Friday, December 20, 2013

A Cup of Christmas Cheer

I finally changed my Blog Header to reflect the publication of my story, Riding on a Christmas Wish in A Cup of Christmas Cheer Volume 1 by Guideposts Books.

This publication is a dream fulfilled - a dream I've had since I was a child and enthused about books and where they came from.

All the events leading to publication (My Call Story) and anything to do with writing the story and the book's release, blog hops, prizes, etc, can be found by clicking the tab for My Writing Blog or at  Woven Under Western Skies.

A Cup of Christmas Cheer is a 2 volume set available only from Guideposts and it's October 2013 release has been so successful that the publisher has sold out of all copies. That was a surprise to me as I'd held a very successful Book Signing at the Montmartre Library and had requests for more books than I had on hand.

But with so many people trying to order the books from Guideposts Online Store and getting a "Sorry, we're sold out" notice, the publisher decided to go for a second print run. I'll be getting my order from this 2nd batch any day now although I'm not sure when it will be available to the general public. Soon, I hope.

Meanwhile, I'm thankful for Guideposts Books having faith in my writing and including me in this wonderful collection of Christmas stories.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Jessie's Blog from Indonesia

Back on June 22nd, I blogged about Jessie flying to Indonesia until January 2014.

Since then, she has Skyped with us several times, trying to hold up photographs to her laptop videocam so we can see where she lives. It was good, but not the best. Since then, she and the second Canadian team member have started a blog about their life and adventures...

Musings From Indonesia - the inner thoughts of two canadians adventuring, volunteering, and living, in beautiful indonesia

If the link doesn't work, try

It made my day when I read the post of Jessie finally checking something off her bucket list - the chance to see and photograph primates in the wild! Wahoo!!!

And the current post is how 2 Canadians cope with a not-so-Canadian Thanksgiving.

If you get a chance, leave a comment. Being so far from home, I know they'd love to hear from you.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Slideshow Test

I made a Tribute to a Father slideshow as a Father's Day gift to Nelson this year, and although the day is long past, I can't seem to find the slideshow itself. However, I had posted it as an education in making a slideshow over on my Inkwell Inspirations group blog, so I have the html coding. I'm posting it here to see if it works.

If this doesn't work, I'm not sure how I can retrieve it. I had it on a flash drive, but JJ had it with him when he left for Street Invaders on Sunday and I'll be gone before he gets back. I'm trying to make a DVD of photos, etc to bring to Mom in Ontario. I guess this slideshow really is an education for me.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Jessie's Flying to Indonesia

Do you remember when we went to Calgary in April for Jessie's convocation?

Well, she's now been out of college for 2 months and by the time you read this she'll have left the country and be on her way to Indonesia - if not already there. I feel like bawling.

I'm thrilled for her - really, I am. And so proud of her. She applied for one of 16 internship positions with Samaritan's Purse for an overseas mission. So did 71 other applicants.

When we saw Jessie in Calgary, she'd made it to the short list and by the beginning of May she texted to say she got the internship. And in case you're wondering, yes, this is the same organization that collects for the Operation Christmas Child every November.

The last 6 weeks have been a whirlwind of preparations. Her passport wouldn't expire for 3 months after she got back, but they wanted her to get a new one before she left Canada. Just in case.

She needed a physical, shots, and lots of paperwork completed. Just when she thought she was done, she'd text that she had more stuff to do.

A couple hours ago she texted with the details:

  • Leave Calgary tomorrow at 0700
  • Fly to Vancouver
  • Fly to LA
  • Fly for 20 hrs to Singapore
  • Fly to Indonesia
  • Arrive Monday morning local time (not sure what time that is here)

And she won't be back until the new year.

Yes, that's right... she won't be back until January 2014 since the mission lasts 7 months. Minimum. *sniff

When we asked what she'll be doing, she texted, I'll be doing sustainable agriculture research including vermiculture and pig farming...

In case you're wondering, vermiculture is using earthworms to compost kitchen scraps into soil. We practiced it when we lived in Ontario and it works great. The worm casings help create a nutrient-rich compost that goes back into the garden. (Don't add add meat scraps, citrus or banana peels, though.) So it sounds like she'll be getting her hands dirty. Heh.

I just went to the Samaritan's Purse Canada website and Jessie is listed as an intern on their blog which talks about the 2013 interns and says in part:

These interns will support Samaritan's Purse and local partners by researching and applying sustainable agriculture and natural farming techniques, developing training materials for future community use, and helping our local partner develop results-based management skills.

And then it has her name listed like this:

Jessica Draper
Jessica is from Montmartre, Saskatchewan, and graduated with a Human Services degree from Rocky Mountain College in Calgary, Alberta. She has a passion for volunteering and non-profit work.

