story of the coming of Christ to the world with a soaring melody and profound yet down-to-earth lyrics.Here are a few of my favourite lines:“A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices”;“In all our trials born to be our friend”;“Truly He taught us to love one another;His law is love and His gospel is peace.”How timeless this song is. The world is still weary and in need of hope. We still face trials. We still need to be taught to love one another. For we still have a tendency to be self-centred. And we still have trouble in the world. But, as Jesus was quoted in John 16:33, “...take heart! I have overcome the world.” Hope in dark times.As Christmas approaches, will you take time to light some candles, put on some music and ponder in your heart the coming of Jesus into the world? Peace and joy to you this holy season.Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North.

It’s December already. The snow is here to stay. Brightly lit Christmas trees glow from the windows of homes along my street. I love this time of year.

I love the way people feel drawn to show care through sending and receiving cards, being generous with time and money to help those with less, and baking and sharing goodies with neighbours. I love how this holiday brings families together and makes kids smile.

I especially love creating atmosphere. I can go a little crazy with Christmas lights and candles. And I love Christmas music. 

Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021

Photo by Mike Sudoma / Winnipeg
The lights of the Red River Métis Heritage Centre (formerly the Bank of Montreal) at Portage and Main shine bright to remind us that Christmas season is here.

Instilling important values in the young

Sonya Braun 5 minute read Preview

Instilling important values in the young

Sonya Braun 5 minute read Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021

November is a month when we remember the importance of courage, honour, perseverance, leadership, duty and sacrifice and those who embodied these qualities — our veterans.How easy it is to forget. Are we teaching our children and grandchildren these values? Are we helping them learn about the people who have gone before? If you are like me, you need help. Don’t worry if Remembrance Day is past. This can be an ongoing mission.My first suggestion is to do an internet search for Veterans Affairs Canada Remembrance. There are biographies, stories, video interviews, podcasts, and classroom lesson plans to help  you learn about the contributions of Canadians from all walks of life.Did you know that Valour Road in Winnipeg got its name after three of its residents — Cpl. Leo Clarke, Sgt.-Maj. Frederick Hall,  and Lt. Robert Shankland —earned the Victoria Cross in the First World War? Only Shankland lived to see the street re-named in 1925. I learned that at www.thecandianencyclopedia.ca. Why we have a street named for Sgt. Tommy Prince can also be found on this site.Learning about the traits of great leaders can be inspiring for young people and www.leadershipgeeks.com is full of tools, stories, and blog posts about what it takes to lead. Dwight Eisenhower, American commander of the Allied Forces in the Second World War placed great importance on planning, persuasion, and keeping anger at bay in order to think clearly. His quotes reflect that he was a thinker:“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable;”“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it;”“The spirit of man is more important than mere physical strength, and the spiritual fibre of a nation than its wealth;”Sometimes, as in the life of Winston Churchill, it is what you do with your weaknesses that counts. Though Churchill did poorly in school, he never stopped learning. He stuttered early in life but overcame it and is remembered for his powerful speeches. His most famous quotes reflect his persevering attitude:“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty;”“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts;”“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”As we take time to remember those who fought, let us also think of ways to help the younger generation grow in perseverance, courage, honour, and leadership. That’s a legacy our veterans would fight for.Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North.

November is a month when we remember the importance of courage, honour, perseverance, leadership, duty and sacrifice and those who embodied these qualities — our veterans.

How easy it is to forget. Are we teaching our children and grandchildren these values? Are we helping them learn about the people who have gone before? If you are like me, you need help. Don’t worry if Remembrance Day is past. This can be an ongoing mission.

My first suggestion is to do an internet search for Veterans Affairs Canada Remembrance. There are biographies, stories, video interviews, podcasts, and classroom lesson plans to help  you learn about the contributions of Canadians from all walks of life.

Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021

November is a month when we remember the importance of courage, honour, perseverance, leadership, duty and sacrifice and those who embodied these qualities — our veterans.How easy it is to forget. Are we teaching our children and grandchildren these values? Are we helping them learn about the people who have gone before? If you are like me, you need help. Don’t worry if Remembrance Day is past. This can be an ongoing mission.My first suggestion is to do an internet search for Veterans Affairs Canada Remembrance. There are biographies, stories, video interviews, podcasts, and classroom lesson plans to help  you learn about the contributions of Canadians from all walks of life.Did you know that Valour Road in Winnipeg got its name after three of its residents — Cpl. Leo Clarke, Sgt.-Maj. Frederick Hall,  and Lt. Robert Shankland —earned the Victoria Cross in the First World War? Only Shankland lived to see the street re-named in 1925. I learned that at www.thecandianencyclopedia.ca. Why we have a street named for Sgt. Tommy Prince can also be found on this site.Learning about the traits of great leaders can be inspiring for young people and www.leadershipgeeks.com is full of tools, stories, and blog posts about what it takes to lead. Dwight Eisenhower, American commander of the Allied Forces in the Second World War placed great importance on planning, persuasion, and keeping anger at bay in order to think clearly. His quotes reflect that he was a thinker:“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable;”“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it;”“The spirit of man is more important than mere physical strength, and the spiritual fibre of a nation than its wealth;”Sometimes, as in the life of Winston Churchill, it is what you do with your weaknesses that counts. Though Churchill did poorly in school, he never stopped learning. He stuttered early in life but overcame it and is remembered for his powerful speeches. His most famous quotes reflect his persevering attitude:“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty;”“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts;”“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”As we take time to remember those who fought, let us also think of ways to help the younger generation grow in perseverance, courage, honour, and leadership. That’s a legacy our veterans would fight for.Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North.

November is a month when we remember the importance of courage, honour, perseverance, leadership, duty and sacrifice and those who embodied these qualities — our veterans.

How easy it is to forget. Are we teaching our children and grandchildren these values? Are we helping them learn about the people who have gone before? If you are like me, you need help. Don’t worry if Remembrance Day is past. This can be an ongoing mission.

My first suggestion is to do an internet search for Veterans Affairs Canada Remembrance. There are biographies, stories, video interviews, podcasts, and classroom lesson plans to help  you learn about the contributions of Canadians from all walks of life.

