The wedding party with Jessica Krima, Ken Kline, bride Maranda & groom Ken

International wedding

International wedding brings huge success, creates memories


EW Emma’s Writings

Wabasis Lake Park, MI- On a beautiful last Saturday in October, Jake Pala and Maranda Ruegsegger became husband and wife.

They got married in the historical Saint Patrick Church in Parnell, Michigan. As the sun rays passed through the colored windows, the sun beams spread all over the altar, the floor, on reverend Mark Peacock and the bride and the groom. Peacock in the homily talked about love, relationships and the importance of wholesome families.

“That is a beautiful church, I was married there,” wrote Jeana Schwacha on facebook. “It looks like it hasn’t changed much.”

Mr. Pala and Mrs. Palova at Saint Patrick Church in Parnell
Mr. Pala and Mrs. Palova at Saint Patrick Church in Parnell

Anthony Amelia, brother of the bride, read the wedding classic reading on love 1 Corinthians 12 : 31.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs,” resonated through the church.

The bride’s colors were purple, beige and lavender which carried over to corsages, ties and sashes. The bride, the matron of honor Jessica Kraima and the groom’s sister Emma Chavent wore the ever-popular bustier strapless dresses. The bride’s wedding gown had a long train that dropped down several steps from the altar. The best man was Pala’s longtime friend Ken Kline. The French flower girl was Ella Chavent, 4.

It was a picture perfect afternoon with degrees in mid to upper 60s Fahrenheit.

Mr. Jakub Pala and Mrs. Maranda Palova enter the Wabasis Lodge
Mr. Jakub Pala and Mrs. Maranda Palova enter the Wabasis Lodge


Just a few miles northeast of the church, overlooking Wabasis Lake covered with autumn golden carpet, sits the park lodge which was the place for the reception.

The scenery for the wedding featured blue skies and blue waters of the Wabasis Lake. The lodge has a large fireplace and it was decked out for a grand wedding celebration. French doors and windows span the entire northern and southern walls. It seats approximately 130 to 140 people.

“It will be rustic chic,” said the bride Maranda Ruegsegger in a previous interview for E Brides & Fashion blog.

The first dance belonged to Maranda and Jake
The first dance belonged to Maranda and Jake

The tables were decorated with stumps that served as bases for large vases with candles floating in them.

“Grandpa Tom made the stumps for me,” Maranda glowed.

As Mr. Pala and Mrs. Palova entered the lodge, they got a standing ovation from the crowd.

The song “When a man loves a woman” settled into everyone’s heart as the husband and wife danced the first dance. Turning and swirling to the catching melody, the couple danced passionately and skillfully.

The buffet dinner included chicken marsala, roast beef, mashed potatoes, salad and more.

Three-tier wedding cake by CJ Aunt Jarmilka
Three-tier wedding cake by CJ Aunt Jarmilka

“The food was delicious,” I kept hearing comments.

A separate dessert station was set up by the fireplace. Wedding baker Jarmila Karmaskova of CJ Aunt Jarmilka’s Desserts set up the three-tier wedding cake on a stump. The cake was topped off with pine cones in the spirit of the rustic theme.

“The desserts are very good,” said friend Jean Jeltema. “Bring me some of that cake log.”

CJ spent three days baking the wedding cake, cake logs and traditional Czech kolache. Karmaskova baked well into the wee hours of the wedding day.

“I was kind of scared out there,” she confessed later.

She and her two sons George & Paul flew 6,000 miles to get here for the wedding.

The wines featured Fenn Valley’s sweeter Lakeshore white and red Capriccio, French Vouvray chardonnay, Rodney Strong chardonnay and Spanish Sangre de Toro red and Sangria. The bar also offered plum brandy, pear brandy and Becherovka herbal liqueur.

The wedding wines
The wedding wines

“Everybody liked that,” said father of the bride Dan Ruegsegger at the tailgate party on Sunday.

No Czech celebration is complete without beer. Since it is the month of the Octoberfest, the groom ordered Samuel Adams Boston Lager and Ichabad pumpkin ale.

The international selection of wines and brandy reflected the international spirit of the wedding. Mr. Jakub Pala was born in former Czechoslovakia and Mrs. Maranda Palova, born Ruegsegger, is American. The groom’s sister Chavent is Czech, but her husband and children are French.

The difference in the names Pala – Palova lies in the gender and the grammar. All females in Slavic languages after marriage take on the man’s name, but because of the grammar rules, the last name is modified by adding either –ova to the end or –a to the end.

For example the famous Czech tennis player Martina Navratilova, a man would be Martin Navratil or Ivanka Trumpova, the man is Donald Trump.

My parents Ella & Vaclav Konecny stayed the longest on the dance floor celebrating 55 years of marriage.
My parents Ella & Vaclav Konecny stayed the longest on the dance floor celebrating 55 years of marriage.

And my dad Vaclav Konecny fills in the Spanish gap as a big fan of the Spanish language.

During the wedding, my parents Ella & Vaclav Konecny received a blessing for their 55th anniversary and danced the longest on the dance floor. They had the greatest longevity of marriage of all the couples present.

