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Food & Flavor 16. Voodoo Shrimp & Grits 18. Rum Balls & Winter Goodies 22. Bogle Vineyards Drink Specialities 24. Amorous Amaretto 26. Carrots & Consideration

Education 28. How Curiosity Can Improve Your Relationships & Your Life 30. The Significance of Learning Styles

40...

Design 18...

34. Love Your Space Home Accents

Fashion 36. Matched Set

Love 40. Amber & Bryce 44. Maija & Kendal

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View current and past issues of 406 Woman at

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Publisher's Note

Reframe your thoughts:

It’s not anxiety; it’s excitement. It’s not stress; it’s a challenge. Emotions are not destiny, they are stories. Rewrite them. We are entering the new year with the intent to be mindful of our mindset. This past year was full of challenge and uncertainty. We hope that this new year is a new beginning and an opportunity to move forward. A chance to create new opportunities and celebrate new successes. We are excited to see what is ahead, and to meet all the challenges with perseverance and determination. It’s time for all of us to write a new chapter. We hope to bring you a bit of inspiration and motivation along the way. With gratitude, Amanda and Cindy

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Cover Girl

Business Girl

View current and past issues of 406 Woman at

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publisher

Cindy Gerrity

cindy@montanasky.net

business manager Daley McDaniel

Published by Skirts Publishing six times a year 704 C East 13th St. #138  Whitefish, MT 59937 info@406woman.com CopyrightŠ2021 Skirts Publishing

daley@montanasky.net

managing editor

Kristen Hamilton

kristen@hamitupstrategies.com

creative & social media director Amanda Wilson

Want to know about great events, open houses, and more? Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/406 Woman

afwphotography@me.com

design

Sara Joy Pinnell

406 Woman is distributed in Bigfork, Columbia Falls, Kalispell, Missoula, Whitefish and every point in between.

sara@mrsandmrpublishing.com

Check out www.406woman.com for our full distribution list.

Daley McDaniel Photography Amanda Wilson Photography Kelly Kirksey Photography Carrie Ann Photography Alisia Dawn Photography Ace Photography

Have a great story idea or know someone that we should feature? Email us with your comments & suggestions. Interested in increasing your business and partnering with 406 Woman? Check out www.406woman.com.

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Editor’s Letter Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud. Maya Angelou

Friendship I’m reading a book called The Book of Lost Friends. A good friend told me that it was a great book but didn’t share any of the details. Turns out I love the book, but it is nothing like I thought it would be. But it got me thinking a lot about my friends. Have I been there enough for them this past year? Especially my single friends? I hope so but part of me has a sinking suspicion that I could have done more. As we are all likely aware, at least for the first quarter of the year, isolation and quarantining will continue until the vaccine is readily available. So that gives me (all of us) the opportunity to be that better friend from a distance. Why not?

• Pick up the phone • Drop off a plate of baked goods • Play a virtual game together • Organize an outing for a safer time May you be happy and healthy throughout 2021 – Happy New Year! Kristen Hamilton Managing Editor

What did I learn in this issue? That Stacey Bengtson has been a ski instructor at Whitefish Mountain Resort for over 40 years and is still learning new tricks of the trade. Read Sydney Munteau’s story about her on page 24. You may have heard that carrots can help improve your vision but that is only partially true. Read Dr. Austine Siomos’s story on page 26 and learn more about carrots and get the recipe for a delicious carrot ginger soup.

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Kasey Patton, WHNP, PHM-C from Kalispell OB/GYN shares some tips on coping with winter blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) on page 46 in the Business & Health side. 14 406

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Voodoo

Shrimp & Grits Photography by Charity Burggraaf

Have you ever eaten something so good that it induces a trance? Well, check out our Voodoo Shrimp and Grits. This classic dish features our all-star spice blend Voodoo, a robust seasoning which includes onion, garlic, whole mustard seeds, thyme and allspice on a base of peppercorns and sea salts. We are excited to share Voodoo Shrimp and Grits just in time for Mardis Gras. French for Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras refers to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season. With no shortage of richness, this recipe could be the inspiration for your own Mardi Gras ritual.

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Voodoo Shrimp and Grits Ingredients

For the Grits 6 cups water

1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 1/2 cups stone ground grits or polenta 3 cups half and half 1 stick butter, cut into pieces 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Tellicherry black pepper 1/2 teaspoon Voodoo

For the Sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 andouille sausages 1 medium sweet onion, chopped 1 red pepper, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 1 teaspoon dulce pimenton 1/4 teaspoon thyme 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano 1 1/2 cups fish stock or shrimp stock made from reserved shells 1/3 cup heavy cream 1 1/2 pounds fresh medium shrimp, peeled and deveined Voodoo, to taste

Instructions For the Grits: 1. Put water in a large pot and bring to a rolling boil. Add salt and slowly sprinkle in grits while stirring with a wooden spoon, then add the half-and-half and return to a simmer. 2. Cook the grits slowly, over low heat for 30-40 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in butter, Tellicherry black pepper and Voodoo. Continue to cook grits until they are smooth and creamy.

3. Hold covered, in a warm spot, while you finish preparing the shrimp and sauce. For the Sauce: 1. In a heavy saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat and brown the andouille sausage. Once the sausage begins to brown, about 3-4 minutes, remove from pan and set aside.

2. Season both sides of the shrimp with a sprinkle of Voodoo and sear

over medium high heat for about a minute on each side, working in batches to not crowd the pan. Remove from pan and set aside. 3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to pan. Add cooked sausage onion, pepper, garlic and spices. Sauté for 3 minutes, until the onion is tender and translucent.

4. Add stock and bring to boil, gently scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any flavorful bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat and slowly add the cream. 5. Bring up to a simmer and allow to reduce until sauce begins to thicken slightly, about 10 minutes.

6. Once thickened, add seared shrimp and simmer until the shrimp are just cooked, about 2-3 minutes. 7. When the sauce is finished, rewarm the grits and serve in a shallow bowl with the sauce spooned over the grits. Finish with Voodoo to taste.

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Rum Balls & Winter Goodies By Carole Morris

Does the question of “where” the Rum Ball (AKA adult cookie) was created sometimes pop into your mind, as you nibble on the alcohol laden delicacy? Do you immediately think “European” because of the alcohol content? If you did, you would be 100% correct. (Romkugler) rum balls were originally invented by Danish bakers who wanted to find a use for their cookies that didn’t sell by the end of the day. I’m thinking they said, “Mix a little rum in and it will sell” as they were about to close their bakery for the day. Cheers, a new tradition was born!

Rum Balls Ready in: 20mins Makes: 24

Ingredients

2 1/4 Tbsp. Cocoa 1 1⁄2 cups powdered sugar 2 1⁄2 cups vanilla wafers (crushed) 1⁄2 cup Spiced Rum 2 Tbsp. white corn syrup 1 cup pecans (chopped)

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Instructions

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Serves: 9 lucky people

Ingredients for cake 1/2 cup salted butter 1 cup dark molasses 1/2 cup sugar 1 large egg 2 1/2 cups flour

move ½ cup of mixture and place in a small bowl (to use later for rolling the rum balls in).

Blending with the mixture in the medium bowl, stir in the spiced rum and the syrup. Next, stir in the crushed vanilla wafers and nuts. Mix together thoroughly.

Shape mixture into medium sized balls. Roll balls in remaining cocoa powdered sugar (that you set aside) thoroughly coating.

In medium bowl, mix the cocoa Place on your favorite holiday plattogether with powdered sugar. Re- ter, and enjoy!

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Gingerbread Cake

2 tsps. baking soda 1 1/4 tsps. cinnamon 1 tsp. ginger 1/2 tsp. ginger 1/2 tsp. cloves 1/2 tsp. salt 1 cup hot water (not boiling)

Ingredients for icing 1 cup salted butter (softened) 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar 2 tsps. vanilla 3 Tbsp. Half and Half

Instructions for cake

Preheat oven to 350° F Thoroughly spray non-stick vegetable oil on inside of round cake pan. Mix together, in large bowl, sugar and butter, until creamy. Beat egg (in small bowl with whisk) then stir into creamed mixture along with the molasses. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Blend into the creamed mixture. Stir in the hot water. Pour into the greased pan.

Bake approximately 1 hour in oven, test doneness by inserting a knife in the center, if it comes out clean… cake is done. Allow cake to cool in pan, before taking out and drizzling the icing.

Instructions for Icing

Put softened butter into a bowl, mix on medium setting, creaming the butter until it’s smooth and lighter in color. Add powdered sugar, ¼ cup at a time. Next, add the vanilla… mixing well. Add half-and-half and mix until the frosting has reached the preferred consistency (less half and half for stiffer icing).

Drizzle the icing on top of the cake, then decorate with your favorite holiday decorations.


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Cranberry Mini Bundt Cakes Ingredients for cakes 3 eggs 2/3 cup butter (softened) 1 cup sugar 2 tsp. vanilla 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder 3/4 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 2 cups flour 1 cup sour cream 1 cup dried cranberries

Ingredients for icing 1 cup salted butter (softened) 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar 2 tsps. vanilla 3 Tbsp. Half and Half

Instructions for cake

Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl, until fluffy. Mix in eggs, beating well after each addition and stir in vanilla. Next… in medium bowl, combine together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add flour ingredients to creamed mixture, then add in sour cream and mix well. Fold in cranberries. Spray small Bundt pans or muffin pans with non-stick vegetable spray. Then pour mixture into the pans.

Bake at 350° for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool and remove from pans.

Instructions for Icing

Put softened butter into a bowl, mix on medium setting, creaming the butter until it’s smooth and lighter in color.

Add powdered sugar, ¼ cup at a time. Next, add the vanilla… mixing well. Add half-and-half and mix until the frosting has reached the preferred consistency (less half and half for stiffer icing).

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Drizzle the icing on top of Bundt cakes (or muffins), then decorate with your favorite holiday decorations.

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Bogle Vineyard's Pomegranate Spritz By Bogle Vineyards www.boglewinery.com

Ingredients 1 large pomegranate 1 bottle Bogle Blanc de Blancs Orange twist for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Fill a large mixing bowl with cool water. Score the outside of the pomegranate with a sharp knife and carefully open the fruit in half under the water. Still submerged, separate the seeds from the pith and peel. When you have all the seeds out, drain through a colander and discard all but the seeds. The juice will stain, so clean any spills quickly, and definitely wear an apron! Once drained, remove 2 tablespoons of seeds and set aside. Place the remaining seeds into a food processor or blender. Pulse until they are a thick pulp. Scoop the pulp back into a fine colander or sieve and press through with the back of a rubber spatula to extract the juice. To assemble the cocktail, pour 2 T. pomegranate juice in a champagne glass. Top with the sparkling wine and garnish with a few pom seeds and an orange twist.

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Rosé Aperol Spritz

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Ingredients Ice cubes 1 bottle Bogle Rosé or Sparkling Rosé 9 oz Aperol 12 oz soda water 6 orange slices

Instructions

Fill 6 wine glasses with ice. Top each glass with 4 oz wine, 1 1/2 oz Aperol and 2 oz soda water. Garnish each serving with orange slice.

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Amorous Amaretto By Hailey Osborne, Bigfork Liquor Barn

I’m sure we are all a little bit exhausted from making it through the heavy hitting holidays at the end of what can only be described as a wild year. I told myself I wasn’t going to think about holidays for a while (sorry Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras) but as it happens, I stumbled upon the fabled origin of amaretto and felt compelled to share the history. Amaretto dates to the 16th century and hails from a village in Northern Italy called Saronno. In 1525 the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Miracles made an addition to the chapel and commissioned a painter by the name of Bernardino Luini, a shining study of Leonardo da Vinci, to paint a fresco of the Madonna of the Miracles. As all great artists of the time, Luini needed a muse to base his Virgin Mary from. It was not long in his search before he was struck by the beauty of a young, widowed innkeeper and asked her to be his muse. There are many stories of the innkeeper also becoming Luini’s lover during the painting of the fresco.

To be chosen as a muse to such an accomplished and talented artist was a great honor, and the innkeeper wanted to show her gratitude and affection. She gifted Luini with a flask full of a home-brewed, amber liqueur made from apricot kernels, burnt sugar and a batch of secret herbs, fruits and other ingredients, and birthed the original recipe for amaretto. The innkeeper may not have been able to provide something of great monetary value, but her thoughtful gift touched Luini deeply. The innkeeper’s recipe would be lost and lay dormant until 1600, when Giovanni Reina rediscovered it. This lends to the idea that the innkeeper was part of the Reina family line. He started distilling the liqueur at home, as many families did during the time-period, and the recipe was closely guarded and handed down from one generation to the next. In the early 20th century, Domenico Reina decided to open a grocery shop called Domenico Reina Coloniali near the tramway station for the line from Milan. Domenico’s shop is where the amaretto was produced and marketed, under the name ‘Amaretto di Saronno Originale’. Due to its proximity to commuters from Milan, the liqueur gained popularity quickly, and production grew into a large business by the 1940’s. The Reina family started bottling their amaretto in a square bottle to give it a distinct shape. Amaretto di Saronno Originale was

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I prefer a splash of Disaronno with a splash of cream in my coffee, and you can’t go wrong with a classic amaretto sour. But if you are looking for a few new ways to enjoy amaretto, I have a few recipes to share with you.

Disaronno Fizz Equipment:

Instructions:

Ingredients:

• Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

• Cocktail glass of your choice • 1 ½ oz Disaronno • Fresh lemon juice • Lemon zest • Soda water or sparkling water • Ice cubes not imported into the United States until the 1960’s. When it became available, it quickly spread as a favorite ingredient in cocktails, cooking and baking. By the 1980’s it was second in sales only to Kahlùa and has only been knocked out of the top 10 within the last few years. In 2001, the company shortened the name to Disaronno Originale to elevate themselves over other amaretto brands that emerged during the rise in popularity. Disaronno is still produced in Saronno, Italy and is still owned and operated by the Reina family.

