Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Blessings!

I hope all of my readers had a wonderful Christmas! Our family certainly did. We went to church at 11:00 on Christmas Eve and the whole service was as beautiful as it always is. We enjoyed just being together. It was fun to see the reactions to gifts we gave, and to get things we'd been hoping for.

I don't know about you, but it's hard for me to get back into a post-Christmas routine after all the hustle and bustle and planning and preparing for Christmas. Today I'm updating my calendars for January (I have three calendars--a family one, one in my office, and a smaller one that fits in my purse). I'm trying to get into a better routine for keeping up on household tasks like laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc. There's something about the new year that motivates me to become more organized. How about you?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Helping the Hurting During the Holidays

Our family lost two good friends in the last week. One man was killed in a farm accident and another died very suddenly and unexpectedly. It was a tough week, and unfortunately, the families of our friends, as well as many other families, are facing the holidays without a loved one.

Holidays are (to say the least) difficult when a loved one has died. You, as a friend, can ease that pain at least a little bit. Here are some hints, from What Should I Say? The Right (and Wrong!) Words and Deeds from Life's Sticky, Tricky, Uncomfortable Situations.

  • Do not be afraid to mention the name of the person who has died. You will NOT be bringing up something the family is not thinking about! They will find comfort in remembering their loved one, even if it brings tears.
  • You don't have to say the "right" words; nothing you (or anyone else!) can say will make it "all better." You can, however, aid in the healing process by letting the person talk.
  • If you don't know what to say, say, "I wish there was something I could say to take away your heartache!" and give a big hug.
  • It's OK to say things like, "I know she loved Christmas; it's hard to not have her here to celebrate," "I know the holidays can be difficult after the loss of a loved one; I'm thinking of you during this time." "I sure miss him and I bet you do too. Is there anything I can do to make it easier?"
  • Pray for your friend to be comforted with memories of the loved one who has died.
  • Consider sending a card with comforting Bible verses, memories of the loved one, or sharing a happy memory.
  • Do NOT have a preconceived notion of how the person "should" spend the holidays; some people choose to start new traditions, while others find comfort in carrying on old ones. Support your friend in whatever he/she chooses to do.
  • Invite the person (and other family members, if appropriate) to church events, shopping, or out for hot chocolate.
Use these hints to help someone who is hurting, get through the holidays.

Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea

Do you enjoy reading the Nebraska Family Times? Would someone you know enjoy getting it every month?

If you would like to give a gift subscription to the Nebraska Family Times, e-mail me at, or call (402) 993-2467 or (402) 750-3496, with that person's address. I will send him or her notification of your gift in a Christmas card! You won't be billed until January.

The cost of a 1-year subscription (12 issues) is only $12. The Nebraska Family Times is suitable for college students, parents--anyone!

Would you like to share the Nebraska Family Times with even more people? Consider a sponsorship. For just $1/issue/month (minimum 10 copies/month) you can give copies of the Nebraska Family Times to your church, doctor's office, or any other business, to have available for patients/customers/members. Again, e-mail me with the address and contact person name, and I will notify them of your generous gift. You can choose to be billed monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or yearly.

SPECIAL OFFER FROM SHELMAR PUBLICATIONS! Shelmar Publications is offering a special at this time--Buy one get one free on the following books from Shelmar Publications:
  • How to Find Your Perfect Job in Nursing
  • Home is Where the Mom Is; A Christian Mom's Guide to Caring for Herself, Her Family, and Her Home
  • What Should I Say? The Right (and Wrong!) Words and Deeds for Life's Sticky, Tricky, Uncomfortable Situations

Read excerpts of each book and order from After you've paid via PayPal, e-mail ( or call me (402) 993-2467 or (402) 750-3496) with your choice of FREE book!

Give the gift that always fits, and will last all year! Give the Nebraska Family Times or a book from Shelmar Publications!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday Mail for Heroes

Our country is so blessed to have people who are willing to serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines! Here is a way to give back to them during the Christmas season, when they're away from their family.

Holiday Mail for Heroes

Holiday Mail for Heroes is a partnership between the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes to deliver one million holiday cards to American service members, veterans and their families in the United States and around the world. Please send cards to this address, following the guidelines listed below:

Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Go to for more information, for a downloadable card, etc.

Please follow these simple guidelines when sending your card to ensure it will quickly reach service members, veterans and their families.

All cards must be postmarked no later than Wednesday, December 10, 2008. Cards sent after this date will be returned to sender.

If sending more than one card, please mail all cards together in one large shipping envelope. Cards sent in this manner do not need individual envelopes or postage.

Please ensure that all cards are signed.

Please use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.”

Please do not include personal information, like email or home addresses.

Please do not send letters.

Please do not include inserts of any kind, including photos, glitter, confetti, gift cards or calling cards. Any items inserted into cards will be removed during the reviewing process.


After my mishap with the stove on Cody's birthday, I was a little bit concerned about cooking for Thanksgiving (truth be told, I think my family was too . . . ). Thankfully, the oven didn't catch on fire, the weather was beautiful, and all the food turned out!

