All posts by daford

Miracle of the Call – Blog

Key West Sunset
Key West Sunset

Sample blog post  Entertaining Angels

Nearing retirement age, I was considering future options, among them opening a tea room. While listening to Christian radio one day on the drive to work, I heard the following Bible verse read. “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers for in so doing some have entertained angels unaware.” Hebrews 13:2. This struck me as relevant to my future, tea room or otherwise.

That week the church I was attending hosted their annual strawberry festival.  Bill and I could make the second serving. We sat down at a table furthest from the kitchen and were joined by another couple. I was distracted looking around to see who I might know. Apparently most of those people had come to the first serving. The result was that I missed the names of our table mates when introductions were made.

As we passed bowls of baked beans, coleslaw, and plates of ham, I discovered that the couple had never been to this church before. They worked in Connecticut but their home was in Vermont. They were here and at our table simply because they saw the sign in front of the church.

Now I felt the responsibility to represent our church…since I seemed to be the only one around to do so. At that time, Bill did not attend church with me.

While making conversation and happily enjoying our strawberry short cakes, I realized I should take down their names to give to our pastor. I asked their names again. The woman’s first name was Angel.

After we left church, I told Bill about the Bible verse I had heard that week. He had already been considering it some kind of miracle…that we were at church and ate with an Angel. I agreed.

CT, 2007

To read more miracles, go to blog at

Mr. Emerson’s Relationships – Blog

Sample blog post 90 Mile Walking Trip – R. Waldo Emerson

Waldo Emerson planned a walking trip to North Hampton, MA, to visit several of his Ripley step-relatives along the way. He was twenty. A pocket journal dated August 1823 records this journey.

Leaving his mother’s home in Roxbury on Friday, he walked 60 miles. On Saturday he stayed at an inn in Leicester. There he met a traveler going by stage (coach) to Stafford Springs, CT, known for its healing spring waters. The two travelers briefly discussed a building across the street. Waldo discovered it was a school for girls, closed until they could hire a woman teacher. He noted in his journal that if this notion about women teachers reached the city, he and his brother, William, would be out of work.[1]

On Monday, Waldo arrived in Belchertown, MA. The landlord, Mr. Rice, also owned the hat store, blacksmith shop and two stage lines. Waldo recorded that people in this area do not walk much. Rather, they ride in conveyances. He was offered many rides. Tuesday through Thursday he spent at Amherst, 90 miles from home. He found it interesting that Amherst College, then worth $85,000 dollars, was built by donations.

On Saturday and Sunday he visited with his Ripley relations. In North Hampton he toured a lead mine. Teaching young ladies in Boston must have seemed preferable to living and working in that dark tunnel. On Sunday Waldo attended three church services with Reverend Lincoln Ripley, his step-great uncle.

Monday, Waldo crossed the Connecticut River and stayed at the New Salem Inn. Tuesday, he walked to Princeton to catch a stage back to Waltham, MA. At this last stop, he stayed at the home of Reverend Samuel Ripley. This step-uncle had always been generous to Waldo.

To read more blog pages on Emerson’s relationships, click here.

Author – Concord Sage Ralph Waldo Emerson

His name is well-known, but who really was the man, Ralph Waldo Emerson? What made him famous—a celebrity in his own town, country, and beyond? And why is Emerson still quoted today?

If you considered Emerson stodgy, you will be be surprised that this biography is meant to share with children, 5th grade and up. Afterwards, stroll leisurely through the site’s many blog posts which provide additional insight into Emerson’s life and relationships.

Enjoy this 78-page book, Concord Sage, available in print or ebook at:

OR buy 6×9 softcover print copy here with PayPal.  For volume discount, contact the author.

Link to Mr. Emerson’s Relationships blog:

About the Author

Donna Ford thought Ralph Waldo Emerson was a relative until research for this book proved her wrong. A maternal relative of the author, born an Emerson in 1785 in Massachusetts, gave many of her children Emerson as a middle-name; another female ancestor was kidnapped and escaped from Indians in 1657. With a unique perspective on the lives of early New Englanders, Ford also has twenty-plus years experience as a technical writer.
She has nine grandchildren and enjoys giving them historical biographies as gifts.