Disaronno is a clear, bright copper color with golden tones. This color is highlighted by softly sparkling glass and the unique square bottle that was designed in the 70’s by an Italian master glassmaker. On the nose, you will be invited into a cozy winter cabin for heavily frosted Christmas cookies and Battenburg cake. The taste opens with notes of marzipan, toasted almonds, apricot, candied cherries, vanilla, and lemon zest. Toasted bitter almonds on the finish highlight the Italian origin of the name ‘amaretto’ meaning ‘a little bitter’ but is well balanced by the lingering sweetness of marzipan. Those with nut allergies need not worry though, Disaronno does not actually contain almonds or nuts! The nutty profile is accomplished with apricot kernel oil, as the innkeeper used apricot kernels in her original recipe.

• Pour Disaronno over ice

• Top with soda water or sparkling water • Garnish with lemon zest

Amaretto Sunrise Equipment: • 12+ oz cocktail glass

Ingredients: • 2 oz Disaronno • 1 oz triple sec • 1 tsp grenadine or maraschino cherry juice • 8 oz citrus sparkling water • 1 maraschino cherry • Splash half & half (optional)

Apple Cobbler

Instructions: • Fill cocktail glass 1/3 full with ice

• Add Disaronno, Triple Sec and grenadine • Add sparkling water • Top with maraschino cherry and half & half

Equipment: • Lowball or rocks glass

Instructions: • Fill glass with ice

Ingredients: • 2 oz Disaronno • 1 oz cranberry juice • 1 oz apple juice • 1/4 oz fresh lemon juice • 1 apple slice

• Mix ingredients over ice • Garnish with apple slice


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Amaretto Cranberry Spice

• Take a lemon wedge and run around the edge of a lowball • Lowball or rocks glass cocktail glass. • Martini shaker or Boston shaker • Turn glass upside down and • Small plate or rimming dish place into cinnamon sugar mix until the rim of the glass has a nice Ingredients: coating • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Equipment:

• 1 tsp sugar • 1/2 lemon, cut into wedges • Ice cubes • 1/2 oz Disaronno • Cranberry juice

Instructions:

• Combine cinnamon and sugar and place on small plate or into a rimming dish.

• Fill both the glass and shaker with fresh ice • In your shaker, squeeze juice from the lemon, add Disaronno and shake • Pour contents of shaker into prepared glass • Top with cranberry juice

Amaretto Eggnog Equipment:

• Highball glass • Martini shaker or Boston shaker

Ingredients:

• 2 oz Disaronno • 1 oz spiced rum of your choice • 1 oz half & half • 1 whole egg • Ice cubes • Nutmeg (optional)

Instructions:

• Fill shaker with ice • Add all ingredients to shaker • Shake ingredients until wellincorporated and strain into highball glass • Top with fresh nutmeg

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Carrots & Consideration By Austine K. Siomos, MD – Pediatric Cardiologist at Rocky Mountain Heart & Lung

As we start the New Year most are cautiously optimistic that things will be better in 2021. Like in our historical wars, this battle with the pandemic has changed life for most. For some, there has been personal tragedy and loss. For some there has been illness and prolonged recovery. For others there have been constant risks taken as essential workers and health care providers. For all of us there have been risk benefit evaluations for even the most routine activities. This year I have tried to learn as much as I can about the obvious topic, SARS-CoV-2 or “the corona,” as my daughter calls it. As a health care provider, I have daily discussions with families and patients. I am constantly reminded in these discussions that we all have different sets of priorities, and our priorities exist in a different unwritten but clear order in our minds. One of

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the best ways to understand someone else it to assume their priorities are not the same as mine, and to have consideration for their own values as we make decisions together. It is impossible to show consideration for others without humility. Starting a new year with humility is a great option. I can admit that I don’t know everything, and that frees me to work hard to know more, ask for help and improve the lives of others with joy. The carrot is a humble vegetable. It does not ask for much. Chances are that if there is a vegetable hiding in the back of the refrigerator that is still edible, that’s a carrot. Stick it in a glass of water and it will perk up. Chop it up and put in in a soup and it will shine in orange splendor. And if it’s not ancient in the back of the fridge, cut it into thin sticks and enjoy raw. In reading about carrots, which is a warm and comforting task, I came across an interesting wartime story. The Royal Air Force in World War II started a myth about carrots improving night vision. They explained the unusual accuracy of their pilots by saying that they ate

more carrots than they ever had before. The air force spread this propaganda in order to disguise the true reason for their pilots’ skills: recent (and secret from their enemies) advances in radar technology and the use of red lights on instrument panels. The British public during World War II generally believed that eating carrots would help them see better at night and in 1942 there was a 100,000-ton surplus of carrots from the extra production. Of note, vitamin A only helps with vision if a person has a vitamin A deficiency, in which case supplementation would bring them back to their baseline vision but would unfortunately not cause an improvement in night vision above normal. Despite this wartime myth, carrots truly are an unsung hero in the nutrition world.

Bone health

Research in 2009 and 2010 demonstrated that people who ate at least one serving per day of yellow/orange or green vegetables had healthier bone mass than those who ate less than one serving a day.


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The carrot is a humble vegetable. It does not ask for much. Chances are that if there is a vegetable hiding in the back of the refrigerator that is still edible, that’s a carrot.

Warm carrot ginger

soup

This is a detox soup that I make all winter. If it didn’t taste so good, it could be considered medicine. Carrots and ginger are a match made in paradise. Ingredients • 2 pounds carrots, any color • 1 - 2 inches ginger root • 3 – 4 onions or shallots • 3 - 4 cups broth or water • 1 tablespoon olive oil • 2 - 4 cloves garlic, peeled • salt and pepper to taste • optional garnishes – coconut milk, pesto Instructions 1. Slice onions or shallots Lower blood cholesterol naturally

High blood cholesterol is a well-known risk factor for heart disease, especially coronary artery disease, which is the most common cause of heart attacks. Intake of carrots is linked to lower cholesterol levels.

Get your vitamins and minerals from food

A half cup of carrots supplies 73% of the daily requirement of vitamin A, 9% of vitamin K, 8% of potassium, 8% of fiber, 5% of vitamin C, 2% of vitamin C, and 2% of iron.

Lower your risk of cancer

Antioxidants are compounds that fight off harmful free radicals in the body. This makes you less likely to have cancer. The two main categories of antioxidants in carrots are carotenoids and anthocyanins. Carotenoids give carrots their orange and yellow colors. Anthocyanins get credit for red and purple coloring. Grab a multicolored bunch of carrots for some diverse cancer fighting! I cannot think of a more straightforward vegetable than a carrot, literally and metaphorically. But don’t reject the bendy or branching carrots. They are just as sweet and are certainly more interesting. Perhaps the same can be said for this New Year.

2. Using a large soup pot, caramelize or sauté onions/ shallots in oil 3. Once the onions or shallots are browned, add the broth or water 4. Dice, grate or microplane the ginger into the soup 5. Cut off the ends of the carrots (if they are organic, I don’t peel them. A little dirt is fine) 6. Chop the carrots and add to the soup

7. Add the cloves of garlic (no need to slice as it will all go in the food processor) 8. Set heat so that the soup simmers until the carrots can be pierced easily with a fork 9. Allow to cool a little and either puree in batches in a food processor or use an immersion bender 10. Back in the soup pot, warm and add salt and pepper to taste 11. Serve with coconut milk, pesto or some crusty bread, but this soup can stand alone!

Please see our feature story on Austine K. Siomos, MD by Sydney Munteanu on page 38 in this issue.

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How Curiosity

Can Improve Your Relationships and Your Life By Sunitha Ramadurai

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” ~Albert Einstein When speaking to a parent recently, she said, “I have made it a rule that my kids read every day for an hour. There are no two ways about it. They now do it and it is great, but I have noticed that they have stopped asking questions, they have stopped being curious, and they look dull, and that bothers me.” Strange that reading would dull their curiosity instead of sparking it. But beyond that, this conversation got me curious—about curiosity. Why is it important to be curious? And is it even possible to stop being curious? Do you remember when you were a child, just grabbing anything and everything and looking at it from all angles, exploring what it was? Do you remember being obsessed with asking “Why?” till the crack of dawn because you were fascinated with the mystery? Do you remember feeling the wonder in your eye, the sparkle of fascination as you looked at an ant or a worm as if it were magic?

As I think about it, I feel like there are two fundamental aspects of living—“being” and “doing.” Curiosity, I feel, is a quality of “being.” Curiosity is taking the time to know something, to revel in the moment with wonder and fascination, to go beyond the limitations of the mind, time, perceptions, rules, and expectations. A curious mind is a mind that expands and grows, a mind that is fascinated with life, that is fully alive and bubbles with questions and wonders. It is a mind that is keen and observes and is limitless. It is a mind that is sharp and sees beyond the obvious. People with curious minds seem to lead fuller lives. If you think about it, they are likely to explore and seize more opportunities because they’re curious about where it could lead, they are likely to connect with more people because they are curious about who and how they are, and they try more new things because they’re curious about how much they can do.

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I actually think we are born curious, born in wonder, born into this magical place of being. So then, at what point do we stop being curious? My answer was—when we get caught up in the “doing!” Running from pillar to post, taking care of family and work, making ends meet, keeping up with the demands of the world and the ones we place on ourselves, it is not so difficult for the balance of life to tip toward “doing” and more “doing.” Curiosity can take a back seat and monotony can set in sneakily. Curiosity, in my opinion, is that polish that adds a shine to each and every single activity, to the “doing.” Like Brian Grazer says in his book A Curious Mind, we are born curious and no matter how much battering curiosity takes, it’s right there, waiting to be awakened… and that, to me, is fantastic news. So if you would like to awaken your curiosity, feel fascinated, and share this fascination with others, here are a few simple tips.

1. Drop the label.

This is a story about the famous Nobel Prize Winner, scientist Richard Feynman. One day when walking in the garden, he asks his father, “What bird is this?” His father says, “It is a brown-throated thrush” and then goes on to say the name in many different languages. Then he looks at Feynman and says, “Now you know absolutely nothing about the bird except the name.” A label closes the mind to an exciting world of possibilities. He is an “alcoholic,” She is a “liar,” I am a “failure”— all these are labels that can trap us into one way of perceiving the world around us and, in fact, our own selves too.

There is a lady I know whom I had unknowingly labeled as “annoying.” Every single time she would call, I would say, “She is so annoying.” So it was no surprise that I would get annoyed because I was interacting with the label I had given her and closed doors to any other way of experiencing her. Dropping the label helped me notice that she is so much more—she is funny, she is loving, she is dedicated, she is curious, and much more! Now I still get annoyed sometimes, but it is not the only way I experience her. It feels like a buffet of experiences with her, and I feel freer within myself and more loving toward her, and we in fact share a few laughs every so often. And all I did was get curious and ask myself, “What else is she?” So how do you describe the people and relationships in your life, your work, your circumstances, yourself? And what if you could drop the label of something you think you already know? Look at it as if it were new, as if you knew nothing about it. Drop the label and allow your mind to journey through a world of possibilities. What else could it be? How is this happening? Think wild and think free!

2. Go beyond the limitations of “I am bored” and use the power of “but.”

Have you found yourself saying, thinking, or feeling “I am so bored”? Boredom, in my opinion, is poison to curiosity. It limits the mind. Oftentimes, feeling bored is not the problem. The problem is when we stop at that and look no further, when we close the door to an exciting world of possibilities. A little trick is to trick the mind using the power of “but.”


Every time you find yourself saying, “I feel bored,” quickly and emphatically add the word “but” after it. I am bored, but let’s do something fun! I feel bored, but how do I even know I am feeling it? “But” negates everything that is before it and brings focus to what is after it. Even if you don’t find a filler after the “but,” just say “but”… and pause…. and see what happens next. Leave that door open.

If you think about it, “I’m bored” is such a useless thing to say, isn’t it? We like in such a vast world, and we have barely seen anything, how could one get possibly bored? Look at any situation with curious eyes and allow your mind to wander and create what you want to experience.

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Can you imagine looking at life, relationships, and work with pure fascination? The world becomes a playground of endless possibilities for the mind that is curious and fascinated.

3. Question everything with pure fascination.

Why are the trees green? Why do birds fly? Why is the sky blue? Why am I not getting that pay raise? Why can’t I lose those ten pounds I want to lose? Why am I doing the job I do now? The key is asking questions with pure fascination, as if you were trying to solve a mystery. Remember, millions of people saw the apple fall, but Newton asked “Why?” Growing up, I was teased about having a flat-ish nose. I felt like I had to have a sharp nose, and my grandmother and I would try to stretch my nose out every morning with oil, as if it were made of clay. Then one day, I remember curiously asking her, “Why is a sharp nose better than a flat one? Do they smell things better?” Now, I don’t remember what she said, but I can tell you that I love my nose now and am quite curious and fascinated by what a funny thing it is. Can you imagine looking at life, relationships, and work with pure fascination? The world becomes a playground of endless possibilities for the mind that is curious and fascinated. So what is one thing in your life you could be fascinated with and curious about, and how could that change things for you? This article is reprinted with permission and originally appeared on www.tinybuddha.com. About Sunitha Ramadurai An NLP Master Practitioner, Neoway Master Coach, and Accelerated Learning Skills Coach certified by Neoway Academy (India), Sunitha helps children and young adults overcome personal and learning challenges and empowers them to become excellent learners and highly Motivated and Confident in themselves. She is truly fascinated by human nature and the unbelievable power and possibilities that rests within each of us and feels complete joy when she sees people discover this power and confidence within themselves.

