Why Don’t Mice Believe in God?

First you may try to debate the point that mice do believe in God. But, if they did, there would be signs of their worship. I don’t see mice building monuments, fighting holy wars, etc. I’ve never seen one pray, as far as I could tell by human standards. There may be a mouse god, but if the Christian (or any human version of a god) god were real wouldn’t mice also believe, pray and worship. Or, do you think mice don’t have a soul they need to save?

Many people may not care what mice do or do not believe. They are small rodents after all. Pestilence. Laboratory animals and pets spinning wheels for human amusement.

But, of course, mice matter. They are one of god’s creatures. Even as an atheist I still think of mice as one of the little creatures on the planet.

So why don’t mice believe in God? A God, any god?

Don’t they need protection and help? Or are they really just alone on the planet, responsible for their own actions and uncared for and unknown but almost every other creature?

I don’t think mice know there is a god. No one has ever told them god is an option. They just go about their mouse lives, oblivious to all the benefits they could have if they just worshipped god. What has god ever done for a mouse? Could it be such a vicious circle where if god only knew and the mice only knew… they could be so much better off. But, they’ve just never been introduced. Although, god did create the mice, right?

So does god just not care about the mice? In all this time god just let the mice go on, not knowing how much better they could be if they just knew there was a god who would offer them eternal life, shinier souls, angels, heaven and of course… demons, devils and hell.

The poor mice. Maybe all of them are just being shipped straight to hell because they don’t worship or believe in god.

Someone really should do something about this. Save the mice!

Well, I will think more about it all. Right after I check the mouse trap under the kitchen sink.

Savella Stechishin and the Joy of Ukranian Cooking

Savella Stechishin: 1903-2002

It is with deep sadness and fond memories that we announce the passing of Savella Stechishin on April 22, 2002 in Saskatoon, SK at the age of 98.

The history of Ukrainian women in Canada was personified in Savella Stechishin who for three-quarters of a century was a forerunner, a woman ahead of her time, a perennial mover and shaker. An immigrant to Canada in 1913, she became an active advocate of women’s rights, an ethnic leader, journalist, author, teacher, home economist and community organizer who dedicated her life to bringing women of Ukrainian descent, together with their cultural heritage, into mainstream society. This was at a time when only men were leaders. She could be described as an ethno-cultural social maternal feminist.

Savella Stechishin was born in Western Ukraine on August 19, 1903 and came to Canada at the age of nine. Her family settled on a homestead in Krydor, Saskatchewan, where she lived until 1918.

In the 1920s she went against the prevailing view that a married womans place was to be in the home, not to pursue a higher education. She was married at the age of 17 while in grade 10 and had her first child when she was 18. However, by the time she was 26, she had completed high school and teachers college and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan.

She was the first Ukrainian Canadian woman to graduate from the University of Saskatchewan (1930), and the first Ukrainian woman in Canada to graduate with a specialization in Home Economics.

During the time she was studying and raising a family, she also served as Dean of Women at Petro Mohyla Institute alongside her husband, who was the Rector. Her determination to preserve Ukrainian culture in Canada led to founding and heading a young Ukrainian women students group, Mohylianky, at the institute at the age of 20. She was responsible for organizing evening courses in many aspects of Ukrainian culture. Public speaking sessions and debates were held to help these young women learn to express themselves and develop their self-esteem. All these activities were stimulating for the teacher trainee residents.

Seeing the difficulties Ukrainian pioneers had integrating into their new lives in Canada, she was the initiator in 1926, of the first Ukrainian national womens non-denominational organization, Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada. Under her leadership with many former Mohylianky on board, the organization took root and branches quickly mushroomed throughout Canada. The associations motto was: self-help, self-reliance, and self-respect. She encouraged the women to take advantage of the educational possibilities available to them in their new homeland. She inspired them to take pride in their rich cultural heritage at a time when multiculturalism was still unheard of in Canada, and prejudice and bigotry were rampant.

During this time, Savella Stechishin corresponded with leading women writers of various publications in Ukraine. She was inspired by them to continue her mission in Canada and, likewise, inspired the women in Ukraine by supporting them morally, financially (through the sales of their embroidered goods, books and almanacs), and educationally (eg home economics, life of Ukrainian Canadian women).

She was instrumental in laying the foundation for the Ukrainian Museum of Canada that later came under the auspices of the Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada. This museum, the only ethno-cultural museum in Canada to have branches, has its headquarters in Saskatoon, and branches in Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver. This museum has preserved thousands of artifacts for future generations of Canadians to treasure and enjoy. The emphasis that she placed on retaining the traditional Ukrainian folk arts in Canada did much to raise them to the respected position that they now occupy among other heritage folk arts in our multicultural mosaic.

