May 17, 2013 at 10:50am
WORD FOR THE DAY "inviting" (adj.) "attractive, alluring, or tempting, as in an inviting offer." Syn. fascinating, delightful, intriguing, attractive. (dictionary dot com)
What’s the word on Welch Dental Care? “Inviting.”
“Inviting” is the word Sartell dentist Courtney Welch touts for his family dental care clinic at 151-19th Street South. In fact, he wants to make his practice “the most uniquely inviting dental experience in the tri-county area.” Certainly, this is a lofty goal. However, Dr. Welch is determined to attain it.
First of all, Dr. Welch embodies the word “inviting.” He’s a young man with a wide smile, quick laugh, and disarming manner. Even though he’s got plenty of energy and enthusiasm about opening his new business (as of September 2012), his movements are relaxed and easy. Often, as he speaks about Welch Dental Care to co-members of our River City BNI (Business Network International) group, he gestures with open arms, as though presenting you with a bushel basket full of dental bounty.
Next, this bounty is the “stuff” he uses to make his dental practice more inviting. Most people don’t enjoy going to the dentist, says Dr. Welch. (You can see him finish that sentence with a mental “Duh!”) So, he’s designed the office to make the experience easier: gentle music and heated massage chairs; uncluttered, private rooms with a view of the woods; a building location in a quiet setting to help clients relax.
“We’ve created a setting that aids in minimizing the inherent stress involved in dental visits,” says Dr. Welch on his website at www.welchdentalcare.com.
Dr. Welch always invites his prospective patients to tour the office and to engage him in a conversation about the state-of-the-art technology he employs, which includes digital x-rays and intra-oral photos. Communication between doctor and patient is also so important, says Dr. Welch. He is a very easy guy to converse with.
In our conversation, he told me a few things about himself. For one, he’s been a dentist for six years, having graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. Previously, he was located at Metro Dental in Lakeville and encouraged the clinic’s involvement in the Minnesota Dental Association’s “Give Kids a Smile” effort to provide free dental care for two days, during National Children’s Dental Health Month. His wife Sarah is a pediatric dentist. She shares a practice with Dr. Liliana Lucas at Pediatric Dentistry, which just happens to be located next door. (So, husband and wife are close, but not TOO close to get in each other’s way, notes Courtney Welch with a laugh.) Often, the two offices make referrals to one another. Courtney and Sarah have a small son named Riley. (No chance that little guy will EVER miss brushing his teeth. And, you can forget about HIS ever having a cavity!)
F.Y.I. – Dr. Welch also invites patients to view the number of educational videos he’s made available in the office. These let patients know what they’re in for prior to a procedure. (Of course, with Dr. Welch, they’re in for expert care with as little wear-and-tear on their sensibilities as possible.)
So, “inviting” is my word choice for Dr. Courtney Welch of Welch Dental Care. He’s made this a goal, and according to the testimonials you’ll find on his site and on Facebook, he appears to be delivering on his promise. If you’d like to meet Dr. Welch, call him at 320.229.2233. Also, be watching for the clinic’s Open House this spring.
March 29, 2013 at 06:30am
WORD FOR THE DAY “longevity” (noun) “1. a long individual life; 2. the length or duration of life; 3. length of service, tenure, etc.; seniority.” (dictionary.com)
Kumon’s Maland chooses education with longevity.
(Say that word 10 times, fast.)
The word is “longevity,” one of Cathy Maland’s BIG words. This word applies to her career as an educator, her new endeavor with Kumon® Math & Reading in St. Cloud, Minn., and her commitment to deliver learning for life to her students.
I first met Cathy when a fellow BNI (Business Network International) member from River City BNI brought her as a guest to our Thursday morning meeting in November of 2012. Her new business intrigued me; she’d just opened the after-school enrichment program that month. So, I wanted to get to know her better. (I also knew a child that could benefit from the program.) We chatted over coffee at Starbucks, and I was impressed with her commitment to kids.
“Kumon is foundational, with a process that can be applied to any learning style,” said Cathy.
This educator is emphatic that every child can learn, and she’s willing to invest her time with each. That’s why, after 25 years as a teacher, Cathy wasn’t willing to retire. Instead, she became a new business owner! Cathy decided to teach the Kumon program because of its strong curriculum, its emphasis on meeting the child in the moment, and its dedication to teaching learning skills that will keep performing over a lifetime. Kumon has longevity.
“I believe that, with the spiral effect of Kumon learning, students do not forget what they’ve previously learned,” says Cathy. “In Kumon, students discover and follow their own learning style, mastering new material at their own pace.”
Part of her life’s experience includes her fast-paced, early career as a military wife and teacher, working in primary schools in Germany, Hawaii, and California, before returning to Minnesota and Browerville. She traveled from place-to-place, raising five children whose education was often interrupted; three had learning challenges. This interaction with learners who see the world out of the “norm” honed her abilities to instruct children with a variety of needs. Also, having a teacher for a mother was a benefit to all of the kids, largely because of her patient, fearless, experiential approach to learning.
Cathy loves and respects kids, (including her own, now grown) and they just naturally respond to her.
Cathy has had longevity in her teaching career, performing in a variety of traditional settings and grades. From 2010-2011, she taught Adult ESL/Citizenship in Long Prairie and Spanish at Mary of Lourdes Middle School, Little Falls. She was a sub in Long Prairie/Grey Eagle, Alexandria, Browerville, Eagle Valley, Staples-Motley, and Swanville school districts for many years. In 2007, she was School Age Program Supervisor at Young People’s Place in Alexandria. She taught Spanish from 2004 to 2006 in Sebeka and Menahga and was Media/Technology Coordinator at St. Ann’s Catholic Elementary School in Wadena in 2003. Cathy taught Math to middle and high school students in Eagle Bend and Holdingford from 2000 to 2002. She also redesigned the curriculum of the Alternative Learning Center in Holdingford and before that, was Principal at Christ the King Catholic Elementary School in Browerville.
Over these many years, Cathy expanded her own long list of education educational achievements. She acquired a Master’s Degree in Education, with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction, and earned a K-12 Spanish Education degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, building upon her St. Cloud State University Spanish minor. She received certification from the State of Minnesota in Elementary Education Grades 1-6 and Middle School Mathematics. Her initial B.S. degree in Elementary Education is from Mankato State University. The educator is originally from Lewiston, Minn., just southwest of Winona.
So, Cathy tells me that she’s already met the goals of being a mother, teacher, and a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. (The Tae Kwon Do surprised me because Cathy is gentle, soft-spoken, and easy-going. You wouldn’t look at her and think “martial arts.”) When she finally retires, she will paint.
However, Cathy won’t retire just yet. She plans to add longevity to her career as an educator and to her life as she improves the world through its children and her new Kumon learning center.
To find out more about Kumon, visit www.kumon.com/st-cloud. Cathy can be reached at 320.345.7030.
(By the way, my granddaughter is doing very well in Kumon, thank you very much.)
© mary macdonell belisle – wording for you
January 24, 2013 at 05:43am
WORD FOR THE DAY "organize" (v.) or·gan·iz·ing. verb (used with object)
The Big To Do During National Get Organized Monthsm
“I’ve got to get organized!” Have you beaten yourself up over the confusion of your life? Well you CAN pull yourself together personally, at home, and on the job. How about getting started this January during National Get Organized (GO) Month, established by the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO)? Here are some suggestions, sure to improve your life once you’ve made them habits.
New Year’s Resolution
“We’re weeks into the New Year and your resolutions have gone by the wayside,” says Sharon Sorenson, professional organizer and owner of Heartland Organizing, Clearwater, www.heartlandorganizing.com. Don’t get discouraged about why your resolutions fail:
1. Too many resolutions were made. How about picking ONE?
2. Resolutions were too general. Take one and apply it to a specific action each month, says Sorenson.
3. Your motivation waned. Changing a habit takes effort. In fact, some say you need to practice your preferred behavior over 21 days before it “sticks,” notes Sharon. So, set up a reminder system–notes to yourself, maybe. Or set up a tickler system on your computer’s calendar. Or enlist the help of a partner who’ll act as cheerleader.
4. You didn’t give it enough time. Some people want results in a day or two. Nope, not gonna do it. “You need to take more dedicated, focused time to succeed,” says Sharon
5. You waited for the “right time.” “The perfect time to begin never happens,” says Sharon. Simply begin today, during National Get Organized (GO) Month.
General tips that apply anywhere
If you’re messed up inside, it’s hard to manage the outside. Think positively, and be realistic about handling your “stuff.”
“I think most people struggle with balance,” says Sharon. Some of us wear the busy-ness like sackcloth and face our lengthy “To Do List” wearing a red badge of courage. Check NAPO’s website at http://www.napo.net or http://stresstest.net or any number of free online sites. Sorenson also suggests you read “The Get Organized Now! Newsletter™” from author, speaker, consultant, and professional organizer Maria Gracia, at http://www.getorganizednow.com.
“Slow down and learn to say ‘No.’”
Remind yourself of this. Post a note on your mirror or computer. Ask a friend for a daily “way to go.” Begin your day with an inspirational quote from a book or Bible, or link to an uplifting website. Affirm yourself. Try “I am lovable and capable ... and organized.” Pretty simple, right?
Sharon says, “SIMPLIFY.” She agrees with organizer Peter Walsh, who’s written “How to Organize Too Much of Anything” and “It’s All Too Much.” (You may want to buy one.) Many of us own too much stuff and have too much on our list. For example, Walsh says we use 40% of our wardrobe 80% of the time. So, PURGE, constantly – one task/idea in, one task out, encourages Schumer.
Implement organizational systems in addition to purging.
“A place for everything, everything in its place,” says Sharon. Lists, files, folders, boxes, cabinets, etc. The “To Do List” can be tamed by reducing it to smaller do-able categories, she says, one to four tasks per day.
Remember, you have permission to say “no,” to slow down, to simplify your life, and to take the time to put organizational systems into play in your personal life and at the job.