We started the day by going to church. I love the Thanksgiving songs--we all truly have so much to be thankful for, beginning with a God who loves us, family, friends, opportunities, a home, clothes, food, pets, laptop computers and wireless Internet access . . .

We missed being with mom and dad, sisters, grandpa, and other guests in Missouri, but got to talk to them on or the day after Thanksgiving and that helped the "miss you" pangs. We had a nice evening with Tim's mom and dad, who live just down the road.

We enjoyed prime rib, Yorkshire pudding, brussel sprouts (I found a very yummy recipe for them), and my grandma's Green Jello Salad for supper. We all love the salad, but I have to call my mom for the recipe every time I want to make it, because I keep losing the recipe! It only has 5 ingredients (we don't add the nuts or celery) and I should be able to remember it, but I'm afraid I'll forget something so have to call mom. And even if I could remember the recipe, it's a nice excuse to talk to mom.

After supper we had lemon pie for dessert; Morgan and Anne prepared it and it was more than delicious.

We didn't brave the stores during the early hours of Friday morning, but spend a quiet weekend at home.

Finishing up Another Issue!

I'm just finishing up the December issue of the Nebraska Family Times! I think it will be a great issue, and hope readers agree. It was fun to search for articles related to the Christmas season--the paper will contain articles about unique ways of celebrating Advent and Christmas, a challenge to read the whole Bible in 2009 (with suggestions for how to go about doing so), and suggestions for capturing information about a relative or friend's life during a Family Day of Remembering, issues to discuss with your daughter if she is reading the Twilight series of books--and much, much more!

I enjoy researching, writing, and finding articles for all of the different subjects the paper covers. I always learn something and get new ideas when I'm working on the paper. (I'm glad Vyckie is available for questions; I am definitely confident about what I'm doing but it's nice to have her to bounce questions off of. Her experience is more than valuable to me!)

I choose the articles with you--the readers--in mind. In my mind, every article should have a purpose--to provide you with information, teach you something new, give you something to think about, or provide you with a reason to laugh.

Jennifer will get the paper all layed out tomorrow or Thursday and email it to me; I'll proofread it by Friday around noon. She will make any changes and send it on to the printer. It will be printed Monday, and I'll pick the papers up at Vyckie's house on Tuesday. All copies should be mailed out and delivered by the end of next week.

I want to learn more about the readers of the Nebraska Family Times. In January, there will be a short survey in the paper and on the website. There will be questions asking basic information (your age range, number of children in the home, etc.) and ask what you would like to see more (or less!) of in the paper. You won't have to give your name . . . unless you want to qualify for one of the prizes I'll be giving away to several people who fill out the survey. During the next month, jot down your thoughts about what the paper should contain; I appreciate any and all suggestions.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Birthday Boy

Our family does "non-traditional" for birthday "cakes". None of us really like cake, so we either have ice cream cake or some other dessert. This year Cody chose cheesecake. I wish I could say that I baked six different cheesecakes and placed two slices of each on a serving platter, but the grocery store did that for me! Cody couldn't decide what kind he wanted, so since he was the birthday boy I cut a circle of cheesecake for him, which included the tip of each slice--he got mini-bites of each kind of cheesecake!

Cody's Birthday

I've hesitated in posting this because of my desire to be seen as a competent, well-organized women and mom. However, I have to admit that when a friend confides something similiar to what you'll read below, I have a small feeling of "whew . . . I'm not the only one who . . . " and hearing that a friend has an . . . unexpected experience . . . in no way lowers my opinion of her as a competent, well-organized woman, but instead, reassures me that even when I mess things up, it's OK! So I hope you'll enjoy this recounting of Cody's birthday.

We decided to have a quiet dinner at home with several long-time friends, so I was preparing prime rib, yorkshire pudding, a new recipe for brussel sprouts, fingerling potatoes brought fresh from the field in Colorado, where two of our guests were from, and birthday cheesecake (no, I didn't make it--although I love baking cheesecake--I got it from the grocery store).

I'd planned dinner for around 7:00 and was happy to see lights coming down the driveway about that time--it's such a busy time of the year with the sale and I was afraid something would come up and dinner would have to be very late.

I took the roast out of the oven, popped the Yorkshire pudding in, stirred the brussel sprouts, and went to finish setting the table, proud of myself because the timing for everything seemed just right--it would all be done when everyone was ready to eat!

I tuned to come back in to the kitchen, and saw that . . . the oven was on fire!!!!!!!!!! I ran in the kitchen, turned off the stove, got the Yorkshire pudding out, and sprinkled baking soda on the fire, putting it out immediately. Then I started opening windows and doors to let the smoke out before the smoke alarms went off . . . and Jenny, our beagle, ran outside into the darkness and wouldn't come back!!!

By that time I was actually laughing, because the situation had deteriorated so quickly--from everything-under-control-and-on-time to the-oven-is-0n-fire-and-the-dog-ran-away in about 30 seconds.

Thankfully, Jenny just ran around the house and came in with the guests, and I made some tortellini to take the place of the Yorkshire pudding. Our guests were very gracious and helped wave the smoke out, and patiently waited a few minutes while I made the tortellini. The night turned out great, and Cody will remember his 17th birthday!

