Monday, May 30, 2011

Nick's Mission to South Africa

This summer my son, Nick Draper, is heading to South Africa on a mission trip with Street Invaders, so I’m dedicating this post to him.

Nick’s main claim to fame is due to his 2006 TV appearance when he appeared in the Kid’s Stuff episode on Corner Gas (Season 4, Episode 11). That and other experiences in the TV and film industry taught him patience and teamwork among other things.

Here’s a portion of that Corner Gas episode where we first see Nick. His segment starts at 1:40 as Davis and Karen (the 2 RCMP officers) are walking down the sidewalk. Nick is the young boy that pops out of nowhere.

Those work attributes helped in 2009 when Nick signed up for his first Street Invaders mission trip at the age of 14. His team worked with childrens' summer camps in Saskatchewan and Alberta where Nick found he had an affinity for that type of work.

Nick went homeless for part of the 2010 Easter Break while being a participant of Project Aware. This Regina-run project shows teens what it’s like to be homeless. They learn the scary truth about what it means to be homeless as well as how to interact, help and empathize with kids and adults in that situation.

Fifteen year old Nick started the 2010 summer by counseling kids at the Springside Apostolic Bible Camp here in Saskatchewan. He followed that week with a second Street Invaders mission trip which took him all the way to Australia.

Again this past Easter Break, Nick volunteered and was accepted into the Project Aware program in Regina. He came home more determined than ever to keep working with kids whether homeless or not.

This year, Nick was invited to join the Street Invaders mission trip to South Africa and it wasn’t a surprise when he said he wanted to go. The Street Invaders website says, 'Imagine! Flying to Capetown, South Africa and working in schools, prisons, on the streets, and in the feeding stations. Your entire 2 weeks will be absolutely full of opportunities to live the Gospel! This continues to be one of Street Invaders greatest mission outreaches ever!

One thing he’s doing before he goes halfway around the world is taking a 2-week Leaders in Training (LIT) course at the local Circle Square Ranch. This Christian based summer ranch camp really needs workers otherwise they have to turn campers/ranchers away. More often than not that means disadvantaged kids from the city who look forward to the experience all year.

The LIT course will enable Nick to become a ranch counselor when he’s not on the Street Invaders team. It also means a full summer of work without pay, but it’s one of Nick’s choosing.

Nick does most things kids his age like to do such as playing video games, chatting on the internet and driving the family car. Musically inclined, Nick plays the snare drum and other percussion instruments in the school band. He also leads worship one Sunday a month with his dad who is the source of his music talent.

And for all those friends and relatives who read my blog and have inquired about supporting Nick in his missions (especially the airfare), the best way you can help is to send a donation to Nick’s AYMI (Apostolic Youth Ministries International) account over in their Calgary office.

It’s real easy to do online. Just go to the AYMI website and click ‘Donate’ at the bottom of the page. It will take you through the PayPal site. To ensure the donation goes to Nick’s account, please follow up with an email to

Or, you could send a check/cheque made out to AYMI and designate that it's for Nick to:

AYMI, #8 3530 11A St. NE Calgary AB Canada T2E 6M7

The AYMI’s contact numbers are 1-877-356-0707 (toll free), 403-717-0707 (Calgary area), or 403-717-0709 (Fax).

Although I’m a tad worried about Nick going so far away, I’m proud of his willingness to serve God by spreading the Gospel and working with the poor – in spirit and otherwise.

Whether you make a donation or not, I want to thank you for taking an interest in Nick’s mission by reading this post. God bless you.

Anita Mae.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Finally a Bride by Vickie McDonough

Book Recommendation
Finally a Bride (Book 3 Texas Boardinghouse Brides) by Vickie McDonough
Barbour Books, May 2011

"He made her want to be a woman for the first time in her life."

Jack’s story in Finally a Bride was worth the wait. It's the tale of grown up Jacqueline (Jack) Davis who now wears dresses and looks like a lady, but still acts like the 10 yr old tomboy we met in the first book of this series. Consider the opening… Jack is after a story and climbs on the mayor’s roof to eavesdrop on his conversation with two strangers. No, I won’t tell you if she accomplishes her mission, but I will say pain is involved. Because she’ll do anything to uproot the truth.

If you remember book 1, you’ll remember Butch Laird who wrote “Jack is a liar” across every paintable surface in town. Bully that he was, he even locked Jack up in jail and left her there. Man, she detested that kid. Never mind that he had a point, he still shouldn’t have done it. And after he left town, the memory of his penetrating, intelligent eyes sent her scrambling to confess to her new pa, the sheriff. It eased her mind some, yet over the years, she’d occasionally wonder what happened to the boy behind those eyes.

