Thursday, February 25, 2010

March Issue Completed!

I just emailed Jennifer my Editor’s Letter for March. That’s usually the last thing I write for each issue of the paper. I’m really excited about the March issue of the paper. We have two new columnists; my dad, retired Pastor Allen Geil, and Dr. Randy Hinze. My dad has always been a great teacher, and has a fun sense of humor, and I think readers will enjoy his article. Dr. Hinze will be writing about the effect of stress on the body, and how we can combat those effects. I was skeptical about chiropractors until I met Dr. Hinze. He’s helped our family with several health and pain issues. I’ve suffered from migraine headaches for many years, and with Dr. Hinze’s advice and treatment, have had few headaches the last few months.

I’ve already started on the April issue of the paper! I get several emails every day from organizations and websites of interest, and today I found an article that will be perfect for next month’s issue.

If there is a topic you’d like to see covered in the paper, please let me know! If you have a specific article suggestion, send me a link to that article, and I will check if it is copyrighted or if we need permission before it can be used in the paper.

Next on my list…cleaning off my desk! It’s covered with article clippings, sticky notes reminding me of things to include in the paper, my dictionary, calendar, pens, papers…

Monday, February 22, 2010

79 Days in a Row

Today the weather man said that it's the 79th day in a row we've had more than an inch of snow on the ground. From the looks of things, and the near forecast, we'll have quite a few more days to add to that already record-setting number of days.

I'm looking ahead to July or August...I'm certainly not going to complain about the heat, no matter how hot it gets! :-)

This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it!...Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His love endures forever. Psalm 119:24 and 29

The pictures above were taken during one of the Jan. storms; one shows how our road is blocked by a drift. That has become a common sight this winter, with all the wind! The other picture shows the sun dogs that were around the sun all day one day in Jan. It was neat to watch them change throughout the day. They appear as a reflection of the snow/moisture high in the atmosphere. It was a very windy day! I think it's neat that God made nature so interesting.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Starting on the March Issue

It’s always fun to get a start on the next issue of the Nebraska Family Times. I usually start about 4 or 5 days before I want to have everything submitted to Jennifer, the lady who lays out the articles, advertisements, and so on, before the paper is printed. I want the articles and information in the paper to be current, yet want to have time to study resources, follow links, and pick out what I feel are the best articles. I ask God to lead me to those articles and help me know when I’ve found them—articles to inspire, encourage, and motivate readers.

As I do research and read articles, I’m very picky. J I don’t want the articles to be too long, and they must contain information that readers can put to use easily. I especially like articles that encourage readers to take action—action to help others, improve their own lives (in areas of parenting, marriage, finances, and/or spiritually), or just add some fun to their lives.

Sometimes it seems I read many articles before I find a “keeper”—one that’s good enough for the paper. When I do find an article that’s “right,” I have a feeling of excitement—I know that the article will resonate with the needs of readers. It’s a great feeling!

Some months, the articles that are the biggest challenge are those to put on the front page. The paper is in many waiting rooms, business and bank lobbies, and restaurants around the state—locations where people who don’t have a relationship with God may see it. Of course I want the headlines to appeal to regular readers, but I also want to catch the eye of those who might not have a relationship with God…but with a catchy title or graphic on the front page, might pick up the paper and learn more about God.

I just started on the paper today; I plan to have all the articles to Jennifer by next Tues. or Wed., Feb. 23 or 24. It was nice to get a start ahead of time. As I was reading through possible articles, I was happy to find several articles that are appropriate front-page material! Some months it takes hours to find good articles for the front page, so it was really nice to find them so quickly. I’ll read them several times over the weekend, and see what other articles I find for inside the paper, before I decide on the front page articles.

I look forward to hearing what YOU think of the front page articles, and any articles that appear in the paper. Please call (402) 993-2467, E-mail, or write Nebraska Family Times, 42887 G. G. Road, Genoa, NE 68640 and let me know what you like, or don’t like about the paper, and any suggestions you have for making it better.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sponsor Spotlight; Crackers to Caviar

This article appeared in the March, 2009 issue of the Nebraska Family Times. Crackers to Caviar is a Nebraska Family Times sponsor.

Crackers to Caviar
Columbus, NE

Janet Meays took over Crackers to Caviar in May of 2007. She had worked several jobs in retail, and always knew she wanted to have her own business. “It was important to me to sell Christian products of some kind, and this was a great opportunity!”

