60 thoughts on “Guestbook (1-60)”

  1. Kelly Schneider said:

    I don’t want to be picky…. but from Medstead it was never amm, it was am^2 (that is as close as I could figure out how to write a m squared.)

    Love you all and praying for the best.

    Kelly and the rest of Club Med

  2. Wahoo! This is the perfect first post in the Guestbook. The reason being that I have learned something about my mom that I never knew. She was always just “amm” to me. And I find it encouraging that she used “am^2” in Medstead, as she never did like numbers and math! 🙂
    Kirsten

  3. Lise Merle said:

    Just a follow up…

    Anne-Marie Merle was known as AMM to everyone else, but to me, she was AAM – Auntie Anne-Marie.

    The lovliest, classiest, dignified, hilarious Aunt a girl could ever hope to have….

    Love,
    Lise

    xoxoxoxoxoxo

  4. Karen Marchand said:

    Kirsten, what a wonderful idea you had for this website!

    We continue to hold you all in our thoughts every single day….love you…
    Karen

  5. Terry Kjargaard said:

    What a fantastic idea. AMM must be thrilled with the site. I spent the better part of five years completing a masters degree and without doubt the best, and most valuable, part of the experience were the trips back and forth to Saskatoon with AM. I learned more sitting in the seat of my car than the seat in the classroom.

  6. Ramona Stillar said:

    What a wonderful tribute to an outstanding woman. The strength that all of you are demonstrating at this time is admirable. Thanks Kirsten for thinking of all of us at such a difficult time. Please know that my prayers with all of you.

  7. George and Shirley said:

    Good Evening All,

    Kirsten your stamina at this difficult time just amazes us and we are so thankful for the updates. These are wonderful sites and hoping it helps you relax in some ways too. Thinking of you all always.
    Cousin George and Shirley

  8. Dianne Ford said:

    Oh – what a great idea. I continue to think of all of you and how you are doing each and every day and now I can find out the updates on my own! I have many memories working with Anne-Marie even though our time together was brief.

    She always had time for you and always listened intently and then shared her wisdom with quiet strength. I cherished those chats in her office and as Terry K mentioned, I learned much. The best part – she was always willing to share her wisdom and it was so appreciated.

    Take care and know that our thoughts continue to be with all of you as you continue on this difficult journey!

  9. Kenz & Troy said:

    Great idea on the website Miss K! Troy and I have amm & Chuck in our thoughts every day. Even though we can’t be there with you, this site gives us a great way to stay up to date. I think I may have some photos for you to post… I’ll take a look. Love & hugs – The Graham Clan

  10. Uncle Stephen and Auntie Lesley said:

    Kirsten

    We continue to pray for you and the rest of the family. Thanks for keeping us updated.

    We will be sure to let Grandma Leen know.

  11. Rosemarie Katzell said:

    What an amazing way to turn your situation into a positive outreach to others. You have inherited your Mom’s quiet strength and inner beauty. May God bless you and the rest of your family. Thank you so much for taking the time to remember me in your list of contacts. You are a remarkable young lady.

  12. LJ Nelson said:

    When I am thinking of amm, I think of this poem:
    2000 Year Old Sanskrit Poem
    (Author Unknown)

    Listen to the salutation of the dawn.

    Look to this day,
    For it is life,
    The very life of life.

    In its brief course lies all
    The realities and truth of existence,
    The joy of growth,
    the splendor of action,
    The glory of power

    For yesterday is but a memory,
    And tomorrow a vision.

    But today well lived,
    Makes every yesterday a memory of happiness,
    And every tomorrow a vision of hope.,

    Look well therefore to this day.

