Tag Archives: Emma Palova writer

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.


Copyright (c) Emma Blogs LLC

Lowell on water is down to earth

Free Association

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt:“Free Association.”

Down to earth people are the fabric of Lowell

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, – I make my home in Lowell, a small town in the Midwest. It lies at the crossroads of two major waterways, the Flat River in the northeast and the Grand River in the southern part.

What I’ve always liked about this hometown is the people who live here. They are down to earth folks who earn their living the hard way. Many of them work two part-time low paying jobs with no benefits.

The median family income is around $40,000.

Downtown Lowell.
Lowell rowing team on the Flat River.

But, what is most fascinating about Lowell are the people who care about each other. They get together to rejoice and celebrate their successes as in the annual Lowell Area Chamber membership gathering that awards the Person of the Year.

They mourn together when a great citizen passes such as recently Ray Zandstra, and many others who have made a difference in the community.

And in order not to forget community giants like Ivan Blough, the people of Lowell establish foundations and scholarships. The one that honors this truly down to earth man is called the Ivan K. Blough Vocational Scholarship.


KDL library
The KDL Engelhardt Library in Lowell sits right on the Riverwalk.Being fortunate enough, the town has received bequests from local philanthropists such as Mr. E., that is Harold Englehardt.

In May of 1996, Englehardt’s will set into motion a legacy that  benefited the Lowell area community forever. Known as a low-key, humble man who lived his life simply and without fanfare, Englehardt was a self-made millionaire who chose to give back to the community he loved.

Englehardt gave a $12.7 million bequest to the community which in turn created the Lowell Area Community Fund (LACF) See more at: http://www.grfoundation.org/lowell#sthash.4QQlenYl.dpuf

Another area philanthropist was late Peter Wege who donated money for farm preservation and nature education in the Wittenbach Wege Agriscience Center.

100 Posts
Wittenbach/Wege Agriscience nature center

The community also fights together; in the fall it is the annual Pink Arrow Pride game that spreads awareness and raises money to fight cancer.

The community honors its veterans, late and alive, in the annual Memorial Day parade.

Lowell Main Street
Main Street before Pink Arrow game.

It stepped up in an uprecendented effort to fight hunger and poverty when local churches created the Flat River Outreach Ministries (FROM) in 1998.

The community collects food for the FROM pantry throughout the year in different food fights like the north side against the south side of the town. Residents bring cans of food to the annual Riverwalk parade in July.

“Can you imagine, all these people bringing cans to the parade,” said former pastor Roger LaWarre of the First Congregational Church of Lowell.

The community loves the arts and it has named the gallery inside Lowell Arts after another philanthropist King Doyle.

It preserves history as local businessman Greg Canfield saved three buildings on the bridge from demolition and turned them into the Main Street Inn,

People of the past, present and the future make up the fabric of this resilient community that is bound together by love and caring.

Copyright (c) 2015 Emma Blogs, All rights reserved


Inspiring Women

Inspiring women set examples

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

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.

Orchids in full bloom
Mystic orchids

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.


Sow Hope


Kathleen Mooney art



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

25 Years in the USA II

25 Years in the USA II

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.”

arrival anniversary
25 years in the USA

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.”

To be continued……

Copyright © 2015 Emma Blogs LLC, All rights reserved

25 Years in the USA

25th Anniversary of arrival in USA, part 1

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Home in Lowell, USA
25th anniversary of arrival to USA

Lowell, MI- We arrived at the frozen JFK airport on Dec.22, 1989. I had a 20-hour trip behind me and a lifetime of memories. I was traveling with my two-and-a-half year son Jake and my daughter Emma, 10.

Long before Delta sky team, we took the Czechoslovak Airlines (CSA) from Czech capital Prague to Montreal and on to NYC.

My parents Ella & Vaclav Konecny were waiting for us with a gray station wagon. I still have the jean jacket United Colors of Beneton Tipe de Nimes that I arrived in for memorabilia purposes. And I was freezing in it. The first night we stayed in NYC at my parents’ friends, Mr. & Mrs. Herman from Vizovice.

City hall Zlin.
Our hometown Zlin in Czech Republic.