Tips for the office (that can also work for home)
Improve your workspace, beginning tomorrow. Go paperless. Invest in a scanner, and get to know the capabilities of your office machines; they’re designed to save you time. Also, match computer folder labels with corresponding physical files. Back up your system often, and for your emails, hit “delete” more often. Sorenson suggests a once-a-year housecleaning for the computer, the physical files, and the office environment. Ask for or hire help for the small stuff you don’t like or know how to do – the filing, accounting, invoicing, thank you’s, etc.
Tips for when to hire a professional
If you’re feeling the crunch, falling behind, or getting frustrated, use a professional to help you learn to use your time most effectively.
“Remember, being organized is not a moral issue,” adds Sharon. “It is a skill. A professional organizer can offer creative problem solving and an objective view, provide practical solutions, and support and keep you on track during the process of change.”
So, whether you devise your own plan, consult a self-help guru, or hire a professional, when you decide change is in order, there are PLENTY OF WAYS to get organized on a personal level, at home, or at the job. You simply have to implement them. Begin during National Get Organized (GO) Month!
November 1, 2012 at 06:15am
WORD FOR THE DAY “resilience” (n.) “1. The power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity. 2. Ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.” Syn. flexibility, pliancy. (dictionary dot com)
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"Resilience" is Noel Zinda Casperson's catchword in business and life
“The only constant is change,” said Greek philosopher Heraclitus. Well, Noel Zinda Casperson believes people need to be resilient and find ways to bounce back from unexpected change. This follows her philosophy about work and life. Changes in life happen, so you’d best be prepared with the right insurance.
“Insurance is a very personal thing,” says Noel, honestly and matter-of-factly. “You have it for the changes in life.” In fact, preserving your way of life is the tagline for Hoff’s Insurance Specialists, Noel’s new employer, located in Sauk Rapids. Noel handles commercial and personal property casualty insurance.
“It is my goal to give every client a complete review and honest insurance experience, not just when I write the account but year-after-year,” says Noel in her LinkedIn bio: “I will be here for my clients, with integrity and knowledge. BOTH parts make up the client experience.”
As a conscientious agent, Noel is meticulous about uncovering the needs of her clients and anticipating their future requirements. In fact, I’ve experienced her attentiveness firsthand, beginning when she was affiliated with RJ Ahman Company, which later became Liberty Insurance. She also shares her philosophy and client testimonials at our weekly Business Network International meetings, giving us further insight into her giving personality. Noel cares about people. This is what I really appreciate about her. I’m also impressed with her serious approach to finding adequate coverage for her clients and her very helpful, patient way of explaining insurance, which I find confusing.
“You need to have a belief in the product, understand and know it,” says Noel, who also knows she made the right move to Hoff’s Insurance Specialists. As an independent agent at an independent full-service agency, Noel works specifically for her clients, not for the company’s objectives. How refreshing!
This woman’s character is refreshing as well. Noel is very cordial and a good listener. Her manner is easy, not pushy, however, she will be tenacious about finding clients the right insurance carrier and at the best price. Ask her a question, and she’ll know the answer, or she’ll get right back to you with one after doing research. These extras that she performs in her work are very unique to her approach to the job.
Noel’s experienced life’s changes in her work life. She’s new to Hoff’s Insurance, since July. Previously, she was at Integrity Insurance. Prior to that, she was at Liberty Insurance/RJ Ahmann Company, which was formerly the First National Insurance Agency of Elk River. She was five plus years with First National. Noel’s been an insurance since 1992, having begun her career with Mahowald Insurance Agency. Twenty years in the business thus far is a good number.
Another good change in Noel’s life is her marriage this September to Al Casperson. And, “Casperson” is not a difficult name to remember. (Check out the wedding photos on Facebook.)
Remember, “All is flux; nothing stays still,” noted Heraclitus in his day. Today, the same is true. Recommend Noel Zinda Casperson to friends or family when you hear of anyone unhappy with their current insurance agent––you know, the one who doesn’t return their calls and isn’t interested in handling their claims or answering their questions. Her email is: email@example.com. Noel can help you, or someone you know and love, gain some additional resiliency in life, especially with regard to commercial and personal casualty insurance.
© mary macdonell belisle – wording for you
October 23, 2012 at 08:30am
WORD FOR THE DAY "pumped (up)" Slang. "Excited; physically and mentally ready. (Sports.)" (dictionary dot com) Verb phrase – pump up. to inflate; to increase, heighten, or strengthen; put more effort into or emphasis on; to infuse with enthusiasm, competitive spirit, energy, etc."
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Organizer JoyGenea Shumer Furnstahl pumped, primed for moving projects
JoyGenea Shumer Furnstahl is EXCITED about projects I dread. One of those projects was my elderly mother’s move from a two-bedroom apartment to a one-bedroom on September 14. In my opinion, the move was totally unnecessary. However, mother had her mind set. So, I called JoyGenea, Organizing & Inspiring Solutions, begging for HELP.
My request for help was necessary. First, I had no time to move my mother. I was up to my eyeballs in projects of my own––my kids and their various needs and my writer-for-hire business. Mother gave me almost no advance notice, just BOOM! “I’ve talked to the apartment manager, and there’s an apartment available on the fifteenth.” Ooohhh kaaaayyyy!?!!??? Second, I had absolutely no energy. (Revisit my first excuse.) Third, I had no enthusiasm for the move.
Now, for some history on moves in my family … I was up to here with moving. I’d moved my father every year since 2006. That was Grand Rapids to Country Manor in 2006, Country Manor to Good Shepherd in 2007, and Good Shepherd to Talahi Care Center in 2008, and then, moved my father’s belongings to the storage unit in 2009 when he passed away. I’d moved mother from North Village Apartments to Benet Place in 2009 to be closer to Dad. In 2010, she had to move across the street to Benedict Village. Plus, that same year, I helped move two daughters and their households. In 2011, mom broke her shoulder and needed to stay at Short Stay, St. Benedict’s Center, to recover. However, “short stay” turned into a very long stay, which necessitated my moving clothing and articles back-and-forth between apartment/hospital/Short Stay. I could NOT direct another move. My gas tank was empty.
Plus, I didn’t want to face my mother’s anxious behavior again. She couldn’t help getting all nervous, irritable, being unable to sleep, and putting herself into the dangerous position of trying to pack and move boxes herself because she couldn’t wait for me. But I could help both of us. I hired JoyGenea. It was the best move ever on my part.
JoyGenea met us during a preliminary appointment with plenty of energy and know-how. She’d worked with many elderly folks and their adult children to organize and direct moves and downsizing. We did a walk-through of mom’s existing 2-bedroom apartment and then, walked over to the new apartment. (Thank God it was on the same floor and in the same building!) Right away, JoyGenea could see that mother would have to get rid of more items than she’d originally anticipated. Well, JoyGenea gave us an estimate, including the cost of four men to assist in the carrying AND to move the overflow items to the storage unit. It seemed reasonable, and mother said yes.
On the fourteenth, JoyGenea showed up at 9 a.m. to begin. A little later, the fellows from We Haul for You arrived. However, I was not there. JoyGenea interacted with my mother the whole time, asking her which items she wanted to keep, which should she discard (a very sensitive subject which JoyGenea handled with tact), and where items should go. She had one pile for recycling and another for tossing. My mother was very impressed with how patient JoyGenea was with her. Yet, JoyGenea was deliberate and always moving forward toward the goal of getting my mother moved and setting up her new apartment in as close an approximation of the old as possible.
I met the moving men at the storage unit at 1 p.m. They unloaded picture frames, and end table, and lamps, and even put mom’s desk in my van so I could take it to my house. Things went very quickly.
Back at mother’s new apartment, we three women tackled where to put knickknacks and the hanging of photos and paintings. Still, JoyGenea took the lead, always with a smile, tact, and enthusiasm. She was also very gentle about encouraging my mother to sit down and direct the reorganization rather that hover. When it was time to go around 5 p.m., JoyGenea packed up the trash and carted out the recycling, about three trips to her car. My mother was SO APPRECIATIVE. She couldn’t stop saying “thank you” to both of us.
Thank you, JoyGenea, for being so pumped about handling moves for the elderly. It is a wonderful specialization and so necessary, especially for caregivers who are completely over-extended with their own families and just not up for the enormity of organizing and executing the move, handling the disposal of down-sized furniture and items, and setting up the new residence. You have my recommendation.
(c) mary macdonell belisle – wording for you
October 1, 2012 at 09:30am
WORD FOR THE DAY – "block" (n.) Slang. A person's head. "an obstruction or stoppage in mental processes or speech, especially when related to stress, emotional conflict, etc.; writer's block – a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work." (dictionary dot com)
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25 business blog ideas to conquer writer's block
Oh, the horror of that blank sheet of paper or the empty computer screen. You've got to write an article for your blog or your newsletter, but it has to be meaty. In your mind, you go through ideas, discounting all of them in what could be a super-critical stress fracturing. Or, you meet with nothing when you cast your line into the depths of your brain waves. What's going on? Most would say you've got bad case of writer's block. Here are some great blog ideas that you can use for starters:
1. Highlight something NEW in your industry.
2. Expand on an industry trend.
3. Comment on current events that affect your industry.
4. Interview an internal expert.
5. Interview an external expert in your industry.
6. Profile a satisfied client, and get to the specifics of why this person "loves" you and the business.
7. Compile compelling data relating to your industry – milestones in growth, global activity, etc.
8. Compile lists, e.g., “20 top B2B websites for 2011,” or "Best R&B Songs of 1970."
9. Build a series, based upon interviews with the sales team and the top questions they’re asked in the field.
10. Write an in-depth history of your family-owned company.
11. Highlight the rules of a contest or campaign, and launch it.
12. Remark and give your opinion about other blogs, e-books, books, or white papers you’ve read.
13. Re-post portions of others’ blogs, with their permission and proper citing of the source. Be sure to offer your opinion.
