Category Archives: news

I choose to remember the victims

What a sad sad day in America.  The Colorado movie massacre was a senseless tragedy.  My heart goes out to those poor victims and their friends and families.

My first reaction was probably like most people’s: shock.  Then came anger.  Who does this? (He is not a “he”, but an “it”.)

What the hell was the point?

Wait. I don’t even want to know “its” motivation – NOTHING justifies what “it” did.

Instead of focusing on “it”, who I refuse to acknowledge by name, I choose to remember the twelve victims.  They are the ones who deserve recognition and fame.  Their names should be the ones blasted out all over the internet and on the news channels.  Their lives were taken much too short, but they should be remembered.

The youngest was six.  The oldest was 51. One died on his birthday.  Several were fathers and mothers.  All were sons and daughters.  All were heroes.

Here’s a list of the victims, may they rest in peace.  The list is in alphabetical order and includes links to some of the stories about them.

  1. Jonathan Blunk, 26 years old – Jonathan Blunk’s wife talks about her family’s loss
  2. A.J. Boik, 18 years old – AJ Boik Among Those Killed In Theater Shooting 
  3. Gordon Cowden, 51 years old – At 51 Gordon Cowden was oldest of those slain in theater shooting
  4. Jessica Ghawi, 24 years old – Jessica Ghawi’s Family Wants to Focus on Victims, Not Colorado Shooter 
  5. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jesse Childress, 29 years old  – Jesse Childress Died Trying to Protect Friend at “Dark Knight” Massacre
  6. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class John Thomas Larimer, 27 years old – Shooting victim John Larimer: Illinois sailor was youngest of five children
  7. Matt McQuinn, 27 years old –  Aurora shooting victims: Heroism and heartbreak as last moments revealed 
  8. Micayla Medek, 23 years old – Father of slaying victim Micayla Medek: ‘I lost a precious soul.’
  9. Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6 years old – Double tragedy:  Aurora shooting victim learns her daughter was killed
  10. Alex Sullivan, 27 years old – Alex Sullivan was celebrating his 27th birthday at midnight showing
  11. Alex Teves, 24 years old –   Shooting victim Alex Teves had ‘a heart of gold,’ saved girlfriend
  12. Rebecca Wingo, 32 years old –  Rebecca Wingo, mom of two, among victims kill

I choose to remember the victims.

~~ Maggie


Posted by on July 23, 2012 in Family, news


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Remembering 9/11 – ten years later

                                                                                                      credit: Whitegadget

Like most people, I remember exactly where I was when I heard about the terrorist attacks of September 11th. I was at a BSF meeting (Bible Study Fellowship). It was near the end of our first meeting and we were gathered as a large group, waiting to hear from our speaker, who was delayed. When she finally spoke, it was with the heartbreaking news of the attacks — and her daughter was in New York, who she couldn’t reach.  We were all Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on September 11, 2011 in news


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Update: Summer Travels

Ahh… Summer!  I missed you, my dear dear friend.  I’ve looked forward to your visit for several reasons: of course, the SUN – the SUN!!!  If that wasn’t enough, there’s also my trip to Japan and my wedding anniversary. Alas, one wasn’t to be…*sigh*, but the other is TOTALLY ON.

JAPAN:  Postponed! *sob* It wasn’t meant to be this year. Actually, it was my decision. Otherwise, I’d be there right now, in fact. Thing is – after the horrific tsunami and subsequent nuclear explosion, the U.S. issued a travel alert to avoid travel to Japan. This was back in May. Frankly, the radiation threat scared me — I’m a mom and can’t take the chance that I’d get cancer.  Also, part of my trip would’ve been a home stay and I just didn’t feel right about burdening a Japanese family, who had other things to worry about.  The U.S. travel alert says it’s safe now, outside a 50-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

So – in the spirit of traveling to Japan NEXT YEAR, I’ve compiled 10 interesting facts and figures about Japan:

  • Japan has vending machines that dispense BEER;
  • Literacy rate is about 100% — ONE HUNDRED PERCENT!!;
  • A musk melon (like a cantaloupe) can sell for about 31,473 yen (that’s $300.00!);
  • About 70% of Japan consists of mountains and there’s about 200 volcanoes;
  • Japan consists of over 6,800 islands;
  • The unemployment rate is less than 4%;
  • Has the highest proportion of elderly in the world: 21%;
  • Central Tokyo has a population of 12 MILLION people — the Greater Tokyo Area is about 35 million;
  • Japan is slightly smaller in land mass than California;
  • The most popular pizza topping in Japan is squid, followed by mayonnaise, corn and seaweed.

