Tag Archives: Emma Palova blog on Word Press

First day of spring

Reigning in the spring equinox energy

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- The first day of spring means new beginnings to me after the long winter. And even though everything is yellowish brown outside, I have a vision of everything turning green soon.

As I drove to a meeting this afternoon, there were still tree limbs on the sides of the road, remnants of the last winter storms with high winds.

However, by the parking lot, I found some new green stems pushing out of the hard ground. Also some trees are starting to show tiny buds and the willows branches have a sharp yellow color.

My friends at the meeting said they were excited about the afternoon because they would be outside picking sticks from their yards.

“Yes, picking sticks sounds good,” T.G. laughed. “I also have a great spring report.”

Spring equinox
Spring equinox signifies new life.

I couldn’t agree more. After long months of being trapped inside, anything outdoors sounds good.

T.G.’s spring report turned great as well. You can see it in the feature photo. T.G. has a beef cattle breeding farm. And with it spring brings calves, new life. The pictured black Angus cow just gave birth on the first day of spring to the calf  by her out in the pastures.

According to T.G., this breed of cows, always gives birth to calves outside, not in the stables.

Annually, I take an inventory of the past winter and the toll it has taken on life. Some of our dearest have not survived the winter. We have lost my dad’s last living sibling, Aunt Marta. She passed away on January 7, 2017 in Stipa, Czech Republic. In February, we lost our first neighbor on Downes Street, whom we met, when we moved out into the country in 1995. That was Allegonda (Connie) Kazemier, born in the Netherlands.

The Lowell community lost a great artist, Jan Johnson, who has inspired generations of artists in the Greater Grand Rapids area.

But, I also look at the positives that have come out of this winter’s hibernation.

Winter gives me an opportunity to focus on some things that go unnoticed during the pretty live seasons of spring, summer and fall.

This may include projects that I have been procrastinating in finishing. Most of them have much to do with writing, and the development of writing projects.

But, this time I’d like to write about personal development, and by this I don’t mean weight loss or other personal gains and losses.

Over the winter, I’ve changed a lot of things in my lifestyle. I still suffer from insomnia, so I use the early morning hours to meditate and to organize my thoughts.

This gives me sort of head start into the new day. I like to go through daily readings in the morning before I start writing. It’s still dark outside, and I can only hear the fan by the wood stove humming. Sometimes, I see the Big Dipper in the northeast corner of my studio view.

I am not as dead set on goals as I used to be. As long as I get through some piles on my desk, and see sentences materialize in front of me.

I enjoy discovering new blogs. I find them a constant source of inspiration, and support. I found support in  the Daily Post prompt @luck last Friday on St. Pat’s Day.  As I browsed other blogs, I came across “My Invisible Illnesses.” The author among other things writes about fibromyalgia, a mysterious condition, that some docs laugh at.

Over the winter, I’ve learned to nurture my love for art so I can share it with others.

I’ve gained new appreciation for our Konecny family roots in the Konecny Saga, and I am working on how to share this so others can do their research as well.

I immerse myself in arts for reprieve and inspiration.

I still like to develop new projects on top of unfinished ones. I know it’s a no no, but I usually get back to the unfinished stuff as well.

I have discovered that the energy behind different projects keeps changing. Sometimes it rekindles old feelings, and gives them new light.

With spring I like to refocus and reign in some of that spring equinox energy. The warm sun is doing wonders on the mind and the spirit, as I pull tight jeans over the body.

I’ve increased the spiritual awareness of being and existence with the help of many of my spiritualist friends. I will dedicate a separate chapter to them, as I credit them with a lot of my improved health-being.

I am looking forward to this spring with a new set of eyes of appreciation and gratitude for simply being.

I dedicate this Spring Equinox Energy post to my son Jakub Pala.

“We did it,” said Josephine Marie Palova, at the end of a week-long babysitting sting in Hastings.

Yes, we did it. We made it through winter stronger.

 

 

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

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Oscars showdown 2017

And the real winner is the movie ‘ Moonlight’

An EW “moonlight” special

By Emma Palova

In an awesome Hollywood showdown in the style of  Miss Universe, we found out that  the real winner was the picture “Moonlight” not the wrongfully announced  La La Land.

Presenter Warren Beatty said he wasn’t joking.

In a bizarre altogether Oscar Night, the end was more stunning than the styles of the dresses, predictions or the creators.

As the saying goes, life itself is a story.

Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel
Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel

Thank you Hollywood and Jimmy Kimmel for a night to remember.

The fairy tale night had a happy ending for all the previous complainers, and for some strangers on a Hollywood tour just passing through the Oscar night ceremony, and bumping into amused stars. Some of them appeared to be scared for life.

Jennifer Aniston involuntarily gave up her cool shades for a tourist lady.

Wow, how dare you Jimmy, take my shades.

Denzel Washington gave his blessings to a pair to be wed in July.

