Monday, May 26, 2014

And now. a word from my overactive imagination.

I can run three miles today
I can run three miles today
Watch me move and watch me play
Watch me move and watch me play
With my Dino leading me
With my Dino leading me
I can run and be set free
I can run and be set free
Left, right, left, right

When I started running last year, I would run until I had counted to 50 and then walk as I counted to 50 again. I would increase my running count in 50 increments. When I got to the point where I truly was running more than walking and lost track of how high I was counting, I just kept pushing myself without much in my mind except that I was half way there or two-thirds of the way there or that my legs were going to fall off.

Sunday morning when I started out, I wondered what better motivation I could find. I thought of the army guys all running in unison, at a tireless pace as they shouted out an echo to their leaders call. I thought, I can do that. Ok, but there was no shouting out loud, it was all in my head.

There’s another hill to climb
There’s another hill to climb
I must walk it just this time
I must walk it just this time
Great there’s chickens in that yard
Great there’s chickens in that yard
Dino please don’t be a ‘tard
Dino please don’t be a ‘tard
He didn’t see them, that is good
He didn’t see them, that is good
Farming in the neighborhood
Farming in the neighborhood
Going down the hill right now
Going down the hill right now
I must walk or have a cow
I must walk or have a cow
On these feet I’ll trip and fall
On these feet I’ll trip and fall
I have no phone, I cannot call
I have no phone, I cannot call

Ok, then when the end was in sight, two-tenths of a mile to go, I thought I would try the yelling thing. There are no houses on that stretch of road and no cars coming. But I felt like an idiot. And there may have been wildlife listening in .

My house is there just up around
My house is there just up around
I should say these words out loud
I should say these words out loud
That won’t work out, am I nuts?
That won’t work out, am I nuts?
Just get home you silly putz
Just get home you silly putz
Left, right, left, right

And because I don’t take my camera with me when I run (what? Do you think I’m really nuts?), I have no pictures today. I think the mental image I just gave you was more than enough. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Always Remember and never forget

I know that my Redeemer lives!
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever living head!

If you have been following this blog at all, especially last month, you realize how fascinated I am by cemeteries. As I was driving home from church last night, it dawned on me that I haven't taken many pictures at the cemeteries in my own home town. And Calvary Cemetery is just down the road from where I live. So I spun in there, thinking that I would take pictures for a blog about Memorial Day.
As I was walking around I thought it dawned on me why I haven't taken pictures in my local cemetery. There are few really old headstones. 
But that really wasn't it. In other cemeteries, in other cities, I read the headstones, and wonder what happened.
Here, in the town where I grew up, I remember the day like it was yesterday. 
If I didn't know you, I knew a relative, or have a relative who knew you.
And if I don't remember your story, I just feel that much more sad. Not only because I should remember you, but because you are gone. 
But when I remember your story, it takes away the mystery of reading your headstone. 
What really matters, though, is that we remember you. That we never forget and we hold to the belief that we will be together again some day. 

He lives and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death;
He lives my mansion to prepare;
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives, all glory to his name!
He lives, my savior, still the same;
What joy this blest assurance gives:
I know that my Redeemer lives!

"I Know That My Redeemer lives" lyrics by Samuel Medley

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Trial Run - The Streets of Hatchet Creek, Day 1

Several years ago I stumbled on the blog “I’m Just Walkin’.” The blogger Matt was walking across the United States, taking pictures and blogging along the way. After he had been back home in New York City for a while he decided that his next adventure would be to walk every street in NewYork City, including all five boroughs, which he estimated to be 8000 miles. That seems like a lot, but there is a lot of area to be covered in a city that large. .

After following his blog for a while, I started thinking last year that I should walk every street of my home town. I don’t know how many miles that turns out to be, but I guarantee it is way less than 8000. I’m sure I could figure it out on-line or maybe I could just check with the city and they could tell me how many miles of street they maintain. That’s not the idea though.

The idea is to a] get out and walk (it is the best exercise, low stress, heart-healthy and all that stuff I should be advocating at the day job) and b] document life in the city where I live.

Like I already said, I have been thinking about this for a year, trying to find the time to commit to some sort of schedule. Schedules are highly overrated. I have pretty much decided that I will try to walk once a week and document those travels here. If I am out of town, or the weather is lousy, or I just don’t have a good excuse, I might not make it every week. This is going to be a no-stress assignment.

I went for a trial run last night, taking along three unsuspecting women from church and one dog. I have concluded that I can do this.
Three unsuspecting friends and one dog. Dogs, at least black labs, are always unsuspecting.

