Battle Tribe

October 11, 2018

Do you remember Roxane Battle from KARE 11 – news anchor and co-host of NBC Today Show? Roxane is now an award-winning author of Pockets of Joy Deciding to Be Happy, Choosing to Be Free. She continues to make her home in Minneapolis where she is a journalist, author and speaker.

I had the privilege earlier this week to meet Roxane at an intimate gathering of Beaver’s Pond Press authors. We came together to have her share her expertise on marketing and media. Through Roxane’s charismatic character and charming appeal, she allowed us a peek inside to the real Roxane Battle personality. She radiates joy and projects positivity. She expertly created in one hour and a half the Pocket of Joy Tribe, or what I like to call the Battle Tribe, ready to take some baby steps into the media world.

Media, press, social media etc. is what sells books. You can write the best book ever and not move one off of the shelf without it. What good is what you think is a bestseller taking up space and collecting dust in your closet? If you are not willing to do the marketing work, then hire a publicist who will! If can’t afford the publicists, then you either do the work or let the books collect more dust where we all lose!

Roxane was sharing about her winning of the Minnesota Independent Publishing Associations’ Book of the Year Award and what that meant to her and her career as an author. She went on to talk about the Mom’s Choice Award and what a valuable award that would be to win. I very quietly piped up, “I have one of those.” She stopped in mid-sentence, looked my way and said, “What did you say?” I repeated my statement about having one of those and she began to applaud. I never in my wildest dreams gave that kind of credence to what I had already won with Life in the Neck New Friends. Thank you Roxane to opening my eyes to what was already in my hands.

I left Beaver’s Pond Press that night with renewed energy and might I say with a bit of a swagger as I walked out to my car in the rain. Only a few cars were left in the parking lot to see me, however! But look out world of the media, I’m ready to take you on and with the help of the Mom’s Choice Award sell more books.

Logo Loco Revisited

October 5, 2018

After sending out yesterday’s blog post, I received a bunch of yeas and 1 nay on my new logo. My friend, Troy Pribnow, responded: “ I like the logo but as a graphic designer I have wonderings in my head. What would you think of a quill drawing a decorative line between “” and “author”? I am in no way trying to step on your toes or diminish your efforts; just my wonderings.”

I too must have had some “wonderings” as well. I liked the lamp and the colors all right. I really just wanted it done and out of the way. So I settled for the one I showed you yesterday with the lamp (bright idea! as another friend responded). I knew it wasn’t perfect but with the time and money involved it would do and I’d live with it.

Then along came Troy’s message and idea. After a lot of back and forth on Facebook this is what he came up with for me:

The quill says author much more than the lamp. I really, really like it so much. Troy’s response: “I think it fits you better, too.” Thanks Troy. You are the best!!!!

Logo Loco

October 4, 2018

Since starting to write, I’ve been thinking about creating some type of logo to use for this new adventure that I’m on – that of being an author. I must admit, it does make me a little bit loco trying to come up with something meaningful and creative and yet simple and tastefully done.   So here it is:


It is absolutely nothing meaningful and certainly not very creative. Simple – yes! Tastefully done – who cares.!?!?!?! I’m tired of trying to figure something out. The whole process has been a huge waste of my writing time. This works for me and is now crossed off my list so I can get back to the fun stuff – that of writing stories for children. I’ll put my creative juices to work there instead of trying to figure out a Loco Logo!

What do you think?



October 3, 2018

When you see the word vintage, what comes to mind? First to my mind comes vintage clothes – old-fashioned, or out-of-date clothing. Not garage sale stuff but fine classic apparel from eras past. Or how about vintage appliances, vintage machines, even vintage equipment? Outmoded, antiquated, dated, old, antique are words that pop into my head but also of the best. A vintage wine is supposedly the best wine and a vintage car is called a classic. So if something is vintage it is out of the ordinary in a special way.

The fall season brings with it vintage sales that have become so popular with shoppers of all ages. The word vintage raises the sale to a higher level of reality. It is not just an antique sale but a vintage antique sale. There you will not find “junk” but vintage junk raising it a level above just plain old junk. I guess it is all in the eyes of the beholder.

No matter – a vintage sale in the fall is just plain fun! It gets you out in the cool crisp sunshine to enjoy the colors of the season, friends and neighbors that are out and about, fresh apples, pumpkins and squash, and you might even find some vintage junk that you just cannot live without any longer. The challenge comes in repurposing the find into something useful for today.

This weekend, October 6 & 7, and next, October 13 & 14, you will find for your enjoyment the Apple Pickers Vintage Sale at 8421 St. Croix Trail S, Hastings, MN. Vendors featuring furniture, garden art, tools, guys stuff, French country, metal junk, big old cupboards, barn wood creations, antiques and some just plain interesting stuff will be on hand. The sale is 1 mile south of Afton Alps on St. Croix Trail. You can’t miss it. I gotta go before all the good “junk” is gone.   See you!