(enough blogging . . . I have to finish cleaning the oven!)

December Nebraska Family Times

It's hard to believe another month is almost over and articles for the December issue of the paper are due next week!

When I put together "my" first issue of the newspaper, the task seemed almost overwhelming. As with most seemingly overwhelming tasks, however, when I was able to break it down into smaller tasks it was "doable."

This week I will e-mail regular columnists, reminding them of a Monday deadline. I talked with several people/businesses about advertising, so will also remind them of the deadline. Over the weekend I will start researching articles to include in the paper. I really enjoy searching different websites for information that I anticipate readers will enjoy and that will benefit them in their lives.

One of my goals is to give you information that you probably won't find in any regular, mainstream publication. I also want to provide information that you can apply to your life, your family, immediately.

Friends who know me well will not be surprised to learn that I have a detailed checklist (although not color-coded, as some of my lists are!) of articles needed and things I need to do to complete the paper.

This month also marks the debut of a new column, "Stupidity 4 Dummies." You'll laugh, or just shake your head, when you read of the antics of some people!

The paper will be printed Monday, Dec. 8th, and mailed out that week.

If you would like to see articles on a certain subject, please let me know! The paper is for you!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Old Enough to be the Mom of a 17 Year Old?

It's hard to believe that 17 years ago Tim and I were preparing for the birth of our first child. We didn't find out the sex, and neither of us had a feeling as to if Cody was going to be "Cody Edward" or "Alisha MaryAnne".

I will never, ever forget the joyful moment of Cody's birth at 1:52 PM on November 18, 1991! I read once that before you have children, you can never imagine what your life will be like after you have them . . . and after you have kids you cannot remember life without them. I agree! Having children has been one of the greatest joys in my life and I'm sure Tim agrees with that.

It has been amazing to watch our children grow and change. I pray that the way Tim and I have raised Cody and Morgan will ultimately make a difference in the world . . . to someone . . . I don't know exactly how, but I'm confident that with the gifts and talents both of our children have, with God's help and guidance, and with the encouragement of those around them, they WILL change at least their little corner of the world for the better.

Cody hasn't decided what he wants to do for his birthday. I know it will be a family thing . . . perhaps we'll eat at our favorite restaurant, and as an alternative I've offered to make him the meal of his choosing if he'd rather stay home. We're not big cake eaters, so I'll probably get him an ice cream cake for dessert.

As a 17 year-old, it's difficult to figure out what to get him as a gift for his birthday. Today, however, I had a brainstorm of something I can make him that I think will be PERFECT! On the off chance (waaayy off chance!) he reads this blog (or someone who reads it and would share the secret with him), I'm not going to post what my gift to him is, until his birthday. Suffice it to say it combines one of his favorite activities with my favorite hobby.

"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him."
Psalm 127:3

Great Minds Think Alike

I was talking to my mom on the way home tonight (it was a country road; I'm very careful when I'm driving and talking on my cell phone!). It was almost sunset, and I was just thinking to myself that the sunset was beautiful, when my mom gasped and said, "Wow, the sky is beautiful here!"

I find it amazing that mom and I were each looking at a beautiful sunset, even though we are hundreds of miles apart!

Mom suggested that I post some of the pictures I've taken of sunrises and sunsets. These are from this spring and summer. I am humbled when I think of the love our God must have for us to give us such beauty to gaze at . . . if only we take the time. I was doubly blessed tonight to be able to share that beauty with my mom! I hope you enjoy the pictures as well.

Many Hats

I think all moms wear many hats (dads too, for that matter), and I'm no exception!

This morning I started with my "mom" hat. Tim and the kids are traveling to Kentucky to a cattle show this weekend, and I was running through my own checklist with the kids this morning, asking if they'd remembered pajamas, underwear (Cody rolled his eyes at that!), shampoo, and so on. Since they're flying they were working to minimize their luggage as much as possible.

After a few "looks" (anyone who has or has ever had teenagers knows the "look") and eye-rolls from the kids, I concentrated on preparing to wear my nurse hat for my shift with my private duty patient. I enjoy my patient and her family and I am so blessed to have a job that fits into the other aspects of my family and life so well.

Tim picked the kids up at school so they could go to the airport, and since I had errands in Columbus anyway I met them at school for one more hug (Cody checked to be sure none of his friends were watching . . . Morgan was generous with long and tight hugs, and so was Tim!) and to wish them a safe, fun, and successful trip.

Then I put on my "errand" hat and did a few things around Columbus (see next post for details on what I shopped for).

My mom called as I was on my way home, and it was so nice to talk with her and catch up with what's happening in Missouri, where mom and dad and grandpa live. As an added treat, my dad called later! We don't get to talk very often so it was great that he called.

By the time I got home it was time for the "feed the animals" hat--namely, Morgan's sheep and the dogs.

Now, it's finally time to put on my "newspaper publisher and editor" hat! I'm working on some records and writing and mailing a Christmas letter to all of the advertisers, subscribers, and sponsors. I love reviewing our year and writing a Christmas letter, and this year was FULL of changes and momentous happenings.

