Mrs.Schultz and the Watkins’ Products

The morning was dreary

and the day proclaimed length

and there at the door

was a gentle knock

“Ma, Mrs. Schultz is here with the Watkins’ Products!”

Excitement abounded in the house

with the prospect of smelling the latest bottled spices and

getting a whiff of the vanilla aroma

Mom, with eleven children of her own,

always seemed to come up with some money to buy from Mrs. Schultz

Who had a genuine smile when selling her wares

She had several children ( Kathryn was in my class

I envied her lanky height…tall and thin…and a

gentle spirit with a kind smile)

Mrs. Schultz’s  husband had injured himself at work

So she had to find a way to support the family.

To me, her tired eyes carried the world

but her ready smile made me happy she had come.

A day growing up

Witnessing the exchange between two mothers

Living their lives and contributing their best

For each other’s success


"Lady's Mantle"  Photo Credit: Bobbi; 2014

“Lady’s Mantle”
Photo Credit: Bobbi; 2014






the silence of the bench

 "Lonely Bench" Image ID: 913573

“Lonely Bench”
Image ID: 913573

once upon a time…

I had two special visitors

I was the listener

relishing hidden conversations

sharing the hearts of two

woven as a single rhyme

free of all accusations

once upon a time…

the moon lit their night

silhouetted by the stars

love accompanied their dreams

whispers of hope

followed their every sentence

drifting down the streams


once upon a time…

hearts broke in two

I, the burden carrying witness

to it all

the love said adieu

cloaked now with fallen leaves

 a permanent black shawl 


To My Readers…Just my imagination, I am fine…since I know I usually write from my direct experience, I didn’t want anyone to worry unnecessarily.

Racism in Poverty Alleviation and A Request

Thoughts from Chelsea, a friend to my daughter, Lara.  Both are serving the Peace Corps in Togo and have been there for the past year and a half.

Waking Up in Togo

I haven’t written here about my philosophy of development because it is conflicted, contextual, and changeable. I don’t like going on public, permanent record right now about something that can be described as such. But I’m going to make a request, so it behoves me.

You all are so giving and so supportive of everything I do that I could probably raise money just by posting the link on Facebook, no long-winded explanation necessary. But. It is really important to me that you understand my philosophy, more important than receiving money for a project, actually.

To summarize, I don’t like hand-outs. I like working with people on projects that they have identified, things that they are motivated to do in order to improve their lives. If I’m involved in Togo, I want to be a supporter, not the engine driving the change. Even in my home community, I need to…

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 "Brother Wind's Artistic Breath."  Photo Credit: Jane H. Johann, Feb.2, 2015. Palmyra, WI USA

“Brother Wind’s Artistic Breath.” Photo Credit: Jane H. Johann, Feb.2, 2015. Palmyra, WI USA

“One kind word can warm three winter months.” 

Japanese Proverb

the cold, wintry night had just taken leave

the day’s tapestry was beginning its weave

when your warming words

came into my being…

“I love you”