So, Japan wasn’t to be — YET. I look forward to next year, minus the pizza toppings. Squid? Oh boy! But, the good news is that I have new summer plans.

WEDDING ANNIVERSARY: To celebrate our 25th, the hubby and I are heading to….VEGAS! It’s my first time to the Entertainment Capital of the World and I can’t wait to soak it all in.

Here are just ten fascinating facts and figures about the Sin City, Las Vegas:

  • There’s more than 15,000 MILES of neon tubing in the Strip and Downtown;
  • The neon cowboy (Vegas Vic over Fremont street) is the world’s largest mechanical sign;
  • There’s an average of 315 weddings PER DAY;
  • Marriage license costs $35;
  • It has one of the highest divorce rates in the U.S.;
  • Average cost for filing divorce papers is $450;
  • There’s about 200,000 slot machines;
  • Of the 20 biggest hotels in the U.S. – 17 of them are in Vegas;
  • About 37 MILLION people visit each year;
  • 1,700 licensed gambling places.

I’ve been researching what to see, where to go and what to do. In a word: overwhelming!  There’s retail therapy, hotel hopping, strolling the 13-block Strip, eating at fabulous restaurants, taking in a spectacular show, or two, and soaking up the pulsating nightlife scene. *sigh* So many places to go, people to see! Viva Las Vegas and all that!

If you have any tips for our Vegas trip, please POST them. I’d greatly appreciate it!

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Posted by on July 6, 2011 in Family, marriage, news, travel


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R.I.P. Caylee

Today’s “not guilty” verdict in the Casey Anthony murder trial brought tears to the masses, but not tears of relief. There were tears of anger. Tears of sadness. Tears of resentment. Tears of disgust. This storm of emotion by the public was broadcasted on every news channel since the verdict was reported.

Why so much emotional response to this particular acquittal? Many believe two-year old Caylee died at the hand of her own mother. And she just got away with it.

O.J. Simpson verdict all over again.

People diligently watched the trial unfold on T.V. and knew the “not guilty” verdict was always a possibility, but did anyone really think she’d be found “not guilty”?

This case resonates with all of us because Caylee was an innocent child who was obviously murdered and the elaborate cover-up by her mother suggests she’s guilty.

Mothers all know the awful feeling when your heart STOPS for that second when you think you lost your little one in the store. What’s the first thing mothers do in that case? Mothers panic, yell the child’s name and get help, all while searching frantically for that little precious one.

Who did that for Caylee?

I don’t propose to know the truth of what really happened, but at the very least, isn’t it a crime of neglect to pretend your child is NOT missing? She didn’t report Caylee missing for at least THIRTY days!

I really don’t buy the story about Caylee’s “accidental drowning” in the pool, but if it really was true and Casey didn’t do anything about it – again, isn’t there a crime here? That’s negligence in the worst way!

As the prosecutors stated, when a child is drowning (100% of the time) someone calls for help. They call 911. They try to save her little life. To give her a chance.

Did Caylee get that chance to live?

I highly commend the prosecutors. Many will criticize them and second-guess them, but they probably didn’t have all the evidence they needed to convince the jury. They used the evidence they had to work with, but I’m sure they wish they could’ve had forensic teams from C.S.I. shows to completely prove her guilt. Alas, C.S.I. shows are fictitious and I’m guessing the technology they use doesn’t exist. Yet.

Watch out Casey. One day, your lies will catch up to you and so will technology. (Yes, I know about the double-jeopardy rule, but I’m guessing she’ll be found guilty of something else). Even if you get away with it here on earth, God will be your Judge and He knows what really happened.

It’s sickening to think that Casey is free. Free to re-invent herself. Perhaps publish a book. I truly hope that doesn’t happen. No self-respecting publisher should agree to that and no one should buy even one book. I know I never will and I promise to boycott the store that tries to sell that book.


I pray for the true victim here: Caylee. May you rest in peace, little angel. I know God is holding you in His heavenly arms and He will always love you.


Posted by on July 6, 2011 in kids, news, TV


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Top 15 tips for writing articles in a print newspaper

It all stems from a lunchroom conversation. A music teacher friend of mine, Lawrene, told me about a cool event: a Pulitzer prize-winning composer was coming to a local elementary school to sit down and help students compose their own music. The more I asked, the more excited I became. This story just begged to be written. And published. I jotted down notes and, unknowingly, conducted my first interview as a freelance writer for a print newspaper.

