Area Woman Magazine | Fargo, ND

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the faismsuiely + home + style + health + life

Chelsey Strand The Heart of a Mother

Bank and Haga Kommer CPAs were there “As aAspire growing company it’s really for us when we started our business. They really important to work withbusiness the right understand what small owners need and we love working withand them!” people. Aspire Bank Haga Ryan & Jason Jundt, Co-Owners of J-Tech Mechanical Kommer CPAs–are a part of our team.” Eric Swenson & Ross Erickson, Owners Lars’ Body Shop

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E xp l o re A l exa nd r ia M i n n eso t a

G row i ng Fam il y at S hey Wes t

Ba ck to Sch o o l, Old Sch o o l






We l l C h i l d E x am s a n d S p or t s P hysic al s a re I m p o r t ant

Yo u r H eal t h ca re B eg ins at Ho m e

Be caus e So m e o n e Be li eve d




Savo ry Sm o ke d Pulle d Po rk Ta co s


My Sk i n C a n ce r ‘C o uld De fi n i te ly H ave Be e n Preve n te d’






Are a Style + Sh o p Lo ca l





Dear Won de ri ng Wo me n

Tea Par t y M ag ic

Pi ck y Eati n g

C C R I: A Pla ce fo r Fa m i ly

Wi ld Be auty


Se lfle s s Love : My Ado pti o n Sto ry


48 on the cover

46 Called t o S e r ve

Chelsey Strand →

The Heart of a Mother




Books Sh e Loves

D o I Need an At t o rn e y t o G et D ivo rc ed?

C a le n da r



our writers are the voice of Area Woman Magazine. They bring to life the Fargo-Moorhead area and the incredible stories of the women we feature. These are the talented contributors showcased in this issue. Learn more about these and our other contributors

« The cover story was photographed by Morgan Schleif and written by Rebecca Meidinger, page 48.



MORGAN SCHLEIF photographer

Rebecca is a speaker, Bible teacher, writer, blogger and stay-at-home mom to four wild kids in south Fargo and wife to her awesome husband Paul. As a speaker and Bible teacher, it is Rebecca's joy to bring messages of hope, joy and freedom in Christ to groups of teens and adult women. As a blogger, Rebecca shares the real-life challenges of marriage and motherhood. Rebecca loves a hot cup of coffee, a cool morning run, and warm sunshine on her face. Learn more about Rebecca at

Morgan is the owner of M. Schleif Photography, a queer womanowned business in Fargo. She specializes in capturing vibrant imagery for events, small business branding and lifestyle. Morgan is a Minneapolis native who made Fargo-Moorhead home in 2012 while getting her degree in graphic design and public relations at Concordia College. Over the past eight years she has worked with a variety of clients, most notably Folkways, Kilbourne Group, WAAM Industries and Unglued.




Haley is the founder of Haley Frost Creative, a photography studio specializing in brand identity, food and product photography, and portraits for individuals and businesses in the FM area.

Denise Pinkney loves words. She's an award-winning writer who lives in Fargo with her handsome husband, Charles. She is an avid journaler, passionate speaker and competitive Taboo player.

Livin' the dream as a mom of four and wife to a smarty pants teacher. She can't live without self-deprecating humor and coffee! Fortunately, her day job is her dream job on the radio. BOB 95 with Chris, John and Cori in the morning.

Find more of her work at

KATHLEEN GALLAIS Kat runs the blog and Instagram page and @kattellsall. She is passionate about exploring and sharing adventures in North Dakota, Minnesota and beyond. She is an advocate for travel close to home, and simplifies planning with detailed itineraries and travel guides.

Jessica is a mother of five kids and resides with her family on her husband’s family farm in central Minnesota. Jessica grew up in the Fargo area before relocating to Minnesota. She is a licensed independent social worker with 15 years of human service experience, specializing in child welfare. Jessica runs her own human service consulting and training company. Most recently Jessica added author to her tagline. She co-authored a book that became an international best seller on release date, “Success Codes: Secrets to Success You Weren’t Taught in School.”

AMANDA SILVERMAN KOSIOR Amanda writes funny (or “funny” depending on your take) stories about herself and shares happy stories about other North Dakotans at

plan your A L E XA N D R I A


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Spend time on the lakes, a winery or downtown. Alexandria has the right combination

of rugged outdoor options as well as a beautiful downtown filled with boutiques, quaint shops and more.


celebrating 37 years


art director MEGAN ELGIN


advertising MIKE SHERMAN 701-306-5119 JON-MICHAEL SHERMAN 701-306-1288 TAMIE ZACCHEA 701-306-7932


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Area Woman is a proud member of the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce. It is published bimonthly by Area Woman Publishing, LLC and printed in the U.S.A. ©2022 Area Woman Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from AW. Area Woman is a trademark registered at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Area Woman Publishing assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs and does not necessarily agree with content or advertising presented.


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A great weekend getaway WORDS & PHOTOG R A P H Y : K AT HL E E N G AL L AI S Follow Kathleen on INSTAGRAM & PINTEREST: @kattellsall WEBSITE:

There’s nothing quite like exploring Minnesota’s lake country. Alexandria, Minnesota, embodies the Minnesotan laidback lifestyle, love for the outdoors, and is host to tons of incredible local businesses. Being less than two hours from FargoMoorhead, Alex is a great place to plan a weekend getaway without a ton of travel time or breaking the bank with these high gas prices. When traveling, sometimes the planning can be the most daunting part. I’ve put together a comprehensive itinerary which includes all my favorite spots. Here’s your perfect weekend itinerary.

Friday 4:00-4:30 p.m. :: Finish work and get ready for the weekend! 5:00 p.m. :: Leave Fargo-Moorhead. Time to Alexandria: 1 hour, 40 minutes. 7:00 p.m. :: Arrive in Alexandria and head to Zorbaz on the Lake for Supper. I would suggest ordering the Macho Nachoz. They are delicious! 8:30 p.m. :: Walk over to Lure and grab a nightcap, the Pomegranate Margarita is a perfect summer drink.


8:30/10:00 p.m. :: Check into your hotel. I can recommend both Arrowwood Resort and Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott.



Saturday 8:00 a.m. :: Wake up and get ready for the day! 9:00 a.m. :: Drive downtown and stop at Roer’s Family Bakery on Broadway. Pick up a tasty donut or pastry for breakfast.




HOME? Talk to Natalie at

Natalie Tuchscherer

9:30 a.m. :: Walk three minutes south on Broadway to The Edge Co. Sit and enjoy a handcrafted coffee or mimosa. Take some time to browse the beautiful selection of home goods and clothing. 10:00 a.m. :: Take the remainder of the morning to enjoy the local shops in downtown Alexandria. A few of my favorites include Kindred People for women’s clothing, Bazara for home goods and decor, and Raw and Co. for natural and organic skincare and beauty products. Be sure to stop by Nice Juicery and purchase a hand-pressed juice for Sunday morning!

VP/Mortgage Lender


Saturday C O N T I N U E D

12:00 p.m. :: Drive out to Bold North Cellars, home of Carlos Creek Winery, 22 Northmen Brewing and Stoke Wood-Fire Pizza. Enjoy a glass of wine or a cold beer and some pizza in the sun. A few of my favorites are: the Hot Dish Red, a sweet red wine; the Salted Lime Cerveza, a Mexican light lager; and the Chicken Carbonara pizza.


2:00 p.m. :: Drive to Lake Darling Resort and pick up your pontoon boat for the afternoon. Spend some time cruising around Lake Darling and other connected lakes. Be sure to dock at Arrowwood Resort and grab a drink! STOK E WO O D-FI RE PIZ ZA

5:00 p.m. :: Return the pontoon and head back to your hotel to shower off and get ready for dinner. 7:00 p.m. :: Have dinner at 6th Ave Garden Bar. I highly recommend the charcuterie board. 8:30 p.m. :: If you’re feeling up to it head to Copper Trail Brewing for a drink and board games. I have tried the Pink Passion Sour and the Lakeside Wheat with Orange and enjoyed both!


8:30/10:00 p.m. :: Head back to your hotel for a great sleep after a busy day.



Sunday 8:00 a.m. :: Wake up and enjoy your juice from Nice Juicery. If you’re staying at Fairfield Inn, have the continental breakfast and coffee, or at Arrowwood Resort, sit down for breakfast at 2100 Chophouse.


9:30 a.m. :: Check out of your hotel and head to your last adventure of the trip — Lake Carlos State Park. 10:00 a.m. :: Spend a few hours hiking and exploring Lake Carlos State Park. In the winter we hiked the loop around Hidden Lake. It was so beautiful, and I imagine the views are incredible in the summer as well. 12:00 p.m. :: Leave Alexandria. Travel time to Fargo-Moorhead: 1 hour, 40 minutes.

Alexandria has a little bit of everything: delicious food and drink, cute local stores and shops, and great places to get outdoors. If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Fargo-Moorhead but want to stay close to home, Alexandria is a great weekend getaway for you! [ aw ]

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Growing Family at WO R DS & P H OTO GRAPHY : A R E A WO MA N STA FF


The southwest corner of 40th Avenue and Sheyenne Street in West Fargo is a hub of activity.

Jodi Kallias and her husband Brett started SheyWest in 2020. For Jodi, this place was about to bloom into a lifelong project from the heart. Raised by a family of entrepreneurs, Jodi thought she would try to do the 9 to 5, weekends free life as an architect. But when Jodi became involved with Brett’s landscaping business in 2010, she found a beautiful calling. Twelve years later, Jodi and Brett have a growing family and growing company. SheyWest is a sunny expanse with shade in the right places including several greenhouses. Most weekends, local musicians perform live and there’s usually a fun food vendor or snow cone truck on the premises during the summer. Indoor retail spaces are dedicated to home décor, seeds, house plants and more.

Outside is where the magic happens this time of year. Jodi and her staff take pride in helping customers develop a “plant palette.” A plant palette builds a landscape using the color and shape of the leaves and flowers and their blooming cycle. Plants that “talk to each other,” as Jodi says, make a more attractive garden space. Jodi assembled an example of a plant palette, pictured here. She started with a summer blooming maroon leafed coral bell and ended with a boxwood that will provide yearround color. In the mix are two varieties of sedum, a bright red dianthus and switchgrass. The palette relies on a grayish tint to the foliage, with maroons running through most of the plants. Staggered bloom times ensure flowers through most of the season.


August and September are good months to plant if the plantings are adequately watered. There is still plenty of time for trees, shrubs and perennials to establish a hardy root system before the cold returns. The cooler temperatures in the fall help with root establishment and the rewards will appear in the spring.

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Jodi Kallias with an example plant palette using plants that work together to make a more attractive garden space.