Let’s cultivate gratitude year-round

Sonya Braun 6 minute read Preview

Let’s cultivate gratitude year-round

Sonya Braun 6 minute read Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021

Giving thanks. Why is it so significant that we have a holiday dedicated to it? According to www.canadashistory.ca, Canada’s first “Thanksgiving” took place in 1578 as Martin Frobisher and crew gave thanks for a safe arrival on these shores. By the 1600s regular Thanksgiving feasts took place between the French and Mi’kmaq and included scurvy-preventing cranberries.Later, the Loyalists from down south introduced traditional foods like turkey and pumpkin/squash. After Remembrance Day was made a holiday following the First World War, the second Monday of October was declared to be “a day of general thanksgiving to almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed”. Cool history lesson, but why does giving thanks matter? What is the point of gratitude? And what if one doesn’t believe in God?A simple internet search will bring up an incredible amount of studies pointing to the benefits of gratitude. Gratitude is good for us. It’s good for our physical health in multiple ways, it’s good for our relationships, good for our personalities, good for our emotional/mental health, and even good for our careers (see www.happierhuman.com/benefits-of-gratitude). Should we seek to be grateful to reap the rewards? While that may help some get started, I think gratitude must be recognized for what it is, not what it can do. Gratitude is essentially recognizing the gifts we are given and giving thanks where it is due. What gets in the way of gratitude? Being blind to the gifts is a big one. Either we don’t see all the goodness around us at all, or we take it for granted, see it as owed to us, or view it as the result of our own accomplishment. Albert Einstein once said, “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” The other obstacle is a lack of expressing our gratitude. We get lazy. William Arthur Ward compared it to wrapping a present and not giving it. It’s not enough to feel gratitude — we must show it. What is the purpose of gratitude? Here are some clues. Gratitude is relational. We always give thanks to a person. Gratitude is contagious. It changes the culture around us. Author Melody Beattie notes that “Gratitude can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Gratitude makes relationships flourish— whether human-to-human or more transcendent. You may not be so sure, but I believe thankfulness is God’s love language. Just like parents love to hear their kids being thankful, so does he. And he made it a win-win —we benefit, too.Let’s not leave thankfulness for just one day. Let’s cultivate it all year.Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North.

Giving thanks. Why is it so significant that we have a holiday dedicated to it? 

According to www.canadashistory.ca, Canada’s first “Thanksgiving” took place in 1578 as Martin Frobisher and crew gave thanks for a safe arrival on these shores. By the 1600s regular Thanksgiving feasts took place between the French and Mi’kmaq and included scurvy-preventing cranberries.

Later, the Loyalists from down south introduced traditional foods like turkey and pumpkin/squash. After Remembrance Day was made a holiday following the First World War, the second Monday of October was declared to be “a day of general thanksgiving to almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed”. 

Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021

Giving thanks. Why is it so significant that we have a holiday dedicated to it? According to www.canadashistory.ca, Canada’s first “Thanksgiving” took place in 1578 as Martin Frobisher and crew gave thanks for a safe arrival on these shores. By the 1600s regular Thanksgiving feasts took place between the French and Mi’kmaq and included scurvy-preventing cranberries.Later, the Loyalists from down south introduced traditional foods like turkey and pumpkin/squash. After Remembrance Day was made a holiday following the First World War, the second Monday of October was declared to be “a day of general thanksgiving to almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed”. Cool history lesson, but why does giving thanks matter? What is the point of gratitude? And what if one doesn’t believe in God?A simple internet search will bring up an incredible amount of studies pointing to the benefits of gratitude. Gratitude is good for us. It’s good for our physical health in multiple ways, it’s good for our relationships, good for our personalities, good for our emotional/mental health, and even good for our careers (see www.happierhuman.com/benefits-of-gratitude). Should we seek to be grateful to reap the rewards? While that may help some get started, I think gratitude must be recognized for what it is, not what it can do. Gratitude is essentially recognizing the gifts we are given and giving thanks where it is due. What gets in the way of gratitude? Being blind to the gifts is a big one. Either we don’t see all the goodness around us at all, or we take it for granted, see it as owed to us, or view it as the result of our own accomplishment. Albert Einstein once said, “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” The other obstacle is a lack of expressing our gratitude. We get lazy. William Arthur Ward compared it to wrapping a present and not giving it. It’s not enough to feel gratitude — we must show it. What is the purpose of gratitude? Here are some clues. Gratitude is relational. We always give thanks to a person. Gratitude is contagious. It changes the culture around us. Author Melody Beattie notes that “Gratitude can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Gratitude makes relationships flourish— whether human-to-human or more transcendent. You may not be so sure, but I believe thankfulness is God’s love language. Just like parents love to hear their kids being thankful, so does he. And he made it a win-win —we benefit, too.Let’s not leave thankfulness for just one day. Let’s cultivate it all year.Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North.

Giving thanks. Why is it so significant that we have a holiday dedicated to it? 

According to www.canadashistory.ca, Canada’s first “Thanksgiving” took place in 1578 as Martin Frobisher and crew gave thanks for a safe arrival on these shores. By the 1600s regular Thanksgiving feasts took place between the French and Mi’kmaq and included scurvy-preventing cranberries.

Later, the Loyalists from down south introduced traditional foods like turkey and pumpkin/squash. After Remembrance Day was made a holiday following the First World War, the second Monday of October was declared to be “a day of general thanksgiving to almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed”. 

We must learn to stop living in fear

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We must learn to stop living in fear