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education}

The Significance of

Learning

Styles By CT Morris BS Elementary Ed., MS Ed.

Whether your child attends a public school, private school, or is homeschooled—it is extremely important to know their learning style. Many times parents and teachers wave the importance of "learning styles" away as if they were shooing away an annoying fly. They place people that explore learning styles in a circus act with the snake charmer and the clairvoyant crystal ball carrier. The truth of the matter is... the concept of learning styles has greatly influenced education.

Sadly, instructors assume that the children they are teaching learn exactly as they do. If the instructor is an auditory learner, they assume everyone is an auditory learner. When in actuality only a small percentage of people are auditory learners. We are all unique individuals, possessing a learning style that is different from our parents and our siblings.

This leads us to the question, "what is the best environment for people to learn?" Traditionally, it was thought that a classroom should be quiet—with school desks and chairs in neat rows. However, some children learn best in a more chaotic environment. Music, a dimly lit room, and clusters of chairs around a table may be the best learning environment for them. Experimenting with different environments may improve each child's All people show a preference for one of the accomplishments and their success. In addition, trying following learning styles: visual, auditory or diverse techniques of learning may stop them from kinesthetic. Learning styles group common feeling discouraged.

ways that people learn. While everyone has your child's learning style is painless. If a mix of learning styles, we usually have a Determining the child is too young to take a learning styles quiz, the dominant style of learning. following steps can help you to identify their learning

style. As you observe the child watch how they express themselves. If they use facial expressions, they are a visual learner. A child that expresses themselves through their words is an auditory learner. On the other hand, if they express themselves through their body language they are a kinesthetic learner. When your child solves problems, a visual learner will use their eyes to find the Auditory learners can have problems reading, solution. Contrariwise, if they are auditory they will Therefore, as an educator, I believe there are many because they do not visualize well. They learn want to discuss a solution. A kinesthetic learner will reasons why it is mandatory for all instructors to know by listening and remember facts better when use their hands to find a solution. each child's learning style. The first and foremost reason is the fact that if you understand the learning styles of they are in the form of a poem, song or melody. If your child is school age, a free learning styles inventory taken online will clarify how they learn. The the children you teach, you will be able to instruct them effectively and connect with them. Moreover, your Kinesthetic learners have difficulty learning in link to a free inventory is classroom can be adapted and the best methods used a traditional setting. They like to find out how www.tryinteract.com/quiz/what-is-your-learning-styles/ to fit each student's educational needs. In addition, you things work and learn best through movement In the next issue, we will discuss the various will be able to interest them in new material and help methods and curriculum that will support your and manipulation. child's individual learning style. them to communicate better. By using brain-imaging technologies, researchers Visual learners picture the way things look in have been able to find out the key areas of the brain responsible for each learning style. Remarkably, each their head. They call up images from the past learning style uses different parts of the brain. A when trying to remember facts and informarecognized fact in education is if we involve more of tion. the brain during learning, we remember more of what we learn.

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design}

Love Your Space... home accents By Wright’s Furniture

Showcasing a modern lodge style, this two door cabinet features hand pieced mosaic doors in oak veneer finished in light gray, with a contrasting elm veneer exterior finished in deep black with light gray glazing. Accented with solid iron hardware and legs in aged black.

This quilted custom made dining chair is a Wright’s Furniture favorite. Make it your own and customize every aspect of your chair: color, fabric, leg design and wood finish. With so many beautiful collections to choose from, we can help you find the perfect chair to fit your style.

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Hand forged strips of metal, in staggered lengths and curled at both ends, are used to create this bold mirror frame. Finish consists of metallic silver with black dry brushing and rust brown edges.

Use quality decorative pillows in solid, patterned, textured and embellished designs to add the final touches to your space. An endless variety of styles and sizes are available for both indoor and outdoor spaces.


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Inspired by the bark of a birch tree, this table lamp features a ceramic base finished in offwhite with rust colored accents and noticeable texture and distressing. The piece also has a crystal foot and brushed nickel details. The round hardback shade is a light oatmeal linen fabric with slubbing.

This solid fir cabinet is made from 100% reclaimed wood, featuring a beautifully pieced geometric front, sanded and minimally finished to highlight the natural grain, distressing and character of recycled wood. Unique aged iron pocket door pulls reveal an adjustable shelf on each side, set on a coordinating iron base. -All the featured pieces as well as many other options are available at Wright's Furniture Store in Whitefish6325 HWY 93 South, Whitefish, Montana 59937 | 406.862.2455 | Open Daily |Free Local Delivery | Free Design Services | www.wrightsfurniturestore.com

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201 Central ave. whitefish Montana 59937 - 406.862.3200

@thevillageshop_mt


villageshopwhitefish.com


love} stories

&Bryce

Amber

August 8, 2020

Location Mountainside Weddings, Whitefish Photography by Amber Lynn Photography

Who are you?

Amber: I’m exploring the healthcare world and currently working as a Patient Service Representative at a diagnostic imaging center in Georgetown, TX. Bryce: I’m an Inside Sales Specialist at Alibi in North Austin, TX. We are both originally from Kalispell and are Montana State University (Bozeman) Alumni.

How did you meet?

We were high school freshmen who met at a football game amongst mutual friends. It got cold and Bryce offered me his Jordan jacket. At the end of the night, I was so nervous that I threw his jacket to him and whispered, "Thanks," before running off. The next night was the Flathead Homecoming Dance and we danced all night long together. The funny thing is that we didn't begin to date until two years later.

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The Proposal?

On our six-year anniversary, Bryce and I went to watch the Lion King at the theater in Kalispell. It

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is my all-time favorite childhood movie. Following the movie, we stopped for frozen yogurt at Twisted Bliss, one of our favorite spots right by the theater. Then we had planned to have sushi at Wasabi in Whitefish but had about an hour to kill before our reservation. Bryce seemed a little more anxious than normal, but nothing seemed suspicious. I then realized I forgot my makeup bag at Piney Creek Interiors, where I was working at the time. Bryce decided to stop there for me to grab it before we headed to dinner. When we walked in, many of our close family and friends were present, and the whole place was decorated! I started hugging everyone, and when I turned around, I saw a montage of items and letters I had given Bryce. He had made a collage of photos of us together, too! He then got down on one knee, I squealed and starting clapping, he popped the question, and I said "Yes" with tears running down my face! We spent the rest of the evening celebrating with family and eating sushi from Wasabi. Yes, he still made sure to get me sushi!

What is love?

Amber: For me, it’s choosing that one person, every single day, regardless of their flaws, and acknowledging that it takes consistent work to be there for one another. Love is when you wake up next to your person and can’t help but smile. Love is choosing to be there for a person at their best and always at their worst, without hesitation. It’s showing them and telling them in as many ways as you can and as often as you can, because it can be so hard to sum up everything that is love, in one word. Bryce: To me, love is accepting someone for both the positives and the negatives. It is a mutual understanding and loyalty that you share with one another so that each person knows that whatever happens they can count on the other to be there for them.

What do you love most about each other?

Amber: I love how much Bryce cares about the people that are closest to him in his life. He protects


Love

is accepting someone for both the positives and the negatives. It is a mutual understanding and loyalty that you share with one another so that each person knows that whatever happens they can count on the other to be there for them.

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IL ove how much Bryce cares about the people that are closest to him in his life. He protects them and supports them with his whole being and it’s truly inspiring to see.

them and supports them with his whole being and it’s truly inspiring to see. Because of this, I am so lucky to be loved by him.

Bryce: I love that Amber is a shining light of kindness no matter where she goes. She treats every single person she meets the way that she wishes to be treated and genuinely puts others first.

When did you know you were in love?

Amber: I remember I was sitting on his futon in his room eating dinner with him and watching a movie together, we were together at that point for a couple months. I remember looking at him and just getting the biggest smile. I was so overwhelmed with this happiness, that in that moment, I had the greatest urge to say “I love you” but thought it was too soon. A week or two later he said it first in the sweetest way and of course the feeling was mutual. I have literally loved him for every second, ever since.

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Bryce: I knew I loved her when she fell asleep on my arm during our first Thanksgiving together when we were 17. I can’t describe how, but somehow when I was looking at her I knew without a doubt that she would eventually become my wife.

had the date saved for 08/08/2020 but after Lorraine shared our story and how special the date was to us, the couple graciously gave the date to us and we held onto it, even during the uncertain times that this year had brought.

We chose the date 08/08/2020 because it’s the date of our first date 08/08/2013, and our proposal 08/08/2019 so that we could keep track of the total number of years we had been together and the total number of years we will be married, to the day. It was a big indicator on what wedding venues we looked at.

Honeymoon

Wedding Details

Within 5 minutes of being at Mountainside Weddings, Bryce came up to me and said we were getting married here regardless of the date because it was absolutely perfect. Another couple actually

We planned this wedding remotely. If it weren’t for our family and friends being back in Montana and being willing to help, we could have never pulled it off. Also, the vendors took any visions that we had and brought them to life beyond our wildest expectations. We are so grateful and cannot say thank you enough.

We hope to travel to a warm international all-inclusive resort once things open back up, possibly Portugal. Currently, we are enjoying our new life in Austin, TX as newly-weds.



love} stories

Maija

&Kendal

June 6, 2020

Who are you?

Maija Hadwin: I was born and raised in Kalispell, MT. I graduated from Flathead High School in 2016, and Carroll College (Helena, MT) in 2020 with a degree in Elementary Education. Kendal Rogers: I was born in San Francisco, CA and raised in San Rafael (North Bay), CA. I moved to Helena, MT to attend Carroll College. I graduated in 2020 with a degree in Financial Planning and minors in Business administration and Theology.

How did you meet?

(Reprinted from their wedding website) The year was 2016. It had been a chaotic three days of getting settled in the freshmen dorm at Carroll College. After the first day of classes, some serious Jesus time was needed. Luckily, the first Wednesday Night Mass of the school year was about to begin. Maija walked through the glass doors of the old Charlie's chapel, which remains but a memory. She could see the Cathedral of St. Helena in the distance, lit among the city lights of this new

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Photography by Connolly Photography

place called home. Maija sat down with her friends, taking initiative to sit next to an attractive, tall blonde. Her heart started beating fast, as she leaned over to ask him his name. He quietly replied "Kendal." She responded with her own name and a typical, "nice to meet you." As they sat in awkward silence, Maija could think of only one thing: holding his hand during the Our Father.

Daily mass was what truly brought these two together. After an ordinary Tuesday Mass, Maija used the greatest Catholic pick-up line to get his number: "So, I was reading through the Book of Numbers last night and noticed I didn't have yours." Without a blink-no seriously, no reaction whatsoever- Kendal offered his number, which was more astonishing than the pick-up line itself. The two began to spend more and more time together. This often included spending time with friends, going on walks, volunteering, or just watching movies. October 1st, was the first official date, which is now celebrated as the annual holiday of "Crepe Day." And the two made their

relationship official on November 16th, 2016, after Kendal asked Maija to be his girlfriend in the Carroll Grotto, which was fittingly followed by a Wednesday Night Mass. They got married 3 years, 6 months, and 21 days later.

The Proposal?

Kendal prepared a picnic after some time in the chapel and we headed up to Mount Helena. I, at the time, had a broken foot, so was unable to hike the mountain, so we walked to a bench that overlooks Helena. Kendal went to hand me my sandwich and offered a ring instead. On his knee, with the gorgeous sunset view, Kendal asked me to be his wife. I squealed so loudly, but I was so excited I forgot to answer. After a moment of confusion, Kendal asked one more time and I exclaimed yes!

What is love?

Maija: I believe that to love is often a sacrifice of your will for the greater good of another. This is a daily choice and is difficult for us to understand the full depth of our actions.


I LoveKendal’s kindness and honesty. He will always speak the truth, even if it is hard, but he does so with a kindness that makes you want to be a better person.

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I Loveherhow willing to serve Maija is. She will go out of way to help others the best that she can. Maija was honored to wear her grandmother’s dress for her wedding. Here she is reenacting the same pose as her grandmother 62 years later.

Maija's grandmother, Kathy Hadwin, in 1958.

Kendal: There are many meanings of love. Agape is a self-sacrificing love that wills the good of the other. We want to try to bring the most good in someone else’s life and often is a sacrifice of your desire so that others can grow.

What do you love most about each other?

Maija: I love Kendal’s kindness and honesty. He will always speak the truth, even if it is hard, but he does so with a kindness that makes you want to be a better person.

Kendal: I love how willing to serve Maija is. She will go out of her way to help others the best that she can.

When did you know you were in love?

Maija: Our love constantly grew over the years. However, I could have told you the day that we sat in the chapel together that either he was going to be the man I married, or I was going to marry someone just like him. I fell in love with the way he loved the Lord that day and have fallen in love with him every day since.

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…Or there was the time that we fell into a snowbank and I felt like I was in a Hallmark movie.

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Kendal: I continue to fall in love with her every day, although, if I had to pick a specific point, it was in the cafeteria at college. We were sitting with a group of friends and I looked across the table to see an abundance of love in her eyes that was so captivating, I had to pursue her.

St. Mark’s School (San Rafael, CA): Wally Dryden, Patrick Mayrisch, and Jacob Jones.

Our reception was at the newly built Snowline Acres.

We both had medals to honor tied to the flowers of our late grandparents who couldn’t join us, Marcy and Monty Clemenhagen and Miriam Foss.

Wedding Details

We got married in my church at Saint John Paull II Catholic Church in Bigfork.

My brother, Tanis Hadwin, was my Man of Honor along with my best friend Julia Malmo as my Maid of Honor.

