Category Archives: writing

IW- Mary Dailey Brown

Inspiring Women at home and around the world

Orchids in full bloom
Enigmatic orchids

Note: This is the seventh 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.

Rockford woman sows hope for women of Third World countries

Name: Mary Dailey Brown
Occupation: President of SowHope.org
GVSU non-profit management
Residence: Rockford
Husband: Douglas, two sons Alex & John
Hobbies & interests: golf, photography, video editing, getting together with friends

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Rockford, MI- “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 president Mary Dailey Brown.

Helping impoverished women
Sow Hope president Mary Dailey Brown.

There are hundreds of organizations helping children in the world, but minimum of those that help women get out of poverty.
Brown is working on several projects in Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. These include a birthing clinic in Uganda, a micro-project in Congo, projects in India and Pakistan including vocational training and literacy programs in Nigeria and Kenya.
In order to start the SowHope organization, Brown sold the family inheritance farm in 2006. As she traveled around the Third World countries, she noticed the plight of women in Ethiopia.
“I noticed the imbalance of responsibilities,” she said. “Women do all the work, while men get out to the squares, chat and play games. Half of the world lives on less than $2 a day. One seventh of the world lives on less than a $1 a day.”
Brown said that women are suffering disproportionately to men.
“They’re up before sunrise,” she said. “Carrying wood, water, babies, growing food for the families. They use their own strength. Eighty percent of farmers are women, and 80 percent of food is produced by these farmers.”
So, what do men do?

Helping impoverished women
Documentary screened last year in Grand Rapids to raise awareness and funds for IWD.

“They run the government,” she said. “They drive all the vehicles, they handle and run the markets. They sit around the village squares, drink tea, smoke hookahs and play board games.”

Brown uses a translator and she visits with people who are already helping others.
“We provide funds for them,” she said.
SowHope spends about $1.5 million on program costs and the organization has so far impacted directly 46,000 women.
Among the programs are: micro loans  to start busineses,, birthing clinics and literacy classes by local teachers.
Many women have been raped and abused.
“We provide emotional care,” Brown said, “and training centers for the villages. We find local leaders and we have 100 teams in 30 countries.”
The success behind these projects is that SowHope already use capabilities in place.
“When we go there as Westerners, we’re imposing our ideas on the people,” Brown said.
She used an example of a female gynecologist in Cairo who goes out and educates women about sex.
“Sex is taboo in these countries,” Brown said. “You don’t talk about sex.”
The doctor gynecologist gives talks at churches.
“It’s very freeing and liberating for them,” Brown said. “A five minute lecture can change centuries of practice.”
The mission of SowHope is to empower the women and to identify their leaders, to give them resources like buying a knitting machine.
The women also face risk from terrorists. Brown spend the week in Nigeria, before the girls were kidnapped.
“Every night we were terrified,” she said. “It was the most terrifying week in my life. The only way to survive is to run.”
SowHope does have a system of criteria in place.
“It depends a lot on relationships and recommendations who we trust,” she said.
There are people like Josephine who helps AIDS widows.
“It’s the most efficient system,” Brown said. “They do the development work.”
What motivates Brown?
“It is the original sense of injustice,” she said.
Did she ever wanted to quit?
“Yes, but my husband told me go into the basement and tell these women why this is so hard for you to do,” he said.
Brown realized that the women were full of dignity and grateful for what SowHope does.
“We want to do holistic care,” she said. “Focus on the basic needs of the women. We want to make it so simple that people can copy us. Women in general are no recipients of sympathy.”
It took three years to get the organization going and to make it sustainable.
And who is Brown’s role model?
“My husband, he is the visionary,” she said. “He helps me stay focused and positive, and not to be discouraged.”
Brown says that the biggest lesson she has learned, is that helping women is the key to unlocking poverty.

Mary Dailey Brown-the woman behind the superwoman
1-What do you do for yourself?
Mary: I want to be a good leader and an inspirational speaker. I also have fund Fridays with Doug and friends.
2- What kind of tips do you have for other women?
Mary: It’s incredibly rewarding what I do. I have feelings of embarrassment that I have struggled. There’s nothing else I’d want to do.
3-What are your plans?
Mary: We would like to expand into other countries, and raise more revenues. We would like to open up affiliate offices around the world.