Sonya Braun 5 minute read Sunday, Sep. 26, 2021

Fear. A healthy dose of it can keep you from doing something stupid or rash. Mothers often wish for more of that fear in some of their kids.Fear can also be paralyzing. And there are mothers who ache to see that kind of fear gone from their kids’ lives.Speaking of mothers, we are notorious for allowing our own fears to get in the way of our children taking risks - risks they need to take in order to grow.When we are in danger, it is normal to feel fear - and we are designed to experience a rush of adrenaline to help us flee, fight, or freeze in hyper-alert mode. However, we are not designed to live in fear. Fear messes with our bodies. We can’t digest our food properly or rest deeply. That’s OK when a situation warrants this response but it’s not good long-term.Fear messes with our minds. It ramps up some parts while shutting down others, such as the cerebral cortex in charge of reasoning and judgment.Fear messes with our relationships. It causes us to cling to others in unhealthy dependence, or isolate ourselves, either physically or through attitudes of suspicion and hostility. Neither is good for us. Unfortunately, many of us have been living in fear for the past 18 months; it’s like an epidemic of fear.First, there was fear of the unknown and the “what ifs.” Those fears were fed by the focus on case counts, hospitalizations and deaths. With lockdown came fear of losing work, losing business, losing the house. With masks came fear of those who didn’t wear them or fear of penalty for not wearing them, depending on where you stood. With gathering restrictions came fear of more restrictions if people didn’t comply, or fear of penalties if you didn’t comply. With vaccines came fear of not being able to travel, see loved ones, and go to concerts/movies/restaurants, or the fear of adverse effects and lifelong booster shots. With vaccine passports and vaccine mandates came fear of losing medical privacy, losing rights to bodily autonomy, or losing education, losing jobs or facing unending testing.  That’s a lot of fear.Personally, I have experienced waves of fear. But I do not live in chronic fear. I think it is because I take my fears to God in prayer. I also fill my thoughts with truth and watch how much news and social media I consume. I also try to get outside for walks, encourage people around me, and focus on what’s important in life. What do you do?If we want to thrive, it’s time to stop living in fear. It’s time for the epidemic of fear to end.Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North.

Fear. A healthy dose of it can keep you from doing something stupid or rash. Mothers often wish for more of that fear in some of their kids.

Fear can also be paralyzing. And there are mothers who ache to see that kind of fear gone from their kids’ lives.

Speaking of mothers, we are notorious for allowing our own fears to get in the way of our children taking risks - risks they need to take in order to grow.

Sunday, Sep. 26, 2021

Fear. A healthy dose of it can keep you from doing something stupid or rash. Mothers often wish for more of that fear in some of their kids.Fear can also be paralyzing. And there are mothers who ache to see that kind of fear gone from their kids’ lives.Speaking of mothers, we are notorious for allowing our own fears to get in the way of our children taking risks - risks they need to take in order to grow.When we are in danger, it is normal to feel fear - and we are designed to experience a rush of adrenaline to help us flee, fight, or freeze in hyper-alert mode. However, we are not designed to live in fear. Fear messes with our bodies. We can’t digest our food properly or rest deeply. That’s OK when a situation warrants this response but it’s not good long-term.Fear messes with our minds. It ramps up some parts while shutting down others, such as the cerebral cortex in charge of reasoning and judgment.Fear messes with our relationships. It causes us to cling to others in unhealthy dependence, or isolate ourselves, either physically or through attitudes of suspicion and hostility. Neither is good for us. Unfortunately, many of us have been living in fear for the past 18 months; it’s like an epidemic of fear.First, there was fear of the unknown and the “what ifs.” Those fears were fed by the focus on case counts, hospitalizations and deaths. With lockdown came fear of losing work, losing business, losing the house. With masks came fear of those who didn’t wear them or fear of penalty for not wearing them, depending on where you stood. With gathering restrictions came fear of more restrictions if people didn’t comply, or fear of penalties if you didn’t comply. With vaccines came fear of not being able to travel, see loved ones, and go to concerts/movies/restaurants, or the fear of adverse effects and lifelong booster shots. With vaccine passports and vaccine mandates came fear of losing medical privacy, losing rights to bodily autonomy, or losing education, losing jobs or facing unending testing.  That’s a lot of fear.Personally, I have experienced waves of fear. But I do not live in chronic fear. I think it is because I take my fears to God in prayer. I also fill my thoughts with truth and watch how much news and social media I consume. I also try to get outside for walks, encourage people around me, and focus on what’s important in life. What do you do?If we want to thrive, it’s time to stop living in fear. It’s time for the epidemic of fear to end.Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North.

Fear. A healthy dose of it can keep you from doing something stupid or rash. Mothers often wish for more of that fear in some of their kids.

Fear can also be paralyzing. And there are mothers who ache to see that kind of fear gone from their kids’ lives.

Speaking of mothers, we are notorious for allowing our own fears to get in the way of our children taking risks - risks they need to take in order to grow.

In celebration of summer fun

Sonya Braun 5 minute read Preview

In celebration of summer fun

Sonya Braun 5 minute read Monday, Aug. 23, 2021

Summer fun. Those two words belong together, don’t they? In summer, I envision enjoyable activities like going to the beach, watersliding, having barbecues, exploring new destinations, and spending more time with my family.Which is perhaps why I have been struggling with how to answer people when they ask how my summer has been. Sure, it’s been relaxing and low-key. But not exactly high on the fun spectrum. All those extreme-heat and smoke days found me stuck inside more than I’d like. In front of a screen even.  Yes, I managed to get out on a walk or short bike ride in the cooler mornings - summer mornings are glorious. But the rest of my family wasn’t usually available until later.I can’t blame the lack of fun completely on the weather though. Although fun can happen spontaneously, it often takes planning.  And my brain wants to take a break from planning in summer.  Plus, planning is extra challenging when some are working, some are not. Or when one person in the family always has something planned. Or when everyone has different interests or energy levels.  I did, however, have a lot of fun recently.  Fun playing. With small children. What began as an idea to visit a young mom friend, ended up as respite for her as she packed for a trip. So my one teenager and I got to take some kids to the park for a few hours, where we pretended we were on a ship. The three-year-old and I counted while swinging. We got to hear, “Again!” (again and again) as she slid down a slide after overcoming her fears.  We had a picnic and read stories. Kicked a beach ball and looked at the pretty flowers.  We even stood by the sprinklers to cool off.  Everything is new and exciting through the eyes of a child. I highly recommend it.One morning, I was inspired to take a long walk, invite my husband to go kayaking nearby, and get my one teenager out the door on a bike ride - all before the wind picked up and a surprise rain came. One weekend, a friend invited me to the lake last-minute, and although I could have said no for good reason, I didn’t. Sometimes fun comes when we abandon caution and just say yes.There’s still a bit of summer left. If you’ve been struggling to have fun this season, maybe you need to plan for it more. Maybe you need to see the world through the eyes of a child. Or maybe you need to stop over-thinking things and just say yes to ideas in your head or opportunities that come your way. Regardless, let’s celebrate summer with fun.  Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North.

Summer fun. Those two words belong together, don’t they? In summer, I envision enjoyable activities like going to the beach, watersliding, having barbecues, exploring new destinations, and spending more time with my family.

