Monday, November 30, 2015

Extraordinary Touch -Reflexology by Melanie

Extraordinary Ordinary Blog by TLC Nielsen

I met Melanie Delfiner through Lona Dinnell, October 2015’s extraordinary life story. Lona and Melanie worked together for years, Lona as a Reike Master and Melanie as a Master Reflexologist.  How they both came to work together in complementary health specialties is a wonderful journey. I've experienced the extraordinary touch of Melanie, a down to earth lady with the gift of healing. By using the pressure points on hands, feet and ears, she has the ability to sense the health issues individuals have and help them.

Q) Melanie, how did your path into reflexology begin? I’ve always wondered.
A) In 2005, a fellow parent from my son’s school introduced me to alternative therapies, including relaxing massage and reflexology.

Q) What drew you to study it?
A) In 2006, I was so fascinated with the results reflexology offered individuals, I was motivated to take an online course. In 2007, Illinois’ requirement mandated 200 hours of training for reflexolo-gists. I enrolled in the Healthy Soles School of Reflexology to attain more formal training, graduating in August 2008. Shortly after graduation my mentor, Susan Watson, encouraged me to open my own business. Reflexology by Melanie was established March 2009.

Q) When did the idea of joining Reflexogy and Reike back to back for treatment purposes occur to you?
A) I met Lona Dinnell at a Curves wellness gathering. Lona wanted to exchange a REIKI session for a Reflexology session. She became my client in January 2010. I enjoyed the REIKI so much that soon after I asked her to join my practice.

Q) When Blu Rain opened in the same town, why did you partner with them, adding Reflexology and Reike to their health offerings?
A) My business was located in the Heritage Professional Building on Main Street in Antioch. A client gave me a gift certificate to Blu Rain, on Lake Street, a short distance from my office. Sheila Loos, owner of Blu Rain, asked to exchange services. She was so impressed with the results of my reflexology sessions that she referred her clients to me, and I referred my clients to her. Clients were always wondering why we were not co-located.

When the current location of Blu Rain on Main Street became available, Sheila asked me if I would be willing to rent from her and become part of Blu Rain. I said yes and the rest is history. We opened our new business in May 2014. 


Melanie's Room at Blu Rain Massage

Q) I’ve found a lot of release from chronic pain through  your reflexology. Why are the effects of reflexology longer lasting than acupuncture for me?
A) Both modalities are beneficial. Individual perceptions of the effects of the two modalities vary. Whether the effects of one modality last longer than the other is not an evidence-based measurement. That said, a reasonable explanation for an individual’s perception that the effects of reflexology may be prolonged might be that a reflexology treatment is more ‘intense’ than an acupuncture treatment. By that I mean that the area covered per reflexology point is greater than the fine point of an acupuncture needle. There may be more neural endpoints in the area covered by a reflexologist’s finger than in the area affected by an acupuncturist’s needle. Additionally, the pressure applied by the reflexologist’s finger is greater than that generated by the acupuncturist’s needle.

Here's Melanie's contact information:
Email:   reflexmel40 at aol (dot) com 
Blu Rain Massage:  http://www.blurainmassage.com/

Thanks for coming to TLC's Extraordinary Blog, reading about ordinary folks with extraordinary stories. If you know of someone who has a story that should be told, please email me at soulfixer13 at yahoo (dot) com and put Extraordinary Ordinary in the subject line.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Extraordinary Grace

Extraordianry Ordinary blog by TLC Nielsen

My quest to find ordinary folks with extraordinary adventures has taken me to the edge of all edges. I asked a friend whose adventure was reaching a climatic peak to consider being featured on this blog and she graciously said yes even though she was dealing with hospice. She passed away the day we were supposed to meet about the blog and so mutual friend Christine South would like to step in and share Lona Dinnell’s story (Lona, circa 2010, pictured below.) They’ve known each other for 32 years.



Seven Questions for Christine about Lona

Q) I was shocked when I discovered Lona was in the hospital this past spring. It took them days to release her. What happened?
A) Her son noticed she was turning yellow and having problems driving so he took her to the hospital. The doctors discovered that the bile duct to her liver had become blocked and blood clots had formed around her heart. She had a stent and filter put in near her heart. After some more testing, they discovered she had stage four pancreatic cancer. The first set of doctors gave her 9 months to live.

