Camp Courage

Camp Courage – Here I come.

you're invited

How special do you feel when you get invited to a birthday party, wedding, dinner guest, or a reunion?

We all love to be invited.  I am looking forward to a 60th reunion on Sunday, October 11, 2015. It will be at a memorable place from my long ago past. It will be the 60th Anniversary of Camp Courage, Maple Lake, Minnesota. From 1955 to the present Camp Courage has been changing the lives of children and adults who have had opportunities available to them only by attending a camp stay at Camp Courage. Lives have been changes in dramatic ways. Mine was one of them.

My first time attending Camp Courage was probably in about 1958. I am not sure exactly and my parents are no longer here to ask. The age of 10 seems accurate. I do remember how excited I was and nervous at the same time. Being gone from home for two weeks is a long time for a 10 year old. I absolutely do not remember being home sick.  From that first summer, and for many following, I would look forward to renewing old friendships and enjoying myself doing all the things that everyone else was doing. My camping stay would be woven into my summer schedule around a surgery to help me walk better. I have revisited Camp Courage several times. Most recently when I was working on my memoir. It has changed with new cabins and updated facilities but what they do is exactly the same as when I was there.

On October 1, 1948 I was diagnosed with poliomyelitis at the young age of seven months old. There was no vaccine to protect me or thousands of other children and adults. The vaccine was not available until 1953. By then my siblings would be protected and thousands of other children and adults.

As we approach Friday, October 23, 2015, World Polio Day it is important to know that there are two countries that still have cases of Polio. When I wrote my book, All the Steps I Have Taken, there were four countries with cases of polio. India was declared polio free in 2012 with no new cases of polio. They celebrated in 2013. Now Nigeria has had no cases in 2015 and they will be able to celebrate Polio Free in 2016. In 2014 there were fewer than 360 cases of Polio in the world. Afghanistan and Pakistan are the two countries that Rotary International and Bill and Melinda Gates are still work to End Polio Now. Rotary has been working since 1985 in the Polio plus Campaign and I will be so happy to see that Polio will be eradicated in my life time.

The picture second from the left shows two small boys will braces and crutches. I learned to walk with crutches and braces just like those at the age of two. I have my crutches and show them when I speak to local schools and church.

Pictures of campers

Pictures of campers

So reunion here I come. In Minnesota fall leaves are changing to golden yellow, fire red, and tangerine orange. The prettiest time of the year to take a drive. I will enjoy watching the harvest along the way and I will definitely enjoy seeing people that I may have spent time years ago.

Goals and their importance

Goals and their importance


Happy New Year to you all.  It is New Year’s Eve day and I find it hard to believe that yet another year has so quickly gone by.  It absolutely is true, the older we get the faster time goes. As a child birthdays never came fast enough. Christmas always seems so far away. And now all we want to do is slow our time down.  We want to spend more time doing all the things we love to do.

It is also a time when we reflect on our last year.  Did we get to visit all the people we wanted? Did we do all the good we could for as many as we could?  When time slips away so quickly you should all take a very close look at how your life went for the year.  Was it all you really wanted it to be? Did you travel where you wanted to? Did you lose the weight you thought you should? The list could go on forever.

I always set goals.  Each day has the same number of hours in it and I will try to make every one of them count.  As I am taking more time each day to do things I really want to make sure that what I am doing is exactly what I intent to do for that day. A very important “Goal” is set in place at this time.  By 2018, I pray that Rotary will achieve its goal of eradicating Polio from the face of the earth.  I am a 1948 polio survivor and for the past 2 and a half years I have been sharing my story with churches, local Rotary Clubs thanking them for all they are doing and visiting schools to share my story about not treating someone who is different – differently.

polio, crutches, all the steps,

I am not alone is this effort.  Since 1985, Rotary has been working with our global polio eradication partners WHO (World Health Organization) Unicef and CDC (Center of Disease Control). All are strengthening their efforts and are placing the greatest demands on Nigeria to finish the job. Rotary Clubs from around the world are all working together.  There have been four free health camps organized in Pakistan this year.  Rotary Club District 3271 of Karachi Sea View have been training mothers to welcome the Polio teams to give the vaccine to their children.

Ann Lee Hussey is a member of the Rotary Club in Sunrise, Maine. She is also a polio survivor and has been through surgeries, braces and therapy to help with her ability to get around.  She contracted polio at 17 months, 3 months after the Jonas Salk vaccine was released to the public.  She has led 6 teams to Nigeria to help vaccinate the children there against polio. I contracted polio long before there was a vaccine to protect me.