And of course the wrong announcement of the Best Picture 2017. Well, it all worked out to the immense happiness of the stage called the “world.”

Thank you all for so much fun.

Love always,

Emma

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

Emma’s Publishing Odyssey 1989-2017

Emma’s status update

Hello friends,

Have you been through the publishing odyssey between agents, traditional publishing houses and self-publishing?
I have been on this route for the last 28 years, and I have learned a lot about the publishing, the filming and the arts industries, as well as  about myself. I traveled this path as a print media journalist who swapped ink for the digital WordPress platform in 2013 with the first post published on Jan. 15.

I am  an author, journalist, writer, screenwriter, designer, photographer and an entrepreneur of Emma Blogs, LLC, based in Lowell, MIchigan. That is professionally. I am also a human being: a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a grandmother. Some people call me, Mrs. Emma.

And I am somebody’s aunt, a Godmother and a”babe.”

Ella & Emma
Missing my mother.Ella & Emma, Venice 2015

How many different hats can a writer wear? Many. But the real question is, “Which is the right hat, and where do we hang it? Where do we put what?

Where do we put what?
Where do we put what?

 My new friends like T.G., Barb and Wendy, think I am a geek. Ask my old artistic friends like Tom and Pam Woodruff of Leland, or Eva Laurencikova of Kromeriz, Czech Republic, “Who am I?”

I started my own flagship blog EW Emma’s Writing on http://emmapalova.com after advise from agents to build up the Emma Palova name brand in pursuit of publishing Greenwich Meridian (c) 2017, a memoir about the Konecny family immigration saga, @emmapalova @ludekpala now spanning three generations.

The mission of Emma Blogs, LLC

Over the four years of my publishing journey on WordPress, I have diversified into providing an advertising platform for others on the Emma Blogs portfolio, creating blogs for other people, publishing and most recently  re-branding old structures into new designs. In Russia, they called it “Perestroika.”

Opportunities await if we keep our minds open to them

You guessed it, the “Wasteland” (c) 2017 theme park is on my mind. After all, who doesn’t want to re-do a theme park or the arts sphere?  Stay tuned for more on this.

The screenshot of your Place at Home opportunity.
The screenshot of your Place at Home opportunity.

Re-branding and re-structuring into new designs

I have assisted in the digital re-do of the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) organization founded by a group of women in 1965, who used to get together somewhere on the grounds of the Fallasburg Park, into a digital conglomerate, known around the world.

The FHS slogan now is, “The next 50 years of Fallasburg.”

When asked about the direction of the Fallasburg historical organization, president Ken Tamke said the goal is to spread the word about the Fallasburg village on the Internet, and then people may actually find the hamlet in the northeast Kent County.

http://fallasburgtoday.org

The FHS also has a new website http://www.fallasburg.org . So visit and chat with us before you head out there. You never know what you’re going to find.

The FHS is part of the innovative project “The Past Online” on http://www.thepastonline.org.

Current projects

Currently, I am working with the arts community of the greater Lowell area to create a new palette.

You can call or e-mail Emma for a re-branding consultation as we fly fast toward 2020. Don’t wait around. You can do your research, but  make a move now, or we will all miss the train. One person cannot rebuild an empire overnight.

My publishing ventures on Edition Emma 

Tell us your story
Tell us your story

Join me on my explorations of the publishing industry on both platforms; print and digital. Like most of my friends, authors and artists, I’ve learned the hard way; endless rejections, phone calls from sales people from different Publishing Houses that are now going digital.
Being constantly broke, I had to get more resourceful than just waiting around for a publishing prince to arrive on a white horse at my doorstep. He or she never did.

I also looked for the magical publishing white horse in the actual zoo as a kind sign that I might find an avenue one day.

That’s why I rolled out the blogging/writing portfolio, Emma Blogs, LLC in the summer of 2014.
Part of the portfolio is my own Publishing House Edition Emma (c) 2017 copyright. All rights reserved.
If you want to get published, submit your work to Edition Emma. Looking forward to seeing your work.
Love always,
Emma

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

Lowell artist inspires generations

IW Inspiring Women – Jan Y. Johnson

Longtime artist inspires generations embedded in Lowell area

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Note: The IW winter series, which leads up to the International Women’s Day on March 8, features women from all walks of life who continue to inspire others in our communities.

Inspiring women
Inspiring women

Their positions in the society are not measured by money or the accolades they receive, but by contributions to progress and well-being of all.

Nominate a woman who has inspired you for the series.

Lowell, MI – Artist Janet Y. Johnson, 86, is an icon. Together with artists late David Davis and current Kathleen Mooney, they have created an artistic legacy for generations embedded in the greater Lowell area.

Lowell artist Janet Johnson has created a legacy.
Lowell artist Janet Johnson has created a legacy.

Johnson has been a staple at the Flat River Gallery & Framing in downtown Lowell with countless exhibits of watercolor and acrylic paintings.