I will . . .

October 2, 2018

Our world today is so full of hate and greed! It seems to be everywhere from our high government officials to men and women walking the sidewalks next to us and yes, even the bullying on the playground and in the classroom! Where does so much evil and malevolent behavior find it’s way into our society? How can we deal with it and change it for the better?

Austin Swayne, the Youth Director at Cottage Grove United Church of Christ, preached a sermon entitled; I Will Serve the Kingdom. You can hear this thought filled and thought-provoking sermon by going to www.CGUCC and clicking on sermons. Austin asks the question, “How can this world filled with brokenness, pain, and evil be healed”? The simple and yet problematic and challenging answer is “one step at a time, one brick at a time and one person at a time”!

So how do we do this? How do we make this happen? Or better yet, how do I do this? How do I make this happen? My answer is by being the change we want to see happen!

  • I will . . . be kinder in traffic, let that person in such a rush cut in front of me without comment or gestures.
  • I will . . . greet people on the sidewalk with me with a smile and a friendly hello.I will . . . acknowledge the very old and very young as people and take time to listen to what they have to say.
  • I will . . . greet the cranky clerk, waitress, bank teller, customer service rep with a smile and thank them for doing their job well.
  • I will . . . be kind. I can be any thing in this world that I want to be – so why not be kind.

Respond to this post and let me know how you will finish this sentence. I will . . .

Apples, Undershirts, & Crisp Sunshine

October 1, 2018

I read this post from 10/1/15 Joyful Surprises and decided to repost it again.  Enjoy!

Well it’s here – October that is! My favorite month of the year! And it has nothing to do with Halloween. In fact, that is my least favorite holiday of the year and it just happens to be in October.

Today in Minnesota is the perfect example of why I love this month. I call it the cool crisp sunshine of this season. Right about now I decide to get out and walk AGAIN so I can enjoy the fallness in the air and on the trees and in the animals. Harvest has started which means the gathering in has begun for all animals both the two-legged and four-legged. Apple orchards are once again drawing record crowds to gather in the Honey Crisps, Haralsons, and the Sweet Tangoes as well as enjoy the corn maze, hayrides and games available.

People also seem to start to gather in. Darkness descends earlier and earlier requiring families to “be” together for a longer period of time each evening. Board games come out, sweaters and sweatshirts, long pants, afghans and slippers – it seems to be a cozying up time.

I always looked forward as a kid to the day that Mom said, “Okay guys, its time to start wearing the undershirts.” Remember they looked like a muscle shirt but were all white and made of soft cotton. Mine always had a little silky bow in the middle of the front neckline. They hugged your body tight keeping in the warmth. You wore them under your regular clothes hence the name undershirt. I even wore mine under my pajamas at night.

Well enjoy the season my friends and don’t forget to put your undershirt on!!!!!


Golf Cart Driving 101

September 29, 2018

“As we age . . . “ is a phrase that I seem to be hearing all too often lately. As if I don’t know that my age is crawling up there!?!?!?! Doctors especially seem to love that expression to explain every new little development that my body gets into.

On the other hand, “as we age . . . “ can also apply to some neat stuff to make our lessening mobility not so hard to handle. Recently Butch and I purchased a fun little golf cart to run around our property with. For instance when traveling up the drive get

the grandkids off of the bus, or taking lunch up to the shop for the gang, or even hauling supplies down to the dock for an afternoon on the pontoon, the golf cart comes in very handy.

Driving the cart does take a little know how that with a bit of practice can be learned. You know the saying, “It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.” So go ahead and call me the “old dog”.

On my first trip up the drive to pick up Eli off the bus, I drove very carefully trying to remember all of the tricks for smooth operation that Butch had shared with me. All went well until I tried to back the cart into the space in front of our front door. Eli is shouting, “stop” as my foot hits the accelerator instead of the brake. “I told you to stop,” implores Eli as we crash into the front door popping it open. “Did I break anything?” I asked. He looked rather stunned and replied, “Well there is just a few pieces of wood here, Grandma. I told you to stop!”

Eli is happy to take on the driving and the parking when he is with me now! Oh well, that works for me!!!!

You had what waxed?

September 27, 2018

Why is it the older you get the thinner your hair on the top of your head? Then also the older you get the more hair starts to show up on other parts of your body where it had never been before. Case in point, hands, fingers, toes, nose, ears, face, and etc.