14. Elaborate on your philosophy of doing business.
15. Introduce a new product/service and highlight benefits to the consumer.
16. Review a top-selling product or one that needs some more exposure.
17. Offer a comparison between your product/service and the competition's.
18. Take a look at some of the comments people leave you on your website, blog, or "suggestion box," and respond.
19. Show why you've remodeled or retooled as a response to consumer demand.
20. Announce an upcoming grand opening/reopening after remodel –– “Take a Look at Us Now!”
21. Cover your community involvement – United Way volunteers? Habitat for Humanity builders?
22. Announce an award/certification/recognition by the community or your industry.
23. Make up a GAME, based on your company’s focus. Get the input of your customers while crafting the rules.
24. Start up a series of short stories, based on your company’s focus. Stories sell.
25. Put up a prize for the public’s innovative use of your product, and document the players and their progress.
Perhaps, you thought of even more ideas for this list. If so, let's expand it. Let me know what other topics and themes helped you through writer's block while business blogging. Also, what process did you use to move you through the wall?
Others have also been moved to create lists of their own, and I've used some of their ideas in this post. See TekkBuzz's Deborah Richmond's "Deborah's Secrets to Finding Content to Blog About." Also visit "Blog Topics for Writers," by writer Casey McCormick. And, from the experts at HubSpot, "17 Brilliant Sources of Content Hiding Right Under Your Nose."
So, you know that a list can be a valuable tool when writing your blog article. Why? Because all blog and article writers hit a wall at some time or another. By using this handy list of 25 business blog ideas, you'll do just fine with your next entry AND with minimal injury to your brain.
(c) mary macdonell belisle – wording for you
September 26, 2012 at 06:30am
3 ways to deal with "who," or is it "whom"?
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Do you get confused with the words "who" and "whom"? I do, and I'm always checking reference books, writer's blogs, or "Grammar Girl" for quick reassurance. However, I always welcome a good review about when to use "who" and "whom."
Over the years, I've learned that “who” (and “whoever”) are always subjects (nominative pronouns) in a sentence. Typically, they're followed immediately by a verb. For example: "Who sings better, Leno or Letterman?" "Sings," of course, is the verb, the action. “Whom” and “whomever” are objects, objective pronouns – direct, indirect, or objects of prepositions. For example: "Conan O’Brien can't figure out to whom the two would sing." "To" is the preposition. Also, "whom" often appears after the verb in a subject/verb/object sequence. For example: "You prefer whom? John Stuart? Yes. John Stuart is the comedian whom I prefer."
Brian Klems blogs for Writer's Digest. He posted an entry about this topic yesterday––"Who vs. Whom." Here's what he had to say about "who," (or is it "whom"?) Who is used as the subject of a verb or complement of a linking verb. It’s a nominative pronoun. It was Carl who broke all the pencils in the house. When writing a sentence, first find the verb(s)—was and broke. Then, find the subject for each verb: Carl and who. Since who is a subject, it’s correct. Who needs a crayon to write this down?"
He reminds us that "whom" always follows a verb and a preposition. "Be careful, though," says Brian. "Make sure the prepositional pronoun in question isn’t also a subject—if it is, then you use who. For example, I cheered for who played hardest. While the pronoun follows a preposition (for), it’s also the subject of the second verb (played). When placed as a subject, always use who."
Brandon Royal, author of The Little Red Writing Book, lists the "who" vs. "whom" question as Rule #1 in his "30 Rules of Grammar." It is that important. His rule reads, "If he, she, or they can be substituted for the word in context, the correct form is 'who.' If him, her, or them can be substituted, the correct form is 'whom.'" (I couldn't have said it better myself.)
"Grammar Girl" Mignon Fogarty also addresses the question in her blog "Who versus Whom." She has other examples and prompts for you to ponder.
[Now, I've heard Public Radio recognize its sponsors by saying something like, "This program was brought to you by ABC Bank, who has the resources to help you." I've always thought a "who" was a person, not a thing. However, I thought I'd read somewhere that this was OK to do. I just can't find the source of this information So, if any of you have the answer to this question, please email me with a link to where you found it.]
Finally, Klems also reminds us that, when we're in doubt about which pronoun to use, it's easier to simply re-format the sentence.
So, it will take many of us more time and practice to feel 100% certain about the proper use of "who" and "whom" in our writing. We shouldn't feel ashamed. WHO DOESN'T HAVE PROBLEMS with those two pronouns?
(c) mary macdonell belisle – wording for you
September 19, 2012 at 10:02am
WORD FOR THE DAY "spin" (v.) The original meaning of the word “spin” is to “draw out and twist fibers into thread,” and "to cause to turn around rapidly, as on an axis. (dictionary dot com) SLANG (v.) “to cause to have a particular bias: influence in a certain direction.” (n.) "a particular viewpoint or bias, especially in the media; slant." Thus, a “spin doctor” is “a publicist hired to give a good spin to ideas promoted by politicians or other public figures.” (The website phrases.org notes the earliest printed reference from The New York Times, October 1984)
Spin the words. Spin the Web. Spin the truth.
Romney, Obama mistakes feed the fire storm.
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There's no need to look very far during a political campaign for the spin the candidates, their publicists, and the media create. And, it's usually over some sort of "foot-in-the-mouth" mis-speak or fumbled phrase the candidates make which absolutely cannot be forgiven. This is just fodder for the fire storm, and it obscures the truth for the American public.
"What a Mitt storm!"
Today we have "What a Mitt storm! Even Republicans joining a growing chorus of Romney's 'incompetent' 47% gaffe" from the New York Daily News (Read the story.) Of course, the quote from Mitt Romney was construed as an indication that he feels 47% of Americans are dependent upon government assistance and for that reason, they'll vote for President Obama. The word "spinners" puts into Romney's mouth is "freeloaders."
The Offending Quote
Here's the quote and sequence of words Mitt Romney used, so you can judge for yourself...
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the President no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who blieve that, that they are victims, who blieve that the government has the responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, you name it. But that's an entitlement, and government should give it to them. They will vote for this president, no matter what ... I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
This excerpt was taken from a video, secretly filmed by Mother Jones. View it on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Ge03Sys8SdA The quote begins around 35:23, but if you can, listen to the entire video.
Now, when Romney said, "My job is not to worry about those people," he was speaking about trying to change their minds in the course of the campaign and turn them into Republican voters. He DID NOT SAY that he wasn't concerned for them nor that they were "freeloaders." These are erroneous conjectures that are being made by the public and spun into black-and-white sound bites.
Never believe you are among friends as a candidate.
Was his use of the 47 percent statistic accurate? I'm not sure. Was it wise for Romney to use it? No, as we can see in hindsight. Did Romney suspect that he was being videotaped and that his words might come back to haunt him? No, he was relaxed, open, and felt he was among friends. There's a REAL LESSON in this episode, one that all politicians and statesmen and women must learn ... ALWAYS WATCH WHAT YOU SAY, because everything is open for SPIN.
(For the story of how the video was acquired by Mother Jones Magazine, follow this LINK.)
Didn't we see this type of spin activity around party convention time, too?
"Borrow money from your parents."
“Borrow money from your parents.” The Democratic Party often misquotes Mr. Romney by paraphrasing and taking words out of their context within an anecdote. See “ DNC fact check: Julian Castro lied about Romney quote.” The Examiner gives you the context of the actual quote: “Take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents. Start a business.” (See the story)
"You didn't build that."
“You didn’t build that.” Many speakers at the Republican National Convention used this out-of-context quote and poor sentence construction as the basis of their criticism of the opposing Presidential candidate. Actual quote: “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.” (Check my blog entry “What did he (Obama) mean by ‘ that’ word?”)
SPIN. It sorta makes it "difficult for us regular folks to get to the truth, don't it?" Keep on trying. (And, remember, don't believe everything you hear or read.) Investigate, and check your sources.
September 13, 2012 at 10:18am
WORD FOR THE DAY – "effervescent” (adj.) “effervescing (effervesce – verb) bubbling; 2. vivacious; lively; sparkling.” Syn. bouncy, irrepressible, exuberant, expansive (dictionary.com)
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Effervescent Katie Hultquist exudes positive energy
Unmistakable. That laugh. You’ll hear it at the St. Cloud Area Chamber’s Chamber Connection on Friday mornings. You’ll hear at BNI on Thursdays, same time. “The early bird gets the worm,” people say. Well, Katie Hultquist, of Computer Renaissance, will be at the meeting before you, greeting business owners or company reps. And, she’ll be bubbly and enthusiastic every time; one might say, “effervescent.” (Be prepared; you may even get a big hug.)
Katie has a bubbly, helpful response to people problems, whether client or passerby. When I saw her recently, she was helping an elderly gentleman who’d been the victim of a hit-and-run in the parking lot near her store. She handled the call to the police and helped prompt the distraught senior. Katie handled the situation with aplomb. Then, she mentioned to me that she’d just helped a client who’d inadvertently erased his entire hard drive! She didn’t quite know HOW he’d done it, but yes, she helped by reinstalling all of his programming and information, gratis. Of course, Katie handled the issues with her cheerful smile, punctuated with her exuberant laugh.
Katie's ambitious for her clients, too. “I’m always learning, always going to school,” she says with a broad smile. She's continually upping her skill set in order to be responsive in any sticky client situation. This perpetual student has a Master's degree in Management and an MBA. Currently, she's working on a Master of Science degree in Information Assurance and Information Technology. ("Go, Katie, go"!)
"At Computer Renaissance, we're friendly (and knowledgeable), and we try to help you feel smart, too," says Katie. "There are no stupid questions." She's pretty happy about how she and her father, Mark, translate "computer-ese" for customers.
They've dotted the "I's" and crossed the "T's" in "IT" for over 10 years of their ownership of the company.
Thanks in large part to her drive and personality, this summer was one of the busiest for Computer Renaissance. A specialty with huge potential for them is the on-site support they offer. "I'm loving it," says Katie. (Can't you just hear her.) "We want to expand this for homes and businesses. And, people are so grateful for good support."
