Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Into the World

     Today I want to share about my sister-in-law, her husband, their daughter, and what they are about to do. In about a day-they will be traveling far from home to go help care for and teach children in an orphanage in another country. This is another amazing reality to me because of the compassion and courage they are using to prompt their choices. I am always awestruck when people are willing to leave the comfort of the security of home to go and help others, especially children. I have asked them to share about their journey, so the following is what they have to say about it.
     I first asked my sister-in-law, Mindy, to give some background on herself and explain where they are going and what this trip is about.
     Mindy:I have my BA in Cross Cultural Studies. I currently teach elementary music in two rural (two roomed) schoolhouses, grade k-8. I enjoy music, writing, reading, and photography. My goal/dream is to work full time with people from other cultures and to share the love of Jesus with them.
Mindy teaches piano lessons, teaches music in schools, is a worship/music minister/leader, has 4 growing children, and is a volunteer in more groups and activities than I can count. She will be bringing a lot of experience in caring and teaching children with her when she goes to the orphanage.
Mindy:We are going to an orphanage in San Marcos, Guatemala. We'll be there for one week. We leave on October 15th. We will be doing light construction, tiling, painting, and playing with the kids. I may have the opportunity to do some music activities with the kids.
Not only will they be caring for and teaching the kids-they will be doing practical, physical work to help make the day to day lives of the children better.
Mindy:We are going on this trip because our hearts are on the mission field. We have wanted to go on a missions trip for a very long time. We majored in missions in college with the intention of becoming full time missionaries. That opportunity hasn't yet presented itself, so for now, we are going on short term trips. We love kids and are very excited about going to work at an orphanage.
Both Mindy and her husband Mark are teachers at heart, they will be well suited to this experience. Their daughter Emily, a student herself-a senior in high school-has already been teaching and leading children at home and while at summer camp. Emily has already felt the call on her heart for several years-to teach, care for and lead children through the mission field.
Mindy:As an aside note, we met an amazing couple about two months ago who are canoeing all through and around North America for 1000 days. They have done a lot of humanitarian work around the world, and when they found out about our trip, they gave us some money to use for the orphans. We will write about how we paid it forward for their blog. Another friend paid it forward, and that will go towards buying some clothes for the kids. It's great to pay it forward!
To me, this experience shows how Mindy and Mark and their family are about the business of living what they believe while being about the business of their lives, even while vacationing in their home state.
Mindy:What do we hope to learn? We hope to have a deeper and clearer understanding of what God wants us to do. We hope to know how missions will fit into our lives.
It will be exciting to hear all about their trip when they return!
Mark:Just to add some bio background about me. I grew up on a corn/soybean farm in Minnesota. I love to play the trombone wherever I can (church, community bands, symphonies and pit orchestras) and enjoy remodeling, landscaping and camping. When I had just graduated from high school, I went on a missions trip to Mexico City and while on that trip felt compelled by God to go to the mission field. My journey began by shifting gears from giving up my initial dream to farm and went to North Central Bible College instead. I graduated from North Central with a Bachelor of Science degree in Cross-Cultural Studies. Mindy and I met at North Central and became good friends on a missions trip together to Guyana. One of the pastors there in Guyana looked at the both of us among the others on the team and said, "I want those two...they need to be together." The rest is history. I youth pastored for three years in Trenton, MO at First Assembly of God. Then pastored for almost seven years in Lake City, MI at the Assembly of God church there. And have since then been pastoring in Ionia at First Assembly of God for the last 11 years as well as substitute teaching in the area schools. I have been in the ministry now for 20 years. My life-long dream ever since I felt the call of God on my life has been to minister to people from other cultures and to show them the love of Christ and introduce them to Christ. I would have to ditto everything else Mindy said as she communicated our heart so well.
I am very excited for what this fabulous family is about to do. Hoping all the best for them as they travel and share their caring hearts with others. I look forward to learning more about their experiences when they return!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Interview with Morgan Shafer

     Every now and then-I like to do interviews on my blog-especially with people that are doing something unusual-or something I have never thought about trying-or doing something I would have been afraid to do.
     The other night I was fortunate to do an interview with a young lady that is doing something I never would have dared to do at her age. Here are some questions I presented Morgan Shafer with and her answers.