Crackers to Caviar is a place to come, as they say, “When it’s time for a break from the ordinary.” Crackers to Caviar carries a wide variety of fun, not-so-ordinary products—gourmet coffee, tea, truffles, biscotti, and many Nebraska snacks, from jellies to chocolates to popcorn and soup mixes. You will also find Bibles, the latest Christian books (for all ages), cards for all occasions, and unique gift items for any budget and occasion.

Janet and her very friendly staff members will make gift baskets filled with any items in the store—they have many suggestions and ideas to put together just what you need for any occasion. They also do customized corporate orders.

The staff members enjoy coming up with new drinks, so if you’re craving a smoothie, gourmet coffee drink, chai tea, or cappuccino, they will create something that’s just right for you!

Owning Crackers to Caviar is a family affair; Janet’s son and daughter both work at the shop, and her husband takes care of the accounting.

Janet’s favorite part of her job is talking with people and helping them, whether that means fixing them the perfect cup of coffee, helping them find the right gift for a special someone, or just chatting for a few minutes.

Crackers to Caviar is located at 2710 13th Street, Columbus, NE. It’s open 7 AM – 5:30 PM Monday – Friday (until 8 PM on Thursday), and 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM on Saturday.

For more information check out or call (402) 564-4768.

Medical Mission Team Leaves Today

Prayers for God to watch over the travel and work of the Columbus Medical Mission Team as they travel to Nicaragua and treat patients there.

Check out their blog at:

Check out the article about their trip, that was published in the Nebraska Family Times and is also on this blog.

I so admire the people who are on their way right now! Perhaps a medical mission trip is in my future?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Our Newest Licensed Driver

It's official! We have another licensed driver in the family. Morgan passed her test yesterday and the examiner commented that she was a very good driver. Of course I have mixed feelings...I'm happy for her independence and the fact that I have another "errand runner"...but I also worry about her as a teenage driver.

As always I pray that God will protect my children--I know I can't hang on forever, but I can trust God to watch over them!

(Excuse the poor picture quality; I forgot my camera so had to use my phone camera. Her excitement clearly comes through!)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Favorite Websites

I want to share several of my favorite websites with you. Please share your favorite sites with me, as well! I’ll then pass them on to readers of the blog (and also list them on the website, when I get that updated).

As everyone, I’m looking for ways to save money and be a good steward of the money God blesses me and our family with. I check out these sites on a regular basis, and occasionally include articles from these sites in the paper.

The Columbus Rescue Mission is doing amazing work in the Columbus area. Check out the website for the latest news and how you can help.

Susan Darst Williams’ articles appear in the Nebraska Family Times every month in The Good Life Column. Read more of her articles at

Please let me know what you think of these websites, and send me your favorites!

Monday, February 1, 2010

FREE Back Issues

Are you new to the Nebraska Family Times? Would you like to read back issues, or share them with someone else? There are a limited number of back issues of the Nebraska Family Times available upon request.

To request a back issue, call (402) 993-2467 or e-mail

Columbus Medical Mission Team Traveling to Nicaragua

Columbus Medical Mission Team Traveling to Nicaragua

By Shelly Burke, Editor

Nila Novotny, MD and her husband John spent time in May, 2009, doing construction and maintenance in the city dump, “La Chereka,” in Minagua, Nicaragua. The Novotnys had “a great experience” and will return to Nicaragua in February, this time on a medical mission trip.

About 12 couples and individuals, mostly from the Columbus area, will work in a hospital in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. They will be working in the only hospital on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua, where there is also an established mission with a church, school, and orphanage. (go to to see a video of the hospital and more information about the trip, as well as updates during the trip).

Some members of the team have been on mission trips before, and to some it’s a new experience. Tamra Boettcher, Nurse Practitioner, was asked to join the team after another team member could not go on the trip. She is looking forward to the challenge of “doing something outside of my comfort zone,” although she admits she is “not looking forward to the cold showers” while she is there. Boettcher is thankful for the support of her family, the doctor she works with, and the team members who have been great to work with even though she joined the team “late in the game.”

Each member of the team will be taking two totes filled with supplies—gloves, syringes, medicine, etc.,--and gifts for local people, patients, nurses, doctors, and girls who were rescued from the city dump and live at the mission.

Dr. Novotny says, ”We plan to leave almost everything behind, except the instruments we have borrowed from our hospital.” The team has held several fundraisers to obtain funds for medications and other supplies, and various groups have donated supplies and gifts. Donations of money will be used to purchase gasoline, IV fluids, and oxygen when they get there. (See information at the end of this article if you’d like to donate.) The total estimated cost of the trip is about $30,000.