The gallery will celebrate its fourth anniversary with the “Let’s celebrate” event with champagne and chocolates on Feb. 11 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Johnson recalls all the great years of exhibiting and painting in the Lowell area.

“They’re all realistic paintings,” said Johnson about her work.

Some of them go as far back as to the heydays of another icon, the Lowell Showboat on the Flat River in the 1950s.

“I used to sing on it, and then I painted it,” Johnson said during a recent interview at her home.

As we looked at the dark blue watercolor painting of the Showboat with strings of lights floating on the Flat River hanging in the detached studio, one could imagine the lively atmosphere on the deck.

img_20170131_123533.jpg
Iconic Lowell Showboat with windows into the past by Jan Y. Johnson

You could almost hear the voices singing:

“Here comes the Showboat.”

Circus elephants by artist Jan Johnson of Lowell.
Circus elephants by artist Jan Johnson of Lowell.

Johnson sold two paintings of the Showboat and bought one back when the owner stated, that the painting should stay in the Lowell area.

Johnson has lived in the Lowell area for 57 years.

Growing up on a farm in Alto, Johnson acquired a natural affinity to all animals.

Johnson studied animal drawing at the Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota, FL and graduated in 1951.

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Miller Circus at Lowell Fairgrounds, 2016

Prior to that, she studied at the Kendall College of Art & Design in Grand Rapids, and worked as a publication designer for Amway in the 70s.

“It was a wonderful place to work,” she said.

Among her favorites are vivid paintings of exotic animals in circus settings.

Work in progress by Jan Johnson.
“A friend’s boat,” work in progress by Jan Johnson.

Johnson’s most recent watercolor painting is of the Miller Circus which performed in Lowell last August after the fair. She will hang the painting of the circus at the gallery for the new February show.

According to Johnson, the circus ringmaster at the Miller Circus was connected to  the Ringlings.

Johnson spent most of 2016 illustrating the children’s book  “Gertie Goose.”

“It’s a story about bullying,” said Johnson.

Pat Markle, former teacher of Hastings Schools, wrote the book. This was the third project for the author illustrator duo during the last decade.

The book is available at the Lowell Arts and at the Flat River galleries for $15.

“Gertie Goose” was published by J-Ad Graphics of Hastings in 2016.

“They do a good job,” said Johnson.

For more info on publishing go to www.http://www.j-adgraphics.com/

It is also available on Jan’s Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/janet.johnson.96742277

Johnson’s art will be at the ArtPrize 2017 from Sept. 20 through Oct. 8.

ArtPrize: https://www.artprize.org/jan-y-johnson

For more info on the Flat River Gallery go to: http://www.flatrivergalleryandframing.com

info@flatrivergalleryandframing.com

Copyright (c) 2017 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this story or its photos may be reproduced without the written consent of author Emma Palova. @EmmaPalova

Four Years on WordPress

Trip from Czech homeland marks 4th anniversary of blogging

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- On board Air France flight 1383 from Paris to Detroit, I was watching our route leaving the shores of Europe on Jan. 15, 2017, as I realized it was the fourth anniversary of my writing on WordPress.

ew-anniversary-2x-4-years
500 posts Four-year anniversary

It was all so fitting, because I started blogging on WordPress in 2013 to promote my memoir “Greenwich Meridian” Copyright 2017 Emma Palova. I named the book Greenwich Meridian to depict our family immigration saga between the East and the Western hemispheres over the last five decades. The memoir tracks the Konecny family migration between former Czechoslovakia and the USA from 1969 through present.

Reaching higher with WordPress after four years.
Reaching higher with WordPress after four years.

The journey of blogging parallels my writing path through life almost identically. I don’t remember a period in my life not writing.

At first, it was writing letters to my mother Ella when she immigrated to the USA for the second time in 1980 to join my father Vaclav Konecny. Later, when I arrived in the USA in 1989, I embarked on a professional writing career as a journalist and correspondent for regional and Czech media, based in Michigan, New York and in Prague.

I followed Earnest Hemmingway’s correspondent footsteps.

Writing much like my husband Ludek have been my lifelong companions in good and in bad times, as expressed in our wedding wows in 1978 in Stipa, former Czechoslovakia at the Church of Saint Mary.

Writing has helped me survive major life crisis, like in 2008 when Ludek and I had to part due to the economic crisis in the first decade of the millennium. At that time, Ludek worked in Prarie du Chien, Wisconsin, while I stayed in Michigan to save our house. In the winter of 2008-2009, I wrote the screenplay “Riddleyville Clowns” Copyright © 2009- 2019 inspired by a hometown clown parade in Lowell that celebrated 175 years of the town’s establishment.

Writing has been the fuel of my life. Writing for me is like a fountain or elixir of life, when everything else around me is arid, dry and angry.

Instead of turning to violence and despair, I turn inside, meditate and feel into the overall emotions of the surrounding world. Then, I transform these powerful outside forces into a stream or an avalanche blanketing all with a soft cover of love, like a mother covering her child.

