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I’ve recently realized that the things I learned from my family and relatives as a child had a greater impact on my life than I ever could have imagined.

Case in Point:

When I was very young and living in Toronto, I spent a great deal of time with my Aunt, Uncle and two cousins. Further, my Aunt cared for me while my parents worked.

Also, from the time that I was six years old, each Sunday morning my Aunt, Uncle and cousins would drive well out of their way to pick me up to take me to Sunday School and Church. For this, I will always be grateful.

While my Uncle worked very hard to provide for his family, my Aunt was a very talented and creative woman.

She was able to make exquisite paper cuttings of birds, trees, flowers and of course hearts… out of ordinary paper and a pair of scissors.

In Germany, this art form is known as “Scherenschnitte.”

During the 1960’s she sewed teddy bears for every child she knew and gave them freely, and with great joy.

I still have a photograph of the one she made for my Sister.

And how she loved to knit and crochet.

My Aunt always had all kinds of wool in every colour and was quick to share while encouraging us to create whatever we pleased.

And so, you may be wondering what was the one thing that my Aunt taught me which served me so well in life…


She taught me how to braid.


Those of you who have never met me may not understand the significance of this, but family, friends and those around me do.

For the past twenty years, a long braid has been my signature hairstyle. It’s easy and very practical.

And I learned how to do it from my Aunt.

There are many happy memories of my cousin and I practicing how to braid using long multiple strands of wool that my Aunt would prepare for us.

I became very good at it.

And then, later in life, it was with the greatest joy that I was finally able to braid my little girl’s hair.

Those moments were epochs in my life.

And so, there you have it.

The simplest and most basic lessons that we learn in life are usually the ones that mean the most and stay with us the longest.

…Like learning how to tie your shoes,

…Like learning how to tell time,

…Like learning how to make Scherenschnitte birds, trees, flowers and of course… hearts, out of ordinary paper and a pair of scissors.