*sniff - I'm so proud of her. And I miss her already although she's still in Calgary as I write this. 

Please remember Jessie in your prayers - not only for a safe flight en route, but her well-being while she's away.

I'm going to miss texting her. I need a hug.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Calgary Tower: A Family Celebration

Today I'm over at Inkwell Inspirations talking about our adventures in the Calgary Tower, just one of the highlights of our trip to Calgary this past weekend to watch Jessie receive her Bachelor of Arts degree. Yay, Jessie!

Not only did we get a spectacular view from the Observation Deck, but some of us (heh) took that step of faith and stood on the glass floor of the Calgary Tower.

JJ and Nick looking down, Jessie and Nelson looking out.
Calgary Tower Observation Deck , Calgary, Alberta, April 20, 2013.

We then spent 2 hours sharing a fine dining experience in the revolving restaurant. A wonderful memory to share at future family get togethers.

The question up for today is:

What's the most memorable thing you've done to celebrate something special?

We're also discussing glass floors and faith.

So whether you want to look at the photos only, or join in the discussion, come on over to:

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ten-Ton Meteorite Too Close For Comfort!

Can you believe how close the 10-ton meteorite came to hitting earth? At first, I thought it was the Asteroid 2012 DA14 which passed through our satellite communication orbit today, but it was a meteorite which burst through the earth's atmosphere, apparently burning up on the entry. Details are still sketchy, but here are some links you may be interested in checking out:

1 . The National Post has some exceptional images, including maps, coupled with English text on this event.

Photo credit: 

2. This Russian video is taken from a dash-cam. It shows an awesome view of the meteorite coming in, but you have to wait until 18:32:12 thereabouts for the sonic boom to hit.

3. Alexander Bulanov has a great silent video taken from a traffic cam. It clearly shows the meteorite flashing over the intersection, but I can't see evidence of the sonic boom. Nothing much happens after the flash.

4. This Russian video shows the confusion that erupted when the shock wave smashed into the earth from 30 to 120 seconds after the meteorite entered the earth's atmosphere. Lots of yelling in Russian but they get their point across.

5. Ilya Varlamov's Live Journal includes some of the above videos and much more. It's in Russian, but good visuals of the confusion and breakage that followed.

Note: This is not the asteroid that passed between our communication satellite orbit and the earth today. This is a separate incident that just happened within the same 24 hr period. Coincidence?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Our Christmas Season Diary

Don't laugh, but this is a make-up post for all the weeks I've missed. It's also an answer to those people who keep asking if the kids came home for Christmas. You may have seen most of these on Facebook, but for those who aren't hooked up that social media platform, and also for the record, I present to you our Christmas diary.

Draper's Acres, Montmartre, SK, December 2012

The season started when we brought Grandma Alice out to Briercrest Christian College at Caronport, west of Moose Jaw, for a full day of Christmas spirit.

Nelson, his mom, Alice Draper, and his son, Jeremiah,
at Briercrest College, Caronport, SK, Dec 2012

The Briercrest experience involved a musical performance of Scrooge in the afternoon, followed by a fantastic turkey supper while listening to carols played on a harp, and then a choral presentation in the evening. The above photo was taken after the meal and while I admit it's a big fuzzy, the alternative is one that clearly showed the strain of the day - especially if you take in the 2 hr drive in winter driving conditions.

On my Dec 20th wedding anniversary, I headed into Regina to pick up Jessie who was flying in from Calgary. While in the city, I picked up Grandma Alice and we watched the planes come and go while waiting. We brought Grandma home with us so she could watch the Live Nativity our church was presenting the next day at the local Candiac Auction Mart.

What's Happening in the Barn? Finale at Candiac Auction Mart,
Candiac, SK, Dec 21st, 2012

The next morning, Jessica led the Praise and Worship at the Sunday morning service.

Jessica Draper, Praise and Worship leader, Church on the Hill,
Glenavon, SK, Dec 22, 2012

After  Christmas and Boxing Days, Nick's girlfriend, Alana, came to spend a day with us. That was a lot of fun playing the Wii and Connect games as we got to know her. Probably scared her with our competitiveness, too. I didn't want to make a big deal of taking photos of her, but I do have one of her as an angel in the Live Nativity. In the photo below, Alana is on the left side of the back row.

The Angels in Glenavon's Church on the Hill's Live Nativity,
at Candiac Auction Mart, Candiac, SK, Dec 21st, 2012

After Alana, our next guests were my sister Bonnie and her husband, Magnar, from Swan River, Manitoba. They stayed a precious 3 days and Bonnie and I spent some of that time outside. Of course I had my camera with me...