Book Review

Concord Sage: R.W. Emerson Life and Times
by Donna A. Ford
Amazon Digital Services
reviewed by John E. Roper

“At three years old, Ralph Waldo was a slow reader and didn’t enjoy learning. Perhaps he didn’t like reciting facts from memory. He did like blowing bubbles from soap and water with a pipe.”

Most American high school students are required to read a few pithy selections from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Usually they are paired with works by his young protégé Henry Thoreau, and often readers come away with the impression that while the mentor was rather aloof and stodgy his more free-spirited disciple was “pretty cool.” But there was much more to Emerson than what is revealed in his writings, a fact which the author aptly illustrates in her new biography of one of the nation’s most famous thinkers.

Ford begins her book with a brief look backward at Emerson’s ancestors in Concord to help describe the environment he was growing up in. She then goes on to detail in a few short chapters the life, loves, friendships, and painful losses he experienced as he journeys from relative obscurity to national prominence. One of the more interesting parts deals with his interaction with Abraham Lincoln and how Emerson’s own hatred of slavery possibly helped influence the President to take a stand with the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863.

The author has geared her book for young adults but it should also appeal to older audiences. Her prose is straightforward and informative yet engaging enough to keep the reader’s interest. Possibly the greatest gift this book brings to the study of Emerson is that it doesn’t so much focus on his writings, as so many other studies about him do, but instead shows us the man. She has taken the cold statue of the philosopher from the ivory tower contemporary thinking has placed him in and transformed him into flesh and blood.


The US Review of Books – Professional Book Reviews for the People

Author – Scanning for Kids of All Ages


Getting great results from your scanner is tricky. This is because scanning falls somewhere between an art form and technology. And what if you’re not quite an artist, or a computer wizard? This book removes the mystery, so that you can concentrate on the design skills that prompted you to buy the scanner in the first place. Recommended for teachers, librarians, grandparents, those creating a genealogy, any one interested in scanning or working with digital images.

You will understand how your scanner or digital camera work using CCDs to create digital data, how the scanner and computer communicate using TWAIN, and how to edit image data. Find out what OCR is and when and how to use it. Information necessary to produce the great results you are expecting – and can quickly get.

Seven projects are included that help you apply what you learn about histograms, adjusting brightness and contrast, repairing old or faded photos, removing redeye, setting threshold, scanning and printing line art versus photos or slides, saving for the web, and more.

About the Author
Donna Ford is a writer and artist who knows design. Her love of communications shows in her exuberance for every project. She has created artistic graphics and award-winning documents for industry leaders in several fields…everything from paper sculpture to industrial training materials. As a teacher and instructor, her own goal is to help others achieve theirs. Donna understands the anxieties associated with technology because she has overcome them. She has worked with the design issues presented in this book…real hands-on experience; this book is partly the result of her community college workshops on scanning. With her talent for simplifying, she has rendered complex information into usable knowledge that anyone can understand.

The author has nine grandchildren, whose photos appear throughout the Scanning book. Photos in the Concord Sage book were taken by a granddaughter. Donna Ford makes her home in New England.

Information Design Certificate

Certificate in Information Design from Bentley College, Waltham, MA, 2000. Courses included: Human Factors; Global design; Web design; Multimedia design. Cap Stone course was a work/study design of the original Spanish site for

Web design experience working part-time for Evolving Systems. Involved in the original design of these sites:,, and

Experienced using Dreamweaver, FrontPage and plain HTML editors. Courses taken in Flash.


Contract Technical Writing and Information Design

Donna Ford has over 20-years experience in creating print, online help, and PDF documentation for software and hardware in manufacturing, CAD/CAM, and Healthcare industries. Web content created includes book reviews and how-tos for restaurant supply industry.

Certificate in Information Design from Bentley College, Waltham, MA. This course included multilingual design for web sites. Web design projects included consulting for Evolving Systems, web site updates for Gerber Technologies, help file creation for NPD, and site creation for Engaging Systems.

Member of Society for Technical Communication (STC) starting in 1990 and board member at local chapter level.

Fast, accurate, concise documentation created using Word, RoboHelp, Acrobat, and HTML. Graphics created in Visio, PhotoShop, CorelDraw, and Painter.

View Donna Ford's profile on LinkedIn