  13. Jeb and Catherine said:

    wow, great work on the page. thank you for the updates. thinking of you and your family at this time.
    love Jeb and Catherine

  14. Joan and Rich said:

    Dear Kirsten, Charlie, Anthony and Julie,

    Good job getting this information out there. The world needs to know about CJD, about how brave Anne Marie has been and how, even if this disease is rare, there are people researching and exploring its causes and a possible cure. Hope. Hope that some day all of the questions about CJD can be answered and there will be prevention and cures. Courage. Courage to create a documentary of Anne Marie’s journey with this disease. Strength. Strength to rise each morning and do the best we can as you are doing and Anne Marie would want.

    Anne Marie is in our thoughts and prayers each day.

    Love, Rich and Joan

  15. The Cawoods said:

    Were thinking of amm and all of you here !!

    Paul, Trish, Owen and Brynn Cawood

  16. Colleen said:

    Thanks Kirsten for all you are doing. As I said before you are an inspiration. Thinking of you everyday. Take care and give your dad a hug from us.

    Love Colleen

  17. Trisha & The Kasawski's said:

    Hey Kirsten,

    What an amazing idea~therapeutic and insightful for all. You are wonderful!

    Our prayers are with you and your family.

    ~hugs~

  18. Marion Top. said:

    Think of you all every day and say a little prayer too. You are doing a wonderful job Kirsten keeping us all informed-a big hi to Charlie and our best to you all. Love cousin Marion and Alex from PA

  19. Rojeanne said:

    This page is a wonderful idea, Kirsten. Thank you for all your hard work in putting it together for everyone.
    Think of you all daily and keep you in my prayers.
    Rojeanne

  20. Tracey said:

    What an amazing thing you have done here! I have been thinking of you all daily since my visit a couple of weeks ago – you are all in our prayers.

    KK, your mother was always a visionary – she always knew how to learn from any situation. I have been fortunate to have had several people in my life share this vision with me, and your mom is right at the top of that list, and it is because of them that I am a teacher. I am eternally grateful for what she has given me. And now, you have become the visionary. Thank you for continuing the work that she started.

    My love to all, and may you continue to find the strength and inspiration that you need at this time.

  21. Audrey Peters said:

    this is an awesome tribute, to an amazing lady. Anne Marie’s gentle & powerful strength, has been a guide, to many of us, whom have known her, over the years..I have had many special & treasured, times in Beta Sigma Phi, socially & thro’ the many years of Dance competitions, we attending, in many centers. My special memories, are from our friendship, visiting & hair cutting sessions, in Saskatoon, thro’ our Christmas letters, with Pictures & more recent, e:mail correspondance. Thanks Charlie & Kirsten, for your special & candid, caring, of others, at this time. This tribute, testifies, of the influence, Anne Marie, has on your family, & family of friends. My prayers & thoughts, are with each of, Charlie, Kirsten & Nicholas, Anthony, Julie & Madeleine…hugs & luv Audrey

  22. Kir,

    You are an outstanding, inspirational, and loving woman. You radiate love and strength, and your optimism and courage are only to be admired. My grams was my “rock” and would always share with me the Serenity Prayer:

    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.

    You are a blessing, may you continue to find the strength, courage and wisdom you need during this time. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family each and everyday. Thank you for all of your hard work, your website is incredible, you are so talented!

    Love and miss you,
    Kate

  23. Wow. All these comments are so thoughtful and special. But I don’t need any praise! I am just doing for mom what she would have done for me. A close friend of hers recently said how she would never like to be the centre of attention and how this situation has caused her to be so. But I think amm would be fine with us all circling around her now…
    Kirsten

  24. Karen Macdonald said:

    Hey Merley Pearly Puddin and Pie,

    With a few gender modifications needed, I thought the quote found below was fitting for your mom. Insert “woman”, “she” or “her” when necessary… 🙂

    That man is successful who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much, who has gained the respect of the intelligent men and the love of children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who leaves the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

    Often thinking of you two equally strong women and your men.