If you want to donate online contact Mary at SowHope.org

Featured photo by Kathleen Mooney has been inspired by Gee’s Bend quilting tradition. See her story in the archives.

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

Advertisements

IW-Lynn Mason

Happy International Women’s Day to all women from the EW team on Emma Blogs, LLC.

The featured image is from SowHope.org whose mission is to help women of the Third World countries in order to fight poverty. Watch for a story on SowHope president Mary Dailey Brown of Grand Rapids. Brown travels to African countries to empower women to help themselves with provided funds and through education.

Inspiring Women at home and around the world

Orchids in full bloom
Enigmatic orchids

Note: This is the sixth 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.

Belding woman works to fix injustice  in education & in society

Name: Lynn Mason Occupation: retired teacher, former Ionia County commissioner, 2014 candidate for state representative

Residence: Otisco Township

Family: husband Frank, two grown sons Marty & Richard, two grandchildren Payton and Jackson, daughter-in-law Jamie

Hobbies & interests: reading, gardening, biking, walking, kayaking and other outdoor activities

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Belding, MI – As a retired teacher from a rural school, Lynn Mason has always been concerned about injustice, whether in education or social. But, Mason never left it to just being concerned. She got her handle on politics through her involvement with the Michigan Education Association (MEA) at both the  state and national levels while teaching at the Belding Area Schools. She bargained contracts for 20 years. “When I see injustice or need, I try to make it better,” she said. “It hasn’t always been easy.”

Lynn Mason 2014 candidate
Lynn Mason 2014 candidate

Ambitious, adventurous, people- oriented with leadership skills, Mason is mainly motivated if someone says you can’t do something. “That’s my number one motivation,” she said. As a former Ionia county commissioner with a majority of Republican population, Mason got involved in the Ionia County Democratic Party. She is now the chair of the Ionia County Democratic Party. Mason was still teaching when she got elected to the Ionia County Commission Board, and she was re-elected three times.

She served a total of eight years, until she had to give up her seat to run for the 86th District in the Michigan State House. “I ran unopposed for the third commissioner term,” she said. “I consider that a compliment.”

And even though she didn’t win the state representative seat, Mason gained a huge following.

“I got people interested in politics, they were positive for the cause,” she said. “We had great conversations. It doesn’t make me a loser. So many good things came out of it.” And nothing will stop her from running again for the state representative seat in 2016.

Candidate Lynn Mason knocking on doors in 2014
Candidate Lynn Mason knocking on doors in 2014

Mason is working on broadening her platform beyond education. “I don’t like boredom,” she said. “I need some sort of challenge and to have my hands in something.”

She most certainly does have her hands in a lot of things. Other than chairing the Ionia Democratic Party, building up the membership and raising money, Mason is the president of the local chapter of Delta, Kappa, and Gamma society of female professional educators who put on educational related events.

The most recent one was in Greenville and at the Ellis School in Belding. The group performed a play for first graders about friendship and diversity. Mason is also on the Belding Labor Day Committee and would like to get involved with the Belding Chamber of Commerce. She is the chairperson for Substance Use Disorder Advisory Committee known as SUDAC. “I have a community service focus,” she said.

2014 candidate Lynn Mason with student volunteer Dan Embedding
2014 candidate Lynn Mason with student volunteer Dan Embedding

In response to how does she approach large projects such as campaigning, Mason said, “I lay a foundation and everything comes through with what I have done. I needed a campaign manager and people with experience. So, I asked for a campaign manager, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it alone.”

Mason’s inspiration is her athletic background. She played tennis and golf on boy’s teams because there were no girl’s teams. Her role model is definitely Eleanor Roosevelt.

On the theme of challenges in life, Mason said the biggest challenge was parenting and overall family life. Growing up on three meals a day, Mason knew she wouldn’t be able to do that as a teacher, MEA negotiator, a wife and a mother.

Lynn Mason speaking during campaign
Lynn Mason speaking during campaign

“You can’t do it all,” she said. “It’s okay to have tuna or grilled cheese sandwich. You will survive on peanut butter. That way it’s less pressure.”