Katie's pretty well known for her mantra: "Sales. Service. Support." "You CAN'T AFFORD DOWN TIME," she maintains. And, she adds, the service is very affordable because there's little overhead with the small staff and remote assistance to work stations, which is monitored via the latest technology. Katie's and Mark's response time to client needs is FAST.
Spend some time with Katie Hultquist at Computer Renaissance, BNI, Chamber, or . . . wherever. You be impressed with her knowledge and her passion for the business. I'm sure you'll agree with me that her personality is effervescent. And, if you have any doubts, just tell her so. She'll bust out in a hearty laugh that WILL CONVINCE YOU! (I guarantee it.)
(c.) mary macdonell belisle – wording for you
September 11, 2012 at 04:46pm
WORD FOR THE DAY “retrospect” (n.) “1. contemplation of the past: a survey of past time, events, etc.; (v.) 2. to look back in thought; refer back: 3. to look back upon; contemplate retrospectively.” (dictionary dot com)
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Finding the words for 9/11 in retrospect
Today is the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Every time I think of this day, I think of my proximity to an event that changed the serene complacency of our nation and shocked the world. This remembrance will never be forgotten. My retrospective is below . . .
(L. New York postcard, purchased that fateful weekend)
New York, the place where everything happens
As a member of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud in 2001, I was fortunate to be able to attend Catholic Charities USA Annual Meeting in Newark, New Jersey, from September 7 – 10. This was a big deal for me, since I am not a traveler; in fact, I took my first airplane flight when I was 41 years old. I boarded the plane at the Minneapolis / St. Paul International Airport, after kissing my husband Mark goodbye and promising to “have a great time.” Up into the overhead compartments went my carry-on, and just as I sat down in my seat, unbidden, came the words, “New York. The place where everything happens.” This was quickly followed by a momentary snippet of a sense of being on a plane and of the word “hijacking.”
Now, I’m certain that many people, when they board a plane, can’t help having a bit of a thought about the plane being commandeered by terrorists, for whatever violent reason. After all, we’ve all seen and heard the news stories from as far back, for some of us, as the 1970’s, when D.B. Cooper hijacked a plane and parachuted out of it over Nevada, along with the ransom money, never to be found. Usually, the hijacker was either after cash or was suicidal. But in the 1980’s, terrorism was added to the mix, usually, perpetrated by Islamic extremists, and there was a sense that money and a free ride to a political destination wasn’t really what they were after. They were for creating terror and causing harm. Pretty scary guys.
Well, I was apprehensive after that premonition. So, I began to pray. And, I prayed all the way to Newark. Not in a frenzied, hysterical manner, but in a calm, leaving any potential violence to be handled by the Creator, Who definitely had/has His hands full with the dealings of the human race.
Unscathed after a routine flight, I arrived in Newark. The weekend moved from one informative seminar and workshop to another. It was so wonderful to experience the respect for the dignity of others that participants shared as well as to be challenged by speakers to do more to help those in this country who are in poverty, need, and/or despair. I was filled with hope and energized, and was at a high level of appreciation for the wonderful creation God had/has given us –– we human beings.
I was also energized for the ferry trip we took to the Statue of Liberty, so much so that, as I rushed to avoid the crowded elevator at the hotel and opted to take the stairs, I missed the last step on the second floor. This over-long and falling stride threw me off-balance and landed me on my knees on the concrete landing. Many concerned folks rushed to help me up, and thank God, nothing was broken. I boarded the bus with help and rode to Ellis Island. The ferry ride was perfect. The night was balmy with a slight breeze coming off the harbor. The lights of the bay cities and boroughs dotted the darkened sky, and the Statue of Liberty shone under spotlights. My imagination was filled with images of crowds of people coming to America, "the land of the free and the home of the brave." I was SO PROUD of America and so thankful to have been born in this great country.
However, the next day, my ankle didn’t feel so great. I had to forego the tour of downtown New York City. Instead, I stayed in my hotel room with my foot propped on a chair by the window, reading from I book I’ve since forgotten. But, I know that I prayed for the residents of the city, that they would be blessed, and that God would watch over them. I was compelled to pray.
The Gala event on Saturday night was followed Sunday morning by Mass and the official end to the contemplative, reflective, yet invigorating, weekend. I boarded my plane at the Newark airport and flew home.
That evil day
Monday morning, September 11th, I was back at my Catholic Charities’ office. Minnesota Public Radio began to report on the events, how a plane had hit the World Trade Center, and . . . another! There were no televisions in our offices, so I emphatically declared that I was going home to see what the heck had happened.
What happened was as attack on our homeland and on our people––an evil and cowardly deed that murdered innocents of all ages, genders, ethnicities, beliefs, affiliations, and countries of origin. Many of God’s people returned to dust.
And, then, I realized what “New York. The place where everything happens.” had meant. I was happy that I had contributed my prayers, and I still believe that God listened on that day and answered in those painful days following, in the love of the survivors and the giving response of a nation that rallied around its own, in a city that needed them.
(c) 9/11/12 mary macdonell belisle
August 30, 2012 at 07:00am
WORD FOR THE DAY "multidisciplinary" (adj.) "composed of or combining several usually separate branches of learning or fields of expertise." (dictionary.com)
The word "multidisciplinary" describes "Doctor Mike" and his practice
"Back cracker" is a slang term for "chiropractor," and those of us who use chiropractors often say we're going to "get my back cracked," with regard to a spinal adjustment. However, I can't speak casually about Doctor Mike Milbauer, because he follows a multidisciplinary approach to wellness. And, he's very serious about it. We had a conversation a few weeks ago, always a pleasant experience. Mike is a member of my business networking group, River City BNI, and the more I know about him, the more I can refer his services to others. (My mom is scheduled to see him for acupuncture to relieve some of her carpal tunnel pain.)
"I've seen it all."
Mike Milbauer, D.C., is actually committed to a multidisciplinary wellness practice. He's been a doctor of chiropractic for 21 years, helping babies and the elderly, and treating the aches and pains of all ages in between. Mike says he's “seen it all” when it comes to the health difficulties people experience. For the past 18 years, he’s seen patients at Williams Integracare Clinic in Sartell, Minn. This concerned, compassionate healer appreciates the way the clinic supports his own multidisciplinary approach.
Doctor Mike knows his stuff, shares expertise
Doctor Mike appreciates the many approaches a chiropractor can take to diagnosing and treating patients. Certainly, he’s skilled in chiropractic. (Mike’s performed over 650,000 adjustments in his career! I wonder if that's taken a toll on HIS back?) He’s also adept at acupuncture, an eastern discipline that he acquired after receiving his Doctorate in Chiropractic from Northwestern College of Chiropractic––Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington, Minn. However, he also works closely with medical doctors and physical therapists at the clinic and with surgeons and radiologists, etc., from nearby clinics and the St. Cloud Hospital. Always open to widening his scope of knowledge and skill set, Doctor Mike is currently exploring the use of Chinese medicinal mushrooms through Alphay. (For more about Alphay products, contact Mary Dingmann. See my previous blog "Mary Dingmann, champion of Alphay wellness philosophy" about her business.) Thus, as a wellness professional, he is interested in understanding and using mainstream medical care as well as alternative health care.
Patients appreciate the doctor.
Patients appreciate Doctor Mike's relaxed, open, cheerful personality and attentiveness, which puts them at ease and helps them to enter into comfortable conversations about their health needs and concerns.
It seems as if it’s always the season to get hurt, says Doctor Mike. This is why he is focused on a consultative practice dealing with spinal trauma (motor vehicle related injuries), PowerLift Workplace training (for lifting), and chiropractic occupational health consulting. He knows it’s important for all individuals to pursue healthy habits and personal practices at home and at work.
Doctor Mike also finds that it’s important for him to take care of himself and his family, too. He and his wife Wendy have four children––Keshia (21), Anthony (19), Sabina (13), and Miranda (11)––who keep them very busy. The dog Charlie demands attention, running alongside the doctor on jogs around the neighborhood. Doctor Mike likes to stay active, and enjoys physical activities, including soccer and hockey, and artistic pursuits, such as photography and music. And of course, Doctor Mike is very interested in fitness, wellness, and nutrition.
All in all, Doctor Mike Milbauer's a great guy to know, AND he knows plenty about how to treat pain, or when to refer his patients to another medical specialist. This is because he takes a multidisciplinary approach to health and wellness and your "aching back"! When you hear the word multidisciplinary, think of Doctor Mike Milbauer and this writer for hire's "word for the day."
(c) mary macdonell belisle – wording for you
July 25, 2012 at 05:12pm
WORD FOR THE DAY – "furor" (n.) "1. a general outburst of enthusiasm, excitement, controversy, or the like; 2. a prevailing fad, mania, or craze; 3. fury; rage; madness." (dictionary dot com) Today's headlines: "Romney, Obama dig in over 'you didn't build that' furor" - View the article and the entire quote from President Obama. It's a good example of why people – especially politicians – should choose their words wisely.
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What did he (Obama) mean by “that” word?
All of us, no doubt, have made mistakes in our spoken and/or written words. Unfortunately, when a politician makes a faux pas in a speech, he or she is going to be “slapped upside the head” for it in the media and by the opposition party. Right? We’re seeing how Mitt Romney’s political campaign is getting mileage from President Obama’s July 13 slip up in Roanoke, Virginia.
Here’s the “offending” paragraph – with the problematic sentence highlighted in bold – which looks to me as if it were spoken “off-the-cuff”:
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”
Obama says words twisted, out of context
Now President Obama says that his words have been twisted and taken out of context. That may be true of the SPIN we’re hearing on the news and in campaign ads, blogs, and videos. Just visit “The More Context You Get, The Worse It Sounds” on YouTube as well as “’Always’ – Obama for America” TV ad. Also, check out today’s Fox News’ story, “Romney, Obama dig in over ‘you didn’t build that’ furor.” I ask you to view the blog’s “Power Play” video of the featured Fox News discussion to see how language is “spun” all the time. The host reads President Obama’s words to the guests and viewing audience to gain CONTEXT, but leaves out what I’d consider to be the crucial topic sentence, e.g., the first sentence of that segment of the speech. FOR SHAME! (Review the President’s words, again.)