Transforming violence into love.
Transforming violence into love. A sculpture at LaCoste in Provence.

Today, as I write this 500th post on the WordPress publishing platform, I am thankful for the 1,066 followers and the future ones to come.

I also would like to thank all, who never stopped believing in me.

At the end of last year, just before I have reached the 1,000 followers mark, I realized that I have completed a second degree thanks to the WordPress (WP) Blogging University, the support happiness WP engineering team, my family and my beloved readers.

“Congratulations, honey. You have another degree,” said my husband Ludek. “It was just like back when you were in school in Brno. I had to be constantly quiet.”

I wanted to quit just as many times as I did while working on my bachelor’s degree at the Technical University of Brno from 1982 to 1986 in former Czechoslovakia. My path on WordPress was constantly jeopardized by the lack of finances and understanding of the principles of freelance blogging.

I plan on finishing my second degree on the WordPress publishing platform with a blogging directory and an app for the thesis.

Of course, in the meantime the memoir Greenwich Meridian has become the first part of the Konecny Saga (c) copyright 2017.

Thank you. You make me who I am.

Love always,

Emma

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

2016 Retrospective Kaleidoscope

Looking back into the future

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – As I look back at 2016 like into a colorful kaleidoscope that keeps changing when I move it, I see a clear picture of the past.

I move it again, and I can see how the little pieces are transforming into the future, that is the upcoming year 2017.

Sometimes I shake that kaleidoscope violently, so that the picture changes into what I want it to be.

Well, it never is what I wanted it to be. Just like the molecules and atoms in space keep fusing and defusing, so do the events that these little pieces form not always to our liking.

And I have to quote Mr. Albert Einstein:

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

As in years previous, I looked deeper and deeper into what I saw around me. At times, experts call this,” being aware.”

Things lost, things found in 2016
Things lost, things found in 2016

Things lost and found in 2016, things old and new

On the last day of January in 2016, I rediscovered the power of the church in the christening of grandson Dominik Ludek Pala at St. Rose Catholic Church in Hastings, MI.

I had broken away from the church for many years. As I watched the christening rituals and both of my adult children, Emma & Jake, standing at the altar with the baby at the center of attention, I realized something big was happening inside and out.

My brother Vas was sitting in the first pew to the right, Dominik’s uncle, war veteran Tony was holding the baby, and my daughter Doc Emma Chavent flew in from Dijon, FR to be the Godmother to Dominik.

The power of church, 2016
The power of church, 2016

The church united us all together regardless beliefs, distance or occupation.

Things lost for 10 years: the church, but not faith

In February, I rediscovered Florida, that some people Up North lovingly call southern overrated “Hicksville,” either flooded by tourists or college kids on their spring break.

I’ve been going to Venice, FL for writer’s retreats since 2009. This time, our entire group led by Doc Emma went to Saint Petersburg. And I loved it. I loved St. Pete for its cosmopolitan feel, culture and secluded historical beaches.

Things lost:  St. Pete’s city pier that has been rebuilt many times was gone to make way for a new one.

In March, I observed my son Jake’s birthday too sick to go to Hastings. On March 8th, which is International Women’s Day, I gave accolades to all the women who are making a difference in this world in my popular series on EW Emma’s Writings “Inspiring Women.”

Also my favorite feature post on March 19th is “Czech Name Days” honoring my grandpa Joseph along with millions of Josephs around the world.

Czech & Slovak Easter traditions
Czech & Slovak Easter traditions

We celebrated Easter on March 27, still without my parents Ella & Vaclav, who winter in Venice, FL.

I wasn’t even a CEO (Christmas, Easter, Only) visitor to church on that festive Easter Sunday, when most of the women wear white dresses.

However, I wrote about the age-old custom, the whipping of girls and women in “Memoir highlights Czech & Slovak Easter Traditions” in Czech Republic. The post generated incredible controversy about being evil to women.

See post :https://wordpress.com/post/emmapalova.com/167550

Things lost: me

 April to me signifies spring, here in the North. I gave it salute in many different ways: April 8th, according to Czech calendar is Emma’s name day. Throughout the year, I write posts about Czech name days wondering why Hallmark has never jumped on this social occasion. Many countries around the world celebrate name days, not just Saint Patrick of Ireland.

My daughter Doc Emma was also born on that day in the old country Czechoslovakia.

Inspiration: the spiral staircase at the Dali in St. Petersburg, FL
Inspiration: the spiral staircase at the Dali in St. Petersburg, FL

Her birth certificate is now a historic document, a testament to the changing times in the former socialist country. It reads, born in Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia. The Moravian city Gottwaldov no longer exists under that name. It took back on the old name from the capitalist times under the industrialist Bata, and that is Zlin.

It was also the 45th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22. I usually write the post “Earth Day” to honor Mother Nature. Locally, the sign by Wege/Wittenbach Environmental Center in Lowell best expresses my feelings at any time of the year, and especially now as we enter 2017:

“May Peace Prevail on Earth.”

