Tag Archives: Ionia Sentinel-Standard

Tea with VanGogh & Betty

On the health benefits of tea

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- I am a lifelong tea drinker, even though I had my periods of drinking coffee during the early 2000s while working for the Ionia Sentinel-Standard.

My love for tea goes back to my childhood. We cured everything with either chamomile tea or plum brandy.

We used chamomile tea with honey to calm us down and at night to sleep. Quite often stories circulated about giving a brew from raw poppy heads not quite mature yet to kids, so they sleep better.

Healing teas and VanGogh's self-portrait
Healing teas and VanGogh’s self-portrait

The love for tea grew stronger while living in Sudan, Africa. There is a huge misconception that in hot weather you have to drink cold beverages. Actually, the body and the beverage temperatures should be close, just like in cooking.

“Everything has to have the same temperature,” says my cousin Brona Pink, a trained chef. That’s probably why Russians eat ice cream in winter.

Not knowing this fact back then, we drank by default both cold and hot tea in huge pitchers at the African apartment complex. I didn’t know much about herbs back in the 1970s, so we used mostly black tea with caffeine.

Betty Dickinson penned ""Creating a healthy corner"
Betty Dickinson of Ionia

The next run with tea was after I gave birth to my daughter in 1979 and started having problems with my gall bladder and digestion. I looked deeper into herbs and teas. There are many teas that are good for digestion. These are mostly made from bitter herbs like dandelion. Dandelions are not just those ugly yellow flowers in your lawn. Our friend in Czech Republic used to make wine from them.

“They are one of the nature’s best medicine,” writes herbalist Betty Dickinson in her book “Creating a Healthy Corner.”

“I eat the leaves fresh early in the spring before they blossom,” she writes.

My encounter with Dickinson in 2000 after I came back to USA from a trip to Czech Republic was one of the most important milestones in my life.

Dickinson was and still is a columnist for the Ionia Sentinel-Standard and she also writes for EW Emma’s Writings and for E Health & Wellness.

I was already organically bound as opposed to using chemicals, but she helped me understand the workings of nature.

I was overweight at the time and she suggested a tea mix consisting of celery seeds, kelp and nettle. I still use it to this day. Nettle and burdock are in most digestive teas.

Tea has always inspired me to a point that I wrote seven chapters of “Tea Council” in 2000, and lost them later when I switched computers.

The most recent run with tea was in 2012 when I lost my hair for unknown reasons. Dickinson had a cure for me; nettle again and yucca.

I also discovered the best tea line ever the “Health King.”  Their “Hair Regeneration” with privet root and black sesame helped me get my hair back. But their “Dong Quai Lady’s tea is the true king.

Ironically, my mom, who is a former pharmacist does not believe in herbs, teas or supplements.

“That’s a bunch of bullshit,” she says.

Well, all I can say is how I feel when I have the teas and when I don’t. The Lady’s tea with Angelica chinensis helps maintain normal gynecological functions and it alleviates cramps.

Whenever tired after long hours of writing I use yerba mate by EcoTeas.

The Organic India tea line is also good.

My love affair with teas continues. I love to serve them, I love to drink them and the artist in me loves their colors. They range from yellow jasmine to dark chocolate yerba mate. Maybe, there is a British or a Russian person in me. Plus drinking tea is a highly social event in many countries like the United Kingdom in the form of “high tea.”  The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island also serves “high tea” at 5 p.m.

You can order Dickinson’s book by e-mailing me at emmapalova@yahoo.com

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


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.

WordPress anniversary

Two  years with WordPress

Two year anniversary with WordPress
Two years with WordPress

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

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.

McGregor, Iowa
Rediscovering treasures on the Mississippi River

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.

100 posts
100 Posts on WordPress

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.

EW Emma's Writings
EW blog on Gatehouse Media 10 million reader market

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.

