Bring it on 2017!

Today is the Feast of the Three Kings, so we’ll be taking down the Christmas tree and decorations this weekend. (Or in the words of Curtis the elf from Santa Clause 2, “The desantaclausification process has begun!”) My snowmen collection will be rearranged and kept up until the end of February or until the snow’s gone (April? May?).

This is a good time to reflect on 2016 and look forward to 2017. Every year I write a traditional Christmas letter that gets tucked into each Christmas card we send. Some of the highlights noted in this year’s letter include

  • meeting our first granddaughter in Ohio this past January and celebrating her big brother’s 3rd birthday while we were there
  • watching the Super Bowl in Minnesota at our son and daughter-in-law’s house and getting lots of cuddle time with our newborn grandson son
  • celebrating seven years of sharing true health through Kangen water  (KangenWisconsin.com)
  • baptism day for our two youngest grandchildren on Mother’s Day
  • the end of my softball career (thanks to a collision on a softball field with another player that sent me to the ICU for 21 hours with a concussion)
  • getting 4th row seats to see Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in Chicago and getting to meet Mr. Valli backstage after the show!
  • 4th of July visit in Wisconsin with our children and grandchildren
  • traveling to Las Vegas with our two younger daughters and our son for Enagic’s global convention in July where John, Nick and I were honored for rank advancements in the company
  • receiving the  CALA award (Catholic Arts and Letters Award) for my novel A World Such as Heaven Intended — it was the top Catholic young adult novel for 2015-2016
  • having our son, daughter-in-law and grandson move from Minnesota back to Wisconsin — they bought a house less than five miles away from our house!
  • watching the play Wicked in Ohio with our daughters, son-in-law and grandson — it was awesome!
  • celebrating 35 years of marriage to John with a trip to Colorado
  • taking a quick vacation to Galena, Illinois and Dubuque, Iowa
  • completing the NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) challenge and writing the sequel to my book — look for A Life Such as Heaven Intended in book stores and online this spring

As it happens in any given year, there were sad moments too as we lost some people in our lives. But the good definitely outweighed the bad. Now it’s time to look forward to all the promises 2017 holds in store for us.

Unlike most years, I haven’t come up with any New Year’s Resolutions yet. Not sure if I’m going to set any this year, I’m thinking of just working on completing my Top 10 goal list from 2016. Actually, now that I think of it, there’s still some things on the 2015 list I can work on, no need to come up with any new ones! So if all goes well, by the end of 2017 I will weigh less, be able to do one pull up, have run a half marathon, have a new car, rank advance in Enagic to 6A2-2, have two books published, hit the best-seller list on Amazon again, get more involved in church and spend quality time with our family.

Guess I better get going on that! Happy New Year! May 2017 be your best year yet — a year filled with health, happiness and hope!

 

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Things are going great and they’re only getting better

July 28, 2016 turned out to be quite the momentous day for me. There were two events going on that week where I potentially would be recognized for my work. One was in Las Vegas and the other in Chicago.

 

John and I ended up taking our three youngest children (all over the age of 21, thanks casino security by being so vigilant and checking in with us every single time we walked into a casino) with us to Las Vegas for the Global Convention celebrating Enagic Corp’s 42nd anniversary. We were privileged to have five other members of our Kangen Wisconsin team travel with us as well. We got there Monday night and the week at Mandalay Bay was jam-packed with meetings, training, recognition, and connecting with our friends from the Kangen Water community who were there from all over the world.

 

We’ve always had a strong conviction that Kangen Water is the healthiest water any human or animal can drink but after a week being with like-minded people and being educated on true health and wellness, we all came back more inspired by the mission of Kangen Water than ever before.

 

The highlight of the week for me was Thursday when John and our son Nick were each honored for achieving the rank of 6A in Enagic. John and I are so proud of Nick because he and his wife Emily were the very first people to embrace the message of True Health that Enagic espouses and invest in a water ionizer through us. When John joined the business in 2013 that promoted me to 6A and now that two people under me are 6A, I officially earned the rank of 6A2. According to someone I spoke with at Enagic Corp, there are only 287 people at that rank in the entire United States and only three others who’ve ever hit that rank in the state of Wisconsin, so it is quite the privilege to have achieved this.

Enagic Awards 2016

It’s been an interesting road I have to say. When we got our machine in April of 2009, it was solely to help our youngest daughter who was a Make-A-Wish child that year. Even though this represented an incredible business opportunity, I had no intention of doing this as a business because I had a career as a journalist and didn’t want to be in “sales.” But after what we experienced within weeks of investing in our machine, I felt an obligation to share the message and this water with anyone who would be open to it. We wanted to make everything that our daughter went through mean something and to pay it forward for the blessings we received from this water and this company.