1. How did you hear about the Miss Pre-Teen GR Competition? I received a letter in the mail inviting me to attend.
2. What made you decide to enter the contest? To boost my self confidence.
3. So-I am sure you are at an age where people have started asking you what you want to do when you are all grown up---what are your ideas right now about this? There are a couple things, I would like to be a clothes designer and hair stylist.
4. What do you like to do for fun? I like to do my hair, and do crafts, and experiments.
5. What is your favorite subject in school? What grade are you in right now? I'm in 6th grade and my favorite subject is math. I LOVE math!
6. What is your favorite book? Favorite TV Show? Favorite movie? My favorite book is Judy Moody and the not bummer summer, favorite TV show is once upon a time, and favorite Movie is Wolverine. 7. Where would you like to go on a vacation someday? I would love to go to Paris some day. 8. What are some of your favorite things to do? I like to go to baseball games, and play piano, and of course I love shopping!
9. If you could change one thing in the word, what would that be? I would like to make it so no one went hungry, so everyone had enough food.
10. What things frighten you? I am phobic about bats and spiders getting in my house. We just had a bat in our house! Luckily I wasn't home! But clowns freak me out! Also coyotes and spiders!
11. What will be activities that you will have to do for the competition? Will you have to do interviews? Is there a talent portion? Please tell us all about the contest itself. I had one interview already, that's how I was chosen to compete. I believe I will have another interview, casual wear and formal wear competition and I will have to answer a question they choose. There is not a talent or bathing suit competition any longer.
12. What advice would you give to anyone else that might be thinking of entering a competition like this? Be yourself and remember if you don't make it into the competition it doesn't mean you are not good enough, because you are! Its just one judges opinion and don't let that discourage you!!!!!
13. What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? Favorite cookie? Favorite food? Ice cream- cookie dough, cookie- Monster cookie, food-Pizza.
14. What would you like people to know about you, about your goals and dreams? I am very shy but once you get to know me I open up. I love music singing and dancing! I will never give up on my dreams and goals! Thank you for taking the time to interview me! Sooooo cool!!!!?

I really enjoyed getting to know more about Morgan and her dreams and goals and what she enjoys in life. Her mom has also set up a page to help Morgan raise money for the competition-as there are a few fees that they will need assistance with and some other essentials for competing. Please consider following the link below to learn more about that.

Thank you, Morgan! Bon chance! Good luck!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Inspired to Give Away

     I have been blessed in so many ways, by so many people that have shared with me and encouraged me along my life journey. I have also had an abundance of help on my path to becoming a published author. So many people have assisted and inspired me.
     Some of the main people that have helped me have been my family. I was always taught to write what you know. I find so many incidents in life can inspire a story, or a plot point or a character. Many of my family members have been the inspiration for my writings.
     Many years ago, eight and a half to be exact, I was about to be married. Our niece was 9 and a half and our flower girl. She was poised, charming, and cute as could be in her lovely dress. She was already beginning to explore her talents and the things she enjoyed doing-singing, dancing, and theater. she was a natural as a flower girl.
     At our rehearsal dinner, someone made a stray comment about how everyone better watch out or the sweet little girl might become a diva one day. She had no clue what that meant and it was not an easy concept to explain.
     I took that little snippet and rolled it around in my brain for months. It later became "Emily Cat's Tale" and was my second storybook that I had digitally published.
     That little girl is now 18. And as a way to thank her for being an inspiration in so many ways to her friends and family-my publisher, MeeGenius.com, and I are giving away free downloads of this storybook through Sunday evening August 31st. Please follow the link for your free download of "Emily Cat's Tale."