And even though Mason is very independent, there were three women in her life that played a big role. They were her mother, mother-in-law and mother equivalent,

“I’ve learned different things from each one of them,” she said. “My mother was proud of me and propelled me.” On the other hand, mother-in-law was a retired teacher and saw injustices in education.

“She used me as a conduit, but she pushed me and encouraged me,” Mason said. Mother equivalent (father’s second wife) taught her about violence encounters. Mason has always worked hard herself and taught the same to the students. “People notice if you work hard,” she said. “Good will always come to those who work hard, not always quickly but you have to take the high road.”

Lynn Mason speaks with veteran Juanita Woodward on her 2014 campaign trail
Lynn Mason speaks with veteran Juanita Woodward on her 2014 campaign trail.

 Her biggest fear is irrelevance. Her biggest pride is being a retired teacher of 30 years. “I never want to be irrelevant,” she said. “I am not scared of public speaking. I am pretty brave.” In face of adversity, Mason said she works through it with friends and through relationships, and biking. “I ride my bike hard until I have a solution,” she said.

On the issue of women’s equality with men in the USA. “No, we don’t have equality yet,” she said. “When you look at the wage difference and at the makeup of those in the state and federal legislature, it becomes obvious. However, I am hopeful that more women will gain the confidence to overcome the obstacles and start going for more positions typically presumed to be a man’s job. Then there will be more equity.”

 Lynn Mason, the woman behind the superwoman.

 1-What makes you feel good about yourself? Lynn: When I accomplish a project.

2-How about secrets, do you have any secrets? Lynn: I have secrets. Everybody has. If you reveal them, you must have a trust relationship. I approach it cautiously: how is it going to affect someone else?

3-Any tips and advice for other women? Lynn: Be true to yourself. You don’t have to be perfect. Try something new.

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

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

By EMMA PALOVA

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 http://emmapalova.com

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

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.

On the psychology aspect of the strenuous hike, Dr. Daniel Ehnis, professor at Cornerstone University, said that taking on this challenge aids the healing process in a few ways:

“First of all, it helps the mother to do something extreme and distracting, rather than sitting by helplessly.

Second, the mother’s agony and suffering helps her transfer her psychological pain into physical pain.  The physical discomfort can be easier to manage than the emotional turmoil from the loss.

Finally, her daughter’s wish to not be forgotten would take something extraordinary to honor that request.”

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.

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 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

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.

 

 

Three goals

Blogging 201. Assignment #1. Setting goals.

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Now that I have already accomplished the first goal of  having a company site for Emma Blogs LLC, I can actually spell them out.

At the beginning of 2015 I wrote my goals on a white story board under the title, “Goals 2015.”

First I listed my fiction goals to complete the memoir “Greenwich Meridian” in 2015 for 2016 publication. Second, I posted on the white story board: Write short story for Writer’s Digest contest in May.

Then followed: market fiction, publish fiction and sell screenplay.

Well, one month into the new year I have barely touched any of these, except for some marketing and putting together the short story in my head, before I set out to write it. So, what have I been doing I ask myself?

“Blogging, my friends,” I answer.

So, I flip the page of the white story board to Blogging Goals and go deeper yet into my writing/blogging diary because the goals on the board are more long-term.

And there it is, pure and clean in the diary:

 

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

1) Have a company blog/website for Emma Blogs LLC. Well, I can mark this one off. Once I read Michelle’s post on goal setting I just started working on the site. Got it done in three hours, drifting back and forth between themes Radcliffe and Twenty Fifteen. It tells the company story and introduces the staff.

2)Get an E-Newsletter out for February along with creating a mailing list. I started mind work for this in the wee morning hours when I cannot sleep.

3) Hook up with affiliates. I already started with Learn to blog and I need to post their logos. I also want to hook up with PR Web and Wild Technologies.

Goal setting does work. I am a living proof of it. I falter when I don’t set goals.

Thanks Michelle for pushing me forward.

related links: Emma Blogs LLC at http://emmablogsllc.wordpress.com

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