Writing itself is not new to me. I’d written in the high school newspaper decades ago and of course I’d written a lot in my previous career as a legal assistant. I loved to edit my family and friends’ college papers and dabbled in some freelance writing for online magazines, like Associated Content . Most recently, I’d written my first middle grade novel and felt the itch to get published.

After much research and drafting, I optimistically submitted the article to the local newspapers. At first, I didn’t hear anything. I imagined the newspaper offices were swamped and understaffed, due to previous budget cuts. I felt confident in my writing and knew it was print-worthy. I followed up with phone calls and two newspapers picked up the story.


Since then, I’ve published 25 articles, mostly in the Canton Observer Newspapers and I’ve learned a lot in the process. Here are 15 tips for writing in a print newspaper:

  1. A good story begs to be written and published. In other words, content is top priority;
  2. Of course, good writing is a must. Check your grammar and word choice until it’s perfect. Reading it aloud several times helps to know when to stop editing it;
  3. Talking about the idea with a friend or relative helps develop the story and draw out what makes it interesting for readers;
  4. It’s easy to write about something that’s exciting or that I care about. Even if the story is not one that I’m initially connected to, once I start interviewing, the excitement builds;
  5. Friends, family and co-workers are great sources for stories. Keep ears perked for ideas and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Before long, they will approach you with ideas;
  6. Make connections in the community that may serve as contacts for stories;
  7. Unlike many online newspapers, space in print is limited and brevity is key. Start out writing without a word number limit and then tighten it as needed. Sometimes, the editor already has an idea how much space they want to use and they’ll give you the word limit;
  8. Write articles without your opinions, unless it’s an editorial — “Just the facts, and nothing but the facts”. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t quote someone’s opinion, as long as it’s not a slanted story;
  9. Be sure to proofread. Especially check the correct spelling for names. This makes it a lot easier for the editor and that’s who you want to please;
  10. Interviewing key people is important to the story. Not only does it provide information in an exciting way, but they are passionate about the topic and can give eloquent and interesting quotes;
  11. Invest in a voice recorder for interviews. Not only does it help get the exact quote, but hearing the tone in the person’s voice helps narrow down what’s most important to him/her;
  12. Be sure to back up your facts and research thoroughly. Do your homework;
  13. Write the most important information first. In other words, use the upside pyramid formula with the least important information at the end;
  14. Once you have a working relationship with the editor, get your story ideas approved before writing them. This saves you time and gives you a better chance of getting paid;
  15. Take pride in your writing. Seeing my writing published in print was more satisfying than online; It also turns out to pay better (at least for me).

I love freelance writing! Not only do I love the thrill of seeing my writing in print and I like the extra money, but I’ve gotten to know a lot of interesting people right here in my community.

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Posted by on July 5, 2011 in Family, news, Writing


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Change of Perspective

Thursday afternoon:  “weather forecast for tomorrow morning is 2 inches of snow and icy conditions…”

perspective: “Ah, man, why do I have to live in Michigan with these long winters? Why can’t I live in Hawaii or California or somewhere warm?  It’s March. Shouldn’t the snow stop by now? It’s going to be a bear to drive in that in the morning.”

Friday morning:  “tremendous devastation in Japan; worst quake to hit Japan, followed by a horrendous tsunami.  More tsunamis expected in Hawaii and California…”

perspective: “Michigan’s a great place to live.”

“Perspective is everything. Change your perspective and change your reality.” by Christina W. Baum


Posted by on March 11, 2011 in news


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Trapped Miners’ Message of Hope

The story of the 33 trapped miners in Chile is amazing! So far, they’ve survived 17 days inside a mine shaft shelter the size of a small apartment — 2,300 feet underground. I can’t even imagine being stuck in my comfortable basement with four people for a fraction of that time! And not only have they survived, but their messages are positive and filled with hope.

One message read “The 33 of us in the shelter are well.”  Later, another message by the eldest miner (63- year-old Mario Gomez) read, “God is great.” Talk about a test of faith.

These survivors have a long wait for their rescue — it is estimated to take three months. Three months can feel like a lifetime in such close quarters with so many people and no conveniences.  Imagine the lack of hygiene and toilets! Most people don’t even like to use port-a-potties or latrines!

My prayers go out to these survivors who show that even in the worst case scenario, there is HOPE!



Posted by on August 25, 2010 in Family, news


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