Category Archives: International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day

This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) campaign theme is #PressforProgress which calls for action to press forward and progress gender parity.

Now, more than ever it takes on a new meaning in light of the recent events not just exclusive to Hollywood and the politicians.

The campaign gives us five options of positive behaviours toward gender equality starting with maintaining a gender parity mindset all the way to celebrating women’s achievements.

I have chosen all five. But long before this campaign I had the positive influence of celebrating womanhood in the old country.  The socialist government encouraged the celebration of IWD.

One of my favorite memories from the former socialist Czechoslovakia is the celebration of the International Women’s Day (IWD), both at work and at home.

The country very much valued its female population to the point that women could stay on a maternity leave for up to three years without losing their job. They received 60 percent of their salary for the first two years of their maternity leave with full salary for the first six months.

The nurseries were free as well as other preschool child-care establishments. While capitalism swiped all that away, the country did manage to keep all its old holidays along with the new ones. The country doubled up on fun when they picked back up Mother’s Day with the advance of the free market economy, and retained International Women’s Day from the past.

I still see well wishes to women from my Czech friends on Facebook on this day. Now, that warms my heart; the fact that both systems acknowledge a woman’s place in the society and in the workplace.

We used to get flowers or pantyhose at work, or the other way around at home. Even though now I don’t get either for this day, I still dedicate a memory, a post, or a wish to all the women in the world.

Inspired by the IWD tradition, I started my most popular story series, “Inspiring Women” in the winter of 2014. The series features women that are making a difference in their communities.

Since then, I have featured women from all walks of life: small town politicians, businesswomen, sportswomen, nuns, artists, doctors, herbalists, bloggers and many more. Each woman told her own story, and they were all inspiring. They are the
Fabric of their families and communities.

Just to name a few: Gail Lowe, Liz Baker, Betty Dickinson, Sharon Ellison, Betty Morlock, Mary Dailey Brown, Kathleen Mooney and most recently Betsy Davidson.

If you run into them, say thank you. Nominate a woman who has inspired you for a story.

Link to IWD is: https://internationalwomensday.com

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Inspiring Women- Betsy Davidson

About the Inspiring Women series

This feature series is dedicated to all women who are making a difference in their communities. They work to improve other people’s lives, as well as their own.  They give  Profusely of themselves. In putting together this feature series, I was inspired by several moments in my life that in particular stand out.

Orchids in full bloom
Enigmatic orchids

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 on March 8, 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 the mid 1990s, I spoke with my son’s teacher, Karen Latva:

“Mrs. Pala, we do not give up,” she said.

This series is geared toward the International Women’s Day on March 8. Nominate a woman who has inspired you. Contact Emma at emmapalova@yahoo.com with subject Inspiring Women.

There is a parallel series “Inspiring Communities” where you can nominate both men and women, year round.

Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce names Betsy Davidson  Person of the Year 2018

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Addorio owner Betsy Davidson

“Find something that you are passionate about and jump in with both feet.”
Betsy Davidson

Lowell, MI- Betsy Davidson, owner of Addorio Technologies, is the recipient of the 2018 Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year Award.
She will accept the prestigious award at the winter gathering of the chamber membership on Feb. 15.
The award came as a total surprise to Davidson, who found out about the honor at the ambassador breakfast club. “It’s very humbling,” she said. “My customers have been congratulating me. I am very happy.”
Davidson has been the owner of Addorio Technologies since 2000. She started the company when her former employer Creative Handling of Hudsonville went out of business.
Her first job was at Deer Run Golf Course, and her first car was a blue Renault.

How does she gets things done

Davidson described herself as a dedicated and persistent individual. In preparation for a big project as in building a website or a server/network upgrade, Davidson first meets with the customer to make sure expectations are met and details are communicated.
The major challenge in the technology business, according to Davidson, is keeping up with constant changes in IT. That means attending trainings, workshops, webinars and on the job training.
For inspiration, Davidson looks up to fellow business owners. Her role model is chamber executive director Liz Baker.
“She has so much energy,” she said. “I can’t keep up with her.”
There was another reason why Davidson wanted her own business, since she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Positive thinking

“Positive thinking has always kept me going,” she said, “my family, my husband Matt and my friends.”
She has never wanted to quit her job.
“I get more excited as I grow my business,” she said. “I keep moving forward.”
A lot of Davidson’s business is in the greater Lowell area.
In response to a question about fear in both professional and personal lives, Davidson said the only fear she has in business is disappointing customers.
However, in personal life Davidson said she’s afraid she could miss out on spending time with the family and friends.