During their trip (they’ll spend six days in Puerto Cabezas, two days traveling, and one day at church), the team, which consists of a combination of medical professionals and spouses, will do surgery (Novotny is an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist; an anesthesiologist, several nurses, and a Nurse Practitioner are also on the team), teach CPR, and do repairs in the hospital and other buildings.

Dr. Novotny anticipates treating between 50 and 100 patients during the time they are in Puerto Cabezas. There is no running water at the hospital; the team will be allowed to use 55 gallons of water daily. Electricity is unreliable and team members will have headlamps to use when necessary.

Patients have been preselected and Dr. Novotny will be performing tonsillectomies and repairing cleft lips and palates and broken ear drums. She reflects; ”These people live in desperate poverty and cannot afford to travel to Managua where the care they need is provided. They have no access to care for ear, nose, or throat problems. I’m looking forward to helping those who would have to go without care were it not for the mission hospital.”
Although the group will be will be working 10-12 hrs. every day, in less-than-optimal conditions, Dr. Novotny is excited to ”operate all day every day without all the government regulations and paperwork that we have to deal with here.”

They will also share their faith—Tamra Boettcher says, “I hope to spread the word of Jesus to those I come into contact with.” John Novotny, who will be helping with logistics and administrative tasks, remarked, ”Although our goal is to help others less fortunate than ourselves, it can’t but help one’s own spiritual growth to be involved with a project of this nature.”
The team is working with Forward Edge International, an agency which has missions all over the world. They will leave for Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, Feb. 18th and return Feb. 27th.

Team members include:Nila Novotny, MD, Ear, Nose and Throat specialist
John Novotny, logistics and maintenance
Pete Diedrichsen, MD, Ophthalmologist
Dean Athey, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
Carolyn Athey, retired nurse
Tamra Boettcher, Nurse Practitioner
Jody Dreifurst, Registered Nurse
Janet Loseke, Registered Nurse
Melissa Shemek, Registered Nurse
Katrina Spies, Registered Nurse
Sue Tillinghast, Licensed Practical Nurse
Karl Tillinghast, repairs and maintenance

If you would like to make a donation to the Clumbus Medical Mission Team, please send it to:
Columbus Medical Mission Team
ATTN: John Novotny
4508 38th St.
Columbus, NE 68601

The Nebraska Family Times wishes the Columbus Medical Mission Team God’s blessings throughout their trip!
(A report on the trip will be printed in the May issue of the Nebraska Family Times)

Editor's Letter, February

Happy February!

Here is the February Editor’s Letter from the NFT.

Editor’s Letter—Feb. 2010

I hope your year is off to a great start!

How do we comprehend a tragedy like the earthquake in Haiti? The news of the earthquake was sad, but seemed very far away—until I read on Facebook that two of my cousins were requesting prayers for another cousin, who was in Haiti with her husband on a mission trip. That news hit very close to home as a network of relatives and friends prayed for Joy and Joel’s safety. Thankfully, in a matter of hours we heard that they were safe. Despite the destruction they were able to communicate via the Internet.

As they waited for a way out of the country, they and their medical team (they are both Physician Assistants) worked at a hospital or makeshift clinic at a soccer stadium. They finally returned to the United States on Tuesday. We thank God that they are safe, and continue to pray for the country of Haiti and the people providing relief. The article “Live with Haiti in Your Heart,” in this issue of the paper, gives further insight to the lessons of Haiti and how we can help.

As always, the high point of our month was our trip to the National Western Stock Show in Denver, CO. Morgan’s heifer, Sadie, was named Reserve Grand Champion Prospect Breeding Heifer, and Cody was named Champion Senior Showman. We enjoyed spending time with friends of ours who show cattle and sheep, and enjoyed the warm and sunny weather in Denver.

I hope you enjoy this issue of the Nebraska Family Times! As always, I pray that I’ve selected and written articles that will “inspire, encourage, and motivate you” on your Christian walk.

Since we celebrate Valentine’s Day in February, I’ve printed several articles about marriage, taken from my book Home is Where the Mom Is. I am blessed to have a wonderful husband and we work to make our marriage a good one and hope you celebrate your love on Valentine’s Day and throughout the month.

I’m not a sports fan, but enjoyed reading about Tim Tebow, a quarterback who is open about his faith and will appear in a pro-life commercial that will air during the Super Bowl. I hope you will enjoy the article also (even if you aren’t a sports fan either).

Please let me know how I’m doing! I like to hear what articles and features you enjoy, and what you’d like to see in the paper. Thank you for your comments, suggestions, and encouragement.

May God bless you and your family this month!