SheyWest features a variety of family friendly activities. The Little Sprouts program that takes beginning gardeners from seed to harvest, is just wrapping up. Similar classes are offered year-round. On September 16–18, SheyWest will hold their 2nd Annual Apple Smash celebrating the fall season. For more information, visit their Facebook page @sheywestnd. Open 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturdays, and noon – 5 p.m. on Sundays. [ aw ]

LIVE MUSIC PLANT SALE APPLE CIDER + MORE FUN AND FESTIVITIES FOR T H E W H O L E FA M I LY F O R M O R E D E TA I L S + FA L L E V E N T S Fol l ow u s on Faceb o o k @sheywest nd 225 40th Avenue W, West Fargo M-F 9-7, Saturday 9-5, Sunday 12-5



F R E S H F R O M Th e FA R M

School, Backoto ld sc



P H OTO G R A P H Y : A R E A WO MAN STAFF, pexel s. co m


s the kids get ready to head back to school, it’s striking how the “back to school” rituals and classroom experience has changed over the decades. Blackboards and huge flip charts have been replaced with hi-def TV screens projecting information off the teacher’s laptop. Remember the smell of chalk as one lucky student got to clap the erasers? Typewriters and spiral notebooks have been replaced with iPads. The trappings of yesterday’s classrooms are now collector’s items. Vintage globes come in many colors and sizes and are frequently not dated. So how do can you tell the approximate age of a globe? Was Russia the USSR? Are there two Koreas, or just one? How many Germanys?



life happens

o n o u r f lo o r s

Remember spinning the globe, stopping it with your finger, then looking up the place your finger landed in an encyclopedia? Encyclopedias have existed for thousands of years but in the years following World War II, they became somewhat of a status symbol. They were almost always sold door to door, on a payment plan. Encyclopedias fell out of popularity because of the size, expense and inherent lag in information. The 1997 version of the World Book Encyclopedia did not include Google, which started in 1998. Yes, it’s already been almost a quarter of a century since the world met Google! While encyclopedias have mostly disappeared, books in general have remained ubiquitous. Digital alternatives exist for virtually everything ever written, but people still love their books. New books, vintage books from childhood, antique volumes that have survived for a century or more — there’s something about the feel and smell of a book. The Fargo Antiques & Repurposed Market always has a large selection of education related collectables, including The Library, dedicated to books of all kinds. Our dozens of small business vendors search musty basements and dusty attics for unique treasures. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for our upcoming 7th anniversary celebration. There’s always something fresh at the FARM. [ aw ]

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Find more recipes from Haley at or follow her on INSTAGRAM: @grayduckbakes

Savory Smoked Pulled Pork Tacos with Cilantro Lime Sauce WO R DS & P H OTO G R A P H Y : H A L E Y N E L S O N , H A L E Y FR O ST C R EATIVE

These delightful and savory tacos pack a heavy punch, especially during hot summer evenings when you want a light meal that leaves you feeling satisfied. They’re a go-to at the Nelson house because they’re enjoyable to make, loaded with flavor, and they can be made ahead of time for faster meal prep during the week. The mustard and dry rub combination enhances the natural flavors of the meat and also adds a few complementary flavors for a little extra depth. After a few hours in the smoker, the pork will develop a light smoke ring. Pairing the pork with a cool and refreshing cilantro lime sauce and the peppery crunch of fresh red cabbage make each bite of these tacos a delight for the senses. If smoked meats aren’t your thing, simply season the pulled pork, skip the overnight marinade, and head directly to the crock pot. Add in the chicken broth and cook the meat on low until it falls apart. (The general rule is roughly two hours per pound on the low heating setting.) Store leftovers for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

FOR THE PORK 1 3-pound pork shoulder (patted dry) Applewood pellets (or chips) for smoking 1 cup chicken broth FOR THE DRY RUB 4 tablespoons stone ground spicy mustard 2 tablespoons fresh cracked pepper 2 tablespoons garlic salt 2 tablespoons Jack Daniels BBQ Pork Rub FOR THE SAUCE 1 cup light sour cream 4 tablespoons milk 1 lime (juiced) 1 bunch of cilantro (chopped) 2 cloves garlic (fresh, minced) 1 teaspoon pepper ¼ teaspoon salt Dash of cayenne (to taste) TOPPINGS 1 ripe avacado (thinly sliced) 2 radishes (optional, add for extra kick) 1 red cabbage (thinly sliced or chopped) Sprinkle of dill weed (optional) 1 lime (wedged) 1 package Mission Street Tacos Flour Tortillas

THE NIGHT BEFORE Use a brush to coat the pork shoulder in spicy yellow mustard. Apply an even layer of the dry rub mixture and gently pat it in with your hands (depending on the size of the pork shoulder, you may wish to double the amount of dry rub). Place the meat in a Tupperware with a tight lid and set it in the fridge on the bottom shelf to prevent cross-contamination. Note: Dry rubs containing salt draw out the moisture in meat so don’t let it sit too long. I recommend at least 3-4 hours minimum and up to 24 hours maximum. DIRECTIONS 1. Prepare your smoker with the Applewood wood pellets (or chips) and set the temperature to around 225 F. Once your smoker is up to temp, and with the grate fully closed, place the pork shoulder in the center of the rack and close the lid. Leave the pork shoulder on the smoker for roughly two hours. 2. While your pork is in the smoker, gather the ingredients for the sauce and place them in a food processor, blending on the puree setting until the sauce is thick and creamy. If the sauce is too thick, add milk to thin the sauce. (Spice lovers: Add a few extra dashes of cayenne pepper to kick up the heat). 3. Remove the pork from the smoker and finish it in a crock pot. Add in the chicken broth and cook on low until the pork begins to fall apart (around 203 F). Remove excess liquid, reserving 1 to 1 ½ cups of it for later. Shred the pork using a fork and add the remaining liquid back in. 4. When you’re ready to serve, gather the remaining ingredients (the fixin’s) and begin assembling your tacos! [ aw ]



Well Child Exams and Sports Physicals Are Important R E G U L A R LY S C H E D U L E D W E L L C H I L D V I S I T S C A N for Children K E E P Y O U R C H I L D O N T R A C K W I T H VA C C I N AT I O N S and Athletes A N D A D D R E S S A G E - A P P R O P R I AT E H E A LT H I S S U E S WO R DS : SAN FOR D HE ALT H


he sports physical focuses on your well-being as it relates to playing a sport. A well child exam is much more comprehensive and includes reviewing immunization records, medical history and family history. The well child exam also qualifies as a sports physical. The provider also discusses behaviors, school issues and proper nutrition with the child.

Why do annual well child visits “A regular check-up for a child under the age of 18 is often referred to as a ‘well child visit,’” says Dr. Bonnie Kvistad, a pediatrics physician for Sanford Children’s. “These visits help ensure that infants, children and teens are getting the proper care they need to stay healthy. They give the provider, parents and child an opportunity to talk about nutrition, safety, immunizations and many important age-appropriate topics.”

The well child exam is important from newborns up to the age of 18. Dr. Bonnie Kvistad sees children of all ages and discusses parents’ questions about their child.

Immunizations are one of the best, most effective ways to keep you and your family healthy and protected from dangerous illnesses. Ask your physician what your child may need.

When a sports or activities physical is needed

Most young people require a sports physical before they can take part in school athletics or activities — at least when the season is predictable. Dr. Jason Sharp, a physician with Sanford Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Fargo advises that before school starts again, it’s a good idea to schedule a physical for fall sports and activities. “We conduct the regular physical exam, and we also ask specifically about any history of cardiac conditions or heart tests,” he says. “After this past year, we ask more questions focusing on the cardiac and pulmonary perspective. Such as, were you ever diagnosed with COVID and have you experienced any issues when you returned to the sport?” Autumn Nelson, a family nurse practitioner with Sanford Health in Fargo, offers the following helpful tips for parents. The requirement for when and how often



a physical is needed is mandated by each state. It is recommended that these checkups be completed six weeks prior to the start of either the school or activity season that your child is participating in. This six-week period allows time for any additional check-ins needed that may stem from this physical appointment. That may include therapy for an injury that is yet to be fully healed and could possibly limit the child from performing at full health and put them at a greater risk to re-injure themselves.

What a sports & activity physical will check for During the check-in, a nurse or provider will check for several items with an overall goal of understanding the well-being of the child to perform any physical activity. Past medical history is assessed first to be aware of any past illness or surgeries, along with any past injuries or concussions. This checkin will also go through basic height, weight and arm circumference to check for any concerns or abnormalities. Additionally, the appointment includes a mental health check. “Particularly this year, athletes were isolated. They get depressed and sometimes they don’t realize what they are experiencing,” Sharp says. “I have a conversation with them and talk whether they would like more counseling or to discuss it more with their primary care provider.” Sharp adds that now is a good time to check if your child has the appropriate athletic equipment, such as shoes that they walk and train in every single day. It can make a world of difference so they don’t get an injury in the first place.

WE’RE HIRING! Do you want to be an inspiration and impact a child’s life to the fullest?

Come join our team. Young athletes and athletes in high school and college visit with the team at Sanford Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Walk-in Clinic. Stephen Aldred, a physician assistant, is a member of the orthopedic team of specialists.

Differences in physicals based on age Everything that is covered at a young age remains important as a child grows. As the child ages, more in-depth questions about social history such as drug use are addressed. This is a good age to start this discussion and allow parents to be aware and children to understand the risks of their choices. At every sports and activity physical, preventive steps of a healthy lifestyle, such as eating habits and remaining active, are addressed.

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What parents can take away from these appointments If a child or parent has any questions about how to stretch a certain muscle or do a stretching routine daily at home, primary care providers are qualified to recommend this type of basic therapy. This is also a time to check if a past injury has been fully healed. If the child is still feeling a substantial amount of pain, that is when providers refer them to a physical therapist who can go in depth into rehabbing this injury. These young athletes are also told several times that if they take any sort of strong hit to the head they should tell their parents and coaches right away so they can be evaluated for a concussion. Providers and nurses also can recommend sports gear that they think is safer than other products. They also recommend that students take advantage of athletic trainers who are on site at their school. These athletic trainers can go further into preventive gear and care, and things such as taping ankles or wrists. This is also a great time to ask any question that a parent or child may have, even if it is not related to their sport or activity. [ aw ]


right path to a

great experience.



Your healthcare begins at home




chool is back in session, which means that easy transmission of illness is as well. Even with schools making efforts to sanitize surfaces and common spaces, they can be an ideal environment to spread diseases such as the common cold, influenza and mononucleosis, especially in the winter months. Another prevalent illness in school-aged children and one of the most common reasons that kids visit the doctor’s office is strep throat. Strep throat is a highly contagious sickness that is caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes and is primarily spread through activities or actions that involve saliva, like coughing, sneezing or talking. The symptoms and potential diagnosis of strep throat is responsible for sending 15 million people to the doctor every year, but a whopping 80% of tests bring back a negative result. With the average trip to the doctor taking a few hours, the majority of these doctor’s visits are unnecessary and inconvenient for families.



with a


FRIEND! This is where Checkable Health comes in. Checkable is a local company based out of West Fargo that was founded in 2019 by Patty Post. After her own kids dealt with multiple bouts of strep throat, Post was growing tired of the constant drives and long wait times at the doctor’s office, only for a negative test result to come back the majority of the time. After seeing how simple the test was to administer, Post knew that there was an easier way to get people tested and as a result, set out to develop an over-the-counter strep throat test. This test is easy-to-use, accurate, and gives the consumer results in about 10 minutes. Currently, Checkable’s at-home test is undergoing a clinical study that, if approved by the FDA, could hit store shelves by as early as 2023. Through Post's company and mission, consumers will be able to test themselves with accurate, evidence-backed results and make empowered decisions about their health and the health of their families from the comfort of their own home. Easy-to-administer tests, fast results and an app that can connect individuals to healthcare providers means that people can get tested, get diagnosed, and get solutions in a matter of minutes. With extensive research and testing, Post is leading the charge in providing an important healthcare tool that makes testing for strep throat more convenient, affordable and accessible. Checkable is currently looking for pediatric participants for their fall clinical trial. Participating in this trial can advance research for strep throat testing and make the lives of families easier and overall, less stressful. Any interested and willing participants can visit and sign up for a slot at a testing site in their area. Testing is easy, takes a short time to complete, and makes healthcare more accessible for all.