Accomplishments

Her biggest professional accomplishment is receiving the 2018 Person of the Year award.
Also, last year, Davidson was presented with an award for raising $50,000 for the MS Society.
“We were among the top 10 for a “do it yourself fundraiser” for the state of Michigan.
Davidson and her family have been doing this fundraiser for the last 16 years.
On the theme of success, Davidson attributed her achievements to her determination.
“I am kind of stubborn, and I keep going,” she laughed. “I don’t stop.”
Among her goals is to continue to do 5k runs, and a 10k run tentatively in 2018. She does the 5/3 Fifth Third Run, Ionia Parks run and Alpha Women’s Center run.
Her interests include travel. She plans to visit her grandma Annette Addorio, 103, in Maine. She named her business, Addorio Technologies after her grandmother.

Volunteerism

Davidson is an active volunteer with the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and the Lowell Area Trails network. Between the three organizations, Davidson spends approximately five to 10 hours volunteering a week on top of her 50 to 60 hours a week work schedule.
She offered the following tips and advice to other women:
“Number one is balance,” she said. “It’s hard to squeeze time out of the day, but I have a passion for what I am doing.”Also, Davidson advises not to be afraid to ask other people for help.
“Find out who else is passionate about the same thing, and it will strengthen the project,” she said.
In face of negativity, Davidson always focuses on positivity.
“There is a lot of negativity, try to focus on the positive,” she said.
The Person of the Year Award annually honors people who make contributions in the greater Lowell community above their regular work.
“It is a huge honor to receive the award,” Davidson said. “It’s all-encompassing. I wouldn’t have received this award, if it weren’t for the help of the people I work with.”
Davidson hopes to continue to do all this and more into the future.

About Betsy

Name: Betsy Davidson

Residence: Lowell

Occupation: Business owner of Addorio Technologies

Education: Central Michigan University

Family: husband Matt

Hobbies & Interests: walking, running, travel and spending time with family

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Year in Review 2017

Note: This is a mini-series of posts that look back at 2017 with all its joys and tribulations. It was a year of big changes and adjustments both professional and personal. It feels like the year just flew away like a balloon. 

2017  A Year to Remember

By Emma Palova

January

Quick trip to Czech Republic

When January rolled in like a monster truck, we found out early on that we had to fly out of the country for Aunt Martha’s funeral in Stipa. My aunt was the only living sibling of my father Vaclav Konecny former  math professor at Ferris State University in Big Rapids.

The trip to Czech Republic in frigid temperatures on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean was an eye-opening experience. From today’s perspective, I consider it our last good-bye  to the homeland emotionally.

Vaclav Havel Airport in Prague
The airport of Vaclav Havel in Prague.

 

After the funeral, we met up with the cousins and our teachers from ZDS Stipa School at the local restaurant  “Stipsky Senk.” Deceased Aunt Martha was a math and an arts  teacher at ZDS. Those three hours of catching up were worth a million dollars. My husband Ludek and I met at the ZDS School in mid 1970s. We shared some of the teachers. They remembered us just like we were in school: young and beautiful. We remembered them just like they were back in school: semi-old, bossy and strict.

It’s amazing how 40 years changed exactly nothing about the perception you have established at the beginning. We saw each other through the same eyes.

“Do you write?” Mrs. Slaharova asked me.

“I do, how do you know?” I was surprised.

“Your aunt always said you take after grandma and she wrote poetry, right?” she said.

“Yes, she did.”

I thought to myself, “Yes, it’s true you cannot escape your destiny.”

Lowell Showboat

The Lowell Showboat closed as an entertainment venue on Jan. 4. Santa has no home, but he moves to the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce.

February

A Valentine’s shock

February was a Valentine’s shock.  I got an invite to a Valentine’s party at the Flat River Gallery from the local iconic artist Jan Johnson. We interviewed prior to the party at Johnson’s house at the end of January. We enjoyed each other’s company and coffee. We talked about animation and Johnson’s love of painting circus animals. She was upset that the Ringling Brothers had to get rid of the elephants.

“What is a circus without elephants,” she said.

https://emmapalova.com/2017/02/03/lowell-artist-inspires-generations/

We were both at the fancy Valentine’s party “Champagne & Chocolates” at the  gallery. on Feb. 13. Eight days later, I found out from Facebook that Johnson passed away. We were more like friends. I’ve written more than a dozen stories about this prolific watercolor artist & illustrator.

NASA

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.

