IW-Hiker babe walks 4,600 miles in memory of daughter

Inspiring Women at home and around the world

Orchids in full bloom
Enigmatic orchids

Note: This is the fourth installment in a feature series about Inspiring Women. It is dedicated to all women who are trying to make a difference and better other people’s lives, as well as their own.  In putting together this feature series, I was inspired by several moments in life that in particular stand out.

No.1  A dedication of a Relax, mind, body & soul book by Barbara Heller from my son Jake: “I dedicate this to my inspiring and motivational mother.” Kuba

No. 2  While on a story before Mother’s Day, I dropped in at Ace Bernard Hardware to talk about the prizes with owner Charlie Bernard. We talked also about the Lowell Area Chamber and its director Liz Baker.

“You know what I like about Liz, she keeps re-inventing herself,” Bernard said.

No. 3 Again on a story for the International Women’s Day I talked to Sow Hope president Mary Dailey Brown.

“If you want to make a difference in this world, seriously consider helping impoverished women. Helping women is the key to unlocking poverty.”

No. 4  At a parents teacher conference at Cherry Creek Elementary in Lowell in mid 1990s: “Mrs. Pala, we do not give up,” teacher Karen Latva said.

Lowell woman completes North Country Trail to memorialize daughter

Name: Gail Lowe

Occupation: retired intensive care nurse

Residence: Lowell

Hobbies & Interests: hiking, reading, writing

 

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – It’s never easy to lose a parent, but to lose a child is a traumatic event beyond imagination.

Gail Lowe calls herself “Hiker Babe”, and she truly is a veteran hiker of 10,000 miles with just one fear left.  And that is she won’t be able to hike anymore because of aging and related health reasons.

Hiker Babe
Gail Lowe on a mission walk in memory of daughter.

On Thanksgiving of last year, Lowe completed the most difficult hike of her life. It was “Becka’s Hike” to memorialize her daughter Rebecca Carrie Lyons, 46, who died of breast cancer in May of 2013.

Lowe is working on a book “My Best for Becka” about the end of her daughter’s life.

“It’s like opening a scar and an old wound,” she said. “It’s very difficult.”

It is Lowe’s hope, that the book will help the grieving process and foster personal growth.

“Becka’s biggest fear was that she would be forgotten,” Lowe said. “I wanted to make sure that would never come true.”

Daughter Becka
Rebecca Carrie Lyons

So, Lowe embarked on a 4,600-mile long hike of the North Country Trail (NCT) on March 18, 2014. She wanted to complete it as a thru hike which means in one season.

“It was a hike with a mission,” she said.

Lowe had previously hiked twice the Appalachian Trail which is only half as long as the NCT.

One of the most difficult parts of the hike was in the western half of the Upper Peninsula, where the trail was overgrown.

“I had to do a lot of bushwhacking,” she said. “I was attacked by a raptor. I saw two wolves and bears.”

Lowe who has also hiked in Alaska, said, the UP part of the trail was much more remote than the one in Alaska.

On the other hand, probably the easiest part of the hike was through North Dakota.

“People welcomed me immediately,” she said. “I was dreading hiking there, but it was easy and it is a beautiful state.”

Becka's Hike
Victorious Gail Lowe at the end of 4,600 mile hike.

But, what was even more difficult  than the length of the hike, was the extreme solitude. Lowe said that on the other trails people camp at night and share shelters together.

“I was it, there were no other hikers,” she said. “The loneliness was overwhelming.”

To fight the loneliness, Lowe went to as many towns as she could to meet with the locals and to reach out to them.

And that was mutual, because Lowe had the help of more than 100 “trail angels.” Trail angels are people who help hikers either with shelter, food or transportation from the trail to towns and back.

“The hike was truly blessed. People took me in for the night,” she said. “It was mind-boggling. Sometimes they did meet me along the way.”

Staying in a tent at 20 F would have been hard, if it wasn’t for the Methodists who opened their doors to Lowe.

“They truly practice their faith,” she said.

Lowe had planned her hike to start and to finish in Ohio. Three couples helped her by taking her back and forth between the trail and the town, so Lowe didn’t have to carry the “rock” or the big backpack.

“I could just use the day pack for four to five days,” she said.

Even though by now after thousands of miles of hiking, Lowe has it down to a science. She carries 26 to 28 pounds on her back.

She averaged 30 to 35 miles a day, before her health became an issue. Lowe came down with mononucleosis and had to make three trips to three different emergency rooms. Her average mileage was down to 15 miles.