Kendal’s Best Man was his best friend Trace Jochems along with his sister, Miriam Rogers, as his Best Lady. Our bridal party included our friends from Carroll College: Katie Korbuszewski, Sophia Rodrigues, and Madison Paulsen, my friend Christine West from Flathead High School and Kendal’s cousin Brian Martinez and friends from

We wanted a traditional wedding with a bit of rustic flair. We had the formal Catholic wedding and the proper dance party to follow!

Fun facts

I wore my grandmother’s dress who got married on August 9th, 1958.

We held a California Wedding Couples shower just in time. Because of COVID many of the California folks could not make it to the wedding, but we are thankful we could celebrate in April with them!

Honeymoon

Our honeymoon plans were canceled due to COVID. We were going to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land but settled for a wonderful condo on Flathead Lake for a couple of days before moving to Boise, ID to start our careers!




Going To The Sun Gallery proudly features art by James Corwin

James Corwin has established himself as a widely

collected artist at a young age. He has an appreciation for fine detail and his paintings are known to stir emotion. His passions are art and animal conservation.










406 w o m a n

Featured 10. Jennifer DeSmul Big Mountain Ciderworks

16. Flathead Building Association 24. Stacey Bengtson

Profile

28. Gabrielle Thorsen

...16

Health

30. the Millers Smile Montana Dental Center

34. Monumental care Kalispell Regional Healthcare

38. Dr. Austine Siomos

36. The Planetree Philosophy North Valley Hospital

Nonprofit 48. Changed Lives Child Bridge

42. Strengthen Your Core Studio 48 46. Winter Blues Kalispell OB-GYN Associates 50. Form & Function Smile Montana Dental Center

View current and past issues of 406 Woman at

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Published by Skirts Publishing six times a year 704 C East 13th St. #138 Whitefish, MT 59937 info@406woman.com Copyright©2020 Skirts Publishing





featured}

The Real Deal

Jennifer  DeSmul,

Big Mountain Ciderworks By Kristen Hamilton Photos by Amanda Wilson Photography

Housed in the big red barn off West Reserve near Glacier High School is Big Mountain Ciderworks. The tasting room and eatery only opened its doors to the public this past fall (in the midst of the pandemic) but creating this family business has been in the works for over a decade. Big Mountain Ciderworks is the “real deal” as they plant, pick and press their apples for the ultimate orchard to glass experience. Take some time to get to know co-founder and owner, Jennifer DeSmul. Her sound business practices (and delicious cider) have equaled success at Big Mountain Ciderworks.

Where are you from and how long have you been in Montana?

I was born and raised in Seattle, WA and graduated from University of Washington (UW) with an undergraduate degree in Communications/ Public Relations. I have a Masters degree in Occupational Therapy from San Jose State and worked as an Occupational Therapist until my oldest son, Jack was born. I was a stay at home mom for 20 plus years, raising our three boys (Jack, Ben, and Beau). My husband Bud is a Billings, MT native, graduated from Senior High School and University of Missoula. Bud and I met in Seattle while he was a medical student at UW. We moved back to Montana in 2004 to raise our sons and have been here for 16 years.

How did you come up with the idea to start this business?

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Our decision to start a cidery began in 2005. We were experimenting with cider making in our

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barn and wanted to use our own apples for cider and decided to plant a small orchard at our house in Kalispell. We planted Honeycrisp, Macintosh, and Sweet 16 apple varieties.

The trees thrived and in 2012 we decided to purchase 40 acres west of Kalispell and plant an orchard on a larger scale.  We chose this land for the beautiful views of Big Mountain, the ability to sink two wells for irrigation and drinking water, the slope of land, and the proximity to Kalispell. The land was bare dirt and we began planting Cider specific and dessert apple trees in 2014. We now have 7,000 apple and pear trees.

Bud enjoys the farming, orchard management, and cider production aspects. My strengths are sales, marketing, staffing, and management of the tasting room. He is the Cidermaster and calculates the cider formulas but we both col-

laborate on the taste profiles of each cider we produce. In addition, Jack works behind the bar, Ben and Beau work in the kitchen. The entire family works in the production area to keg and bottle our ciders. We were interested in starting a family business that would offer our three boys a chance to live in Kalispell and be employed after college. Jobs here in the Flathead Valley are hard to come by and we wanted the challenge of opening a family owned and run business in hopes of creating a legacy for our boys.

What was a job early on that taught you something that is useful today?  At 16, I started working in retail and restaurants. Being in the service industry taught me a lot about human nature. Everyone should have to work and experience what it is like to be on the other side of the counter. I learned time


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We were interested in starting a family business that would offer our three boys a chance to live in Kalispell and be employed after college. Jobs here in the Flathead Valley are hard to come by and we wanted the challenge of opening a family owned and run business in hopes of creating a legacy for our boys. management, multi-tasking, prioritizing tasks, hustle, flexibility, problem solving, and how to read people and anticipate their needs. These skills have been invaluable throughout my life.

What has been your biggest challenge in your business?

Our biggest challenge as a business has been staffing. Who we hire determines our success. Our staff make or break our business. As an owner, I need to hire the best job candidate with the right set of skills to ensure we have

Big Mountain Ciderworks

Chef Stephanie Michalzic with Jen

an efficient, creative, smooth running kitchen and the right person for the tasting room who has the personality, charisma, smile, hustle and multi-tasking skills to keep customers happy and coming back. My focus is staff retention.

What are you most proud of accomplishing?

Who has influenced you the most in business?

My goal is to keep our team happy and invested in Big Mountain Ciderworks. To achieve this, I ask employees what is meaningful to them in the workplace. Is it money, having work/life balance and flexibility with schedule, creativity and freedom with the menu items, or room for advancement within the business?  Finding out what motivates people helps me fine tune how to meet my employees needs. It has to be people first, and profits will follow.

My husband, Bud. He shies away from the spotlight and will probably cringe when he reads this, but he is my rock, the smartest person I know, has my back and tells it like it is, even when I don't want to hear it. We have been married 25 years and we are no different from any other married couple. We have peaks and valleys in our relationship, but I would not want to be on this life journey with anyone else.

On a personal note, it is raising our three boys, Jack, Ben and Beau, to be independent, productive members of society, and caring humans.

From a business side, it is army crawling, over the finish line and opening the cidery through adversity. It was a lot of blood, sweat and tears in the making, and it brings me such joy to have people in our tasting room, enjoying the food, cider, and atmosphere. It is knowing that all of our hard work, pain staking decision making over every detail does matter and people do appreciate it. That means the world to me.

What’s the best advice you ever took?

First impressions matter. Don't ever let them see you sweat. If you don't try, you will never know. The only person you can change is yourself.

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I don't always know what I am doing but I am not afraid to ask for advice and help from others who do know more than I do.

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It is terrifying to break out of your comfort zone into unchartered territory, but it is worth the risk, and you only have one go around in life. Don't waste it.   featured}

Big Mountain Ciderworks

What would you do differently if you had the chance?

Nothing. Every good and bad life choice I have made has brought me to where I am today.  I would not trade those life experiences for anything.

It is terrifying to break out of your comfort zone into unchartered territory, but it is worth the risk, and you only have one go around in life. Don't waste it.

What inspires you and why?

I am inspired by women who are trail blazers and against the odds and conventional wisdom succeed in business. I admire their smarts, guts, drive, and perseverance. I love reading their stories.

What is one piece of advice you give someone thinking about starting their own business?

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it will take to get your business off the ground and multiply it by three.

Jennifer adds in closing…

Life comes full circle sometimes, when I was a little girl, my mom would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I told her I wanted to be a "Store Lady." I didn't have the vocabulary to articulate what that meant, but I remember I liked the idea that they were in charge, they got to sell things and handle the money behind the register. They also got to talk to people all day and that appealed to me at a young age. My role at Big Mountain Ciderworks is my fourth "career" in life and it really fits my personality, interests, skillset, and talents. I love what I do and now, I am the Store Lady!    Big Mountain Ciderworks  1051 Old Reserve Drive, Kalispell 888-682-9337  www.bigmountaincider.com





Building In The Time Of Covid By Mary Wallace - Photos by Amanda Wilson Photography

One industry that barely missed a beat during this roller coaster year that is 2020, is the local building industry. "Our builders and members are BUSY!" says Jessie Walthers, Executive Director of the Flathead Building Association. Early in 2019, Association contractors were riding the wave of the best ongoing construction boom since the Spring of 2007. And then, in March, in characteristic 2020 style, along came Covid-19.

Uncertainty in the pandemic's early days caused many scheduled building projects to come to a sudden temporary halt. "Homeowners were understandably nervous," said George & Lucille Eisenhart, of Eisenhart Builders, "Where was this pandemic

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thing going to go?" The Eisenhart's were beginning to think that they might want to dust off some plans to build a spec house instead. As suddenly as it all halted in March, Montana's borders re-opened in June, and things turned on a dime. The interest in building was back on schedule - albeit much bigger than before.

Realtor and Interior Stylist Rhonda Michaels, of Dwell Home Design, LLC, agrees. Michaels, who is also a realtor at Properties Northwest, said the local real estate market experienced a similar surge in activity. People were realizing that they could work remotely from anywhere, and Montana was suddenly one of the most popular places to move to. She does virtual video tours and has been selling property sight unseen. Some have been offering even MORE than the asking price.

Rhonda Michaels enjoying a fun collaboration with Westcraft Homes, staging their newest model home in Silverbook.

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NBC Montana recently reported that existing home prices have increased by approximately 15% in the Flathead Valley and as much as 25% statewide. A Flathead County home that sold in the median price range of $335,000 in August 2019 was selling at $415,000 in August 2020. It's a simple case of supply and demand – more people looking to buy homes than people were willing to sell them. Of course, when supply became low, local residents became reluctant to sell their homes, afraid they wouldn't be able to find another home to buy in their price range. According to Walthers, many chose instead to start remodeling projects in their current home – adding a home office, home gym, and schoolroom to accommodate all the different activities that have been taking place within their four walls. Outdoor living spaces have also enjoyed a new popularity.


Michaels wholeheartedly advocates for homeowners to consider either hiring a design consultant or investing time into educating themselves through something like the Dream Home Academy. In the long run, it will save time, avoid mistakes, save dollars, and it will streamline the entire process.

Silverbrook Estates newest model.

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Flathead Building Association

Another Covid-era trend, is a preference for a more conservative project size and budget to potentially save on the cost of lumber and other materials that have seen steep increases this year. "Northwest Montana is still working towards getting geared up with the resources, labor pool, or materials to sustain the current wave of building that we are experiencing," said Walthers. Materials costs have shot up, and in some cases are in short supply – hence causing delays in building completion. This issue isn't unique only to Flathead Valley, it seems; this is also a nationwide concern.

What are those who are looking to build a new home or start a major remodel to do? Actually, there are several steps they can take to help themselves and to get their project started and keep it on track.

First, they should take advantage of the resources offered through the local Flathead Building Association by visiting www.buildingflathead.com. All Flathead Building Association members are reviewed, vetted, provide references, and are locally established businesses, so homeowners can feel confident that they are working with the area's best building professionals.

Second, the Flathead Building Association's Home and Garden Showcase, which is coming up in March, is an excellent way to meet many building contractors in one place, look at new trends, new

products, get ideas, and speak with informed and experienced professionals about your projects. All areas are represented at the show: builders, flooring, kitchens and bath, windows (and window treatment), landscapers, lawn and tree care, decks, driveways, equipment rental, roofing, furniture, you name it.

Third, those looking to build a new home or start a major remodel can also utilize the Flathead Building Association's service, Builder Connect, online at www.BuildingFlathead.com. The FBA provides this to help connect potential clients with their builder members.

Lastly, homeowners can educate themselves to streamline the entire design and building process. Michaels spent much of this year creating and finalizing a new online course for homeowners that want to design their own new home building project. It is called the Dream Home Academy and will be launching in the Spring of 2021.

Michaels, who has been working in new construction for 15 years as a design consultant, new home sales rep, and home stager, has always had a passion for helping people discover, design, and create their vision for their homes. As a licensed realtor, she also loves helping them stage their home to sell and helping them market it toward earning top dollar on their investment.

She has seen first-hand over the years how homeowners can sometimes feel overwhelmed, making decisions on building selections - not knowing what effect one decision will have on the next or how either may impact the budget. She is convinced the Dream Home Academy is well worth the investment in time and cost savings. Today's homeowners are good at designing function into their homes, and they are also web savvy and get ideas and information from many sources. However, they don't always know how to communicate their vision to their builder, and the Academy will help bridge this gap by sharing the building terms they need to help the builder understand their design ideas, family dynamics, and lifestyle. Some recent trends Michaels has been seeing are flex areas, such as a room just off the entry of the home that can be both an office and a place to meet clients in, or a nook or alcove off the kitchen that can be a drop zone, as well as a place to set up a laptop for easy access. With so many family members going in and out, mudrooms are currently popular. A relatively new concept is a vestibule between the main entrance and the home - where the outer door can be left unlocked, and packages or food deliveries can be left in a contactless manner. Outdoor gatherings and combined indoor/outdoor living spaces are also essential this year. Windows to allow more natural light in, water filtration, air purifiers, and ventilation are also related to current wellness trends brought on due to Covid concerns.

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Flathead Building Association

Top row from left to right: Conner Ingraham, Matt Eisenhart, Mike Richmond, Zach Holecek, Rick Ingraham - Bottom row from left to right: George and Lucille Eisenhart

The Eisenhart's prefer to become involved in a project long before construction starts. Having your builder on board during the design phase often allows for 'value engineering - ensuring that a homeowner's investment is focused on those areas most important to them. investing time into educating themselves through something like the Dream Home Academy. In the long run, it will save time, avoid mistakes, save dollars, and it will streamline the entire process.

