I sent a news release to my home town newspaper in Michigan – the Ionia Sentinel Standard. The reporter called me for an interview, and then wrote the following article.
IONIA — A former Ionia resident turned his experiences growing on a farm north of M-66 into another children’s rhyming story picture book — this time about a ladybug.
Bob Hicks, who is a member of the Ionia High School Class of 1954, published “The Ladybug Known as Lil” on Oct. 12 — his fourth rhyming children’s book. It was inspired by Hicks’ memory of growing up on his grandfather’s farm four miles north of Ionia on M-66.
“That was a big influence in my rhyming stories because I was inspired to start writing the stories about my experiences with the critters when I was a kid on the farm,” Hicks said. “I had a pet crow, a pet raccoon and a pony, and just watching bugs and frogs in the backyard lily pool — those were inspirations. Remembering those inspired me to write rhyming stories about those experiences.”
When Hicks was 9, he remembers helping his parents plant a garden and his mother telling him to not harm the ladybugs because they would protect the plants from aphids.
“The Ladybug Known As Lil” tells a tale of the wild west as aphids invade the garden. Lil, singer at the Pumpkin Club, rides her roach through the night to find Bugaroo, sheriff of the garden, to save Pumpkin town from the Aphid Gang.
Hicks’ award-winning books are available on major online booksellers, and are endorsed by the American Dyslexia Association for easier reading by early readers.
“I want the rhyming to be perfect, because that helps kids to make the ear-brain connection for distinguishing sounds and learning to read,” Hicks said.
Hicks added a question and answer section to his books to turn them into a teaching tool. Hicks is a retired college teacher — having taught speech communication for 24 years at the University of Hawaii. A special “Things to Learn” section has photos and information about the real insects that are characters in the story.
Hicks said he was an average student his first two years at Ionia High School, but missed a year after becoming paralyzed.
“Because I had matured more and because I was in a wheelchair, I couldn’t get out and do things,” he said. “I spent more time studying and started getting good grades for a change.”
Hicks couldn’t get a physical job because he was limited in what he could do, so he decided to stay in school. He chose education as his profession.
“I think education is extremely important,” Hicks said. “I would tell kids to stay in school as long as you can and learn as many things as you can. The more you know, the more options you have, and the more choices you have for your life.”
Kim Grant, Hicks’ nephew, lives on the family farm north of Ionia, and has donated the Ladybug book to the Ionia Community Library.
Hicks has published three other rhyming children’s books: “Tommie Turtle’s Secret,” “Mouse in the Manger” and “Danny the Dragon.” He also has an e-book titled, “Once I Was A Kid With the Wild Things On the Farm.” He has started working on a his fifth, about Katie Caterpillar.
“The caterpillar book is just in the beginning stages,” Hicks said. “I’ve only got a couple of stanzas. We’ll see how fast it comes.
Hicks and his wife, Betty, reside in Florida. They may be contacted through Bob Hicks’ website: robertzhicks.com.
— Contact reporter Evan Sasiela at email@example.com.
THE LADYBUG KNOWN AS LIL is now available on Amazon!
Ladybug Lil update!
Ashley Otis, who did the illustrations for “Mouse in the Manger” and “Danny the Dragon”, has finished the illustrations for the award-winning manuscript of “The Ladybug Known as Lil”
Ashley is working on the book format, — and then, after final proofing, she will send it on to the printer.
We hope to have the book available in time forChristmas!
We’ll keep you posted.
My Whole Body Challenge Story
New U Life started a new blog feature on their website. When I opened it, I was surprised to find that the company’s new creative writer had delved into my Whole Body Challenge reports that I posted each week, and compiled and wrote my story.
What an honor! Than they posted it on the company’s You Tube channel for the world to see. Amazing!
Thought you might like to see the story. Click on the link.
My Whole Body Challenge Award
To be recognized and honored by an award was most gratifying. i thought you would like to see the video of the interview of the presentation.
I did what I should have been doing anyway – to exercise and push to gain more strength and mobility. I’m 85, and we do everything we can to extend life and the quality of life.
When New U Life came along 2 years ago, we discovered a community of people who cared about helping others — first the company people, and then others using the products who have been so supportive and encouraging. I believe the products gave me the nutrition for energy, and God gave me the will and Spirit to fight through the Whole Body Challenge.
The cash award is timely. I will use most of it to finish and publish my next children’s rhyming story picture book, “The Ladybug Known as Lil”. My vision is to help children with reading with my gift of rhyme. It helps me to have a purpose in life beyond just living.
Click on the picture to view video.
My before and after pictures will not portray my progress like the other participants, because my goal was not to lose weight, but to gain muscle weight, and have better body mobility and strength. For weekly reports, I posted videos of me doing various exercises in my routine.