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

You Never Know

     You never know what might happen, for better or for worse. That is one reason why I generally never give up, even when a situation is overwhelming and I am certain I might lose or fail. There have been so many of these moments.Moments where you begin to doubt your sanity, doubt the veracity of your dreams, whether you are better off just quitting. Sometimes that is the case. You do need to quit. To save yourself or someone else from pain, to regain your own identity.
     This was not one of those times. 2011 was a milestone year for me in so many ways. I had surgery on my foot to correct an old injury I had acquired in my years of working in automobile production. I had scar tissue and a damaged toe from when a co-worker ran over my foot with a cooling buck cart. The cooling buck is where the headliner sits after it is pulled from the form press-before it is tossed into the marriage press and the fabric is adhered. The headliner is what goes in the ceiling/roof of your car.
     It should have been simple surgery, but I had an adverse reaction to some of the medicines used and my foot didn't heal for weeks. Didn't help that I was standing on it 8-10 hours a day at work. Massive infection was followed by massive amounts of antibiotics as we worked to make sure that I would keep that toe.
     Antibiotics are an amazing thing-but they can have side effects-and that brought about my kidney issues, which brought about two more surgeries. This was also my first experience with general anesthesia. Being a cowardly type of person, this was not an easy experience for me. I was fortunate to have fabulous nurses that carefully explained each step to me and helped me deal with my fears, so I wouldn't make my own circumstances more difficult.
     And this also happened to be the year when I decided it was all or nothing, that I would put all my spare time and efforts into chasing my writing dreams, and if nothing came of it, then it was time to let go of these dreams and move on.
     And did I mention that I somehow thought it was a good idea to switch jobs for the first time in 15 years? And that I picked a company that was trying to produce a new type of product, a lithium ion car battery, and that I knew nothing about this concept or process?
     By November, I was still not sure where I stood with my dreams. I had a screenplay that was a semi-finalist n a contest. I had written a well received essay. But I still had doubts. I also was facing my 3rd surgery of the year. I was tired, body, mind, soul, weary.
     And there it was. I was on  a Facebook page for NPR's Three Minute Fiction and saw a link to an Author Challenge Contest through a digital based children's storybook publisher, MeeGenius. They were still accepting stories.
     This was one of my dreams, publishing a children's storybook. The contest was almost done. I was so tired. But, I was ready. I had worked for years, sometimes never sharing a word of what I worked on with anyone else. But I had put in the time. I had ideas written down. I could re-work and edit.
     The doubts crept in and said their ugly things. I shouted them down in my mind. I know I am not the best, the brightest, or the fastest. But I put in the practice, the work, and the effort. I am ready I silently shouted. Quite often it is the person that doesn't give up that wins the race. That was what I told myself, over and over.
     I submitted my story. It made it through the first round. It was paired with a brilliant illustrator. It made it through the second round. It charged through the third round.It didn't take first place, but it made the top 5 in the country. It earned a publishing contract. On my birthday in 2012 I received one of the greatest gifts ever when I was told that it would be digitally published.
     This has led to my being able to publish two more storybooks and to speaking/reading engagements. This has brought so much happiness and fulfillment to my life.
     But even more exciting to me, my publisher is having another Author Challenge Contest. It is time for someone else to give it their best effort and see if their dream will come true. I hope you consider entering this because you never know!

Please follow this link for more information on the contest:
Also-please see my interview on my publisher's blog

