Category Archives: Lost on the Prairie

Meeting My Second Cousin for the First Time

I was delighted during my time in Vancouver to have lunch with Wendy Whalen who is my second cousin. We had never met before. She is the granddaughter of Alma Schmidt Neufeld who was my grandfather Peter Schmidt’s youngest sister. Alma’s memoir which she dictated to her granddaughter Wendy inspired my novel Lost on the Prairie. I found Wendy on social media when I was looking for more information about my grandparents, Peter and Annie Schmidt.

Wendy is an amateur historian, although one hesitates to use the word amateur because it was evident from the detailed genealogical charts, photo collections, and carefully preserved family letters Wendy brought to our quayside luncheon to show me, that she takes her search for her family’s history very seriously. Wendy had some interesting pieces of family memorabilia for me to see.

Just two weeks ago I found my great grandparents’ tombstone in a Drake, Saskatchewan cemetery. They were my Grandpa Peter’s parents Peter and Marie Schmidt.

Wendy had a copy of their August 9, 1879 marriage certificate. She also had a record that showed my great grandfather Peter had immigrated to the United States in 1874 at age 19 on the ship the S.S. Nederland. He was travelling with his parents Heinrich and Catherine, his younger brother Johann and his grandmother Susana Schmidt. My great grandfather who was born in Poland sailed to the United States from Antwerp and landed in Philadelphia on November 28th, 1874. From there his family made their way to Kansas.

Wendy had a photo of my great grandparents Peter and Marie Schmidt. They are standing farthest to the right in this picture.

I also found the grave of my Great Uncle Alvin Schmidt in the Drake cemetery two weeks ago. Great Uncle Alvin was blind and had epilepsy.

Wendy had a photo of him with his three siblings who were closest in age to him. Wendy’s grandmother Alma is in the back and Alvin is below her and to her left.

Wendy also had a photo of my Grandma Annie Jantz Schmidt in a bathing costume on a beach that was probably taken in the early 1920s.

Another item in Wendy’s collection I found interesting was this telegram her grandmother received when her older brother, my grandfather Peter died as a result of injuries from a pedestrian-car accident while he was visiting Calgary in 1961.

My time with Wendy was all too short since Dave and I had to catch the ferry to Vancouver Island. I need to visit her again and learn more about my family history. I was so pleased she agreed to meet me during my quick visit to Vancouver and so appreciative of the help she provided via e-mail when I was doing research for my novel.

Other posts……….

History Hunting in the Cemetery

Family Tree

Thanks Great Aunt Alma

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My Novel On The Thanksgiving Table-A Mystery

Yesterday around noon in Vancouver my phone dinged. I had an email from my friend Bruno. Bruno had sent me a photo. The only words in his accompanying e-mail were The Charleswood Thanksgiving Display.

Charleswood Mennonite is the church my friend Bruno and his wife Carolyn attend so I knew the table in the photo must be located there. The photo showed my novel Lost on the Prairie displayed on a lovely green patchwork cloth on a table with fresh garden produce, fall leaves, orange flowers, and other items. What was my book doing in that Thanksgiving display and who had put it there? Bruno didn’t say. It was a mystery.

It wasn’t too much later that my phone dinged again. This time it was a message from Lisa who is one of the pastors at Charleswood Mennonite Church. Lisa had sent photos of the Thanksgiving display along with a message.

Hi MaryLou. Happy Thanksgiving! I just wanted to tell you that I read your book this week and THOROUGHLY enjoyed it! What a great story, and so well-done. And then, I wanted to tell you that at Charleswood this morning, we had our Thanksgiving table up at the front, and people were to bring things they are thankful for and put them up on the display, and someone brought your book and put it up there! I took a picture to show you…

So now I knew that my book was on the table because someone was thankful it had been published. But who was that? I have quite a number of family members and friends who attend Charleswood Church. Which one of them had chosen to use my book as a symbol of gratitude? It remained a mystery.