Q) Lona was always the healthiest person I know- working out regularly, watching her girlish figure and carefully choosing what she ate.  How did her disciplined lifestyle help her during this medical time?
A) Her physical stamina kept her going until her last week, almost 3 months from the diagnosis.

Q) I know the future is sketched in the little things that happen before. What are a few of those little-but-big things that happened before the diagnosis?
A) Because she had a cleaning business, Lona had 30 years of exposure to chemicals. It may have been a factor, others in the medical profession have told me.

Q) As a Reike Master, Lona helped people with their pain. Chris, what are some insights you have while practicing Reike on Lona during these past three months?
A) I’ve been doing Reike on Lona for a long time now. In this last year, while I and a reflexology friend worked on her, we did feel something was off. Her colonoscopy came out fine that year but we still wondered. After her diagnosis, we mainly worked on pain management for her.

Q) What didn’t you expect during all this?
A) I could feel her pain. I wanted a miracle but knew that was not going to happen. But I was in denial, something I didn’t expect.

Q) How did you handle these unexpecteds?
A) I prayed a lot. I also cried.

Q) Where did the grace and hope that Lona had through it all come from during this?
A) Lona was a Christian and knew she was going to heaven. She had such strong faith.

Q) As Lona’s close friend, what is one thing she taught you that impacted you?
A) Lona taught me Reike but, more than that, she showered me with unconditional love.


From TLC: Lona’s funeral was beautiful, her pastor giving a wonderful talk on her loving kindness and her hope that he would share the love of Jesus Christ at her funeral. It felt more like a celebration than a memorial service. Lona was beyond extraordinary, an ordinary person who impacted everyone she met and she handled the last medical adventure with amazing grace.

Reike Master Christine South, another extraordinary ordinary person, is certified in Reflexology, CranioSacral Therapy, Acupressure, and Korean Hand Therapy. She practices in Illinois and you can check out her practice on Facebook 
or at her website below:

 www.thesolematters.massageplanet.com

*Photos courtesy of Lona's Curves friends (thank you, ladies!)*

Thank you for reading this Extraordinary Ordinary blog. If you know an ordinary someone who'd like to have their extraordinary life featured, please email TLC at soulfixer13 at yahoo.com with the subject Look and Be blog.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Extraordinary Juggling by TLC Nielsen

I asked Lauren Hilty, March’s Extraordinary Ordinary featured person, to recommend someone she knew for this blog. She recommended Alan Hernandez, a new graduate of Trinity International University and a newlywed. The extraordinary accomplishment of finishing his degree while working and getting married is Alan’s strength, juggling all the ordinary things of life into success.

Hello Alan!

Q) How did you meet your lovely bride?
A) When I was still in my senior year of high school, I worked at a nearby Target that she worked at as well. She worked in a different department but I knew of her. I approached her out of the blue and introduced myself. We slowly became friends over the course of about a year and a half before we ever went out on a date. It wasn’t something either one of us had in mind when we met, she’s two years my senior. So at the time, I’m sure she didn’t even understand why she was friends with a high schooler! But we got to know each other well while we both worked there. So much so that my brother made the joke at our wedding that you really can find everything at Target, even a wife!

Photo Courtesy of Alan Hernandez

Q) What was it about her that made you know she was “the one”?
A) One of my favorite pastors was once asked, “How do you know if you married the one, especially when the going gets rough?” He responded with: “Look at your marriage certificate, the name on there, that’s ‘the one’ for you.” Joy, that’s my wife’s name, is to me as her name: she brings joy into my life, she makes me laugh, she supports me and encourages me, she’s a beautiful woman, and she loves me and chooses to love me each day. All of those things assured me that I wanted to marry her, and when I did, she became the one for me.