A long way home to Big Rapids, MI awaited us. I had no idea how huge the USA is. Czech Republic is maybe the size of Connecticut. The car was like an ice cave. You couldn’t see outside unless you scraped the windows from inside and outside.

First Jake wanted to sit on my lap, but he had to be glued to his place by a seat belt.

After a long haul and once we could see through the windows, Jake discovered water towers along the Ohio Turnpike.

“I want to go and sit on it,” he kept repeating. “I want to sit on that ball.”

“Alright I will stop and you can climb on the ball,” my dad said angrily. And slowed down.

We arrived exhausted in Big Rapids, Michigan on Christmas Eve at night. We had to pick up my brother Vas at his mobile home in Rogers Heights. I haven’t seen him since 1976, when he left Czechoslovakia with mom Ella to join dad. Since then, after the Velvet Revolution and breaking away of Slovakia in 1993, the country changed names to Czech Republic.

USA moments
25th anniversary of arrival to the USA

I was surprised at the huge reflector lamp on Vas’ home that almost blinded us given all the snow.

Mom had the Christmas Eve dinner ready in the fridge. In Czech Republic, Christmas Eve is the main holiday. It is also known as the Feast of Adam and Eve. That is when people open their presents, eat fried carp or other fish, mushroom soup and potato salad. On that evening the good ones, who had fasted, may see the golden pig on the wall, according to a legend.

Celebrating 25th anniversary in the USA
Our Christmas tree 25 years later in Lowell.

I still remember the feeling of that night. I was confused and uncertain about what I was getting myself into. Big Rapids is a small university town compared to where we lived in Czechoslovakia in a 30,000- people apartment complex known as the Southern Slopes. These enormous apartment complexes, spread around the country,are one of the few successes and remnants of socialism.

The fear of the unknown and a new reality kicked in suddenly. I was in a foreign country, even though I spoke English and had relatives by my side. What will the future bring?

My husband Ludek was in Canada because that’s how the visa process worked out. My parents sponsored me to the USA, while Ludek got immigration visa to Quebec.

I am an engineer by trade with a bachelor’s degree from Technical University of Brno.

Since my parents were both working at the Ferris State University, I took classes there in Computer Aided Design (CAD).

I hated engineering. It was the only university I could get into considering my American past. We had already lived in the USA in the 1970s in Texas, when we left communist Czechoslovakia illegally. And we were punished for that in many ways.

To be continued…….

For more stories go to http://etravelandfood.wordpress.com

Lowell Area Chamber of commerce at http://www.lowellchamber.org

Copyright © 2014 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

New eyes with Dr. Verdier

Eyes set on Dr. Verdier


EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- On May 16th, my world dipped into a blur. The white fuzzy ball in my right eye turned into fog that surrounded me.

As I turned on the computer in the morning I couldn’t see the Google logo on the screen. I panicked. I drove to the eye doctor in town, but I couldn’t see the signs on the road.

“What brings you here on a Friday morning?” asked Dr. Holzer.

“I can’t see,” I said with tears in my eyes.

After the exam, Dr. Holzer said, “I see why you can’t see. You have cataracts in both eyes.”

Dr. Verdier's practice in Grand Rapids
Dr. Verdier’s practice in Grand Rapids

I was diagnosed with a fast-moving cataract in my right eye two years ago. Unlike the cataracts that most elderly people eventually develop, this one strikes younger people at a fast pace.

“You will need a surgery in two years,” said the doctor exactly. “I cannot correct your vision to 20/20. This is worse than I expected.”

I cried that fall as I walked to the newspaper office. I could barely see the sidewalk.

The new eyeglasses helped somewhat, but the right eye was useless. I started using the left eye straining it further. Now, the fuzzy ball was also in the left eye.

I couldn’t see from the treadmill my beautiful garden. Everything became a chore. I had to use the magnifying glass on top of the eyeglasses, and still the letters were dancing in front of me somewhere in deep 3D. I had to guess where everything was or used to be.

So, here I was two years later sitting across from Dr. Holzer by the optical equipment in the dark.

“You’re going to need a surgery in both eyes,” he said.

“I want Dr. Verdier to operate on my eyes,” I said.