 May is big, anyway you look at it. It’s “Mother’s Day” and the earth blossoms to honor all mothers. I celebrate my birthday on May 9th with my family and my friends. The annual get together on our three-acre ranch surrounded by lilacs in northeast Kent County is the highlight of my year.

Anna & Anna Drabkova
Greenwich Meridian memoir inspiration; the family Drabkova. Front row from left to right: grandparents Anna & Joseph.
Top row: Eliska and Anna.

May 9th also coincides with the “Czech national holiday” that celebrated the freeing of Czechoslovakia from the Nazi occupation in 1945 when Soviet troops arrived in Prague.

The modern calendar changed it to May 8th when the Americans freed the beer city of Pilsner in western Bohemia.

I call the change in the date of the biggest Czech national holiday, a farce in history, depending on who you are currently serving. Actually, it is a little piece in that ever-changing kaleidoscope.

 Naturally, people critiqued me for using the real date of freedom for the Czech national holiday. For me it was a lot like changing the American Fourth of July Independence Day to let’s say July 3rd.

History, and the way we live it and change it to our own fancy, is an endless source of inspiration to me.

On May 13, 2016, I picked back up the “Greenwich Meridian” memoir which was the reason, why I started blogging in the first place in January of 2013.

Based on that, I published the post “Picking up the Pieces” on https://emmapalova.com/2016/05/13/picking-up-the-pieces/

 I call June the month of the Gemini and the Summer Solstice. I write about both in my posts. Three of my great friends are all Geminis. I don’t know if that is a coincidence or some kind of a card trick that I could use.

In June of 2016, I found a friend that I thought I had lost a long time ago. I found her in such a way that even a kaleidoscope couldn’t put a picture like that together. I am sure I will write about this in 2017.

Right now she is calling me for the fourth time, so I am wrapping up the first half of the year 2016.

Written also in response to the Daily Post Retrospective

Retrospective

The second half of 2016 will continue, stay tuned…..

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Czech Christmas

Czech Christmas at the Palas

Note: This account of Czech Christmas contains excerpts from my memoir “Greenwich Meridian” © about the family immigration saga from former Czechoslovakia to the USA dedicated to my mother Ella.

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – I carefully set my foot on the American soil for the second time on Dec. 22, 1989 at the frozen John F. Kennedy airport in NYC. I had two children by my side: daughter Emma, 10 and son Jake, 2.5.

With a shaking hand, I signed off on the US resident’s green card long before (Transportation Security Agency) TSA came into existence.

The night had already set in on the city with its million lights and bridges.

Before we headed out west like the early settlers, we stayed overnight at my parents friends’ house for some respite from the travel across the Atlantic.

In the meantime, my husband Ludek was waiting for us in Montreal, Quebec. He received immigration visa to Canada, while I received mine to the USA.

After two days on the road in a frosted car on the deserted turnpike, we arrived at our destination: the college town of Big Rapids in Northern Michigan on Christmas Eve.

Mom Ella had already prepared everything ahead of time as we picked up brother Vas in Roger’s Heights for my first Christmas.

Later, in the early years around holiday time, I would drive to the Gerald Ford International Airport in Kentwood and nostalgically dream about hometown Christmas in Czechoslovakia with all its magic under the chestnut trees. That meant treasures bought at the Zlin Christmas market. I brought a piece of that Christmas magic with me to the new country in 1989. This included the hand-crochet yellow doilies for afternoon high tea and tablecloths made by ladies from Slovakia.

Whenever I get homesick, and I still do, I pull these treasures out of their drawers at our Pala homestead in Lowell. I try not to use them so I can preserve them forever. I usually have a story attached to whatever I keep, and my adult children and friends can attest to that.

20161223_101747.jpg

I think of that time long ago at the market under the chestnut trees. It must have been that first bronze shopping weekend in Advent when I walked past the booths with silver and golden coated mistletoe all piled up into these pyramids.

I was immediately drawn to a lady dressed in a folk costume called “kroje.” She was always there also on Saturdays throughout the year. I wish I had asked for her name.

“I am looking for a Christmas present for my mother,” I said.

“What does she like?”

That made me think; what does my mother like? Do I know her?

I picked up the yellow hand crochet doilies set and admired the craftsmanship that would become lost art. I looked up at the woman with an old wrinkly face from the sun in the Slovakian highlands.

“How much are they?”

“Your mother is going to love them,” she smiled as she held up the biggest met for the coffee table.

I was a student at the time, and I didn’t have a lot of money.

I remember exactly, they were 220 Czech crowns which was a lot of money for anyone to pay for a fancy fragile cloth.

“I’ll take them,” the lady wrapped them in a brown paper.

At our Southern Slopes apartment, I hid them in a closet. The Sunday after we came home from church, my mom made festive dinner and we sat down for desserts in the living room. We reserved Sunday afternoons for guests. Mom, like most women in the old republic, always baked for the weekends, not just around Christmas.