I thought we could take this trail that circles part of town, but apparently it is a seasonal trail. 
If you have ever been to Tomahawk, hopefully you have been here. Of all the places I have roamed, Bradley Park remains one of the most picturesque.  
We ended up walking up one alley. I don't intend to include alleys in my quest, but am glad we ventured down this one. 

Another thought has gone through my head. Maybe this could be the start of a trend. Everybody get out and walk every street in their own city, town, or neighborhood. Start your own blog and chronicle life in the place where you live. And if this is already being done, please someone tell me. If this is my idea – great. But if someone previously came up with it, give them the credit.  One way or the other, let me know. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Writing for Universal Appeal: sort of a book review

Back in the day (and this is even before my day, hard as that seems), shoppers went from shop to shop buying what they needed. They went to the butcher to buy their fresh meat, they bought their vegetables from the open-air farmer's market, they went to the dry goods store to buy whatever dry goods are. They didn't go to one mega-mart to buy everything they needed, they went to the place that specialized in what they were looking for.

Today, in the era of Wal-mart and other super-centers, the general public wants to buy everything on their list at one place. Which is sad as mom and pop shops are going out of business because they can't compete.

Yet, as a struggling writer, I hear over and over again that you must write to a specific target audience, that a writer cannot be all things to all people. But I want to reach everyone! Isn't that what a best-seller is? Yes, I know that best-sellers reach target audiences too, but I don't think you can sell enough books to that specific group of readers with an interest in wearing two different sneakers to work on Thursdays to make it on any best-sellers lists.

Oh, was that too specific? So how does a writer know if their niche is big enough or small enough? Must I call in Goldilocks to get it just right?

I just finished reading "The Deer on theBicycle: Excursions into the Writing of Humor" by Patrick McManus. I loved that book. I thought it was great and I think a wide range of people would think it was great.

The premise was that Pat was writing a book on writing and getting published. So obviously, this was a book geared towards writers. Maybe.

Mr. McManus made his name writing for magazines such as Sport Illustrated and Outdoor Life. Not magazines I usually frequent. But as he says in “Deer”, if you can write a story with universal appeal, go for it, probably, you should strive for it.

So what happened to the “writers must specialize” theory? I think, if at all possible, what you write should be directed to several different groups instead of writing something so general that it has no specific genre. Such as in his book.

It may be touted as written for writers, but the many humorous stories which Pat shares cover groups from bicyclists to hunters to fisherman to those looking for the perfect getaway vacation. And I don’t care who you are, we all need to read stuff that just plain makes our cheeks hurt from laughing so hard.

I could be wrong, but that is my take on writing to a target audience. And you can take it or leave it. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Do you have the time?

 He may come at nine o’clock at night—or even at midnight. But whenever he comes, there will be joy for his servants who are ready!

Everyone would be ready for him if they knew the exact hour of his return—just as they would be ready for a thief if they knew when he was coming. So be ready all the time. For I, the Messiah, will come when least expected.
Luke 12:38-40 Living Bible

Every morning, as I am getting ready for work, I look at the clock every few minutes. “I need to get out of bed in five more minutes.” “I have three more minutes on the computer.” “I should be walking out the door in eight minutes, but I still have to finish putting on my makeup.”

When I get to work it is more of the same. Our doctors see patients every twenty minutes, which means I look at the clock on my computer constantly. “My next patient will be here in six minutes, and I am still in a room with Mr. Green.” “Now Mrs. Jones is late, but Mr. Smith is early, so should I room him first.” “Great, it’s 12:11. Looks like I won’t get out for lunch again today.”

To my credit, the only obsession I don’t have is with the watch on my wrist. I don’t change the time for daylight savings time twice a year, so it is off by a full hour six months out of the year. I also have noticed that it has lost close to ten minutes, but I haven’t bothered to change that either. If you haven’t guessed, my watch is the old-fashioned kind with a face and I only use it for the second hand when I am counting a pulse.

Overall, however, I hate this obsession with time. Things are going to happen when they happen whether I am watching the clock or not. All I can do is keep doing what I am doing at the best rate I can and stop worrying about the time it takes.

Our life on this earth is too short to obsess about anything. There is only one thing we should be thinking about when it comes to time, and that is that we are ready when Jesus comes for us.

Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to save us from our sins. Grant us patience as we wait for His return. Amen  

Friday, May 16, 2014

Look who has come to live in my yard

"Ok, there is a newcomer in our backyard. I must check this out."
 "Hmm? What is on the back side of this creature?"
 "Maybe there is something different on this side."
 "I give up. I don't know what this is. It is too big for me to attack. I am not happy about this turn of events. I think I will go groom myself."
 "Oh, Betty, you little goofy kitty, it is St Francis, patron saint of animals."
"I think we should let him stay."
As usual, Dino is right. St Francis of Assisi has come to live in our backyard. If you have ever heard of St Francis, you know he is the patron saint of animals and nature. But did you also know that, in 1220, he was the first person to set up a nativity scene? With a manger filled with hay flanked by an ox and a donkey, it was much simpler than the creches we create these days.

(If you want to learn more about the very first manger story, be sure to get your copy of "The Christmas Story in 40 Days".)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

We all can use more Friends

About four years ago, my daughter Val dragged me into an artist’s co-op. I know, I don’t consider myself an artist, but the term was used pretty loosely. Like any other organization, we needed to raise funds, but more importantly, we needed to find people who wanted to be involved, warm bodies to volunteer their time and efforts, to spread the word, to share their knowledge and talents. When we started planning our first event, the organizers called it a friend-raiser.

I googled “friend-raiser” and found a wide array of events. Many of these were another avenue to solicit donations, substituting the word “friend” for “fund” to lull people into a false sense of security for their wallets. I am sure that attendees quickly saw through that guise, or hopefully realized this was the purpose before they even arrived.

To my totally uneducated mind in the realm of nonprofit organization, my definition of a friend-raiser is simply what it says. During this one day out of the year, we don’t want your money. Instead we want your brilliant mind, your strong back, your quick wit, your technical savvy. We want whatever it is you can bring to the table to help our nonprofit reach its goals. We also would love you to bring all your friends who do have money, so we can get their contact information for when we do have a fund-raiser.

And that, dear followers, is what our nonprofit organization, Tumaini Volunteers, hopes to achieve on Sunday June 1 when we host our first “friend-raiser”. Come learn about our mission and vision, spend time getting to know us, enjoy some good food and drink, see the Kenyan arts and crafts which have made the long journey to central Wisconsin. And don’t forget to bring one or two of your own friends so that they can become our friends.

See you at Sunnyvale Park in Wausau, Wisconsin, on June 1 any time between noon and four. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Warming Up to Summer

As you may or may not have heard, last Saturday we had a surprise birthday party for my mother-in-law.  I suppose I could tell you stories, but I will just show you instead. 

My sweet daughter came up early in the morning and made a beautiful vege tray. Can you tell she works in a upper-scale restaurant. At times like this I can also tell she is her father's daughter. Some day I will drag out and scan some pictures of his food-art. 
 When she had finished the vege tray, she labeled the hummus and was working on a sign for her crab dip when I shot this picture.
 The hubby started up the grills early and got to work on our burgers, brats and wieners. The grand-puppy was waiting patiently for a hand-out.
 "Who me?" the grand-puppy asked. "I would never sneak food off the grill."
 The hubby and I with his mom, our guest of honor.
 Until someone said, "stand up straight, Himey." And I discovered something way more interesting on the other wall.
 "No, I really don't know anyone in this room and maybe if I close my eyes they will all go away."
Now that we are on the cusp of summer, and  will soon tire of the family get-togethers, don't forget to have some good reading on hand. From now until the end of June, for every book of mine which is sold I will donate $8 to Tumaini Volunteers. "A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven" and "The Christmas Story in 40 Days" are both available on, through the publisher Life Sentence Publishing or shoot me an email and I can send you a signed copy. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Color My World - a photo challenge

This month's photo challenge topic was: colorful. I knew that I would use pictures I had already taken, because color always catches my eye. I carry my Nikon Coolpix camera with me everywhere I go now, and I continually embarrass my family by taking pictures of anything I see. 

All of these pictures were taken a few summers ago in Wausau, Wisconsin, a city just down the road from where I live. My daughter lives there now, so I visit close to once a week. 

The first picture is of a bench inside a Mexican restaurant. Most of the Mexican restaurants I have been to have vibrant colors and designs. I would love to have this kind of color inside my house. 
 This antique bike is outside of a shop called Evolutions in Design. I posted pictures from there once before. I love how the yellow bike sticks out amongst the rusty and dusty objects and little potted plants.
 Every year Wausau hosts Chalk Fest in July. Artists of all calibers chalk their work on the sidewalks throughout a downtown park. All the time and effort they put into their art, for it to be washed away during the next rain. Such a shame, but maybe that is part of what art is - a fleeting moment in time.