Well, guess who Vickie McDonough has brought back to challenge Jack’s equilibrium as a young lady? Yup, Butch Laird himself. Except Butch was his nickname. Using his birth name and the surname he adopted from the man who took him in when he needed a home, Butch now goes by the handle, Noah Jeffers. Along with a new name, he’s a new man according to the gospel. And he’s a preacher.

Preacher Noah Jeffers is intent on hiding his identity because he wants to make restitution for the sins of his childhood without drawing attention to himself. His goal is to glorify God—not distract parishioners from the message. Except once he sees Jack again, she’s the one distracting him.

Jack is drawn to the new preacher’s compelling eyes. They hint at a vague memory, but nothing she can formulate into an image other than making her think of the fat bully, Butch Laird. But Noah Jeffers is nothing like the horror of her childhood. Noah is strong in body and spirit, a peaceful man standing firm in his faith. And somehow she’s going to discover why he won’t talk about his past.

Meanwhile, Carly Payton is back in town after serving 6 yrs in prison for robbery, kidnapping and other crimes. As a new believer, she knows God has forgiven her and only wants to live a normal life. But can the town people forgive her? And can Garret Corbett who was initially responsible for introducing her to Lookout put aside his prejudice for the jailbird and see her as a remorseful woman of faith who only wants a family like everyone else?

Vickie McDonough has taken ordinary people and put them on the carousel of life. She’s added love and faith and sent us along for the ride. Not rushed and hectic like our modern lives, but giving us an emotional journey as we rise and fall with each crest higher and each dip deeper than the one before. The pace quickens, action increases and dialogue cracks with authority and truth. Until finally, the long plunge down as Jack is faced with that monumental decision all adults have to make… what does she really want?

Here are all my posts on the Texas Boardinghouse Brides series:

Book 1 The Anonymous Bride
Book 2 Second Chance Brides
Book 3 Finally a Bride

Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and 2 of their 4 kids. In 2005, Anita Mae decided to return to writing and make it a priority in her life. She writes old west stories set on the prairies of Saskatchewan, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Her characters are strong because the land demands it. Anita Mae likes to write characters who sit up and notice when that special person God’s chosen just for them walks by. The story is all about the courtship between the two main characters. But it won’t be an easy path. And if they don’t know about God at the beginning of the book, they will by the end. Anita Mae has semi-finaled in the Historical Romance category of the ACFW's 2011 Genesis contest and finaled in the Inspirational category of the 2011 Daphne du Maurier, the 2011 Fool for Love, the 2011 Duel on the Delta and 2009 Linda Howard Award of Excellence contests. She’s currently waiting to hear the phone ring and have someone say they want to buy Emma’s Outlaw. Meanwhile, she’s working on another story and trying to keep her imagination in check. A pathological picture taker, she usually has a photo or two of the quirky world she lives in on her blog at

Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Friday, Folks

Happy Friday, folks. I was thinking of changing my header photo since the road is no longer flooded, but with all the rain we've had water started coming in the basement. And it's still coming!

I wanted to draw your attention to the website of Sandra Ardoin who mentioned me in her High Five Friday!! post. Thanks, Sandy. :D

Tomorrow, my post will be a book review on Vickie McDonough's 3rd book in her Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, Finally a Bride. There will be a book discussion going on, but it'll be over on the Inkwell Inspirations blog.

Now that I'm finally back in my office out in the garage, I'll be writing all weekend. The boys can play all the video games they want and I won't hear a thing. Except the rain.

If you look at the header photo, today's picture would've been taken a few feet before the water's edge where the ground was soft and wet. It's the paw print of a coyote and that's my shoe, so those tracks are big! Nelson said he's seen a coyote running through the farmyard. Gives me shivers just thinking of finding him/her out there in the dark while I make the trek from my office to the house. Yowza!

It's Memorial Day weekend in the US. What are your plans?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Road Trip Results

 I'm back from my road trip for research with mixed results. Although I discovered lots of neat places and took oodles of pics, many of the historic sights I needed to photograph wouldn't be open until Victoria Day. I missed by a week!

For this post though, I want to show some of the weather related things I found on my travels.

Although I saw many farmers out in their fields, some tried to get a head start and only got bogged down in the muck. Here's a tractor that didn't get too far in the task:

And here's the dozer that tried to pull him out:

The wind was so bad one day, the flags were flying straight and high...

Two days after the super-windy day, I passed one large fire and saw another in the distance.

It could've been another dangerous situation, like up at Slave Lake, if the wind took control of this small grass fire...

Road conditions were horrible. Part of the reason was due to flooding. Here is an example of just one of the many roads being eaten away by the force of water.

Numerous road closures and detours popped up everywhere without warning so planned routes had to be changed at the last minute.

And once I had to drive through 5" of water to get across - just like at home over the Easter weekend.