    Love, Karen

  25. Lynn Brisebois said:

    I got to know Anne-Marie one summer when Lynne Thompson, AMM, and I took a graduate class in women’s studies. She was both insightful and thought provoking. It was a joy to meet a kindred spirit. Then I was transferred to Bready when AMM became a superintendent. She graciously invited me to the year-end party in the Merle backyard. She was a gracious hostess who ensured everyone’s needs were attended to. I felt very much at home. I attended her ‘thesis’ gathering upon receiving her master’s degree, as well as, her welcome back to school brunches upon retirement.
    I also remember when I became PD chair for the school division AMM volunteered to take the minutes and distribute them to the schools which was something most superintendents would never offer to do. This was another opportunity to get to know her better and appreciate her gentle manner when resolving issues. AMM was truly a master at reframing issues in very subtle ways – it’s all in the way you look at things she once told me after a meeting. I truly believe that this mantra is still part of her life today.
    My thoughts and prayer are with you Kirsten, say hi to your dad, too! Your mother is a great woman!

  26. Reading the varied, insightful comments allows us, in some small way, to share this journey with Anne-Marie and her family, all of whom are an inspiration during this time.
    I was particularly taken with Tracey’s description of amm as a “visionary” and immediately thought of a quotation that aptly describes the incredible influence Anne-Marie has. Rev. R. Inman states “A great teacher never strives to explain her vision. She simply invites you to stand beside her and see for yourself.”
    Prayers continue for this special family.

    Love, Vera

  27. Faye & Stan Johnston said:

    Thank you Kirsten for this website. Although years and distance have separated our families, the family bond remains strong. Prayers and mega hugs to you and your family. Love to Aunty Eileen.

  28. Amanda Risling said:

    Kirsten,
    What a wonderful tribute to your mom and a thoughtful way to keep people connected to her! You continue to amaze me with the strength and love you have – its no surprise to anyone though who knows your mom! Whenever I think of AMM, I think of a women who always gave me the gift of her smile and time! She was always fully engaged in our conversations and made me feel important. Sending you lots of love and prayers Merle – take care of you and give your mom a big hug! Love,
    Amanda aka Duttz

  29. Garry and Joan said:

    We will miss you Ann Marie. What your family has done for you on this site speaks of the respect and love they have for you.

    Garry, Charlie and Ann Marie taught for several years at the Weyburn Junior High School. Our house was on the same street as the Merles, and the street was full of kids and we had such good times.

    When Garry and I married, Ann Marie and Charlie gave us “The Prophet” by Kahil Gibran, and she suggested we take time to read particular sections. The book has been shared by our family, and I gave a copy to our daughter and her husband when they married. Ann Marie and I discussed this last year, and she said she always had the book by her side.

    After Garry and I visited the Merles and Ann Marie on April 3, I came home and re-read some sections and, unfortunately, read a couple of sections that I had not read before including the quote below.

    “And when the earth shall claim your limbs, shall you truly dance.”

    Take care and we are always thinking of you.

  30. Kyla Spak said:

    Kirsten, I am thinking about you and your family each day. Your Mom is surely proud to see all that you are doing to educate us all in her honour. This site is great, there is much I did not know about your Mom, but I have always known her to be an extremely kind and generous person. There are not many people that can say they have had the kind of relationship with their Mom as you have with yours- I know you will always remember how blessed you have been. We will continue to check this site regularly. Take care!
    Kyla

  31. Joan Steckler said:

    Ann Marie & I go back many yrs. I first got to know her when she was in 4-H with my sister. I felt very fortunate to have her as my leader when I joined the Wild Rose
    club. She tired so hard to teach me to knit. I made alot of
    scarves & pot holders., she was so patient! Even then, it was obvious that she was going to be an excellant educator.
    We lost track after she moved on to University, but one day
    some 20+ yrs. later, we met in Dr. Breker’s office. I recognized her immediately, but of course had to tell her who I was and we had a bit of a visit catching up.
    I feel very fortunate to know Ann Marie on a number of levels – as a colleague, as a parent (she taught both our girls), and as a friend. Her support and dedication was second to none.