“I was exhausted with respiratory infections,” she said. “There really is no treatment for it. I took massive doses of vitamin c.”

Becka's Hike
Mission accomplished

Against all odds including the nasty 2014 weather, Lowe finished the thru hike in one year as the only woman in the USA. She received major publicity including TV, NPR radio and 40 to 50 articles.

“It was a combination of being the first woman to do it in one hiking season and in memory of my daughter,” Lowe said. “I asked myself how do I want to finish this hike.”

Lowe wanted a quiet finish  just between her and Becka. That’s why she planned the last two miles on Thanksgiving Day.

“I could sneak in under the radar and have the type of finish I wanted,” she said.

But, Lowe also wanted to know that Becka was with her all along.

“I told myself if I find a quarter on the ground I would know Becka was with me,” she said.

On the last two miles of the last day, Lowe looked down and found a quarter.

“That was a message she was with me,” Lowe said. “The outcome of the hike is that the entire nation is aware of Becka. The mission was accomplished.”

Her major motivation for a hike that took 8.5 months to complete remained Becka.

“I consider myself a bad ass in hiking,” Lowe said. “I almost drowned, had a surgery and encountered a man with a gun. But knowing that it was in Becka’s memory carried me all along.”

Lowe’s advice to those thinking about hiking the trail is not to tackle it in one season.

“The mileage is daunting,” she said. “There are unmarked areas and the solitude, it can be overwhelming. Give it at least two years.”

Because northern Michigan still had snow in May, Lowe had to turn back to Ohio and hike east and wait for Michigan to thaw.

How did Lowe succeed in spite of all the challenges?

She trained for two months before the hike walking 10 miles a day with an over weighted backpack.

Lowe turned 65 on the NCT hike on Sept. 4th, and she still wants to hike the Continental Divide trail to be the first woman with a quintuple crown award.

Becka's Hike
Gail Lowe shows a quarter as a message from her daughter

 

“Hiking is my passion, my church,” she said. “I feel closer to higher power. It has given me strength, freedom and confidence. It has come with tears, sorrow and joy. My trail name is Chosen. I am living out my destiny.”

 

Lowe said she will do the Continental Divide trail ASAP, before the aging process takes over and makes it impossible.

“My hiking days are numbered,” she said. “I have learned that it’s not the best motivator just pounding out miles, but the most inspirational was the kindness of the people and making lifelong friends. I could feel love coming over me like an ocean of love washing over me.”

Lowe says about herself that she is not religious, but she is spiritual.

“None of us does a hike like this alone,” she said. “I can picture a chain of people holding hands and those are the people who came out. I didn’t do it alone.”

Lowe calls her hikes pilgrimages.

“It’s a time to reflect, it gives insight and introspection,” she said. “The greatest fun is succeeding at your goal, finishing what you start. It gives me incredible accomplishment and confidence.”

Lowe ignores negative people in order to accomplish her goals.

“It’s my responsibility to step over them and keeping my eye on the goal and not let them affect my ability of moving forward,” she said. “I’ve become strong mentally, physically and spiritually.”

Lowe’s final advice:

“Don’t quit, no matter what.”

However, as far as the  grieving process itself, Lowe says there is no closure on grieving, ever.

“Becka was my best friend, and when all was said and done, we both forgave each other everything and loved each other dearly,” Lowe said. “I miss being able to do the simple things with her like talking on the phone, going out to eat together, going “thrifting” at thrift shops, travelling together, and listening to her sing at karaoke.  She lived for music and had an amazing voice!  I miss being able to touch her and kiss her face.”

NCT is scenic.
NCT runs through Fallasburg Park in Kent County, Michigan.

Since the establishment of NCT in 1980, only five men have completed a thru hike of the trail and Lowe was the sixth person, and the only woman in the USA.

NCTA executive director Bruce Matthews said Lowe’s hike elevates the awareness of the North Country Trail.

“It fires people’s imagination and makes the trail more accessible to women,” he said. “It expands the horizon. It is unusual to complete it in one season.”

Matthews hopes that the experience Lowe has had will inspire other people to follow in her footsteps.

“You have to be prepared,” he said. “NCT is different from the Appalachian or the Pacific trails.”

What distinguishes NCT from the other trails is that it runs through different environments, and it does not follow a mountain range.