Q) I, too, chose to get married during college and found it was so challenging that I ended up working and going back later for my degree. How did you juggle school, work and wedding plans?
A) Good question! Grace, a lot of patience, and a lot of flexibility. Joy and I gave ourselves about 5 months to plan the wedding, we wanted to get married before my senior year with enough time to enjoy the summer and learn to be with each other (somewhat) before I had school again. Joy was a trooper too. She took on the wedding plans during our junior year and tackled them. We had a lot of help with planning, with all the details and with all the stressors that came along. We both had to give each other a lot of room to be able to relax, as well as give the other person space to continue to work. For me, that meant the space to be able to go to the library to get work done even after we each had long days and wanted to relax with each other. School definitely suffered a little bit, I think it was my worst semester grade wise, but it was a worthwhile sacrifice. I still did my best to work well, I just wasn’t losing sleep over a B.

Q) Married life as a college student isn’t easy. How did you two manage?
A) Marriage came first, that was our commitment above all other things. We were going to take care of each other, prioritize each other, and make sure that we were giving each other the best of us. That wasn’t always easy, but it was fundamental to everything else we were doing and responsible for. We needed to sacrifice a lot; I still had a commitment to do well with hopes for graduate school, so I needed to keep working hard. Joy had to take on the majority financial responsibility, working as much as she could since I was only able to work part time. There were some tough times, but it was an amazing experience. We lived on Trinity’s campus, which made it easy to manage going to class, and we loved doing life together and facing everything together. Coming home to each other was, and still is, a tremendous blessing.

Q) What were some of the struggles you faced in college?
A) College was great! I originally started going to Augustana College for psychology and pre-med, but felt called to church ministry and wanted to go to school for that. I started at Trinity a few months later and loved my experience. Getting into a new environment was different, but I was apt at the material, and excelled. After living on campus at Augustana, I commuted to Trinity from my parents, and that made social aspects of college difficult. It was much easier after class to go back home as soon as possible than to stay around and meet people or be with friends I already had. After Joy and I got married and lived on campus, I was a lot closer to the community, but I almost always wanted to get back home to my wife and rest. I also saw college as a stepping stone to graduate school for a long time, which made it difficult to stay interested in subject material specifically, or the slow moving three years to graduation in general. My goal was seminary, and so I didn’t make the most of the time I had in college. It has always been easy to be a full time student for me, but working a job and putting in effort there seemed like a distraction. While in college, putting forth effort working at the library, trying to do job the well, sacrificing to bring more money home, have been mindsets I’ve had to improve. 

Q) How did you manage paying for college? There’s so much in the news about student loans being a burden.
A) I got married! When we were telling my family, they were deeply concerned. The majority of people in the U.S. would probably react the same way, I was 21 and my wife was 22 at the time, so they deeply doubted our maturity level and readiness to get married. But finances have actually been one of the easiest parts about being married. Being an independent means a lot more government help. Not that getting married is a wise or practical solution to paying for college, no one should get married because they want to make college cheaper! It was something we found out after the fact, and were deeply thankful for it. We talked to a lot of people and got onto a strict and detailed budget and stuck to it as best as we could so that paying for rent, groceries, loans, etc. was natural and we never had to worry that we weren’t going to make it. It was tight, it still is, but with planning and help, it’s been made really easy. I still have loans, and my wife and I are putting all that we can towards paying them off as soon as possible. My parents were extremely helpful before I got married as well. They sacrificed a lot to help pay for school. I received several scholarships which were helpful, but ultimately it’s been about diligence for us, prioritizing getting school and loans paid for over everything else. There’s no “get rich quick” here; it’s a boring reality, but it’ll be so worth it.

Q) You did it, you graduated! What area of expertise are you gradimicated in?
A) Woo! I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies. As I said above, when I left Augustana I wanted to learn the Bible and enter into church ministry to some degree.  I could have continued along with my original degree idea, and done seminary later, but I wanted to get started as soon as possible.

Photo Courtesy of Alan Hernandez

Q) Where do you see your degree taking you in the future?
A) Well, I’m back in school! Short lived celebration, right? I am pursuing my Master of Divinity degree at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Basically it’s a multi-field ministry degree standard for pastoral ministry in the western world. My Biblical Studies undergraduate degree prepared me to enter in with a head start in my Masters, and it gave me a lot of practice for the academic and intellectual rigor that my Masters is already requiring. My Masters and Bachelors will hopefully lead to my being in pastoral ministry in a church some day; I’m not sure to what specific degree, but I love people and I love connecting them with the Bible and what I believe to be the foundational reality to the world.

