Sunday, January 25, 2009

Denver--National Western Stock Shoow

We had a fun trip to Denver and a successful show.

Cody was the Champion Senior Showman, with his steer Pumpkinhead
Moran's heifer, Sadie, was the Reserve Grand Champion Prospect Heifer

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Billing Day

One of the things on my long list this week was to do the billing for the Nebraska Family Times. I'm getting more comfortable using the software, and I think it's going faster every time. I now have all the bills printed out, and just have to get the envelopes addressed and get the bills into them, stamped, and into the mail tomorrow!

Mission Trip Fundraiser

A youth group from our church is going on a mission trip this July. They're going to Canada to a tiny town and will teach Vacation Bible School to the Native Americans there. I admire the kids, as well as the adults, who go on these trips. There is a lot of planning involved, as well as more than 24 hours of driving (over two days)! Last night at the meeting (see below) one of the sponsors showed me a map of where they were going; it is literally at the end of the road!

My first goal, when I bought the Nebraska Family Times newspaper, was to learn and get comfortable with the process of putting the paper together, and mailing and delivering it. I feel like I've met that goal, although of course I will continue to strive to fill every issue with articles to inform, encourage, and inspire readers.

My next goal is to publicize and promote the paper throughout the area. When I saw the announcement in the bulletin about the youth group fund raisers, I had an inspiration! The youth group and I are now working together; the youth group will be selling subscriptions and sponsorships for the paper, getting a percentage of each sale. They'll be able to do more than I could, more quickly than I could, when 14 kids go around selling subscriptions. And I can support them by giving them a percentage of the money the collect. The parents and kids seemed enthusiastic last night (when I gave the presentation to the group), so I hope they are well-received.

If a member of PINK (the youth group) asks YOU to support their mission trip by purchasing a subscription or sponsorship, please consider doing so!

Busy Days!

The kids and I are going to Denver for a few days, to the National Western Stock Show. They'll show their cattle and sheep there and we're all looking forward to it!

I've felt more than a little overwhelmed the last few days, trying to get ready to go. My mom always made sure the house was clean before we went on a trip, and I've inherited that desire to come home to a clean house.

Besides cleaning the house I've had Nebraska Family Times business to do, and I worked two days this week at my nursing job.

I gave a presentation at our church last night to a youth group that is going on a mission trip this summer. (See above post for more details.)

While we're gone I plan to spend some time scrapbooking, so I was going through pictures I'd taken in the last 18 months or so, FINALLY choosing the ones I wanted prints of and ordering them online.

To throw another little twist in my planning, my computer has been acting goofy all week. One day it locked up at least eight times and I had to restart it . . . usually while I was trying to download pictures to the WalMart website to get developed.

And . . . it's been soooooo bitterly cold here for the last few days--below zero and then windy . . . I just do not like the cold! I try very hard not to be crabby about it, but it tires me out.

I won't whine any more . . . I have many, many things to be thankful for. I was worried for awhile that the computer problem stemmed from my photo program and I would lose the photos I hadn't saved. Thankfully they're all printed now! I am thankful that I can check my e-mail (I think the problem is in my Outlook Express program) through another website. I have a warm home, warm clothes, and a reliable vehicle to keep me out of the weather. AND . . . I have a friend who is helping me with the paper, and when I asked her if she'd get the boxes of papers mailed, she said YES! WHEW! What a relief it was to get that off of my lists.

It seems everything is coming together! Tim said it was 50 degrees in Denver yesterday--yeah! My house probably won't be "mom clean" but it will be good enough (I continue to hope that the cleaning elves come while I'm gone!) I'm getting everything done and if it doesn't get done, it's not that important.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Paper Delivery Lady/Paper Mailing Lady

Today was delivery and paper mailing day!