“Trail angels will be looking for you ready to help,” he said. “You can share experiences and volunteers make the routes more scenic.

On the theme of the extreme solitude on the trail, Matthews said:

“Solitude is part of the NCT experience,” he said.

For more info on Gail Lowe go to: www.naturenymphllc.com

North Country Trail Association go to www.northcountrytrail.org

Copyright © 2015 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

IW Inspiring Women Liz B.

Inspiring Women at home and around the world

Orchids in full bloom
Enigmatic orchids

Note: This is the third installment in a feature series about Inspiring Women. It is dedicated to all women who are trying to make a difference and better other people’s lives, as well as their own.  In putting together this feature series, I was inspired by several moments in life that in particular stand out.

No.1  A dedication of a Relax, mind, body & soul book by Barbara Heller from my son Jake: “I dedicate this to my inspiring and motivational mother.” Kuba

No. 2  While on a story prior to Mother’s Day, I dropped in at Ace Bernard Hardware to talk about the prizes with owner Charlie Bernard. We talked also about the Lowell Area Chamber and its director Liz Baker.

“You know what I like about Liz, she keeps re-inventing herself,” Bernard said.

No. 3 Again on a story prior to the International Women’s Day I talked to Sow Hope president Mary Dailey Brown.

“If you want to make a difference in this world, seriously consider helping impoverished women. Helping women is the key to unlocking poverty.”

No. 4  At a parents teacher conference at Cherry Creek Elementary in Lowell in mid 1990s: “Mrs. Pala, we do not give up,” teacher Karen Latva said.

IW Chamberdirector Liz Baker reinvents herself and Lowell events

Name: Liz Baker

Position: Executive director

Residence: Alto

Hobbies & interests: camping, ATVs, kayaking, antiquing

Volunteer: Schneider Manor board, Lowell Community Wellness Board

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – Lowell Area Chamber director started with a filing cabinet and a phone in the old white building on the east end of town in 1994 as a secretary. Most people don’t remember where the old chamber was.

“What did I get myself into,” she said.

Liz Baker
Lowell Area Chamber director Liz Baker

Being behind most events in Lowell, Baker manages to keep low profile in her back office. Prior to becoming the director, she had her own cleaning business.

But aunt Betty said Baker had more in her than just doing an ordinary job.

The chamber was first established as a Board of Trade in 1906.

FMB president Jim Bosserd recommended Baker and the chamber hired her.

“I was the assistant director, and I didn’t know who was the director,” she laughed. “What should I do?”

At the time, the chamber did two events: Christmas parade and annual dinner. The Lowell Area Schools said somebody needs to be at the chamber.

“They took a leap of faith and hired me,” Baker said. “I became the executive director.”

Then came the big question.

“How are we going to pay for the Riverwalk?” said Baker.

The two day festival started originally on Labor Day with arts & crafts, entertainment, duck race and a pig roast.

“It just started and we made money,” she said. “From then on I was free to create festival that I wanted to.”

Baker started going to the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) to get money.

Liz Baker
Lowell Area Chamber director with conceptual plan.

Her biggest accomplishment was the partnership with Lowell Area Schools for the annual March Expo 19 years ago. At the time it was the only community expo in the area.

Sizzlin’ Concerts with Lowell Arts are a big hit, as well as two Girls Nights Out, one in the spring, one in the fall. In the early years, Riverwalk was still on Labor Day.

Since, people leave for the holidays, the chamber moved the Riverwalk to the second weekend in July.

“It made world of difference,” she said. “It has evolved with corporate ducks and sponsorships and we went back to a two-day event, well three with the concerts.”

The fireworks are not cheap. The show costs $6,000 to put on. It is sponsored by Laurels of Kent.

The Riverwalk Festival is the biggest fundraiser for the chamber. It brings in between $18,000 to $25,000.

“Most of these events depend on the weather,” she said.

Harvest Celebration is in the fall, and it has been going on for 15 years.

“It is a community event organized by the chamber with marketing funds,” Baker said.

Jodie Haybarker started Christmas through Lowell, a three-day event.

“How can we get businesses involved?” Baker said. “What better event for the chamber. It has been running beautifully.”

DDA sponsors Christmas activities like Santa visits on the Showboat. The Christmas parade route changed and it went to a night parade five years ago.

“Changing the route was good, it was hard on the little ones,” she said.

With this huge output Baker relies on 200 volunteers.

The secret to successful events is early preparation. Volunteers start getting ready for Expo in November, while preparations for Riverwalk start in February.