If you are interested in the Nebraska Family Times, or this blog, please e-mail me (at with your name and address. I'll send you a sample issue of the paper AND our Christmas letter.

I am blessed to have the time and opportunity to wear so many hats! And I hope you enjoy your own hats as well.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Election Results

History was made in Presidential Election last week!

Perhaps the election didn't turn out the way you'd voted and prayed for. I encourage you to read this Breakpoint commentary, which offers insight as to the positives of the election as well as what all Christians should be doing during the next four years.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Day

I'm ready for election day! It is an honor and privilege to have a say in not only the next president of the United States, but state and local officials as well.

No matter the results, history will be made!

I hope all of my readers feel the same way and exercise that right and privilege. Of course no candidate is perfect . . . but I hope you will weigh the positive and negative points of each, consider their values as related to your values, pray about your decision, and consider whether or not each candidate will do what they swear to do when inaugurated, which is uphold the Constitution of the United States of America.

Please pray for the election to go smoothly . . . for election officials to be honest and efficient . . . for voters to be patient and honest . . . and for all Americans to accept the results.

As you prepare to vote, please consider the following verse:

"But select capable men (and women!) from all the people--men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate honest gain--and appoint them as officials . . . " Exodus 18:21

Missons (Almost!) Accomplished

WHEW! It was a good, quiet weekend. I had a long list when it began . . . and (miraculously!) got almost everything done by last night!

Once I got all of my NFT customers' names, addresses, and other particulars into the computer, it just took a couple of clicks of my mouse to make invoices . . . and another click to print them! (Believe me, I held my breath after clicking "print" . . . and what a sense of accomplishment it was when the invoices . . . printed!)

It was satisfying to see that stack of invoices, all ready to mail . . . and to get them in the mail. I don't know if my customers will be quite as satisfied when they actually get the bills . . . but I hope the newspaper is of high enough quality that they don't mind too much.

My other major job of the weekend was to update Tim's sale catalog mailing list. Our sale is November 23rd, and in the catalog are pictures and the breeding of the cattle that will be on the sale. I don't understand all of that (even after 20+ years knowing Tim I still don't know if the "sire" is the bull {father} or cow {mother}, but don't tell Tim that!) Luckily I didn't need to know any of that . . . I just go through the database of all the names and addresses (almost 3,000 at last count!) and delete the addresses if the catalog came back last year (because the person had moved) or change the addresses when the new address was on the little yellow sticker the post office put on the catalog . . . before they sent it back to us.

I hit "send" on that database last night, feeling very satisfied . . . until this morning when Tim asked me if I'd gone through the list line by line to see if there were duplicates (if the most minor thing is different--a letter not capitalized, a variation in the address, the label will get printed twice, and the person will get two catalogs).

I hadn't done that, and since I was going to work it was up to Tim to go thru the list. He found enough doubles, and enough names that were not on the list but should have been, to make it worthwhile.

NOW I am going through LAST year's sign up sheets to see if there are any names on that list, that are not on the mailing list but should be!

I really don't mind the computer work . . . it's not too stressful, just monotonous. But it's easy to do between tasks like putting a load of laundry in, eating lunch, letting the dogs out . . . letting the dogs in . . . (and surfing the net for just a few minutes for a break).

If you'd like a sneak peek of the cattle that will be on the sale, go to If you want a catalog, you can e-mail me at

So, all in all it's been a productive weekend!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Accounting Program

It seems like it's taking much longer than it should to get this accounting program going! I'm in the process of entering information into the program, and learning about the program as I do. I think (hope, and pray!) that it will turn out to be fairly easy to use. It's time to do billing again, so I can pay MY bills, so I better get it learned!

I was hoping to get more done today, but so far other things . . . parent-teacher conferences . . . taking advantage of the 70 degree, sunny, calm day, to take a walk . . . cleaning the pile of "putting together the newspaper" debris off my desk so I could get to the computer . . . feeding the sheep . . . I wish I could stay awake for the next two days to get everything done, but the older I get the harder it is to do that, haha!

Thankfully tomorrow is another day . . . and I plan to be well-rested and ready to go!

Family Happenings

Tim, Cody, and Morgan are now in Kansas City at the American Royal Livestock Show. They're excited about being there but we've only communicated through brief text messages, so I don't know much about what's going on, but I know they're keeping busy. Some of their out-of-state friends are there also.

The kids do miss some days of school for cattle shows and FFA events, but they're keeping up with their classes and getting excellent grades, so their teachers understand (most of them anyway!). I know that they are learning many "life lessons" when they are responsible for caring for their cattle, getting them ready for shows, and so on. Most days their day starts well before 6:00 AM so it's not like they're on vacation!

Parent-Teacher Conferences were today, and I spent several hours this morning meeting with the teachers. I had crib notes--the kids told me a little bit about each class and teacher. One teacher goes to our church, one teacher is in charge of the Mock Trial team (which Morgan is a part of), and so on.

I really enjoyed meeting all of the teachers (since this is just the second year the kids have gone to school at Lakeview, most of the teachers are new to me), and they're very happy with the kids' grades and behaviors. I learned more about the trip to National FFA Convention from their FFA advisor than I did from Cody and Morgan!