The papers are mailed via bulk mail, so I have to put the individual papers in rubber-banded groups in zip-code order. Thankfully, the computer prints out the labels in that order, so I just have to remember to start a new "group" when the third number of the zip code changes (papers are put into groups in which the first three numbers of the zip code are identical).

Before I took the addressed papers to the BMU (Bulk Mailing Unit)--which is a different building than the "regular" post office--I delivered papers around Norfolk. It's always fun to visit the different businesses and churches, and say "hello" to the people there.

Today one of my first deliveries was at the Downtown Coffee Company in Norfolk. I'm not a coffee drinker, but wanted something hot to drink. The employees are always friendly, so helped me choose something hot and caffeinated. I had a "dark" chai tea--chai tea with a shot of expresso. It was yummy, warmed me up, and kept me going all day!

The first time I did the deliveries in Norfolk it took me about 4 hours. This time, it took me just a little over two hours, and that was with having to backtrack twice. I'm sure it will continue to get easier as I do it more. Hopefully my friend and Newspaper Assistant Lori will be able to come and help in the future. It takes as long to park the car and turn it off as it does to actually take the paper in. If two of us go, one can wait in the car, close to the door, and that will cut down on time needed.

At first I was apprehensive about getting the bulk mail papers ready to go. I envisioned a government person scrutinizing every single paper, telling me that if a label was on crooked or one paper was out of zip code order I'd have to take them all home and start over! The man who works there has been extremely nice, and helpful, and it just takes a few minutes to get that part of paper delivery done with.

It is very satisfying to get papers delivered and on their way to their destination. I pray that something in the paper will touch the heart of, or meet a need of, every person who reads the paper. After I was done with deliveries and the mailing, I had a few minutes to go to the mall--yea!


It's funny--it always seems that right after I pick up the paper, I start getting ideas for the next issue. On the way home from picking up the paper on Tuesday, I heard at least three stories, on the radio, that I wanted to check out and possibly write about for the next issue. Unfortunately, the clipboard, paper, and pen I keep in the front seat for just those opportunities (don't worry, I jot down just a few words and can even write without even looking at the paper) was in the back seat, under a box of papers!

Hopefully the stories will show up on one of the blogs I use as a resource, or the newspaper, or I'll remember what the stories were . . .

Monday, January 5, 2009

Wondering . . . "How will it Look?"

The Jan. issue of the Nebraska Family Times was printed today, and I'll pick up about 14 boxes of papers tomorrow. This is the 4th issue I've done as publisher, although I've had input each month from Vyckie.

Getting my first look at the new issue always gives me a thrill . . . and I'm always just a bit nervous waiting for that look. I always wonder, "How did it come out?" "Did I miss a major typo?" "What if no one likes the articles?" I put together each issue with the readers in mind--my goal is to include articles that are thought-provoking, educational, inspirational, encouraging . . . or just provide a light moment in the reader's day.

I look forward to hearing from you, whether it's with praise (I hope!) or criticism (which I will learn from). Please contact me any time at, (402) 993-2467, or Shelly Burke, 42887 G. G. Road, Genoa, NE, 68640.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Reader Questionnaire

The Nebraska Family Times newspaper is for you! I want to include articles and information that is interesting, informative, and encouraging, to you! Please fill out the following short questionnaire, to help me know what you'd like to see in future issues of the Nebraska Family Times.

Please mail the completed questionnaire to: Shelly Burke, Nebraska Family Times, 42887 G. G. Road, Genoa, NE 68640. You can also e-mail your responses to, or leave your answers in the "comments" section of this blog post.

Three questionnaires will be chosen at random, and the people who sent, or e-mailed, those questionnaires will receive a copy of my books Home is Where the Mom Is; A Christian Mom's Guide to Caring for Herself, Her Family, and Her Home, and What Should I Say? The Right (and Wrong!) Words and Deeds for Life's Sticky, Tricky, Uncomfortable Situations. Winners will also receive a FREE year-long subscription to the Nebraska Family Times! Thank you for taking the time to fill out the questionnaire!

