artist Kathleen Mooney

IW-Betty Dickinson

Inspiring Women at home and around the world

Orchids in full bloom
Enigmatic orchids

Note: This is the fifth 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.

IW Betty Dickinson ahead of her time with natural healing book

Name: Betty Dickinson

Occupation: columnist for the Ionia Sentinel-Standard, Emma Blogs ,LLC

Residence: Ionia County Township

Family: husband Ferris, four adult children, Bert, Sally, Judy and Carol

Hobbies & interests: farm chores, gardening, being outdoors, bicycling, family involvement


IONIA, MI- Long before health stores became modern, Betty Dickinson started writing columns for a newsletter at the Methodist Church. She continued her column “Creating a Healthy Corner” for the Ionia Sentinel-Standard in 2000, and Dickinson has been writing since. She started out hand-writing the columns.

She worked as a treasurer for the Methodist Church in Palo.

Dickinson is also a farming woman who takes care of 18 to 20 acres, milks two goats, makes feta cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt.

When asked how she would describe herself, she swiftly snapped.

Betty Dickinson penned ""Creating a healthy corner"
Betty Dickinson of Ionia

“I am overly ambitious,” she said. I push myself until I am exhausted.”

Her weaknesses include being a doer.

“People have a tendency to take advantage of you,” she said. “And I don’t go to the doctor. I have a sweet tooth.”

Her largest project was compiling the columns into a book after seven years of writing. She finally got a computer from the kids.

Great grandchildren call her Grandma Goat.

Judy Kalmanek assisted Dickinson in putting together the book, as well as Carol Blundy. Artist Jim Richards created the many herb pictures, while granddaughter Jenny Flanders did the artwork on the book’s cover of Dickinson’s herb cabinet.

“I wanted to have the book available for myself as well as share the information with others,” she said.

Dickinson started working on the book in 2006 and got it done in a year in 2007.

Betty Dickinson's book
Creating a healthy corner

“It was a lot of work,” she said. “I’d like to do another one on the next seven years of columns. It seemed unreal when I held that book for the first time.”

The first printing was 500 books. Dickinson did extensive research and experimented on herself and husband Ferris.

The book is fully loaded with healthy advice, organic lifestyle, recipes, remedies and women’s issues, and even gardening advice.

“I use it for cooking,” she said. “The cover wore off. I feel like I got something accomplished in life.”

And the book makes an excellent gift for any occasion.

“Everyone bent over backwards to help make this happen,” she said.

Dickinson donated all the profits from the book sales to Parnell and Methodist churches, as well as to Kalmanek’s home church.

“I wanted to help other people and get the info out,” she said.

As a source, Dickinson used “Library of Health” which is fully illustrated and it has 20 books in one. It was published in 1916 in Philadelphia. It’s a complete guide to preventive health and to the cure of diseases.

20 books compose the Library of health
Library of H ealth

“I was motivated by wanting a book of what I have written,” she said.

Her weekly column gives advice accumulated over years, when Dickinson got sick at the age of 40 and was on enormous amount of aspirin.

Her inspiration was the paper Ionia Sentinel-Standard and staff.

“I wanted to study the info for myself and why not share with others,” Dickinson said. “The more I got into it the more I wanted to do it.”

Betty Dickinson used Library of Health as a resource
Library of Health

Her role model was her father Lloyd Brown.

And the biggest challenge in life for Dickinson was to get her body in better shape.

“I enjoy life,” she said. “It’s still a challenge, but not so much because I have this info.

“Physically, you don’t do it overnight, as I felt better I wanted to get even better.”

Dickinson grows her own organic fruits and veggies, eggs and milk.

And she gets great comments from different people who read the articles.

Here is an excerpt from the book “Creating a Healthy Corner.”

“The biggest message I want to get across is that you have complete control of sustaining good health, increasing your energy, strength and mental stability by taking care of your body through proper nutrition, exercise and relaxation.”

But, Dickinson said her major accomplishment was bringing up four children and having a supporting family.

“I enjoy living this way,” she said. “I have ambition plus.”

Her goals include living and eating healthy, keeping active lifestyle.

“I enjoy what I do,” she said about her columns. “There’s no use in complaining.”

Dickinson enjoys helping other people.

“It’s hard sometimes to prioritize, husband comes first, and then farm chores,” she said. You do what has to be done.”

To get things done Dickinson schedules tasks, but keeps it flexible. She makes her own laundry soap.

Dickinson was ahead of her time with organic lifestyle.

About the featured photo. It is Kathleen Mooney’s abstract inspired by Gee’s Bend quilting tradition.

The book “Creating a healthy corner” is available by calling Dickinson at 1-616-0352 for $19.99 or by ordering from Emma Palova facebook page or from EW Emma’s Writings on

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

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