Which is perhaps why I have been struggling with how to answer people when they ask how my summer has been. Sure, it’s been relaxing and low-key. But not exactly high on the fun spectrum. All those extreme-heat and smoke days found me stuck inside more than I’d like. In front of a screen even.  Yes, I managed to get out on a walk or short bike ride in the cooler mornings - summer mornings are glorious. But the rest of my family wasn’t usually available until later.

I can’t blame the lack of fun completely on the weather though. Although fun can happen spontaneously, it often takes planning.  And my brain wants to take a break from planning in summer.  

Monday, Aug. 23, 2021

Summer fun. Those two words belong together, don’t they? In summer, I envision enjoyable activities like going to the beach, watersliding, having barbecues, exploring new destinations, and spending more time with my family.Which is perhaps why I have been struggling with how to answer people when they ask how my summer has been. Sure, it’s been relaxing and low-key. But not exactly high on the fun spectrum. All those extreme-heat and smoke days found me stuck inside more than I’d like. In front of a screen even.  Yes, I managed to get out on a walk or short bike ride in the cooler mornings - summer mornings are glorious. But the rest of my family wasn’t usually available until later.I can’t blame the lack of fun completely on the weather though. Although fun can happen spontaneously, it often takes planning.  And my brain wants to take a break from planning in summer.  Plus, planning is extra challenging when some are working, some are not. Or when one person in the family always has something planned. Or when everyone has different interests or energy levels.  I did, however, have a lot of fun recently.  Fun playing. With small children. What began as an idea to visit a young mom friend, ended up as respite for her as she packed for a trip. So my one teenager and I got to take some kids to the park for a few hours, where we pretended we were on a ship. The three-year-old and I counted while swinging. We got to hear, “Again!” (again and again) as she slid down a slide after overcoming her fears.  We had a picnic and read stories. Kicked a beach ball and looked at the pretty flowers.  We even stood by the sprinklers to cool off.  Everything is new and exciting through the eyes of a child. I highly recommend it.One morning, I was inspired to take a long walk, invite my husband to go kayaking nearby, and get my one teenager out the door on a bike ride - all before the wind picked up and a surprise rain came. One weekend, a friend invited me to the lake last-minute, and although I could have said no for good reason, I didn’t. Sometimes fun comes when we abandon caution and just say yes.There’s still a bit of summer left. If you’ve been struggling to have fun this season, maybe you need to plan for it more. Maybe you need to see the world through the eyes of a child. Or maybe you need to stop over-thinking things and just say yes to ideas in your head or opportunities that come your way. Regardless, let’s celebrate summer with fun.  Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North.

Summer fun. Those two words belong together, don’t they? In summer, I envision enjoyable activities like going to the beach, watersliding, having barbecues, exploring new destinations, and spending more time with my family.

Which is perhaps why I have been struggling with how to answer people when they ask how my summer has been. Sure, it’s been relaxing and low-key. But not exactly high on the fun spectrum. All those extreme-heat and smoke days found me stuck inside more than I’d like. In front of a screen even.  Yes, I managed to get out on a walk or short bike ride in the cooler mornings - summer mornings are glorious. But the rest of my family wasn’t usually available until later.

I can’t blame the lack of fun completely on the weather though. Although fun can happen spontaneously, it often takes planning.  And my brain wants to take a break from planning in summer.  

As we reopen, remember: hospitality matters

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As we reopen, remember: hospitality matters

Sonya Braun 5 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 30, 2021

Hospitality matters. The day “no-people-on-the-premises” ended, I had my sister-in-law and niece over in the back yard. I set up the outdoor furniture for conversation, darted to the grocery store for an assortment of fun fruits, and got out the homemade iced tea that my son and I had just attempted for the first time.  It was marvelous to see them again.  My brother’s family moved to Winnipeg in August and since we haven’t lived in the same town since 1999, we’ve been eager to spend time with them. It’s been a challenge this year, but most particularly in spring when they made a trip to Saskatchewan to bring their son back from college, self-isolated and then shortly after, got COVID in Manitoba, quarantined, and then faced the province-wide restrictions for another three weeks.  That was hard for them.  For those of us who love having people over, it’s also been hard. Hard to see people who are new to Winnipeg feel isolated, hard to see single friends struggle, hard to see it all and feel powerless to help.Hospitality matters. When we open our homes and hearts to others, good things happen. There’s something about seeing others and being seen. Talking and being heard. Giving and receiving. Being in another’s presence.  Something special happens when we eat a meal together, laugh, and tell stories. We linger longer when guests are present. We develop a history together, maybe even traditions. For those happy moments around the table, we feel a sense of belonging. A sense of significance. It may not be perfect, but it’s good. Deeply good.Afterwards, we feel uplifted. Maybe a bit tired if we’re introverts, but glad inside that we made the effort to invite people in and share with them.Hospitality doesn’t have to be a giant production. It can be a potluck, just dessert, take-out, a hotdog roast, ice cream sundaes, a big watermelon, or just something to drink on a hot day. It can be having some kids over while mom goes to an appointment, offering cookies and lemonade from your front yard to the dog-walkers, bringing muffins to a new neighbour, or inviting a friend over during their lunch break.Hospitality is simply making space for others in your life. Sharing time, food, and a bit of your heart. It’s learning to give what you have and not worry if it measures up, because ultimately, we all want to be loved and cared for, not fussed over.I hope we haven’t forgotten how to or been frightened away from offering hospitality in this past year. Hospitality matters. Let’s plan to make the most of this summer!Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North.

Hospitality matters. The day “no-people-on-the-premises” ended, I had my sister-in-law and niece over in the back yard. I set up the outdoor furniture for conversation, darted to the grocery store for an assortment of fun fruits, and got out the homemade iced tea that my son and I had just attempted for the first time.  It was marvelous to see them again.  

My brother’s family moved to Winnipeg in August and since we haven’t lived in the same town since 1999, we’ve been eager to spend time with them. It’s been a challenge this year, but most particularly in spring when they made a trip to Saskatchewan to bring their son back from college, self-isolated and then shortly after, got COVID in Manitoba, quarantined, and then faced the province-wide restrictions for another three weeks.  That was hard for them.  

For those of us who love having people over, it’s also been hard. Hard to see people who are new to Winnipeg feel isolated, hard to see single friends struggle, hard to see it all and feel powerless to help.

Wednesday, Jun. 30, 2021

Dreamstime.com
Hospitality is sharing time and friendship with others. Let’s make the most of the summer.

