The Color Orange

Yesterday was a big day for many reasons. Our family observed Truth and Reconciliation Day in a way that was pretty special for us. It was also month end which meant farm business, music festival board business for me and a time to tally the stats for the Broken Bread Bakery. I have a series of captioned pictures to tell the tale.

Jill found this butterfly on the highway during the walk we took part in yesterday. It seems a good way to start this blog off. To me butterflies can symbolize transformation and they are so beautiful.
The last report from the Broken Bread Bakery was at the end of July since then I have pretty much met my goal of baking and sharing one batch of buns per week, on average.
This was a terrific day of baking, two batches in one afternoon happened when my neighbor Sheila came over. Baking bees like this will continue until I have seen to the baking of one bun for every child who died at residential school, some treated as entirely forgettable. This is a long term project. In August and September I was able to bake and share 362 buns. I had a couple of huge orders, 12 dozen for a trailride and six dozen to one individual. The flurry of baking for those allowed some weeks off from baking at other times.
The joy of working together at the counter was literally enriched by the generosity of folks who received the buns. The donations given for the healing fund in July and August totaled $375. This figure is lower than it might be because I donated 4.5 dozen buns to a bake sale. I counted those towards the remembering of children because honestly, with thousands of buns to make I need to stay focused on this unfolding memorial instead of for example baking cookies for the bake sale. I was mindful of those children as I baked. I tagged the buns as being from the Broken Bread Bakery and I said a little bit about the project. The entire project total so far is 644 buns baked and $1,020 raised for the Healing Fund of the United Church of Canada.
While in St. John’s we took in an afternoon at an amazing museum. There was a good display about residential schools within the museum. The thing that has struck me lately is how this school system impacted the parents and the grandparents. Children removed from ones life and all the everyday joys gone, in moments. It got me thinking about how much I loved bedtime routine with our kids with the book reading we shared. It was routine, the books well worn, one might say it was boring really and it was time consuming. But it was special and warm and good and essential. How would we have coped if all our routines had been taken from us?
It bothered me to read that a ship that shares my last name was used to transport children away to school.
I have this picture of a notebook Jill was creating in the summer, preparing for back to school. I looked at it and I said, “Jilly, even nature proclaims that every child matters.” I found the Liz Griffin pictures that she used, and a couple different ones, they are here with my interpretation of the parent child dynamic at play. The brown surroundings reflect the time of year, it was just before the spring burst of color. The cows look rough. They had just weathered winter and been thru the birthing time and they definitely needed a bit of time to reemerge in their beauty.
“I am your Mama and I need to wash your face.”
“We are together and so the world is at peace.”
“I WILL protect you. I will not let them near you.”
“Your aunties and I, we got you, stay near.” (This was a pen with three Moms who had birthed twins and were each successfully raising both calves.)
“My sense of smell is going to keep you well, just don’t you worry.”
“I love you”
All of the things percolating in us that you read above made it important for us to be a part of the walk that was hosted by Alameda United Church yesterday. A walk for truth and reconciliation. It was about a 4 mile journey up and down highway 9. Maybe people say, “why is that important, why are you slowing down traffic?” Maybe because nothing changes until it is seen for what it is. Maybe its okay to have to slow down and think, for us walkers and for the drivers too. Maybe that creates openings for the Spirit to be at work. Having said that I am tired and a bit overwhelmed by everything in the world. I was thinking about it later….the repetition of shaping buns and putting one step in front of the other is what I am capable of right now. I don’t have space in my head for deep learning. I will trust that God will take my steps and my buns and work with them.
It was awesome to have support from some folks driving by, like this flag bearing truck. The best were the semi truck drivers that blew their airhorns. We walked with friends on a beautiful fall day and perhaps made more concrete for ourselves who we want to be as individuals and as a family.
My friend ordered this flag and Russ and I took a turn walking with it for a while. That created a good chance for a picture but carrying my friends survivor sign for a while to give her a break, and bearing this flag both felt like sacred responsibilities.