Q) As a 20-something, where do you envision yourself in 10 or 20 years?
A) These questions are always so tough. I have no idea what’s in store for me, which is an exciting and incredibly frightening prospect. Even more than that, its difficult to distinguish where I wish I’ll be and where I realistically see myself in that time period. But I definitely would love to be in a church, working particularly with small group ministries and the community within the church. Learning to associate with one another and training up leaders who can lead groups, counsel, and read and teach the Bible rightly. Relating well and beneficially in community is a natural but often so difficult aspect of life, and being a part of ministry that facilitates that well would be awesome. I can also envision myself in an academic setting. I love learning and I love academia. I would love, if I have the talent and mind for it, to continue on and get a PhD and then teach in a small college somewhere. I don’t think I’ll ever be at a top university or anything, but I would love the opportunity to teach and engage with students in smaller classes at a college.

Q) Is there something surprising about you, an unexpected thing perchance, that you wouldn’t mind sharing?
A) I have an overly active imagination, particularly as it comes to day dreaming. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had trouble getting out of my head. It can be a huge distraction.


Thanks for reading Alan’s extraordinary adventure here at Look and Be. If you, or someone you know, would like to be featured on this Extraordinary Ordinary blog, please email me at soulfixer13 at yahoo dot com and put Extraordinary Ordinary in the subject line and you will be contacted.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Extraordinary Ordinary Journeys by TLC Nielsen


As I travel through life, I meet the most interesting folks who happen to share their incredible adventures with me when our paths cross. I met Elizabeth Sargis at a writing conference I attended this year and she shared her extraordinary journey of health. Attending this conference has been a key turning point in her life. I’ve been blessed by her story and can't wait for her to share more of it here at lookandbe.blogspot.com. 

Welcome Elizabeth!

Q) Here's an easy first question for you - do people call you Elizabeth or do you have a nickname or two?
A) I’ve never had a nickname. My dad wanted me to be named after a great grandmother whose given first and middle names were “Lizzie Bell.” My mother insisted I get the full “Elizabeth.”

Q) How did your health journey start and how long before you knew what was happening?
A) On a Palm Sunday, I was standing in church and suddenly felt very tired and slightly ill. I went straight home, thinking a nice nap would put things back in order. Within hours, I was crying out from blasts of pain deep in my legs, like my bones were being squeezed in a vice, and my skin felt really weird. Creepy crawly sensations spread over my body, like I was lying in an ant hill, and the skin hurt to the touch like a sunburn. I was also more exhausted than I thought humanly possible, yet I could not sleep. When I described the symptoms to my doctor, she ordered lots of tests to rule out MS and other autoimmune issues. When I tested negative for all the known neurological causes, she focused on the fatigue and lack of sleep. She suspected Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but the symptoms have to persist for six months before that is officially diagnosed. I thank God that my doctor decided to start treating me as if I had that diagnosis after about six weeks of unrelenting symptoms. It took almost a year before I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Q) As a writer, how did your health impact you?
A) Most of my career writing was in the corporate world, as a communications director for large not-for-profits. When I became totally disabled, friends and co-workers tried to encourage me to keep writing, but I just did not have the energy or focus to do it.

Q) What were some of the lessons you learned through all the medical issues you faced?
A) This illness made me have to spend a lot of time at home alone, resting and waiting to be healed. It felt like a cruel joke. “Lord,” I thought, “I’m already the most patient person I know!” Ha, ha! Now I think God allowed Satan to test my patience like He allowed the Accuser to test Job’s faith. He knew the test would produce even more fruit. Now, I am not only patient but also deeply compassionate toward others who struggle with complex chronic illnesses.