Where are we now in this pandemic?

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Where are we now in this pandemic?

Sonya Braun 6 minute read Tuesday, Jun. 1, 2021

Did you ever read those Choose Your Own Adventure books? I tried, but I never took to them. I like reading stories, not making decisions. Sometimes I wonder what life would look like, if different paths had been taken. I don’t dwell there, though, because we can’t go back.  We can only move forward from here.So, where is “here”?  As I write this, we are in a race to be vaccinated, our cases per capita are the highest around, we are shipping people to out-of-province hospitals, and we are not allowed to see anyone outside of our household. It can feel a bit grim. (Fortunately, our hockey team brought us some cheer with its advance to the next round of playoffs, in a four-game sweep, no less). “Here” is mental health plummeting, businesses going under, kids trying to learn online, eight months of mandatory masking, city services halted, health care backlogged, and vital industries being crippled. It is also weary health-care workers, an over-extended public health task force, and a government trying to manage a state of emergency for over a year.Though there have been many positives for me, as well, I still fight a wave of anxiety now and then. When will things get better? When will our government decide it’s time to open things up? When will we get out of the cycle of lockdowns?Our government, along with many, has chosen to err on the side of taking utmost precautions to keep people safe from the virus. Good intentions. With significant negative consequences. Pointing fingers does no good, however. Nor does assuming we would have done better. What if we could just start with a clean slate as a province and ask ourselves, “Where do we go from here?” Difficult question. Coming up with solutions is harder than pointing out problems.  We don’t know how the adventure will turn out if we make certain choices until we take that risk. What are some possibilities?We could stop renewing the state of emergency, and instead allow businesses, organizations, and individuals to start making their own choices. That takes a lot of trust on the government’s part. I believe Manitobans, on the whole, have a high sense of responsibility and compassion for their fellow citizens, so let’s not rule it out. If we’re worried about being overwhelmed, we could try implementing more treatment protocols from around the world, and even try recommending certain vitamins and minerals for strengthening immunity. This might be a stretch for our Western mindset, but what if we tried it and it helped? And if people weren’t getting as sick, maybe we could see case numbers as a positive, since exposure is a way of achieving natural herd immunity. That, together with vaccinations, could help us move forward.My hope is that everyone in Manitoba can thrive again. It may feel risky to make changes, not knowing the outcome, but I pray that our government will have wisdom and courage to make the right decisions, whatever they may be.Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North.

Did you ever read those Choose Your Own Adventure books? I tried, but I never took to them. I like reading stories, not making decisions. 

Sometimes I wonder what life would look like, if different paths had been taken. I don’t dwell there, though, because we can’t go back.  We can only move forward from here.

So, where is “here”? As I write this, we are in a race to be vaccinated, our cases per capita are the highest around, we are shipping people to out-of-province hospitals, and we are not allowed to see anyone outside of our household. It can feel a bit grim. (Fortunately, our hockey team brought us some cheer with its advance to the next round of playoffs, in a four-game sweep, no less). 

Tuesday, Jun. 1, 2021

Did you ever read those Choose Your Own Adventure books? I tried, but I never took to them. I like reading stories, not making decisions. Sometimes I wonder what life would look like, if different paths had been taken. I don’t dwell there, though, because we can’t go back.  We can only move forward from here.So, where is “here”?  As I write this, we are in a race to be vaccinated, our cases per capita are the highest around, we are shipping people to out-of-province hospitals, and we are not allowed to see anyone outside of our household. It can feel a bit grim. (Fortunately, our hockey team brought us some cheer with its advance to the next round of playoffs, in a four-game sweep, no less). “Here” is mental health plummeting, businesses going under, kids trying to learn online, eight months of mandatory masking, city services halted, health care backlogged, and vital industries being crippled. It is also weary health-care workers, an over-extended public health task force, and a government trying to manage a state of emergency for over a year.Though there have been many positives for me, as well, I still fight a wave of anxiety now and then. When will things get better? When will our government decide it’s time to open things up? When will we get out of the cycle of lockdowns?Our government, along with many, has chosen to err on the side of taking utmost precautions to keep people safe from the virus. Good intentions. With significant negative consequences. Pointing fingers does no good, however. Nor does assuming we would have done better. What if we could just start with a clean slate as a province and ask ourselves, “Where do we go from here?” Difficult question. Coming up with solutions is harder than pointing out problems.  We don’t know how the adventure will turn out if we make certain choices until we take that risk. What are some possibilities?We could stop renewing the state of emergency, and instead allow businesses, organizations, and individuals to start making their own choices. That takes a lot of trust on the government’s part. I believe Manitobans, on the whole, have a high sense of responsibility and compassion for their fellow citizens, so let’s not rule it out. If we’re worried about being overwhelmed, we could try implementing more treatment protocols from around the world, and even try recommending certain vitamins and minerals for strengthening immunity. This might be a stretch for our Western mindset, but what if we tried it and it helped? And if people weren’t getting as sick, maybe we could see case numbers as a positive, since exposure is a way of achieving natural herd immunity. That, together with vaccinations, could help us move forward.My hope is that everyone in Manitoba can thrive again. It may feel risky to make changes, not knowing the outcome, but I pray that our government will have wisdom and courage to make the right decisions, whatever they may be.Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North.

Did you ever read those Choose Your Own Adventure books? I tried, but I never took to them. I like reading stories, not making decisions. 

Sometimes I wonder what life would look like, if different paths had been taken. I don’t dwell there, though, because we can’t go back.  We can only move forward from here.

So, where is “here”? As I write this, we are in a race to be vaccinated, our cases per capita are the highest around, we are shipping people to out-of-province hospitals, and we are not allowed to see anyone outside of our household. It can feel a bit grim. (Fortunately, our hockey team brought us some cheer with its advance to the next round of playoffs, in a four-game sweep, no less). 