“We’re very diligent about technology, our marketing is going to the website,” she said.

The concert line-up starts in January/February. Then there also member events such Breakfast Clubs (12) and Lunch & Learn (4), as well as business after hours (2).

Because Lowell is a family community, when the school is out not much happens.

And Baker moved to a new office in the back of the building on the Riverwalk. The general contractor was Evert Bek.

Baker has a part-time person on staff, Catherine Bek, and twice a week Carol Briggs and Peggy Idyma help out, and Barb Zandstra will be back.

As far as weaknesses, Baker says about herself that she gets easily attached to people and things.

“I am getting bigger shoulders now, but I am an emotional sap,” she said. “I love my job. There’s always enough variety and excitement.”

That is why Charlie Bernard of Ace Hardware said about Baker that she keeps reinventing herself.

She was also chair for the Riverwalk Showboat Development plan in 2014. Baker is motivated by Lowell’s vision.

“I want Lowell to be the best there is,” she said. “I go to  other communities for inspiration.”

West Michigan Chamber Network does round tables.

“We take ideas from each other,” she said. “But we get robbed quite a bit. We’ve been a role model for MDOT for outside the box thinking.”

Lowell enjoys an amazing camaraderie, according to Baker. “We pull together.”

For two years, the bridge project was the biggest challenge, and then of course the economic downturn.

“The economy just tanked in 2004-2005,” she said. “The big box stores are hard for retail. But, I can’t stop them. I’d like to see a better balance, see more restaurants, small boutique shops and sports kayak shop. I don’t know if we have the right demographics.”

Trail projects are moving ahead, Lowell is in their center.

“It will bring us, business, visitors and tourists,” she said. “We have a designated water trail. And the national headquarters of the North Country Trail (NCT) are located here.

How about plans and visions for Baker and Lowell?

Baker would like to see the Showboat rebuilt and a permanent stage on the Riverwalk.

There are conceptual plans for a permanent stage.

“We want to grow to be sustainable and to be here for years to come,” she said.

And Expo is coming up on March 28th at the Lowell High School. The Expo covers the area of the Lowell Area schools, this include seven townships and the city of Lowell.

“It’s a big deal for us,” Baker said. “I’ve never had a problem finding an exclusive sponsor. If you’re not at the Expo you should be.”

The board sets goals such as getting out more into the community, how to sell yourself and to be the best you can be.

“The businesses need to be taught that too,” she said. “You keep pressing forward, motivating businesses and being their cheerleader. They have to reinvent themselves too. They have to take that first step and become members.”

There are approximately 300 members, and people call for referrals.

“It gives them credibility,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of vacant buildings.”

Here are a few comments from the chamber’s facebook page:

“I’ve always been amazed at how much our Lowell Chamber of Commerce achieves and is involved in our community,” wrote Tina Maire Greene. “I can always count on the chamber for suggestions and recommendations when I need them for particular services.”

“Best Chamber of Commerce ever. They go above and beyond to provide residents and businesses with fun, family friendly activities and events,” wrote Ella K. St. Germain.

Liz Baker-the woman behind the superwoman

1-What makes you feel good about yourself?

I exercise, eat right and healthy.

2-How do you strike a balance between work and family?

Family has to come first. Sometimes they take the back seat. That’s the honesty.

3-What do you do for yourself?

First family, spiritual wellbeing and work. That’s how it plays out for me.

4-What is your biggest fear?

I am fearless.

Copyright © 2015 Emma Blogs LLC. All rights reserved.

Lovin single

 Happy Valentine’s Day
By Sarah Harmon
EW writer

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At a loss

Blogging 201, assignment Day 7, create an event

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI -I must say I am at a loss with today’s blogging assignment #7 to create an event, whether virtual or real.

I’ve been thinking about WordPress Camps for some time. But, I live in the Midwest, and other than Chicago, I can’t seem to find a hub for bloggers.

Come on fellow bloggers step up. Where are you?

Looking for ideas
A dam in Czech Republic to me resembles a surge of ideas.

I know I can create an event with a long stretch of imagination. I am inclining towards a virtual blogging event, maybe a weekly or biweekly discussion on a theme that will attract attention and not disputes and complaints.

I have some friends around here who are on Goodreads. That’s it. Of course I haven’t searched high and low either.