Another great thing I learned was how much my husband loves me. He encouraged and helped me so respectfully, and when I would question my worth, he would say, “You are the heart of our family!” I also saw how wonderfully God provided for my son. He was a toddler when I became sick. He couldn’t even crawl up in my lap because it hurt too much. God led us to hire Christian college students to help around the house, and we enrolled our boy in Montessori preschool. We ended up loving the educational philosophy and kept him at the school for elementary and junior high. I learned that I didn’t have to be self-reliant to be a good mother.

My son and I also grew very close during the many hours we snuggled side by side on the couch. He enjoyed having me all to himself. When I started feeling well enough to do the dishes now and then, he could not understand why I was up. I said, “Honey, this is what healthy mommies do every day!”

Q) What were some of the hardest and easier points in this process?
A) A few of the hardest things:
  • When I ran out of good stuff to watch on TV (which didn’t take long)
  • When I couldn’t read good books because my brain couldn’t keep the characters and plot points straight
  • When people behind me in lines at the store or the airport would yell at me for taking too long. 
  • Sometimes I thought seriously about wearing a sign asking people to “please be patient!”
  • When I couldn’t tell if a new medication was working or not because the side-effect list included the same symptoms that the medication was supposed to help with
  • Learning that I have value to God even when I can’t do much of anything

I don’t know if anything was really easy, but I can remember one thing that was really fun. After being sick and pretty useless for three long years, I discovered that I could crochet lying down. I became a crochet fiend. I wore hand braces to help with the pain, but I loved being productive. In the first two months, I made twenty-seven different stuffed animals—one for each of my son’s classmates for Valentine’s Day. I still count that as one of my greatest accomplishments.

Q) What kept you and your family going through this?
A) God was faithful. About halfway through my illness, he challenged me with the words of a song based on Romans 8:28: “He makes all things work together for my good.” I kept thinking, “If it doesn’t feel good and it doesn’t look good, can it really be good?” I went through many dark moments questioning whether I could take it anymore. Then God would surprise me with something simple and beautiful like a flower or a kind word or a good laugh with my family, and the faith would come roaring back stronger than ever. 

Q) Job-wise, what were some of the fallout effects?
A) I had always been a successful, effective person. I loved bringing all that to bear in ministry. For the last four years before my son was born, I was employed full-time doing communications for a big church that got things done. I went from doing all that to being challenged by basic personal hygiene. I fell through the cracks socially because my closest friends had been the most active go-getters. People like that got frustrated when I didn’t return their phone calls or emails. I understood what was happening, but it still hurt to be “out of the loop.” I wondered if God was trying to tell me that I was doing something wrong, and I desperately wanted to figure out what it was and change it right away so that I could get back to work. Instead, God showed me that he could love me and use me even when my life looked like a total wreck. He saw me, heard me, loved me and valued me when almost no one else could.

Q) What did you wish you knew in the middle that you now know?
A) That it’s okay to let someone else do your laundry. Seriously! I felt like such a failure for not cleaning and cooking and all that. Now I cheer myself on like an Olympic athlete when I am able to fold a load of clothes. I take a lot more joy in the littlest abilities. 




Thank you for visiting the Extraordinary Ordinary here at www.lookandbe.blogspot.com. If you'd like to suggest someone with an extraordinary journey, please email me at soulfixer 1 3 (no spaces) at yahoo.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Leaving the Ordinary Extraordinary

by TLC Nielsen

Out of all the different kinds of people I meet, I find myself fascinated by those called to the mission field. To me, the extraordinary choice to leave the familiar and ordinary and head out into the unknown, serving in a new community day in and day out on missionary pay seems to define bravery. I heard about Kate Perkins just before she joined Youth With a Mission, YWAM.

Hello Kate! Thanks for answering questions about your journey into missions.


Kate's photo of Nicaragua 2015
Q) I feel missionary folks are the best examples of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. How did you end up going into missions?
A) I knew when I was 17 that the amount of love I had for children was a gift from God, and that He wanted me to work overseas with orphans. I went to college for a counseling degree and turned away from God in the process. The next 8 years were a mess. I still wanted to follow my calling but had major sin in my life. I fell on my face twice (trying to answer His call my way) before I simply decided to wait until God gave me the green light to go into missions. I moved to the Chicago area to take care of my grandma in 2010 and found an amazing church family at Pathway Community Church in Elmhurst, Illinois.