A sharing of beliefs

Sonya Braun 6 minute read Preview

A sharing of beliefs

Sonya Braun 6 minute read Sunday, Apr. 4, 2021

 

In like a lamb. Out like a lion.  That was the month of March this year.  It’s so easy to talk about the weather in Manitoba. It’s something we all experience. When it’s beautiful outside, we can rave about it together. When it’s really cold or rainy or windy, we can commiserate together.  It’s not as easy to talk about other matters.  Like our beliefs.Although more significant to our lives than the weather, we tend to shy away from talking about how we got here, the purpose of life, or what happens when we die. We rarely discuss why there is evil and suffering in the world. Maybe because we’ve been conditioned to believe it’s wrong to do in public.If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that our lives are fragile. We may have lived like we’re invincible, but we’re not. This past year has also revealed that there are many gifts in being human: love, friendship, eating together, family, recreation, joy, creativity, music, dance, hugs, laughter, sharing life with others… the list goes on. We are set apart as humans, and we take it for granted. We’ve also learned that fear is a powerful force, that peace is easily shaken, and that hope is an absolute necessity.In light of what we’ve learned in the last year, bear with me as I break all social norms and share what I believe.I believe the earth and everything in it, and the entire universe was created by God — a loving, relational being, perfect in every way, who has always existed outside of time and space. His purpose was to make a good home for the people he would make in his likeness — free to love, speak, and create. In giving them free will and the ability to love, he also allowed them to reject him and go their own way. When it inevitably happened, everything changed. Death and suffering entered the picture. Futility and pain. Separation from God.  Fast forward to the rescue plan. In came Jesus, the Son of God. In like a lamb. Suffered a cruel death by crucifixion (hung on a cross). Took on the sins of the whole world.  Dead. Buried. And then out from the tomb like a lion on the third day. Victory over death, sin, and God’s arch-enemy, Satan.  And to all who receive him, he gives the right to become children of God, the gift of eternal life, the forgiveness for self-centred ways, and the power to live transformed lives.  In Jesus, there is hope. There is lasting peace. There is freedom from fear. That’s what I believe. And that’s more important than the weather, isn’t it?Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North. 

In like a lamb. Out like a lion.  That was the month of March this year.  

It’s so easy to talk about the weather in Manitoba. It’s something we all experience. When it’s beautiful outside, we can rave about it together. When it’s really cold or rainy or windy, we can commiserate together.  

Sunday, Apr. 4, 2021

 

In like a lamb. Out like a lion.  That was the month of March this year.  It’s so easy to talk about the weather in Manitoba. It’s something we all experience. When it’s beautiful outside, we can rave about it together. When it’s really cold or rainy or windy, we can commiserate together.  It’s not as easy to talk about other matters.  Like our beliefs.Although more significant to our lives than the weather, we tend to shy away from talking about how we got here, the purpose of life, or what happens when we die. We rarely discuss why there is evil and suffering in the world. Maybe because we’ve been conditioned to believe it’s wrong to do in public.If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that our lives are fragile. We may have lived like we’re invincible, but we’re not. This past year has also revealed that there are many gifts in being human: love, friendship, eating together, family, recreation, joy, creativity, music, dance, hugs, laughter, sharing life with others… the list goes on. We are set apart as humans, and we take it for granted. We’ve also learned that fear is a powerful force, that peace is easily shaken, and that hope is an absolute necessity.In light of what we’ve learned in the last year, bear with me as I break all social norms and share what I believe.I believe the earth and everything in it, and the entire universe was created by God — a loving, relational being, perfect in every way, who has always existed outside of time and space. His purpose was to make a good home for the people he would make in his likeness — free to love, speak, and create. In giving them free will and the ability to love, he also allowed them to reject him and go their own way. When it inevitably happened, everything changed. Death and suffering entered the picture. Futility and pain. Separation from God.  Fast forward to the rescue plan. In came Jesus, the Son of God. In like a lamb. Suffered a cruel death by crucifixion (hung on a cross). Took on the sins of the whole world.  Dead. Buried. And then out from the tomb like a lion on the third day. Victory over death, sin, and God’s arch-enemy, Satan.  And to all who receive him, he gives the right to become children of God, the gift of eternal life, the forgiveness for self-centred ways, and the power to live transformed lives.  In Jesus, there is hope. There is lasting peace. There is freedom from fear. That’s what I believe. And that’s more important than the weather, isn’t it?Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North. 

In like a lamb. Out like a lion.  That was the month of March this year.  

It’s so easy to talk about the weather in Manitoba. It’s something we all experience. When it’s beautiful outside, we can rave about it together. When it’s really cold or rainy or windy, we can commiserate together.  

Celebrating the gift of spring weather

Sonya Braun 5 minute read Preview

Celebrating the gift of spring weather

Sonya Braun 5 minute read Sunday, Mar. 7, 2021

Gorgeous weather has arrived. What a difference when the outdoor air feels welcoming and the sunshine radiates warmth (and your hands, face, and head are actually able to feel it). This is the time of year when we long for the snow to be gone and colour to appear.  Even before March, I felt the urge to add a pop of yellow to my kitchen. Now, all I can think of is daffodils. Although I didn’t see any while shopping this morning, I did buy some orange tulips. And three cute little green plants. These will accompany the purple-y heather plant my friend brought me from the lovely Pineridge Hollow.Which reminds me. Birds Hill. Have you seen how busy it gets these days? My same friend drove me around the whole park the other day, and I marvelled at how much of the park I’ve never taken notice of before.  Much to explore.Every time I spend time in nature, I wonder why I spend so much time indoors.  Often in front of a screen. What is up with that? No matter how much being outdoors invigorates and inspires me, no matter how much I exclaim to a friend, “I should live here!” I still end up inside. If anyone has overcome this tendency, I would love to hear from you.When I am surrounded by God’s creation, my senses are filled with beauty: the sight of trees, sky, playful squirrels, graceful deer; the sound of leaves rustling in the wind, birds chirping their unique songs; the smell of fresh earth and pine; and the feel of a gentle breeze or warm sun on my face. My body relaxes, my mind slows down, and my heart feels at rest. God knew what he was doing when he made the earth for us to inhabit.  What a gift!And what a gift walking in nature is. In solitude, or with someone you love. Whenever I walk at Birds Hill, I ask myself, “Why don’t I get the family out here more? Why don’t we do more road trips and hikes?” I feel so alive when I get out of the city and onto a trail. I see it in my family, too.Spring is a time of coming alive. A time to come out of hibernation and dormancy.  A time to grow, bloom and flourish. Enjoy the gifts of this season with creativity and abandon!Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North.

Gorgeous weather has arrived. What a difference when the outdoor air feels welcoming and the sunshine radiates warmth (and your hands, face, and head are actually able to feel it). This is the time of year when we long for the snow to be gone and colour to appear.  

