Dubuque & Final Answers

Monday, September 25, 2017

Here are the rest of my answers, interspersed with photos from a recent trip to Dubuque and other adventures. I had the pleasure of visiting Eagle Point Park, St. Raphael's Cathedral, the Dubuque Botanical Gardens & Arboretum and the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. 
The botanical gardens were beautiful. The Johnson Strings filmed one of their music videos here, so visiting was a bit of a pilgrimage for me...

Ashley asked: What do you plan on doing in the future? 
In the somewhat immediate future I'd like to:
  • Go to at least one more chess tournament before the year is over.
  • Find and write more stories!
  • Re-design the chessjournalism.org website and figure out how to automate certain features at www.iowa-chess.org.
  • Do some more rock wall-climbing. (Actually I did this already today after writing and before posting!) 
  • Get back to training--running regularly.
  • Add a couple counties to my list of courthouses visited and check off a few other locations I want to see here in Iowa.
  • See the fall colors on the Mississippi and get a hamburger at Pete's in Prairie du Chein.
Life goals, people, let's keep our priorities straight! :D

But if I must be serious, I plan to continue working as a journalist, and slowly but surely visit all the places I want to see. Someday I also hope to write books, maybe do some mission work, and perhaps even raise a family of my own.
Anonymous asked: Could you tell me more about your siblings? From what I've heard they sound like such nice, sweet people!
They are! If you want to learn more about Sarah Faith, read her blog, The Journeys of Faith!
Charity has a blog too, but she doesn't post anymore. And, you can follow Daniel on Twitter.

Anonymous asked: Which color is your favorite?

Linda  asked: What food(s) is, for you, "comfort food"?
  • Cold cereal, particularly frosted shredded wheat.
  • Mashed potatoes and gravy, turkey, etc...
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Crackers
  • Yogurt
  • Turkey subs, most likely because the sub artists at Casey's are the nicest people.
  • Toaster pastries 
indie media east coast asked: Have you ever heard of or read any work by John Lamb Lash?
No, I have not.

Anonymous asked: What do you like to do when you're alone?
Work, read the news, walk, browse social media, pray.

Linda asked: Do you live alone or with your parents...or perhaps a friend!!
I live with my parents. They're pretty awesome people!
Above are my parents with Sarah Faith, Daniel and I after a 5K in Rockford (Charity took the picture). Sarah Faith finished as top woman overall. I finished first woman in my age group, but that was because there was only one other 20-something woman. This was her first race, and she was running costumed as a dinosaur, which slowed her down enough that I won. Currently Sarah Faith is busy running cross country, and she and my mom are training for a marathon.

Martha asked: If you could have one superpower, what would it be? And how would you use it?
Only one?! Is omnipotence a superpower? How about wisdom? If not, I'd love to fly at high speeds, or better yet, be translated or beamed up to or into wherever I want to go. It would save me a lot of gas mileage. Plus I could get into and out of places easily that aren't accessible to others.

Ashley asked: How did you get so good at playing chess?
I'm more mediocre than good. The skills I do have came through practice and study. My papa taught me how to play chess, and for that, I am forever grateful.

Hi Beth, I'm a chessplayer, too. On FICS I play as "Paolone". I have a question about your chess tournament's reports. I noticed you seem always calm and pleased also after lost games. It's a good thing, imho but I ask you: what are your thoughts to handle a bad outcome well?
Hi Paolone, I am not pleased after lost games, but I know that every game I lose, I learn from.  I can't afford to be overly upset. I have to keep my head up and concentrate on doing better next game. There's always a next game.

Martha: Do you ever get angry? If so, how do you calm yourself down?
No one ever sees me angry because I almost always keep it all in my head, but yes. The reason I'm angry is usually some news story I'm reading about some terrible crime, so I stop reading it, pray for those hurting in this world and think about something else.
Martha asked: Do you think people are inherently good?
Not really. I think we're all born with a conscience, but we're also born with a tendency to sin. We have to choose good or evil. 

Martha asked: Do you think little white lies are acceptable?
To me, "thou shalt not lie" is pretty clear. But I also don't think everyone always needs to know the whole truth when the truth is cruel and won't help anything.  If your cooking is awful, I'll probably just say it's "interesting" and thank you for your hospitality. I don't consider it a lie--just being gracious.

I do believe there are scenarios where lying could, theoretically, be the right thing to do (say, if a murderer is searching for a victim and asks where she is). That said, I don't believe I've ever come across an instance yet personally where I felt morally compelled to lie, and I hope I never do.
St. Raphael's Cathedral has beautiful stained glass windows and an awesome-looking pipe-organ. I wish I could have heard it played. The Cathedral parish is the oldest congregation of any Christian denomination in the state of Iowa, as settlers began meeting in homes in 1833. The current Cathedral was built from 1857 to 1861. The pipe organ was originally built in 1890 and rebuilt in 1937.
Ashley asked: Can you play any instruments?
I can play the piano, guitar, accordion and harmonica.

Martha asked: What one word would you use to describe your life?

Martha asked: What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you?
"I love you."

