Lowell, MI- They inspire us. We look up to them. We admire them. We grow stronger by emulating them.
In the “Inspiring Women” series, the EW team will be talking to some of the influential women in the area.
How do they handle stress, illness, fame, hardship or multi-tasking in light of daily activities?
What makes them strong and resilient?
They keep reinventing themselves, they assimilate or stand out. They’re comedic and serious. They range from trail coordinators, founders of women’s organizations, chamber directors, ministers to local authors, actresses and artists.
What keeps them going in face adversity, controversy and lack of funding? How do they overcome everyday obstacles that bind or deter us?
They never give up until they reach their goal. Call it determination, passion and love for what they do.
But, most of all they’re wives, mothers, grandmothers, sisters and friends.
They have families and never-ending domestic responsibilities. The husband is waiting for dinner; somebody needs to wash the dishes and do the laundry.
Social pressures require they look good and fit, and up to speed with changing times. Sometimes they have to put on a mask of happiness, while deep inside they’re burning like a candle. They don’t give into gossip and lies, deceit or danger.
A strange engine inside keeps them humming.
Read about them over the next weeks and celebrate with them the International Women’s Day worldwide on March 8.
About the featured photo:
Artist Kathleen Mooney painted this picture influenced by Gee Bend’s quilts.
Lowell, MI- Two years ago, on this day, I published my first post on WordPress. It was my author’s bio that I had later moved into About section. I introduced myself in a story with an author’s photo.
One hundred and ninety-six posts later, I am grateful that I had chosen the WordPress platform. It was a pure coincidence. I wanted to like and comment on the Hawkins Chamber of Commerce in Texas, and I was directed to the press site.
I wanted a blog anyways after Writer’s Digest suggested that every writer should have a blog or a website. At the time I started writing memoir “Greenwich Meridian” and I needed the exposure.
And I fell in love with WordPress for its finesse, sophistication, the variety of themes and the community in general. I found Rumanian colleagues Valeriu dg Barbu and Cristian Mihai, French photographer redstuffdan and many others, whose work I admire. They inspire me in my writings.
I started learning the ropes. Coming fresh from the print media, it was very different. I must say that I like new things, and this was right up my alley.
The constant challenge of change, new themes, new ways of posting, the speed and the prompts delight me.
I feel like I am being pulled deeper and deeper in. Like today’s prompt in The Daily Post “Connect the Dots,” Open your nearest book to page 82. Take the third full sentence on the page, and work it into a post somehow.
While sitting in a folding rocking chair in front of the wood stove, I reached into the library and grabbed “The People’s Chronology” and the third sentence on page 82 is entertaining in itself. For once I got lucky.
It reads: “Canon of Medicine by the Arab physician Avicenna (Abu Sina) follows the thinking of Aristotle and Galen but is so well written and organized that it will be a major influence on medical thinking for centuries.”
I couldn’t ask for a better prompt.
Ironically in my Internet discussions, I asked, “Where will the Internet take us?”
Today I realize the real question is, “Where will we take the Internet?”
I took it to the next level. In July, I started my writing and blog design company on WordPress, Emma Blogs LLC. It is a portfolio of 10 blogs that covers a range of topics from health, outdoors, homes to brides and farming suited for advertising, whether affiliate or traditional.
“Great articles you post on your blog, I have shared this article on my twitter.”
I find the happiness engineering support team very helpful at times when I pull her from my head.
And as I ask in my story interviews, “What don’t you like about so and so?”
Off the top of my head, I really can’t think of a single thing that would stand out that I don’t like about WordPress. I might think of something later as I toss in the bed in the wee morning hours with my chronic insomnia.
Love, oh, love as a grenade
In one hand I keep nail
And in other grenade and no longer counting for up to seven
I have time to throw me down at the bottom than ever
to open a letter unwritten
to open a beer (like a grenade) to unbutton night
in all things, I find the impending implosion
love is a spark
I am the ex, you an ex
Marie is war and we are ammunitions that will wound the chest of the instant
take the nail a bit
until I will rolled up the foothills of the night
is the eighth sky, already?
(And as you wanted to touch the ninth)
It is war Marie
Notturne – uno È guerra Marie
L’amore, oh, l’amore come una granata
In una mano tengo il chiodo E nell’altra la granata e non…
Editor’s note: This is the third and last part of the 25th anniversary mini-series “25 Years in the USA.” I published the first part on Dec. 22 on the exact date of the anniversary of our arrival to the country. I published the third part on Jan. 9th.