Even before March, I felt the urge to add a pop of yellow to my kitchen. Now, all I can think of is daffodils. Although I didn’t see any while shopping this morning, I did buy some orange tulips. And three cute little green plants. These will accompany the purple-y heather plant my friend brought me from the lovely Pineridge Hollow.

Which reminds me. Birds Hill. Have you seen how busy it gets these days? My same friend drove me around the whole park the other day, and I marvelled at how much of the park I’ve never taken notice of before.  Much to explore.

Sunday, Mar. 7, 2021

Photo by Sonya Braun
The promise of spring is such that correspondent Sonya Braun has already begun purchasing plants.

Warm welcomes go a long way

Sonya Braun 5 minute read Preview

Warm welcomes go a long way

Sonya Braun 5 minute read Friday, Feb. 5, 2021

Moving is stressful, exciting, exhausting, and chaotic. The upheaval and temporary turmoil is worth it, when you find yourself in a community like Springfield North.  My family moved here in summer, and we are grateful for the warm welcome we received. Friendly greetings, offers of yard waste bags, mowing our lawn, blowing the snow off a vehicle, filling up a tire, lending a tree saw… these are the acts of kindness that build healthy neighbourhoods.Our area is adjacent to many recreational opportunities as well. Parks and trails abound. What a gift it is to bike and walk in all directions away from busy streets. What a gift to enjoy nature right in the city.  I had never before visited Kilcona Park in the 20 years I’ve lived in Winnipeg. What a gem. Such a variety of landscapes in one area - paths, bridges, water, hills, forest. Just beyond that is the Harbourview Golf Course, which offers so much more than golf in the winter.In the opposite direction is Bunn’s Creek Trail, a delightfully long and winding path surrounded by trees and water.What we especially appreciate is the long retention pond at the south end of our neighbourhood. It is the perfect size for kayaking, and makes every summer sunset twice as beautiful.  What is truly special is how, in winter, the community collaborates to make a skating rink. One neighbour snow-blows an area, then another expands it and creatively floods it. A hockey net shows up, and then another.  A shovel is left there and used to keep it clear.  A bench is built. Someone offers two pucks for the kids to use. People gather there, enjoying the fresh air, the beautiful weather, and the chance to meet and talk. Kids (and adults) get exercise and get away from screens.  These days, with our rinks, community centres, gyms, churches, restaurants and the other gathering places we rely on for connection and wellness being closed, what a gift this community-built recreational area is.We look forward to discovering more reasons to love Springfield North, both in our surroundings and in the people that live here.  If you’re from my neighbourhood, I welcome your help in finding more community treasures, as well as stories of neighbourly kindness.Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North.

Moving is stressful, exciting, exhausting, and chaotic. The upheaval and temporary turmoil is worth it, when you find yourself in a community like Springfield North.  

My family moved here in summer, and we are grateful for the warm welcome we received. Friendly greetings, offers of yard waste bags, mowing our lawn, blowing the snow off a vehicle, filling up a tire, lending a tree saw… these are the acts of kindness that build healthy neighbourhoods.

Our area is adjacent to many recreational opportunities as well. Parks and trails abound. What a gift it is to bike and walk in all directions away from busy streets. What a gift to enjoy nature right in the city.  

Friday, Feb. 5, 2021

Photo by Sonya Braun
Residents of Springfield North in northeast Winnipeg build and tend a community skating rink each winter.

What happens when we die?

Sonya Braun - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Preview

What happens when we die?

Sonya Braun - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Monday, Jul. 20, 2020

The past few months I’ve been writing about the four big questions of life: origin, meaning, morality, and this month, destiny. 

In other words — where do I come from, what gives life meaning, how do I differentiate between good and bad, and … what happens when I die? 

So, what does happen at death? Do we cease to exist? Do we re-enter a cycle to come back in another form? Do we have souls that live eternally? Where and how? Do we face any kind of judgment for the lives we lived and the choices we made? Do we receive any kind of reward? Is there a way to know for sure?

What we believe about our destiny, “the particular state of a person or thing in the future, considered as resulting from earlier events” (from the Cambridge dictionary online) will deeply affect how we live, provided we are living in harmony with our beliefs. Will we live with a sense of accountability and hope, accountability and worry, disregard and despair, fear and confusion, or some other combination?

Monday, Jul. 20, 2020

Dreamstime.com
What is our final destiny? What if you knew with certainty, through a mix of rational thought and faith?

Are truth and goodness absolutes?

Sonya Braun - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Preview

Are truth and goodness absolutes?

Sonya Braun - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Monday, Jun. 22, 2020

In these days, do you wonder if it’s possible to find truth? Do you find yourself longing for absolutes? An anchor that stays steady when everything is shifting around you?

We’ve been living in a world of relativism for quite some time, with my truth and your truth. The idea of moral absolutes has been unpopular. The focus has turned to rights, rather than on what is right. Or wrong.

And yet, no matter how hard we try to suppress our conscience, it is still there. When we bristle at the word “sin," we still find ourselves agreeing that certain things are wrong, that there are atrocities in history. 

Immanuel Kant in his Critique of Practical Reason wrote this: “Two things fill the mind with ever increasing wonder and awe … the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.”

Monday, Jun. 22, 2020

In these days, do you wonder if it’s possible to find truth? Do you find yourself longing for absolutes? An anchor that stays steady when everything is shifting around you?

We’ve been living in a world of relativism for quite some time, with my truth and your truth. The idea of moral absolutes has been unpopular. The focus has turned to rights, rather than on what is right. Or wrong.

And yet, no matter how hard we try to suppress our conscience, it is still there. When we bristle at the word “sin," we still find ourselves agreeing that certain things are wrong, that there are atrocities in history. 

Immanuel Kant in his Critique of Practical Reason wrote this: “Two things fill the mind with ever increasing wonder and awe … the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.”

Given pause for serious reflection

Sonya Braun - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Preview

Given pause for serious reflection

Sonya Braun - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Monday, Apr. 27, 2020

Recently, as my husband and I headed home after a long walk, we encountered a young man standing on the wrong side of the bridge railing. Concerned, we asked him if he was okay. He wasn’t. 

He spoke of wanting to end it all. Life was really hard for him, especially right now. I wanted to give him hope; communicate his worth. But I struggled to find words — so mostly, I listened.   