What is your age?
15-25 years old
26-45 years old
46-65 years old
66+ years old

Are the NFT readers in your home:
Both Male and Female readers

How many children live in your home?

How old are the children who live in your home? (circle all that apply)

Do you homeschool?

Do you have internet access?

Do you have a cell phone?

Do you work outside your home?
Full Time

Regarding length, are the articles in general:
Too long
Too short
A good mix of long, medium, and short articles

What do you like most about the NFT?

What type of articles would you like to continue to see (or see more of) in the NFT? (circle as many as apply)
Child Development
Nebraska News
Book Reviews
Recipes/Household tips
Time management

Any comments/suggestions: ______________________

I look forward to hearing from you! Thanks so much for your input!

NFT Plans for 2009

Since I feel like I'm getting a good handle on the actual publishing of the paper--choosing articles, cartoons, etc.--I want to spend the next few months making sure I am publishing a paper that is full of the information you, as readers, want to see.

Included in the January issue of the NFT is a brief questionnaire, and I hope readers will take a few minutes to fill it out and return it to me. It is designed to help me learn a little more about you, as readers, and your interests.

One of my goals is to provide you with articles that inspire thought and/or action. Some of the articles might just produce the action of inspiring you to think about an issue or topic . . . hopefully some articles will touch your heart or encourage you to make a change in your personal or family life. Maybe your action will be to laugh--but we all know how necessary laughter is to everyday life!

A major change you'll see in the February issue of the Nebraska Family Times is the addition of a new "room"--The Playroom! We all know the necessity of rest, relaxation, and recreation in our lives, so in The Playroom you'll find information that will help you do that.

You'll find book reviews for adult and teen books, jokes, funny stories, and more (like the reasons chocolate is good for you!)! Rather than recognize sponsors just by their addresses (as the sponsor pages, which will become The Playroom, do now), several sponsors will be profiled briefly in every issue.

What would YOU like to see in The Playroom (or any other area of the paper)?

I will post the questionnaire that will be published in the paper, on this blog, also. You can respond to the questions either via e-mail (to, in the "comments" section of the post that contains the questionnaire, or via regular mail to: Shelly Burke, 42887 G. G. Road, Genoa, NE, 68640.

Three lucky people who answer the questionnaire will receive a copy of each of my books, Home is Where the Mom Is; A Christian Mom's Guide to Caring for Herself, Her Family, and Her Home, and What Should I Say? The Right (and Wrong!) Words and Deeds for Life's Sticky, Tricky, UncomfortaItalicble Situations, as well as a FREE one-year subscription to the Nebraska Family Times!

Happy New Year! Family Update

I hope you're all getting a good start on the new year. I like the feeling of a fresh start when the calendar turns over to Jan. 1st.

We didn't do anything special to celebrate the new year. Cody and Morgan went to friends' houses and spent the night. Tim was, I think, asleep by 10:00 . . . I stayed up to see the New Year as I was working on finding articles for the paper. I worked at my nursing job on New Year's Day--I had to take advantage of time-and-a-half pay!

Morgan's 15th birthday was Dec. 28th. She wanted to go shopping and take advantage of post-holiday sales and gift cards she received for Christmas. She took a friend along and we all had a nice day, which ended with supper at Applebee's.

Our family will travel to Denver, CO, for the National Western Stock Show later this month. Tim will be there for about 2 weeks, and Cody, Morgan, and I will be there for a little over a week. They have to be there early in the week to check in their cattle, but they don't show until the end of that week. I am planning to take along my scrapbooking supplies and scrapbook at the hotel for several days--it will be a huge treat to be able to do so without the at-home interruptions of having to clean the house, do laundry, cook, and so on. It is nice to have that to look forward to, to counteract the post-holiday letdown.

Cody and Morgan go back to school on Tuesday. I think they're kind of excited to see their friends and get the second semester started.