She started teaching in Saskatchewan country schools and later taught Home Economics in Saskatoon public schools. In addition, she instructed Ukrainian language courses at the Petro Mohyla Institute and was a sessional lecturer of Ukrainian language at the University of Saskatchewan.

After obtaining a BA degree in 1930 with a specialization in Home Economics, Savella Stechishin joined the Department of Women’s Services at the University of Saskatchewan in the 1930s and used her training to engage in outreach work for many years. As a Home Economist, she tried to improve the living conditions of Ukrainian immigrant settlers by instructing them in the importance of a healthy lifestyle and nutrition. Lessons about cooking and general homemaking practices were also stressed.

Savella Stechishin was the editor of the Women’s Page of the Ukrainian Voice, a widely-read Ukrainian language newspaper published in Winnipeg and contributed weekly columns for more than 25 years on a broad range of topics: nutrition, homemaking trends, immigrant issues, and the preservation of the Ukrainian language and culture in Canada. Through her informative and challenging newspaper columns, she assisted women in adjusting to the expectations of Canadian society, informed them of their rights as Canadian citizens and raised their awareness of the issues of the day.

She made significant contributions to Ukrainian women’s magazines, such as Our Life (USA), Promin (then located in Winnipeg) and Zhinocha Dolia (Ukraine).

During the Second World War, she served as a journalist on nutrition and health for the Wartime Services in Ottawa Consumer Information Service. Her columns were printed in various Ukrainian-language newspapers in Canada.

stechishin cookbookSavella Stechishin was also the author of four books, the best known of which is Traditional Ukrainian Cookery. This cookbook has already served three generations as a source of carefully researched information about Ukrainian cuisine, culture and traditions. Since its first publication in 1957, it has been reprinted 18 times and over 80,000 copies have been sold throughout the English-speaking world. It is considered to be the most authoritative book on Ukrainian cuisine and it is now being discovered in the newly independent Ukraine where younger generations are studying their Ukrainian heritage after years of Russification.

In 1950, she wrote a 133-page Ukrainian-language book entitled Cultural Treasures Ukrainian Embroidery that was based on her avid interest in Ukrainian folk arts and her determination to make them an integral part of Canadian culture.

In 1975, she published a Ukrainian-language book documenting the history of the first branch of the Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada: The Fifty-Year (1923-1973) Anniversary of the Ukrainian Women’s Association, Olha Kobylianska Branch in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Mrs Stechishin assisted her husband in writing a 500-page textbook Ukrainian Grammar (1951) which was used by English-speaking schools, colleges and universities throughout the world.

After the untimely death of her husband, she took it upon herself to assume responsibility for an ambitious project that he had started: to research and write a book entitled The History of Ukrainian Settlement in Canada. Undaunted by the magnitude of the task, she persevered and successfully completed the project. The original book was published in Ukrainian in 1971 and in 1992, it was published in English translation.

Her late husband, Julian Stechishin, was a lawyer, writer, author, scholar, lecturer, teacher and community activist. He was one of the original founders of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada in 1918 in Saskatoon. Savella assisted him and, at her death, was the last remaining member of this original group.

The leadership role that Savella Stechishin played in all the organizations that she established or helped to establish involved much work and personal sacrifice. The types of demands that were made on her time and her energy were wide-ranging: formulating goals, organizing meetings and conferences, traveling throughout Saskatchewan, Canada, USA and Ukraine delivering speeches, contributing articles concerning women’s issues to various Ukrainian newspapers and periodicals, both in Canada and in Western Ukraine prior to its incorporation into the Soviet Union at the beginning of the Second World War. With a family comprising three children, she had to be very well organized and prepared to do a lot of juggling and improvising.

She passed on her love of her heritage to her children and grandchildren and to the countless women whose lives she touched.

She will be lovingly remembered by her daughter, Zenia of Toronto; son, Dr. Myron (Emily) of Edmonton; grandchildren, Danovia (Scott) Stefura of Toronto, Gordon Stechishin of Edmonton, John (Susan) Stetch/ Stechishin of New York City, Gregory (Jo-Ann Sturko) Stechishin of Edmonton, Andrea (Anton) Lakusta of Edmonton, and Dr. Mallory Stechishin-Kozoriz (Grant) of San Francisco; great-grandsons, Eliajah and Gabriel Stefura; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Savella Stechishin joins in peaceful eternity her husband, Julian; son, Anatole; parents, Trofym and Eva Wawryniuk; half brother, John; half sister, Mokryna Worobey; brothers, Thomas (Apolonari) Warnock, Eugene Warnick; sisters, Mary Charko-Nowosad, Helen Worobetz, Stephania Magus; daughters-in-law, Olha and Claudia.

Donations in Savellas memory may be made to St Andrews College (Ukrainian Orthodox Seminary), University of Manitoba, 29 Dysart Road, Winnipeg, MB, R3T 2M7, or any charity of ones choice.