Just then my phone dinged again and it was an e-mail from my Aunt Nettie, my father’s youngest sister. She too had sent photos of the Thanksgiving table featuring my novel along with a message.

I brought your book  for our Thanksgiving church display. Someone set some tomatoes in front of it!
We were asked to bring something for our display for which we were grateful!
Your book came to mind immediately- grateful for your ability as a writer, for getting a publisher and  for making the bestseller list for so many weeks at McNally’s and not least for the pleasure of reading your first novel!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Mystery solved. My thoughtful and supportive aunt had placed the book on the table.

Me with my Aunt Nettie on the occasion of her 80th birthday

On this Thanksgiving Day, I am especially thankful for the opportunity I’ve been given to share a story inspired by my grandfather’s life. I am thankful for my family who supported me in all kinds of ways as I wrote the book. I am thankful for my writers’ group the Anitas who gave me such great encouragement and advice. I am thankful for the good folks at Heritage House who bought my manuscript and published it. I am thankful for the wonderful staff at McNally Robinson Booksellers who helped me promote my book and sell it and……. most of all I am thankful to ALL the people who have bought my book and read it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Other posts……..

Aunts

15 Reasons I am Thankful to Live in Canada

A Thankful Weekend

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Filed under Holidays, Lost on the Prairie

History Hunting in the Cemetery

I visited a cemetery in Drake Saskatchewan that is across the road from the site of the former North Star Mennonite Church. I found the gravestone of my great grandparents Peter and Marie Schmidt. Peter was the father of my grandfather Peter M. Schmidt whose immigration story was the inspiration for my novel Lost on the Prairie. Peter and Marie are characters in the novel as well.

I have a photo of my great grandfather Peter H. Schmidt which I inherited from my mother. I have not been able to find a photo of my great-grandmother Marie or my grandfather as a child.

According to the gravestone my great grandfather Peter was born in 1856 and died in 1923. My great-grandmother Marie was born in 1858 and died about a year and a half after her husband did.

This is consistent with the data found in the Schmidt Family Tree book I have.

Right next to my great grandparents is the grave of their son Alvin. Alvin had epilepsy and was blind. After my great grandparents died he moved in with my grandparents and lived with them. My mother said he helped with work on the farm and in the house and he did leatherwork. Alvin is also a character in my novel.

Besides Alvin, my great-grandparents had nine other children. Five of them William, Herman, Emelia, Anna, and Lottie predeceased them. The five that survived them were Katie, Peter (my grandfather) Martha, Alma, and Alvin.

From a memoir written by my Great Aunt Alma, I know my great grandparents lived in a sod house when they first came to Canada and worked very hard. Eventually, they were able to build a wooden house and some buildings for their farm equipment. One of those buildings burned when it was struck by lightning. My great grandfather loved to sing and after a hard day of work would sit in his rocking chair and sing one hymn after another. He died on the same day in 1923 that three of his sons had gone to the train station in Rosthern, Saskatchewan to help transport some 750 Mennonite refugees who had just come to Canada from Ukraine.

My grandparents are buried in the North Star Church cemetery as well. My grandfather died in an accident in 1961 when he was 71 years old. My grandmother lived for thirteen years more in Saskatoon with her daughter, my Aunt Viola, although Grandma was a frequent visitor to our home in Steinbach, Manitoba. I have Peter and Annie meet for the first time in my novel.

My grandparents Peter and Annie Schmidt on their wedding day
My Grandma Annie came to visit us in Steinbach when my youngest brother Mark was born

My visit to the old church cemetery in Drake helped me learn some new things about family and also raised a bunch of questions about their lives that I am going to try and answer with more research. The photos I took at the graveyard will make a valuable addition to the presentations I will do about my novel.

Other posts………

Sai Wan War Cemetery

The Catacombs- Myth and Reality

Anatomy of a Photograph

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Filed under Family, History, Lost on the Prairie

Meeting My Readers in Person

“I read Lost on the Prairie to my grandsons when we were camping. We read by candlelight and it added such atmosphere to the story.”