For me the whole body challenge does not end on May 31.
In 1950, when I was 15 years old, I was almost completely paralyzed by encephalitis, a virus in the spine and brain wall fluids. The virus left me with muscle weakness and atrophy, muscle spasticity, loss of balance, and unequal muscle tension that gradually caused severe scoliosis.
Now, I am 84 years old and dealing with post-encephalitis syndrome, a recurrence of the same symptoms. Daily exercise has been a necessity, at first for the recovery from the disease over a 10 year period. For 9 years in the middle, I walked without any supporting devices. In 1980, I began losing my balance, and I had to start using a cane again. The post-encephalitic symptoms have forced me to move to crutches, then to using a rolling walker, and now, a power chair.
Regrettably, I tended to exercise only as much as I could get by with, rather than to build my body. I signed up in the Whole Body Challenge in order to intensify my workouts, set some goals, and plan a workout that would help me progress, rather than just get by and slowly go down hill.
After starting the Gel in August of 2018, I was sleeping better, had more body flexibility, and had more strength to walk with a 4 wheel walker. Friends came twice a week to give me an assist standing up, and to be my “spotter” while I walked.
I added KG 4 when we learned that it was whole body nutrition on one of Thomas DeLeuer’s videos. I added KetoDay and KetoNight because I was having digestive issues, and these products helped metabolism.
The Whole Body Challenge has helped me get an organized exercise program, and helped me log in measurable progress in strength, mobility, and weight gain.
I have achieved my goals of more strength and mobility!
Leg lifts. 3 sets of 10 — started at 2 sets of 5
Full squats. 25 — started at 6
Walking with walker. 100 yards — started at 40 yards
Stepper 100 — started at 20
Weight gain. 2 lbs — started at 132 lbs. Ended at 135 lbs
Now that I have a program that has improved my quality of life, and demonstrated that I can continue to make progress, I will continue to do the exercises as a lifetime routine. I have set new goals, and will aim to be able to walk unassisted with the walker.
We love the SomaDerm Gel and the Keto products, and they are now a part of our life!
I was surprised, and greatly affirmed by the amount of encouragement and support by a large number of other Whole Body Challenge participants. We have met new friends, and look forward to developing new relationships in the New U Life family.
Betty and I feel blessed that we were introduced to New U Life, and to Alexy Goldstein. Alexy and the products he has created have given us hope of a long and higher quality of life! Thank you Alexy!
I am blessed by all of you who respond to my posts with your comments and encouragement! Thank you.
Whole Body Challenge report May 21
A most remarkable day! I reached my goal of 3 sets of 10 leg lifts!
I had given up on making the goal, but some of you said I would make it, somehow, and I did! Perhaps the day of rest yesterday helped my muscles recover, or perhaps my increasing the Gel a little helped also.
It is encouraging to be able to transfer from the power chair to the leg bench by myself. This was to document my increase in mobility and that I have gained some independence.
Betty was filming, not standing by as “spotter” or to help. When I first started transferring to the bench, my male helper had to give me a little boost.
Did 20 leg presses! Walking was 120 ft, and my weight is holding at 134 lbs.
I went 60 steps on the stepper, which is more than the usual daily amount.
I am elated to have made the leg lift goal, especially after thinking it was impossible!
Check back next week for the conclusion of the Challenge contest.
This week I see progress in the little things. I “tested” myself doing squats. I did 18, a new record. My goal is 25, so there is hope I’ll make that goal.
The video features one of my upper body exercises. I start with this exercise, pulling with the triceps and muscles in the shoulder girdle. I do one set with my palms up, and one set with my palms down, to get different muscles in the upper arm engaged.
Today on the weekly measuring/picture day, I again did all the exercises in my routine. We walked 180 ft for the second day. That is more than half the distance of my goal of 300 ft, so a little bit of progress.
My weight settled at 134 lb, down a bit, but still in the range to make my goal of 135 lb
Whole Body Challenge Report May 8, 2020
It is encouraging to see my exercise log sheet getting checked off again. We are glad to have the SomaDerm Gel again!
Featured this week was my leg “firm up” of standing and moving my right leg side-to-side, and squats at the sink.
Most of my side-to-side moves are the right leg, because when I was paralyzed by the virus in my spine fluids back in 1950, it was the right size that was most affected. My right side is therefore weaker. The weakness on the right side affects walking, and, of course, using the gas pedal when driving.
I’ve maintained strength to do 3 sets of 5 leg lifts, and back to 20 reps on the leg press machine.
My weight is holding at 135 lbs, which is good.
Generally, I feel I am making transfers to and from the power chair more easily and with more confidence.
Betty took a picture of me getting some sun out in our driveway. Good to get some fresh air and vitamin D!