Meanwhile, my husband called 911, and the police arrived quickly and took charge of the situation, getting the young man into the safety of their car and assuring us they would find him the help he needed.

We finished our walk, and I went straight to my writing desk and wrote for a while. I wanted to be better prepared next time. 

Monday, Apr. 27, 2020

Recently, as my husband and I headed home after a long walk, we encountered a young man standing on the wrong side of the bridge railing. Concerned, we asked him if he was okay. He wasn’t. 

He spoke of wanting to end it all. Life was really hard for him, especially right now. I wanted to give him hope; communicate his worth. But I struggled to find words — so mostly, I listened.   

Meanwhile, my husband called 911, and the police arrived quickly and took charge of the situation, getting the young man into the safety of their car and assuring us they would find him the help he needed.

We finished our walk, and I went straight to my writing desk and wrote for a while. I wanted to be better prepared next time. 

A contemplation of origin stories

Sonya Braun - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Preview

A contemplation of origin stories

Sonya Braun - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Monday, Apr. 6, 2020

My daughter’s class was studying origin stories this past month, and I couldn’t help but notice the stark contrast between two of them — the prevailing, modern scientific narrative and the biblical narrative.

The first, which was first proposed by Charles Darwin and associates, declares we are the product of random mutations over millions of years, allowing us to survive in a godless, hostile environment. It states that we are no different from animals, only more sophisticated. Better brains. Upright stance.  Our earthly home came into existence on its own from nothing — a tiny planet in an immense universe — that somehow produced living creatures, water, and vegetation in co-ordinated ecosystems.

The second, recorded in Genesis 1 and 2, tells us that earth and all that is in it was created with us in mind, to be our home.  

In Genesis 1:1, we read, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”—time, space, and matter. Then, we are given an order of creation — light (day and night), sky, seas and land, then sun, moon and stars, fish and birds, land animals and finally, humans. At the end of each day, creation was declared “good,” and after humans were made “very good.”

Monday, Apr. 6, 2020

My daughter’s class was studying origin stories this past month, and I couldn’t help but notice the stark contrast between two of them — the prevailing, modern scientific narrative and the biblical narrative.

The first, which was first proposed by Charles Darwin and associates, declares we are the product of random mutations over millions of years, allowing us to survive in a godless, hostile environment. It states that we are no different from animals, only more sophisticated. Better brains. Upright stance.  Our earthly home came into existence on its own from nothing — a tiny planet in an immense universe — that somehow produced living creatures, water, and vegetation in co-ordinated ecosystems.

The second, recorded in Genesis 1 and 2, tells us that earth and all that is in it was created with us in mind, to be our home.  

In Genesis 1:1, we read, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”—time, space, and matter. Then, we are given an order of creation — light (day and night), sky, seas and land, then sun, moon and stars, fish and birds, land animals and finally, humans. At the end of each day, creation was declared “good,” and after humans were made “very good.”

Who is standing up for family values?

Sonya Braun - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Preview

Who is standing up for family values?

Sonya Braun - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Monday, Mar. 9, 2020

Healthy families are vital to the health of a nation. Families are meant to foster a sense of trust, closeness, belonging, significance, love, and being known — all building blocks for future relationships and contribution to community. When trauma, chaos, neglect, or lack of supports interfere with the process, generations can suffer.

Government can help or hinder when it comes to family. It all depends on the government’s point of view. When government believes it knows best, families lose. When government respects parents’ responsibilities and seeks only to support or strengthen (and not replace), families can thrive.

My community, the North End, still deals with the after-effects of government interference with families. However, I am encouraged by the shift of mindset happening in Manitoba. The Winnipeg Boldness Project strives to work together with families for solutions. The Family Dynamics program provides supports for those in subsidized housing, including counselling, coaching, refugee supports, and family resource centres. Our government now works with non-governmental organizations like Safe Families Winnipeg, helping families in crisis keep custody of their kids, and CarePortal, connecting those in need with those who want to help.

There is more work to do. Many parents feel their authority is being undermined in the public school system. That life-altering decisions about their children are being made without their awareness,  that significant changes are happening in their children’s lives without parents knowing, and that conflicting values are being taught, without their consent. All at younger and younger ages. Often with no other schooling options available.

Monday, Mar. 9, 2020

Healthy families are vital to the health of a nation. Families are meant to foster a sense of trust, closeness, belonging, significance, love, and being known — all building blocks for future relationships and contribution to community. When trauma, chaos, neglect, or lack of supports interfere with the process, generations can suffer.

Government can help or hinder when it comes to family. It all depends on the government’s point of view. When government believes it knows best, families lose. When government respects parents’ responsibilities and seeks only to support or strengthen (and not replace), families can thrive.

My community, the North End, still deals with the after-effects of government interference with families. However, I am encouraged by the shift of mindset happening in Manitoba. The Winnipeg Boldness Project strives to work together with families for solutions. The Family Dynamics program provides supports for those in subsidized housing, including counselling, coaching, refugee supports, and family resource centres. Our government now works with non-governmental organizations like Safe Families Winnipeg, helping families in crisis keep custody of their kids, and CarePortal, connecting those in need with those who want to help.

There is more work to do. Many parents feel their authority is being undermined in the public school system. That life-altering decisions about their children are being made without their awareness,  that significant changes are happening in their children’s lives without parents knowing, and that conflicting values are being taught, without their consent. All at younger and younger ages. Often with no other schooling options available.

Encourage a love of reading

Sonya Braun - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Preview

Encourage a love of reading

Sonya Braun - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Friday, Jan. 31, 2020

February is I Love to Read Month. For many schools it means that MLAs, sports figures, and other well-known persons come and read to students. There may be special literacy activities and contests to see which classroom can read the most books.

Not every child (or adult) loves to read. Although most kindergarteners desire to learn how, by Grade 4 the interest begins to fade in some children. Perhaps they have always struggled with it or it hasn’t been encouraged at home. Because reading is crucial for learning and a skill that builds with practice, continued reading is vital for the student to succeed.

So, what factors contribute to a love for reading?

I’ve been re-reading The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, a bestseller in its seventh edition. I discovered it at the West Kildonan Library (hope they keep it open) while looking for resources to help me in my volunteer reading support role at a nearby middle school. I have been recommending it to teachers, principals, and parents ever since.

Friday, Jan. 31, 2020

Dreamstime.com
February is I Love to Read Month.