George and Lucille Eisenhart have built their small personalized custom construction business over the past 40 years. George's background consists of both residential and commercial projects. Recent commercial projects include a formal sanctuary addition to Christ Lutheran Church in Whitefish and they participated in the restoration/ remodel at Sunrift Beer Company draught house in Kalispell.

They have a small crew of six or seven, and they usually focus on 2-4 residential projects per year. They don't do a lot of marketing, so most of their inquiries are from word-of-mouth. They've had a lot of new queries the past few months – a mix of new valley residents and local people who have been putting off construction for various reasons. The Eisenhart's prefer to become involved in a project long before construction starts. Having your builder on board during the design phase often allows for 'value engineering - ensuring that a homeowner's investment is focused on those areas most important to them. 'Form follows function,' as Lucille likes to say.

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George says what he enjoys most is living for the client's happiness at the end of each project. In fact, George believes that if he, himself, is pleased at the end of a project, the homeowner is bound to be pleased as well. George and Lucille are very hands-on. They visit each project almost daily, so if a problem or a question comes up, they can make a decision on the spot. They try not to rush, and they take the time to make sure the project is done right. They have a great team of subcontractors they like to work with and consider them their partners on each job. The Eisenhart team has also noticed a sharp increase in materials prices. Framing lumber prices have increased significantly. Lucille cautions that building is a process. And when HOA approvals and city permitting processes are also involved, the timeframe between design and construction is extended, sometimes making it difficult to project costs accurately. The numbers can be dancing up until the contract is signed.

Their team communicates clearly with their client every step of the way, and they work hard to make sure their materials prices are accurate so there are no surprises. They get the most satisfaction from the relationships they inevitably form with their clients, starting with the design process that begins with Lucille and carries through to the final paint touch up by George and his crew. They usually end up being friends with most of their clients – a relationship that lasts long after their project is done.

Years ago, homeowners were focusing on natural products, green building, and energy efficiency. "This is still true,� said George, "but many of today's clients are boomers, and that particular demographic is looking for a mix of earth-friendly, natural, reclaimed, recycled, and composite materials that are more sustainable and, most importantly, low-maintenance."

Eisenhart Builders is proud to be members of the Flathead Building Association, and they are glad that they get to work with other members whom they know will also adhere to the FBA's set of standards. They encourage homeowners considering a construction project to avail themselves of all the resources they will find through the Flathead Building Association.

The Flathead Building Association's 2021 Home and Garden Showcase is slated for March 6-7 and will be held at the Trade Center at the Flathead County Fairgrounds. Covid Safety: The Home and Garden Showcase will offer a modified format this year, with COVID-19 precautions and safety measures, and will adhere to all state and local guidelines at the time of the event. Those planning to attend are encouraged to check the Association website at www.buildingflathead.com in the weeks leading up to the event for details.







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Teaching the next generation

Stacey Bengtson By Sydney Munteanu

Stacey Bengtson has been an instructor on Big Mountain for over 40 years. When I first connected with the Whitefish Ski & Ride School for an opportunity to interview their team, Maren McKay, the group’s PR manager exclaimed, “You have to talk to Stacey!” She actually taught McKay how to ski at age six and recalls, “I still remember Stacey telling me there were elves that lived in the lift towers. I geeked out when I saw her a few years ago when she was honored in the Ski Museum in Whitefish. She's had such an impact on so many skiers over the years.” Bengtson grew up in St Paul, Minnesota where she first learned to ski. “We’d usually take an annual trip somewhere,” Bengtson recalls. “One day my dad brought home a brochure for a Great Northern Railway package. A deal to have an allinclusive ski week on Big Mountain. It was my senior year of high school, so a couple friends and I took the trip over spring break. I’d never skied anywhere besides Minnesota. It was a huge difference!” From that moment on, Bengtson would go on to ski our local Whitefish Mountain for nearly 50 years. “The next year I came out with my sister and introduced myself to HR, asking if they needed any help,” she says. “Big Mountain called two weeks later offering a position to work at the base lodge (formerly The Lodge).” With that, Bengtson gave an immediate “YES,” packed her bags, and was on her way to Montana for the fulfillment of her ski bum dreams.

Two winters later, a friend working in the ski school program urged Bengtson to apply. “That was back when Martin Hale ran the ski school,” she explains. “And that was the year I started instructing. After I got married, I took some time off once I had my second child. But really, I’ve been teaching ever since!” I asked Bengtson what’s kept her coming back all these years? She laughed, saying, “Mike Davies told me no big deal if you feel like you can’t handle it this year. But year after year, I still enjoy working up there. Whitefish Mountain Resort has been a great company to work for and I couldn’t

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Photo by Kelly Kirksey

When I started working here Chair 1 was a two-seater and it took 15 minutes to get to the top. There are a lot more buildings. A lot more runs. Of course, I miss the simple days, but the overall atmosphere is just very friendly. That hasn’t changed for me.


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Stacey Bengtson

Bengtson with her husband, Jim, bike riding on the Going to the Sun Road

I always get down to the kid’s level when I meet them. Our motto is: Safety, Fun, and Learning. You have to realize it takes some kids awhile to learn, so you want to make it fun for them. Because it’s more fun to teach them while they are having fun! Stacey Bengtson with her granddaughter Winnie and Esme Desautel

imagine a winter not teaching up on the mountain.” But beyond the allure of the mountain, Bengtson explains it’s the community and the people that make it most enjoyable for her. “I think everyone cares for each other and it's something I’m always aware of. Mike especially has always conveyed his appreciation of what I do, encouraged me, and I know he’s there for me. The lifties always help with the little kids getting on. If it’s busy and there’s help to be had, it's all hands-on deck. Over Christmas, you can catch Dan [Graves] over on Chair 1. I don’t think there are many other mountains where you’ll see the CEO checking lift tickets,” Bengtson laughs.

Over the course of her 40+ years, Bengtson has seen many changes on the mountain. Most notably it’s been the infrastructure. “When I started working here Chair 1 was a two-seater and it took 15 minutes to get to the top,” she proclaims. “There are a lot more buildings. A lot more runs. Of course, I miss the simple days, but the overall atmosphere is just very friendly. That hasn’t changed for me.” But this year, especially, will bring a lot of changes.

Bengtson admits, “This winter I debated about not working because of everything going on [with COVID]. But then I realized it would be an even harder winter for me to not be on the mountain. Plus, I’m SO a people person.”

We’re all wondering what to expect. From the socially distanced lift lines to getting in the hang of hosted seating to grab our favorite drink at the Summit House, it will be an adjustment for all. And what about for those learning to ski and ride? For Bengtson, nothing is putting a damper on her year looking forward to teaching with the Whitefish Ski & Ride School. “We usually offer an all-day lesson with lunch. But this year, the parents are going to have to come and get their kids for a lunch break,” she explains as the major change to one of their most popular offerings. “But when we’re out on the snow, we’ll be covered, bundled up, and having fun!” Eager to learn more about those elves in the ski towers 6-year-old McKay remembers, I asked Bengtson to describe her teaching style. She shares, “I always get down to the kid’s level when I meet them. Our motto is: Safety, Fun, and Learning. You have to realize it takes some kids awhile to learn, so you want to make it fun for them. Because it’s more fun to teach them while they are having fun!” She goes on, “I like to ’trick them into learning’ when they’re skiing. I

have a hula hoop that I use so they can stand on their own skiing down the mountain. We play a lot of Red Light, Purple Light for learning how to stop. And I usually name their feet. Louis and Roger for the boys and Lillie and Rosie for the girls.”

While Bengtson didn’t have a teaching background when she started, through the years she’s been able to support her passion for teaching the next generation to ski with the weekly education clinic and training program provided by Whitefish’s Ski & Ride School. “I think that’s a big part of what makes our ski schools so great,” Bengtson says. “At those clinics we learn a lot from each other. It’s always a sharing of ideas. Because everyone learns a different way, you know.”

The clinics are free for instructors and offered weekly on Wednesday mornings, Friday and Saturday afternoons. These ongoing learning opportunities as well as keeping a mindset of being open to new ideas is what Bengtson attributes to keeping her teaching fresh. She says, “I’m always open to new ideas. I love when we get new instructors from other resorts and ski mountains. I like to watch them. I’m humble enough to know my way isn’t always the best way, so it’s great to get new ideas.”

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Among those popular all-day lessons, Whitefish Ski & Ride School has adjusted over the years to offer

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Stacey Bengtson

Bengtson teaching her grandchildren, Winnie and Augie Mendoza

a diversity of programs that provide opportunities to learn to ski – for kids and adults alike. Mike Davies, Whitefish’s Ski & Ride School Director shares, “Our 8-week Ladies and Men’s Day programs on Wednesday’s continue to be very popular. Last year we saw a 40% increase in participation. Also, our 9-week children’s programs are also very popular. A few years ago, we really focused on growing our 3-4-year-old Buckaroos program and we now offer three sessions on Saturdays and Sundays and four midweek sessions for the Buckaroos. These children continue to ski and ride with us through our junior programs as well as on our Freestyle Team, which has also seen a large participation increase, especially in the last two seasons and into this year!” Another large area of growth for the school has been their Learn to Ski and Ride program. It includes 2 consecutive days of rentals, lift tickets and 2 half day lessons for $88. (Which is probably one of the best values in the industry for someone who has never skied or snowboarded!) Once an individual has completed both lessons, they are able to then receive discounted lift tickets, rentals and lessons for the remainder of the season if they choose.

Whether you’re a local aiming to get your kids into the love of skiing or a visitor looking to build on your turns, learning to ski on Big Mountain is a special experience. As Bengtson admits, “I haven’t skied many other areas. I’ll go to Bridger Bowl, and sure, it’s fun to ski in places where nobody knows you, but it’s always fun to explore Big Mountain on my own when I’m not teaching.”

Whitefish Mountain Resort may not be the best-kept secret that Bengston arrived at years ago anymore, but it still maintains its great atmosphere. And it’s a darn good place to learn to ski! If your planning on taking a lesson this year (or getting your kids some lessons), then you’ll likely end up in one of Bengston’s ski school books. A yearly collection of notes and memories from the ski and ride students that learned to ski this season.

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Gabrielle Thorsen will be one of the first Female Eagle Scouts in Montana By Montana Council, Boy Scouts of America

Bigfork teen Gabrielle Thorsen is making history as she is set to become one of the nation’s first female Eagle Scouts – a prestigious achievement attained by some of the country’s most noteworthy figures. Thorsen is among hundreds of young women, with possibly four in Montana, who will make up the Inaugural Class of female Eagle Scouts. “We are honored to recognize these accomplished young women as the inaugural class and we are immensely proud of each Scout achieving their Eagle,” said Dirk Smith, Montana Council Scout Executive. “Eagle Scouts are some of the world’s finest leaders, demonstrating strong ethics and morals and mak-

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ing direct and lasting impacts in their communities. We are thrilled to see these female Scouts BSA members exemplify this adventure.”

Eagle Scout is the program’s highest rank, which only about 6% of Scouts achieve on average. To earn it, an individual has to take on leadership roles within their troop and their community; earn a minimum of 21 merit badges that cover a broad range of topics including first aid and safety, civics, business and the environment; and they must research, organize and complete a large community service project. “As soon as Scouts opened for females, I was excited, and I signed up on the first day,” said Thorsen. “Scouting has impacted my life in great ways with opportunities for me to learn leadership skills, community service and to work with great people. My Eagle project showed me my community service can make a huge impact, even nationwide. The Scout Oath, Scout Law and

skills I've learned through Scouting now help guide my choices in life and my future.”

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Thorsen’s project was reenvisioned to fit the immediate needs of her community. Thorsen organized volunteers to sew cloth masks, sewing many herself, and used a 3D printer to make and donate over 1,300 masks to essential workers locally, throughout the United States – including hospitals in Los Angeles, California, and New York – and as far as France.

“After completing my Eagle Scout project, I felt like some of the masks I donated helped or saved someone that I don’t even know,” Thorsen said. “This project is and was very important and maybe even made a small difference that we don’t notice today but affected someone’s future in some way.” Young women have been part of Scouting for decades in co-ed programs offered by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), including Sea Scouts, Venturing,


The mission of the Montana Council is to help young people make ethical and moral decisions over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. profile}

Gabrielle Thorsen

Exploring and, more recently, STEM Scouts. The BSA expanded that legacy further in recent years by welcoming girls into Cub Scouts and then into Scouts BSA last February. Scouts BSA is the program for youth ages 11 to 17 previously known as Boy Scouts. Since then, tens of thousands of young women throughout Montana and across the country have joined the organization’s most iconic program with many, including Thorsen, working their way toward the rank of Eagle Scout. The mission of the Montana Council is to help young people make ethical and moral decisions over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. For more information visit, www.montanabsa.org.

The Boy Scouts of America provides the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, which helps young people be “Prepared. For Life.®” The Scouting organization is composed of more than 2.1 million youth members between the ages of 5 and 21 and approximately 800,000 volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories. For more information on the Boy Scouts of America, please visit www.Scouting.org.

Montana’s Prospective Class of Female Eagle Scouts Bigfork: Gabrielle Thorsen (Scouts BSA) Helena: Hailey Carpenter (Scouts BSA) Missoula: Eva Isbell (Venturing & Scouts BSA) Columbia Falls: Kaylee King (Scouts BSA) • Number of Eagle Scout Awards in Montana in 2020 to date: 103 • Total Service Hours in Montana for 2020 to date: 3,568 • In total, Gabrielle and her volunteers logged 1,375 service hours. At the 2020 Value of Volunteer Time rate, that’s $37,400 in service to the community.