I had some errands to do after conferences, so didn't get home until later than I'd planned . . . putting me behind in completing items on my to-do list. Oh well, to-do lists are just a suggestion, right???

November Issue

The November issue is done! I did it all myself this issue . . . with a little bit of advice from Vyckie on the front page articles. She liked my ideas and I really value her opinion, and I felt good that she liked the articles I picked.

The process goes like this. I pick out and write articles that I want in the paper, and post them to an e-mail account. Jennifer, the lady who does the layout, then puts the articles and ads in "newspaper" format, fitting everything in, getting graphics and pictures, etc. When she's done with that, she (somehow!) e-mails a file that includes the paper, to me.

I then look it over, proofread it, and e-mail any corrections back to Jennifer. I can also see if there are any spaces for which I need to find more articles. Last night I e-mailed Jennifer just a few corrections, and then looked for a several more short articles, which I found very quickly.

By the time I e-mailed Jennifer the articles, she'd already made the corrections! It's neat to get that "sneak peek" of the paper on the computer screen, although there's nothing like holding the "real" paper in my hands. One of the articles in the paper is about a newspaper that is no longer going to be published in print form, only on the Internet. While it's nice to be able to do research and read papers online, I still enjoy reading a "paper" copy of the local newspapers!

I'm very happy with the November issue; I think it contains a nice mix of articles that will inform, educate, and entertain readers. (My mom and dad, grandpa, and sister don't know it, but there are photos of them from last Thanksgiving with the Editor's letter!)

Jennifer e-mailed/uploaded/downloaded (I'm not sure quite which one, but somehow the paper got there!) to the place where it's printed. The actual printing will take place in Wayne, NE, on Monday. Monday afternoon it will be delivered to Norfolk, where I will pick it up on Tuesday!

It will be mailed out/delivered to sponsors next week. And then we'll start all over again!

If you would like a sample copy of the paper, or would like one sent to someone, please e-mail me at

As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please e-mail me at I love hearing from you!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Computer Accounting Work

When I took over the paper from Vyckie, she gave me the program she had been using for doing the accounting. She also gave me an update for the program. For technical reasons I'm going to have to get all of the information from her program and then re-enter it on the updated program that she gave me (don't ask me to explain it . . . the technician on the phone explained it to me but I don't have the technical knowledge to explain it to anyone else!).

I'm about a third of the way done with getting the information off of the old program. It has actually been a good thing to do as I'm learning about all of the sponsors and advertisers. I've also been reading the book about the new program, so hopefully entering the information and using the program won't be too hard.

One of the reasons I really enjoy publishing the paper is that every week is different! No two days are the same. This week I'm going to focus on the computer bookkeeping aspect of it, as well as start to research and collect articles for the next issue--the deadline is already approaching! Just when I'm getting a little tired of doing one thing (whether it's doing research, preparing the mailing, billing, or paperwork), it's time for the next thing.

It's the Little Things that Count

I was listening to the radio today, and heard a pastor who shared some important thoughts. I don't know his name, but love his Australian accent! His main point was this: Live as to be missed when you're gone. And he meant missed in a good way!

He pointed out the fact that we don't have to do "big" things to be important or to make an impact on someone. He said that we are doing God's work when we use kind words, make quick calls, and write short notes.

I don't know about you, but I often think that what I do doesn't "matter" unless it impacts many people, or is newsworthy. I forget (as I think we all do) that the little things matter--a note of encouragement to someone who is going through a hard time, a call to a lonely friend or relative, just to say "Hi! How are you doing? I'm thinking of you!", a plate of cookies for people who are working hard--even if you bought the dough already made and just had to scoop it out and bake it.

I don't know why I'm surprised that these little gestures matter--my day is brightened by a simple e-mail from a friend, or even a smile from a stranger during a bad day. Last week one day I talked to both of my sisters AND my mom--all on the same day! It was the best day of the week. I don't remember what we talked about, but it made my day to talk to all of them.

One of my goals this week is to brighten someone's day, every day, with a small gesture. I know that by brightening someone else's day, I'll also brighten my own day. And hopefully . . . I will be missed when I'm gone.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


The election is just three weeks away! I don't know about you but I am definitely ready for it to be OVER. I've avoided the news and TV as much as possible, but even when it's on for just a few minutes it seems there is something about the election playing!

I hope everyone reading this is planning to vote. It is a great privilege and a responsibility as well. The following website will give you some good information on candidates' views on life issues. Go to

As you prepare to vote, please keep the following Bible verse in mind: "But select capable men {and women} from all the people--men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain--and appoint them as officials . . . " Exodus 18:21

Friday, October 10, 2008


The printed papers filled 16 boxes, which jjjuuussstttt fit into the back of my Envoy. They weren't too heavy . . . just heavy enough for it to count as "exercise" when I loaded them into the Envoy . . . took them out and to my office . . . carried them to the kitchen where the 'get-the-papers-ready-to-mail' assembly line was set up . . . loaded them back into the Envoy for the trip to the Post Office . . . and carried them one more time into the post office.