FOR MORE INFORMATION about Checkable’s strep study, as well as podcasts, blogs and other wellness tools and products, visit [ aw ]

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Because someone believed From speech-language pathologist to CEO WORDS : DE N ISE P IN K N E Y PHOTOGRA P H Y : M IK E SM IT H


sensed Jess Franke was special when I called to schedule an interview, and Heather Rushton, admission manager, told me she could not wait to read my story. Intrigued, I asked why. Rushton rattled off how Franke cares for employees, has an open-door policy and makes work a place you want to be.

Five years ago, if you told Franke, 43, she would be CEO of a hospital in Fargo, North Dakota, she would have laughed. Franke was flourishing as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) when her supervisor identified Franke’s leadership potential and she was advanced to a therapy director position.

Career evolution

As a teenager in Jamestown, North Dakota, Franke worked at the Anne Carlsen Center. Inspired by the “Sometimes we have an idea in our head of what our center’s SLPs, she earned her bachcareer path will look like,” Franke says. “That can elor’s and master’s degrees in speech change. Other people might identify something in pathology from Minnesota State you, and it’s important to remain open-minded.” University Moorhead. For the next 15 years, Franke worked in longterm care and at an assisted living facility in the Fargo-Moorhead area, where she exuded passion for neurological disorders. “Serving others brings joy and optimism, which leads to achieving goals,” Franke says.



In 2019, Franke joined Fargo’s brand-new, 42-private bed rehabilitation hospital located at 4671 38th South. There, patients receive treatment for diagnoses, such as brain and spinal cord injuries, amputation, fractures, stroke, and joint replacement, among others. And her career evolved. Within months, Franke’s supervisor recognized her passion and team-building ability. And he encouraged her to consider a director position, focused on business development, marketing and business strategy.

One year later, the hospital was acquired by Post Acute Medical, LLC, (PAM) and her position transitioned to director of strategic initiatives. Once again, Franke’s leadership stood out, and PAM Health’s division president offered to be her mentor.

GET BACK TO CONNECTION! time + talk + together

Nine months later, Franke was named CEO.

Catalyst for change

When Franke became CEO, the hospital was in need of expansion, community involvement and program development. “Jess Franke was the catalyst for change that we needed to push our facility forward,” says PAM Fargo Chief Medical Officer Aaron Robertson, M.D. “She was instrumental in improving every aspect of our system from financial management to patient care quality and patient experience. We would not be where we are today without her strong leadership.”

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As CEO, Franke seeks transparency, actively listens and talks through decisions, so all staff have the same vision. She enthusiastically leads with integrity and encourages student mentorship and teaching opportunities. And Franke lets her team know that she believes in them. Patients undergo three hours of intense therapy daily at PAM Health Fargo, North Dakota’s only state-of-the-art freestanding rehabilitation hospital. Franke encourages staff to be mindful of how their behavior influences patients and coworkers. In times of stress, she reminds them to act like a duck: cool, calm and collected on the surface.

So why choose PAM Health?

PAMily and family

Franke has fostered a “PAMily” environment, where employees are a family and have fun at work. She promotes collaboration and a platform for ideas. A place where people want to work. And stay. In addition to her work family, Franke’s own family consists of her husband, Aaron, and their four children. To recharge and find balance, she intentionally carves out time with her family, likes to travel and stay active. On summer weekends, the family leaves their Fargo home to head for the lake. Because someone believed in her, Franke is always ready to help others see possibilities not yet considered.

OUTPATIENT THERAPY now available Joining the PAM Health team is more than accepting a job — it’s becoming part of our PAMily. We are intentional about creating a culture of caring for our patients and each other. The benefits are great. The pay is competitive. We emphasize professional growth and development. But the real difference is the people. That’s why we call ourselves a PAMily. You work hard and deserve to feel appreciated. A P P LY O N L I N E TO DAY A N D STA RT YO UR N E W J O UR N E Y

4671 38th St S, Fargo | 701-404-5100

[ aw ]



MY SKIN CANCER ‘could have definitely been prevented’ Two-time cancer survivor reflects on skin cancer diagnosis WOR DS : K E L SE Y M IX


P H OTOG R A P H Y : Provi d e d by KR I ST I N E O L S O N a n d E S S E N T I A H E A LT H

ristine Olson, a Fargo resident and Essentia Health employee, was nearly five years in remission from breast cancer when she found out the unthinkable.

She had skin cancer.

Beehler was able to remove all the skin cancer, and Olson had high praise for her focus and attention to detail. She notes that while most health care facilities have a plastic surgeon close the wound after the Mohs procedure, Beehler does this herself because her stitching technique is so amazing.

It was during Olson’s yearly skin check that Essentia Health dermatologist Natalie Kollman, MD, found two spots that looked irregular: one on Olson’s hairline and one near her nose. A biopsy determined that one of those spots — the one near her nose — was basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer. Olson says that her skin went cold hearing “the ‘C’ word.”

NATALIE KOLLMAN, MD, Essentia Health dermatologist.

“During the procedure, I actually asked her if she was a quilter because of how carefully she stitched me up,” Olson jokes. Incidentally, Beehler is an avid quilter.

“I initially thought to myself, ‘Are you kidding me? I survived breast cancer and now skin cancer is going to take me down?’” she recalls.

“Of all the health-related things I had to worry about in my life, I never imagined that skin cancer would be one of them,” Olson says.

“I was sensitive to this diagnosis because of my history, but Dr. Kollman was so kind and reassuring,” Olson adds. “She explained to me that I would need Mohs surgery, and I would not leave that surgery until they got all of the cancer out.”

But skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, and Olson recalls how busy Beehler was that day. She remembers that there were eight other skin cancer patients in the waiting room, all waiting to have this same procedure done.

Mohs surgery is a precise surgical technique used to treat skin cancer. During this procedure, thin layers of cancer-containing skin are progressively removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains.

“If there were eight patients in the waiting room just that day, I can’t imagine how many skin cancer patients Dr. Beehler sees in a year,” Olson says.

Olson’s diagnosis came in late April, and she was scheduled for Mohs surgery with Essentia dermatologist Amanda Beehler, DO, in early May.



A self-described “former sun chaser,” Olson is now incredibly vigilant about protecting herself from the sun’s harmful rays. She is always wearing SPF sunscreen as well as sun-protective clothing, and even has an app on her phone to track the intensity of the sun’s UV rays.

KRISTINE OLSON after the Mohs ↗ procedure with stitches near her nose.

AMANDA BEEHLER, DO, Essentia Health dermatologist who performed Olson's procedure.

KRISTINE OLSON (right) with her family.

STEP 1: Discuss hot flashes, night sweats,

brain fog, sleep problems and weight gain with friends.

She has also passed this vigilance along to her family. The mother of two has brought each of her children into the dermatologist to check their skin. She also made her husband go in for a skin cancer check, where he had a precancerous portion of skin on his thigh removed. Olson says that she and her family will continue to go in for skin checks and cautions everyone to be proactive about protecting their skin. “Getting breast cancer was pretty much out of my control, but my skin cancer could have definitely been prevented,” she says. “Take care of your skin and if you have concerns, make that appointment to get your skin checked.” To make an appointment for your skin check, call Essentia Health at 701-364-8900.



Book Heather for a Women’s Hormone and Wellness Consult.

RPh, PharmD

Text “Hormone” to 701-365-6050 to learn more or go to 2345 25th Street South, Fargo | 701-365-6050 |


is now at 2600 52 nd Ave S, Fargo, ND

hair pieces FI T TO YO UR ST YLE

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Skin growth that increases in size Mole, birthmark or spot that changes color, size or texture Spot or sore that itches, hurts, crusts, scabs or bleeds Open sore that doesn’t heal within three weeks

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[ aw ]


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LEELA & LAVENDER Handbags in all shapes and sizes to transition from summer to fall!


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SCHEELS HOME & HARDWARE 3202 13th Ave S, Fargo 701-232-8903

3202 13th Ave S, Fargo : 701-232-8903





A N N A SET HR E, I nd ep e nd ent

H A IR A ND M A K E U P : S I E D E H N E PE T E R, S ie de Beau t y

P H OTO G R A P H Y A ND R E TO U C H ING : H A L E Y NELS ON, Haley Frost C rea ti ve K Y R A BA H L S , U l t i m a te I m a g e, L LC

FLO RA L DE SIG N : ST E PHAN IE L E IN IN G E R , B ot a n i c a F l o r i st r y M O DELS : MAR IS SA T U R R U BIAT E S , Ultimate Image, LLC

Creating a dream with artistry and craftsmanship

: y t u a e B Wild

Theatre B’s Sizzling Summer Fundraiser & Community Concert

August 11 | 6-9pm For more information & tickets visit

Season 2022-2023 Keely and Du by Jane Martin An Act of God by David Javerbaum The Nether by Jennifer Haley Small Mouth Sounds by Bess Wohl


our lives are filled to the brim with so much noise that it can feel nearly impossible to find a calm moment to recharge. Whether it be from the incessant bombardment of notifications or the looming pressure of our daily lives, we’re constantly being yanked in an array of different directions and, simply put, it’s exhausting. Our team, Steph Leininger (Botanica Floristry) and Haley Nelson (Haley Frost Creative), sought to create an immersive body of work that amplifies the captivating beauty and serene qualities of the woodlands that surround us, with the hope that the viewer will embark on a personal journey to find a moment of peace and rejuvenation. We came together after months of careful conceptualizing and brainstorming to create an editorial shoot that not only honors our beloved industries but celebrates the many talented creators who share our enthusiasm for dreaming big and going beyond the call of day-to-day work to inspire others.