I get chills when I hear anecdotes like that from people who have bought my book. Last week I did three presentations about Lost on the Prairie in Steinbach and left each event on a high because of the responses people gave me about the novel. Thanks to vaccine and masking protocols I was able to meet some of the folks who have enjoyed Lost on the Prairie in person.

On Wednesday evening at the Steinbach Mennonite Heritage Village Museum, I shared the stage with two former teaching colleagues of mine Andrew Unger, whose book Once Removed won a Manitoba Book Award, and Mark Reimer who recently published his novel The Four Horseman.

We each talked a little bit about our books and read a passage from them and then answered some questions posed by the audience. My favorite part of the evening was signing copies of the novel later and hearing people tell me what they had enjoyed about the book and who they had shared it with.

I took my mask off briefly so my friend Debbie could get this photo of me at the signing table. The necklace I am wearing with a little book on it is from my friend Glenys and I had brought along a special signing pen from my friend Esther.

One woman had four copies in hand for me to sign, gifts for her nieces and nephews. Many had plans to read the books to grandchildren or had already done so. Some had gifted Lost on the Prairie to their elderly parents. A number of people had already read the book twice.

I received so many positive comments about the book. Nita Wiebe the wonderful manager of the museum gift shop who organized the evening had placed her fourth order for Lost on the Prairie just before the author night and many more copies were sold that evening. I can’t thank Nita enough for selling my book in the museum store.

On Thursday I met with two Steinbach book clubs one from Grace Mennonite Church in the afternoon and another from the United Church in the evening. I was appreciative of the way both groups made sure to follow provincial health guidelines.

Check out this amazing gift bag I received from one of the book clubs. Don’t you just love what it says on the bag? I have already sampled the apricot and orange jam by the way and it is fabulous. Huge thanks to Helen Goerzen at Grace Church and Eleanor Penner at the United Church for organizing these opportunities for me to meet with book clubs.

At the book clubs, I heard great stories about the reactions of people’s grandchildren with whom the book had been shared including the lovely one that opened this post. One grandmother said months after her grandson had listened to his mother read the book to him he was still making references to it. One had gifted the book to great-nieces and nephews. Another had read the book to two grandchildren at their family cottage over the summer. One woman told me she had read the book twice and loved it. Her father had been a stationmaster in rural Saskatchewan for most of his life and the book brought back great memories for her.

At one book club, I talked about a tie clip and cufflink box I had received that belonged to my grandfather and the participants all shared something they owned that had belonged to a grandparent, dinnerware sets, dolls, chairs, and one woman still planted seeds in her garden that came from plants originally planted by her grandmother.

Writing a book is very hard, getting it published is even harder, but talking in person with people who have read it well that’s just pure pleasure and joy and more than enough reward for all the work.

Other posts…….

Night At The Museum

My Novel As A Murder Weapon

My Novel in The Great Outdoors

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There’s A Mistake In My Novel

My friend John, an amateur naturalist, said some very kind things after reading my novel Lost on the Prairie but he did point out a mistake I had made. In one chapter of the book, a pair of young boys come upon a roost of monarch butterflies. Thousands of them are covering the trees and plants in a wooded area. Joe who is a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton First Nation in South Dakota tells my hero Peter that since it is autumn the butterflies are in the midst of their journey migrating south to Mexico.

An artistic rendition of the monarch butterfly scene in my book was done by my cousin Carol Schmidt Schroeder.

Of course, the monarchs are on a journey south to Mexico, but my discerning friend John said no one would have known that in 1907 when my book takes place. The information that monarchs went to Mexico was only made public in 1976 when a Canadian zoologist Frederick Urquhart published an article in National Geographic sharing data from a monarch research project he and his wife Norah Patterson had been working on since their marriage in 1945.

Fred and Norah wanted to know where monarchs went for winter and so they began raising thousands of butterflies in their Toronto home. They experimented with all kinds of tagging methods for the monarchs until they found one that worked.

