Roadtrip day 1 to 13 stay tuned for more adventures!

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On the Ferry

Day 1 (July 28th – Aug 1st): Campbell River to Golden
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Well, we sold our house and Mom, our new pup Bane, and I are now living in a camper van touring around Western Canada (making sure to still stay safe amidst Covid) until we get possession of our new house. So here’s the first of many updates and photo dumps detailing the trip.
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Pictured: Initial move with the cats to where my stepdad is living in Kamloops, the drive from Kamloops to Golden, and plenty of pics with the pup.

Day 2: Golden to the Saskatchewan border.
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We blazed through Alberta, stopping along the way for a quick, spur of the moment, socially distanced visit with 2 of my fav people and old roommates before setting up shop for the night on the Saskatchewan border. Got in a nice workout and then tried to awkwardly have a shower with my long appendages smacking the walls and head hitting the ceiling.
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1 fun speculative sighting: 2 cars meet at the Saskatchewan/Alberta rest stop. 1 from SK, 1 from AB. They are having a romantic picnic trist. Their love is forbidden, just like Romeo and Juliet. Let’s hope they have a better fate.

Day 3: Saskatchewan Border to Moosomin, SK
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It’s Saskatchewan… not a lot happened. But we did see a salt field that looked like snow, and we decided to actually get a proper campsite for the night so that’s cool.
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In case anyone was invested, Romeo and Juliet showed up again in the morning for what looked like another day of forbidden romanticism. I hope they find happiness, and I will think of them often. 2020 be real trying times, and I’m rooting for them.

Day 4: Moosomin, SK to the Manitoba/Ontario border.
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It was a very long day without much to get excited about. We drove thru Manitoba only making 1 stop in Winnipeg with the intent of buying a new tent at MEC. Long story short, driving in Winnipeg is a nightmare, and apparently a $600 purchase in Winnipeg is weird enough for my debit card to get frozen, so that’s fun.
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Mom couldn’t pull over when I was leaving MEC, so I had to run out of the store into 3 lane traffic to jump into the moving vehicle wearing flip flops

Day 5: Manitoba/Ontario border to Thunder Bay
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Been a long day and our little lake time got cut short from some rogue, off leash doggos that wanted to cause a ruckus (so we didn’t get any good pics out there), but apparently our boy Bane, an Akita, loves water. Our old girl Tala didn’t even like stepping in a puddle let alone a lake, but here Bane was lapping it up (literally).
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Today we saw identical twin construction workers holding signs at a roadside construction site, saw a Moose, and currently, our generator isn’t working, so that’s all cool.

Day 6: Thunder Bay to Sault Ste. Marie
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Got absolutely no sleep last night, and mom started driving at 4am, but we ended up havig a fun little beach break with Bane. He loves the water and the beach, but isn’t quite sure what to think about the waves. It took a lot of coaxing to get him in, and he absolutely shot out when a wave hit him in the face.
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Capped off the night at a campground to connect to some electricity and wifi (I had a lot of hockey stuff to catch up on).

Day 7: Sault Ste Marie to Parry Sound
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We didn’t do a whole lot today, and I had a massive headache and slept most of the ride, but feeling very grateful for being able to make the most of not only being without a physical address atm but a Covid era summer. Very lucky to be safely travelling across this beautiful country we call home.
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Also grateful for good conversations with friends, and hockey, tho I’ve yet to decide whether I’m happy that MTL upset PIT or sad that they lost out on the Lafreniere sweep stakes. EDM for another #1 pick?!

Day 8: Parry Sound to Sault Ste. Marie
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Picked up the Nan and Bane loves her. We’re not exploring ON much since we’re all from here, but there’ll be tons more content in future stops. In the meantime, enjoy pics of my Nan scolding me for who knows what.
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I also doubled up my money and won $2 on a hockey bet, so that’s cool. Also had some wifi to get in a healthy dose of tiktoks to keep me going for a while.
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Update: it has taken us 45 minutes trying to figure out the bed situation. I am sleeping on the floor with the dog while the old ladies get the bed, and Nan has promised not to walk all over when she gets up to pee during the night. We’ll see how this goes.

Day 9: Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay
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After “sleeping” on the floor last night, I was super tired and felt like garbage, and it was super rainy and thunder stormy during parts of the trip, but we managed to get a few fun moments into the day spending a bit of time with Bane at the beach again and seeing where the original Winnie the Pooh was from. Staying in a hotel tonight, so time to take some melatonin and clock out.
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Also, TO chocked in the playoffs again and CBJ is set to face TBL again in the 1st round and I think this is so funny.