I hope you enjoyed these pictures. When I first downloaded them onto my computer, I did a little work to bring out the color, to crop, or whatever. I didn't do any further editing for this photo challenge. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014


I've been wanting to post these pictures for a while, and now I am speechless (write-less?). The first one was taken on January 7 of this year just after I pulled into the parking lot at work at seven in the morning. The second one was taken on April 10, somewhere in Missouri as we were heading home from vacation. I think we had one day this spring where the temperature reached almost 70. Today was supposed to but I think that it was only the humidity.

All I know is that I hope that very soon I can see this temperature on my car thermometer on a regular basis.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Another Detour

This is how my world turns. On the way home from vacation last month, we stopped at the Holy Ghost Grotto in Dickeyville (seeSunday’s post). When I got home and started putting together all my notes from our vacation, I did some research into the Dickeyville Grotto. My internet search led me to another grotto which had been inspired by the one I had just visited.

The Paul and Matilda Wegner Grotto, just outside of Cataract, Wisconsin, lies a short drive north of Sparta. I have been through Sparta as many times as I have driven past Dickeyville. I always thought I was one to stop and smell the roses, but apparently, I also like to just keep driving. I went to college in La Crosse for one year back in the early eighties, so I drove past Sparta every couple weeks, never knowing what a great find there was just off the beaten path.

But back in the early eighties, the discoveries on Paul’s and Matilda’s property might not have been common knowledge. Here is their story.

They emigrated from Germany in 1885 and settled first in La Crosse, then later bought the land near Cataract. They farmed there until 1916 when they moved to Bangor, leaving one of their sons to run the farm. When they retired in 1927, they spent their summers on the old farmstead and took up a hobby – creating these works of art.

After Paul and Matilda both passed away,
little more was done with the plot of land. It remained in the family until the Kohler Foundation purchased it in 1986 and restored it. The following year, the Kohler Foundation gifted the park to Monroe County to be enjoyed by anyone willing to take a detour from their travels and to inspire the likes of others like me!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

What do you want in your backyard?

“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. Matthew 6:5-6 New Living Translation

I never finished blogging about my trip home from vacation. Last time I posted, I wrote about being at my brother-in-law’s house in Iowa. That’s a five and a half hour drive home for me. Of course, I had to make at least one stop.

I have been to Iowa many times, and have been to Platteville, Wisconsin, even more times, because my son went to college there. Just down the road from Platteville is the little town of Dickeyville. (What a cute name for a village.)

All of the times I have driven past this burg on the freeway and never stopped in, I cannot believe it. Because Dickeyville is home to the Holy Ghost Grotto.

 It is not a place easily described. Now, of course, I want to build a grotto in my backyard, unbeknownst to my husband (until he reads this). Oh, I think all the concrete and stonework, marbles and glass are fascinating, but I also want to build someplace where I can go off by myself in quiet prayer and reflection. My ultimate goal would be to build my own chapel in my woods, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. 

Also, a reminder. Now through the end of June, for every book of mine which is purchased I will donate $8 to Tumaini Volunteers. "A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven" and "The Christmas Story in 40 Days" are both available on, from the publisher, or shoot me an email ( and I will mail you a signed copy. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Spring Growth

Happy May Day! Does anyone celebrate that anymore? Back in the day, I remember there being a May pole and lots of ribbons and frolicking. Flowers too.
But today, I bet, will pass as any other day. And here in the Northwoods, it will pass as another cold, damp day. We are all still hoping for Spring. At least my snow is almost all gone.

With the coming change of seasons, I have a deal to share with you all. For the months of May and June, I will donate $8 to Tumaini Volunteers for each of my books which is sold. These will include books I sell myself, books sold through Amazon or books ordered through my publisher.

I have my first book, "A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven", on sale for $15 and "The Christmas Story in 40 Days" for $12. If you aren't aware of the world of publishing, I had to pay up front half that price for each book. Which means that an $8 donation for each one means I am losing money.

If you go online, you will see that both books are for sale for even less on and through Life Sentence Publishing. Also, one side note. This is for paperback books only and not ebooks for your Kindle or other device.

If you already have my books, maybe you would like to purchase additional ones now to share with others. With summer almost here, everyone needs another book to read on vacation. 

So why am I doing this? Because Tumaini Volunteers is a great cause and is trying to grow. The best way I know how to make any organization grow is by spreading the word. And spreading the word about my books helps me out in the long run too.

What do you get out of this if you buy either (or both) of these books at this time? First off you get a book (or books!) which you hopefully enjoy reading and sharing with others. Second you get the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping the new nonprofit organization, Tumaini Volunteers, to grow.

Please read more about Tumaini on our website or on Facebook. 

I will let you know in July how this all went. And I promise to post my usual stuff between now and then. Thank you for your support.