“You’re such a bake nut,” aunt Anna always laughed at mom because she was jealous.

I noticed the old worn-out coffee table met.

“Mom, I got something for you,” I said.

“Why? What is it?” she asked.

I came back and gave her the Christmas gift wrapped in brown paper three weeks early.

“That’s beautiful, but why?” she pursued. “It’s not Christmas yet.”

“Because I can’t wait for you to have it,” I said smiling. “I would die waiting. Please, please take it.”

That little episode still brings a smile to my face. Mom Ella knew how much I loved that set. When she moved permanently to the USA to join my father Vaclav in 1980, she left the yellow doilies set at home.

“Mom, you forgot your yellow tea crochet set,” I said in a phone call months later.

“I know, I left them for you.”

Merry Christmas 2016 and a sincere thank you to all my followers.

May peace prevail on Earth.

Czech Christmas to be continued……….Excerpts from the “Greenwich Meridian” © 2016-2017

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Finding peace in Christmas

Dreaming of a peaceful Christmas

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- As we draw closer to this Christmas, which here “up north” in Michigan, is white and cold, thoughts of peace resonate inside me.

In spite of the world’s aches and pains including my own, I have been able to put myself in the Christmas spirit.

Every year, Christmas for me is different. I can’t say that I have a consistent attitude toward this time of the year. It actually runs the gamut; from being tired of the ubiquitous commercialism and exploitation of the Christian holiday to embracing it in its entirety without fighting something I cannot change.

That is human nature.

Peace in Christmas
Hometown Christmas in Lowell.

I cannot change that parents are desperate because they can’t find the latest fad in toys the Hatchables, and that some woman hoarded them somewhere in her closet.

I am sure that problem will have been resolved in the next 10 years.

I cannot change that people are dying in Aleppo and that people died in the Berlin shooting at a Christmas market on Dec. 19. I cannot change that the Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was assassinated in Ankara on Monday. I cannot change that electors have indeed confirmed president-elect Mr. Donald Trump as the next 45th president of the USA in spite of the ongoing protestors who are in denial of reality.

Christmas bouquet with cutout ornaments.
Christmas bouquet with cutout ornaments.

I cannot change the consequences of the above mentioned actions because I am not in any place that would slightly resemble power.

Except for one: the power of the written word.

Historically, the power of the written word and its transformation over the centuries into different media platforms has influenced the thinking of most.

The first thing that comes to my mind is the most read book in this world, and that is the Bible. According to accounts, many authors took part in composing this book.

This year, some motels and hotels took the Bible out of their room furnishings not to offend anyone. Money talks. After all travelers are of all religious denominations and atheists.

But, I took offense. What if I only wanted to read the Bible for comfort of a weary traveler or for inspiration of an inquisitive writer? Thank you for reminding me, I know I have my cell phone, tablet and a laptop with me in the various hotel rooms. I can also get the Amazon or Google talking “Bubble.”

Christmas peace
Hometown Christmas by the wood stove.

After all some stories in the Old & New Testaments are very violent.

The next thing that comes to my mind are the Greek mythology mega-works such as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey that have inspired a myriad of films. I deeply love all of them for the magic minds behind these works.

Some stories in Greek mythology are very violent.

The third thing that comes to mind in the powerful word trio are the works of Italian poet Dante Alighieri and French novelist Honore  de Balzac.

Dante’s “Divine Comedy” with depictions of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven has inspired generations of artists.

Balzac wrote about the human experience  in “La Comedie Humaine.”

Some stories in these epic accounts are very violent.

While perusing through modern works of art or living them, I arrived along with millions of others to the following conclusion:

Hometown Christmas.
Hometown Christmas “Up North.”

Most stories in modern works depict prolific violence and human suffering.

“Why,” the public asks, “are all the stories even around Christmas violent?”

Because of the never-changing human nature.

“All the people around the world are the same,” my dad Vaclav says.

According to accounts from universities, my mom Ella’s and my own observations, my dad is a very smart man.

The overwhelming saturation of violence in the media has come to a point where some networks instituted an inspiring finale story that leaves us all with an overall good feeling that erases the previous footage of horror.

“Hail to them, because it works.”

I’d rather leave for bed with a story about a gentleman who finally got his degree at 80 or the Hungarian socialite Zsa ZsaGabor dying at 99, than with a story about a wedding party being trampled over by a tree or Kanye (the husband of Kim Kardashian)  having “some kind of a mental breakdown.”

The social media and the Internet have designed a class for a group of people who influence others: the Influencers.

Go figure.

Although, we cannot ignore the realities in this world, it is our choice what we focus on.

As we head both into the happy and sad time of the year known as Christmas, I have to quote my Gemini friend:

“Life is for the living, we’re only ants on logs.”

Live your life, don’t consume it.

