"BLOGGING ALONG" with Joyce Knock

Walk with me on my journey!



My life in India.

When?  1966 – I had just finished my 3rd of teaching and was in the 2nd year of marriage to my high school prom date. 

What?  Inspired by the words of President John F. Kennedy ‘Ask not what your country can do for you ask what you can for your country.’  we applied and accepted an assignment with thepeace-corps_t PEACE CORPS.  Our assignment would be in indiaINDIA.

What next?  After 3 months of training as Village Level Food Production workers in a camp outside Julian, California we were off to India.  Another month of in country training and  the Indian 36 volunteers were given assignments.  Dave and I were assigned to Bhopal, Madya Pradesh a city of 300,000 with a land mass the size of Cedar Falls, IA whose population is about 30,000. 

Then what happened?  Eventually my assignment changed and I worked with village women on gardening and sewing projects.  The village we worked with was 15 miles from our home and we biked there almost daily.  I also worked in a slum nursery school where we deloused the children weekly and bathed them in the lake water near the nursery.

And?  We spent 1 year in India and it was one of the most wonderful learning and growth experiences in my life.

  • Living in a city that had on a handful of Americans I  learned what it like to be a  minority person. 
  • I learned what it was like when  most of the 300,000 residents of Bhopal did not understand English and how poorly my Hindi was even after a crash course of 5+ hours of language for a month. 
  • I learned what it was like to be different in skin color, religious choice and practices and clothing worn. 
  • I learned so many things about myself and the world that were to become a part of me for the rest of my life. 

I am forever thankful that I had this  experience.  ###

Every Immigrant Has A Story

immigration-clipart-illegal-immigrationAre you an IMMIGRANT or from a proud family of immigrants?  My great grandfather, John Hempen, was born in Germany and proudly sailed with the German navy.  Wanting more opportunities for his family he and his family immigrated to the United States in the 1880s where he served as a mayor of a small community and raised a family.  When his granddaughter, my mother  Helen Hempen Brocka,  started school in Grundy County Iowa German was the primary language spoken in her home.  She was often cautioned not speak German outside the home.

Am I a proud descendent of an IMMIGANT….YES, I am.  I would also imagine that many of you reading this are also proud members of immigrant families.

I have had the good fortunate and pleasure to have  interacted with immigrants or fellow descendants of immigrants most of  my life.      They are American Indian, Asian Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Hispanic, Latino, Chinese, Iranian, Black American, Native Hawaiian, Tai Dam, Pakistani. and Caucasian.  We have learned that we are MORE ALIKE than we are different.

And….my life has been enriched by having them in my life.


great grandfather I understand why they wished to come to America.

pilgrimsWHAT if this had happened back in 1492? 



A painful book to write!

Over the past months I have been writing my 3rd book.  It has been a difficult book to write and yet oftentimes very comforting.  I am sharing the cover and first page of my book and I am inviting you to review it and make comments! 

My heartbroken-heart is broken.

A journey of loss, grief and hope.

Respectfully yours!

I respectfully understand that I do not have the market on grief due to the loss of a loved one.  However, putting my journey on paper has allowed me to bear my pain, my broken heart and a soul that is oftentimes empty.

If you are on a similar journey I invite you to walk with me.  Together we may feel less alone.

On your journey accept your  need and right to grieve, to cry – to sob!

I encourage you to experience your loss and sadness as you learn to grow from the choice you make on your journey.

Let’s walk together.

My phone rings and a young woman asks for Levi!



I answered my phone today and a young woman’s voice says “may I speak to Levi?” It took me by such surprise that several seconds passed before I asked “why do you want to speak to him?”  She replied, “I am calling from Iowa State University and was wondering if was still interested in enrolling here.”  Again I caught my breath and replied “Levi died.”  SILENCE!  Then she replied, “Oh I am so sorry!”

That call triggered so many memories.  Many summers when Levi attended camps in the College of Engineering which he so enjoyed.

Now!  No college!  Just memories! 💔 ###


Child bullying has existed for centuries!  Does this make it ok?

I have read, donated and sold my children’s book, “I am NOT dumb and I am NOT a stinky butt! to several thousand children and adults!  Hundreds of children have shared names they have been called.  Countless adults have engaged me in conversations about names they were called as a child.  Names that have “stuck” and are still painful as an adult.  Names like “stupid”, “lazy”, “fat” and “retarded” to name a few.  They have also shared experiences their children and grandchildren have encountered as a result of being autistic, overweight, handicapped or just being “different in any way” from a group of “so called main steam kids!”  

Child bullying can stunt a child emotionally and socially.  it can affect them for life!

What can can be done about this problem??   ###

Some days don’t start out so good!! 

This is ME today!!  However I got up, dressed up, am now ready to show up for life and definitely will NEVER give up!!  

Amazing what a simple thing like a shower can do for me…a refreshing attitude adjuster!!    ###

Sometimes I pretend!



Why do I often pretend to be happy? When I definitely am not.  Probably to avoid other’s questions which would put me on the spot.

PRETENDING  makes it easy so others think I am all okay.  And I am….a lot of the time …depending on the day.

PRETENDING  means I don’t have to answer prying questions.  Or have others look at me in their sad and sympathetic way.

i don’t want other’s sympathy.  As I know they often don’t know what to say.  So…I pretend everything is ok….and it is sometime  each and every day!  ###


Is it wrong to pretend?

Just what I needed!

 Spent a very FUN day at the “Reading Between The Vines” author event at the Snus  Winery yesterday.    The rural setting was so calming and peaceful to me and it reminded me of “growing up” on an Iowa farm! 

 Of the 25 authors present I had met only a handful prior to the event.  Such fun exchanges meeting so many statewide authors!! Had a successful selling day, conversing with other authors and visitors to the winery and book event….and enjoyed some wine…”Catnip”..was  my favorite! 

Driving home from the winery area I deliberately choose a relaxing and peaceful route through the countryside.  It was the best therapy for me!! I was  so calm and relaxed!! My return journey home seemed to reconnect me with my rural Iowa was calming and also exhilarating!  And it was so MOTIVATING!! How?? I set as my goal to “finish” a work in progress….my 3rd children’s book entitled “My goldfish died.  I am so sad!” which addresses the issue of loss, sadness and grief. It is time to finish it!!! I can do it!!

Grateful  for such a wonderful day!     ###

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