Martha asked: What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
The nicest thing is probably that my parents spent a lot of time with me when I was a child, and really worked hard to teach me Christian principles and God's word and give me an awesome education. Ambitious, loving parents who push you to your limits and believe in your capabilities are the best. And I love that my mom would pray for and comfort me even when I was sick; having her by my side always made me feel better. I love my parents, and still think they're pretty nice.

Gloria: What were some of the most difficult moments in your life and how did you overcome them? 
I think my life has been comparatively easy. The most difficult moments in my life were probably dealing with re-occurring migraine headaches as a teenager. Friends and family prayed for me, and I was healed.
The view behind me is overlooking the Mississippi from Eagle Point Park. While I was busy sight-seeing, some of my family members were running a half-marathon that started at the park. Photo courtesy of Sarah Faith.

Stephanie asked: How tall are you?
5 feet 6 inches.

Gloria asked: If you could travel back in time, where and to what period of history would you go?
I think it would be interesting to visit the antediluvian era, see to what point man had progressed before the flood, and study the environment.

From a non-intellectual standpoint, I'd probably most enjoy visiting the 1950s.

But I hope the time machine doesn't get stuck. I like now best.

Martha asked: If you could have one person in history answer a question (truthfully), who would you choose and what would you ask?
I would ask Solomon what question I should ask. But then I'd have used up my question. Could you give me two chances? I've pondered this one for quite a while, but I really don't know. That's a very good question, but a very tough one, Martha.

Sarah Faith asked: If you could meet and have dinner with one of the five living former presidents, whom would you pick?
Probably George H.W. Bush.
I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. It was one of the better museums I have been to. Touring the steamboat William M. Black as my last stop at the museum was very interesting. The museum was full of...you guessed it--history! There were theaters everywhere, "caves" inside the museum, plenty of model steamboats, artifacts, and interesting fish in the aquarium. There are also a smaller boat on land, a log cabin, and an old train depot.

A dozen and one blog asked: Have you ever been to another country? If not, would you ever wish to?
No, I have not. Yes, I would like to.

Stephanie asked: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Outside of the United States (where I have several places I still want to visit), my top spots to visit someday are the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Thailand.

Linda asked: If you could visit Canada, which province would you most like to visit...and why?
I would most likely visit Manitoba or Ontario because those are closest. They also have enough attractions to make for a fascinating trip.

Gosia asked: What is the most interesting place in Europe for you?
The most interesting places in Europe for me are the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy.
However, since you are from Poland, I will say that Polish history intrigues me, particularly the efforts of the Polish underground during World War II.
Ashley asked: Do you know how to do any handiwork, like sewing, crocheting, or knitting?
I know how to sew and crochet. Crocheting is a relaxing activity for when I want to pretend to feel useful while watching episode after episode of some old series or while reading a book during a long cold winter. I've made probably three scarves and a hat, but I don't exactly need any more scarves...so I haven't crocheted since last winter!

Sewing, on the other hand, is something I utterly detest doing. Or actually, I think, needle and thread utterly dislike me. It seems I take out more stitches than I put in. But, I have a hard time finding skirts I actually like. So I make the sacrifice once every few years to sew myself something I like.

Ashley asked: Do you still make cards from paintings from your grandma? I still have some of the cards you gave me from the giveaway. They are. So pretty. :)
Glad you liked them! I never have made the cards. I just take care of online sales for the gallery. My grandma is in the nursing home now and doesn't paint anymore, but she still has a wide variety of cards for sale.
The above is an old gravel pit (now a beautiful private lake) in Butler County, which I visited while writing a story on a century farm.

Martha asked: What do you enjoy doing on a rainy day?
Thinking up stories for other people to read on rainy days.

If you had the chance to travel for journalism's sake, where would you go and what story would you cover?
I'm not sure where I'd go, but I'd want to cover a story that no one else has discovered yet--a breaking exclusive.

Did you go to college? If no, why not?
No. I didn't think I needed to.
When I told Grandpa Carson about visiting the National Mississippi River Museum and the depot attached, he said Grandma had given a presentation in the depot years ago. Check out some of Grandma's railroad art here.

Anonymous said: I love reading about your work as a journalist. How did you get that job, and how do you find stories to write about? Is your town small? How many days a week do you work? And do you take photographs for the newspaper?
To answer the first question, I applied for the job and was hired.

There are a few ways I find stories. I attend the city council meetings and school board meeting and write about what's discussed. I attend community events and write about them. People and organizations send me press releases, and sometimes those lead to larger stories. I browse social media to see what's happening. I write about local businesses and interesting people. Some stories just happen--like when a storm blows in. And I have a wonderful brainstorming team consisting of everyone in town, my friends and my family. Some people don't realize they're part of the team yet...but I have been given some great ideas!

I'm supposed to work 40 hours every week. Yes, I take photographs for the paper.

Visit www.butlercountytribune.com and the Clarksville Star and Butler County Tribune-Journal Facebook pages to check out my latest stories!
The Fossil and Prairie Preserve in Rockford, Iowa.