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Inspiring Art

     So often we just drift through our days and don't really notice all the little delights that are right before us. Fortunately, I have had some great teachers, friends, and family that have taught me to pay attention to even small daily details, that it is in these where I will find happiness to sustain me through whatever difficulties I encounter.
     The other night I was at the local brew pub with some of my friends and one of them gave a picture to me and my brother. It was a piece she had been working on as an example for her class she was teaching. My brother was able to take that piece, cut it, frame it, and create two fabulous pictures from the one original picture so now we both have art work from our dear friend to hang on our wall.
     I was excited to have this picture, It is an illustration where my friend was teaching certain concepts to her class, the first class she has ever taught. She took a piece of pizza and personified it-gave it feeling, emotion, made it into a comic book character.
     I was thrilled to rush home with my newly framed picture to hang it on the wall by a painting another friend of mine did several years back. Happily, both of these artists are friends of each other as well as being my friend. I put Anna Lisa's pizza on the wall next to Dennis' picture of the driver traveling down the country road. 
    The two pieces go well together in my mind for what they represent-new beginnings. Anna Lisa's is from her first professional teaching experience. Dennis' piece was used in a post card for his first art show from when he finally broke the shackles of the factory we both had toiled in. He lead the way, chasing after his creative dreams, using his true talents. It was years before I was able to break forth, following suit, and chasing my own dreams as a writer and college graduate.
    I am so very fortunate to have original artwork from my friends to share in my home with all who visit me. Their work will inspire me to keep working for my own goals and dreams, to keep sharing my talents and stories.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Honey Bees

     I have a bit of a strange fear of bees. As far as I can recall I don't think I have ever been stung by a bee. So, I shouldn't have a problem, right? I guess that would be true if not for one small fact. My over active imagination that leads me to have plenty to write about-also sometimes contributes to some small, odd irrational fears that I possess.
     I mean, what if it were to turn out that I am allergic to bee stings? This fear has contributed to my rather limited participation in the care of our yard each year. I have made the vow that this year will be different-I will not allow myself to be limited by my fear of these helpful little creatures, the honey bees.
     I already have taken some small steps in the right direction. Why, just this week-I weeded our pachysandra and roses, pulled up overgrowth that covered the wee sidewalk on the side of our garage, and watered the roses as well.
     And as if that wasn't enough-I also went to help out at my in-laws. My in-laws that are bee keepers. And have a bee supply store. And had a semi truck deliver 808 packages of bees to their house yesterday. Those were 3 pound packages. That contained 10,000 bees in each package. They had 8 MILLION bees delivered to the store at their house. And I helped-carry packages to the truck to be loaded for today's delivery, helped hand out packages to the customers that were picking them up to replenish their hives that were hard hit by our extremely long, cold winter. Most bee keepers in our area lost their entire hives due to the harsh winter.
     One customer said she loved the humming sound of the bees, that it was so soothing to her. Um, that was not my first thought. To me, the garage filled with thousands and thousands of bees is more of a crescendo in the symphonic score of a movie about the killer swarm that will wipe out the entire town. A cat purring is soothing, the waves rolling into the shore at the state park is soothing, or maybe a gentle rain pattering on the roof could be called soothing. Not the humming of the bees. It unnerves me.
     Yet, I can't deny how amazing they are. The way they cluster around their queen, the amount of heat their tiny bodies produce-tangible as I pick up the screened package, even on a chilly spring evening. It amazes me to think of the role that these humble bees play in our lives, how without them-our crops and orchards would soon fail, our ability to feed ourselves would be wiped out.
     I am proud of my in-laws, the way they have started this business when they could have just sat back to enjoy a retirement. They have found something they care about deeply and work to share their knowledge, products, and skills with others. They are working to help make our small part of the world a much better place-from the classes they help teach, the people they educate by providing lectures to various groups, and by being involved in our community. My father-in-law helped the city when they needed to produce an ordinance for keeping bees in town.
     This is just further proof to me-that no matter what your dream is-it is never to late to work towards making that dream come true. I am thankful for my in-laws being able to inspire others through their start up of their own business. I am glad to be a small part of this and a witness to it as well.                                             

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Please Consider Helping Svetlana