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI- While working the second shift at Meijer, I wrote the most short stories in the morning. People working at the store inspired me.
My husband Ludek and I started looking for land to build a house in 1994. We found Lowell, a small town in West Michigan. And as we drove past the old Parnell store in the middle of nowhere, I knew I was going to like it here.
“This is it,” Ludek said as he showed me the land. He built the house himself with a few contractors.
Once we had the house, I started feeling more at home. I got us two dogs. On top of the job at the store, I started selling real estate for Westdale. That was a unique experience where I met my business guru late Larry Combs.
“How many sales phone calls did you make today?” he asked.
I lied when I said 50. I actually made more like seven or 10.
“Call whenever you can even if you’re waiting for food in a restaurant,” he advised. “I want to write a book “My friend Emma.”
Larry never wrote the book. He got Parkinson’s disease and shot himself.
I was homesick and every Christmas drove to the Gerald Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids to watch the planes take off.
I was still writing for American Lists, former Czechoslovak Newsweek based in New York City out of nostalgia. I was writing in Czech. The paper does not exist anymore.
The first time I went back to Czech Republic was in 2000, and that was a mistake. It brought back memories and old friends even though it was a different country than the one I had left.
I vowed never to go back again.
“Never say never,” told me the store manager.
During my five-year long stint with the Ionia Sentinel-Standard, I finished my first book “Fire on Water” about the communist experience in 2001. Because as they say, “There are three big experiences in this world: communist, capitalist and catholic. I lived them all.
I dropped the store and real estate and commuted daily 80 miles one way to Plainwell to first paid journalism job for Kaechele Publications. It was a one man office with zero training. But, the editor was an avid photographer and taught me how to shoot.
“Don’t go into a shoot with a mindset,” he said. “Keep your options open.”
Since, 2000 I went back home three times.
“Why do you still call it home?” asked my daughter Emma. “You have lived longer in the USA than in Czech.”
Yes, I will always call it home. That’s where I was born, got married, graduated from Technical University of Brno and had our two children.
And that’s just the tip of an iceberg. I am now penning our family immigration story in “Greenwich Meridian where East meets west.”
It’s like reliving all those years since 1968 when the former Soviet Army occupied Czechoslovakia. Sometimes I struggle with it, sometimes I cry, and sometimes I laugh. Just like in life.
About the featured photo: Ice sculptures in hometown Lowell, Michigan 2014
Editor’s note: This is the second part of a mini series about the 25th anniversary of arrival to the USA.
By Emma Palova
Lowell, MI – The early years in the USA consisted of me packing up my luggage and kids and wanting to go back home to former Czechoslovakia. Once it got so far that my dad Vaclav said he was going to buy me airplane tickets.
I unpacked and my mom Ella with a German neighbor friend Mrs. Gunnell brought over a fortune teller.
“You got yourself in a mess,” she said. “You don’t know where you want to be.”
I was torn between the old and the new. The new didn’t seem so great. I remember dad teaching me how to drive on a short stretch of a freeway between Big Rapids and Reed City. Both “holes” terrified me with their nothingness.
“You came unprepared,” he said.
When I think about it today, he was right, like most fathers are. I was unprepared. I didn’t have a driver’s license or a license to practice civil engineering in America, or a desire to do so.
All I could do was listen to the band “Chicago” and cry.
Everything took a turning point when my husband Ludek found a job in Grand Rapids and we could move to an apartment in Kentwood. I took writing classes at the Grand Rapids Community College.
But in the meantime I worked as a clerk in women’s department at a Midwest chain Meijer. Most people have. That’s where I started the store’s newsletter X-Files with a friend. We wrote it on a box from bras. Since Twitter or Facebook were not around, we wrote messages to each other on that same box until finally someone threw it out.
I also wrote for a Czech newspaper former “Czechoslovak Newsweek” that later changed names to ” American Lists.”That was the first time I got into trouble for writing. The article had something to do with religion. Ever since then, I follow the two major pillars of journalism; if you don’t want to get into trouble don’t write about religion or politics.
The kids were doing well in the public schools. Jake went to Challenger elementary and Emma to Kentwood High.