On Friday October 24, 2014 I spoke to the children at Pacelli High School in Austin, Minnesota.  KIMT TV was there and broadcast that evening the importance of knowing that the world is not polio free and what each of us can do to help. Also, make sure that your children and grandchildren have completed their vaccinations for the polio virus.

Courage is born at the point where God’s grace and human effort intersect.” From the book “The discernment of the Spirit” by Father Timothy M Gallagher.  Guidepost magazine.

To follow Rotary and the work that they are doing please go to

To view my book “All the Steps I have taken” go to Inspiring Voices

Storm: Ending February and Beginning March

winter in full swing

Winter storm Feb 21, 2014

Ending  February 2014 and Beginning March 2014

You can see by the picture the snow is moving to the 3rd pane in the window. Winter has been challenging as life can be challenging. Have you ever wanted something so badly you couldn’t get it off your mind? Here in Minnesota we have wanted winter to be over. We have been reminded about every other day with new, fresh, white, beautiful snow falling that we are not in control.  We no more than get the drive way cleaned out and the street crews get things passable and the highway department gets the highways manageable and we get more new, fresh, white, beautiful snow.  The month of February has ended now and it is time for Mr. Winter to decide that spring is on the way. We in the midwest want winter to end.  We pray for people everywhere that have had to endure a really tough winter.

We have had many beautiful days that it looks like God has sprinkled glitter all over the ground and it makes you wonder how can anything be so beautiful make life so miserable? If you are one who enjoys outdoor play, this has been the winter for you. If you count of snow removal for a living, you have done well. The evergreens heavy with snow are an awesome sight to behold. We are fortunate to be able to enjoy these wonderful frosty days as many parts of the country do not have such a beautiful wintery view.

March, what will you bring? Calendar day, (the last Friday of the month,) predicted that it will be snowy, cold temperatures, more snow and a bit cloudy. Sort of a carbon copy of February. The farmers almanac does agree with that prediction. We do have to realize that we are not in control of any of these factors. We will just have to trust that spring will come with a slow thaw so we will not flood. We pray that the farmers, this year, will be able to plant a crop and that a bountiful harvest will prevail.

This is how we need to plan our lives. We need to trust that our heavenly father will provide for us all the things that we need to sustain ourselves.  We cannot change the weather pattern. We can change how we accept the things that happen to us in daily living.  As we move into our Lenten Season, let us look forward with trust that all will work for good.

“Star of Hope, A Season of Waiting”

Christmas from Stock exchange

Christmas from Stock exchange

Star of Hope, A Season of waiting.

Prepare, Watch, Behold and Rejoice.  These are the words on our banner at our local country church. Each week a new strip has be added and hung each Sunday through the season of Advent.  Tonight is when we celebrate our Saviors birth. Have you been preparing? It seems we have for the entire month with decorating, shopping, baking, gift wrapping and card sending to our loved ones. It’s done. It is now time to watch, behold and rejoice. A time to celebrate the Prince of Peace who has come gently into the “far-from-peaceful” world.  What a gift it is to rest in the joy of his coming to bring Hope to every soul who seeks Him.

”Star of Hope” was a service held for a local Hospice House. A time for families to come together to remember and reminisce about the loved ones they have lost this year. A time to remember when families spent time together with their loved one caring for them. A time to share the life they led and thank them for all they did for each one of us.  A sad time but a time when we could reassure them that we loved them and were grateful for them. The service gave those present the feeling of hope.

Life is a Journey.  It is about everyday struggles of lives and how people can move on stronger than ever after a conflict has happened to them. My father was in this “Star of Hope” Season this year. We siblings cared for him, in his home. With the help of a local Hospice Care unit we managed to keep dad’s wishes and cared for him. What a Blessing it was for me. Tough days mixed with rewarding days. The journey ended January 18, 2012 after many years of battling cancer.

It is time to behold and rejoice. As you celebrate this Christmas Season with your family remember the “Reason for this Season”.  Jesus came that we may have everlasting life.  We need to rest in the assurance that we will rejoice at the end of our earthly life. Today I am wondering what Christmas will be like in Heaven for my dad this year. He will be rejoicing with other loved ones, celebrating the Christmas Season with the heavenly angels for the first time.