Bonnie Bremnes, at Draper's Acres, Montmartre, SK, Jan 1st, 2013

I love that photo of Bonnie. Don't you think she looks like one of those women in the Sears catalogue?

Magnar and Bonnie Bremnes with their Vibe at Draper's Acres,
Montmartre, Sk, Jan 2, 2013

The next day, Bonnie and Magnar had to get back to their jobs in Swan River where he's a minister, and a teacher at the Living Word Ministries and Bible College, and she's the college cook. So blessed to have them share some of their down time with us.

No sooner had Bonnie and Magnar left when Crystal, our oldest baby, came home for a visit and left the bright lights of Vancouver, BC behind. Her return was just what we needed for a family photo.

The Draper Family, clockwise starting at 12 o'clock:
Jeremiah, Nelson (dad), Jessica, Crystal, Nicholas, Anita Mae (mom),
taken at Draper's Acres, Montmartre, SK, January 2013

And then it was time for the girls to leave. First was Jessie as she had to get back to her final year of classes at Rocky Mountain Bible College in Calgary, AB. Does the term, Daddy's Girl, come to mind?

Jessica Draper and her dad, Nelson at Draper's Acres,
Montmartre, SK, Jan 2013

Here are the kids waiting for Jessie's flight to be called while under the harsh airport lights. They're trying to look serious for Dad. It sort of worked, eh.

Draper kids in birth order, L to R: Crystal, Jessica, Nicholas, and Jeremiah
at the Regina Int'l Airport, Jan 2013.

With the boys back in school, and Jessie gone, Crystal and I got down to some serious stuff like reading and writing. I really like this photo of Crystal because although she can be as loud and boisterous as the rest of them, she enjoys the quiet times, too.

Crystal Anne enjoying quiet time at Draper's Acres, Montmartre, SK, Jan 2013

Crystal Draper out walking past Draper's Acres, Montmartre, SK, Jan 2013

Mind you, after one of her jaunts outside with the bitterly cold wind biting her cheeks, she said she was ready to go back to the mild weather on the west coast. Ha ha.

After a wonderful week's visit, it was time to bring my baby to the airport. On the way, we stopped to take a pic of the sunrise and I like to think it's a beautiful reminder of her visit home this Christmas season.

Crystal Anne Draper and a Saskatchewan sunrise east of Francis, Jan 2013

And then she was off to Vancouver where her lonely sweetie, Chris, was waiting for her.

West Jet flight out of Regina Int'l Airport, January 2013

And there, my diary of our Christmas season from Dec 2012 to Jan 2013 is now posted for all our friends and relatives to see.

I hope you enjoyed this trip through time at Draper's Acres. You're welcome back anytime. : ) I'll leve you with this final photo taken from my kitchen view on New Year's Day.

Jan 1st, 2013 Sunrise, Draper's Acres, Montmartre, SK

Friday, November 9, 2012

Woolly Caterpillar 2012 Report

Last fall I posted on the theory that the severity of winter can be predicted based on the colour pattern of the Woolly Bear Caterpillar. Here's what the 2011 Woolly Bear looked like:

Woolly Bear Caterpillar c2011. Photo by Anita Mae Draper
 The Winter of 2011 was very mild. It started early with cold weather in Oct, and didn't seem to end until April, but the temp only dipped colder than -20C/-4F six times. And of those six, I don't recall any being extremely cold - like colder than -40C/F.

So what about the Winter of 2012? Here's what the Woolly Bear looked like when I took the photo this year (Oct 2012) :

Woolly Bear Caterpillar c2012. Photo by Anita Mae Draper
The band looks almost the same ratio as last year, however, he doesn't seem as woolly. In fact he's so sparse, I can see his skin especially around his head.

If you look at this poster, the least woolly caterpillar is the bottom one which is listed as a severe winter. Or is it the same, but only looks sparse because of the artist's rendering?

So I suppose we have 2 things to look out for - the band ratio as well as the woolly factor.

One other difference which you can't tell from the photos is that last year there were caterpillars everywhere! They were crawling up the walls outside as well as inside the garage. This year, I only saw one or two and none in the garage. Well, hubby did put a new door on the garage to keep my office warmer, but he hasn't finished the trim yet and there are still gaps where critters can get inside.

Finally, we saw a new type of woolly caterpillar this year. It's about 1 inch long (half the length of the Woolly Bear) and was sighted twice - both times this size. My research showed this as the Yellow Woolly Bear caterillar which will grow into a White Tiger Moth instead of the Brown Tiger Moth as above.