  32. Jenn Blasetti said:

    Kirsten,
    My mother and I have been profoundly affected by your mother’s story. Knowing how close you are to your mother, I can’t even imagine what these past couple of months have been like for your family. However, based on this beautiful tribute to amm, I believe she must be sleeping peacefully knowing that the true essence of who she is has been passed along to you, and is coming through in the strength that you are showing now. Not only was she a gifted educator, but clearly she was a gifted parent. Our prayers are with you and your family.

  33. Annetta Jones said:

    What a lovely tribute to your Mom, Kirsten. I worked with your mother in the School Division Office and found her to be a gentle, kind, inspirational, insighful team player. Her warm smile was there every morning. She was so graceful in everything including her clothing. I always waited to see what she floated up the stairs in each day. Her office was a restful haven with lovely postures. A lady that inspired insight into education beyond the doors of schools. Her and Charlie’s lovely staff evening was filled with warmth from themselves and their creative kitchen. Anne Marie, as I always think of her, gave the most lovely little gifts – thoughtful reminders of her warmth are in many homes. She will so approve of this site with the education value and the sharing of friends. May you, Charlie and your family continue to share these wonderful thoughts with one another as you celebrate Anne Marie’s life with those it has touched. With fonds thoughts of a gracious lady that touched my life, Annetta

  34. You may not know me by name, I am Iris Minifies sister.
    My heart goes out to you and your families.

  35. Jackie Inglehart said:

    Thinking of you and all of Anne-Marie’s family and friends.
    Thanks for doing this wonderful tribute to her. I will continue to check in on the updates and additions.
    I would offer to share High School and University photos but they are packed .If you are interested in adding copies to your collection I will scan and email them once I am unpacked but I am not sure when that will be.

  36. Kirsten, I think of you, your mom and family every day. I am in constant awe of your strength and capacity to honor your mom everyday by her side, as well as publically with htis website. Your mom is a beautiful lady inside and out.
    Sending you and your mom big hugs!
    love Jill (the kid across the alley, aka Tarzan)

  37. Here is a note from mom’s dear dear friend, Iris.

    Dear KK, Charles, et al.
    Thank you Kirsten, for the website-it gives all of us a chance to keep in touch. You are an inspiration to all of us, your strength gives us strength and your courage empowers us. You are definitely the “apple who didn’t fall far from the tree!”
    Your Mom has been one of my 2 best friends for 55 years! Edith (Bennett) Iles is the other. Just this past November when Edie lost her mother, AMM and I bought Edie a willow tree carving that depicted “Sisters by Heart”. Today I found a poem entitled just that!

    Sisters by Heart by Darla Perkins

    It seems we just connected
    Right from the start,
    Meant to be–naturally,
    Sisters by heart.

    And though we don’t share parents
    As real sisters do,
    Growing in my family tree
    Is a special branch for you.

    A time-tested kinship
    In which God plays a part,
    Through talks and laughter, sorrow and dreams
    Of sister by heart.

    The bonds of friendship we three have shared through the years have defied time and distance and I know they will continue to grow to eternity. Please know that your pain is our pain. Our love to all of you. I wish I could be there everyday to give you a hug.

    Iris M. Minifie

  38. George and Shirley said:

    As days draw near, family time is definitely required and we are thinking and praying for all of you at this most difficult time. Just received these following quotes and thought of amm.
    Worry looks around, sorry looks back, Faith looks up.
    Whenever God closes one door He always opens another, even though sometimes it’s hell in the hallway.
    Happiness keeps you sweet, Trials keep you strong, Sorrows keep you human, Failures keep you humble,Success keeps you glowing, But only God keeps you going.
    Love George and Shirley

  39. Jack & Annmarie said:

    I have wonderful memories of “the other Anne-Marie” from Beta Sigma Phi, our work at Bready and her visits to the Public Library. The most impressive teacher I have ever worked with. Thank you for maintaining this website – an awesome tribute to your Mum. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

    May the Lord watch between me and thee, while we are absent, one from the other.