Be prepared, keep watching, behold our Savior, and rejoice with your families with Christmas Joy.

“It is in darkness that one finds the Light….”   Keep looking. Merry Christmas and remember Jesus is the Reason for the Season. Merry Christmas Dad and all my loved ones.





The definition of a survivor is “someone regarded as capable of surviving changing conditions, misfortune, etc.  A misfortune means a mishap, illness or calamity.

On May 30, 1966 Randy Krulish had a misfortune.  On October 1, 1948 I had an illness.  Randy was injured in a diving accident and fractured his neck leaving him paralyzed. I became very ill with poliomyelitis (Polio). Both were changing conditions. Both of us endured our changing conditions the same way. We became survivors.

Randy knew what it was like to be normal. He had twelve years to enjoy all the running and playing a boy should be able to endure. I became ill at six and a half months old. I was probably just learning how to crawl and perhaps walk around furniture holding on. I would never know what it was like to run, jump, skip or be normal.

Over the years, we both had families that were there supporting us in all we pursued.  We both grew up on farms in the Midwest, We both had careers that enabled us to make a living for ourselves.  We both have a very strong Faith to keep us going. Today we have both survived our changing condition.

Now many years later we have meet and made a friendship.  Recently we both spoke for our church Guest Day and shared our stories of inspiration. Challenges come our way every day. This day was no exception for Randy.  On the way to the church Randy had a flat tire on his van.  God placed him in the path, for repair, just in front of a young man that he knew from his home town who repaired his tire and sent him on his way. He arrived at church on time for his presentation. When it was time to leave to go back home the elevator did not work properly in the church. After much trying to repair it,  we decided that our best option was to call the Blooming Prairie Fire Department for a rescue.  Upon their arrival many men were working with Randy to find the safest way to carry his heavy wheel chair down the flight of steps.  Other firemen were working in the elevator to get it working. The elevator was working in no time and they did not have to carry that heavy chair down the steps. We were so grateful to the fire department for their assistance.

Randy and I with the Blooming Prairie Fire Department

Randy and I with the Blooming Prairie Fire Department

October 9 was anti bullying day in our school. Every one was encouraged to wear orange. School is back in session and we are looking forward to sharing our stories with the children. It is very important for them to see that because we are physically different, there is no need to treat us differently.  The #1 person bullied is a physically handicapped person. We share how we adjust to our challenges and make them positive.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. There are many survivors from breast cancer, thanks to early detection.  A good friend is doing all she can to fight cancer by joining forces with many in our community to raise money for the cause. As a survivor she will make a difference.

October 26 will be Polio Awareness Day. Rotary International has been working to eradicate the disease of polio by making sure that all children worldwide have their vaccinations. Please make sure that your children have their vaccinations.  Wee must all work together to “End Polio Now”.

Spinal cord injuries are making progress with research every day. There is always Hope.



“I Love A Parade”

“I Love a Parade”

Parades have always been one of my favorite summertime activities.  During the summer you can find a Hay Days, Rushford Days, Buffalos Bill Days, Jesse James Days. Any kind of days anywhere within a 50 miles radius.  There is usually a Parade to go to along with lots of other festivities. Going to a parade is not a shared interest by many in my immediate family so I don’t enjoy as many as are available or as many as I would like to. I will get to as many as I can in the summer season.  Then wait for next year to start all over again. There is nothing better than the Color Guard leading the parade with the American Red, White and Blue so we can honor our Veterans and thank them for all they have given for our country.  Bands bring excitement to the parade and of course you must have clowns and horses.

Lonna and Linda at Albert Lea, Minnesot parade

Lonna and Linda at Albert Lea, Minnesot parade

Enjoying a pushup, with my sister Lonna, was taken at a parade in Albert Lea, Minnesota back in the early ’50.  The beautiful dresses that we are wearing were made by our mother. She made all our dresses and they usally matched. I really don’t know why were so dressed up with the darling hats to finish off the outfit, but we sure were cute sitting on the curb enjoying the pushups watching a parade. I am so grateful to my mother for teaching me the skill of sewing as it is something that I thoroughly enjoy each day. It is something that I can do sitting down. Something that I can do for my family and others and not make myself tired. There are some things that are difficult for me to do because of physical limitations so what I can do, I try to do it the best that I can.