Source: Savella Stechishin: 1903-2002

A Ukrainian Canadian Julia Child And More: Savella Stechishin

The Abandoned Art Movement

PrintAlthough Michael and Andrea deMeng started the Art Abandonment movement in June of 2012, publicly leaving art for others is not a new concept. Several decades ago there was a movement called “Guerilla Art, ” which inspired the deMengs’ art abandonment movement.

History of “Guerrilla” Art

Guerrilla art–or street art–originated in the 1980s.

It consisted of graffiti, street sculpture, murals, wall mosaics, and various other forms of artistic expression. Artists would create the art pieces and leave them in public spaces for others to enjoy.
The reasons for street art varied. Often the artists wanted to make a political statement. Sometimes they wanted to get their work out into the world, and bypass the constraints subjected to them by the rules of the formal art world. At other times, they wanted “ordinary” people to have access to art that they normally would never have the chance to encounter. Finally, sometimes they did it just for the fun of it!

Want to Participate in the Art Abandonment Movement?

If you are interested in becoming part of this movement, you will find that there are just a few rules to follow.  To join in, Michael deMeng makes these simple suggestions. All you have to do is the following:

  1. Make a small piece of art.
  2. Put a tag on it stating that you are leaving the art as a free gift to whoever finds it. Make sure to include your desired contact information.
  3. Discreetly leave the art in a public space.
  4. Take a picture of the space you are leaving it in.
  5. Hope that the person who finds the gift responds either by email or replies on the Art Abandonment Facebook page.

Intolerance is the New Black

Intolerance is black. Not black and white and no room at all for shades of grey. Intolerance is a dictatorship.

To me it seems intolerance has become more important than respect, love or anything else. If you read the intolerance manual you would believe it was my generation and those before us who were intolerant, bigots, and so on. But, that isn’t true. We may have been racist, but we were not intolerant. We had black, white, shades of grey, men, women, old and young.

Now there is just one way everything is allowed to be and everyone must stick to the right rules. I see only black, there can be no exception. Any feelings or thoughts (and certainly any actions!) to the contrary will not be tolerated. Even those you love will choose the rules over you. Don’t get in the way, don’t have any other opinion and don’t complain.

Writing this, this morning, I wonder how people have gotten this way.

I have tolerance. I’m sad, I’m angry and I’m disappointed but I am not throwing rocks at anyone. I am not insisting on having my way or ignoring someone else who does not agree with me. I am tolerating someone who ignored my beliefs, my feelings and everything I am. I am not throwing anyone out, or under a bus. I am not screaming, hurting someone else, or insisting on a boycott. I am not using social media to gather others to my witch hunt.

I am of the generation who believe in human rights, including the human right to be human. Being human means everyone is entitled to be imperfect. Being human I expect people to not have all the same thoughts, feelings, culture or experiences. I like to explore other cultures and experiences. I like knowing there are people who disagree with me but listen to how I think and care enough to tolerate me when I feel or think differently.

You have to be entitled to be so firmly intolerant.

Today people have a feeling of entitlement they say. I have seen this in the younger generation, but not just there. The feeling of entitlement is part of the blackness of intolerance. I think it backs it up, keeps it from letting in any of those other colours. You have to be entitled in order to be so firmly intolerant.

Where did we lose the idea that it is ok to say no and have that respected? Of course, you can say no to the acceptable things: rape, bullying, racism, homophobia and transphobia. To a much smaller extent you can still say no to religious discrimination and a few other, older and less popular in the media discriminations we are still allowed to say no to. Racism is not tolerated, if you are black. If you are any other race, culture or colour, you will need to have tolerance. I’m not sure why. Why are some causes supported so fervently and others almost forgotten and ignored? Why do only some people matter?

We have lost the right to respectfully disagree.

I wish people could remember, or care, or respect the fact that we do not all agree. We do not all have to agree. But, with intolerance there is no right to respectfully disagree. I respectfully disagreed but I was not respectfully tolerated, instead I faced the intolerance and being family, years of love, respect and everything else could not overcome the intolerance which is held up like a solid, black wall, higher and thicker than any human being can ever hope to come across, or around.

I am sad and sad is grey, not black.

Nudity in Ruined City Landscapes

Sasha Kurmaz is a Kiev-born photographer. In his 2013 book, Concrete & Sex, the artist reveals that his personal interest in architecture stems from his graffiti background, where he trekked the city in search of good locations for his art. “While walking, I kept looking over the city. This is the magic of these brutal shapes; functionality, and a frank expression of materiality,” he says. “During these trips I have always done pictures to remember the place and go back at night to paint – sometimes I just shoot the landscapes of the city.”

Via dazeddigital.com