The color orange is being transformed in our culture. In my world it was once the color I associated with halloween. Then as I got to know some bikers it became the color of Harley Davidson, then as we built our house it became a color of energy and we chose it for our kitchen. Now it is a color that speaks of honoring. Honoring and not silencing. Honoring and not shaming. Honoring through listening. Honoring difference and uniqueness. Honoring another even if it costs me a bit. It means living out what we say when we say that every child matters. It was the color of halloween, and I see maybe like a butterfly, the color orange is being transformed, can it become a color that when seen quickens the heart, sending out a signal that ingredients for hope and healing are not far away. May it be so.

A Bakery is Born

Most of the people that read this blog are also facebook friends and will have seen some of this info in recent facebook posts. Not everyone is with me on facebook though and there is more to the story than I can say on facebook without being overwhelming. So the bakery story is coming to the blog.

The bottomline: I started a bakery this week. Its very simple, very limited, very manageable, but very powerful in my heart.

When the discovery of bodies at Canadian Residential School sites began I pondered how I could respond in a meaningful way. What I came to is that I wanted to bake a bun for every child whose remains were found. At first that was 215, a full day of baking for sure. Numbers rose and the plan had to change. Now I am having scheduled baking sessions, joined by people that want to help, want to share stories with me, or just talk over thoughts and feelings about these horrifying discoveries. I am then delivering buns to local people who have pre-ordered via facebook and they are giving me a donation in exchange for the buns, a donation being forwarded to something called “The Healing Fund.” This fund was established by the United Church of Canada in 1994 in an effort to begin making things right. The monies raised support the plans of indigenous people to do what will bring healing to individuals and communities. The response in my local area has been great.

The name of my bakery is “Broken Bread Bakery”, it just came to me one morning. I was thinking about Bible stories where Jesus gathered with others at tables as equals and meals were shared. Then at the point where Jesus’ death was being plotted he told his followers to continue to break bread together and in doing that remember him. The Sacrament of Communion was begun. In my first thoughts on this, through the lens of those discoveries of human remains, I was really aware that Jesus called us to break bread and not bodies. When I talked to the family about this it was noted that although it is true that we are dealing with bodies the ongoing issue is the legacy of the attempts made to break spirits. I think that the way Jesus treated all as equally worthy of God’s love, his example of humility and the respect he showed for the uniqueness of others was in those moments something that made peoples spirits more whole. The residential school agenda was not that. I am quite a fan of how Jesus used bread to invite us, by his example, to do better and to be better. So…… “Broken Bread Bakery” was born. Maybe the brokenness within me and others who connect with this project in any way can be touched. Maybe, by God’s grace, we can all find ourselves a little more whole as bread shared draws us together.

I have had opportunities come from this already. To be with people who I don’t know that well, bake, form buns, be at home in my own space but treading new space in relationship and learning is good for me. I like the familiarity of my own home at this point in my journey. A very cool set of moments happened yesterday. I was joined by someone who attended residential school, her Mom did and her grandmother. She had much I needed to hear. We got a batch of buns started, the water, yeast, sugar, oil and part of the flour blended, then stories began to emerge and it was best to just turn off the mixer, sit and listen. What was in the mixer bowl did its thing, it rose and rose while the stories emerged. Finally as the ingredients started to creep out over the top of the bowl we returned to our work, got salt and the rest of the flour added, and got it mixing, we talked through the noise of that and then got to forming the buns. My guest was a beginner at making buns, so for the 2nd time this week I got to teach someone how to make buns. The very cool thing about yesterday is that my friend brought the ingredients to make bannock. Once we got the buns rising she taught me how to make bannock. I loved the give and take of this and it was truly a treat to sit in my own kitchen and observe someone else at work. We got some oil hot and she cooked up that beautiful and delicious bannock. I was excited to call the kids up for a snack that I knew was pretty darn special. They loved it.

Buns rising and bannock being prepared and also enjoyed all in the same picture. That’s a good moment!
I can count on one hand the number of times we have deep fried at our house. That made this moment extra tasty and exciting.

While the kids settled in Russell happened to come in, we got to have a family snack with our new friend. I had cause to run into town not long after the buns came out of the oven and was able to make a couple of deliveries of warm, fresh buns where again, generous donations were given in reply. Also, yesterday I was given 2 20 lb bags of flour. I am set for buns for a while!

So there is a little bit more of the story of the bakery that was born in my kitchen this week!