If you look close beneath that adorable dress, you will notice two metal and leather braces attached to my legs.  They were a necessary part of my growing up with Polio to make my mobility a possibility. As a young infant I was stricken with Polio in 1948 at age six and a half months old. Thousands of children and adults were stricken before a vaccine became available in 1953. I wore braces until I was sixteen years old, a sophomore in high school. The next two decades I completed as normal as I could. My goal as a child was to keep up with everyone else and be as normal as possible. A limp and some deformities were visible but life was always great.  I completed an education, married, had three children and continued in a successful career.  Then the need to return to a brace on my left leg became a reality at age 36. My husband and three children were so helpful in helping me make the necessary adjustments. We all have adjustments to make and those adjust have to control our attitude. I try to end each day with a positive thought. No matter how hard today was and how things were, tomorrow is a fresh opportunity to make it better. I see my limitations as a motivational tool. I use those limitations as a strength –not a liability.

Today, Saturday August 3, I will be attending a Minnesota TWINS game at the Target Field. It will be a Polio-Plus Day at Target Field.  Watching a TWINS game is also a favorite summertime activity for me. After a 13 inning game last night and a win I am very excited to attend the game today against the Houston Astros. Many Rotarians will be attending this important event to help bring awareness to the “End Polio Now” campaign. There is still lots of work to be done to eradicate the disease completely and the task will keep moving forward until all countries will be free of Polio. Please make sure that your children have completed the necessary vaccinations. We do not want this dreaded disease to cripple anymore children or adults.

“The missing Piece”

“The Missing Piece”

Piece: A part broken or separated from the whole. It is any single thing, a specimen, a piece of music.   Piecing: To add pieces to as in repairing, to join together pieces.

I haven’t taken time to write a blog for some time.  The pieces just don’t fit together with summer here and all the activities to enjoy. Winter stayed too long with our last snow storm May 2, 2013. Spring and summer arriving very late. In a farm community that is not the right combination. Concerns turn to prayers now that the crops are in that could get in.

Puzzles are joined pieces together.  While my father was in our care we put puzzles together. My brother had completed many in the past and it became something that we all worked on while we spent our time with dad during his final days on earth.  He shared with us the decision he made to no longer have any doctor appointments, diagnosis or treatment in October, 2012 and entered into Hospice care soon thereafter.  He was very fortunate that his four children and a grandson and granddaughter could help care for him, lovingly in his home, until his death January 18, 2013. I enjoyed the time spent with my siblings. As our lives stay busy we don’t get together as often and I loved the time we had together caring for dad.  I miss the connections.

Those puzzles completed allowed us to sit at the table and visit. Dad wasn’t much into the puzzle work. He would rather have a card game of huckley buck or 500 and that we did lots of.  The puzzles would become a conversation piece and when we couldn’t find a piece we were sure it was missing.  Then the next day it would appear. Friends and family would stop by to visit with dad and usually try to find a piece.  Two wild life pictures were completed and mounted.  The final puzzle we hesitated to start because we knew that it would probably not get completed in dad’s time.  However, we started it anyway.  “Nothing like a Jonathan” by Robert Duncan was given to us by a cousin. The picture of two little boys picking apples and their dog reminded her of the family dog, Patsy, that we grew up with and my two little brothers. Dad, the missing piece, shows up often in thought.  My daughter misses him awful and my son is caring for his land with a difficult spring.

The day of dad’s funeral service I rolled up the pieces completed in felt and moved them to my home.  I enjoyed working on it in the parlor by a nice sunny south window in the middle of winter.  As I completed sections I realized that I had a “missing piece”.  The color I needed just wasn’t among the remaining pieces. It really was missing.  Somewhat how it felt this past Sunday, Father’s Day, with dad no longer with us. He is now a missing piece of our family.

When I completed the puzzle I decided I wanted to mount it.  I made a piece from the cover of the box, with just the right color, and carefully shaped it to the missing piece.  It is visible but if you didn’t know the piece was missing you may not catch it. My husband got the board ready while I worked on getting the piece cut out just so with the correct color and shape. We bought the right puzzle glue and the project finished.  A few days later, while vacuuming, my husband said “guess what I found?” I knew what room he was in and I knew what he had found. I said “the puzzle piece.” It was the puzzle piece. Now I keep the missing piece in my desk drawer and every time I open the drawer I see the piece and I think of dad. A belated Happy Father’s Day to you dad. You are missed by your children, grandchildren and friends. God Bless you.

The missing puzzle piece

The missing puzzle piece