Another reason roads were in deplorable conditions was because of frost upheaval due to the freezing and thawing ground:

Sometimes the bad parts were easy to see, especially when they were red flagged, but other times you didn't realize they were there until almost the last second.

But I'm safely back home now and ready to get back to work. While in Humboldt, I did a bit of research in the local library and found a book with excellent information on the Carlton Trail. And because of the new provincial library system (SILS), I was able to take the book home with me. When I'm done, I just drop if off at my local library and they send it back up. What a concept. I wish I had time to visit more of the libraries along the way. Perhaps next time. :)

How are the roads where you live? Did you get the frost upheaval like we did up here? Or do you live in a frost-free zone?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Visiting History

Virtually, I'm blogging at the Inkwell today about my research trip last week to the Touchwood Hills Hudson's Bay Company remains. Not even ruins. Just remains. But an extraordinary experience nonetheless.

Physically, I'm in North Battleford, Saskatchewan researching a restored western town of 30 buildings and businesses. It's a cloudy day and I hope it doesn't rain as all the buildings are outside. However, there's also a huge indoor portion in case it does.

But I'll be popping in to check comments here and at the Inkwell throughout the day.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dancing - Again!

This past weekend was difficult as I realized once again that I wasn't a finalist in the Genesis contest. The wound deepened when I received my judges' scoresheets and discovered 2 out of the 3 judges just didn't 'get' the story. I won't complain about the comments, but I will say I shook my head at a couple of them.

On Sat afternoon I received word that someone else had won the Duel on the Delta contest. Ugh. Very disheartening. But I'm up here at St Peter's Abbey for the Saskatchewan Romance Writer's annual retreat and my fellow writers are wonderful support. Between them and the Inkies, they pulled me out of my doldrums and rewarded me with chocolate - both in physical and virtual realities.

After supper I walked the beautiful grounds taking photos and trying to shed my disappointment.

Imagine my surprise, then on Sunday afternoon when I was working on my Tues history post for the Inkwell when my iPhone rang. The theme song of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly filled my small room as I scrambled to answer the phone that never rings.

A really nice woman in Virginia called to say I'd finaled in the Fool For Love contest. Really? I think I blubbered as I thanked her. It was almost too much after the weekend's disappointments. Almost.

I hung up the phone and let out a whoop. It echoed down the hall as a bunch of eavesdroppers broke into a cheer. My fellow writers had once again appeared at just the right time to support me. Heh.

Yes, I'm happy dancing again. But with all the ups and downs, I might switch to a jig or something.

This photo is take from the top floor of St Peter's College. The building in the foreground is Scholastica which is our home while at the retreat. Except for walks and our meals, our time is spent in our individual rooms working on our works-in progress, or talking writing in the lounge.

I leave the Abbey tomorrow morning and continue a research trip I started en route here. If you want to see some photos of 19th century buildings, check out my HBC Research Trip post over at Inkwell Inspirations on Tues.

Have a great day!

Monday, May 9, 2011

At the Inkwell: Kate's Hats

I'm at Inkwell Inspirations today talking about the evolution in hat styles worn by the Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge and the boost she's given to the fashion industry, especially the millinery trade.

Check out the photos I've posted of Kate from July 2009 to April 2011. And I've added a video - set to music - of all the hats she's worn in the past. 

The questions I'm asking at the Inkwell are: What about you? Do you like wearing hats? Do you have a favourite? Do you wear one to church?

Check out The Bag Lady for more info on these fascinators.

Photo Credits:

Friday, May 6, 2011

Red Fox in our Farmyard

On Apr 20th I heard Anna barking up a frenzy with a few growls thrown in for good measure. It wasn't just a cat she was after! I grabbed my camera and ran outside. Anna, looked south, jumped up and down on her front paws, glanced at me, then back south. Something was in the field behind the quonset. I hurried down mindful of the muddy ground and saw it - a red fox running along the fenceline. I started taping and this is what I got:
A red fox in our farmyard...

At least it didn't get any of my chickens and ducks - this time.

What's the wildest creature you've seen up close?

Monday, May 2, 2011

More Dancing

Writing-wise April was one of my best months ever! Like I stated in my last month-end post, I’d spent Feb/March entering contests – 5 to be exact. And as I reported here a couple weeks ago, on Apr 8 I received a phone call informing me I was a semi-finalist in the ACFW’s Genesis contest.

PhotobucketWell, the news gets better.

On Mar 25th – Easter Monday - I rec'd an email from the Duel on the Delta coordinator informing me that I was a finalist! She said once I rec’d my judge’s score sheets, I had until the end of April to edit my entry and return it for the final round. This was same deadline to revise my Genesis entry.