To qualify for a bulk mailing rate, the papers had to be arranged according to the first three numbers in the zip code of who they were addressed to. It wasn't as hard as it sounds; I just made a database of all the addresses and asked the computer to arrange them according to zip code. Then it was just a matter of sticking the labels on the papers and bundling them into groups.

Many businesses and individuals are "sponsors" of the Nebraska Family Times, meaning they purchase 10 (or more) papers to put in their own, or another place of business, or another public place (their church, for example). These complimentary copies are then available for customers or members to enjoy.

Multiple copies of the paper are mailed to sponsors in manilla envelopes, and as well as an address label require a return address label AND a bulk mail label. I become very friendly with the label-making function on my computer this week!

Finally the papers were all labeled, return-address labeled, bundled, stickered, arranged, and made another trek to the Envoy. I was a bit nervous about taking them into the post office . . . I was concerned that a label would be in the wrong place, or the papers would not be arranged quite right, or I'd have done something else wrong. But the man in the post office could not have been nicer, and sending the papers off was quick and easy.

Now I envision the papers on their way to their destinations thoroughout Nebraska . . . to Iowa . . . California . . . Missouri . . . New Mexico . . . Oklahoma . . . and even several to Canada! I hope they are enjoyed by everyone who reads them!

First Issue

WOW--it was soooo neat to see "my" first issue of the Nebraska Family Times!

It was very satisfying to coordinate notifying columnists, obtaining permission to reprint articles, searching out news and interesting nuggets of information from various websites, finding cartoons, and writing my own articles for the paper. My goal was that every element of the paper would provide something for the reader--be it encouragement, reassurance, useful information, or a laugh. I hope I've accomplished that goal!

I'd never thought about how many peoples' skills are a part of creating a newspaper--the columnists; Vyckie, who answered my questions and gave helpful advice; Jennifer, who laid out the paper; Al, who printed the paper . . . all of my friends and family who encouraged me . . . thanks so much to everyone who was a part of it.

Today I mailed the paper (see the next post), so the next step is to hear from you, the readers. I look forward to hearing what you think of the paper--what you like, what you don't like, what you'd like to see more of . . . the paper is for YOU!

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please email me at, or call me at (402) 750-3496.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Family News

Our family has had a very busy month. We’re preparing for our annual cattle sale, which will be the week before Thanksgiving. We also attended AKSARBEN, the livestock show in Omaha. Although I don’t help get the cattle ready to show (my “job” is taking pictures), I have many “show mom” friends and it was great to see and talk with them throughout the weekend.

Cody and Morgan and their friend McKinzie took part in the fitting contest at AKSAREBEN. In this contest, each team (which is required to include at least one girl, and one member 13 years old or under) has 30 minutes to get a calf ready to go into the show ring. It’s a contest of teamwork, as well as skill and know-how. The kids did great—their team won the contest for the second year in a row!

We enjoyed watching all of the teams compete—most of them included kids we knew. One of the neatest parts about showing cattle is that while the kids compete against each other, they help each other get ready for the show, and congratulate each other after the show, no matter who wins.

Stop the Presses!


Not really, I've just wanted to say that ever since I took over the paper.

I'm so happy to say that "my" first issue of the paper has been printed! I haven't picked it up yet; I'll do that tomorrow. But I've seen the first issue; the lady who lays the paper out sent a copy of it to me via computer. It was really neat to see the articles I'd picked out all together in their appropriate place in the paper. I'm sure it will be even more of a thrill to hold the actual paper in my hot little hands!

My goal was to find a wide variety of articles--for information, for fun, for inspiration--about a variety of topics relevant to Christian Nebraska families. And I think I did! Some of the articles will give you an insight into current American culture, and this is information you probably won't find in any mainstream news source. Several articles will provide you with information you can put to use immediately! And some articles are just plain fun--we all need more of that in our days. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments! Please email me at

Speaking of news . . . there is plenty of "bad" news these days. I would like to remind all of my readers that it is the motivation of most news sources is to get the most viewers; the best way to do that is to present the "news" in the worst possible light. Choose your news carefully . . . and in small doses.

Realistically, there is very little that we, as individuals, can do to change the financial situation or what's going on in the world. Please consider using your time and energy to make sure your personal or family financial situation is the best it can be.

To ultimately affect national and world events, take advantage of a privilege we have in this country and VOTE! Become an informed voter. We know that no candidate is perfect, but vote for the one who is the closest to your ideal, whether it be for president, senator, governor, school board member, mayor of your town.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

October Issue

The October issue of the Nebraska Family Times will be at the end of next week. It will be printed the first part of the next week (the week of Oct. 6th) and will be delivered and mailed to sponsors and individual subscribers later that week.

I am so excited about publishing "my" first issue of NFT! Vyckie has been answering my questions and helping whenever I ask--thanks Vyckie! The paper will contain cartoons, information about recent developments in the "safe haven" bill, financial advice, and a voter's guide, as well as the regular columns that appear in the NFT.

I better get back to research and writing!