I tried the Coffee Cake Internet Discussions page on my EW Emma’s Writings and I did not get a lot of response. But, I wasn’t advertising or marketing it either,  and as a new blogger I didn’t have that much time.

All of the above seem like excuses for not creating an event. This is my goal. After the virtual event weekly or biweekly depending on interest, I would like to create a “reality blogging” event in a manageable dimension. That is with or without an avocado dip, on the couch or at Ella’s Coffee & Cuisine with or without the Kardashians.

Any ideas on either the format of the event or the subject?

 

Copyright (c) 2015 Emma Blogs LLC. All rights reserved.

 

 

Social media sparks

Hello to all,

Check out my take on Social Media and sharing on WordPress. I am still working on the twitter timeline. And feedback is telling me that social cool widget displays weird, as well as LinkedIn social icon.

So, social media work is just like woman’s work. It’s never completely done, and that is good.

Check out the post on EW Emma’s Writings on http://emmapalova.com

Social media blitz

Get connected, be social

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- I decided to contribute to the Blogging 201 discussion Day 6 on social media. I am sharing my experience with the much coveted social media.

There are three or more social media distinctions on the WordPress platform.

Number one: sharing buttons or white boxes either in your settings, you drag which services you want. Or on your dashboard in the Publish section on the right, you see Publicize and you click on edit. Add the ones you want. Then of course you want the public to use the sharing buttons as well.

Number two: The much coveted facebook like widget that can go into almost any sidebar. However, the facebook like widget works only with facebook pages, not with personal fb.

So, you first create a facebook page, if you don’t have one. Then copy its URL into the facebook page like widget. Make sure you save. It takes a few minutes. Then, your post on facebook will show in the fb widget on your blog, along with heads of the people who like your page.

The same goes for Instagram except that your photos will show.

Number three: Social media icons. Best placement on top in the upper right hand corner or in the footer. You can find them on the Internet, copy their code and paste into your text widget or you can also find them in the support section of WordPress titled Social Tools. Again copy and paste into the widget text box, and save.

Don’t forget to connect them to your social profiles like Twitter, facebook, LinkedIn and/or Google +.

That means replace the text in the brackets with your let’s say Twitter URL.

However, all this is pointless unless you’re working both your blog and your facebook page. That means regular posts with photographs, logos, polls, events and such.

Happy connecting.

Feel free to e-mail me with questions.

Emma

Copyright (c) Emma Blogs LLC

IW Inspiring Women, Betty M.

Inspiring Women at home and around the world

Orchids in full bloom
Enigmatic orchids

Note: This is the second installment in a feature series about Inspiring Women. It is dedicated to all women who are trying to make a difference and better other people’s lives, as well as their own.  In putting together this feature series, I was inspired by several moments in life that in particular stand out.

No.1  A dedication of a Relax, mind, body & soul book by Barbara Heller from my son Jake: “I dedicate this to my inspiring and motivational mother.” Kuba

No. 2  While on a story prior to Mother’s Day, I dropped in at Ace Bernard Hardware to talk about the prizes with owner Charlie Bernard. We talked also about the Lowell Area Chamber and its director Liz Baker.

“You know what I like about Liz, she keeps re-inventing herself,” Bernard said.

No. 3 Again on a story prior to the International Women’s Day I talked to Sow Hope president Mary Dailey Brown.

“If you want to make a difference in this world, seriously consider helping impoverished women. Helping women is the key to unlocking poverty.”

No. 4  At a parents teacher conference at Cherry Creek Elementary in Lowell in mid 1990s: “Mrs. Pala, we do not give up,” teacher Karen Latva said.

Lowell city clerk battled cancer with positive attitude

Name: Betty Renfro Morlock

Position: city clerk

Residence: Lowell Township

Family: husband Sam, daughter Jamie and four grandsons

Hobbies and interests: wrestling, soccer, football and camping

Betty’s story

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- “I’ve had a few bumps in my life.”

Now, that’s Betty Morlock’s way of looking at life’s blocks, setbacks or just pure tragedies.

Betty Renfro Morlock
Lowell city clerk Betty Morlock

As the Lowell city clerk since 1988, Morlock has been through highs and lows, mostly in her personal life. She is also a highly visible and accessible person, and that’s not just during the elections.

Two major tragedies early on have pulled the family together. Adopted grandson Tyler Morlock, 4, was diagnosed with cancer in January of 2000. That same year on April 28th, son Steven was killed in an accident on a quad.

“I have that silver lining,” she said. “I am a people person. I love my residents and my community.”