I also write and manage a bilingual blog CJ Aunt Jarmilka’s Desserts in Czech Republic on http://jkarmaskova.wordpress.com

I have great writers like Sarah Harmon who bring their unique style to the blogs, and salesperson Ed Donahue.

Sarah Harmon
EW writer Sarah Harmon in Paris

EW Emma’s Writings also feeds into the Gatehouse Media, a 10 million reader market including the Ionia Sentinel-Standard.

What I like the most about writing on WordPress is that it does have an impact on people and it gets the message out.

Friend Tina Sicialiano Cadwallader asked me when is the book coming out at a Christmas party at the Fallasburg Historical Society.

“We’re going to take a selfie with the book at the Lowell museum,” she laughed.

Last Saturday, I ran into Betsy Davidson, owner of Addorio Technologies, LLC.

“Have you been travelling?” she asked. “I am really enjoying your stories because I don’t get to go to places like that.”

Vizovice, Czech Republic
Vizovice, where old meets new.

Longtime friend Ruth Hall said, “I absolutely love reading your posts.”

Comments and advice on the posts are also very gratifying and informational. Following is a comment by Herbal Weight Loss Remedies & Tips at http://url.darkillusion.us/weightloss748972

“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.

Thank you WordPress for two great years.


Fallasburg Historical Society


Addorio Technologies, LLC


Copyright © 2015 Emma Blogs LLC, All rights reserved

25 Years in the USA III

25 Years in the USA III

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.

USA moments
25th anniversary of arrival to the USA

“This is it,” Ludek said as he showed me the land. He built the house himself with a few contractors.

Lowell, Michigan
Hometown Lowell before the annual Riverwalk Festival.

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.”

American Lists
I wrote for American Lists, a Czech newspaper based in NYC.

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

Copyright © Emma Blogs LLC, All rights reserved

EW Emma’s Writings

EW blog enters new phase on the daily Ionia Sentinel-Standard site

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- I am very excited today because my blog EW Emma’s Writings is now also live on the Ionia Sentinel-Standard daily newspaper site at http://www.sentinel-standard.com/section/blogs01?taxid=2414

“It will increase traffic to the blog a lot,” said editor Lori Kilchermann. “I will do some promos in the coming days and weeks.”

This has been my goal for a long time. I finally feel like I have stepped into the future. I worked for the Sentinel from 1998 to 2003, and I received several awards for community and mental health reporting. Internet was still a baby at the time and so were RSS feeds, content writing and social media.

EW blog on the Ionia Sentinel-Standard daily newspaper
EW blog on the Ionia Sentinel-Standard daily newspaper

The EW Emma’s Writings blog on the WordPress platform features a mix of local and international stories in support of the publication of my memoir Greenwich Meridian where East meets west. The memoir is about our family immigration saga now spanning three generations. I will dedicate the memoir to my mother Ella Konecny who suffered the most with immigration.

I established the blog in January of 2013 to increase exposure on the Internet. It has been steadily growing both in audience and content. The page About People is just like its title suggests about interesting people from the area such as Connie Elsasser with her carriage rides, the Ionia Community Mental Health director Bob Lathers or the Kropf apple legend.

EW blog on WordPress
EW blog on WordPress

I update the blog twice a week and use my photography. Other users of WordPress include CNN, Bangor Daily, TechCrunch, Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart.

I use WordPress themes 2014, Skylark, Hemingway re-written, Splendio and more.

I also started to write and design blogs for other people. Blogs are dynamic, fast and versatile. Search engines like them and they drive traffic to sites. If you want me to design and write your blog e-mail me at emmapalova@yahoo.com for a quote. I can also teach you how to blog to drive traffic to your business and websites.

I love blogging because of the great feedback I get my readers.

I hope you will enjoy my writings and photography also on http://emmapalova.com and editionemma.wordpress.com

Watch for my stories from the Mississippi River. I now accomplished 127 posts on WordPress. I am looking forward to the next 100.

Copyright © 2014 story and photos by Emma Palova