For the last few years, I’ve begun to look and feel like a hairy ape with my hands, fingers and toes sprouting hairs. My toes I’d just shave along with the rest of my leg. But good heavens I couldn’t start shaving the backs of my hands and fingers could I?Thank goodness the hair is light blond in color so hopefully it doesn’t show too much. I know that it is there and it drives me crazy.

Six weeks ago while having my nails done, I asked the manicurist if she ever waxed anyone’s hands. “No,” was her reply. “Why?” I pointed out to her the bothersome hair on both of my hands and she just laughed at me. “I’ll do it but I don’t see why as you are probably the only one that sees it!” I didn’t even asked how much it would cost. I just told her to do it.

She spread the hot wax on a small area of my pointer and middle finger. Then applied the paper tape or whatever it is and smoothed it over. Next thing I knew she pulled hard and fast on the tape and off came the nasty hair! “Ouch,” I hollered more of an afterthought than any real pain as her hand jerked up and towards my face taking the finger hair along with it. “Yes!” came my response. “Keep going. Let’s get it all!” I’m sure no one noticed but me. I love my hairless hands once again.

I had my nails done again today and yes I had my fingers waxed and the back of my hands. I asked her if she waxes anyone else’s fingers and she replied with a grin, “No, actually you are the only one!” Sandal time is over for the season. It is time to get out the winter socks. Come next spring I’ll have my toes waxed also and once again I’ll be the only one who has that done. Whatever – it makes me happy!

Pretend School

September 26, 2018

Looking back over old blog posts, I came across this one from September of 2015.  It is always fun to repost my thoughts from a few years ago.  Pretend School – Enjoy!

In my adult life, I spent twenty-six years teaching school for real! Ten years with 3rd grade and sixteen years with 1st grade. I wonder how many hours as a child I spent teaching pretend school? My students were anyone that I could hold captive including my younger brother. Most of the time, however, my learners were stuffed as in stuffed animals or dolls. I remember using the Reader’s Digest magazines as my textbooks as they were the perfect size. I had a folding chalkboard that continually pinched my fingers when I would try to move it.

My daughter played school as a child using stuffed animals and dolls as her students as well. And now my granddaughter plays pretend school when she gets off of the bus and yes, stuffed animals and dolls sit quietly in their squares on the carpet waiting for their assignments. No Reader’s Digests for her students. They use my library of children’s books for reading and story time. She has a whiteboard and markers, pointers, good notes, stickers and incentive charts, flashcards, math workbooks, games and charts. Sometimes her little brother even gets corralled into playing along with her. He doesn’t last very long before he insists on recess! Papa and Daddy’s new shop has a pretend schoolroom complete with desks for the teacher and the students. Pretend school goes on there in the shop summer, fall, winter and spring.

It is a special joy for me to watch this pretend school happening. Her teaching methods mirror the particular teacher she has during the present school year. Interesting to see it change as her teacher’s change. What a special privilege for me to be able to peek into the pretend classroom. I sometimes even get to be a student – of course I’m a problem child!



The Golden Rule

September 25, 2018

Remember the Golden Rule?  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It was probably the first bit of Christian learning and relationship training that I have memory of my parents teaching my brothers and I. Our pastor at CGUCC preached a sermon on the Golden Rule in 2015. It was interesting to hear that the Golden Rule, in some form or another, appears in almost every religion or ethical tradition in the world.

My book dedication in Life in the Neck New Friends highlights the Golden Rule. “To my grandchildren, Elsie and Eli. Always remember to treat your friends as you would like them to treat you.” The story in New Friends reflects that sentimentality.

On a day-to-day basis, living by the Golden Rule will certainly make you a better and happier person. It will also make those around you happier and will make the community you live in a better place. So if it is that simple and the world is aware of this, why is it so hard to live by?

While conducting an online search regarding the Golden Rule, I found an article by Leo Babauta giving tips for living the Golden Rule. It might just be worth a try. What can it hurt?

18 Practical Tips for Living the Golden Rule      By Leo Babauta

Practice empathy.

  1. Practice compassion.
  2. How would you want to be treated?
  3. Be friendly.
  4. Be helpful.
  5. Be courteous in traffic.
  6. Listen to others.
  7. Overcome prejudice.
  8. Stop criticism.
  9. Don’t control others.
  10. Remember what it is like to be a child.
  11. Send yourself a reminder.
  12. Tie a string to your finger.
  13. Post it on your wall or make it your home page.
  14. Rise above retaliation.
  15. Be the change.
  16. Notice how it makes you feel.
  17. Say a prayer.
  18. “May I gain no victory that harms me or my opponent.

May I, insofar as I can, give all necessary

help to my friends and to all who are in need.

May I never fail a friend in trouble.”

That is quite a list! The Golden Rule itself may be simple but learning to live it is quit another challenge.