Always vibrant, equipped with enormous energy, Morlock has navigated the city politics well. Twice, she was the president of the Rotary, and she traveled to the Dominican Republic, as part of a program to ship ambulances to the country.

Morlock has enjoyed a successful career, by the side of only two city managers, current Mark Howe and past Dave Pasquale, until the biggest challenge of her life hit hard.

While visiting her sick mother-in-law in Reed City on Dec. 29, 2013, Morlock started feeling increasingly sick herself. After throwing up due to an internal bleeding, Morlock was transported to the Reed City Hospital, and then transferred to Blodgett in Grand Rapids. She was diagnosed with cancer in her ulcer.

Morlock lost weight the hard way. To date, Morlock lost 68 pounds. She had to undergo a surgery that took away one third of her stomach much like in the bariatric bypass surgery.

“I had to have both chemo and radiation because I had cancer in the lymph nodes,” she said.

Betty Renfro Morlock
Betty Renfro Morlock

At the time, Morlock posted enthusiastically on facebook:

“Okay here’s the game plan: Twice a week chemo and then radiation.”

It was really more than that, but her optimistic outlook carried her through the serious illness.

“I’ve never been sick,” she said. “I’ve only been to the hospital to have babies.”

She underwent the treatments at the Lemmen Holton Cancer Center under Spectrum Hospital.

But, Morlock was no stranger to cancer.

“Cancer has been prevalent in our family,” she said.

Morlock lost both her parents to cancer, as well as her sister and brother, aunts and uncles.

She bought a wig, and never had to use it.

“My hair just got thinner,” she said. “I don’t think I was as sick as most people are. I got very emotional.”

The whole time during the treatments, Morlock stayed at her daughter Jamie’s house. She had a feeding tube in the stomach and it took 12 hours to feed six cans of Ensure. Morlock started dropping weight rapidly.

“Thanks God, I had a lot of weight to drop,” she joked.

Morlock received enormous support from the family and the community.

“If you’re going to get sick, Lowell is the place to be,” she said.

Morlock had to go a few times to ER because of anxiety attacks. She started feeling better once the feeding tube was out.

Now, all done with the treatments and back at the city hall, Morlock admits that the chemo and the radiation took a lot of strength out of her.

“It slowed me down a bit,” she said in a recent interview. “I continue to focus on being healthy and starting the next phase of my life, which is retirement.”

Currently, she is working on the cemetery program and the upcoming special election on May 5 for the sales tax increase.

What really gets to Morlock is the actual aftermath of the chemotherapy.

“I have something they call a chemo mind,” she said. “I forget things, I can’t focus or concentrate.

“How long can I claim this chemo mind?”

“As long as you want to, you deserve it,” said the doctor.

For Morlock, always surrounded by stacks of documents at the city hall, the inability to focus is really frustrating

And her biggest fear is that the cancer may come back. Morlock didn’t drive at all during the chemo and the radiation due to lack of concentration.

But, there were many positive outcomes from whole treatment process.

“Cancer made me a stronger person, more understanding and it taught me to value my community and family more.”

                                                                                           Betty Morlock

 Cured, driving and working, Morlock says she was very fortunate.

“I had good doctors and support,” she said. “We’re lucky that we have the Medical Mile.”

She did have her pity parties when the feeding tube started acting up.

“I would feel sorry for Betty,” she said.

Throughout her career, Morlock had her role models like election specialist for Kent County, Sue de Steiguer.

“She is phenomenal,” she said. “All our elections run smooth, we’re lucky to have her.”

Morlock is looking to retire mid-year in June/July.

“I will miss the people, the staff and the community,” she said, “but I am looking forward to volunteering with Lizzie at the chamber.”

Morlock can’t wait to get to Tyler Creek Golf Course area to stay at the summer trailer.

And of course her no.1 love after the family is wrestling.

“I am their number one fan,” she said. “We’ve created bond ship through wrestling. The wrestling families are so tight, they made food for us when I was sick. We help each other.”

 

Betty Renfro Morlock- the woman behind the superwoman

 Emma: What makes you feel good about yourself?

Betty: The fact that I kicked it and made the best of it. It may come back but I am ready for it.

Emma: What do you do for yourself?

Betty: I pray daily. I know God has a plan for me, and if it is to survive, I will survive. Don’t ever lose your faith.”

Emma: How do you balance all this out?

Betty: I continue to focus on my health and I want to start journalling.