.... ....

at the F. A . R . M .



sdozens of vendors

-> ANTIQUES BCollectibles furniture µ repurposed


new items daily h o l i d ay h ay l o f t

fa rgo antiques & repurposed ma rke t

5258 51st AVE S, STE 300, FARGO [right off 52nd Ave S]

701 · 356 · 9199 www.farman

Z Open Daily 10-6

Thurs 10-9, Sun 12-6



bestue antoiqre st 2020-2021

Our vision

was to collaborate with a collective group of talented artists, stylists and models who share our passion for fine artistry and craftsmanship. We sought to work with individuals who had playful energy and who clearly love what they do for a living. Each participant brought something special to the table and, together, we created a body of work that went beyond our expectations. Early on in the process, we knew we had to start formalizing our thoughts and organizing them in a way that helped us move on from concept to concept without losing a single detail. Steph used mood boards to help visually describe the aesthetic she was hoping for with her set design. For Haley, it was about critically thinking through each image and mapping out the technical details along with the creative direction of each pose. Once we had our ideas down on paper, we began refining them down into one cohesive story with a concrete set of wireframes, lighting diagrams, and mood boards. Steph composed a fully-immersive set design and wearable florals using only sustainably sourced flowers from primarily American growers. Over the course of several hours, Steph intentionally placed each individual stem to create a stunning free-flowing, organic forest atmosphere that captures the true essence of the wild. She used eco-friendly mechanics to carefully add layers to her design to add depth and volume to the overall aesthetic, completely elevating her artistry. Sustainability is at the heart of everything Steph does at Botanica Floristry, no matter the event or occasion. Siede Hne Peter of Siede Beauty joined our team early on in the process and delighted us with her intentionality and connection to our initial concept and design. She took our vision and, through her expert hair styling and flawless makeup application, she was able to bring our ideas to life

Fly is more than a workout: IT ’S A LIF EST YLE . You’ll come to move your body and sweat, but you’ll leave with more, feeling inspired and strong from the inside out.

through our talented models Marissa Turrubiates and Kyra Bahls (from Ultimate Image, LLC) and Anna Sethre (independently represented). We were inspired by the way each model connected with the set design and how they came together as a group to elevate the narrative. Production for our shoot lasted roughly six hours but, for Haley, the task isn’t finished once the camera switches off. Each image underwent a thorough editing process and, with ultra-fine precision, Haley carefully performed micro-retouching to ensure that the integrity of each model’s skin remained fully intact. The philosophy behind micro-retouching differs from photographer to photographer, however, for Haley, the process is about preserving the integrity and uniqueness of each model’s skin while minimizing temporary blemishes like scratches, bumps, and bruises, or acne. The process is incredibly involved but the thrill of solving a technical challenge is unbeatable. We wanted to step outside of our norm to do something different, something that challenged us to dream bigger and reach further than we have before. This shoot would not be what it is without each individual contributing their absolute best. We challenged ourselves to create an immersive experience that was delightful and surreal, something you could bring to any event, branding or space. [ aw ]

fly | a fitness revolution


»» y o u r f i r s t c l a s s i s f r e e

two locations: fly fargo 235 roberts st n | fly osgood | 4674 40th ave s | class schedule available on MindBody Online

Dear wondering women, WO R DS : J E S S I CA H O E PE R

Hi Jess, I want to wonder about “meant-to-be moments.” You know, the moments where you feel sure that something was meant to be. I wonder if everyone

is able to notice them or appreciates them? Sincerely, Kelly

G R A P H IC : freep i k . co m

Dear Kelly,

What a fun wondering! I am like you, I am certain meant-to-be moments happen, and I am certain they happen for everyone. But the key is to notice them. To notice them and to not brush them off as “mere coincidence.” I think meant-to-be moments show up in many forms — through circumstances, through people, through nature, etc. Through people, the meant-to-be moments show up when your heart meets another’s and you just know you are meant to be in each other’s lives. Meant-to-be moments show up in circumstances. How many times have you heard people say, “Wow, I was in the right place at the right time”? This is so true. We often do experience the feeling of “right place, right time” as a meant-to-be moment. But I often wonder how much of the before that moment we also notice or consider? Meant-to-be moments are often very intertwined with many other meant-to-be moments, but maybe not all moments give



the grand effect feeling. I had an ordinary experience that put some of this together for me. I drive my kids to school every day. One morning that started like any other morning, we got into the car to leave. I spilled my coffee all over, so we left mere moments later than planned. I picked up the mug and decided I would clean it thoroughly later. As we were driving, a deer ran in front of my car and I missed it by moments. As we continued on our way, my daughter said, “Spilling your coffee must have ruined your morning.” I’m not sure if I was crabby, but very likely without my coffee, I was. I almost agreed with her, but realized in that moment that, “No, spilling my coffee did not ruin my day, in fact it was likely meant-to-be! You see, I

didn’t hit the deer, which, given moments sooner, I most certainly would have!” Also, I would not have been gifted the opportunity to talk with my kids about noticing the meant-to-be moments (even the ordinary ones) in their lives. I have also experienced grand meant-to-be moments, but this seemingly ordinary experience was also heart changing. I believe that the noticing and appreciation of meant-to-be moments, big and small, may actually enhance our awareness that we are meant to be. We are meant to be a part of this beautiful, messy, amazing, grand world. Those moments, (like the spilled coffee/missing the deer moments) encourage me to reflect daily on the many moments of that day, so I can see the interwoven meant-to-be moments that weave my days together.

Every professor went above and beyond to ensure I had all the resources, connections, and complete understanding of each lesson. Anyone who goes through this new graduate program will be equipped with the tools to succeed. – Dru Perry, 2022, Criminal Justice

Thank you, Kelly, for participating in this wonderous space. You are appreciated, and sparking readers to notice their meant-to-be moments today.




You can participate in “Dear Wondering Women” by emailing in your questions. We can join in honest, real and love-filled conversation around our shared wonderings. Write to me with your “wondering whys.” Let’s collectively as women share this wonder-filled journey of life together! You can email questions to me at Can’t wait to connect! Your “wondering” may be featured in an upcoming issue! [ aw ]

Progress with a Criminal Justice Graduate Degree MSUM’s new MA in Criminal Justice will prepare you for career advancement in law enforcement, courts, corrections, probation, parole, and victim advocacy. Take classes how you want – online or in person. Check out all of MSUM’s graduate offerings at

Minnesota State University Moorhead is an equal opportunity educator and employer and is a member of the Minnesota State system.



tea party

c i g a m Creating summer memories they’ll never forget


Princesses, dollies

and dress-up. These are just a few of the things that come to mind when I think of having some sweet imaginative play. When Mama is asked to participate, my go to suggestion is to have a tea party. I adore watching kids in imaginative play. Seeing their creative minds at work. Hearing their little voices change when playing characters. That makes a top five list of my favorite sounds. As Mom I can help add just a little sparkle to that beaming shine of make-believe magic. Certainly

Follow Cori on INSTAGRAM: @corijensen00

not reinventing the wheel, however I hope this article helps spur a little creativity in ways that add a pinch of pixie dust to make the memories stand the test of time. For six summers I’ve established a tradition with my girls, hosting “fancy” tea parties in our rose garden. Fancy is in the eye of the beholder, no doubt. Our little garden with rose bushes has many other varieties of flowers so we’ve never needed the roses to be blooming to play in there. My oldest son used to join me while I futzed around gardening as he’d show off his massive Lego creations. And my other son would often “crash” the fancy tea party, knees covered in dirt and holstering a squirt gun. So, I say the more the merrier in hosting whatever kind of party you’d like. Degree of fancy is your preference.

Here are some of our favorite “inspo” pieces to up the party potential.

Capturing all your family’s milestones

from belly and beyond

701.893.9178 |


Substitute the imaginary tea and cookies for the real deal. Fan favorites in our party are macaroons and lemonade.

Table Scape:


Tea cups and saucers. Will they chip or get broken? Maybe. But this is where I come in with my money-saving hack. Thrift shopping is excellent for finding the pretty china that your grandma displayed with strict no-touch rules. For pennies on the dollar you can simply not stress and just enjoy the fun.


Table clothes and blankets. We love to go picnic style when we do our parties. So we lay down blankets, use table tops or stools as our tables and cover in table runners or doilies. Many of these you can also thrift. Bonus points for not having to worry about staining or ruining things.


Flowers. If you do or don’t have a flower garden, I suggest adding some fresh stems of your favorites to the table.


Napkins. Cloth or fancy paper napkins are so fun to include. My new detail this year included personalized napkins.


Let them be fancy! The Easter dress that was only worn for a few hours. The flower girl dress that still hangs in the closet. Say yes to the dress! Fancy headbands, hats and bows up the ante. For a splash of glamour, add gloves and jewelry, maybe even lipstick. And, finally, take pictures and video. I hope whatever fancy party you create will be like fireflies in your memory bank. Have fun and cheers! [ aw ]

Bringing couples


to Love

Wendy Regner, LPC marital and

relationship counseling preparation, enrichment, crisis response and more * 4654 Amber Valley Parkway, Fargo * 701-541-4092



Picky Eating WORDS A ND PHOTOG R A P H Y :


Our seven-year-old recently announced that he is a vegetarian; and his diet will be thus: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Chicken nuggets Hot dogs, bun optional Hard-boiled eggs White carbs (all) Babybel cheese Every kind of sweet to ever exist Fruits and vegetables

To protect his vegetarianism, Seven has determined that he is allergic to anything not on the list — which is often a surprise to people who will watch him eat a hardboiled egg, only to be “allergic” to scrambled. Also, he is only a vegetarian at home because he likes his school’s walking tacos. Our ten-year-old, on the other hand, will eat (or at least try) whatever is served to him; but, if given the opportunity, will choose one of the following:

1. 2. 3.

Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos (five words no mother has ever willingly strung together) 5-for-$1 ramen Macaroni and cheese

As you can imagine, I (their loving mother and household cook) have been dismayed over their food choices. Having determined that all parenting challenges are the karmic return of whatever was inflicted on one’s own parents, I was lamenting to my husband that we should have two of the greatest eaters in history because I have always eaten basically everything in the world — when it dawned on me that Ten’s garbage palate is actually my karmic fault. Here’s why:

Follow Amanda on INSTAGRAM & FACEBOOK: @nodaknice TWITTER: @MrsAmandaGail WEBSITE:



Back in the days when a breakfast of Lucky Charms qualified as “eating the rainbow” of the food pyramid, my mother was magically-deliciously into tofu dinners and sliced cucumber snacks. On more than one occasion, she tried to convince my little sister and me that carob was the same as chocolate (carob is a punishment, not a dessert). Not only was processed food not in her vocabulary, we were one of the last families to get a

microwave because she read during the Red #40 f you’ve got room in1980s yourthat home — and your scandal of the microwaves sucked all heart the nutrients out of vegetables. — to help of a child in need, Nexus-PATH Family

Healing can help. Learn more about fostering today at “Your mom is a genius,” you may be thinking. “You and your sister must have been the healthiest children on the planet.” Well, just like my son and his Doritos Locos Tacos — you can lead the horse to water, but you can’t keep her from getting her Kool-Aid somewhere else.