  40. Jackie Inglehart said:

    Just read your most recent update and appreciate your wish for this “family time”.
    I admire the strength and courage you have displayed through this experience. The wonderful attitute and diligent , devoted attention are a real tribute to you and to Anne-Marie.
    I will miss her as I know you will.
    Hope it is of some small comfort to know many are sending their love and sympathy to you. She was such a warm and wonderful person.
    With Love
    Jackie

  41. Kathy Johnson said:

    I just heard today of Anne Marie’s illness and wanted to express my sadness to hear of it. I met Anne Marie in the late 90’s- we were acquaintances only but she was always so gracious and had a nice word and a smile anytime i ran into her in the community. She is a classy person that i am glad to have met her. i know her family and partner were so important to her- i remember her saying once that what was important to her was to be available – just to be available to her family whenever they needed her…. My thoughts and prayers are with you all…

  42. George and Shirley said:

    Sincere condolenses to all of you at this sad time. You have all been so strong and amm would be so proud of her family as they were close to her right to the end.
    Mothers never really die
    They just keep house in the sky
    They polish the sun by day and light the stars that shine at night
    Keep the moon beams silvery bright
    And in their heavenly home above
    They wait to welcome those they love.
    Sincere sympathy to you all
    Love George and Shirley

  43. Rosemarie Katzell said:

    I was reading scripture at River Heights Lodge last night and had prayers for Anne-Marie also and the Gospel reading, John 14, seemed to me to be a comfort when I thought of her. If you choose to read it I pray it will be a comfort to you also at this time.
    In Christ’s love, Rosemarie Katzell

  44. Linda Davisson said:

    Charlie, Anthony, Kirsten and Family,

    Anne Marie was a strong women and an inspiration to all that knew her. I enjoyed the many years that we worked together at Alexander and when she was a Director at the Division.

    She will be missed by all that LOVED and knew her. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Love
    The Davissons

  45. Marion Top. said:

    Thinking of you all. It has been a long journey and you were with her all the way. She holds a special place in our heart too.God Bless and keep you all strong. Love Marion and Alex

  46. Kir and Family,

    May you forever cherish the enless memories of your mom. May the memories give you strength and comfort, smiles and laughter in the years to come. I love you.

    Kate

  47. Kyla Spak said:

    Kirsten, I am thinking of you and your family today. Undoubtedly you made amm’s last days with us all as peaceful and happy as could be.
    Kyla

  48. Christeena Fisher said:

    amm will be dearly missed and thought of often. My condolences to you all. Anne Marie gave me a butterfly suncatcher when we worked together. I will look at it often and remember what a truly wonderful woman she was. Thinking of you all.

  49. Our hearts are with you today and as Anne-Marie writes the next chapter, we review the many she already wrote along the way. One such dear story involves Anne-Marie and an ongoing association with butterflies – beautiful, fragile butterflies – and reminds me of an incident several years ago. Charlie may recall the episode and, surely Anne-Marie will smile and forgive me yet another sports anecdote. I refer to an occasion during a televised Blue Jays game when Orlando Hudson, who then played second base, was visited by a butterfly. The guest sat on Hudson’s left shoulder and remained firm even during a typically athletic defensive play. We all watched, drawn by this spectacle of a delicate butterfly which surely could not stay, would not stay. Yet when it eventually departed, all were left with a wistful longing for this rare spectacle which had fleetingly graced the game with a sense of beauty. Anne-Marie brought that to so many and, while we knew she could not stay, we cannot help but grieve her gifts of gentle grace and beauty. She touched so many!
    With love and prayers, Bob and Vera

  50. Noelle Bidwell said:

    My thoughts and condolences to you all. Anne-Marie would be so proud of this amazing website, and the strength you showed throughout her illness. I enjoyed working with Anne-Marie so much, and always valued her wisdom, kindness, caring, and friendship, as well as the many hearty laughs (of unknown origin!) we shared. Anne-Marie had a quiet and gentle strength, and a really classy way about her. She was such a special person, and she will really be missed, but fondly remembered.