Fred and Norah Urquhart- photo from an article about them in the University of Toronto Magazine

In 1952 Norah wrote a magazine article asking for volunteers to help them with their project. Initially, twelve responded but by 1971 thousands of butterfly lovers were helping catch, tag, and release hundreds of thousands of monarchs. Nora and Fred began taking field expeditions to follow the data and it led them to the Gulf of Mexico.

A photo of Cathy Brugger appeared on the cover of the August 1976 issue of National Geographic

In 1972 Norah wrote letters to Mexican newspapers asking for help and Ken and Cathy Brugger a pair of amateur naturalists and butterfly lovers took up the search. In 1975 thanks to a tip from some Mexican loggers, they found millions of monarchs carpeting the ground and trees on the Neovolcanic Plateau about 240 miles from Mexico City.

Norah and Fred in Mexico – photo from an article written by their grandson’s wife Fiona McGlynn in Canadian Geographic

In 1976 Norah and Fred now in their sixties traveled to Mexico and hiked 10,000 feet up to the plateau to see the amazing reward of forty years of research they had done. They happened to be standing near a pine branch that crashed from the weight of the butterflies on it and in the cluster of monarchs at their feet, the Urquharts found one that bore one of their tags. It had been tagged in Minnesota before setting out on its trek to Mexico.

In August of 1976, an article about their research and discovery appeared in National Geographic and shared what Fred and Norah had discovered with the world. Since then more than 13 wintering sites for monarchs have been found and are protected as ecological reserves by the government of Mexico.

Fred and Norah with their son Doug after receiving the Order of Canada- photo from an article in Canadian Geographic by Doug’s daughter-in-law Fiona McGlynn

Fred and Norah Urquhart were given the Order of Canada in 1998 for their amazing discovery. Of course, Indigenous people in Mexico had known about the butterfly roosts for thousands of years.

In 2012 a movie called Flight of the Butterflies premiered starring Gordon Pinsent and Patricia Phillips as Fred and Norah.

So how could Joe the young boy in my story have known the butterflies were going to Mexico in 1907 if that fact wasn’t made public till 1976? Well, he probably couldn’t have.

Although I did tons of research for my book and my editor was great at helping me find historical errors we didn’t catch them all. My book has a mistake in it but I am almost glad it does because it led me to do all the research for this post and learn about Fred and Norah Urquhart, two Canadians I’d never heard of before.

I am sure I will find other mistakes as my book reaches a wider audience of discerning readers and I’m excited about what I might learn from those mistakes. Thanks, John for pointing this one out.

Other posts…………

Butterfly Wonderland

Butterflies in Nunavut?

Launching A Book

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Filed under Lost on the Prairie, Nature

A Night At The Museum

On September 22, just a week from today I will participate in an author event at the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach. Writers Andrew Unger and Mark Reimer will also be on the program. We will talk about our novels, share a reading from them, and answer questions from the audience before doing book signings.

I am really looking forward to this event, the first of three in Steinbach next week. I will be in Steinbach again on September 23 as the guest of two different Steinbach book clubs, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Although we haven’t lived in Steinbach for some fifteen years we have so many friends there and visit frequently. I still write for the local paper The Carillon. My family moved to Steinbach when I was eight and I grew up there so I consider it my hometown.

I am especially excited about reading with Mark and Andrew because for a two-year period all three of us were teachers together in the English Department at the Steinbach Regional Secondary School. Both Mark and Andrew were terrific colleagues and it will be great to share the stage with them next Wednesday night.

Andrew has written the award-winning book Once Removed published by Turnstone Press. It is a humorous novel about a ghostwriter named Timothy Heppner who is assigned to write the history of his town. Andrew’s new book The Best of the Daily Bonnet will debut soon.

Photo by TIMOR SYROTA | THE CARILLON

Mark’s book is called The Four Horsemen and was published by Friesen Press. It tells the story of a family struggling to adapt to a new reality and deal with tough spiritual questions after their wife and mother dies.