Sentence structure just plain BAD
However, when I listen to the video and read the copy of his speech excerpt, I’m certainly confused. What DID he mean by “that”? If I look closely, I’m pretty convinced that Mr. Obama meant “roads and bridges” when he spoke. My reasoning is based upon the topic sentence used in that paragraph – “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.” Thus, in the case of a business, it may be “your” business, but you had employees and customers, maybe some training, a great product, and an SBA loan to help build your business into a successful enterprise. Pretty reasonable logic, I’d say. However, because the sentence structure is just plain BAD in this extemporaneous speech, it easily sounds as if the “that,” positioned after the mention of “business” within the same sentence, refers to the word “business.” – “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”
[The word “that” is defined on dictionary dot com as, “1. used to indicate a person, thing, idea, state, event, time, remark, etc., as pointed out or present, mentioned before, supposed to be understood, or by way of emphasis: That is her mother. After that we saw each other.”]
So, yes, I’d give President Obama a few points for criticizing Republicans for taking that sentence out of context, but I’d also dock him (Obama) points for his faulty sentence construction, which confused his listeners. It might be better for the President to simply ‘fess up that he misspoke.
I believe all of us would understand that.
(c) mary macdonell belisle – wording for you
July 12, 2012 at 06:30am
WORD FOR THE DAY – “unpretentious” (adj.) “not pretentious; modest; without ostentatious display; plain.
Syn. humble, unpretending, open, easy, straightforward, unaffected. (dictionary dot com)
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In a word, attorney Lori Athmann is "unpretentious."
The first of many attributes that struck me when attorney Lori Athmann and I stopped at Seven Elephants Coffee (the former Meeting Grounds) was her unpretentiousness. She had a humble manner about her––a soft spoken, gentle tone of voice and delivery, straightforward way of looking me in the eye, all with an underlying energy and interest in people. I’d been delayed and was very late for our 9 o’clock when I’d rushed through the door of the coffee shop and frantically scanned the room for this colleague from our business-networking group, River City BNI (Waite Park, Minn.) “Everything’s fine,” she assured me with a broadening smile after I’d given her a call and she’d returned to the bistro. “I just thought I’d go back to the office and get started on a few things.”
Lori’s office is the Rajkowski Hansmeier law office, located (conveniently for me) next door. She’s been with the office for five years, practicing in family law, estate planning, probate, guardianship/conservatorship, and more. [Check her bio at www.rajhan.com/lori_l_athmann.php.] But what struck me about her returning to the office to work was her underlying motive, an extension of her very giving attitude and outlook on life. She wasn’t going to waste any time waiting for me. She was “on-the-clock” for her employer. And, she had work to do that would benefit her clients, many of them individuals and families going through difficult times.
People are very important to her. This was confirmed through our conversation about her work and background. Lori noted that, contrary to her calm manner, she does have stress. (You could have fooled me.) She said it was self-imposed, though, referring to her goal of returning a client’s phone call within 24 hours. Lori doesn’t do this to make a good impression upon the client (although it certainly does); instead, she calls them back “to move ahead the client’s life.”
Here’s another example of her unpretentious nature. Lori shared how she enjoys estate planning most because it allows her to visit with the elderly. (I’m sorry, but many adults, busy with careers and their own concerns, have no time for the elderly.) She said that she never knew her own grandparents and regretted that fact. I could see her interaction with other people’s family treasures enriched her own life experience.
When we spoke, Lori was on a “mini-vacation,” a slow time “before the storm” of many difficult cases and/or court appearances. As an accomplished attorney, she handles some very contentious issues––orders for protection, custody battles, and bitter divorces. A peacemaker at heart, I suspect, she enjoys periods away from the conflict.
Lori’s life away from the office also involves relationships. Foremost is her nine-year-old daughter. (I told Lori to enjoy her daughter now because, by teen age, a daughter can be a handful.) However, Lori also volunteers at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital, visiting kids with cancer and entertaining them with the sock puppets she constructs. Absolutely, I can see her playing with sock puppets, and this of a woman who graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamlin University, received the Molly Moore Excellence in Writing Award, and was the primary editor of the Board of Law Review.
Lori Athmann is a very smart, talented, and accomplished lady. However, because she wraps her smarts in an unpretentious package and uses them seemingly effortlessly for the benefit of her clients (regular people like this writer) most would never suspect the depth of her in a casual meeting. My suggestion is get to know her. And, if you need help for personal issues like divorce or custody, or estate planning like wills and trusts, or even for your business, start up or incorporation, Lori will help you. And, she’ll put you at your ease.
I was certainly put at ease. We had a very GOOD conversation there at Seven Elephants over our morning coffee.
– (c) mary macdonell belisle
June 26, 2012 at 08:25am
WORD FOR THE DAY “straightforward” adjective “1. Going or directed straight ahead: 2. Direct; not roundabout: 3. Free from crookedness or deceit; honest: adverb 4. Also, straightforwards. Straight ahead; directly or continuously forward.” (dictionary.com)
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Mortgage man Jon Kern has straightforward approach [my words]
Jon Kern, owner of One Mortgage, St. Cloud, gives it to you straight. He’s a straightforward man of business who’d prefer to get to the point, giving his clients any difficult news first. In fact, he usually begins with the fourth page of a financial assessment, “diving into the big questions that determine your financial health.” Why? Well, he doesn’t like to “dance on the grey areas.” Jon prefers to make an honest assessment of any client’s financial situation and find a mortgage strategy that will work best for dealing with the purchase of his or her biggest asset––their home.
In fact, he prefers that clients come to their first meeting ready with answers to their homework––the financial questionnaire. My distinct impression when we met for an interview a few weeks ago is that he’s not a time waster. He also told me that he loves to talk with people and build relationships. He finds it fun. Jon REALLY enjoys his job.
It certainly was enjoyable for me to visit with him and get to know his business a bit better. I even learned something about his family. He was playing “single dad” at the time, since his wife Noel was visiting in Pennsylvania, and he had charge of his two sons, ages 12 and 15. His boys are pretty busy with wrestling and cross-country skiing during the school year and soccer in the summer. So, he’s been shuttling them to games, when he’s not at work.
One Mortgage is his “baby,” which he’s nurtured and worked since 2005. Previously, he was a part owner of Discover Mortgage. He’s got a degree in Finance and Economics from St. Cloud State University. On June 1, he took advantage of an opportunity to move his office to the Jacobs Executive Center on 33rd Street South in St. Cloud.
There’s plenty of opportunity out there for clients, Jon said to me, with interest rates around 3.5%. Homeowners should be thinking about purchasing that “dream” home or refinancing. And, when they do, they might want to think about giving Jon a call. He also likes to help with construction loans and reverse mortgages, to name a few. Check his website at www.onemortgage.biz for more info. His website says he’ll “find the perfect loan to fit your needs.”
Jon Kern at Mortgage One will give you the straight talk about financing a mortgage. That’s why “straightforward” is the word I’ve chosen to describe how he operates. Here’s his number: 320.258.5792.
(Enjoy your visit, but come prepared to get to work.)
June 24, 2012 at 05:05pm
WORD FOR THE DAY – “proficiency” (n.) “1. the state of being proficient; skill; expertness:” “proficient” (adj.) “1. well advanced or competent in any art, science, or subject: skilled; 2. expert.” (dictionary dot com)
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Lisa Landowski MAS practices the the word “proficiency.”
When Lisa Landowski gives her commercial at Rockin’ River City’s BNI meeting in Waite Park, Minn., she radiates confidence and creativity. She is especially candid, telling us there’s a real need for businesses to reinforce their brand by using advertising specialties and logo wear. (Sometimes, I think, there are specialty items in the market that are of poor quality and company representatives that aren’t much more than order takers.) You'll find Lisa’s an expert at Image Builders Promotional Products, proficient in the knowledge of marketing and the use of traditional and cutting-edge promotional items.
This proficiency earned her certification as “Master Advertising Specialist” through the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). “The designation recognizes veteran promotional products professionals who have at least seven years in the industry and demonstrate advanced proficiency in industry concepts and business practices.” Until I met her (again) through BNI, I’d never heard of an MAS. That’s because there are so few. Lisa’s studied business ethics, the industry’s “how to’s,” and marketing and advertising principles. Couple that education with her professionalism and 25 years of marketing experience, and you’ve got someone deserving of an MAS.
I first met Lisa when I was a copywriter at G.R. Herberger’s, and she was Marketing Director at Zapp Bank, St. Cloud. We were in the local chapter of AdFed (Advertising Marketing Federation) together. I knew she had a degree in Marketing from SCSU. I also knew that she knew her stuff. Soon, we each gained similar experience in the financial services industry – Lisa moving to Product Management at Bankers Systems, me moving to PrimeVest Financial Services.
In 1999, Lisa moved to Image Builders. She and I didn’t cross paths until I joined BNI in 2006.
Now Lisa’s an Ambassador for BNI, and we’re her sales team. I often tout her MAS and proficiency. Lisa says that asking a lot of questions is KEY to her success at finding the right products and services for her clients. She shares her knowledge of promotional products, branding, and marketing strategy with the goal of becoming a valuable member of her client’s marketing team.
“Let me help you take your next promotion or event to the next level,” says Lisa.