Day 10: Thunder Bay to Winnipeg
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We all got good sleep last night, and woke up super rejuvenated, which was a good thing because we had a super long drive today. We made a few stops, such as the Centre of Canada, but we mostly spent the drive harassing and razing the heck out of each other, which made for a real fun ride (until Winnipeg that is. Man I have a strong dislike for this city), and I think Bane is tired of our craziness lmao. We also saw those identical twin construction workers again, which was neat. Oh and it was super windy. Like all day, no matter where we were. Was kinda crazy at times.
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According to my Nan, life is all about “pissing your pants and having a good time” and I think that pretty much sums up our trip so far with the amount of laughter going on, half of which doesn’t make sense to even try and explain on here let along in person.

Day 11: Winnipeg to Moosomin District Regional Park
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Well we did the stupid thing and stayed overnight in Winnipeg, which has got to be the worst city ever and we spent 30 some odd minutes trying to navigate out of the city as the gps kept saying to make an “illegal u-turn” when there was a grass median separating the 6 lane highway… buuut we ended up having a hoot of a day once out of Winnipeg – we taught Nan to play cards (she was never allowed to play cards) and were just all around goofs all afternoon and evening.
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Some fun highlights: Nan “smiling” after mom gave her crap for never smiling in pics (whilst I munched on a juicy peach), laughing at Nan for wanting to go to a “Butterfly Aquarium”, teaching Nan Go Fish, fixing her purse strap in 3 seconds that she’d been fighting with all day, her seeing and being startled by a “GIGANTIC Turtle” and me sitting on said plastic gigantic turtle, the massive Moosomin Park chair, and trying to fit in the bed horizontally instead of vertically (legitimately thought I broke my leg).

Day 12: Moosomin District Regional Park to the Saskatchewan/Alberta Border
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Well, to start the day, Nan and Mom decided to get up and going a lot earlier than I would have liked, especially given all of our lack of sleep. Mom even started to fold the bed up on me, of which I was not pleased. I slept a good portion of the day but we got stops in at the World’s Tallest Moose in Moose Jaw (the Prairie Dogs were going full Lion King 1 and 1/2 with all their scurrying, sniffing, and flinching) and the Red Lake Water Fowl Observatory (where Bane decided to start chasing Prairie Dogs – that was fun to reign in a puppy that weighs more than me) before making camp at the same SK/AB border rest stop as last week (we’ll see if Romeo and Juliet show up in the morning). Got in a good workout and am now more than ready for bed.
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Apparently Nan is certain she saw Sasquatch roaming in a wheat field on the drive, and who am I to argue with a semi blind, crazy old lady?

Day 13: Saskatchewan/Alberta Border to Canmore
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We woke up to 2 reasons to being cold this morning – the temperature, and our hearts full of sadness – I can only assume Romeo and Juliet have met their untimely death after not seeing them resume their romantic trist in the morning. All jokes aside, we got some much needed groceries, and continued our drive into AB, stopping off for some time at Dinosaur National Park where I almost stepped on a snake and a cactus in flip flops, made an accidental stop up Three Sisters Blvd where we encountered a herd of Elk, and ended up in a hotel where my eyes have barely left the screen from my first taste of watching 2020 playoff hockey.
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I need to learn what to do with my appendages when I’m not holding anything.

Sorry — Not Sorry

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I wish I could say that I am sorry for not keeping up on my weekly blog posts, but I’m not sorry. Things are crazy, and sometimes we just need to step back and do our self care!


Even before the pandemic, I recognized the signs of burnout and stepped back to do some much-needed self-care.


During the pandemic many of my creative friends are finding it hard to be creative and that’s okay. On days when I struggle, I do a workshop! There are some great ones online right now.


The SCBWI has a great series right now that you can register to join live or find them in the archives later. I prefer the archived ones because it allows me the freedom to do them when my schedule permits. So far my favourite was the one with Lin Oliver and Henry Winkler! 


On the book front, I am loving my new developmental editor. He actually writes middle grade fantasy and reads it. So he is helping me take my good book and making it great. My mentorship year taught me how to write a good book, and I learned so much from my mentors, but it is making a world of difference working with someone that loves fantasy and loves the premise and characters like I do!

I also make sure to spend lots of times with these two little monkeys! They think they’re great editors, but they’re better at telling me when I need a break.


I hope you are finding time to do your self care and that you are giving yourself grace for the days you aren’t feeling like being creative. 

Can’t see me, mom!

MIA and update

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I haven’t written a blog post since December for several (good) reasons. The first reason you will be excited to hear is that I was focusing on finishing my edits to my middle grade fantasy and my picture books and then focusing on re-editing as I heard from beta readers.

The second reason the jury is still out on whether it is a good thing, (I am joking!) my husband was nominated for a bishopric position within the Anglican Church of Canada. In January he was elected. This means a move and huge changes in both our personal and professional lives. This is very exciting and a chance for us both to explore and grow in different ministries!