Which is what we did. My sister and I strategically chose our friends based on their access to processed food. If you were a kid in Grand Forks between 1987 and 1992 and your parents served SpaghettiOs, chances are we ate at your house. We knew the exact amount of time it would take to walk down to Valley Dairy, get two (Red #40-filled) freezer pops, and eat them before our mother came looking for us. Also, I played soccer just for the McDonald’s orange drink. Obviously, at some point, I became my mother. Specifically, when my oldest was born and I unexpectedly found myself blending up avocados and apples with my Baby Bullet because “I wasn’t sure what was in that store-bought baby food.” (P.S., store-bought baby food is great. Also, that same kid once licked both a car tire and a lid from a can of turpentine, so the avocado was more of a nice thought.) At the same time I started going all-in on becoming my mother, my mom went full grandma and started buying food flavored “blue.” By the time my second child bounced into the picture (and I was long-past making baby food), my mom and I met somewhere in the middle and came to an unspoken understanding that so long as the majority of food is made by nature, the rest can come from Taco Bell. However, while this “a lot of good, a bit of crap” plan has worked well with my eldest, it hasn’t been a success recipe for my little vegetarian. After trying basically every method in the parenting book — bribes, letting him help cook, sitting at the table until time and space have no meaning — I’m now onto hoping and praying that he’ll realize one day that variety is the spice of life. Until then, I’m going to keep Googling “Is it bad to eat only peanut butter sandwiches and nothing else?” [ aw ]

When a teen sees no way forward. You can foster hope. If you’ve got room in your home — and your heart — to help a child in need, Nexus-PATH Family Healing can help. Learn more about fostering today at



Things Worth Fighting For Thursday, September 29th

7:00 PM | RAMADA BY WYNDHAM FARGO Please register at: or by calling 701.237.4473




a place for family



From left to right, back row: Heather Forbord, Angie, Sonia, Jennifer Brandt and Cori (front).

You don’t have to be a blood relative to be a part of the family at CCRI.” — SHANNON BOCK

The bonds we form with our family are some of the most impactful bonds we will experience. Whether chosen, found, or related, a family can shape a life and be a constant source of support and love. CCRI is no stranger to the impact family can have. With CCRI’s person-centered focus, strong and lasting relationships are built among clients and staff that help fulfill CCRI’s mission: enhancing and enriching lives. Of course, the bonds between staff and clients aren’t the only displays of family at CCRI — relatives and spouses work together at CCRI too. Jennifer Brandt, finance director, and her wife Heather Forbord, HR coordinator, are one

Shannon Bock and Kaitlyn Bock with Cori.

example of a family working together at CCRI. They share they are both very passionate about the work they do both in the office and working directly with people we support. Forbord relates, “to be able to share that with those that are closest to you, and that they can relate too, is a pretty big thing.”



Executive Director Shannon Bock and her daughter Kaitlyn, who works in the mental health program, are also familiar with the motivation of shared passions, as well as shared experiences. Kaitlyn says one of the most interesting parts of working with a family member is the unique opportunity to know the people CCRI supports and build relationships with them from a very early start. Bock recalls “looking back to some of the people in the 28 years I’ve been here who remember Kaitlyn as a two-year-old.” Kaitlyn says she basically grew up at CCRI. She got to be a part of other people’s families growing up and they still work here. “They are kind of like a second family.” Not only does working with a family member bring a new perspective and experience, it also helps challenge preconceived ideas. Brandt reveals that “Heather’s passion with the people she works with has impacted my view of family. Before I probably would have told you family is my parents, my siblings, my cousins. Now, to me, family is somebody that you’re willing to spend your time to help, to be with, and to support in any way.” It’s difficult to provide accessibility to enrichment and fulfillment without care and compassion. At CCRI, these traits are encouraged and have the opportunity to grow, just as the idea of family might. Kaitlyn has taken on multiple roles during her time with CCRI and this experience has allowed her to see the many different types of family structures within the organization. “The individuals that live together in the 24-hour care homes, they’re a family.” Within all the interactions and experiences at CCRI that Kaitlyn, Bock, Forbord and Brandt have had, it is all possible because of the kind of people involved. When asked why CCRI is a good fit for her family, Bock’s answer is simple: the people. The people who are invested in each other's lives and do what they can to create a positive impact on it. The family of CCRI is ever expanding and with each new member added, their impact in the fulfillment of lives is felt. [ aw ]


6:00 – 7:15 PM each Tuesday "When Mourning Dawns" is our six-week series that looks at the seasons of the year to guide our conversations about the seasons of your grief. Preregistration is required and space is limited. Please call or email us if you have questions or interest in this series. for more info: These meetings are led by our Grief Support Coordinators Sonja Kjar and Ann Jacobson.




selfless love


Hello! My name is Hannah Herzog. I am 23 years old, and I live in Osakis, Minnesota. I have been married to my wonderful husband for two years. I met my husband through an on-campus ministry called Chi Alpha on the campuses of NDSU and MSUM. I grew up in a small town on a dairy farm — I am convinced I had the best childhood. I was adopted into a Christian family ten days after I was born. I have two older sisters who are also adopted. I was adopted through Christian Adoption Services (formally known as Christian Family Life Services) of Fargo. For me, being adopted was just another piece of who I am like how my hair is blond and my eyes are blue. It was a very known fact to all my friends and family that myself and my two sisters were all adopted. We are all adopted from different families. To me, being adopted was an exciting thing to tell others as they were always curious to know more.

↑ Hannah Herzog with her adoptive parents.

Hannah Herzog and her husband.

I always knew I was adopted. I cannot tell you an exact time when my parents told me. I just have always known. This is one of the best gifts you can give your child. Total transparency on the fact that they are adopted. I have experienced when people have been told later in life that they are adopted, and this is the time that confusion can happen. Growing up, I did not know a lot about my birth family. I did not have a strong desire to ask a lot of questions. My parents were open with us asking questions if we did have them, but I really didn’t start wondering about them until I was quite a bit older (in high school). Every adoptee is different in wondering about their biological family. Myself and my two sisters are all different in the questioning we have about our biological family. Every adoption story has its own unique way and there is no “right” way that a story must go. I think a typical stereotype of adoptees is that they think they are unwanted or unloved because they were placed for adoption. I believe the exact opposite. I am loved double by my biological family and the family that adopted me. To me, it brings tears to my eyes knowing a family prayed for me to join their family and another family prayed that I would be given the best life possible. I am loved by a family that opened their arms, hearts and home to call me their own child. I am also loved by a family that gave me the gift of life and was willing to put their own desires aside to give me the best life that they thought they could.

Recently, a few years back, I had the opportunity to meet my biological father. This does not happen for every adoptee. I have many friends and family members that are adopted that have not had this opportunity. Every story is unique and beautiful in how the Lord has designed it. I was able to meet my biological father with my dad and mom when I was 18 years old. It was a time filled with tears, peace, questions and answers. My birth father had felt guilt and fear towards my reaction and thoughts about him for the last 18 years. He thought I would be angry and “hate” him for letting me go. But the only feelings I have ever felt towards him was total love and gratitude. He was one of the reasons that I am here — alive and breathing! That is a gift that I will never take for granted. He said the following about meeting me: “The day I saw her walking towards me with a huge smile, I was prepared to bawl like a little child. Instead, we hugged and 18 years of the worst feelings I have been carrying about me disappeared. Having her say she never even had one thought of hate or anything negative towards me, only one word came to mind: forgiveness. That day saved me for the rest of my life. Hannah’s mother has given me countless pictures and stories of Hannah growing up. I cannot thank them enough for how they have welcomed me into their lives.” Over the past few years, I have begun to develop a deep desire to tell my story on how beautiful adoption can be. Is it always easy? No. Is it worth it? 100%. My greatest wish for birthparents is to have them know and understand the beauty of giving their child life. I will forever be grateful that I was given the opportunity to live life and live it to the fullest. Birthparents are some of the greatest examples of the selfless love of another. They are willing to go through pain, heartbreak and carrying a child for nine months to place this beautiful child in the arms of another. Who knows how this child will impact the world? My greatest wish for adoptive parents is for them to know that they are their child’s parents. These are some of my favorite people in the world because I have seen firsthand how they will do anything to bring a sweet babe into their family. They are willing to go through the waiting, financial strain, and anything else to bring a precious life into their family. Keep loving these beautiful children — this is how the world will be changed by your love.

I am going to give you a poem that I believe sums up beautifully the way that adoption is a gift to all involved: the birth family, parents and adoptee.

A Legacy of Two Mothers: UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

Once there were two women who never knew each other. One, my darling, is your birth mom and the other is your mother. Two different lives, shaped to make yours one. One became your guiding star; the other became your sun. The first gave you life, and the second taught you to live it. The first gave you a need for love, and the second was there to give it. One gave you a nationality; the other gave you a name. One gave you the seed of talent, the other gave you aim. One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears. One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried your tears. One chose adoption. It was all she could do. The other prayed for a child, and God led her straight to you. And now you ask me through your tears, the age-old question through the years; heredity or environment, which are you the product of? Neither, my darling, neither. Just two different kinds of love. — AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Adoption. What a beautiful gift. I have experienced selfless love throughout my entire life by two families. Two families that gave all they could to give me the best life that they possibly could give. One family who was praying countless prayers for a baby and the other who prayed countless prayers that I would be placed in another’s loving arms. I really believe adoptive and biological parents are some of the strongest, most loving people in the world. They love without limit and love through tears, pain and pure joy. What a blessing it is to be loved by so many people — those who get to watch me grow up and by those who may never know my name. There is no other love quite like it besides the love that Jesus shows us.

Love, Hannah Herzog 1 CORINTHIANS 16:14

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Resource officer connects with community P H OTO G R A P H Y : DAV E A R N TS O N


ordan Werk loved reading Nancy Drew mystery novels as a young girl. She was drawn to the various Law & Order series on television. Few things captured her attention as fully as those stories connected to criminal justice and law enforcement. “I am one of the lucky people,” she says. “I knew early on this is what I was supposed to do.” Today Werk is one of three school resource officers in the Moorhead School District. Her primary responsibilities are at Horizon Middle School, where she teaches DARE and serves as a liaison between the police department and the school district. “We show kids that we’re not there to arrest people, but to keep people and the community safe,” she says. “We’re making connections and building relationships.” Before becoming a law enforcement officer, Werk attended Minnesota State University Moorhead, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and completed two internships in law enforcement and restorative justice. Those experiences secured her belief that she belonged in the field. “I was always interested in trends and how we can prevent crime,” she says. “And I knew I didn’t want to be behind a desk. I wanted to be out in the community.”



We show kids that

we’re not there to arrest people, but to keep people and the community safe. We’re making connections and building relationships.” Jordan Werk

About a quarter of MSUM students who study criminal justice become certified as peace officers in Minnesota after completing a law enforcement skills course, says Geraldine Hendrix-Sloan, a professor in MSUM’s sociology and criminal justice department. Other graduates secure jobs in a variety of related fields: courts, corrections, probation, parole and victim advocacy. In addition to an undergraduate degree in criminal justice, MSUM will begin offering a master’s program in criminal justice in spring 2023. The program will allow students and

professionals to broaden their opportunities — some agencies grant automatic promotions or increased salaries with additional education. The customized one-year program also will encourage those in the field to conduct original research that could improve agencies. “We’ll guide students on how to conduct research that could be grant funded,” says Joel Powell, coordinator of the graduate program. “We want them to be able to assess and evaluate their programs and others. We want them to approach criminal justice research with a critical eye.”

Werk has been an officer with the Moorhead Police Department since 2016. She loves the work because she sees it as a calling to help people. Especially in her role as a school resource officer, she seeks ways to understand and address the root causes of misbehavior instead of looking for ways to punish those who act out. “I’m always asking, is there something that would help? What’s causing the behavior? It’s like a puzzle,” she says. “You never see the same thing twice.” As an officer, Werk says she needs to be able to multitask and think quickly. Some of those skills are refined on the job — experience is a valuable teacher. But Werk also applies the lessons and theories she studied in her sociology and criminal justice courses. It helps her think more deeply about human behavior.

