Her Voice Magazine - Fall/Winter 2020

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By Women. For Women. About Women.

A Brainerd Dispatch Publication



Finding things to be grateful for even in the pandemonium of a pandemic

Fall/Winter 2020


+ Lifelong Learning

+ Mom, Technology and the New Normal

+ Virtually Go Anywhere


We’ve got answers. No matter your women’s health concern, Lakewood has you covered. With 3 on-staff OB/GYNs, 25 family medicine physicians and advanced practice clinicians, and 2 midwives, Lakewood offers the skill, expertise and experience needed to meet you exactly where you’re at in life. To schedule a women’s health appointment call 218-894-1515. Women’s Health


HER VOICE By women. For women. About women. PUBLISHER


Susie Alters Eller


DeLynn Howard


Sara Slaby


Joey Halvorson BY DELYNN HOWARD Her Voice magazine is doing things a little differently to end 2020. While there are usually four issues in a year, we’ve combined Fall and Winter into one 48-page magazine with the goal to encourage, educate and inspire our readers. As you flip through these pages, our wish is that you will feel blessed, grateful and optimistic as we wind down from this crazy year. The reunion of two students, Cynthia Bunting and Melissa Rogers, with their former elementary teacher, Voni Larson, will remind you how impactful educators can be no matter how many years have passed by. Learn how Mallori Sheik balances being a wife and mother along with a career, furthering her education and remodeling their home while in the midst of a pandemic. Sick of being stuck at home during COVID-19? Take a virtual trip around the world with Claudia Allene from the comfort of your own home. Take a walk down memory lane with Audrae Gruber in her final “Remember When” article. Learn why Jane Brink has a grateful heart. And speaking of hearts, Michelle Oie shares a list of things that make her heart smile. During these unprecedented times, I hope you will find something to make your heart smile, or something to inspire you, to bless you, to impact you in ways you never thought possible. Please take some time for yourself. Laugh with friends. Take a walk. Write in a journal. Read a book. Listen to music. Just be in the moment. And give yourself some grace.

You’ll be a better person for it, I promise.

Next Issue of Her Voice: Spring 2021 - publishes Brainerd Dispatch and Echo Journal: Feb. 17, 2021 You can also find Her Voice Magazine in over 100 Discover Rack locations in the area or read it online at:

www.BrainerdDispatch.com (Magazine Rack Tab) Advertising: (218) 855-5895 Advertising@BrainerdDispatch.com Comments/story ideas:


delynn.howard@brainerddispatch.com Mail: ATTN: Her Voice Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 974, Brainerd, MN 56401

Quarterly publication of the Brainerd Dispatch. Printed by Forum Communications. copyright© 2003 VOLUME 18, EDITION 3 FALL/WINTER 2020 like us on facebook • fall/winter 2020 | her voice



Fall/Winter 2020

Artist Spotlight Emali Jimenez Painting



By Elsie Husom

Her Table

Artist Spotlight Lisa Cassman Writing


By Sue Ready

Her Passion Lifelong Learning: Students reunite with teacher more than 40 years later 10

How Do I Cook With That? Chicken & apple sausage, Oreo cookies, and Tortellini By Sue Ready

Her Family


By Sarah Nelson Katzenberger

Her Story

14 Remember When

Her Career

By Audrae Gruber

Beautifying Churches Worldwide

Her Health A Sincerely Grateful Heart


By Sheila Helmberger


On the cover— Photo by Joey Halvorson

Balancing Act


By Jenny Holmes One could argue Mallori Sheik could add “juggler” to her growing resume of responsibility. But she takes it all in stride – showing grace and overwhelming gratitude through it all.

By Jill Neumann

For Her

18 Heart Smiles

Her Travels

28 Virtually Go Anywhere

By Michelle Oie In this season of uncertainty, Michelle’s column serves as a great reminder to be grateful for even the littlest things in life like planning for a summer vacation in January or enjoying lunch with friends. What makes your heart smile?

By Sue Smith-Grier Claudia Allene is an extrovert who loves adventure, meeting people and exploring off the beaten path. Not allowing the pandemic to stop her adventures, she offers virtual tours from the comfort of your own home.