 

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

IW Inspiring Women- Artist Linda Kropf Phillips

Dear friends,

I am bringing back the popular IW Inspiring Women series for the winter. The series carries the logo of the enigmatic orchids which come in a thousand of varieties, each bringing joy with her own beauty. Much like the women in this world.

Orchids in full bloom
Enigmatic orchids

In this series I bring to you the stories of women who inspire others with their character, actions and the love for what they do. As daughters, mothers, grandmothers and wives, they all make a difference in their own way.

All of them juggle different responsibilities; to themselves, to the families and to the society at large.

Their value is not listed in dollars they bring to the economy, but in their contribution to bettering the lives of other people.

Meet artist turned hunter Linda Kropf Phillips

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- I first met artist Linda Kropf Phillips, owner of Natures Serenity, at a little known bazaar in the historic village of Fallasburg two years ago.

She was manning the booth with her brother Jerry Kropf. Most people in the area know the name Kropf, as the well- established owners of the Kropf apple orchards.

“Are you related to the Kropfs?” was one of my questions during a recent interview with Linda.

Natures Serenity
Artist Linda Kropf Phillips with first sketches.

“Which ones?” she asked.

“The apple farmers?”

“My father was the carpenter in the family,” Linda said.

It was her father Bob Kropf ,who not only inspired Linda, but who also taught her perfection in glass etching of gun cabinets and everything else in business, like reasonable pricing.

“My dad challenged me,” she said. “I worked in his wood shop for 20 years at Murray Lake. He taught me a lot of woodwork. I taught myself glass etching on china and glass cabinets.”

Yes, there was no challenge too big for Linda to handle, whether it was the etching of a standing bear and a partridge flying over his head, or other intrinsic scenes from nature.

Linda Kropf Phillips
Linda Kropf Phllips hunting Up North.

“I found a picture of a standing bear in a magazine,” Linda said.

One of her first drawings was a sketch of the GI Joe doll. Some four decades later, Linda easily found the pencil drawing at the house.  And it was not just the doll, but also some sketches of the Beatles.

Linda started drawing when she was 11 years old. Growing up as a 4-H girl and doing rodeo, she loved to draw horses.

She went to the Alton country school from 1964 to 1968 prior to going to the Lowell public schools.

“I rode my horse to school,” she laughed.

But, sometimes it was mom Jan Kropf who played the bus driver loading up the kids in a car and hauling them to school.

Archery hunting.
Linda Kropf Phillips prefers to hunt with bow & arrow.

Linda graduated from the Lowell High School in 1976, and she received the perfect graduation gift.

It was tuition for one year at the Kendall College of Art & Design in Grand Rapids. She had already taken advanced ceramics and design classes in high school. In sixth grade, Linda also took art classes from local artist Jan Johnson.

Four years ago, Linda started her Natures Serenity line of artwork on slab and drift wood.

“I love being outside, hunting, taking pictures of nature and kayaking,” she said.

While kayaking on the Flat River on the morning the Whites Bridge in Smyrna burnt, Linda found pieces of driftwood and metal from the bridge down the river.

She painted the covered Whites Bridge on a piece of driftwood and hung it on the metal from the bridge. First the driftwood had to dry out and Linda coated it with three to four coats of polyurethane to preserve them.

One of the early trophy deer.
One of the early trophy deer.

The two pieces sold at the Danish Festival in 2014 in Greenville with half of the proceeds going to the “Rebuild Whites Bridge” organization.

Artist Linda is also an avid hunter, who annually heads out into the woods in the Upper Peninsula with her husband Scott. Naturally, she would not reveal their “sacred hunting grounds” somewhere northwest of Marquette.

Scott has been hunting for the last 45 years, while Linda started hunting 11 years ago. Before that Linda rabbit hunted with her brother. She took her first deer with a gun, when she was three months pregnant in 1986.

For Linda, family always comes first.

Artist Linda Kropf Phillips with family.
Artist Linda Kropf Phillips with family.

 

“I started going with Scott with my camera and took my artwork with me,” she said. “We go during the gun season hunting for bear, and I bow hunt for deer.”

Naturally, Linda who took up bow hunting three years ago, is inspired by the great outdoors and what it has to offer. Her booth at the Dec. 3 Rogue River Arts Show was an amazing display of nature’s scenes on wood. Everything from deer, fowl, fish, Queen Anne’s lace to footprints captured on a wooden slab. Some of the artwork boasted 3D imagery in detailed foliage and branches during different seasons.

“I like the fall, so bow and arrow wins,” she said. “I feel safer.”

One of her scariest experiences was while hunting on the ground.

“I had a wolf behind sniffing at me,” she said. “I was nervous. I thought it was just a squirrel crinkling again.”

Well that “crinkling squirrel” turned out to be a 157 pound black bear. But, these adventures do not prevent Linda from going “Up North” to hunt in the “sacred land.”

Deer art by the Kropfs.
Deer art by Jerry Kropf.