 

When I think of this journey we’ve been on, many times the parable of the sower comes to mind: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

 

We’ve sown thousands of seeds in the last seven years. Some fell along the path and the birds came and ate it up (people heard about the water, read or heard one negative thing and were scared away — of course we all know that everything you read on the Internet is true, right?).

 

Some fell on rocky places where it did not have much soil, it sprang up quickly and withered because they had no root. Those were the people who were initially excited about this concept and for whatever reason, lost their enthusiasm for this amazing product. It could have been the spouse that didn’t attend a presentation but did five minutes of research on water ionizers and decided it wasn’t a valid product or did no research at all but was adamant against spending money on healthcare technology, regardless of how beneficial it would be for their family.

 

“Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.” This was like the people who were lured away from the one true medical-grade water ionizer by the knock-offs who offered empty promises of a lifetime guarantee, incredible sales and other offers that were too good to be true.

 

Then of course there were the seeds that fell on good soil. Those were the people who listened to our message, took it to heart, and then invested in the health of their families by getting an Enagic water ionizer. We have been so blessed to have welcomed these people into our Enagic/Kangen Wisconsin family. Kangen Water folks are some of the nicest, most compassionate, most motivated people we’ve ever met — many of them are our friends for life. We look forward to years of working together, traveling together and strengthening our friendships.

 

Meanwhile, back to that incredible week, on the other side of the country, the Catholic Marketing Network was hosting its annual trade show in Chicago. A couple of months ago I had received notification that my novel, A World Such as Heaven Intended, had been nominated for the CALA award and was actually one of the top three Catholic fiction young adult novels for 2016. Since I wasn’t able to attend the awards ceremony hosted by the Catholic Writers Guild, my publisher asked me to write an acceptance speech, “just in case.”

 

That morning, I got a text from Full Quiver Publishing and it said, “Check your e-mail!” Immediately I grabbed my phone and saw an e-mail from them with the subject line, You Won!!! When I opened up the e-mail there was a picture of the 2016 Catholic Arts and Letters Award for Young Adult Fiction with my name and the name of the book inscribed on it.

 

I feel so incredibly honored to have received top recognition for both my mission and my profession. There are no plans to rest on my laurels, however! I’m back to work now helping John and Nick advance to the rank of 6A2 so that I can advance to the rank of 6A2-2. My goal is get there by December 31, 2016. If anyone reading this wants to check into this amazing water and potentially join our team and our mission, go to my web site www.KangenWisconsin.com and you can learn about the water by ordering an e-book or signing up for the Health Awareness Newsletter.

 

A World Such as Heaven Intended is the first book in a trilogy. The second book is outlined and the first two chapters are written. Now it’s up to me to carve out the time to work on finishing book two. The goal date for that is December 31 as well.

 

I want to thank every person who has been instrumental in helping me achieve these honors. Whether you offered words of encouragement, accepted my friend request on Facebook, purchased the book, invested in an Enagic water ionizer, Anespa shower unit or Ukon turmeric supplement through our group,  kept me in your prayers, or even discouraged me to help strengthen my resolve, I appreciate each and every one of you.

 

I’m looking forward to seeing what lies ahead. “The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades!”

It’s getting exciting now

Wow, a lot has happened since A World Such as Heaven Intended was published in October. There have been book signings (that was somewhat surreal), virtual interviews, a story in The Post-Crescent newspaper, a blurb in The Compass newspaper, a free Kindle version giveaway (2,100 books distributed in 72 hours, wow!), the book has hit the #1 spot on Amazon Kindle several times in the last two months, and one day it was #1 on Amazon for Kindle and #3 on Amazon in paperbacks in its genre.

I’m so glad I have an amazing publisher, Full Quiver Publishing, headed up by Ellen Gable Hrkach, guiding me through this process. I thought writing the book was the hard part, that’s nothing compared to marketing it!

My next book signing is scheduled for Saturday, February 7 from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the Christian bookstore On This Rock, 216 W. South Park Avenue, Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Stop in and say hi if you’re in the area!

Recently I read something that the most big-time goals you should set for the year is three, that’s about the most any person can focus on in one year’s time. My big three for 2015 are 1) achieving the next rank advancement in my company (KangenWisconsin.com) by welcoming a lot more people to our Kangen Water family, 2) getting contracts on the sequel to A World Such as Heaven Intended and the novel I’m working on now, a young adult story set in the 1970s on the topic of bullying, and 3) having a family vacation with all of our children, their significant others/spouses and our grandson.

It’s going to take a lot of dedication and organization/time management to complete all of these, but I’m committed to the cause!