  51. Erin Cortus said:

    I am thinking of you all and remembering what a woman Mrs. Merle was to me and so many others.

  52. Lynn Brisebois said:

    AMM was trully a gem as a mentor and friend in the field of education! She leaves behind a legacy of many fond memories in central office, in the many schools she visited, and in the school division. As she sets forth on her next journey, my thoughts and prayers go out to your entire family, and all those she has left behind.

  53. Dale Dillabough-Young said:

    I was fortunate enough to have been hired by AMM and work with her at Alexander School. She always had a kind word and a big smile for new teachers. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Thank you so much for the beautful webpage tribute to her.

    “May the peace of God the father, and the love of Christ His Son.
    Guide us through the days ahead, and strengthen us each one.
    May the blessings of the Spirit, fill us from within
    God bless us and return us, to His fellowship, once again”

  54. Kenz & Troy said:

    We loved “mommy Merle” so much and we are so thankful she touched our lives. Love to you, Nickers, Chas, Anth, Julie & Madi.
    Kenz & Troy

  55. I. Choma said:

    Although she only touched my life briefly, AMM made a lasting impression….
    I hope the memories of the times you had together will bring bittersweet smiles, some laughter, and peace to sooth the grief you feel right now.
    We were all blessed to have known such a lovely woman.
    Her legacy to education will be felt for a long time.

  56. Dianne Ford said:

    My condolences to the Merle Family. As many have mentioned Anne Marie was a very special woman who holds a very special place in many hearts. Hopefully someday when the pain of your loss eases, the happy memories of a life well lived will help to fill the void.

  57. Rachelle Zyznomirski said:

    I found out Friday night about AMM’s passing, and was very saddened by yours and our loss. Although I did not come to visit her at the hospital, I have this thing about remembering people as they were healthy, I would like you to know that she touched my life and my heart. AMM was the most caring, honest, up-front person that I have worked with. She did her job as she obviously did her life, to the best of her ability and with dignity and grace that could be matched by no other. I will always remember how elegant she looked in her black and red outfits, that she wore to work! Not to mention that whenever I see notes on pink paper in my mailbox, or an apple sticker attached to something, I always flashback to AMM.

    At past funerals I have heard a poem entitled “The Dash”, and the poem refers to the dash between the day someone was born and the day someone passes away. It mentions how the dash is what that person has done with his/her life, and that we are remembered for the dash. I would just like to say that in AMM’s case, the dash was not nearly long enough. But the amount of good, love, and happiness she brought to everyone she came into contact with during her dash will never be forgotten!

    With Love,
    Rachelle and Family

  58. Kelly Schneider said:

    Club Med sheds a tear and smiles. A M^2 will be missed, but she remains a teacher. Compassion, strength, simple values of honesty and caring are only some of what she taught. And often she used no words.
    Let us be thankful to have shared such a wonderful life.

  59. Brett & Sara Anhorn said:

    Anthony, Julie & Family-

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to you in this difficult time.

    It’s clear from the beautiful outpouring of loving energy here on your site that your Mom touched many, many people, and will continue to do so as she moves on to the next stage.

    It may help to take solace knowing that so many people will carry on with the legacy she shared in her very giving ways.

    You are in our hearts, guys…

    Much Love,
    Brett and Sara

  60. Iris Minifie said:

    Dear KK, Nick, Charles, Anthony, Julie & Madelaine,
    Congrats to all of you for your love and perserverance over the past few weeks as AMM was preparing for the next leg of the journey of life. All of you will now enter a new chapter in you lives as well, — just remember, she will be guiding you all the way.
    The last gift I received from AMM was last fall – a momento from their trip to Scotland. It’s the Celtic Blessing whick reads:
    May the road rise up to meet you,
    May the wind be always at you back,
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    May the rain fall soft upon your fields,
    And until we meet again,
    May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

    Did AMM know something we dindn’t?!!

    Love Iris