Tuesday, September 27 - 6:30pm

Werk stands out because she is calm, conscientious and has a love of service, says Hendrix-Sloan. Her experience is particularly valuable because women represent less than 16% of all sworn officers. “Werk is to be commended on her ability to balance her service for her community with her role as a mom and peace officer,” Hendrix-Sloan says. Some research suggests that women bring a different skillset to law enforcement — a stronger ability to focus on communication and deescalation of conflict, Hendrix-Sloan says. Werk says that as a female officer and a mother of four young children, she can connect better with some people. For example, a female victim of domestic assault may only want to talk to another female. At times, Werk may see a situation differently than her male colleagues. “In law enforcement, we need people who bring a variety of ideas and experiences to the table,” Werk says. “That’s what makes us all more effective.”

uplifting I’m


The role of law enforcement is complex and challenging. Typically, officers interact with people who are having one of the worst days of their lives. In Werk’s role as a school resource officer, she gets to see middle school students and staff on their good days, too. “That’s important,” she says. “This is truly a calling.” [ aw ]

cover story

the Heart of a Mother x

C helsey Stra nd



 v r e S o t to Love is d x

for as long a she can remember, serving others has been central to Chelsey Strand’s heart. Her earliest memories of volunteering as a child are of being “Grandma’s helper” while her grandmother played organ and sang at local nursing homes. Strand fondly remembers entertaining the residents and leading them in the chicken dance, which, of course, brought great joy and delight to all in attendance. What started as such a joyous experience quickly emerged as a core element of her personality. Being mindful of living as Christ’s hands and feet in this world, Strand’s life has been molded around the words of Jesus that “by this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)



n high school Strand’s servant heart prospered through key club and national honor society, as well as in mission projects through her church and serving at her Bible camp. This unwavering commitment to supporting her community started young and has just kept growing. Serving isn’t just something Strand enjoys doing, it is something she needs to do. “There are just so many various and wonderful ways our cities need support. I can’t not be involved,” she says. Her incredible involvement, both professionally and personally, led to her being nominated and then titled 2022 North Dakota Mother of the Year through American Mothers, Inc. With her husband Tyler, daughter Raelyn (2 1⁄2) and son Lincoln (1) cheering her on, Strand is thrilled to hold this title and bring dignity, honor and recognition to the role of motherhood and to the critical ways in which moms shape community. After graduating from West Fargo High School in 2010, she, like many teenagers, floundered for a bit before enrolling at MSUM to pursue a degree in social work. While in school she also began working for CHI Friendship as a direct support professional, assisting adults with special needs. “I was able to empower individuals to live independently in their homes, be engaged and active members of their community, and meet their personal goals,” she says. This work, which she loved for over nine years, deepened her commitment to those who might be overlooked in the community and opened her eyes to the plethora of needs and opportunities for service surrounding her. While studying abroad in Spain in the summer of 2013, Strand began dating her classmate Tyler, who is now her husband. Both were pursuing degrees in social work, and later decided to

attend UND together to attain their master’s degrees. With her master’s fresh in hand, Strand took a position at the Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center and what is now known as the Sanford Center for Bleeding and Clotting Disorders (located within Roger Maris) while her husband took a position serving students at Minnesota State Community and Technical College. In her role at Roger Maris, Strand walked alongside families and individuals that were impacted by oncology, hematology and bleeding disorder diagnoses. Working directly with individuals, children and caregivers, Strand was exposed to the vast need for assistance and resources people all over the state of North Dakota were experiencing.

There are just so many various and wonderful ways our cities need support. I can’t not be involved.” 52


Strand’s love for these patients and their families led to her involvement on the Board for Bleeding Disorders Alliance of North Dakota (BDAND). Since its beginning in 2015, this alliance has assisted patients who are directly impacted by a bleeding disorder with financial, emotional and community support. Through walks, annual meetings and educational events, BDAND brings awareness to a wide variety of bleeding disorders. Kids and adults who suffer from chronic bloody noses, unusually heavy menstrual cycles or easy bruising might unknowingly be dealing with a bleeding disorder. As awareness increases, so can diagnoses and therefore medical intervention. Because these disorders are unusual (not rare, but not common), they are often suffered in isolation. A major benefit this organization brings to families is the knowledge that there are others who experience the same thing, as well as the opportunity to network with them. When they gather for events, a child can talk to other kids who have similar

lifestyle adjustments and medical treatments due to their bleeding disorder. Moms and dads can sit with other moms and dads and experience camaraderie. Sometimes the greatest words a person can hear are, “I’ve been where you are. I understand how you feel.” BDAND provides that for kids and adults around the state and parts of Western Minnesota, and helping to provide that opportunity for fellowship is what keeps Strand so passionate about the organization. After five years at Roger Maris, smack dab in the middle of a pandemic and nine months pregnant, Strand transitioned within Sanford to Children’s Southwest Clinic, where the need for mental health care has skyrocketed in the last couple of years. As an integrative health counselor, Strand is imbedded in the clinic, which promotes physical and mental well-being in the primary care setting. As she meets with children and their families to develop a plan and identify goals of care, Strand

provides mental health therapy, connects patients to resources within the community, and provides crisis management services. Due to the increased need in mental health services since the pandemic, wait times have lengthened and access to service has become more difficult. Strand enjoys working towards bridging the gaps in care and is grateful to be part of the patient’s primary care team, helping them to access services in a timely manner and empowering them to overcome barriers. Not only did Strand change jobs during the pandemic, but she also had her first baby shortly after the shut-downs began. “Talk about loneliness. I was a brand-new mom desperate for community, and there was nowhere to go and nothing to do.” So, rather than letting her loneliness get the best of her, she put that ache into action. Looking for a tangible way to bless others, she began Google searching


non-profits she could begin or get involved with during the pandemic. One night her search led her to an organization based in Wisconsin called Box of Balloons. BOB creates birthday party boxes for children whose families are unable to provide a birthday celebration. Interestingly, both Strand and her co-founder, Katie Dukart, both of Fargo, found the organization on Google and emailed the director in Wisconsin right around the same time. That director put the two of them in touch with each other, and they got busy. Under their dual leadership, in just two short years our local chapter of Box of Balloons has flourished, providing birthday parties for well over 300 children. Each birthday box contains paper products that align with the child’s interests, decorations, a gift, party favors and a cake or cupcakes. Referrals come from community advocates such as teachers, social workers and case managers.

ABOVE: Some of the party supplies included in a Box of Balloons birthday box.

Those who want to donate items, volunteer or sponsor a birthday box

can get connected through the Box of Balloons Fargo Facebook page or email

“there’s no

As moms, we are all trying to be the best we can. It’s messy.

perfect .. om M d


etting a front row seat to the generosity of our community is a gift that keeps on giving, as Strand witnesses in her involvement with the Dakota Medical Foundation’s Lend a Hand Up program. Through her encounters over the years with DMF (particularly while she worked at Roger Maris), Strand has had the opportunity to engage with this program and work with families who have benefited from it. Encouraged by DMF’s mission of partnering alongside families in crisis, Strand decided to jump onto the Lend A Hand Up Application committee. The primary role of this committee is to review applications to verify eligibility for fundraising resources, including up to $5,000 of Boost funding per eligible campaign. Because these applications must be submitted through a fundraising champion in partnership with the individual/family benefitting from the campaign, it is inspiring to see so many friends rallying around each other in our city and region. Strand is constantly amazed by the generosity of our community and the resilience of the families with whom she gets to work.

Another creative (and delicious) way Strand serves in the community is through Addie’s Royal Cupcake Stand. For the last five years, she has had the joy of dressing up as Rapunzel and delivering cupcakes to businesses throughout the metro. Strand also participates with the annual cupcake stand, for which 3,000 cupcakes are baked, decorated and sold, with all proceeds going to the Sunshine Foundation, which exists to make dreams come true for chronically/seriously ill, physically challenged or abused children. Founded by Addie Loerzel, a teenager in Moorhead who herself received a life-changing vacation through the Sunshine Foundation, Addie’s Royal Cupcake Stand has now raised enough funds over the years to make ten children’s dream vacations come true. “… I grew up fantasizing about Disney princesses, so Addie's Royal to be able to dress up and be one for a Cupcake Stand day is truly magical,” says Strand. “SeeAugust 9 : 3 – 5:30 PM ing the look on children's faces as they First International grin with excitement to hug and take Bank and Trust pictures with their favorite princess is a 800 30th Ave S, Moorhead joy! Addie has a heart of gold and each addiesroyalcupcakestand. year the cupcake stand gets bigger, as do her fundraising efforts.”

Having a heart that beats with generosity and service, Strand clearly fills many roles and wears many hats. But last summer, the Strand family of three welcomed a new baby boy into their family, giving Strand more opportunities to grow and thrive in her most loved role — that of “mom.” With her unwavering commitment to our commuTo learn more nity coming second only to or get involved with the her commitment to her beauND Chapter of American tiful family, Strand was a natMothers Inc., connect on ural selection for a nomination Facebook or reach out to to the 2022 American Mother’s Inc. (AMI) contest. Since its onset in 1931, AMI has sought to honor mothers for their unconditional love, inner strength and courage, while also providing encouragement and inspiration for the 85 million mothers in the United States. As North Dakota’s Mother of the Year, Strand now has the opportunity to stand up for motherhood and empower moms to see their purpose and dignity in the midst of what can be a grueling, unseen job. The local chapter in Fargo brings mothers together to work on service projects within the community, stressing the importance of the power of maternal energy to make a positive impact in the world. Strand’s advice to every mom everywhere is to simply trust that she is doing her very best. “As moms, we are all trying to be the best we can,” she says. “It’s messy. There’s no perfect mom. We have enough to worry about. We can’t be so hard on ourselves.” Amen and amen. Let’s take a cue from Strand and champion one another, giving honor to our neighbors, our communities, and yes, even ourselves. Let us look for those in our communities who might be less noticed or hurting under the surface. Let us invest in our community, pouring our lives out for the sake of others, because, as the ultimate Servant said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) [ aw ]



books she loves WO RDS : MEG AN ELG IN PHOTO G RAP HY : Karo l i n a Grabowska o n pexel s. co m


hinking about family, this issue also got me thinking about us as women. Mothers, daughters, sisters, friends — what kind of books do we like to read? What brings us joy? While that answer may be different for each person, mine is without a doubt a novel with a happy ending. Judith McNaught, a best-selling historical romance author widely popular in the ‘90s once said “A romance novel should leave readers joyous. My books all have happy endings.” My love of the happy ending began at an early age reading books like “The Babysitters Club” series by Ann M. Martin and “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. That inevitably grew into a love for a good romance, in part because the story always ends in happily ever after, but also because I enjoy the journey the characters face to get there. Romance is one of the best-selling and most profitable fiction genres, so it’s clear I’m not alone in my love for a great love story. And that has encouraged so much diversity and growth in the genre in recent years that there’s a happy ending book for everyone. My mother also loves a good romance novel and I remember her giving me a stack of romances by authors like McNaught, Victoria Holt and Nora Roberts to read when I became a teenager. We continue to pass books back and forth, sharing them as brightly colored gifts we can unwrap to find a bit of joy inside. While most romances have a happy ending, not all books that end in happily ever after are romances. So, I give you a list of books that end with joy.