Hope everyone reading this has a blessed 2015 and you achieve all your goals! Feel free to share here if you’d like, I’ll root you on!

Jill of All Trades

Jack of all trades, master of none? More like Jill of all trades, master of some.

 

There’s no doubt about it, I’m juggling a lot of things lately. No two days are ever the same around here. But being busy and being challenged are two of my favorite things so it’s all good.

 

Case in point, on June 1 I woke up and realized our family trip to Japan to celebrate Enagic’s 40th anniversary was just a few short weeks away. That thought put the fear of God into me — so much to do, so little time.  I’m a fan of list making — there’s nothing more satisfying than checking off something you’ve completed on your to-do list — so I got on the computer and put together a list of the top 166 things I wanted to accomplish before we left. (Actually it started closer to 180 but unless there was some way to squeeze 40 hours into a 24-day, there was no way in heck I’d ever complete them all and in the whole scheme of life, not everything was that important anyhow.)

 

I’ve made more lists than I can count through the years but I did something with this list that made it the most effective one yet. I prioritized it so the most important things were at the top of the list. Every time I started a project on the list, it was highlighted in yellow, when the project was completed, the highlight color was changed to lime green.

 

The results? Pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. Seventeen days into this, 133 items are done, 19 are in progress and 13 haven’t been attempted yet. If I wrapped this up today and didn’t complete one more thing, I’d still say it was a success.

 

Here’s some of the things that made it to the finished list… write four stories for The Business News, do five Kangen water demos, write two stories for The Compass, take several photos to go along with my stories, create four ads/flyers, contact, connect and follow up with dozens of people, add new contacts to my e-mail list, set up interviews for July, invite folks to my upcoming water demos, do four exit interviews with the students from Burundi who are attending school in the U.S. and heading home for the summer, do a home visit with a family who will be hosting a student from Burundi this fall (part of my work on the board of The Burundi Education Fund), send in seven orders for Enagic water ionizers, buy yen for the trip, update our budget on Microsoft Money, type notes from the three books I recently finished, update the computer, go through my daughter’s things from college and donate items to charity and bring things to the resale shop, pick up trash in the neighborhood, run two outdoor 5Ks to prepare for our next race on July 4, put in five afternoons of work in the research and development department a local paper product company, and proofread a 329-page course manual for a private college in my area.

 

Now that I finished writing this post, I can check that off my list. I may spend the 14-hour plane ride from LAX to Japan sleeping. Either that or starting my list of things to do in the month of July…

 

 

Welcome to my world!

Wife, mother, author, marketer, grandmother, journalist, proofreader, water girl, photographer — a lot of titles for one gal! That gives you a glimpse into my busy but rewarding life. I’m self employed so no two days are ever the same so I’m never bored.

I’ve been considering writing a blog for a long time because I love to connect with people and this is a great way to document this exciting time in my life. Every day just gets better and better!

Being a journalist, I live by deadlines — not sure how much I’d get done in a week without them. If it wasn’t for deadlines this blog would still be filed away in the action folder in the back of my head. But I’ve written a novel, which by chance has the same title as this blog — A World Such as Heaven Intended — and having a blog is a great way to get the word out about this amazing story. It’s coming out in print and on Kindle October 1. If you’re a fan of reading fiction that includes any of the following subject matters: the Civil War, romance, humor or suspense, get in line to get your copy. It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry, it’ll move you Larry.” (Gotta love those Veggie Tales.)

Here’s a more detailed picture of my life. I’ve been married for 32 ½ years, we have four children, our oldest daughter is married and has a 1-year-old son, our son is married, and then we have our middle daughter and our youngest daughter, who is graduating from college in nine weeks (but who’s counting). Age range is 29 down to 22.

I’m self-employed in two different fields — so the phone calls and e-mails never end. Besides being a published author, I’m a journalist, a photographer and professional proofreader (trust me, my kids have tapped into that skill through the years). My other career, or my mission as I like to call it, is sales and marketing. I am an independent distributor for an outstanding company, Enagic Corp., based in Okinawa, Japan, that produces medical grade technology that is bringing hope, health and healing to all corners of the world. Now who couldn’t get excited about that!

Life isn’t all about work though. My husband and I love to exercise together, bike, compete in 5K running races, golf and travel. One of my favorite things to do when I have time during the cold weather months (which there are a lot of here, living in the Upper Midwest) is traditional paper scrapbooking (which is best done rocking out to my favorite tunes — 60s and 70s classic rock).

Every day my husband and I say to each other, “We’re living the dream!” That’s so true! My life gets a bit hectic at times but I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone else’s. Do you feel the same way about yours? Do we have anything in common? If so, post a comment in the comment box below!