The end of summer bums me out. I love the hot weather, lush shades of green wherever I look, and the more relaxed, less scheduled days of summer. I enjoy fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, wearing shorts all day, and spending long evenings outside.

The Farmer's Almanac predicts a long, cold winter. I'm NOT looking forward to that! I do not enjoy cold, wet feet, I detest wearing a hat, coat and gloves (so much so that I often go without . . . which will dismay my mother if she reads this--sorry, mom!), and am sad when it gets dark at 5:30 PM.

Maybe that's why I'm not looking forward to fall this year (even though it's officially "fall" right now)--because I know winter will soon follow. I am trying very hard to enjoy every day of "summer" that God gives me, by spending time outside and eating fresh, locally grown vegetables whenever I can. I am trying to remember to enjoy every day, rather than thinking about how much I dislike winter, and how soon it will be there. I don't want the dread of days to come to lessen the joy of today.

And I will think about what I do enjoy about winter . . . making soups and other "comfort" foods, having my family home at an early hour in the evening (it's hard to practice with the cattle in the dark!), drinking hot chocolate and looking forward to spring.

If you talk to me and I complain about the upcoming winter, please remind me that, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven . . . " and I'll go about a "winter" activity . . . preferably an activity that includes chocolate.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Ever since Vyckie offered me the opportunity to take over the Nebraska Family Times (NFT) newspaper, I've shared my thoughts, concerns, ideas, and excitement with friends and family, by talking to them and through e-mail. Almost without exception I've received encouragement--"What an opportunity!" "You can do it!"

Both Vyckie and I wrote an "Editor's Letter" in the Sept. issue of the paper, which just came out this week. Vyckie wrote about turning the paper over to me, and I wrote about my excitement (and a little anxiety) over this new opportunity. Over the last few days I've talked to several people connected with the NFT. Without exception they have been polite and friendly, and encouraging. I really appreciate those words of encouragement and support!

Encouraging others is something we can do so easily . . . yet don't do as often as we could. Think about it--you can encourage your child before he or she goes to school in the morning. Encourage your husband before he goes to work. Offer a "thank you for your hard work" to the check-out clerk in the store, or the person who delivers your mail, or your child's teacher. When you see a mom trying frantically to finish her grocery shopping while her kids are crying and begging for candy, give her a smile that says, "My kids acted that way, too . . . I know how you feel, and it's OK! I know you're a good mom. Kids can just be that way."

I suppose someday I'll get calls about the paper that will not be encouraging. But hopefully I will remember the kind and encouraging words I have heard, and use the critical words to improve the paper. THANKS to everyone who has given me encouragement. It means more than I can say.

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up . . . " 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's Official!

As of Thursday, Sept. 11th, I'm the official owner of the Nebraska Family Times newspaper! A friend, Lori, and I went to Norfolk and spent the day with Vyckie. We signed the official papers for the takeover, learned about mailing the paper out each month when it was printed, and talked about some last-minute things. It was an information-intensive, but fun day!

I'm a little overwhelmed, but so very excited about this opportunity too. Nebraska Family Times offers quality, conservative, Christian information for Nebraska families and I'm so honored to be a part of continuing the tradition that Vyckie and her family have started, in the newspaper.

I'm happy that a good friend of mine, Lori, will be helping me with various aspects of the paper. She will help with mailing the papers and other projects as they come up. I know we'll enjoy working together!

This weekend I worked on doing the billing for Sept. I'm a little slow with the accounting software, but I'm getting the hang of it! I'm looking forward to talking with the different advertisers, sponsors, and subscribers.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

God's Plan--Better than My Plan

In my years as a writer--aspiring writer, author of books, magazine article writer--I imagined and accomplished many things. I dreamed of having a regular column--and I did (in Livestock Plus--an agricultural magazine). I've self-published several books and helped a friend make his dream come true in putting his columns together in a book (check out Chaplain's Corner; A Collection of Columns Written for The Nebraska Legionnaire 1986-1988 and 1990-2001 by Reverend Dr. Paul Rowoldt).

I had a few dreams that did NOT come true. I haven't been on a talk show . . . none of my books have been picked up by a major publisher. . . and I haven't hit "the big time".

However . . . it's very obvious to me, now, that God had a different plan, a bigger and better plan, for me. A plan I never, ever, even dreamed! One of my favorite Bible verses has always been, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11.

One thing I never imagined doing was owning and writing a newspaper . . . but clearly, that was the plan God had for me. How long has He had this plan for me? I don't know. It doesn't matter. I'm sure that He planned each and every step of the way . . . and that each and every step of what I did up until now prepared me for what I will now be doing.

My (previous) dreams of being on a talk show and hitting "the big time" don't seem important at all.

Right now, this, the Nebraska Family Times, is my future.

Thank you, God, that You do not limit me to my own dreams and plans! Thank You for YOUR (so much better!) plans for my future.

E-Mail from Vyckie

When I got home from work today (I work as a private-duty nurse a few days a week) I had an e-mail from Vyckie, the current (just for one more day!) owner of the NFT (Nebraska Family Times). Vyckie and I are meeting tomorrow for the "official" hand-over of the NFT. I am very greatful that Vyckie will be working with me and answering my questions for as long as I need her. Without her support and help I would not have taken on this venture! The learning curve was steep, but I'm confident I can continue the paper in the same tradition as Vyckie and her family . . . with the focus on family and conservative, Christian values.

