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.