Photo by Jordan Ross The Carillon
Photo by JORDAN ROSS/THE CARILLON

My novel Lost on the Prairie published by Heritage House is based on an incident that actually happened to my grandfather. It is about a twelve-year-old boy named Peter who becomes separated from his family as they are immigrating to Canada. Peter has all kinds of exciting adventures on his journey to be reunited with his parents and brothers.

I’d love to have some of my blog readers join me and Mark and Andrew on September 22 at 7 pm. at the Mennonite Heritage Village Museum in Steinbach. Just a note that this event will require proof of vaccination for attendance.

Other posts……….

Introducing Visitors from Hong Kong and India to Mennonites

From Brewery Flour to Millineries

A Visit From Makhno

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Sharing Shelf Space With a Terrific Tale

Lost on the Prairie displayed just above the books by Terry Lynn Johnson

Rescue at Lake Wild by Terry Lynn Johnson was displayed on the shelf just below my novel Lost on the Prairie when it first went on sale at McNally Robinson Booksellers at the beginning of May. I was delighted to see my book in the company of a novel by such an accomplished Canadian middle-grade author as Terry Lynn Johnson and even more excited when I discovered she was going to be a guest at the Middle-Grade Literature Book Club I participate in each month.

Last night at our August meeting I got to meet Terry and listen to her talk about her ninth book Rescue at Lake Wild which tells the story of a girl named Madison who rescues a pair of beaver kits. Terry is a conservation officer in northern Ontario and her work with animals was the inspiration for Rescue at Lake Wild.

Photo of our book club meeting last night from the Twitter Feed of one of the book club organizers prolific Canadian middle-grade author Colleen Nelson

During our book club meeting with Terry, we discovered that she loved watching David Suzuki’s show The Nature of Things when she was a child and remembers one episode, in particular, that was about beavers and the way they interact with humans. Early in her career as a conservation officer, Terry spent time working with a woman who was a wildlife rehabilitator. Her funny stories about the beavers in her care inspired Terry.

In Rescue at Lake Wild, the hero Madi’s crusade to save the two small beavers is inspired by her grandmother who was a wildlife rehabilitator. Nana has died but taught Madi so much about caring for animals and has left Madi her supplies and notes. I really liked Nana and even though she wasn’t alive in the book I thought about what a close relationship she and Madi must have had with each other. As a grandmother myself it made me think about how our relationship with our grandchildren can have a lasting impact on their lives.

Terry Lynne Johnson with one of her dogs. A number of her novels feature sled dogs and she includes a dog named Lid as one of the delightful animal characters in Rescue at Lake Wild.- photo from Terry Lynne Johnson’s website.

It was interesting to hear Terry say that Madi the main character in Rescue at Lake Wild is the character in her books that is most like her. We also learned that Jane Goodall who is world-renowned for her study of chimpanzees, and who Madi dreams of meeting in the book, is someone Terry would love to meet as well. Madi does not get a chance to meet Jane in Rescue at Lake Wild but Terry hinted that if she writes a sequel to the novel that might just happen.

I was having breakfast with Manitoba poet Joanne Epp last week and she was curious about some qualities that are essential in writing for a middle-grade audience. I used examples from Terry’s book which I had just read to explain.

The action in Rescue at Lake Wild published by Houghton Mifflin takes place in the community of Willow Grove. A map on one of the first pages of the book helps orient the reader.

A middle-grade book needs lots of action and Terry’s novel has that. It starts off with a bang as Madi does a dark and dangerous dive into a beaver lodge to save the two little orphaned kits whose mother and father have been shot. Madi must go to great lengths to hide the kits from her own parents at the same time as she tries to solve the mystery of who shot the beavers and keep at bay a nosy older sister who knows about the beaver kits and is constantly threatening to reveal Madi’s secret.