Yellow Woolly Bear Caterpillar c2012. Photo by Anita Mae Draper

Snow already fell in Oct 2012. Nov has been a mix of temps with the snow thawing and dripping but other days are brisk and cold creating dangerous walking and driving on the ice, and the white stuff is still here. Will it be a long, mild winter like last year, or a short severe one like 2010?


Saturday, October 6, 2012

ACFW Dallas 2012

I went to Dallas, Texas in Sept and although I didn't see much of the city itself, I really enjoyed my trip to the American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference. I'm posting a day-by-day diary of my trip over on my writing blog and so far, have posted these days:

- Going to Dallas: Travelling from Regina to Dallas and my first impressions

- ACFW Dallas Wed: Meeting author friends and venturing away from the hotel

The following photos are different from the ones over on my Woven Under Western Skies writing blog, but if you want to see pics of the conference itself and my author friends, you should check it out.

Dawn breaks at 6:22 am Sep 19th, 2012 at the DFW airport in Dallas, TX.
Looking toward Dallas from my 8th floor room in the DFW Hyatt Regency.
Using the 700mm zoom on my Nikon Coolpix P500 camera, brings the Dallas skyline closer.
Anita Mae Draper standing in front of the Love & War in Texas restaurant in Grapevine, Texas, Sept 21, 2012
My Tejas Platter at Love & War in Texas comprised of a beef enchilada, cheese enchilda, handmade tamale and a soft flour taco, served with Texan Rice TM, refried beans, and pico de gallo. And oh my, what a treat. I was worried it was going to be too spicy, but not at all. I have to admit however, I've never had liquidied refried beans before.
And do you see that bottle of Root Beer? It tasted like A&W, but cost twice as much! 
I ignored the Krispy Kreme selection every morning, but I had to try one before I left the US just to see what all the hype was about. The Blueberry Krispy Kreme donut was good, but I've tasted many the same at Tim Hortons.
Keep watching the Recent Posts list at the top of the right column for updates on my trip to Texas.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dragonfly Kiss

Look what I found on top of the van's antenna the other day...

Oh, kiss me, my darling...
Well, what do you think it's saying?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Medicine Line Outdoor Show

It's history day at the Inkwell and I'm blogging about going to see the Theatre on the Hoof live Wild West Show, The Medicine Line back on July 1st.

I guess the hardest part was finding the venue because it's been almost 25 yrs since we lived in Moose Jaw, and my dear sweet husband knew the way and wasn't about to listen to my directions thinking that I was the one who'd forgotten. Right. And then he asked for directions from a convenience store clerk! Let's just say it was awhile before I found my voice.

The venue was the beautiful Wakamow Valley in what used to be the Wild Animal Park. It was a natural setting for the outdoor show, although I wished vehicles hadn't served as a backdrop for the stage. Kind of disconcerting to a history buff like me. But the recreators did an admirable job with the script.

The Mountie, the Chief, and the Metis discuss things before the show starts.
No, the Chief didn't wear sunglasses during the show.

I especialy liked the teepee making demonstration, as well as the Red River Cart demonstration - added bonuses to the program. Chataqua performances followed the Theatre on the Hoof show.

For more photos, as well as 2 videos - one of which is a funny outtake - please go to my Inkwell post.

The questions for discussion today are about outtakes - if you like them, or if you think they detract from the seriousness of a show.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Visit to Crystal in Vancouver

I've spent the past 2 weeks traveling down to a writing conference in California which started when I flew from Regina to Vancouver and stayed with Crystal overnight, and ended with another overnight stay with her on my way back. I have to admit, the Vancouver wildlife sure has grown since my last visit in the '80s.

Crystal Draper, Vancouver BC, July 2012

When Crystal said she lived downtown, I didn't realize she meant within blocks of BC Place, Science World, and the 2010 Olympic Village...

BC Place and Science World, Vancouver BC, July 2012

Several times, I took the CanTrain with Crystal, and was amazed the trains don't have individual drivers, but are controlled by a central control centre.

West of Vancouver is the Straight of Georgia, with the mountains on the east.

Crystal and I shared an evening walk along a rejuvenated False Creek.
BC Place, Vancouver BC, July 2012

Science World, Vancouver BC, July 2012

I enjoyed my time in Vancouver, Crystal. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Research Trip Part 2

I'm blogging at Inkwell Inspirations today with Research Trip: Trails of 1885 Part 2. It entails my visits to Fort Carleton, Duck Lake, and Hague where I crossed the South Saskatchewan River by ferry. I have lots of photos over at the Inkwell, and a video of my actual ferry crossing.

If you only want to watch the video, see it here:

The questions for discussion today are:

Have you ever taken a ferry ride? Where? What river? What size of ferry?

I hope to chat with you, either here or at the Inkwell.