Lady Gaga

300 Drones dance behind Lady Gaga during Superbowl half-time show.

Oscar’s Showdown 2017

And the real winner is the movie ‘ Moonlight’ not ‘La La Land.’

March

Spring madness

For me March signals spring, wherever I may live on this earth. I look forward to St. Pat’s Day with all the green traditions. But, the most significant event was the departure of our kids to Bali, Indonesia for our son Jake’s 30th birthday on March 1.

We in turn went to Hastings to watch the grand kids for the stormiest week in Michigan. I am grateful that I could work from the local libraries, both in Hastings and at the KDL Englehart Library due to power outages. I worked on the “Inspiring Women” series for the International Women’s Day on March 8.

 As I drove north to Lowell through the Barry County farmlands on Wednesday, 54-mile wind gusts were throwing the small orange Dart across the country road. Broken limbs and twigs were hitting the dancing car in the wind. 

To be continued………..

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

Be Bold For Change

International Women’s Day theme 2017 encourages to Be Bold For Change

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Hastings, MI- The screen on all my devices says Wednesday, March 8. Today is International Women’s Day.  Every year on this day, I think about the women in this world, both privileged and underprivileged.

I think about the progress we have made since the suffragist movement for the women’s right to vote in the early 1900s. I also think about the progress we have yet to make.

Yes, in modern societies we get equal education like men in any given field, at any given time. The difference is in what happens after schooling, regardless the continent we live on.

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Annie Conboy with daughter Erin blogs for a better world for her daughter.

I am not a feminist by any stretch of imagination, but I do have to admit after years in the labor market, I have to say:

“It is still a man’s world.”

Years ago, the pretty blonde character Amanda from the TV series “Melrose Place,” said it the best, as she was in vain climbing the company ladder.

“The big boys will let us go only so far.”

That is not to say that I haven’t met women in top positions as editors, publishers and business owners. I am an Internet entrepreneur with a big love for the free business spirit. And I know other women who own businesses like Nancy DeBoer, owner of Station Salon in Lowell.

But, even then, there is a missing fraction of an inch, that missing gap why Hillary Clinton didn’t become the first female president of the USA last year.

The movement for women’s rights is not always just about money and equal opportunities. It’s more about a woman’s positioning in the society.

Maybe, it’s because our primary role is to take care of our families; at first children and then aging parents or grandparents.

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The hand and nails of a 76-year old woman

“What do you like about being a woman?” I asked babysitter Heather before I left for a meeting on this very windy morning.

“Being a mom,” she said laughing, “a man can’t say that.”

And yes, I braved the 50-mile winds to drive 40 miles to a meeting, only to find out there was no power. There was no meeting and tree limbs blocked the roads. I ventured into the local KDL library in hometown Lowell to finish writing this International Women’s Day post because I couldn’t get home due to a fallen tree in the road.

No matter how brave we are, at any given stage in life, we will always be the primary caregivers. The society relies on us in any country around the world to take care of what really matters, at a time when it matters.

On daily basis we drive cars, buses, use public transportation, order food in restaurants, pay for it, pound the keyboards, stand in front of cameras and lead in meetings and speeches.

We are teachers, nurses, doctors, babysitters, high-lo drivers and construction workers.

But, first and foremost, we are moms, sisters, grandmothers, aunts and girlfriends looking out for each other in a fellowship.

This global fellowship is called womanhood.

As I have recently and gratefully found out, we also have to take care of each other. If we don’t do that, no one else will do that for us. We get together, whether in knitting or gardening clubs, to encourage each other.

So in essence, the 2017 theme “Be Bold For Change” has always been with us for the last 100 years since the Soviet Revolution.

A prologue quote to one novel says:

“May you live in changing times.”

In the popular winter series “Inspiring Women” on EW Emma’s Writings that leads up to the International Women’s Day, I have written about women from all walks of life. They have always stood boldly in the face of adversity, without expecting any rewards.

Hiker Babe Gail Lowe walked in memory of her daughter Becka 4,600 miles on the North Country Trail (NCT) to commemorate her life in 2014.

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

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 said solitude is part of the trail experience.

“We hope it inspires others to hike the trail,” he said.

Fellowship with women at home and around the world is the key to overall well-being and peace.

Helping women in the Third World countries is the primary mission of the SowHope organization based in Grand Rapids.

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

On this day, women are also gathering around the world to protest the status quo of inequality and the violation of women’s rights to decide about their own health.