One advantage of being a writer who works from home most days is that showings, packing, or quarantine don’t affect my ability to write. Over, the past 4 months my mind and time was and will continue to dedicate my time to polishing my books and packing to prepare for the move so I may not blog as often as I was or should be.

Speaking of quarantine, did everyone remember to stock up on books to read? Sadly, I packed my to-be-read pile, but since I live with a bookworm, so he had no objections to buying me a few more! With the schools shutting down, this was the perfect time to send my fantasy out to young beta readers. I think I am more worried to hear from the kids than I was to hear from the adult beta readers. No, that’s an understatement, I am terrified to hear from the kids.

Guest blog: JUBILEE

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In the devotional Everyday BlessingsInspirational Thoughts from the Published Works of Max Lucado, Max writes that while we may not yet realize what we can learn from the struggles in our lives, we will come to know that there is purpose in our pain. Last March, a seemingly innocuous bump on the head that I sustained as I got into my van brought me down the road of post-concussion syndrome. I struggled for months, attempting to work as a Worship Coordinator and play music with my band and look after normal everyday tasks including doing bookwork for the construction company my husband and I run. But my family, my employer, and my health team realized that I couldn’t continue in that manner. I wasn’t getting better and I really wasn’t able to fulfill the expectations of employment. So, in October of 2019, I left work for a one-year leave of absence.

I honestly didn’t know what to do with myself. Grief and depression set in. In therapy we worked through how I felt that I wasn’t contributing in any meaningful way. My therapist also pointed out that at this point my creative expression had shifted from music to art. I was spending time almost daily in the art studio and rediscovering joy in the materials that I used when I studied Art in college.

I have come to call this my year of Jubilee. Much as the Israelites would leave their lands fallow in the time of Jubilee, I am leaving off my regular activities and letting a time of rest blossom into something new. I still don’t know what purpose God sees in the pain that I experience daily, but I am more confident that this time will be fruitful.

Nicole Ensing is a wife and mother, a musician and an artist, living in Guelph, Ontario.

Music www.nicoleensingband.com

Art www.instagram.com/nicole_ensing/

New Year New Goals

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We’re officially 5 days into January 2020 and I’m breaking my social media hiatus to share my goals and an update on my writing.

New Year’s eve was amazing. I kissed 2019 goodbye by writing 12 picture books and welcomed 2020 by writing and editing a picture book I’m going to query!

Although, I’m not one to set resolutions, I do set goals and personal challenges.

This year my writing goals are:

query my middle grade fantasy, query two of my picture books, write book 2 for my middle grade fantasy.

My ministry goals depend on where we are living, but I would love to offer more retreats, and classes.

For my personal goals, I will continue my healing journey by being gentler with myself when I have set backs. I know that Cptsd takes time to heal from. My little snuggle buddies are a blessing, they rescued and I give thanks for them every day.

Everyone keeps asking me what my reading goals are this year, so this year I’m trying something different. My goal is to read books that breathe life into me!

Special request blog from 8 year old Theo

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This month Theo is turning 8,
to mark this he is asking people to support him in supporting the Indigenous Youth Suicide Prevention Program.

Theo thinks this is important to show other young people that there is hope and that they are loved.

If you are able please consider supporting this vital work.
Thank you. -There are a couple of ways to give
1. Gift #25 in the PWRDF World of Gifts.
https://pwrdf.org/world-of-gifts/

2. Or through The PWRDF Give Today page, in the comments box you can name that your donation is for the Indigenous youth suicide prevention program.
https://pwrdf.org/give-today/

The Suicide Prevention Program responds to the tragedy of suicide, especially as it affects Indigenous youth.

Suicide rates in First Nations communities are twice the Canadian average.

First Nations youth have a suicide rate five to seven times higher than that of the national average.

Suicide rates among Inuit youth are 11 times the Canadian average.

Health professionals are referring to this situation as a “pandemic.” More than 10 people commit suicide each day in Canada.

Youth suicide has tripled in Canada over the last 40 years. Indigenous youth are particularly at risk.

Canada is one of the few G8 countries not to have a national suicide prevention strategy.
https://www.anglican.ca/im/spp/the-problem/

Scott McLeod Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund
#suicideprevention #hope #love
#youareenough #Canada

Guest blog: Jane Jennings

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Hi, I’m Jane and I love to write poetry!

I have just published a book of my poems that are a combination of memoir, adventure and faith.

I hope you enjoy this poem, which looks to a more spiritual way of seeing the world. To put it into context, my husband and I set out to sail from the Bahamas to Puerto Rico, a distance of about 850 nautical miles, in our sailboat, Sereno, when many of our systems failed. However, we found that the universe did hold us up, as we were given the ability and energy to make temporary fixes until we reached our landfall and we arrived safely in Mayeguez, Puerto Rico.