Groom’s sister Emma Chavent made the wedding video accompanied by a great selection of music including Queen. It covered the groom’s childhood all the way to marriage.

The dance floor was busy until the closing. The DJ was accommodating also to requests for slow dancing music.

So Mr. & Mrs. Palova danced the night away under the bright stars.

Welcome Mrs. Palova to the family.


Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved Emma Blogs LLC

New eyes with Dr. Verdier IV

The Grand Finale delivers 20/20 vision

Note: This is the fourth installment in the mini-series called “New eyes with Dr. Verdier” about cataracts and eye surgeries. It rightfully carries the bold title, “The Grand Finale.”

The series tracks Emma Palova’s journey from near blindness to new eyes with 20/20 vision. The third part “The Surgery” was published on Oct. 1.

The second part “The evaluation of cataracts” was published on Sept. 13.

The first part “Eyes set on Dr. Verdier” was published on EW Emma’s Writings on Sept. 6.

The Grand Finale

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Grand Rapids, MI- I went into the second surgery even more scared than the first eye because I already knew what was going to happen.

“Each eye is different,” I remembered the anesthesiologist saying.

Dr. David Verdier previously informed me that he was going to adjust the lens for the left eye so it won’t see as far into the distance, but more close-up. That way the two eyes don’t fight, and the result should be a perfect 20/20 vision.

Dr. David Verdier, a recognized eye surgeon
Dr. David Verdier, a recognized eye surgeon

The fear from the surgery caused my blood pressure and pulse to skyrocket. I was sweating in spite of the fact that it was cold in the operating room. I had trouble dozing off under the local anesthesia.

I could feel the work done on the left eye and yellow balls and circles were dancing in front of me. I got a perforated shield on the left eye as well to protect the eye for seven days after the surgery.

When I was hauled into the post-operating stall, I could see my husband as clear as the night sky. Very sharp.

Crisp new 20/20 vision after cataract surgery
Crisp new 20/20 vision after cataract surgery

I was again the youngest person on the operating premises. Certain type of cataracts strike “younger” people, and unlike the regular cataracts they move very fast causing deterioration of the eyesight.

“It’s like a dirty windshield,” said Dr. Nathan Schlotthauer during the initial evaluation. “New layers keep adding on to it.”

At the height of the cataract ordeal that started two years ago, I could not see myself in the mirror or drive.

Resting in the post-operational stall, I was glad it was all over.

Dr. Verdier entered the stall, “It went very well.”

Next day’s check-up proved my 20/20 vision, and the technician was just as excited as I was.

“You won’t need eyeglasses,” he said.

I got the last schedule for eye drops that would run through Sept. 19. The medication schedule called for the tapering of prednisolone eye drops. Prednisolone eye drops reduce redness, burning and swelling.

As the AcrySof IQ lens implant adjusted in the eyeball, I could see orange circles on the periphery. Sometimes there was tension in both eyes, but the vision remained beyond expectations.

“You see like a hawk now,” said my husband Ludek.

The last appointment at the Verdier Eye Center was on Aug.22. The first evaluation was on July 11.

“You look great,” concluded Dr. Verdier after recording the case. “You have new eyes. We’re very pleased. You were an excellent patient to have.”

“I am ecstatic doctor,” I cried with joy. “I am a new woman.”

In two weeks I saw my referring eye doctor Dr. Holser back in Lowell, who confirmed the 20/20 vision.

“You probably will never need eyeglasses,” he said. “Dr. Verdier is the best. He is worth waiting for.”


For more information go to:

East Paris Surgical Center, LLC



Eye surgery
Eye surgery



A few facts about cataracts according to American Academy of Ophthalmology:

In a normal eye, light focuses precisely on the retina.

In an eye with a cataract, light scatters throughout the eye instead of focusing precisely on the retina causing cloudy vision.

Common symptoms of cataracts are: a painless blurring of vision, glare or sensitivity, poor night vision, double vision in one eye, needing brighter light to read, fading or yellowing of colors.

Most age-related cataracts progress gradually over a period of years, and may be different even between the two eyes.

Other cataracts in younger people may progress rapidly over a short time.

Surgery is the only way a cataract may be removed. However, if symptoms are not bothering you much, surgery may not be needed. Sometimes a simple change in eyeglass prescription may be helpful.

No medications, dietary supplements or exercises have been shown to prevent or cure cataracts.


Cataract surgeries:

More than 1.8 million people have cataract surgery each year in the United States. More than 95 percent of those surgeries are performed without complications.

During cataract surgery, which is usually performed under local or topical anesthesia as an outpatient procedure, the surgeon removes the cloudy lens from the eye. In most cases, the focusing power of the natural lens is restored by replacing it with a permanent intraocular lens implant.

The ophthalmologist performs the delicate surgery using a microscope, miniature instruments and other modern technology.

In many people who have cataract surgery, the natural capsule that supports the intraocular lens may become cloudy over time. I f this occurs, the surgeon may perform an outpatient laser procedure called capsulotomy.