     The teen years and early young adulthood can be turbulent. You often feel you don't fit in anywhere. You are trying to break free from your family and form your own identity. There is anxiety and stress, but also the happiness and sense of adventure that can come with new experiences. There can be friction with your family as you pull away and bond with your friends. It can be caused by your making a choice to follow a career path your family might not agree with-forgoing a teaching certificate to get a fine arts master's  or majoring in an obscure language.
     I know I experienced these normal ups and downs as did most of my friends. I also know that no matter how much I was annoyed by small conflicts with my family, I was always grateful that they were there to guide or at least console me as I made my way on my life's journey.
     I cannot begin to imagine what life must be like for Svetlana. She has not had the support of family to guide her in her young life. She is an orphan that grew up with the minimal care of an orphanage. She has one very much younger half brother that is living here in the U.S.-having been adopted by a friend of mine and her husband. Now my friend is working to be an advocate for Svetlana-as Svetlana has fond herself in a dire situation.
     Svetlana is severely ill with tuberculosis. She lives in Ukraine. Ukraine is in turmoil right now. It is hard for Svetlana to receive care because of this and because she is poor and an orphan. Kim de Belcourt is working to arrange care and treatment for Svetlana. She has set up a campaign to raise funds for this young lady. Please go to the Facebook page that has been set up to provide information about this situation and please consider if you may be able to help somehow.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My 3rd Storybook Is Released!

     I am super excited to be able to share with you that my 3rd storybook has been published through MeeGenius.com This one is entitled, "Who Are You?" It features a little boy who wonders how he can help the new girl in his class feel welcome. It features love, cookies, and wise advice from Mom.
     It also has a few personal touches interwoven in the story from me.The new little girl at school is named Marie. This is in honor of my grandmother. I didn't have a chance to tell her this. I found out the book had been accepted for publication just days before my grandma's 99th birthday. I didn't tell her at the little party we had on her birthday because I didn't want to distract from the party or her being the center of attention by talking about my book. I planned to tell her about this on Valentine's Day when I went to visit, sort of as my Valentine to her. I never got that chance as she passed away on February 3rd.
     I also named the teacher in the storybook with the last name of one of my best friends from my childhood days, Jenny Fopma, thus the wise "Miss Fopma" is leading the class with her good advice. It is also a shout out to Kerry and Eileen Fopma as well.
     The third book release is just as exciting as the first book release. When you have a moment-please follow the link and enjoy the preview of the book. Then consider maybe buying the book for one of your favorite young readers.


And here is a Pinterest Page for the new storybook: http://www.pinterest.com/terrikrowe/who-are-you/

Monday, January 6, 2014


     So-with the start of the new year, comes the start of all the dreams I have for my writing and other schemes. I have signed up for two different writing challenges. One is "Start the Year Off Write Challenge." More details about this challenge can be found by following the link below.


     This one involves taking the writing prompts and challenges that are posted each day and applying them to your own projects. I decided to revisit a poem I have been toying with for years. It is a blend of fact and fiction, as all my writing is.


Her hair is wild, wind swept waves.
Trapped, she no longer leaves this bed.

I sit and wonder what to say,
Words float between us, scurrying away.

A stranger to her self, as she is to me.
Eyes roam round the room,
What exactly does she see?

I see her standing on the edge of the rocks.
We peered down at the frothy shore.
The setting for the tales she told of pirates and their gold.

Tintagel. Mystery and majesty all in one word.
Barely a whisper on her lips, as I recall the fortress ruins.

Her loneliness crushes us as she shivers and weeps,
mumbling to all that have disappeared and left her waiting.

She is the only, lonely keeper of her memories.
No one left to recall the small girl trudging off to school,
hair pulled in tight pigtails, no one remembers the blushing bride.

I long to tell her, I will remember all the stories she told,
they are more precious to me than cities of gold.

I long to say it's okay for her to leave me here, there is nothing left to fear.
Family, friends, and a loving God eagerly await her, calling her near.

Suddenly there is a riot of bells and buzzers, crying in alarm.
Nurses rush in checking the monitors' beacons, grasping at her slender arm.

The notebook I have feverishly been writing in drops to the floor.
As I think of rushing for the door, my pen slips from my grasp.

It rolls along, resting against a wheel of the bed, a momentary haven
before it is crushed as the defibrillator wheels from the room.
Truth; my tears are not sadness. She will not be back, she is truly free.