By late 2012, I was also nannying part time for a friend. When she told me her new employer wasn’t paying her what they said they were going to, and they simply couldn’t keep me on, I asked God, “Ok, what’s next?” I saw the words mission agency move across my mind’s eye. I told God, “That’s a great idea, to get a part time job with a mission agency!” I didn’t know such a thing didn’t exist. Over the next two weeks, God made it plain that He wanted me to do a Discipleship Training School with Youth With a Mission. At 92, Gramma was doing okay be was not able to live on her own so I asked God, “What about Gramma?” He said, “I love her more than you do, and she’s not your responsibility.” I told my family about YWAM, and they took it well. A week later Gramma fell backwards on a step and hit her head, which was the beginning of the end. Three months later she got to see Jesus and Grandpa. Two months later I went to Madison, Wisconsin to attend DTS, and it completely changed my life.

Q) What has been the most surprising thing of mission work for you?
A) Mission work is both easier and harder than I ever imagined. Easier because I love it so much, and harder because people are broken and hurting and they require a lot of healing as they grow. I work in Admissions and get to talk to prospective students about the potential impact a DTS can have on their lives. I simply LOVE my work. I didn't originally want to join YWAM at all, but God made it very plain to me that this was His ideal for me. Now, I tell as least one co-worker a day, "I love my job!" simply because I love telling people the impact that Jesus can make on their life. A Discipleship Training School is like a five month retreat with God. Most people leave this retreat very different people than when they came, because they've met with Jesus face to face, and have begun to know Him for who He really is. It's just so beautiful!

Q) Raising support seems the hardest part of mission work. How do you handle this financial aspect of your calling?
A) At first it was really hard to ask my church family and my friends to support me financially. As Americans, and in my family, we were taught to work as hard as needed to take good care of ourselves, and provide for our own needs. It was a struggle at first to set aside that part of being 'American' and realize that I wasn't begging, or simply asking people for money. I was inviting people to join in a God adventure! I am living an adventure that I never know where it's going to take me, and I want to influence as many people as possible as I go, where ever I go. Jesus commanded His disciples to go and make disciples. It wasn't the Great Suggestion! Once I understood that Jesus lived on support, and Paul did too, I began to realize there was no way that I could work 10-12 hour days with YWAM and be able to work a job too. Jesus didn't expect that of me either. I had to lay down my pride, and admit that I needed God's people to do as He asked them to do, and accept the support. God's missionaries are not called to be poor, to be ragged, or to constantly go without. God provides enough for His kids because He is a generous dad. If you are considering joining the mission field, don't let the lack of finances stand in your way. God is generous to His children, and will make sure you have enough, even if it's in the nick of time. 

Q) DTS, Discipleship Training School, gave you the opportunity to lay aside so much of what you thought you knew about God and mission work. How did this change you? 
A) One of the biggest things was that I saw God as far away, and a distant king on His throne. I had been to Bible College, and knew all the 'facts', but it wasn't enough for a real relationship with God. In DTS, I learned that God is a good Dad, who wants me to climb up and sit in His lap and tell him all about my day, what I'm thinking, and how I'm feeling. That He wants to hear what I think. That He wants to know how I feel. That He wants to have the intimacy of deep relationship. This changed everything, and it's still changing everything as our relationship is growing deeper. 

I also became much more comfortable in my own skin. My thoughts were no longer obsessed with what other people might be thinking of me, or how to respond well in a situation. I was simply learning to be me, and it felt good. 

Q) What do you enjoy most about working with the organization YWAM?
A) Oh this is a hard question because it's hard to narrow it down! YWAM is like a giant family. People know you, have grace for you, work with you, love you, challenge you, mess with you, joke with you, and never give up on you. They want what's best for you, and expect you to give your best. I love my YWAM family dearly. 

The family is always open too. Three times a year, we are running Discipleship Training Schools, where 10-35 students are welcomed in, loved, challenged, discipled, honed, and released back to their homes. Some of them come on staff with YWAM, and others pursue ministry in government, commerce, or the business world. The family is always growing. Once a YWAMer, always a YWAMer. It changes you deep inside your heart. 