“We stay in a camper, 10 days at a time depending on the weather,” she said. “Sometimes it’s two hours to the closest processor.”

And back home in Lowell, the dinner always features some wild game, whether deer, bear, fish or fowl in the form of burger, roast or steaks.

“We have deer all the time,” Linda said.

Most recently, based on popular demand from the less macho side of the population, Linda added to her wildlife art portfolio paintings of chickadees and cardinals.

 

“It runs the gamut from deer, moose, bass and I added flowers, “she said.

Natures Serenity artwork is available at Bodacious in Rockford and at Pinky’s Place Antique & Artisan Market in Grand Rapids.

Her busy art show season starts in July with the Fourth of July Artist Show in the UP, Lake Odessa Arts in the Park on Aug. 5th, Danish Festival on Aug. 19th & Aug. 20th and Rockford on Sept. 10th

The last show of the season is always the Rogue River Arts & Artisan Show on the first Saturday in December at the Lowell High School.

Linda Kropf Phillips Natures Serenity artwork can be viewed at lindakropfphillips@Facebook.com.

Nominate a woman who has in any way inspired you this year or in the past. In the IW women’s series, I have featured artists like Kathleen Mooney, entrepreneur Station Salon’s owner Nancy DeBoer, hiker Gail “Chosen” Lowe who has hiked all five national trails in the USA, Lowell Area Chamber director Liz Baker, former Lowell city clerk Betty Morlock, trail developer Carolyn Kane, founder of SowHope Mary Dailey Brown and many others.

E-mail Emma via the contact page or on Facebook at emmapalova@Facebook.com

 

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In nature’s harmony

Hunting season 2015 opens strong, artist inspired by hunting

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- Today is the opening day of the firearm hunting season in the Midwest. It will last until the end of November.

It may or may not mean anything to big city folks, but out here in the country it is a big deal.

Some school districts like Portland schools in Ionia County close for the opening day, so kids can go out and hunt with their dads.

Although I am not a hunter, I have so many friends, both female and male, who are hunters that I had to post this to honor their passion.

The first who comes to my mind is my artist hunter friend Linda Kropf Phillips of Lowell. Inspired by nature and hunting, Phillips has created a line of slab wood paintings “Natures Serenity.”

Natures Serenity
Natures Serenity art by Linda Kropf Phillips and Jerry Kropf @fallasburg.

The second hunter is a long-time friend from former Czechoslovakia,  Miroslav Hlavenka.  He now resides in Montreal, Canada. Hlavenka is an awesome chef a la naturelle.

Both are hunting now, as I write this post that could also be called “Living in harmony with nature.”

Annually, the sports hunting industry fuels the economy in many ways from direct hunting permits, & gear to indirect sports hunting tourism.

Hunter Miroslav Hlavenka.
Miroslav Hlavenka with his deer and a dog.

And the experts predict a good hunting season due to unseasonably mild weather.

“The deer had a lot to feed on,” said TV sports commentator.

This morning opened strong with clear skies and 50 degree temperatures. Hundreds of hunters in camouflage headed out into the woods.

As I drove to an appointment through the country, I could see cars parked by public hunting lands.

One opening day, I actually headed out into the Lowell State Game Area and joined a local hunter for a great experience, and a great story.

Archery hunting.
Some hunters’ gear.

We always took photos of proud hunters who brought their deer in at the various newspapers that I have worked for.

Phillips of Lowell is already in  Upper Peninsula with four guys determined to get their deer.

We postponed our interview for IW Inspiring Women series until Phillips returns in December.

Phillips fascinates me that she is both an avid hunter and a very apt nature artist and she shows that off in  “Natures Serenity.”

She was one of the first artists at the Fallasburg Village Bazaar last year.

Hlavenka used to hunt already back in former Czechoslovakia. He picked back up his passion in Quebec, as he heads out into the woods.

Nature' Serenity.
Deer art by the Kropfs.

Back in Czech Republic, hunters and public at large celebrated the hunting season with the annual Hunter’s Ball in the winter months.

The hunters wore their green uniforms and made hunter’s goulash for the occasion. It was either venison, boar and rabbit stew or steaks with potato dumplings and red cabbage.

There is something about hunting that’s inherent to human kind. That’s how we survived in the first place all the earth’s elements, agriculture came later.

Whenever I see deer in my garden feasting on apples or turkeys running in the cornfields, there’s joy in my heart, that peace will prevail.

With the upcoming Thanksgiving next week, there is a lot to be thankful for.

Driving through the woods and the fields on a beautiful sunny November morning, crossing the Thornapple, Grand and Flat rivers, I realized how grateful I am for the surrounding nature, for the harmony, for the fall abundance and the co-existence of it all.

Send me a picture of you and your deer and I will post it on my Emma Blogs, LLC portfolio of sites.

Watch for a recipe for Hunter’s Stew coming up.

Also in the works are stories in the IW Inspiring Women winter series. They have the logo of the orchids.

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.