Area Woman’s resident Bookista, Megan Elgin, serves you up with books worthy of spending your entire afternoon with. Search for Megan on Goodreads or @meganann on Litsy and find out what she’s reading now.

Read one of these books? Tell us what you thought by using #areawomanbooks in your online review or send me an email at



The Bromance Book Club Series by Lyssa Kay Adams

1. The Bromance Book Club 2. Undercover Bromance 3. Crazy Stupid Bromance 4. Isn’t It Bromantic?

The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow

Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” has inspired numerous retellings, adaptions and contemporary remixes, all focused on the star couple Lizzie and Darcy. But, in this version, Hadlow brings the bookish ugly duckling Bennet sister, Mary, to the forefront and transforms her into a heroine worth cheering for. In “Pride and Prejudice,” Mary Bennet comes off as the frustrated intellectual middle daughter, the plain girl who takes refuge in her books and always seems a bit at odds with her prettier, more confident sisters. In her own story, Mary struggles with false expectations and wrong ideas that obscure her true nature. It is only when she learns to accept who she really is that she has a chance to find fulfillment and expect joy. And as she undergoes this evolution, she finds the partner who genuinely loves her for the person she is. I found this version of Mary Bennet to be a complex character who comes to life through her uncertainty, vulnerability and sympathetic nature. Hadlow’s portrayal has given me the story where, through her own acceptance of herself, I came to love Mary Bennet as much as Austen’s original heroines. And in the end, as in all Austen novels, she must decide if her hero is truly the one for her.

“The first rule of book club: don’t talk about book club.” A secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men is the basis of this series. And the idea of a bunch of men getting together to discuss romance novels in order to improve their relationships — but also because they secretly enjoy reading them — is one of the most refreshing concepts for a series of romance novels I’ve seen. Adams plays with common romance novel tropes in this series, simultaneously poking fun at the entire genre while celebrating all the things that make romance so entertaining. Each book in the series follows a different member of the Bromance Book Club as they each find their happily ever after — with the help of the “manuals” (what they call the romance books they read) and their fellow club members. These men are funny, charmingly endearing, a little pig-headed but also thoughtful and kind. They force each other to face their feelings and help bring about a happily ever after for each couple, usually ending with a grand gesture the entire club helps execute. Adams also gives us a dual perspective from the heroine who often doesn’t know about the book club’s antics behind the scenes, making the journey even more entertaining. I think the series gets better as you go with the fourth book, “Isn’t It Bromantic?” being my favorite one yet. Each book can be read as a standalone if you choose, and book five, “A Very Merry Bromance,” will be published on November 1.

Fault Lines by Emily Itami

I simply had to include this book about marriage, motherhood, love and self in this issue. Mizuki is a Japanese housewife in Tokyo. She has a hardworking husband, two adorable children, a beautiful apartment — everything a modern woman could want. So why does she feel so lonely and sad? One rainy night she meets Kiyoshi, a successful restaurateur, and rediscovers who she used to be. As Kiyoshi and Mizuki fall further into their relationship, it becomes clear that she is living two lives and will have to choose between them. A book about infidelity might seem like an odd choice for a happy ending, but at its core this is about a woman struggling as a wife and mother. It’s relatable and honest filled with snarky observations about life, love, parenting and relationships. It is a story filled with humor and warmth as Mizuki navigates the fault lines in her life. Even though my life is nothing like hers, I was left feeling seen in a way I think most women can relate to. And Mizuki seems to have finally found herself in the end, which is always a happy conclusion.


Bridgertons Series by Julia Quinn 1. The Duke and I 2. The Viscount Who Loved Me 3. An Offer from a Gentleman 4. Romancing Mister Bridgerton 5. To Sir Phillip, With Love 6. When He Was Wicked 7. It’s in His Kiss 8. On the Way to the Wedding

Perhaps you’ve watched “Bridgerton” on Netflix, or heard someone talking about it recently. But have you read the series of books it’s based on? Originally published in the early 2000s, this series follows the eight siblings of the Bridgerton family as they navigate the rules of high society in Regency, England, to find their match and fall in love. They are a family who loves each other fiercely and the close-knit siblings appear often in each story, along with their mother. Each book focuses on a different sibling’s journey, beginning with Daphne in, “The Duke and I.” What makes this series even more fun are the gossip columns written by the mysterious Lady Whistledown. Throughout the first few novels, the reader is treated to witty revelations of the society the Bridgertons navigate, without knowing who the author is and how she comes to know all the juiciest gossip. Now, if you’re all caught up on the Netflix series, you may already know who Lady Whistledown is. But one way the books differ from the series is that Lady Whistledown’s identity isn’t revealed until much later. And while the overall plot of Daphne’s book is quite similar to her story in season one, the second season of the series deviates quite drastically from the plot of Anthony’s book, “The Viscount Who Loved Me.” Personally, I preferred Anthony’s story in the book over the series as the revised plot surrenders some of the most passionate moments between our couple in the book. That being said, I do applaud many of the other changes the Netflix series brings to the Bridgertons, including the diverse cast, expanded storylines for some of the minor characters, and some new characters that never appear in the books but are very entertaining. They also do an excellent job of bringing the varying personalities and quirks of our Bridgerton siblings to life while expanding on what those siblings are up to before they each get their own love story. I find it exceedingly fun to spot the similarities and differences between book and screen along with nods to the next siblings’ stories, especially for this beautifully styled and filmed series. You can read the entire book series at either the Fargo Public Library or the West Fargo Public Library and they also have it available online as both e-books and audiobooks through the Libby and Hoopla apps with your library card.

The Wild Wynchesters Series by Erica Ridley

1. The Duke Heist 2. The Perks of Loving a Wallflower 3. Nobody’s Princess If you are already a fan of “Bridgerton” or historical romance novels and want something new to indulge your sensibilities, then “The Wild Wynchesters” series should be your next read. Like the Bridgertons, this series follows a family of close-knit siblings as they find love. However, this family is a fun-loving, caper-committing group of adopted orphans who find adventure around every corner. The six uniquely talented Wynchesters were all adopted by their beloved father, Baron Vanderbean, and given a purpose as well as home. The family fights for justice from the margins of high society, helping those who most need it. Each book follows a different sibling’s story of love and adventure during one of the family’s escapades. Book one, “The Duke Heist,” is about Chloe Wynchester as she accidentally abducts a duke in her quest to recover a missing painting that means the world to the Wynchesters. “Nobody’s Princess,” the third book, was just released this July and is next up on my list to read. I found the Wynchester family to be endearing and delightful scoundrels who are endlessly fun to read about and sure to capture your heart. Be sure to check out the author’s website at for bonus content and free novellas that give you a bit more time with the Wynchesters in between each novel.

Wherever you’re going we’ll take you there. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

This book is like a warm hug from your favorite person that leaves you feeling bright and joyful after it ends. Our main character, Linus Baker, is a quiet, lonely forty-year-old case worker at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages. His next highly classified assignment sends him to an orphanage on a magical island in the Cerulean Sea where six dangerous children reside. The children are highly unusual — a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist — and their charming caretaker, Arthur, is just as mysterious. Linus must determine whether or not the they’re likely to bring about the end of days. As he gets to know Arthur and the children he protects, Linus discovers they are an unlikely family in an unexpected place, and might be just what he needs. Be sure to have a box of tissues nearby for all the happy tears.

The Love Con

by Seressia Glass

If you enjoy a reality competition show where talented people compete to win it all, or you’ve ever wondered about the people who dress up in fantastic costumes for Comic Con, then this fun contemporary romance is for you. Kendra dreams of turning her creative hobby making cosplay costumes into a career. Joining a reality show competition called Cosplay or No Way might be her big break, but there’s a catch. When the judges announce that the “iconic pairs” challenge in the final round of the competition will include the contestants’ significant others, single Kendra has to find a fake boyfriend for the show. Luckily her best friend Cameron agrees to play the role.

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Kendra and Cameron have a ton of chemistry hidden under the mask of friendship. They also really respect and support each other throughout the entire story, first as friends and then as they begin to explore those feelings they’ve kept hidden. The author handles the tension and challenges these characters face in an incredibly positive way that I found very refreshing. From a mean-spirited judge on reality TV, to body positivity, to a mixed-race relationship, with some ex-girlfriend drama and parents who don’t understand Kendra’s creative dreams, this couple tackles a lot of issues. The characters handle all of it with grace and positivity and come out better for it in the end, together. [ aw ]



2022 Selected Title Join your community in reading The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich, a Pulitzer-prize winning novel set near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota.

FREE Author Presentation by

LOUISE ERDRICH October 27 at 7 PM The Centrum - Concordia College JOIN US FOR FREE PROGRAMS: History Presentations Book Discussions Film Screenings and More! Exhibits


area LIFE

While spending money on attorney fees for a divorce or custody matter may seem about as enticing as paying a dentist to perform a root canal or an accountant to prepare your tax return, even “simple” divorces often involve matters requiring some expertise.

Do I Need an Attorney to Get Divorced? WOR DS : M OR G AN L . C R OA KE R , S E R KL A N D L AW F I R M P H OTO G R A P H Y : cot to n b ro o n p exel s .co m



Every case is different, so it is always a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to discuss the specific facts of your case and your individual situation to determine what approach is right for you. These are three common questions those looking to cut costs often ask:


My spouse and I agree on everything; do we really need to involve attorneys?

A: The short answer: no, you don’t need to retain an attorney to obtain a divorce; you can technically represent yourself. Parties choosing to represent themselves are called “pro se” or “self-represented” litigants. Many states, including North Dakota and Minnesota, even offer selfhelp forms for those wishing to try and figure things out without the assistance of legal counsel. However, as a point of caution, if a person elects to represent themselves, they are generally held to the expectation they know and understand the applicable laws and court rules. In addition, self-help forms logistically cannot provide for every factual situation, and are not guaranteed to be up to date with the current status of the law.


We don’t agree on everything but want to avoid involving the court in resolving our issues — what other options are there to resolve disputes?


Can my spouse and I jointly retain one attorney to assist with handling the divorce?

A: Initially, the idea of retaining one attorney to handle a divorce for both parties may seem like an attractive (and cost-saving) option, particularly if you feel there is agreement on most issues. However, dual or joint representation in a matter such as divorce is generally not advisable, even if you found an attorney willing to represent both parties. Ethically, attorneys are bound to advocate for and provide legal advice for the benefit of their clients. This can quickly turn into a problem if the parties later disagree on any issue. Take for example the issue of spousal support. If Spouses A and B initially agree that A will pay B spousal support in an amount of $1,000 per month for 10 years and then later Spouse A decides that amount feels like too much, this leaves the attorney in an ethical conundrum on which spouse to push on the issue, and how to advise each spouse on the status of the law and likelihood of success for each spouse on the issue. Once the parties’ positions are adverse on even one issue, it is easy to see why joint representation is problematic. Another option which appears to be growing in popularity is some attorneys provide limited or “unbundled” services to be retained to provide representation on a limited scope or basis. This can be a good choice if you are just looking for someone to draft certain documents or offer advice on limited issues such as how to transfer retirement funds between spouses without incurring unnecessary penalties or tax liability.