The second quality in a good middle-grade novel is that the young protagonists must untangle the conflicts in the novel, not adults. And that certainly happens in Rescue at Lake Wild. It is Madi and her best friends Aaron and Jack who end up solving the mystery and saving the beavers.

Finally, a speaker at a children’s writing conference once told me that near the beginning of a middle-grade book there must be some reference to poop or pee. I made sure that happened in my novel and Terry does too with a funny scene where Madison is trying to get the beaver kits to ‘do their business’. After plopping them into a Rubbermaid tub full of water they finally poop.

The beautiful cover of the book was created by Maike Plenzke

Terry’s novel Rescue at Lake Wild provides a master class in writing for a middle-grade audience. I also learned from our visit with Terry last night that she has made hundreds of virtual visits to classrooms something I hope to do this coming year as well.

I love the fact that I shared a set of shelves with Terry Lynn Johnson at McNally Robinson Booksellers and I loved her book Rescue at Lake Wild. I can recommend it for adults who’d like to learn more about beavers as well as any middle-grade readers they might have in their lives.

Other posts……….

The Girl Who Loved Giraffes

Cattail Skyline- Personal Connections

A Book Is A Dream You Hold In Your Hand

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My Novel As A Murder Weapon

One of the readers of my novel sent me this photo recently.

The photo was accompanied by this message.

Discovered that your book is highly effective at killing Pine Bark Beetles who are the most unwelcome guests in my cabin…I just grabbed the closest thing to me and squashed the little devil!!

This photo of a forest in California shows the kind of damage the pine bark beetle can do.

Apparently, thanks to climate change bark beetles are moving across the country after having a devastating impact on pines in British Columbia. They are now advancing through Canada’s boreal forests and scientists are trying to figure out how to lessen their effect on forest ecology.

Although I hadn’t envisioned my book as a tool for killing insects I do know that the folks who sent the photo hadn’t just used my book as a murder weapon. They had also read my book and enjoyed it because they had told me so in an earlier phone call.

They say you never know what will happen with your book after it is published. How true!

Other posts……….

My First Interview

My Novel in the Great Outdoors

Launching A Book

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Filed under Lost on the Prairie, Nature

Connections With Michelle Sawatsky

I wrote a cover story about Michelle Sawatsky in 1991

In 1991 I was asked to do a story about Michelle Sawatsky for the magazine The Mennonite Mirror. At that time Michelle was a University of Manitoba volleyball player working towards a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance and voice.

She and I talked about her successful high school volleyball experience under the tutelage of coach Shannon Kehler and the wonderful support her family gave her in all her endeavors. Michelle commented on how media coverage of women’s sports seemed to pale in comparison to the coverage offered men, and the way the American attitude towards the game of volleyball stood in stark contrast to the Canadian approach. She expressed appreciation for her university coach Ken Bentley who she said made allowances for her musical aspirations and was helping her become the best player she could be.

At the time I interviewed Michelle in 1991 she shared her dream of someday making the Canadian National Team and competing in the Olympics, a dream which came true in 1996 when she was on the Canadian women’s Olympic volleyball team in Atlanta. Michelle went on to establish a long and successful career for herself as a radio host for CFAM and its affiliates.

Taking Michelle out for dim sum in Hong Kong

In 2005 when my husband Dave and I were teaching at an international school in Hong Kong we invited Michelle to fly out to visit us and talk to the students at our school about her Olympic experience at our annual sports awards banquet. She also spoke to the high school student body and did some volleyball clinics with my husband’s physical education students.

Michelle with the students who interviewed her in Hong Kong

We had a good time showing Michelle around Hong Kong. One morning when we took a cable car ride to the top of Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak and happened to meet two young radio journalists doing a school assignment. They asked to interview us and when we told them Michelle was an Olympic athlete they were thrilled to have snagged her as a guest for their video project.

Photo by Jordan Ross The Carillon
Photo by Jordan Ross for The Carillon

On July 8th I was thrilled to connect with Michelle again when she interviewed me about my novel Lost on the Prairie on her radio show. We talked about how I got the idea for the novel, how it was appealing to a really wide audience of different ages, and the research I had done to write the book. You can listen to the interview here.