“You know Dr. Verdier?”

I did know Dr. David Verdier from a story for the Grand Rapids Magazine and Advance Newspapers about his surgeries aboard the Orbis airplane in China. Orbis is a well-known organization among eye specialists, and Dr. Verdier is a renowned eye specialist.

I was well aware of Verdier’s specialization both in corneal disease and cataracts, and about his practice. Verdier Eye Center, located at 1000 E. Paris Avenue in Grand Rapids. That’s where we did the interview for several stories.

“You’re going to have to wait, but Dr. Verdier is worth waiting for,” said Holzer. “He can also correct your vision during the surgery so you won’t need eye glasses.”

The initial consultation was scheduled for Sept. 22 to evaluate how far along the cataracts were.

In the meantime, my eyesight was getting worse by the minute. On the night of the first Summer Sizzlin’ concert, I was blinded by the setting sun as I walked out of the Sneaker’s Restaurant. That was at the beginning of July.

When I was shooting the Riverwalk parade on July 12, I could not see the floats or candidate Lynn Mason marching in the parade. I was shooting into the fog. My son was standing by my side with baby Josephine and I could hardly make out their contours.

On Monday, when I walked to the Franciscan Sisters I couldn’t see my neighbors doing wood on the other side of the gravel road.

“Hey Emma, we’re here,” Karen shouted.

At the Sisters, I couldn’t see the nearby school from their Canticle House on the hill.

Finally, I couldn’t see myself in the mirror. I picked up the phone.

“I have to have the surgery as soon as possible,” I cried. “I can’t write, I can’t drive. Tell Dr. Verdier that I know him.”


To be continued


Copyright © 2014 story and photos by Emma Palova

Lowell woman behind the Pink Arrow Pride

Lowell woman makes Pink Arrow Pride happen along with husband and other volunteers


LOWELL, MI-When Teresa Beachum received a phone call from varsity football coach Noel Dean, she stepped up to take action.

Dean was telling her about a wife of a football player who was sporting a pink jersey at an NFL game.

The pink symbolized breast cancer. An idea was born seven years ago that has grown into a phenomenon.

The two wondered if the Lowell Football team would be strong enough to carry some else’s name on the shoulder of their pink jerseys.

The community walk prior to Pink Arrow game
The community walk prior to Pink Arrow game

“We wanted to honor those on a cancer journey or in memory of,”she said.

Beachum lost her brother Jeff Timpson to cancer.

Pink Arrow players
Pink Arrow players

The Pink Arrow Pride symbolizes the pride the players have to have to represent someone else, she said.

The Pink Arrow VII game against Chicago Hubbard is scheduled this year for Sept.5.

The Survivor’s Lap precedes the game from the Lowell High School down to the stadium.

“Everybody comes together, the fire and the police department, the band and the churches,” Beachum said.

This is followed by a victory lap around the stadium.

“The view is a sea of pink, the field, the goal post and even the trash cans,” she said.

And something new is added every year like fireworks last year.

But, there is more to this than just the game in pink.

“It teaches students how to channel grief and their emotions,” she said.

The Pink Arrow Pride has so far raised one million dollars. This money goes toward programming at Gilda’s Club, medical student scholarships, assistance to cancer survivors and Lowell Community Wellness.

“It has grown into a new dimension of playing for a cause,” Beachum said.

The two scholarships are Dr. Donald Gerard’s and Kathy Talus.

Beachum stays involved year round with the Pink Arrow Pride. Together with Ethel Stears, she delivers gifts to cancer survivors.

“I wanted to support the cause because everyone knows someone who has walked the cancer journey,” Beachum said.

The t-shirt sales have brought in $8,000 alone during the last worst seven years in economy.

“Cancer does not discriminate,” she said. “It strikes the young, the old, retirees and students.”

In the weeks prior to the game, Perry and Teresa Beachum turn their house into a Pink Arrow Pride stronghold with brochures, logos and promotions everywhere.

“The logo is customized and every year we add new things, “she said.

For their efforts, the couple has been awarded as the Chamber People of the Year.

For more info go to:


Copyright (c)2014 story by Emma Palova, photos by Pink Arrow Pride