For more information go to:

Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved Emma Blogs LLC

In the spirit of Octoberfest

International union in the spirit of Octoberfest

By Emma Palova

Hastings, MI- In the spirit of the original Octoberfest that honored the marriage of crown prince Ludwig and princess of Saxony on Oct. 12, 1810, we invite all along to celebrate our upcoming international union.

Jakub Pala, born in former Czechoslovakia, will be marrying Maranda Ruegsegger of Saranac on Oct. 25th in the pioneer Saint Patrick Church in Parnell.

The guests, like birds, started to fly in to Gerald Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids as of yesterday. The first batch came from Dijon, France.

First guests from France
First guests from France

The second batch is arriving tonight from Czech Republic. The house will be full to the rafters with kids tweeting like the birdies on the patio.

To honor the international bond between the countries as well as between the couple, we are putting on a “Welcome dinner” celebration this Sunday. This is preceded by the baptism of Samuel Chavent, also at the Saint Patrick Church.

The dinner, catered by AdelineLeigh, reflects our love for our new homeland. We also wanted to introduce our Czech guests to American cuisine. So, barbeque is the theme: bbq chicken, bbq pork, au gratin potatoes, seven layer salad and baked beans. And of course a keg of Samuel Adams Boston lager.

Hops, Czech liquid gold
Hops, Czech liquid gold

Much like in Germany, home to Octoberfest, and Austria, no Czech celebration would be complete without beer. Most beers in these countries are high-quality and long-aged lagers made from Western Bohemian hops in small to mid-size breweries.

Czech immigrants carried this tradition with them to other countries.

“Beer is the Czech liquid gold,” according to an old saying.

However, communication between the Czech, American and French guests may be a challenge. So, many of us will serve as interpreters between the three different languages.

Pala, fully bilingual, hopes that his daughter Josephine Marie Palova will speak Czech as well.

“He speaks and reads to her in Czech,” said Maranda.

Pala is very proud of his Czech heritage. He came to the USA when he was 2.5 years old. During our stint in Montreal, Canada in the 1990s all of us were trilingual.

“You’re as many persons as the languages you speak,” according to an old Czech saying.

Follow us on our journey to the international wedding.

To be continued

Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved Emma Blogs LLC

ArtPrize 2014

ArtPrize 2014 brings inspiration to Grand Rapids

By Sarah Harmon

EW Emma’s Writings

EW writer Sarah Harmon hosts exchange students
EW writer Sarah Harmon hosts exchange students

What is art? Whether your preference is for painting, sculpture, photography, or performance, there is no better place in the world to answer that question than Grand Rapids during ArtPrize. For almost three weeks every fall, all of downtown transforms into the world’s biggest, and possibly most eclectic, art museum, and the best part is that seeing the art is completely free. In an age where budget cuts have forced schools to eliminate fine arts programs, it is incredible to watch hundreds of students be exposed to others’ artistic expressions and become inspired to create their own. ArtPrize Education Days offer free workshops where kids meet artists and explore their creative sides. This year, Top 20 artist, Kevin Sudeith, helped them to make prints using paint and paper applied directly to his “Grand River Fish Petroglyph” for one of the classes. He also explained that all of his installations are meant to be permanent, so his creation will be displayed near the river long after the competition ends.

Grand River Petroglyph by Kevin Sudeth
Grand River Petroglyph by Kevin Sudeth


“Reciprocity,” a 3D finalist featured in the Grand Rapids Art Museum, is a sculpture so lifelike, down to the wrinkles and veins in the men’s skin, that you expect them to move at any moment. On the other hand, Time Based finalist Robert Shangle performs as a living sculpture that upon first glance you would never guess wasn’t made of clay. He compared the stamina required for a day as a sculpture to running a marathon. Shangle was looking forward to cutting back on his performance hours when he was pleasantly surprised with being in the top 5.



We tend to forget that much of art has a far deeper purpose than just to be beautiful. It’s there to make us look inside ourselves, to see our own desires and passions reflected through someone else’s mirror, and sometimes to inspire us to create change. “Weave Peace,” outside the Public Museum, asks you to write a hope or a peaceful intention and tie it to the dome to join thousands of others. In stark contrast, “The Scarlet Cord,” near the Gerald R Ford Museum, discusses the horrors of sex trafficking. A related Scarlet Cord piece outside Propaganda Doughnuts encourages you to write a prayer on red ribbon and to exchange it for someone else’s prayer that touches your heart.


With its wide variety of mediums and subject matter, ArtPrize reminds us that anything, from the mundane to the fantastical, can become something beautiful and unique under the guidance of the right artist. Given the opportunity, the right piece of art can even change the world.

Copyright (c) All rights reserved Emma Blogs LLC


I do have to borrow this one from my dad Vaclav Konecny.

Just married 36 years ago in Zlin, former Czechoslovakia to Ludek Pala.

I met him in grade school Stipa in 1976. The rest is history.

A selfie from the Old Man River Mississipi
A selfie from the Old Man River Mississipi

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