For more info go to:

 For more posts about Inspiring Women go to:

Hiker Babe walks 4,600 miles in memory of daughter

https://emmapalova.com/2015/02/28/iw-hiker-babe-walks-4600-miles-in-memory-of-daughter/

1001 Day Blogger Annie

http://www.annieconboy.net

Sow Hope director Mary Dailey Brown

https://emmapalova.com/tag/mary-dailey-brown/

International Women’s Day – Wikipedia

Copyright © 2017 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

10 Actions in 100 Days

IW Inspiring Women Sharon Ellison

Note: This IW winter series features inspiring women from all walks of life who strive to make a difference in other people’s lives.

orchids-log

The difference in the society these women make is not measured by money or accolades they receive. It is measured by the progress in the society, because we as a nation cannot go backwards.

The IW series which leads up to the International Women’s Day on March 8th was also inspired by a dedication note on “365 ways to Relax mind, body & soul” from my son Jake:

“I dedicate this to my inspiring and motivational mother.” -Kuba

Nominate a woman who has made a difference in your life for this series.

Lowell woman shows passion for human rights, marches in Washington

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Sharon Ellison

Name: Sharon Ellison

Residence: Lowell, MI

Occupation: retired from Lowell Area Schools

Family: husband Tony, sons Steve and Tony

Interests: travelling, art

Education: bachelor’s from Central Michigan University

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – It was a solid wall to wall crowd between the main route on Independence Avenue and 14th Street, where Lowell resident Sharon Ellison and team ended up last Saturday during the Women’s March in Washington D.C.

“We could not reach the main parade on Independence and Third Street, because it was a solid wall of people,” Ellison said. “There was no break in the crowd.”

So, instead the team made their way to 14th Street were the parade was headed.

“I felt fenced in,” she said. “There were solid walls of people all around us.”

However, in spite of the crowds, the march was peaceful, according to Ellison.

“Everyone was respectful and polite,” she said. “There were only three police cars. We were looking out for each other. I did not feel vulnerable.”

There was a woman who went into labor and an ambulance had to make its way through the crowds.

But there were also some embarrassing moments like when someone questioned why women from Michigan were at the march.

“I felt sad for Michigan, whose electoral votes were for Trump,” Ellison said.

The crowds in Washington D.C. were estimated at 250,000, while worldwide around three million protestors gathered in major cities.

Ellison and other women carried signs bearing the name of those who couldn’t come: whether live or in memory of. Ellison gathered 74 signatures including memorial signatures of late family members.

“I felt those women were with me that day,” she said. “The atmosphere was peaceful, everyone wanted to be present.”

Ellison is no stranger to the Lowell community located at the confluence of Flat and Grand Rivers in northeast Kent County known as “The next place to be.”

Ellison, who is now retired, worked for the Lowell Middle School for 16 years, and she served on the Lowell City Council for eight years.

In the 1990s, Ellison with husband Tony had a video store in different locations around town.

Ellison enjoys travelling around the world and getting to know other cultures.

However, due to the events of the previous 19 months of the presidential campaign, Ellison felt she needed to do more than just complain.

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“I went to D.C. for the Women’s March out of fear of what might happen,” she said.

Fountain Street Church of Grand Rapids organized last Saturday’s trip to Washington D.C. However, the charter buses were sold out early on, so the church also organized a local Women’s March in Grand Rapids.

“By sharing our experiences, writing to our representatives and making phone calls, we’re going to keep the movement going,” said Ellison on the future of the movement.

Ellison said there is no way of going back in protecting human rights.

“If any group is marginalized, we all lose,” she said. “We can’t go back.”

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Unlike at the inauguration on Jan. 20, the metro trains were packed, according to Ellison.

“We rode the metro, but we had trouble getting in,” she said. “We were met by walls of people. The best we could do was to march on 14th Street to Constitution Avenue. It was amazing, you could hear the wave of people moving.”

Ellison said she went to the Women’s March in Washington for the same reason, she ran for a seat on the Lowell city council in 2015.

“I did stand up to make a difference,” she said. “I don’t want to be just politically correct. You get tired of banging your head against the wall.”

Ellison’s biggest pet peeve are bullies in any environment.

“I couldn’t tolerate it at work, as a child, or as a politician,” she said. “We wanted to send a definite message that this is not okay.”

And it’s time for action.

“We’ve gone past words,” she said. “We have to do something. This is the upside of the downside.”

Other women present in D.C. from the Grand Rapids area along with Ellison were: Nancy Misner, Alice Harwood, Kathy Sainz, Maria Lara, Nancy Misner, Shelli Otten.

Join 10 actions for the first 100 Days.

For more info go to http://www.womensmarch.com

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