A: Both Minnesota and North Dakota court systems offer various alternative dispute resolution/mediation options to assist with resolving disputes in custody and divorce matters. The cost for these services varies. For example, in North Dakota, the Family Law Mediation Program provides up to 6 free hours of mediation for disputed parental rights and responsibilities (“custody”) matters with the option to pay a reduced hourly fee for additional time if needed. In Minnesota, Early Neutral Evaluation programs provide accelerated evaluative impressions from professionals on issues including custody, parenting time and financial disputes. The cost for these services is on a sliding-fee scale based on income. Parties can also reach a resolution or settlement through negotiating matters directly through their attorneys or hiring a mediator from the private sector.

Morgan L. Croaker is an associate attorney with the Serkland Law Firm in Fargo. She practices primarily in the areas of divorce and family law. For more information, call 701-232-8957, email or visit This article should not be considered legal advice and should not be relied upon by any person with respect to his/her specific situation.

[ aw ]


August n ote :

All events are subject to change. Confirm dates and times before attending.


August 9

ADDIE'S ROYAL CUPCAKE STAND Join us for Addie's 10th Royal Cupcake Stand! Eat a delicious cupcake, drink a glass of cold lemonade, and visit with your favorite royal characters. We will be in the parking lot of First International Bank & Trust in Moorhead. Can't make it? We deliver during the day. Let a team of princesses bring cupcakes right to your office. All of this for a free will donation to Sunshine Foundation to make Nora's dream come true. 3:00 – 5:30 PM First International Bank & Trust parking lot 800 30th Ave, Moorhead

August 26

RISEUP YOUTH NIGHT 6th-12th graders are invited to a special hip-hop night at Thrivefest North, just for them! Kaboose, DPB and Michael Bloom will take the stage. We’ll have s’mores and yard games available after the show. This is part of Thrivefest, a Christian music festival. Reach out about special group ticket offers. 7:00 PM North Dakota Horse Park 5180 19th Ave N, Fargo

August 27


September 8

September 13

Join us for YWCA’s 39th annual Chocolate Fantasy event and support the mission of YWCA Cass Clay! This year’s event will feature lots of chocolate, a silent auction and celebrity servers. Tickets on sale now with options to attend in person or pre-order a dessert box to go. Silent auction opens Friday, September 2, at noon. 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM Delta by Marriott 1635 42nd St S, Fargo

Seven weeks that will change your life — welcome to a refreshing biblically based class for married and engaged couples filled with communication and conflict resolution tools that really work. You’ll explore personality and style, differences between men and women, conflict styles, how to really hear and respect each other, and how to pray together and bring unity. You’ll conquer the crazy cycle! This sevenweek class meets every Tuesday evening from September 13 – October 25. Cost: $185 (includes two workbooks and required assessment) Contact Debbie at 701-793-6864 for more details and to register. 6:30 – 8:30 PM



"For I know the plans I have

for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Then you will seek me and find me: when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, declares the Lord."

RELATIONSHIPS THAT WORK: It’s All About Communication

September 16-18

2ND ANNUAL APPLE SMASH Join us at SheyWest for our 2nd Annual Apple Smash. A weekend full of fun and festivities for the whole family. Featuring live music, a plant sale, apple cider and more. Visit for more details and upcoming events. Friday 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM, Saturday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Sunday 12:00 – 5:00 PM SheyWest 225 40th Ave W, West Fargo

— JEREMIAH 29: 11-14

Christian music festival featuring Cory Asbury, Building 428, Riley Clemmons and more! Plus, Blessed FMX motocross stunt team and other activities throughout the day. Tickets only $25 for adults and $18 for youth (6-17). 11:00 AM North Dakota Horse Park 5180 19th Ave N, Fargo

August 27 & September 17 FARGO MASONIC VENDOR & CRAFT SHOW

Come see our local vendors and crafters and shop their booths at the Fargo Masonic Building. Lunch will be served from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM Fargo Masonic Center 1405 3rd St N, Fargo 701-235-7875

August 28

INTERIOR DESIGN CHALLENGE Vote for your favorite team of NDSU interior design students during the 5th Annual Design Challenge hosted by SCHEELS Home & Hardware and Midwest Nest. Check out the newest trends in furniture and home decor. 12:00 – 5:00 PM SCHEELS Home & Hardware 3202 13th Ave S, Fargo

September 18

FM AREA OUT OF THE DARKNESS COMMUNITY WALK Join us for the Fargo-Moorhead Area Out of the Darkness Community Walk on Sunday, September 18, at the Scheels Arena. Proceeds benefit local and national suicide prevention and awareness programs of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Check-in and registration begin at noon, walk starts at 2:00 p.m. Online registration closes at noon the Friday before the walk. However, anyone who would like to participate can register in person at the walk from the time check-in begins until the walk starts. Registration is free and open to the public. Walk donations are accepted until December 31. Learn more at or call 701-371-1194. Check-in at 12:00 PM, Walk starts at 2:00 PM Scheels Arena 5225 31st Ave S, Fargo

Fargo Public Library Events: Fargo Public Library events are free and open to the public. A complete schedule of upcoming library events is available at all Fargo Public Library locations and at Fargo Public Library 102 North 3rd St., Fargo | 701-241-1472 Northport Branch 2714 Broadway, Fargo | 701-476-4026 Dr. James Carlson Library 2801 32nd Ave. S., Fargo | 701-476-4040 Main Library Circulation Desk 701-241-1472 Children’s Services 701-241-1495

book clubs

August 18


August 8 & September 12 TEA TIME BOOK CLUB

Book club featuring recent bestseller titles. Contact Jenilee at 701-2418123 or the Carlson Library. 6:30 PM, second Monday of each month Dr. James Carlson Library


Nonfiction, novels, memoirs and more – we seek multiple perspectives, with multiple points of entry, and we work to center the voices of marginalized communities and people through our exploration about inequality and injustice in the United States. Copies of the title for discussion can be picked up at the Main Information Desk, while supplies last. Contact Megan R. at 701-241-1492 or the Main Library. 7:00 PM, second Thursday of each month Main Library

August 17

SUMMER GARDEN BOOK CLUB Join this in-person book club for an informal discussion featuring books related to nature, ecology and gardens. All interested readers are welcome. Pre-registration is required. 6:00 PM Outside at the Dr. James Carlson Library



It’s like a book club, but you can read whatever you want! Stop by the library’s Facebook page to chat about the books you've been reading recently. Or check out what our librarians bring to recommend. No registration is required. 7:00 PM Online on the library’s Facebook page

August 23

SENIOR BOOK CLUB Recommended for readers 55 and older, but open to all interested readers. Copies of the book are available in large print and standard print, while supplies last at both the Carlson Library information desk and the Main Library circulation desk. Registration is required and can be done online. If you need assistance or further details, contact Kirstie at 701-298-6954. 1:00 PM Dr. James Carlson Library

September 1

A SENSE OF PLACE BOOK CLUB For all interested readers; this club meets at at the downtown Main Library. A list of tiles is available at 11:00 AM Main Library

September 27

CURRENT HISTORY BOOK CLUB Book club featuring classic titles. A list of titles is available at www. 7:00 PM, last Tuesday of each month Main Library

Now – August 20

OCEANS OF POSSIBILITIES! This summer the Fargo Public Library is all about oceans and the creatures that make the ocean their home. It’s also about stories, crafts, events and challenges. The Fargo Public Library’s summer reading challenge promises a variety of activities and events centered on our amazing oceans and reading for kids, teens and adults of all ages throughout the summer. The program continues through Saturday, August 20. In person activities are planned throughout the summer. All ages are invited to complete challenges, read every day, earn prizes and participate all summer long! Adults, teens and children can register at any library location to participate in the Fargo Public Library’s summer reading challenge. The program can be done online with the Beanstack app (paper reading logs are available by request) and residents can pick up a schedule of events at any Fargo Public Library location or view it online at

Every Thursday in August & September BEGINNER YOGA FOR ADULTS

This is a class for those who haven’t tried yoga before or who want a refresher. Along with gentle stretching, this class will teach breathing exercises to provide calmness. The class meets most Thursdays at the Dr. James Carlson Library. Bring a yoga mat (or a large towel), and wear comfortable clothing that is easy to move in. This program is recommended for adults. For details, email Lori at No registration is required. 6:00 PM, Thursdays Dr. James Carlson Library

August 2 & 23, September 6 & 20 BABY RHYME TIME AT MAIN LIBRARY

August 5, 12 & 19

Lap-sit storytimes for babies (birth to 18 months) is offered at the Main Library. Babies and their caregivers will interact and experience songs, finger plays, short books, rhythms and rhymes. A great way to introduce books and the library to your baby. One child per lap, please. No registration required. 6:30 PM Main Library

Free Friday movies are shown on most Fridays during the summer at the Dr. James Carlson Library. Free popcorn is served. Contact Lori West at 701-476-4040. 1:00 PM Dr. James Carlson Library

August 4 & 25, September 8 & 22 BABY RHYME TIME AT CARLSON LIBRARY

Lap-sit storytimes for babies (birth to 18 months) is offered at the Dr. James Carlson Library. Babies will experience songs, finger plays, short books, rhythms and rhymes. A great way to introduce books and the library to your baby. One child per lap, please. 10:00 AM Dr. James Carlson Library


August 16 & 18

SCHOOL SUPPLY BINGO! Get some back-to-school supplies at this School Supply Bingo. For kids in grades 1–6. Call 701-241-1495 for details. 11:00 AM August 16 at the Main Library 2:00 PM August 16 at the Northport Library 11:30 AM August 18 at Dr. James Carlson Library

September 1 – November 30

ONE BOOK, ONE COMMUNITY READING CHALLENGE Join your local library's One Book, One Community reading challenge to earn prizes. Contact Lori West at 701-476-5977 or the downtown Main Library for more info. Location: All participating area public libraries; Fargo Public Library, Moorhead Public Library and West Fargo Public Library. Details available at


Emerging readers can sign up to read to a therapy pet (dog or cat) on the second Saturday of each month. The sessions are 15 minutes each. Space is limited; pre-registration is required. Contact Children’s Services at 701-241-1495 or the downtown Main Library. 10:00 AM Main Library

September 12 – December 14

WEEKLY FALL STORYTIMES for Toddlers and Preschoolers Sessions are offered at all three Fargo Public Library locations during the week. Space is limited; registration is required for this free series. For details or to register, visit any Fargo Public Library location, call Children’s Services at 701-241-1495 or visit

ENROLL NOW FOR THE 2022-23 SCHOOL YEAR “One of the best decisions we have ever made for our family was choosing JPII Schools. We wanted smaller class sizes where teachers and staff are truly invested in our kids. Our kids are both thriving in this environment not only academically but also socially and spiritually.” -Dustin & Amber Ertelt For information or a tour call 701-893-3271 HOLY SPIRIT ELEMENTARY







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KEEP YOUR CHILD’S HEALTH ON TRACK Annual wellness exams During this comprehensive visit, you can complete: • A physical evaluation • Immunizations • Sports physical requirements Recommended for children up to age 18.

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Call your local Sanford Clinic to schedule an appointment.