Moving On

Quietly gazing at this beautiful world

Glimpses of the Creator

Wake us,

Take us,

Challenge us to experience

More than we can ask or imagine.

Can we hold loosely our hard earned security?

The house, car, boat, perhaps a cabin too

Our comforts,

Our sorrows,

Our planned tomorrows

For a life uncertain, unknown.

Are we brave enough to find the faith

To trust the universe will hold us

Enfold us

Shelter us

Awake us to live

Present, part of God’s creation.

I hope you enjoyed this poem from my book ‘A life in Poetry’. It is available from Amazon books in Canada, the U.S.A. and Europe.

Thanks for reading,

Jane Jennings.

Guest Blog: William age 15

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I asked William to share some of his reflections on having a father who is a military chaplain. William is 15 and in French Immersion.

This is his reflection:

The largest part of living the military family life, are postings. I always longed to live in a small town where everyone knew each other’s names, and you could find someone by going to the local post office or restaurant. I envied those who were grounded in a hometown.  My Mom told me what I wanted was only achievable by going back to the year 1950, but it was a dream, nonetheless. Reflecting on it now, however, I always feel a sort of sorrow for those who remain in one place. At this point of my 15 years, I get squirrelly when I stay in one place for a long time, I often itch for something different. I think this same feeling applies to where one lives. Sure, you know all the names and locations, but don’t you ever wish you knew more names and locations? These two feelings conflict, as you can imagine, envy and sorrow for those who are settled. It’s a delicate balance for those living the military life, and no one knows which feeling has the correct conviction. To be frank, I think all of us living in military families are lucky; this feeling is strictly internal.

The second-largest aspect of military family life are Deployments. For those who don’t know, a deployment is when they send whoever it is in your family who is part of the armed forces, into a military operation, usually a war-zone. Deployments give you a special feeling – that feeling being one of loss. Calling the feeling “loss” seems a little uncalled for, seeing as nothing is lost in the process of deployment, but the idea of not having them, creates a hole in one’s life that can only be labelled as loss. In 2012, my father was deployed to the Mediterranean sea and then the Persian Gulf, and his stay was extended twice. He left in early January and was slated to come back in June. He eventually returned in September, four months later than expected. Having half of your parental unit missing creates a unique and difficult experience for all those affiliated. My Mom found it extremely difficult to have him gone. She couldn’t stand not having him present, his help, voice, and love there in the moment. Of course, over time, she learned how to cope, how to be more independent, and the same evolution applied to my brother and I. Without his presence and personality, my younger brother and I didn’t know how to act, but this only lasted for a short while. We quickly adapted to his lack of appearance, and we fast learned how to be more independent. Deployment is a tricky subject in that sense, I don’t know whether to consider my evolution during his absence a blessing or a curse. For the pain it causes, deployment is a terrible thing, but I’ve never experienced something horrible as a result.

In conclusion, leading the life of a member of a military family is spontaneous, forever changing, and quite stressful, but I don’t know how else I’d learn coping strategies for all this, and I’m somewhat grateful for the emotional experience it’s given me.

Remembering Grandpa

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I am grateful that my grandfather followed in his father’s footsteps and served so that we may live free. He instilled in me a deep love and respect for those who continue to serve and sacrifice so much so that we continue to enjoy our freedom.Many of us have never experienced the threat of war or lived in a country where we aren’t free to express ourselves.This year I have invited some military families to share their stories with us.Below is the link for last years post: Remembering grandpa.Until you’ve walked in their shoes you will never understand what they’ve gone through. I love you grandpa, thank you.https://tanyapacker.com/2018/11/06/remembering-grandpa/

Procrastination or Self-care

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Was it procrastination or self-care that allowed October to drift into November without a blog post?

Either way, here it is, November 7th, and I am forcing myself to take a break from editing, programming, and housework to write a blog. I am very excited to share an update on how things are going because I love editing my middle-grade fantasy. This past week I delved into more dragon research, which found me pulling out every book I own that has dragons in it to reread sections.

How could I not enjoy that?

A few weeks ago, the church invited me to a book sale to read from my children’s devotional books with a few other local authors. I didn’t realize we had so many local authors! I’ve invited two of them to do a guest blog. Be sure to keep your eyes open.

Jan does amazing poetry, and Heather writes hilarious children’s books.

I have also invited Nicole Ensing to do another guest blog.

Because one can never have too many projects on the go at once, I am looking into some colouring books and bookmarks for Kaylee’s and Timothy’s Adventures. Hopefully, they will be ready for stocking stuffers!

How do you take time out for self-care?

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