Q) Is there something “unexpected” going on in your life that you’d like to share?
A) I just got back from leading a short term mission group in Nicaragua for 10 days! Leading the group was definitely not on my radar, but it was a lot of fun, and I think we made an impact. The youth group students seemed changed, and the people we worked with appreciated our work, and teaching too. I don't consider myself to be a leader, but God keeps giving me opportunities to lead! 

Thanks for reading Kate's Leaving the Ordinary Extraordinary story. Check out YWAM online:
YWAM Madison: ywammadison.org

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ordinary Extraordinary Guest Blog by Mark Brady


A big thank you to this month’s Guest Blogger, Mark Brady!  Don’t forget to check out his blog: http://bradymarka.com/author/mb4384/

I met TLC at my first Write to Publish conference in 2013.  She came up to me and introduced herself.  I suppose she saw the lost and lonely look on my face.  Time has provided us the opportunities to get to know each other better.  TLC is a very sincere and caring person.  If she senses something is wrong she will do anything and everything she can to fix it.  This is what compassion is.  TLC lives out compassion every day.

TLC is also an accomplished trombone player.  She plays in many festivals across the area.  She is married, with three grown kids. TLC also writes.  She recently completed her novel, a teen fantasy.  She works at a local library and definitely may be considered an ordinary extraordinary worth knowing.

Hello TLC Nielsen!

Q) When did you encounter Christ and what was that like for you?
A) I became aware of God at the age of 21. It was a hard time in my life after I met and married my husband at a young age. I dropped out of college to work, had two children 18 months apart and lived at poverty level. At that point, we decided to go to church and it was there that I met my Creator, who loved me. Getting to know Christ changed my life and saved our marriage. We learned to rely on God together, despite the finances. It’s been almost 30 years now since I was baptized and it’s been quite the adventure!

Q) Describe your immediate family members as if tweeting, TLC.
A) My family: 3 kids, 31 years of marriage + 3 grandkids

Q) You like playing the trombone, and you like writing.  If you had to pick just one which would it be and why?
A) That’s like asking if I could pick one role in my life like spouse versus parent, Mark! In struggling to discover an answer to your question, I found I would pick both but for two different reasons. Definitely, writing for the challenge and calling of taking emotions and ideas and stuffing them into ordinary words, then into interestingish sentences that make some kind of sense. As for trombone and music (jazz, hymns, classical) I love being free of words and yet part of a group where my sound meshes with others to become music. I guess writing is my solo endeavor while tromboning is my community. Thanks for the unique question!

Q) How do you balance life and still find time to write?
A) Writing time is rare, even though I’m a part-timer at work. I juggle grandparenting, involvement with my grown kids, music, volunteering, an aging home (100+ years) as well as a garden, while investing in my marriage. Being involved with a writers group (Word Weavers) and finding online support through 10 Minute Novelists helped me finish the rough draft of my novel last month. It’s definitely a tightrope type of balancing.

Q) What experience(s) do you often draw upon when you write?
A) Most of my life – even my absent tooth showed up in my fantasy novel when a character’s occupation was working with teeth (toothsayer.)

Q) They say a writer should be a good reader.  What do you enjoy reading?
A) I read a lot of Junior and Teen fiction, and I enjoy Terry Pratchett, Rex Smith and Patrick Carmen as my fav Sci Fi authors. There are some adult authors I like but I find there’s a better creative element in youth fiction because of the less graphic nature.

Q) What do you get out of writing?
A) I like the communion with God I experience when writing. I feel that I hear him better as I sit with pen and paper, pondering what comes next in the story, the poem or the article before me. Writing is the place I’m most aware of God. He’s my muse.

Q) Who is your primary audience when you write?
A) I think that for fiction it’s teens but for nonfiction, adults.

Q) Which activity inspires you the greatest to go write?
A) The quiet actually inspires me, those too rare of moments.

Q) Where are you when your ideas come to you most often?
A) Resting in the hammock or driving in the car seem to offer the most quiet at this point in my life.