Vyckie and I have talked about making a few changes in the paper; changes that will give readers more valuable (and fun!) information in every issue. I'll keep you updated on the changes as I make them.

Anyway, as I read through Vyckie's e-mail, I had to laugh a little bit. In the e-mail she answered several questions I'd had in my head and was meaning to ask her, and she listed some of the things I'd have to do for the "changeover"--and again, I'd been making the same list in my head! THANKS, VYCKIE! As I told her, our great minds think alike.

As I wrote in my first Editor's Letter, the newspaper is for you--the readers! If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, please e-mail me at or comment here on the blog.

Write What You Know

My dream of writing was put to the side during high school and college and the first few years of marriage. I was too busy learning how to be a nurse (I'm a Registered Nurse; I graduated in 1989 from Midland Lutheran College in Fremont with my BSN) and a wife, and later, a mother (Tim and I were married in 1989; Cody was born in 1991 and Morgan in 1993).

During my first few years as a nurse I worked in a variety of jobs; Child and Adolescent Psych, Telemetry (heart monitoring), Home Health, Private Duty, Long-Term Care Employee Education, teaching at the local community college, and teaching Lamaze.

Eventually I became interested in writing again. The main advice I have for all writers and aspiring writers is, write what you know. And that's what I did! I became interested in communication with patients--how to ask sensitive questions, telling a patient bad news, and so on. I wrote an article about communicating with patients for a nursing magazine. When I taught Lamaze I discovered a magazine called Childbirth Instructor. At that time I'd taught Lamaze for several years, and faced some interesting people and classes, so began writing articles for that magazine. It was a huge thrill to see my name in print and know that I'd accomplished my childhood dream of writing. (It's still a thrill to see my name in print!)

Several years later a nurse friend and I were talking about all the people we'd met who were unhappy in their nursing jobs, yet felt stuck in their current job. Both Martha and I had had a wide variety of jobs . . . some we liked, some we didn't . . . but through the years we'd both had a "perfect job" or two, and we knew that "perfect jobs" in nursing are available, if the nurse knows how and where to look. We had a brainstorm and eventually co-authored our first book, How to Find Your Perfect Job in Nursing.

We eventually decided to self-publish, and what a thrill it was to see our names on the cover of a book! It was--and continues to be--very gratifying to hear people say how our book has helped them find their "perfect" job in nursing . . . or at least a great job in nursing.

In the near future I'll post about how I used the advice to "write what you know" and wrote about my favorite job of all, being a mom.

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Family

I'm always interested in finding out more about an author's family, so I thought I'd tell you a little bit about my family.

My husband Tim and I were high-school sweethearts and have been married for a little more than 19 years. We have two children; Cody, 16, is a junior in high school, and Morgan, 14, is a freshman. Having two teenagers is . . . an adventure! It's neat to see the kids grow and become more independent, and they really are fun to be around . . . most of the time . . . (and I bet they say that about us, their parents, too!)

We all live on the family ranch south of Genoa, NE. Tim raises show-cattle full-time. He's been a cattleman since he was a young child. The kids show cattle at shows around the state and around the country. Traveling to shows is our favorite family activity, and it's an activity that has many benefits for the kids and for our family and business.

Cody and Morgan will be home from school any time, so I'm going to sign off for now.

New Venture AND Adventure

I have always wanted to be a writer. When I was in grade-school, I wrote "manuscripts" on wide-ruled spiral notebooks. (I don't remember what the stories were about, but I bet my mom has them packed in a box somewhere!) I remember sitting on my bed and writing for hours about my characters and their trials.

Let's jump ahead to TODAY! (I'll tell you more about my writing and nursing careers, and my family, in future posts.)

I've been writing for the Nebraska Family Times for over a year, as the Nebraska Editor. As the Nebraska Editor I searched for Nebraska news and stories that readers would enjoy and/or could benefit from. I then condensed/compiled/combined the article(s) into the format required for the Nebraska Family Times (known from here on as NFT).

Newspaper writing was new to me--in the past I'd written for various magazines (from cattle publications to childbirth and nursing magazines) and I even wrote and self-published several books.

I found I really enjoyed writing for a newspaper. There is a long period of time that elapses between writing for a magazine, or writing a book, and seeing those words in print . . . a fun part about writing for a newspaper is seeing "my" words in print just a few days after I'd written them.

I was very surprised when, earlier this summer, I received an e-mail from Vyckie asking if I was interested in taking over the NFT from her. My first thought was, "Heck no, I can't write and publishe a NEWSPAPER!" But I believe God puts opportunities into our lives for a reason, and I knew I needed to think very seriously about this opportunity.

After prayer, asking Vyckie many (many, many) questions about what is involved in editing and publishing a newspaper, and talking with friends and family, the answer was clear; YES, I could and would take advantage of this opportunity!

And so the venture . . . and adventure . . . began . . .