Scouting Programs: Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing, Sea Scouts & Exploring

Eagle: The highest rank for Scouts BSA members. For more information on Montana Council, BSA visit www.montanabsa.org


profile} Smile Montana

Meet the Millers

Smile Montana Dental Center Written by Kristen Hamilton Photos by Kelly Kirksey Photography

Dynamic duo, yin and yang, partners, and so much more. Those are some of the phrases that come to mind when I think of Dr. John & Juli Miller, owners of Smile Montana Dental Center. To say these two are busy would be an understatement. In addition to their original location in Columbia Falls, Smile Montana has opened offices in both Kalispell and Whitefish managing a staff of about 35 employees including four other doctors. They also have four active school-aged children.

John grew up in Arizona and Juli in Alberta but as fate would have it, their paths crossed long ago when they were both 15 years old in Edmonton when his family was visiting relatives there. They didn’t start dating until later in their 20’s when they reconnected in the Flathead Valley. Both of their families had strong connections to Montana and spent many a summer enjoying the outdoor recreation it has to offer.

Growing up in the Miller family, working in the dental industry seems to be the rite of passage. All three of John’s mom’s brothers are dentists in Canada and even his mom worked in a dental office. Heck, 6 grandchildren (including John) in the family are dentists! Although John’s path wasn’t necessarily a clear-cut path. Out of high school, he worked construction and played bass in a band for a few years. He even considered becoming a Lineman, but his father told him that that was ‘a young man’s job.’ John said, “I wanted to be a musician, but I also had a dream to be a dentist.”

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At age 22 he started his college career at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. With his undergrad degree in hand he was accepted to dental school but he considered giving real estate a try. The timing was not

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good for real estate (late 2007) and he looked to his older brother Jordan for advice. John said, “He told me ‘markets rise and fall but teeth are eternal.’”

With that sage wisdom in mind, the Miller’s next stop was the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry in San Francisco, CA for three more years and a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. This prestigious school is considered one of the best in the country and John is grateful that he was able to earn his degree here. As an added bonus, John was offered a scholarship and the alumni of the school have continually mentored him throughout his career. Ironically Juli’s background is also in dentistry by earning her degree as a Dental Hygienist when she attended school in Boise, ID following high school in Canada. She started as a Dental Assistance but really liked the field and decided to further her education and become a hygienist. After she and John married, she supported and encouraged him through school.

It was easy to decide where to settle down following school as John said, “We’ve always loved Montana.”

John was looking for a practice to join when Dean Calderwood, DDS called to see if he wanted to become the new owner of his place in Columbia Falls. He was nearing retirement and looking for someone to take over. He was drawn to John because they shared the same alma mater. According to John, this wasn’t typical to become an owner immediately upon graduating from dental school (and would be expensive), but with the help of both of their parents, they were able to take the leap of faith and start building Smile Montana.


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"The team that works with us is amazing," John said. He continued, “We could not do it without them. I’m super proud of the people that work with us.” It is very important to the Miller’s to keep their team happy AND healthy.

profile} Smile Montana Even in spite of COVID-19 this past year, the business model is working. They both echoed sentiments about their Smile Montana team. “The team that works with us is amazing,” John said. He continued, “We could not do it without them. I’m super proud of the people that work with us.” It is very important to the Miller’s to keep their team happy AND healthy. That has meant taking many additional protective measures since March, but it is worth it to them. These measures include staff and patient screening and distancing, air purifying systems, extra PPE and lab coats, and much more. They are adamant about keeping the work environment safe and as stress free as possible.

What lends to their success in business? “We are both driven and like to get things done,” says Juli. Continuing, “John is a very creative person and thinks of the big picture with the end in mind. I’m in the background working closely with our office manager on the details concerning the business side of things and how it will work.” Bottom line is that they have a support system in place and back each other up.

What are they most proud of? Their four kids! Ages 5 to 14. Nayvee Lee, Banks ZoBell, Maxwell Jay, and Lennon Jewel in order of arrival. They keep active and are healthy and happy. “They are really fun and funny kids who are up for any crazy adventure I throw their way,” John said. During the lock downs as of late, the household didn’t change much as they have always tried to keep everyone together as a unit. John said, “With four kids it is always a little crazy.” Juli said, “It might be a little selfish as a mom, but I love having the family all together.” They have a small group in the neighborhood that they socialize with which has helped. It is very important to them that the kids feel safe. I asked what inspires them and John replied, “I am inspired by nature.” He talked about his childhood and his obsession with clean water. “I didn’t have clean water to play in growing up in Arizona. Visiting Montana as a child I was in awe of the crisp clean glacial rivers and lakes. I’ve been at Echo Lake every summer for the last 30ish years and that specific body of water has a unique smell...I love it.” He added that music also inspires him, and certain songs definitely resonate with him. He still plays the bass guitar and records music often as his artistic outlet. Do the Miller’s offer any advice to someone looking to start their own business? “Don’t be scared and if you are don’t let it stop you.” John added that you have to “believe in yourself.” What is your dream? John said, “Ever since I was 11 years and visited Echo Lake in Bigfork, I always wanted to live in Montana on Echo Lake. I guess it’s time to figure out a new dream.” I’m sure together that they will continue to find dreams to live together!

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Mules, Mountains and Monumental care Written by Maggie Nelson, Kalispell Regional Healthcare

Jody Leberman, known by most as “Tug,” lives in Bigfork, Montana, and loves riding mules. “People say ‘you can’t ride a mule’, but don’t tell my mules that,” says Tug. A former law enforcement officer, he and his wife, Annie, moved to Montana as soon as he retired. “We couldn’t get here fast enough,” says Annie, a care coordinator at Kalispell regional Healthcare (KRH). “We love Montana. We love this community. And, Tug loves exploring these mountains with his mules.” Just two months ago, Tug and Annie weren’t certain he’d ever ride again, after experiencing a traumatic accident with his beloved animals. It began with an ordinary Friday training ride. Tug was at a cattle ranch in Melrose, a small town near Dillon, to get some extra training on his riding mule. All went well, and he was invited to ride again the next day to help recover some cattle that had been separated from the herd.

That Saturday morning, they went out early and Tug was quite pleased that he had been the one to spot the stray cows that were hiding down in a ravine. In the excitement, Tug’s mule began to trot down the steep hill to reach the cows as they had begun to move. In doing so, his left foot

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slipped out of the stirrup, he lost his balance and slipped out of the saddle. He then fell down the sharp vertical drop. “I distinctly remember five separate impacts,” Tug recalls, as he never lost consciousness in the fall. “Once I finally came to a stop, I realized that I couldn’t get up and it felt like I couldn’t breathe.”

He immediately hit the SOS button on his GPS tracker—a device he never rides without—and a helicopter arrived within 20 minutes. He was transported to the nearest hospital in Butte, where they worked to stabilize him and notify his wife, Annie, of the accident. Annie remembers receiving the call. She made the long drive from Bigfork to Butte as she continued to get updates on his condition. When she finally arrived and saw him, she knew she needed to begin making arrangements to bring him to Kalispell to receive the specialized care he was going to require. She contacted specialty trained trauma and critical care surgeon at KRH, Dr. Erik Peltz, who helped support and guide her decision making throughout that day. Monday morning she began making the transfer arrangements. By that

evening, A.L.E.R.T., KRH’s air-ambulance service, picked up Tug from Butte and transferred him to the KRH intensive care unit, where Dr. Peltz and Dr. Sydney Lillard (Trauma Medical Director at KRMC) continued to evaluate his condition.

The results of the imaging revealed the full extent of Tug’s injuries. He had a lacerated spleen, 11 rib fractures, a shattered scapula, and his diaphragm was going to need repair as his stomach had already begun to push through. It was clear that surgery was imminent. Dr. Lillard and Dr. Peltz went to work. “Tug’s chest had caved in from the fractures which were compressing and piercing his lung and diaphragm,” explains Dr. Peltz, who is fellowship trained in Trauma Surgery and Surgical Critical Care, and specializes in severe trauma. “Patients who survive this type of severe chest trauma often experience significant disability with lifelong oxygen requirements, limited mobility and are never able to regain the level of activity they were used to. Without repair it would be very unlikely for Tug to ever return to the activities he loves; riding mules, packing in the wilderness or working outdoors.” Dr. Peltz relocated to Kalispell last fall from University of Colorado in Denver where he helped develop the Traumatic Chest Injury Reconstruction service and specializes in


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“I distinctly remember five separate impacts,” Tug recalls, as he never lost consciousness in the fall. “Once I finally came to a stop, I realized that I couldn’t get up and it felt like I couldn’t breathe.” one of the most recent innovative procedures for repairing rib fractures, rib plating. During the rib plating procedure, titanium plates were screwed into the broken ribs to stabilize fractures. Together, Dr Lillard and Peltz were able to repair Tug’s diaphragm and placed seven plates to reconstruct and stabilize his rib cage.

Dr. Peltz’s ability to perform the complex procedure here in Kalispell not only saved Tug’s life, it kept him close to his wife and support system. “I didn’t want him to go to Seattle, I wanted him to be at home, so I could be there for him,” explains Annie. “We take pride in the care that we give here. We’re so lucky to have these physicians here at Kalispell Regional. Without these surgeons and staff here, my husband may not be sitting here today. The moment I got him here, I could see light at the end of the tunnel.”

The surgeries were successful. By Thursday of that week, Tug, whom one day prior was having difficulty breathing on his own, was now able to sit up by himself and have a conversation with his wife. “He could cough, sneeze, and laugh with relatively little discomfort,” says Annie. “The transformation was just astounding.” Five days later Tug was back in surgery. This time, it was with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Karen Perser to repair his shoulder. After two days, he

was transferred to inpatient therapy where Dr. Mark Weber and his team helped Tug begin his journey to recovery. He worked extensively to pass a series of occupational, physical, and cognitive thinking therapies—a collaborative re-learning of functions Tug jokingly described as “attending Weber University.” He regained mobility, earned himself an honorary graduation, and the release to finally go home. Annie and Tug are grateful for the quality of care they received at Kalispell Regional Healthcare. They referred to his team of physicians (Dr. Peltz, Dr. Lillard, Dr. Perser, and Dr. Weber) as the “Fab Four.” The Lebermans believe it was the nurturing and collaborative care of the entire staff—physicians, nurses, therapists, and the cafeteria workers who provided Tug with “best chocolate chip cookies on this planet”—that resulted in his remarkable recovery.

“With such an active population here in the Valley and with many people like Tug who take care of their own stock, ranch, farm, or work in the outdoors—and who are physically active throughout their lives it is essential to provide them the best opportunity for both survival and

long term function,” says Dr. Peltz. ” I am very proud that as a team we are able to provide this specialized care for patients locally where they have family and community support.”

Tug has since been in physical therapy in Bigfork and continues to make leaps and bounds in his rehab. He has no plans of slowing down. “With these kind of scars, can you imagine the stories I can tell around a campfire?” he says. “I’m on probation right now, but I’m going to get back in the saddle as soon as the snow melts.” For Annie, she has never been more proud to be a part of the healthcare system that took such great care of her husband, and allowed him to continue living life to the fullest. “You can either watch life go by as you are sitting in a recliner, or you can take advantage of life and really get out there and do it,” she laughs. “And, as you can tell, my husband doesn’t sit in the recliner.”

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More than Just another Pretty Building The Planetree Philosophy at North Valley Hospital Encourages Person-Centered Care in a Healing Environment

When North Valley Hospital opened its new building in 2007 the community was awed by its design that looked and felt more like a lodge than a hospital. This was completely intentional, the architectural design committee was driven by the hospital’s Planetree philosophy to create an atmosphere of relaxation and comfort for a more healing environment. Patient rooms were strategically placed with views of Glacier National Park. At the center of the building a public “mall” with vaulted ceiling letting in natural light provides access to outpatient services such as imaging, laboratory and cardiopulmonary rehab as well as the Community Health Library, the Gift Shop and ever-popular Valley Café. Artwork and sculpture donated by local artists are found in all areas where patients receive or wait for services.

The beauty of the building is a sense of pride for employees and the community, yet there is much more to the Planetree culture at North Valley Hospital than the architectural design and inspirational artwork. It is a culture integrated into every aspect of the experience with a commitment to quality, compassion, and

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By Riley Polumbus

partnership with patients, their family members, the community, and one another.

Every person who comes in contact with the patient and family finds ways to connect and get to know them on a personal level. Opportunities to make them feel more comfortable come naturally for a nurse, hospitalist, and other clinical staff yet sometimes the connection comes from an attentive housekeeper or a thoughtful dietary aide delivering a meal through North Valley Hospital’s Cuisine-on-Call room service.

At the heart of the philosophy is putting the patient at the center of care, where they become part of the conversation rather than the subject of it. Engaging the patient in their care plan, creating it in plain language, and checking in to ensure they understand and agree with the path of treatment. Collaboration is key in making all healthcare decisions.

“We have a culture that promotes engagement for staff that allows them to be part of the process,” said North Valley Hospital Planetree Coordinator Jeny Covill. “Here we are all caregivers.”

Planetree International was founded by Angelica Theiriot in 1978. After being hospitalized with a virus and taken into a frightening foreign environment of machinery, where people talked about her diagnosis rather than to her, she was filled with despair until a few days into her stay when two nurses began to connect with her. It was only then that her condition changed. The personal connection made all the difference. After her experience, Angelica made it her mission to change the way healthcare was delivered.

The Planetree model encourages caregivers to treat the whole person, to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Patient rooms share the same pleasant design found around the building to help the patient feel more comfortable as well as making the family members feel more at ease.