Emma: Your plans?

Betty: Get well is my number one plan. Before I got sick, I overworked that might have brought it on.

Emma: Your tips and advice to other women?

Betty: It’s very important to talk to someone to get support. I love facebook. Between the family, community and facebook I kept connected.It’s good to be back. Call me if you need to talk to someone at 897-8457.

About the cover photo: Kathleen Mooney’s abstract inspired by Gee’s Bend quilting.

About the orchid logo: Photograph from the group “I love Czech Republic” on facebook.

 

Copyright © 2015 Emma Blogs LLC. All rights reserved.

Editorial calendar

Editorial/marketing calendar quarterly for Emma Blogs LLC

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

In response to Blogging 201 assignment Day 4, add a new feature and /or editorial calendar. I’ve already put this calendar together in January for the first quarter of 2015. I use these as guiding themes which allows me to stay flexible in changing conditions, but focused on the target.

In my quest to find guest writers, writers and sales representatives for Emma Blogs LLC, a portfolio of 11 blogs with the main flagship site EW Emma’s Writings, I find the calendar indispensable.

Editorial calendar
Editorial calendar and daily writing tasks in the notebook format

It is a valuable resource when looking back and analyzing what did the Emma Blogs LLC accomplish as well as strategizing into the next quarter.

Print magazines usually have an annual editorial/advertising calendar with two months lead time. That means if you have a story fit for April publication, you must submit it by the beginning of February, the latest.

With Internet, I find that everything moves faster with unexpected events such as Blogging 201. I am glad I registered for it, but since I haven’t planned for it, it threw me completely off the track. So, from now on I must include blogging/writing events in the calendar. But still, the two months outlook is very helpful.

I use both Simplenote by WordPress and the good old-fashioned wire bound notebook for every writing/blogging day. I write down contacts that I have to make, posts & stories that I have to write, schedule stories with other writers and inevitably design & update tasks.

Editorial calendars
Tempus fugit. Time flies or timing is everything.

 

I always aim to publish twice a week: Tuesday or Wednesday, and then for the weekend on Fridays.

It sounds like a lot of work and routine, but it really is not that bad, if you have figured out for yourself how to work it. Are you a morning or a night writer? How many hours can you put in? What kind of results have you had so far?  No matter what, the key to growing traffic and engagement with our blogs, remains regular and enticing content.

This is the note to my EW team that I sent out in the beginning of January.

Hello, I put together these themes to guide us through March. It is a very busy month, so we need to plan for it now. The Inspiring Women series is leading up to women’s events including International Women’s Day on March 8.

2015 Editorial/Marketing themes

January
Health and wellness

IW Inspiring women series

Women’s Expos previews

Winter recreation and snowbirds

 

February

Blogging 201

Women’s Expo Lansing Feb. 6-Feb. 8, 2015

IW Inspiring women continues

Valentine’s & love

Lenten soups Feb. 18

Winter recreation & snowbirds continues

March

IW Inspiring women series continues

International Women’s Day March 8

Saint Patrick’s Day March 17

Women’s Expo March 13-March 15 in Grand Rapids

Laughfest March 5- March 15

Home and garden expo March 5 through March 8

Lowell expo March 28

Winter/spring recreation and snowbirds continues

About the clock photo: photo of the Prague horloge by “I love Czech Republic” group on facebook.

Copyright (c) 2015 Emma Blogs LLC. All rights reserved.

 

 

It’s about Time: On Editorial Calendars (and Why You Might Need One)

emmapalova:

I am working on an editorial calendar that is quarterly. I will share my findings in the next post.

Originally posted on The Daily Post:

When it comes to building a healthy following, nothing is more important than publishing quality content regularly. Keeping a steady pace isn’t always easy, though.

Most of us have work, school, family, and friends (or any combination of the above) to juggle. Some of us even like spending a few hours (minutes?) a day away from a screen. All of which often means that blogging goes down the priority ladder. Can an editorial calendar help you navigate a hectic schedule? Here are some points to consider.

259/365 Clock Work by martinak15 (CC BY 2.0)259/365 Clock Work by martinak15 (CC BY 2.0)

View original 1,129 more words

Creative weather

The weather today is absolutely conducive to writing and creativity. Take advantage of it while it lasts. Cuddle up by the fire and let it fuel your creativity.

image
The weather forecast calls for writing on this dark February morning.

Pic by AccuWeather.com

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