Mari said: I think your new job is very interesting. I wonder how many hours you work on it in a week. When you do interviews to get articles do you take photos for them too? And how often does a paper come out?
I'm supposed to work 40 hours per week, but sometimes I work more. The important thing is that I get the papers done every week. Yes, I take photos for the paper. The Clarksville Star and Butler County Tribune both come out once a week--on Thursday.

Martha asked: What do you like best about your new job?

  • The people. I love my coworkers; they are sincerely awesome people. And there's just something special about being part of a small town. I love the ladies at Casey's who make my subs. I love the ladies at the post office. I love the city councils, the school boards, and the smile and wave from everyone I know.
  • The educational experience. I'm always learning something new! (And if I find out before everyone else, all the better!)
  • The flexibility. It's pretty awesome to get to design my own schedule every week--and to pick whatever I want to write about in the community each week, as long as I get the news in.
Thanks to all who participated in this year's Ask Me Anything!


  1. Per usual, I found your answers/wisdom of soul fascinating! I loved the photos of Dubuque and St. Raphael Cathedral as that was our family's parish when we lived there, and where John was baptized.

    1. A mutual acquaintance did try to persuade me to visit Finley hospital... I didn't realize John was baptized at St. Raphael, though I wondered! I suppose visiting there was almost as good then...ha!

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I really enjoyed all your answers and the pictures. You had some beautiful places to show, and I really like the one of your family. I think you must have pretty wonderful parents because they did a fine job of raising you.

    1. I think they're pretty awesome. Glad you stopped by, Mari--thanks!

  3. It is so interesting to get to know other bloggers better! Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us!

  4. This was an interesting post! Not only did I enjoy reading the answers to everyone's creative questions, but it was also lovely arm-chair traveling through your photos. :) I like your choices for future foreign travel. Mashed potatoes and gravy is a great comfort food - I just had some myself this evening!

    1. Mmmm...that's awesome! Maybe you can send me some?!

      Glad you enjoyed the photos and reading the questions and answers!

  5. I seem to have monopolized your time, Bethany! HAHAHA But thank you for answering all the questions. I must say that I thoroughly enjoy your answers and all the images you shared. Your photography is pretty awesome!

    I had no idea you enjoy rock climbing. That is wonderful! My younger daughter does it regularly and she loves it.

    And I must say I had a good laugh with your sewing comment because I feel the same way. It's right up there with ironing. And okra :) Three things I can do without.

    It was a lot of fun getting to know you better. Wishing you continued success in your new job.

    1. I will always love you for hating okra with me, Martha. I could do without ironing as well... I avoid it as much as possible!

      Thanks for all the fun questions.

  6. Are you the oldest of the siblings in your family? I absolutely love sewing--your answer made me laugh because I've actually made time to get my sewing machine out this week and I've been making gifts for people--a bag and an apron so far, and I'm just loving spending time designing and putting stuff together again!
    That lying question is always an interesting one. I think truth is very important but there are times when for politeness or ease of communication I would not be so direct with the truth. When we lived in China I told all of our friends or anyone who invited us for a meal that I was vegetarian...technically I'm not, but I don't prefer to eat most meats and I probably won't be able to eat the pig's blood or intestines or duck feet or the other popular meat dishes of Southern China....on the other hand, I LOVE Chinese veggie dishes, and will eat veggies galore, so really, it's not much of a lie, it was just to explain to people ahead of time so that they didn't try to order me or cook me expensive meat dishes that I probably wouldn't be able to eat anyways.

    1. Yes, I'm the oldest. I am *so* grateful for people like you who do love sewing--and for all those who love doing the things I dislike doing...someone has to do them!

      Ha! Very interesting... I'd say you were temporarily a vegetarian!

  7. Great questions and answers! Thank you for answering my question! Really enjoyed this post! :)

  8. Lovely to learn about you, thanks for stopping by my blog!

  9. Just catching up on your fun "Ask Me Anything" posts. I would love to have the power to teleport. I'm from Ontario so I'm a little bit biased when I say come visit Ontario first!

    1. It would definitely be neat to meet you if I ever do visit Ontario!

  10. The cathedral is lovely Bethany. I do love listening to a pipe organ, so I would have wanted to hear it played too.

  11. i missed this set of questions!! this is fun and i always learn so much about you!! that is a great/beautiful picture of you!!!

  12. We love Iowa. My son is there in Law school. Beautiful photos.

  13. Very interesting getting to know you, my daughter wrote for our local little paper while she was in High school. enjoyed your pictures too, the church is so pretty, and congrats to you and your sister with your wins in the marathon. I grew up in a small town and I think that is a great experience to have. I like your reaction to getting angry, I wish my first response was to pray, instead of getting upset, something I need to strive towards :)

    1. My sister and my mom ran a marathon--not me! Neat that your daughter wrote for a paper in high school!

  14. Great to get to know you a bit more! :) Thanks for sharing bits of you in these answers.

  15. It was great to read about you. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Always love these Q&A posts! I used to detest sewing as well. But after much trial and error and several inspiring Pinterest boards, it's finally become an enjoyable pastime.
    I've never even heard of the antediluvian era! Looks like I have a new topic to research.

    1. You certainly do impressive work for someone who formerly detested sewing!