All employees go through a Planetree orientation led by Jeny and other presenters—leaders at the hospital with a heart for person-centered care. They also hold refresher trainings with an emphasis on compassion. “The Planetree philosophy is integrated into everything,” Covill explained. “There’s a place for the patient voice—nothing about me without me—emphasizing that they are partners in their care.”

Photos left to right: North Valley Hospital’s main corridor also known as “The Mall” incorporates natural light and warm earthy colors creating a relaxing atmosphere. Patient rooms look out toward Glacier National Park with access to a healing garden patio just off the room. Photo on page 41: North Valley Hospital Dietary Aide Peri Burns shares a conversation with a patient. (Photo by Vicky Kasala) All photos courtesy of North Valley Hospital.

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Every employee at North Valley Hospital is supported and encouraged to have a voice, it is an integral part of Planetree. By offering opportunities to voice their ideas, employees recognize that they matter. The same is true about the team of caregivers that look after a patient. At North Valley Hospital they’ve adopted the concept of “shared leadership” that encourages communication between staff and administrators and collaborative problem solving.

“Shared leadership promotes a professional nursing environment and a culture of listening and empowering staff,” said North Valley Hospital Chief Clinical Officer Amy Vanterpool. “For the community, shared leadership means that patients are confident that nurses directly involved in patient care have a voice at the table, and are empowered to innovate and collaborate as experts in patient care.”

Nurses at North Valley Hospital recommended to senior leadership to formally adopt a model to build on the person-centered culture. As they were developing the program, Vanterpool came across The Forum of Shared Governance, a clearinghouse for promoting and disseminating research about shared governance that help empower nurses and other healthcare professionals in their workplaces. Vanterpool reached out to the Forum, looking for a tool to measure and evaluate North Valley Hospital’s model and in doing so, ended up achieving a high score from the Forum. High enough to be formally evaluated and become the first Critical Access Hospital and the first hospital in Montana to earn this status with the Forum for Shared Governance’s Accreditation Program.

Every employee at North Valley Hospital is supported and encouraged to have a voice, it is an integral part of Planetree. By offering opportunities to voice their ideas, employees recognize that they matter.

“We hire people for their talent and experience, but we also want them to bring their heart,” Covill said. “Every single person brings their whole self, and we recognize what a value that brings to the community.” Riley Polumbus is the Marketing & Community Relations Manager at North Valley Hospital

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Diversity & Community, in Practice

Dr. Austine Siomos Written by Sydney Munteanu - Photos by Kelly Kirksey Photography

Dr. Austine Siomos is the pediatric cardiologist at Montana Children’s in Kalispell. (And also, the only pediatric cardiology specialist in Northwest Montana, I came to find out!) Siomos sees children from before they are born until they are ready to see an adult cardiologist. She is a passionate advocate for lifestyle health as a tool for prevention, so you’ll also see Dr. Siomos’ contributions within 406 Woman Magazine as she shares her expertise, health advice and tips for easy lifestyle habits to support families with children.

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“My goal for all children is to promote healthy habits to help avoid those types of heart diseases that are generally considered to be adult problems.” In a year filled with news about local hospital capacities and how so many health services were affected by the coronavirus pandemic, I was eager to chat with Siomos to learn more about our own healthcare services at Kalispell Regional Medical Center. I also wanted to know what drew her to Montana and why she prefers working in a small-town health facility. And of course, I had to ask her a few questions on COVID-19.

Siomos says she didn’t take the normal route to med school. She grew up loving science but laughs about a very clear childhood memory where she claimed she wanted to be anything

but a doctor. “It sounded too nitty-gritty,” Siomos recalls. “I loved chemistry, so that’s what I studied when I went to Dartmouth. I thought I would pursue a PhD in chemistry, but eventually I realized that my personality was not suited for the lab. I need more of a social aspect! So I did a late pre-med application.” Siomos explains that she soon found her passion for pediatrics, “Once I got to med school, I realized how much I really loved this profession and especially, how much I loved families and kids.”

“My husband and I did residency in Denver. We moved here [to Kalispell] because they were starting a children’s hospital for the state.” But Siomos admits they also had their eyes on Montana for the reasons many of us do. “We drove to Whitefish once when we were still dating, on a road trip from Seattle to Chicago. It was one of


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“I think taking care of other people is really challenging. It’s so much more than their health. It’s their mental health, their religion, their family dynamics. I really like the family aspect of it.” those amazing, sunny Montana days where you could see the mountains. We also met a few people on our visit though and it just felt like home. I grew up in Seattle, so we wanted to get back to the Northwest but didn’t want to be in a city. Kalispell was definitely at the top of the list.”

After five years living here and working with Kalispell Regional Healthcare, Siomos says what she loves most is how much more personalized the care feels. She explains, “In Denver, it would be SO rare to see a patient outside of the hospital. Montana is such a community-driven place. I’ve been able to see some of the babies and kids I’ve worked with grow up. I’ve gotten to know these families. What happens here is you feel like you're connected to your patients and their families. And it’s that family aspect that drew me to be a pediatric cardiologist in the first place.”

“I think taking care of other people is really challenging. It’s so much more than their health. It’s their mental health, their religion, their family dynamics. I really like the family aspect of it.”

And speaking of specialties, for many families in Montana, that used to mean traveling out of state. Montana Children's, the first pediatric facility of its kind, opened in 2019 by Kalispell Regional Healthcare. “We have excellent pediatricians and family doctors who manage complex patients with us. We have at least one or two doctors in any pediatric

subspecialty such as neurosurgery, oncology and anesthesia along with specialized nursing. It’s wonderful that we can provide such high-quality specialized medical care. I am able to work with cardiac nurse Trina Rauthe and talented sonographers that show small hearts from all angles.

“It is also great for doctors like me because I get to practice the whole scope of pediatric cardiology. Since I’m the only one in Northwest Montana doing pediatric cardiology, I get to do all of it, and call someone if I need to. In a bigger city hospital, I would mostly be practicing a very specific type of cardiology.”

I couldn’t go without asking about COVID during our interview. Since Siomos gets to work so often with kids, I asked how the pediatric experience has been dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s often a pleasant distraction, the visits with my patients. Kids aren’t interested in talking about COVID for more than a minute,” she laughs. “I think everyone is always floored about how kids respond to stress.” Siomos gives an example, “I had a visit with a child today who just had heart surgery. And he’s jumping around wanting stickers. (Because he had stickers before his surgery.) A visit with a post-heart surgery adult would look very different. Kids give us hints on how to have joy in any moment. And that we get to choose how we respond to a situation, to our day, that we can choose joy. I almost wish post-operative adults could hang out with the post-op kids. To show them the joy in natural healing.” And what about for Siomos herself? “When you are a healthcare provider it affects you in a more complex way.” She describes, “I spend a good amount of

my day talking about COVID. More than I expected, actually. My patients are, in general, more at risk. But all families still want to know the general advice [for understanding COVID]. It’s still a source of anxiety for most people. And as a mom, in a way it’s helpful to know what that anxiety feels like.”

Another thing Siomos is proud about is the diversity within the team at Montana Children’s and how that affects the output of care. “We’re lucky because even though we live in a small place, we get really high level and qualified people. Within medicine there is a lot of variability in the practice. And it’s just based on where you studied and have practiced. For example, the way you learn to practice medicine on the East Coast would be different than if you were in Europe. With a team of about 30 doctors, we really have the diversity of opinions in that we attract such a diversity of people. From the East Coast to the South, and even internationally, we have it all on our team. And because of that, we can offer a much more comprehensive option for the parents. The diversity of opinions and experiences gives options.”

In almost a full circle of my initial question: Why Montana? Siomos describes how that diversity crosses over into her love for the community here. “There really is such a diversity of opinions and views among our team. And I think that’s true of Montana in general.” She reflects, “People can have strong opinions, but in general, they live pretty well together. That’s not exactly how I viewed it living in the city. Montanans really want their neighbors to live their lives and they respect their neighbors’ freedom to live the life they want. And overall, I think that should be ok—respecting other people’s priorities and way of living their most fulfilling life.”

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Strengthen Your Core By Gabrielle Cahoon Photos by Amanda Wilson Photography

Q:

How do I strengthen my core?”

A: When I meet a client for the first time, I always ask what they want to gain out of their sessions. The most common answer is “I want to strengthen my core.” Let’s tackle the question of “How do I strengthen my core” by first defining what your core really is. I bet your first thought was “my abs.” Well, yes but that is just a small part of what makes up your core. Foundation Training redefines the core by taking the focus off the front of the body and emphasizing the posterior chain (back of the body). Since the body’s true center is the pelvis (not the belly button) any muscle that directly attaches to the pelvis is a “core” muscle including the glutes, adductors, hamstrings, deep lower back muscles, abdomen, hip flexors, and the transverse abdominals. We need to focus on lengthening the abdominals to support our structure upright, expand our rib cage 360 degrees with deep breath work to decrease load off the lumbar spine, and move more from our hips for power and strength to support the core. The combination of integrating all of your core muscles, decompression breathing, and hinging from your hips will teach you how move your body the way it was meant to move. This means a stronger core, decreased injuries, and balanced muscular tension throughout the entire body that will improve your balance, posture, and overall muscular strength & endurance. I want to teach you three E’s that will help you develop proper core strength: Expand, Elevate, and Engage. Grab a mat, lie down on the floor, and let me teach you the most basic way to strengthen your core. Regardless of your fitness level, I promise you will feel some muscles working in the body that have more than likely been dormant for a while.

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The Exercise: Foundation Training’s Supine Decompression Set Up:

Lie down on your back (supine) with your legs extended out straight.

Foot: Position the outside edges of your feel parallel, ankles dorsi flexed (toes evenly pulling towards your shins) with your big toes and your big toe joints touching.

Leg: Internally rotate your legs towards each other as if your knees are eyeballs and they are now cross eyed. Bend your knees enough that you can squeeze the inside line of your legs together until there is no space between the inner thighs. Do not squeeze your glutes (butt muscles).


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core

Notice what is touching the mat. You should feel your sacrum on the mat, a subtle space between your lumbar spine (lower back) and the mat, all 12 ribs of your rib cage on the mat, your shoulders, and the back of your head on the mat.

Additional Arm Layer Sphere of Tension

Once you have tried Supine Decompression with the measure sticks, let’s add an additional arm layer to incorporate the latissimus dorsi (lat) muscles.

Set Up:

Reach arms straight up above the chest. Make a fist with both hands and pull your shoulders down into the mat as if you are squeezing a piece of paper between your arm pits. You should feel your latissimus dorsi engaging. Keep the lats engaged, separate the fingers, and place all 10 fingertips together into the shape of a sphere, spreading your fingers wide apart from each other. Press firmly into all 10 fingers with more emphasis on the pinky and ring finger.

Hands: Measure sticks (shaka sign like you are in Hawaii). Thumbs on the lowest rib of the ribcage, pinky on the top of the pelvis.

Exercise

Picture a line drawn down the center of the body separating you from left to right. Take 5 slow deep breaths feeling both left and right sides of your ribs expanding laterally. If you are breathing into your belly you will feel your stomach rise and fall. Instead, try to feel your ribs expanding sideways while you maintain your abdominals contracting inwards. Now picture a line down the side of your body separating you from front to back. Take 5 slow deep breaths feeling the back of the ribs expanding as much as the front of the ribs want to. Encourage all 12 ribs to expand into the floor under you. Again, if you are breathing into your belly you will feel your stomach rise and fall. Instead, encourage the back of your ribs to maintain contact with the mat as you keep your abdominals contracted inwards. It should feel like a girdle wrapping around your midsection as a natural support. Now picture a line down the middle of your body cutting you from top to bottom like a magician’s trick. Take 5 slow deep breaths and feel the base of your ribs elevate subtly away from the top of your pelvis. As you exhale, maintain the lift of the ribs by engaging your abdominals inwards & upwards to prevent the ribs from coming back down towards the pelvis. Now let’s put it all together. Maintain the big toes & big toe joints touching with a 1-inch space between the heels so the outside edges of the feet are parallel, the ankles dorsi flexed, thighs rotated internally, inner thighs together, and picture the abdominals wrapping around you like a corset. Use the measure sticks to encourage a subtle lift of the ribs away from the pelvis as you inhale and maintain the lift as you exhale. Repeat for 10 full slow decompression breath cycles.

As you inhale feel the outward expansion of the ribcage pull the scapulae (shoulder blades) apart. Keep them apart as you exhale. Repeat 5 slow decompression breath cycles with you hands above the chest. Then 5 slow decompression breath cycles with the arms reaching overhead while keeping all 12 ribs on the mat.

Gabrielle Cahoon is a STOTT PILATES Instructor Trainer, Level 2 Foundation Training Instructor, owner of Studio 48 Pilates and Fitness in Whitefish, and founder My Daily Reform (an online Pilates and Fitness studio). With a Bachelor of Science in Health, Leisure, and Exercise Science from Appalachian State University and over 16 years in the fitness industry, Gabrielle is devoted to helping her clients achieve their health and fitness goals with healthy, mindful, creative movement. Workout at home with her online studio www.mydailyreform. com or take an in-person session or class at Studio 48 Pilates and Fitness www.studio48pilates.com.