A smart business will take her up on her offer, and like me, will be appreciative of her proficiency in the promotional products industry. You can call her at 320.259.1311, ext. 105, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. LinkedIn
May 16, 2012 at 12:32pm
WORD FOR THE DAY "authenticity" (n.) "the quality of being authentic; genuineness;" "authentic" (adj.) "not false or copied; genuine; real." (dictionary.com)
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36 chapters speak to Gaye Lindfors' authenticity
Two intense weeks of editing was this writer's contribution to Gaye Lindfors' motivational memoir collection God, Girlfriends, & Chocolate - Encouraging Stories from the Heart. The words that supplied the substance of the book came from Gaye and six girlfriends, each of whom contributed their own short chapter. They represent the authentic manner in which this group of girlfriends live their faith in Jesus and the Father throughout the chapters of their lives.
Gaye Lindfors is an author, motivational speaker, owner of Significant Solutions, Inc., a human resources consulting and training company. She believes in the faithfulness of God toward His people. She gives examples of a range of human pleasures, pains, and predicaments that she's encountered in her lifetime. Many of these we can relate to because they're very representative of the average human being's encounter with life on earth. I certainly can relate.
One chapter especially resonated with me – "I Will Give You Rest." This is chapter 21, and it deals with the experience Gaye and her sisters had of helping their newly widowed mother downsize prior to a move from the family home. Here they all are, fresh with the grief of Dad's death, trying to be sensitive to their Mother's desire to hang on to ALL THE STUFF, but knowing that this change, this new chapter to their Mom's life, must unfold. Each daughter makes her contribution to the effort. But, what happens when fatigue, grief, frustration, and fear of change unravel their best intentions? Laughter and their love of the Almighty save the day. So does the contribution of a visiting Godsend – their friend from next door, Harlow.
(My siblings and I moved my father from northern Minnesota lake living in 2006 to assisted living and finally, to a nursing home in St. Cloud. After his death in 2009, the disposal of his personal effects also brought my mother and my five siblings together in grief and shared memories as we sorted through dusty and moldy "stuff." It was a time of healing.)
The book is definitely worth the read because you'll relate, too. Have you ever been terrified as a child with a new experience, like swimming in deep water at summer camp? Have you had a prominent role at a funeral of a loved one and had to steel your emotions? Have you ever messed up at work and been taken-to-task? Gaye has. Her honesty pulls us right into the experience. Her empathy with our stories is evident. Very generously, she shares with us her human reflections about moving through the "growth experiences" that comprise our lives and shows us how she did it, with God's help. Finally, she gives us prayers of asking, thanking, praising, and reflection that we can use as we strive to live authentic lives of Christian faith.
As a fellow Christian, I appreciate the authenticity of her insights as well as those of her girlfriends. (And, the thoughts of her parents upon the death of one of their children will tug at your heart.) I am most appreciative of the testimonial she gave me about my editing services – "Mary MacDonell Belisle provided more than exceptional editing skills. She understood my spirit and intentions, and offered suggestions that helped me write better stories. What a joy to work with her."
Well, it was a joy for me to meet and get to know Gaye through our collaboration. If you're interested in getting to know Gaye and her girlfriends and family, read her book, God, Girlfriends & Chocolate. Contact her at Gaye@SignificantSolutionsInc.com. Or, visit her company website at: http://www.significantsolutionsinc.com/
May 3, 2012 at 10:59am
WORD FOR THE DAY “response” (n.) “an answer or reply, as in words or in some action.” (dictionary dot com)
7 words, 7 ways to effective response letters
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A sad story . . .
The hospital direct mailed ELEVEN THOUSAND fundraising letters and got ZERO response, chiefly because of what the letter didn’t do. It didn’t use client stories well, didn’t connect emotionally with “you, the donor,” and, there was no clear and compelling call to action (among other things). The hospital could NOT AFFORD to repeat the mistake. So, I wrote a better direct response letter for their next mailing. You can generate response from your letter, too.
Here are seven ways you can create an effective fundraising letter:
CONSIDER the audience. In the hospital’s case, they were mailing to folks who’d been patients at the hospital, those who had an intimate knowledge of the type of service the hospital offered. However, that point was never addressed, or leveraged, in the letter. So, remember your audience.
“CUT to the chase.” Get to the point of the letter immediately (unless your story demands a dramatic build-up). People don’t want to be kept guessing. An option is to use a bold heading before the body of the letter. Certainly, you must mention the theme of your letter in the first paragraph.
CONNECT on a personal level. It is important to make a connection with your reader, to let him or her feel as if you had an interest in them, not just their money. Use words like “you” and “your,” rather than speaking from the perspective of “I,” “we,” “us,” “our.” If your paragraphs all begin with the word “We,” then, retool.
COMPELL readers with a client / customer story. Everyone appreciates a good story. You’ve got plenty of them among your client pool. Ask for the testimonial. Conduct an in-depth interview. Craft your story with details and descriptive words to draw the reader into the experience. Structure the story for dramatic impact: introduce the characters; present the situation/problem; show the struggle by the client and how he/she felt; detail the response/solution made by your organization; celebrate the happy ending.
CLARITY and CONVERSATIONAL tone, please. Basic, simple sentences (subject/verb) communicate well. Many experts suggest an eighth-grade vocabulary. Reduce redundancy; you don’t need multiple paragraphs repeating the “ask.” Your problem and call-to-action should be stated no more than three times – general ask at the beginning, specifics in the middle, and a reminder in the PS at the end of the letter. And, for Heaven’s sake, change-up the language of that call-to-action.
CAPTURE CURIOSITY with teaser copy on the envelope. You want your prospect to open the direct-mail piece and respond.
The value I brought to the hospital client was my nearly seven years of writing “ask” letters for a faith-based human services agency and its 40 service programs. It also helped me to have come from a theater and story-telling background. My letter will pay off in donations for the hospital. I guarantee it.
So, to guarantee the creation of the best response to your fundraising direct-mail letter is to remember seven words and their corresponding actions: CONSIDER (audience); CUT (to the chase); CONNECT (personally); COMPELL (action and emotion); CLARITY (in style); CONVERSATIONAL (in tone); and CAPTURE CURIOSITY.
(c) mary macdonell belisle – wording for you
May 1, 2012 at 07:47am
WORD FOR THE DAY “cliché” (n.) 1. a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse, as “sadder but wiser,” or “strong as an ox.” 2. A trite or hackneyed plot, character development, use of color, musical expression, etc. 3. Anything that has become trite or commonplace through overuse.” (dictionary dot com)
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Clichés are a lazy writer’s crutches, a business's waste of space
Do you know clichés can cost you buy-in and business? Of course, there’s no real way to test this theory, but it stands to reason that they do. A cliché is “anything that’s become trite or common through overuse.” Example: "Think outside the box." Overused words and phrases – clichés – are not compelling. If they’re not compelling, then, they’re not working for you.
In the case of language, clichés are musty, tired, and fill up space on a page. Rarely do clichés motivate behavior. This overused language is actually the BLAH BLAH that lazy writers spew and some businesses mistakenly think is GOOD business writing because “all businesses write that way” … which is my point, exactly. Business writing – and any writing, for that matter – should be energized, fresh, and unique to the business or organization. It should create word pictures in the brains of readers (or listeners) and rely heavily on specifics to communicate for the purpose of educating on a topic or selling a product, service, idea, philosophy, plan of action, etc.
Limp language ...
How often have you heard (and even used) these examples of tired business language? –
1. Think outside the box.
2. Create a win-win situation.
3. Give 110 percent.
4. Drop the ball.
5. Take it to the next level.
... needs backbone.
It’s important to take more time or spend more budget on a professional writer to avoid clichés. Use strong, unique language to capture attention, create interest, and inspire action.
1. Instead of thinking outside the box… take a creative new direction.
2. Rather than a win-win … make everybody happy.
3. To give 110, how about going beyond what you ever thought possible?
4. If you’ve dropped the ball, you’ve failed, disappointed, or not met the performance standard.
5. Want to take it to the next level? Grow. Improve. Excel. (Whatever.)
A wise business or organization understands that words are powerful and should be chosen wisely. Why waste time and money on communication that doesn’t work for you?
(c) mary macdonell belisle – wording for you
“The Top 100 Overused Business Cliches” (Now, isn’t that title redundant?” I’m just sayin’ . . . )
< http://www.squidoo.com/businesscliches > The Encyclopedia of Business Cliches, “It’s About Clarity.”
April 24, 2012 at 10:37am
WORD FOR THE DAY “probity” (n.) [proh’ bi tee] “Integrity and uprightness; honesty.” Syn. fidelity, Integrity, rectitude, sincerity."(dictionary.com)
Probably choose Chris Jacques for his probity
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He wouldn’t do it. Chris Jacques wouldn’t sell me a service I didn’t need for my business. Now, that’s a person with probity. I learned about Chris when we sat down to visit over coffee at Caribou. There were some surprises, too . . .
“I’m pretty needs focused,” said Chris, an account executive for World Pay, a global credit and rewards card processor. “If you don’t need my service, I’m going to tell you what you need to hear, not what I’d like to hear.”
Keep your ears open. Everyday you learn something new about people, what they do, and what drives them, like probity.
For example, Chris introduced me to World Pay. OK, I’m not big into commerce – after all, this writer is a simple wordsmith – so I wasn’t aware of the existence of one of the three top global processors of purchasing plastic. He told me that World Pay handles all types of cards and processing equipment, you know, those terminals at the checkout where you swipe your card. While we munched on banana bread and bagel, Chris told me about products like a Virtual Terminal and a mobile app with scanner for tradeshow point-of-sale needs. He even got real serious about the Advantage Protection Plan. This World Pay plan addresses a merchant’s PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance requirements to be a secure site for credit card users, online or on-location as the store. (You know, there ARE hackers and thieves out there who want your numbers and your identity!) This speaks to his integrity (probity) and the care he has for merchants and customers. You can call Chris at 320.241.6256, email him for more info about World Pay at Chris.Jacques@worldpay.us, or go to the website at: http://www.worldpay.us/. I wouldn’t presume to speak any more about his business.