Talk about excited! I couldn’t sit still. I happy danced back and forth from my writing desk to hubby in the kitchen. It was such good timing that he was taking the boys to Regina within the hour and they’d gone for the week. They would be part of Project Aware learning how to be homeless so they could work with empathy among the homeless. With the boys gone and Nelson back to work on Tues, I’d have plenty of time to get the 2 entries revised and sent back before the Royal Wedding on Friday.

So there I was not 30 mins later ensuring the boys had everything they needed when the phone rang. Thank goodness I was sitting when I answered it because it was the coordinator for the Daphne du Maurier contest and I’m a finalist! Yay! And I had 3 days to get my entry revised and back to them. That was Thurs!

Oh my stars! As Ruthie over at Seekerville would say. God is so good.

So if you didn’t see me surfing blogs, etc last week it was because I was busy working. I returned my Daphne entry on Wed night. On Thurs I returned my Genesis and Duel on the Delta entries. And then I stay up 36 hrs straight watching the Royal Wedding and all the different pre- and post- wedding shows. What a week! I now have a couple weeks to get back to writing before more results are announced.

The boys came back Friday night during a blizzard. The snow is still in our yard and in the fields. Seeding is way behind schedule and our gardening industry is shattered.

The flood waters are down and it looks like the new wave of snow won’t have an effect.

We’re praying for the people of Alabama and elsewhere that have been touched by the horrendous weather we’ve been having. And I’m happy for my friends who’ve been able to plant their gardens. Plant a flower or two for us, eh.

I’ll try to post again this week but if I don’t it’s because I’m working on my story as well as writing a post for Inkwell Inspirations about those fancy hats called fascinators we saw everyone wearing at the Royal Wedding.

I really like what Kate Middleton has done to revive the millinery industry, but some of those fascinators were just ... well, I'll leave my comments for my post. :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

April Ends in Blizzard

After staying up for 36 hrs straight due to television coverage of Will and Kate's Royal Wedding, I went to bed on Friday night listening to the howling wind of a blizzard. My main concern was the boys who had been gone on a week-long youth retreat in the city and were due home around 10pm. But Nelson was talking care of it and I needed sleep.

Midnight - I found Nelson in the kitchen. He'd just brought the boys home. With white-out road conditions and 60kph winds, it had taken him 2 hrs - instead of the usual 30 mins - to drive into town and pick up the boys from the drop-off point. But his work cell phone was buzzing with alarms and he had to get back out to check well sites. I went back to bed.

4:30 am - I woke find the power out. Nelson still wasn't back. Instead of going back to bed, I cuddled with a blanket on the recliner and soon fell asleep.

8:30 am - I woke when JJ wandered into the living room. He asked if I'd phoned SaskPower to inform them of the outage. No, I hadn't. But I did then. Smart kid.

10:30 am - Took this photo:

Noon - Nelson finally came home. When he reached his farthest site, it'd been too dangerous to drive back. He'd slept the rest of the night in his truck then continued his work as the weather cleared.

The house was cold enough to sit under blankets for warmth. Nelson brought out the emergency candles for heat and then went to bed.

4 pm - Storm ended although still windy. I wanted to take my daily walk out to take photos of flooded road but couldn't bring myself to walk through the drifts and freeze without a warm house to come back to.

5:30 pm - Nelson awoke hungry. I was going to serve cold ham sandwiches, but he had other ideas. Although we can't drive our motorhome anymore the appliances still work - on propane. Nelson got the stove working. He threw a frozen pizza in the oven and boiled a kettle of water one of the 2 small burners. Yum, pizza and hot ramen noodles for supper. Was going to make tea but tummy was warm and full.

7 pm - Power finally came back on and we settled in to warm up.

 8 pm - I realized if I wanted photos I'd better get going. I went and took these:

Wherever you see snow on the road it's really ice. And slippery when you're wearing rubber boots!

Although the water had receded off the road surface, the ground was still plenty mucky. And with the water level still high, there's a good possibility of rising over the road again as this new snow melts.

Do you see how there's a handful of icy snow at the bottom of each branch grouping? Well, those patches of ice are a couple inches above the water level and they waved back and forth with every gust of wind. Quite pretty, actually.

The wind was still howling when I went out on this photo journey and after being out for only 10 mins or so, the index finger I use to snap the photos was aching from cold. I was wearing those little magic gloves as I do when the temperature is so cold in the winter, but it was only at 0c tonight which is the freezing point.

Yet, the wind whipping across the water has a dangerous beauty to it. In this photo below, there's nothing hanging from the fence on either side of the post - just icicles that have been dipped like candles in the water with every splash.

Here's one last pic of the icicles on the corner post.

I sure hope this is the last we've seen of snow this spring. What will tomorrow bring?

Stay tuned as I have some good news to share in my next post.