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Winter Blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder By Kasey Patton, WHNP, PMH-C

Happy New Year or is it? The snow is on the mountains, we just finished singing Auld Lang Syne, and our New Year’s resolutions are already forgotten. The holiday season is wrapping up and hopefully it was joyous, and you were surrounded by (at least) your immediate family. The stress of the holiday season is usually tough enough but with the current pandemic and all the uncertainty that comes with the ever-changing social distancing requirements and travel precautions, it can seem overwhelming to add anything more to our already uncertain worlds. With so much uncertainty, it can be hard to sort through it all…finding your child’s favorite blanket in a pile of laundry, or the right outfit that matches your new selection of COVID masks. Fortunately, there are many things that you can do to help decrease stress. First, be generous. Not the kind of generosity that comes from your wallet or is wrapped in pretty paper. Be generous with your smile, your kindness. It can be contagious, helping somebody else, as well as making you feel better. Be patient when the lines are long and slow at the store, give the cashier your best smile (even if they can’t see it under your mask) and try to understand how frustrating or overwhelming their day is too. Make sure that you give compliments to those who could use it, somebody with a fabulous outfit or your coworker who is going the extra mile today. We can all use the extra sparkle in our lives right now! Let us not forget the power of further extending your kindness, encouragement, and good wishes to those we may not know, but who need extra support throughout the year. Our local food banks need donations and support now more than ever with so many of those in our community who have had reduced hours or layoffs due to the global pandemic. It may often seem like we are powerless to help overcome the many negative aspects that this has had on our lives, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! Call your local shelter or nonprofit that helps those in need and find out what they need now that the holidays are coming to an end.

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Perspective is important when our frustrations begin to overwhelm us. It is important to try to keep a positive attitude about your current situation. Remember that the dinner party or family gathering you had hoped to host or attend in December will be that much more joyous when you are finally able to gather and celebrate all that we are now truly thankful for. If other things are going wrong, stop and think about what this situation will feel like one year from now. Is it something to look back and laugh about? Will we have tall tales to tell around the fire during the next holiday season about who came closest to running out of the all-important toilet paper? Can you send out a COVID themed New Year’s card or photo that makes someone a thousand miles away laugh out loud and forget their stress for a few moments? Perspective is important when our frustrations begin to overwhelm us.

But what if it is more than just stress?

Sometimes depression or anxiety that starts around the holidays is clinical depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. SAD results from a change in a person’s body due to lower amounts of daylight. The amount noted with the population varies from 1.4% in Florida to 9.9% of the population in Alaska. The most common symptoms associated with SAD

during the winter are difficulty waking up in the morning, overeating (especially carbohydrates), not wanting to spend time with family or friends, and a lower sex drive. These physical feelings can lead to despair and overall sadness.

The main difference between SAD and holiday stress or winter blues is that SAD will occur regardless of social obligations or a holiday and will persist long past the New Year. The symptoms may also be more severe and even noticeable to friends and family. It is important to speak with your health care provider if you are experiencing depression or anxiety that seems out of proportion for what is going on around you. There are many natural treatments available as well as medications. Exercise and exposure to natural or artificial light can be helpful and is recommended if you notice your mood begins to shift. It is also important to reach out to a friend or family member if you suspect that they are struggling with stress, depression, or anxiety. A kind word or gentle suggestion to visit with their doctor can go a long way.

In summary, holidays can be a time of great joy and happiness for some, but for others it can bring sadness, anxiety, or great stress. We all need to remember to focus on joy, not put too much on our plate, and help others who may need an extra hand navigating the next few months. A shift from a negative attitude to a more compassionate and kinder outlook can make all the difference.

If you, a friend or a family member need help there are resources available 24/7. For the state of Montana, you can text 741-741 directly to receive immediate help from a Crisis Counselor. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is another easily accessible resource for those in need.

Resources

Montana Crisis Text Number: Text 741-741 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Number: 1-800-273-8255, https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

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Changed lives By Carie Edson

There are moments in life that quickly sear into memory, and others that float softly in and out, surfacing quietly or receding with apparent randomness. Adoption imprinted itself on my heart as one of those soft, floating things. I can’t recall the year or circumstances around me, only that adoption seemed woven into the very DNA of my existence. But the day I met my husband is one of those searing memories. Where he stood, what he wore, the way his eighteen-yearold heart beat for others are images I will never forget. As years spun by, we talked about adoption off and on, but business building and baby bouncing took the bulk of our attention. Three biological children later, God began to move in my heart, burdening it with not only the desire to adopt, but to intercede for those who would adopt in the future…for the Spirit to awaken His people to see the needs and to open their arms to fill them. Within a year, our pastor began to champion the cause from the pulpit, our church began to reach out to the foster community, and we had decided to adopt.

The world is a big place, the options and questions daunting and endless:

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• International or domestic? • How many? How old? What gender? Foster care or agency? • Is this foolish? Are we ready?

But slowly, with infinite grace and patience, God led us down the road, guiding us through hoops and red tape into foster care. We wanted to care for a sibling group, preferably with a boy or two so our son wouldn’t feel so outnumbered by his two little sisters anymore. A month after licensing, two brothers, 4 and 6 were placed with us. I can still remember the tang of fall air and crunching of leaves as the kids played in the backyard that first time. I remember the feeling of purpose and serene calm that this was “all coming together” as it was intended. I can hear the sound of their small voices calling us mom and dad those first days — we too green to realize that sweet, but much too soon, familiarity was a warning sign — and feel their warm bodies snuggled against us for bedtime stories and help with homework. The generosity of the older, the shy smiles of the younger… and then the weight, the heaviness, the iron blanket of despair as we began to quickly realize their trauma and abandonment had left them with needs we were too inexperienced, untrained and incapable of filling.


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Child Bridge

Her tiny fists wrapped themselves around our hands and quicker still, our hearts. The walls of our small home closed in smaller still as their RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) and ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorders) wreaked havoc in our family and children on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. The placement had happened too quickly, without time to test the waters. The overburdened system lacked time and resources to place them into a family adequately trained to ride these stormy waters or teach us how to appropriately care for the depths of such hurt. Quickly our home began to feel like a sinking ship. Looking back, I can still feel the despair and weight of those days, moments that left our family broken and bruised. Yet, what I see now, once invisible in those moments is the hand of God, a golden thread of hope and destiny woven within our story line. Moments that shaped us. Refined away our selfishness and pride. United our hearts in faith and purpose leading us to the family we have today. Creation of urgency in our hearts to see other kiddos find their golden thread. Everything led us to our now family of seven, three biological and two beautiful half-siblings, officially and eternally ours. Exquisite pain came with the realization we were not what was best for the boys and the agony and sense of loss after taking them to the recommended facility for a higher level of care. We’d visit them weekly for months. But there was good in this, as it led to the state taking time and diligence to place them in a perfect home that would eventually adopt them. And, it led to us changing our placement parameters to include infants after their case worker declared us a perfect fit for a newborn. Within a week of updating our status I got the call. A tiny, injured newborn baby girl was being released from the hospital in Spokane tomorrow, and would we take

her? Considering my husband had told me just days before that he couldn’t get the image of a small baby girl out of his head —the decision was instant and without hesitation. Yes. We would. Impossibly small, she came wounded in ways that would mark for life. Her face pinched with a perpetually surprised look, seemingly unbelieving of everything she had gone through. Her tiny fists wrapped themselves around our hands and quicker still, our hearts. The foster journey was long, unbelievably so, and complicated and messy. We, with preconceived notions of “bad” birth families were unprepared for the sweet precious mama we met who had scars and burdens of her own and a weight much too large for her nineteenyear-old shoulders to carry. We fostered her as much as her daughter. Our preconceived notions gave way to empathy, compassion, and a righteous anger that such a sweet girl should have lived through such a horrific past, alone and abandoned. When she became pregnant again, we felt like we too were living expectant, anticipating a curve in the road we hadn’t planned for — and nine months and six days later our arms became burdened with a second precious bundle she placed in them.

Some days we felt ready to quit, overwhelmed by feelings we never saw coming, visits that never ended, and few people who could relate to our struggles, no matter how good their intentions. We felt so alone. But then, there was Child Bridge. When our church partnered with them, it was as if God himself breathed fresh wind into our flagging sails. Child Bridge monthly meetings provide ongoing training so we can walk this out well. There was a great dinner I didn’t have to cook, childcare for the kids and a chance to meet others traveling the same long, weary road. It gave us fresh

courage and strength to soldier on. The ongoing relationships and resources Child Bridge provides are vital for success. Some of the amazing ladies I met there are some of my closest friends today and the first place I turn to for extra prayer support during the rough times. After a valiant twenty-three months of visits, classes, meetings and therapy, our girls mother came to the realization that even after all her effort, it still wasn’t enough. Her past carried shackles she wasn’t yet able to shake, and she knew we were the best hope for the future of her girls. On a bright November day after showing up to yet another seemingly useless court hearing, the road curved again when with shaking hands and tearstreaked cheeks their mother relinquished her rights to us, a family she had grown to love and trust, a family she chose to become family for her own. How we wished we could have adopted her too… Adoption has not been the end we anticipated it to be, only the prologue and beginning of grander adventures yet to come. Our moments can still be heavy, adding weights at times unbearable. But slowly, their cold burden melts with spring-like warmth, glowing softly of hope and destiny: First steps and words after months of therapy and fits. Long anticipated hugs and “I love you" at night. Excited discoveries of star-friends shining faithfully above them. Texts full of love and blessing, wishing their birth mom and her new baby son, a future full of promise and hope. A sun setting slowly, path blazing across sky. Faces warmed by light and love, arms around all five of our children. Waves washing weariness and weight away. Moments flashing… some searing, some soft, in the always-meant-to-be story unraveling with quiet brilliance around us into eternity.

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Form & Function The world of design is a delicate balance between form and function. In other words, the way the product works or operates vs. the way the product looks. Those who are mainly concerned with the functionality of a device are more engineer types, while those who only care about the device's aesthetic presentation are more artistic. Left brained and right brained respectively. A simple glance around your immediate location will offer up a plethora of design choices for you to critique. Let’s discuss some examples and then apply these design concepts to our teeth. Cars. I love cars. I fantasize about owning a classic car at some point in my life. I’m partial to the early 60’s Lincoln Continentals. Every year automakers present what are known as Concept Cars at the major car shows around the world. During the design phase, I imagine the artists lock out the engineers and design what they want without the “functional” constraints of realistic road travel. It should come as no surprise that these “concept” cars look phenomenal, but the actual consumer model that is released is far less exciting. The engineers get their hands on the drawings and make

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by Dr. John F. Miller

sure it meets the functional requirements of efficient aerodynamics and fuel usage. They also make sure that the shape of the vehicle can safely contain the engine and drivetrain along with the safety devices required by law. The car emerges much less sexy but much more functional. Let’s move on to robots. Robots are a construct of science fiction with the first mention of them in the 1920’s. For decades they were just fantasy and thought to be unrealistic but as technology has advanced, they are becoming more present and accessible to society. As we examine the design (form and function) of robots throughout the years we see them becoming more and more “animal” like. Meaning they have a rigid jointed skeleton with hydraulics and pistons which mimic our individual muscles. The advances in computer processing speed and efficiency has allowed engineers to simply copy mammalian anatomy. We have all seen the videos out of Boston Dynamics depicting a two-legged (humanlike) and a four-legged (doglike) robot navigating obstacles smoothly, eliminating the “herky-jerky” movements that are typically attributed to robots. If you're like me these robots creep you out. The design process has sacrificed some form in the name of function.

Robot design has trended more and more towards mimicking our own natural design for good reason, it is extremely efficient and functional. As for the form? I think we all look pretty good. One of the many design features of the human body is the dentition, which refers to the teeth collectively. The human body comes with 20 primary teeth (aka baby teeth). These baby teeth are then replaced by the secondary premolars, canines, and incisors. In addition to these, 3 secondary molars grow in each corner for a total of 32 teeth. Each and every tooth that appears in our mouths has a specific individual function along with its role in the overall function of your teeth (dentition) as a whole. Let’s perform an exercise. Everyone bite your teeth together and keep them touching throughout this entire process. Now, with teeth touching, slide your lower jaw to the left and then to the right. If everything is functioning properly the only teeth that should be touching during this movement are your upper and lower Canine teeth. This is referred to as Canine Guidance and ensures that your back teeth don't contact when the jaw is slid to the side. This is important because the back teeth are good at taking longitudinal forces (straight up and down), but they are not built to take off-center forces (side to side).


A nightguard will allow the sleeper’s teeth to bite down in a more physiologically relaxed position and will protect the teeth from grinding together. It’s not a cure for clenching and grinding but can reduce both while protecting the teeth from wearing down over time. health} Now again, bite your teeth together and now slide your lower jaw forward. In a normal functioning bite, the backsides of your upper front six teeth (Canines and Incisors) will slide your lower jaw down and immediately cause your back teeth to separate and allow your lower jaw to slide forward. This is referred to as Anterior Guidance and again protects our back teeth from side to side forces. With this new information in mind you can start to imagine what would happen if there were some parafunctional habits taking place. A parafunctional habit is the habitual exercise of a body part in a way that is other than the most common use of that body part. In other words, it is violating the original function of its design. The most common parafunctional habits when referring to the teeth are clenching and grinding and are collectively referred to as Bruxism.

If Bruxism is left untreated the guidance planes on our Canines and Incisors will eventually wear away and expose our posterior teeth to lateral excursive forces. At which point we start to see a more rapid breakdown of the posterior teeth, specifically molars and premolars. The majority of Bruxism cases occur at night during a person’s sleep. This makes it difficult to treat from a psychological angle. The most popular treatment for the majority of Bruxism cases is treated by fabricating a custom occlusal splint for the patient. These are also more commonly referred to as a “nightguard.” A nightguard will allow the sleeper’s teeth to bite down in a more physiologically relaxed position and will protect the teeth from grinding together. It’s not a cure for clenching and grinding but can reduce both while protecting the teeth from wearing down over time. Ask your dentist if you are showing signs of parafunctional wear and tear and if a nightguard will benefit you. Happy New Year everyone. 2020 was definitely a year for the books. I’m an optimist and know that by the time 2022 rolls around all this craziness will be in the rearview mirror. Be Happy, Be Safe, and Smile!!

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