I was so grateful to Michelle for giving me an opportunity to talk about my book on her radio program. It also provided us with another opportunity to reconnect.

Other posts……….

Memories of Sai Kung

The Goddess of Running Shoes and Olympic Medals

Aunt Olly

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Filed under Hong Kong, Lost on the Prairie, Media

My Novel In The Great Outdoors

Initially, I was a little disappointed that my novel was going to be published in the summer. I figured the target audience for the book was school children and their teachers, and so it would be ideal for Lost on the Prairie to be published in the fall when learning had just begun and the book had a chance to become popular in classrooms, be used as a teaching resource, and thus, earn itself a long life in the education sphere.

However, I have discovered to my surprise that Lost on the Prairie has a much wider audience than I had ever imagined among people of all ages and interests, AND I have realized that one of the wonderful things about having the book published in summer is that people are having a chance to enjoy it in the great outdoors.

My niece Grace published this beautiful photo on her Instagram page recently. Grace has her master’s degree in Social Work from Wilfred Laurier University and uses yoga as an integral part of the services she offers her clients. Grace holds positions with two different professional teams that provide psychotherapy and counseling.

With my niece Grace

Grace used Lost on the Prairie in a post where she encourages people to make time in their life to recharge, reconnect and rejuvenate. She says we all need to balance the generally fast pace of our lives with times when we slow down. She suggests we might do this by drinking coffee, spending time in nature, and reading a good book like the one her aunt MaryLou Driedger just wrote. I just LOVE the fact that my niece is using my book as a part of the very important work she does. I am so proud of her.

Many people have told me they are reading my book with nature as their background. They are reading Lost on the Prairie on their balconies, at their cottages at the lake, looking out over their gardens, on canoe trips, and on park benches. Here are just a few of the photos they have sent.

My niece Olivia with my book in Canmore, Alberta. So proud of my niece who has worked as a professional chef in some of the area’s finest restaurants and is an avid and successful tri-athlete competitor.
Our niece Olivia with my husband Dave.
My friend Randy read Lost on the Prairie on a canoe trip.
My friend Perry posed the book among the plants in his backyard.
My brother Ken outdoors delivering copies of Lost on the Prairie to Little Free Libraries in Victoria
My friend Mitch posed my book along with his other summer reading choices outdoors on the deck of his home on the shores of Jessica Lake in Manitoba.
My niece Hannah posing with her son in their home right on the shores of Lake Erie. Hannah is a first responder and I am so proud of the vital work she has been doing during the pandemic.
Having coffee with Hannah on the deck of her lakeside home.
My friend Pearl with Lost on the Prairie under the trees in her backyard.
My friend Erin told me she was reading Lost on the Prairie on her balcony
A friend putting Lost on the Prairie in The Little Free Library at Strathmillan School in Winnipeg
My niece Amanda lives in rural Manitoba and here she creates the perfect prairie picture for my book. Amanda is an elementary school teacher and Reading Recovery specialist and we are already discussing a possible visit to her classroom this coming year so I can talk about Lost on the Prairie with her students.
With my niece Amanda celebrating her university graduation. I am so proud of the important work Amanda does to promote reading and literacy.
Photo by Jordan Ross The Carillon

I was glad photographer and reporter Jordan Ross decided to do our interview and photo outdoors in Steve Juba Park near my home when he wrote an article about me in The Carillon.

I really like this outdoor image the team at my publisher Heritage House created to promote Lost on the Prairie.

I have realized there are advantages to having my book published in summer and one of them is that people get to read my novel in the great outdoors and that is fitting because the majority of the novel takes place outdoors. If you have read Lost on the Prairie outside I’d love to hear about it.

You can read more about my book at my website maryloudriedger.com

Other posts………

Wild Grasses – A Love Story

For the Beauty of the Earth

A Bird on the Hand

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