Chris has been in business with World Pay since October of 2011. However, he’s been in Sales for many years. I discovered that he and his wife April met in 2001 and joined Bill and my friend LuAnn Popp in a “Spouses Selling Houses” real estate businesses. He’s also been in sales and marketing for R.A. Morton. And, surprise, I learned that he was at Star 96 radio (formerly located in Waite Park in the Century 21 building on Division) when I was there, decades ago. He spearheaded the STAR VALUE PLUS show every Saturday, while I wrote copy for the products featured on this call-in-to-purchase consumer show.
We finished our talk by sharing vocal characters we’ve used in broadcasting. (I know … pretty hokey, but we both sound good.) Chris has a degree from Brown Institute and has voiced ads, while I have a degree in Theater, and have also done radio ads and voicing, mostly when I was a copywriter for a retail department store chain.
So, if you’re interested in card processing services, visit with Chris Jacques of World Pay, like I did. He’s honest and won’t sell you something you don’t need. Who knows? You may also discover a few surprises and “six levels of Kevin Bacon” when you visit with him, like I did.
April 19, 2012 at 06:15am
WORD FOR THE DAY “reinforcement” (n.) “1. the act of reinforcing; 2. the state of being reinforced; 3. something that reinforces (strengthens and makes more effective).” (dictionary dot com) Syn.– accessory, augmentation, enhancement, supplement
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“Reinforcement” is Brian Hart’s operative word in business, life
Mild-mannered, congenial, and measured in style, that’s Brian Hart. I think you’d probably appreciate his helping you with company training, including giving pointers for your leadership, sales, and management teams. No ruler across the knuckles, writing 100 times “The customer is always right,” and no time-outs for doing something “wrong.” As a Sandler Training consultant and coach, and owner of his own franchise in St. Cloud since October 2011, Brian believes in reinforcement – strengthening abilities and making a person’s efforts more effective.
In this case, it’s his, and Sandler’s, big word with regard to helping businesses with selling solutions and leadership training. “Finding Power in Reinforcement,” is the company’s tagline, and Brian believes in the concept. He wouldn’t have begun his own endeavor with Sandler if he didn’t believe in its proven practices and philosophy of success.
"We help business owners and their sales teams achieve new levels of professional and personal success through ongoing reinforcement training and coaching," guarantees Brian of the “practical and effective selling solutions” he offers (his words). “We create lasting performance improvement, not the short-lived quick fix typical of traditional seminar-based training,” reads his LinkedIn profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/brianfhart.
I believe he knows what he’s talking about – none of that “Those who can’t do teach” nonsense. After all, Brian has years of successful private and corporate sales, marketing, business development, and management experience to his credit. This includes writing and producing sales materials as well as the development of new products for Wolters Kluwer Financial Services. After 30 years of “tremendous experience” with the company, his department was downsized in 2011. Although he was offered another role, Brian parted company. He explored business options for six months, and finally chose the franchise opportunity with Sandler Training.
“This was a key moment for me to change directions and begin my own enterprise,” says Brian
Brian told me that he liked the notion of an enterprise that helps other people, especially small businesses, since there’s often an impact on a person’s personal life when he/she strives for success. (His own entrepreneurial and sales experience began as a kid when he sold door-to-door, delivered newspapers, and maintained a garden.) Brian’s education includes an MBA from SCSU and a Masters of Divinity degree from Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, which “trains men and women, both lay and religious, for service.” It’s apparent his thoughts about business, leadership, and service are long-standing as well.
Well, no two ways around it, Brian Hart believes in reinforcement. That’s his word for incremental change over time. Now was the time for Brian to begin a new coaching and training enterprise, and his talent will be reinforced as he moves through Sandler’s on-going coaching education. However, Brian’s supportive, calm, and congenial manner with everyone demonstrates to me that, bottom line, he believes in people and understands that everyone can change … for the better. And, he’d like to be part of that change. So, Brian Hart will continue to reinforce individuals’ worth everyday as he pursues his new career of serving leaders, managers, and sales teams through Sandler Training.
March 6, 2012 at 09:36am
WORD FOR THE DAY "aerate" (v.) "1. to expose to or supply with air. 2. to charge or treat with air or gas. 3. to supply (the blood) with oxygen." (Random House Dictionary) Syn. "charge, oxygenate, freshen, infiltrate, ventilate" (dictionary.com)
"Aerate" is one word in Aaron's lawn care vocabulary
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Picture this – a lanky 15-year-old kid, sweating in the hot summer sun as he muscles a stubborn mower over a particularly overgrown patch of lush lawn, cuttings matting his Nikes and clinging to his socks, a wake of shorn grass spewing from either side of an old beater. That was young entrepreneur Aaron Haakonson in his formative years, executing his vision of “never working for the Man.” His parents supported his efforts, co-signing a business loan for new equipment. That was nine years ago, when Peerless Lawn Care was born. www.peerlesslawncare.com
Today the smell of freshly cut grass from a beautiful lawn gives Aaron a thrill, on many levels. It brings to mind those years of experience being outdoors in the morning’s cool or sultry heat of a summer afternoon, engaged in an activity that benefits another and provides him with pleasure over a lawn project completed with care, attention, and skill. Aeratin (The word means charging the lawn with air/oxygen.) lawn mowing, fertilizing, edging drives and sidewalks, and shrub trimming can by done by Peerless, with loving care.
Aaron surrounds himself with people who love to do what he does for commercial and residential customers. While still in high school in 2004, he added an employee to his business. The company doubled the size during the years he attended Saint John’s University, in Collegeville, where he earned a Business Administration degree in 2011. Business, lawn care, and learning remain his passions.
“You have to be passionate about what you’re doing in order to be successful,” says Aaron, who’s outside every chance he gets, participating in outdoor sports and hunting when he’s not doing business. “I enjoy spending time outdoors.”
What are Aaron’s other keys to success? HARD WORK, he says, all in capital letters for emphasis. Next, is just being genuine. With Aaron, what you see is what you get, a hard-working young man with a pleasant personality, quick to laugh but just as quick to get serious about a home or business owner’s lawn care maintenance needs. Honesty is a given. Without it, he couldn’t have built his business over the years solely on networking and customer referrals. Aaron also has the knowledge and, with a driving spirit of discovery, he’s committed to continuing education on turf/grass management. Finally, there’s reliability. Aaron’s got the task covered before the customer even knows he or she has the need!
This coming summer Aaron and his four-man crew will again offer professional property maintenance in the metro St. Cloud area. (However, last fall I discovered Peerless doesn't handle overgrown hedges that are rooftop tall. I actually needed a tree guy for that job.) It might be a great time for the rest of us to enjoy the outdoors with some hammock time, and let Aaron and the guys take care of the lawn work. Sounds appealing to this writer. (I don't do lawn.)
March 5, 2012 at 11:23am
WORD FOR THE DAY "creativity" (n.) "1. state of being creative; 2. the ability to transcend ideas, rules, patterns, relationships or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods interpretations, etc; originality, progressiveness, or imagination; 3. the process by which one utilizes creative ability." Syn. "imagination, ingenuity, talent, vision, etc." "creative" (adj.) "resulting from originality of thought, expression, etc.; imaginative; originative; productive." (dictionary.com)
"Artist" – a word synonymous with "creativity"
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"a brush with creativity" Jill Lucas hired me over a year ago to craft a tagline for her business, Jill Lucas Design. We both knew that it had to tout her creativity. As an artist and graphic designer, Jill is full of creativity. So, I came up with "a brush with creativity." We both liked the reference to creativity and the double meaning of a paint brush (noun), which she uses in her work, and brush (verb), as in "to touch lightly in passing" or in the encounter with another person. In Jill, the word "artist" is actually synonymous with "creativity."
Line, form, color, design, and balance are part of Jill's makeup. She uses her hands, head, natural artistic talent, and the input of her clients to render freehand, original illustrations and technical, computer-generated layouts and designs. When I was Communications Specialist at Catholic Charities in St. Cloud, Minn., I hired Jill to redesign the logo and was very pleased with the logo. This is a specialty of hers – LOGOS. Others are hand-built event invitations. Some of the work she's done for CentraCare Health Systems' "Holly Ball" fundraising event is very lovely and yes, creative. ("They get people excited about the events," says Jill.) Jill is also adept at creating direct mail pieces and campaigns, conference and tradeshow materials, fine art and illustration (“frame-able art”), hand lettering, and silkscreen art, crafted to meet the branding and promotional needs of her clients. Her graphic design portfolio is extensive and extremely impressive.
For 30 years Jill has worked as an artist/graphic designer/desktop publisher, creating impressive, effective pieces of art for her clients. She graduated from Alexandria Vocational & Technical College with a degree in Graphic Design/Commercial Art. Jill was hired by the The St. Paul Companies, Inc., (a large personal and commercial insurance company that merged with the Travelers Insurance Company in 2004), for over 10 years. However, the position was eliminated as the company went to outsourcing its design and creative functions. So, that was a good time for Jill to open a design studio in her home. That was January 1, 2000.
There were other reasons that made starting her own business appealing: the kids' (four of them) were grown and out of the house; she could eliminate travel time down I-94 from her home in Clear Lake to the Twin Cities; and she could be autonomous. After all, when one works within a company, especially a large one, there is a bit of "red tape" to contend with as a creative works with her internal clients to secure approval by all of the stakeholders. Now operating from home also affords Jill the flexibility to juggle projects with personal challenges, such as assisting with her husband's disabled brother and helping her elderly mother not to mention the hand she offers with the grandchildren. Jill will tell you it was a good move for her.
Another good move for Jill was to become as proficient as she could with today's desktop publishing technology. She's very comfortable to be working on her Mac in the downstairs studio of her rural Clear Lake home, on the banks of the Elk River. She works in Adobe Illustrator, In-Design, Photoshop, and various layout software programs. Also, she's very experienced with talking and working with printing professionals. This includes transferring of digital project files via the Internet and CyberDuck™ to their FTP (file transfer protocol) sites. Clients can count on her technical skill-set.