But, then something else transpired. Family members back home started dying. That meant flying to funerals painful flights.
When you emigrate, you don’t think about these things. You are never completely separated from your past, and never fully integrated into the present. You lose old friends, and don’t find new ones.
Gabrielle Garcia Marquez wrote in his “100 Years of Solitude:”
“You’re not home in a new place until someone close dies there.”
Editor’s note: This article continues from yesterday’s “Looking back at 2014.”
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI-My dad Vaclav turned 80 on July 23rd. We went to Don Quixote restaurant in Valparaiso, Indiana. My dad is friends with the Spanish owner Carlos and he likes to practice Spanish with him. It’s a nice haul from Lowell, Michigan and we even met some Czechs at a rest area. Carlos’ paella is out of this world.
In July, I established my business Emma Blogs LLC, a rolling portfolio of versatile blogs suited to anything you wish. I introduced my employees Sarah Harmon, Ed Donahue and Udoy Karmakar among other contributors.
But, I also had my “Eyes with Dr.Verdier,” cataract surgeries after I went almost blind and I couldn’t write or drive. I don’t need glasses anymore. Read about the series on http://ehealthwellness.wordpress.com
I’ve never been longer without make-up than during the six weeks long process. I even put make-up on when we were picking hops in Western Bohemia fields.
August meant preparations for the Pala Ruegsegger wedding at Saint Patrick Church in Parnell. We were running to the finish line with the wedding scheduled for October 25th.
We got the house ready for 15 people and arranged for a wedding bus to house them in our front yard. Some of them stayed at Jake’s new house in Hastings.
The first week in September I went for a walk with a bad premonition. Someone will die. It was a beautiful day. Sunny skies, not too hot or cold. One of few days we had like that. I kept walking farther and farther, not wanting to return home. I just kept walking on the old railroad tracks.
“Who’s going to die?” I asked myself.
My dog Haryk was waiting for me laying under a lilac bush by the driveway. After my husband Ludek’s birthday, we had to put him to sleep.
The big October. The international party arrived one week before the wedding. They came from Czech Republic and France. But, before the wedding, we had another baptism. It was time for Samuel Chavent to get baptized. The godfather is Jake Pala.
And we threw a huge welcome party. Ella and I made a welcome sign in three languages. Having that little mean streak after her mother, she asked:
Baby Josephine celebrated her one year birthday at the new house in Hastings on Nov. 21, 2014. Thanksgiving was at my parents’ house in Big Rapids accompanied by a classical Czech holiday fight between my mother and my brother.
And finally December. We observed our 25th anniversary of arrival to the USA on Dec. 22, 1989. Read the story on http://emmapalova.com
Christmas was peaceful and quiet, so was the New Year 2015.
Lowell, MI – From big anniversaries and baptisms to big weddings, we experienced it all. From joy to sadness, we gained new life and lost loved ones.
First in January I celebrated my one year anniversary with WordPress. It was a year of learning and finding my true self. I found out that I am a better employer than an employee. A Swedish friend of mine laughed at that.
I found out that it’s better to give than to receive. So, I also started a blog for my sister-in-law CJ Aunt Jarmilka’s Desserts for her bakery business soon after my own. CJ also celebrated her one year anniversary of blogging.
In March, I went for my annual retreat in Venice, Florida and I swam with the dolphins. While I was swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, Samuel Chavent was born two months prematurely in Dijon, France to my daughter Emma and her husband Adrien.
As I walked from one beach to another, and saw divers, I found inspiration for a new story.
I started my walking routine to the Franciscan Sisters in April for the first time in 15 years without my dog Haryk. He was getting too sick to walk. I also celebrated 100 posts on Earth Day.
“You’re a prolific writer,” said Alan Blanchard, former publisher of the Ionia Sentinel-Standard in 2000.
We had a baptism in May in Kalamazoo. My husband Ludek is the godfather to Josephine Marie Palova.
I scored a great career success in May. I got my blog into the Gatehouse Media, a 10-million reader market through the Ionia Sentinel-Standard.
We also bought tons of meat at the Jones Meat Market customer appreciation day for the upcoming international wedding party.
Then came the summer we never had. I watered my gardens exactly twice. We had enough liquid precipitation to water the moon.
To be continued…..
Copyright (c) 2015 Emma Blogs LLC, All rights reserved