I've been very impressed with the technical skills, creative fine-art skills, and interpersonal skills Jill displays in our work together. We've collaborated on brochures and on a big newsletter project for Benton County. Always, Jill designs professional, up-to-date designs for the clients, easily plugs in my copy, quickly puts the projects together, and in knowledgeably deals with the printing companies. Thus, in my mind, the word "artist" and "creativity" are synonymous.
February 13, 2012 at 11:44am
WORD FOR THE DAY "confound" (v.) "1. to perplex or amaze ...; bewilder; confuse; 2. to throw into confusion or disorder; 3. to throw into increased confusion or disorder; 4. to treat or regard erroneously as identical; 5. to mingle so that the elements cannot be distinguished or separated. 6. to damn, used in mild imprecations: Confound it! Obsolete: to spend uselessly; waste. Syn. "flabbergast, embarrass, astonish, perplex." (dictionary dot com)
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Words that confound: collective nouns
Correct English can confound. For example, the following words are collective nouns, referring to a collection of related things (people, animals, things) that can't be counted. Often they confound business people who use them in emails, memos, letters, and even presentations or speeches. Usually the authors of the communication are not even aware they've used their words incorrectly. (Maybe the reader isn't aware, either, which is a good thing.) Yet, it is important to remember how to use collective nouns correctly, just in case your reader IS aware of proper English and would lose some amount of respect for you if the words were misused.
Nevertheless, what gets tricky for us is remembering this rule AND applying it in this global business world. No surprise, American and British English differ in how they view collective nouns. In American English, collective nouns are always singular, and so are their pronouns. In British English, they’re usually plural.
So, here are some common collective nouns: PEOPLE – army, band, class, committee, company, staff, team; ANIMALS – flock, gaggle, herd, pack, school, swarm; THINGS – bunch, clump, pair, set, stack, etc.
AND, here are some examples to remember, especially with regard to PEOPLE in the business environment:
1. The committee has drafted a plan it believes in. Am. The committee have drafted a plan they believe in. Br.
2. The company has issued a press release. Am. The company have issued a press release. Br.
3. The staff is done for the day, so it can go. Am. The staff are done for the day, so they can go. Br.
4. The data speaks for itself. Am. These data speak for themselves. Br. ("Datum" is actually the singular form of "data," but we Americans no longer use that Latin word. "Data" for us is singular. See an interesting discussion at English Spark )
Now we all know it's difficult to keep grammar rules top-of-mind in our business communication. Collective nouns are often VERY CONFOUNDING. Yet, when we spot a collective noun, it should alert us that there might be a grammar trap lurking in the words. Pick up your trusty grammar reference book, and do a double-check. It could keep your reader from doing a double-take as he or she reads your email.
February 10, 2012 at 12:11pm
WORD FOR THE DAY “simple” (adj.), (n.) “1. easy to understand, deal with, use, etc; 2. not elaborate or artificial; plain; 3. not ornate or luxurious; unadorned; 4. unaffected; unassuming; modest; 5. not complicated.” Syn. “child’s play, easy as pie, effortless, manageable, no sweat, straightforward, uncomplicated. Related word, “simplify” (v.) “to make less complex or complicated; make plainer or easier:” Related word, “simplicity” (n.) “the state, quality, or an instance of being simple.”
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“Simple” is magic word for wedding venue
Wedding planning can be complex. Quite often, it begins a year (or more, if possible) ahead of the event with the booking of the wedding venue. Dave Peterson and his wife Dr. Julie Nyland (Medical Arts Dental) have a beautiful place, just west of Crosslake, Minn., that they’ve remodeled with a north woods cabin feel and designed as a complete wedding weekend venue. (They visited with me about it at the Wedding Expo in St. Cloud In January.) Dave uses magical words like “simple,” “simplify,” and “simplicity” in any conversation about Pine Peaks Retreat & Event Center.
The point he was making about this being an EASY event venue was not lost on me …
I remember my daughter, Jeanette’s, wedding. (Remember, I'm a writer-for-hire, not a wedding planner!) It began at one church, moved to another church’s reception hall, and ended in the backyard of the mother-in-law’s home for more food and live music from my son-in-law’s band. It was A GREAT TIME, but it involved moving decorations for my husband and me, and it was a bit confusing for the guests, some of whom actually GOT LOST in the shuffle.
There’s no shuffle at Pine Peaks, although, there is a shuttle to the nearby Pine Peaks Lodge and Suites. Pine Peaks Retreat & Event Center is located two hours north of St. Cloud (up Highway 10, northeast on 210 from Brainerd and then, north on 6), on the Whitefish chain of lakes, with Crosslake being the nearest body of water to the resort. The 5-acre venue sits on 80 acres of a former dairy farm, which had been in the Peterson family for four generations.
The venue can be a completely self-contained community the weekend of any family’s celebration. Its simpler way of housing everyone is apparent. The center will seat 250 to 300 guests and around 200 for the outdoor settings. An attached pavilion can handle 30 people for the groom’s dinner. The retreat house can sleep up to 20, which could accommodate the bride’s entourage and then, serve as the honeymoon nest for the newlyweds. Guest can also stay at the Pine Peaks Lodge and Suites, six miles down the road, (with a shuttle, remember). There’s also parking there for RV’s/trailers. Dave and Julie don’t own the lodge and restaurant; they’ve have made arrangements with the owners to make Pine Peaks a complete wedding venue.
And, if you’re Lutheran, you can even use the community church, half a mile away.
Of course, there are also two outdoor wedding ceremony “stages” on the property, featuring a lovely backdrop of pines.
However, I’m very intrigued with the Italian wood-burning pizza oven in the center and Maucieri’s Italian Bistro, Bar & Deli in Crosslake. Maucieri’s Catering is also available for the wedding reception. This is a great way to simplify the food plans, and I hear the food is absolutely delicious (Dave and Julie might be a bit prejudiced, though.) I’ll have to check it out myself, on my way up to Grand Rapids. (GR is often my destination in the summer because of the family property on Pokegama Lake.)
Pine Peaks Retreat & Event Center would make a great destination for anyone’s wedding (maybe, for a wedding anniversary celebration, too). Dave encourages wedding planners to simplify the task by choosing Pine Peaks as the wedding venue. Why? The design and flexibility of the buildings and spaces make the planning simpler, and everyone attending will appreciate the simplicity of execution in the self-contained resort environment "Up North."
January 27, 2012 at 05:11pm
WORD FOR THE DAY "akimbo" (adj.) "with hand on hip and elbow extended outward." (dictionary dot com) Example: She stood in a huff, with her arms akimbo. Origin: Old Norse 1375-1425 "bent into a crook" and "accusative of."
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Word search for “akimbo” finds characters
Language sparks the imagination. Take the word “akimbo,” which is this writer’s “Word for the Day” item. I had only heard the word used in one way, as in, “She stood with her arms akimbo.” However, after doing a search, beyond my dictionary.com guardian, I’ve discovered that many people have moved beyond the definition and into creation.
The creative insight of “Papa Redcloud” was my introduction into the possibilities of using a word like “akimbo.” Up popped the website www.lanceandeskimo.com/guest/akimbo.shtml , and I read “Papa’s” words, “A subject never comes up in oral discourse that would require its (akimbo’s) use.” I’d agree. I’ve never said it, and I’ve never heard it in conversation. I HAVE read it, but always in the context of “arms akimbo.” Papa notes, too, that this adjective is applied specifically to the arms, hence the definition, “with hands on hips and elbows extended.” His opinion also covers the gender of the arms – female – since rarely, if ever, do people talk about a guy’s hips. “It’s a ‘girl thing,’ this ‘akimbo,’” says Papa, the blogger. It’s also a “standing thing.” Attitudinal. Hard to flash attitude when you’re sitting down. So, in Papa’s mind, there’s only one way the word “akimbo” can be used – by a standing female giving someone else the business.
Au contraire. I happened upon another way the word “akimbo” is used – “Limbs Akimbo.” That is the name of the album and title song by the band Hot Buttered Rum. Check their site at http://www.hotbutteredrum.net/index.php/music/limbs-akimbo and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/hotbutteredrum. The five musicians, hailing from San Fran, are accomplished and describe their sound as “Americana, folk, and bluegrass.” The song “Limbs Akimbo” is mellow, reggae, and with a calypso beat. (Of course, I’m not a true musician; so, I’d suggest you have a listen to the sample on their site.) Coming from a folk singing background, I like their sound, harmonies, and they’re articulate.
Now, for a study in contrast, listen to the Seattle band “Akimbo” and their piece “Great White Bull” at http://www.myspace.com/akimbo. This trio is classic rock, hardcore, and punk. The sound is very hard driving, heavily amped, and the words are largely inarticulate. Of course, words don’t matter so much with this genre, since it’s mostly the experience and decibel level that are important. Listening, I can imagine a great white bull tearing up the concert venue, tossing tattoo-ed rockers over its head, stomping tables to toothpicks, and angrily lapping brew from a few mangled spigots.
Now imagine that great white bull’s name is … you guessed it, “Akimbo.” He hails from just north of Avon in Central Minnesota, and he is a poser. (Can you picture “hooves akimbo”?) Akimbo likes to play Air Guitar because he has no other innate talents other than a loud snort and the ability to get friendly with the gals. Often, you can find him striking a pose at First Ave. Akimbo usually dances by himself because the vegetarians in the room won’t be caught dead touching a side of beef. This bovine doesn’t have tattoos, but he does have a big brand “X” on his back flank. As I mentioned previously, he likes his Bud, but has trouble finding a designated driver because it’s not yet State Fair time. So, he’s got to watch his behavior when he’s out kickin’ up his heels. No china shops. No laughing cows. But, for all of his faults, the crowds do seem to like Akimbo. He’s got a thick hide and doesn’t rile that easily (unless you’re wearing red). And, if the show’s good, Akimbo may demonstrate his appreciation by packing up and hauling the equipment to the band bus. Yep. He can be a good ol' Joe, that Akimbo.
Well, enough about "akimbo." Send me your findings and ideas, and we’ll keep this thing going …