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Her Technology


Mom, Technology and the New Normal By Jan Kurtz Jan Kurtz’s mom, Phyllis, has adapted to a new normal, embracing technology for Zoom chats with friends, online worship services and even yoga.

Healthy mom, healthy baby.

HERE’S TO WHAT M AT TERS MOST Every birth story is different. But they all have the same common goal: healthy mom, healthy baby. At Essentia Health, we focus on what’s most important — providing support and expertise to guide you through this experience, all leading up to that one moment when your whole world changes forever. That’s our role in the story. Delivering the kind of compassionate care you won’t forget. Maternity care like nowhere else. St. Joseph’s Medical Center Good Beginnings OB Clinic

523 N 3rd St Brainerd, MN 56401

218-828-7688 EssentiaHealth.org

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Emali Jiménez BY ELSIE HUSOM Winning an award at age four for her colorful shark drawing, Emali Jiménez launched her art journey. Ten years later, she is a “veteran” artist, although quick to say, “I am still practicing and learning.” Working mostly with acrylics on canvas, she gathers ideas from photographs and nature for her semi-realistic portraits and landscapes. Painting gives Emali a feeling of joy, but her biggest challenge is artist’s block. Sketching trees from their wooded property and just “trying new things to get my brain going” can break that block. Emali marvels how artist Bob Ross can “just slap some paint on a canvas and create landscapes in 20 minutes” — a process she has tried. She adopts his philosophy: “There are no mistakes, just happy little accidents.” She credits art teacher Amanda Toft for “challenging me to venture out of my comfort zone” to try sculpture, watercolor and origami. Her most-liked assignment was writing a backstory about a sculpture, because “there’s a story behind every creation.” “Don’t give up if something doesn’t turn out the way you want,” Jimenez advises evolving artists. “We learn from the process; mistakes are a part of our growth.” This talented young artist’s journey is progressing well.


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1. A portrait done by 14-year-old artist Emali Jimenez. 2. Jimenez says painting gives her a feeling of joy. 3. Emali’s portraits are inspired by random photographs and usually incorporate flowers. 6

4. Emali Jimenez’s shark drawing was awarded a “Superior” rating at an AAA talent event when she was 4. 5. Emali Jiménez, daughter of Francisco and Tracey Jiménez, is a freshman at Staples-Motley High School where her favorite class is art.

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6. Working mostly with acrylics on canvas, Jimenez gathers ideas from photographs and nature for her semi-realistic portraits and landscapes




Elsie Husom is a retired education administrator who lives west of Brainerd. She enjoys golfing, reading, making art, gardening and volunteering at the Crow Wing County Jail, The Crossing Arts Alliance and Friends of the Brainerd Public Library. like us on facebook • fall/winter 2020 | her voice


TOP: Author Lisa Cassman has written four books including two about marital relationships. BOTTOM: Lisa is pictured holding four of her books. Photo by Leah Shellum Chennaux.


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Lisa Cassman BY SUE READY Lisa Cassman is an author, a licensed minister, Christian counselor, marriage officiant and motivational speaker for women. She has written two books about marital relationships and speaks at conferences, churches, workshops and seminars. A Minnesota native, living in the Brainerd area, she has more than 20 years of experience counseling children and families in the church. In addition, Cassman owns a spa and salon, SpaQuest, in Baxter. She and her husband own UpNorth, an indoor bounce house designed for children up to 12 years old in Baxter. Cassman is passionate about seeing people experience God’s love and freedom in His precepts. Her seminars focus on helping women examine their self worth and find solutions to issues they are struggling with. On the horizon for Cassman is conducting marriage seminars. Three of her books are personal growth discovery books: “The Road Less Traveled,” “The Light in Your Eyes” and her recently published book “Talk Before Text,” a prayer journal guide. “Finding the Beautiful You,” a love story told through poetry, is Cassman’s life story spanning 30 years.

Author Lisa Cassman at a book signing. Photo by Leah Kelton.

Sue Ready is a freelance writer, poet, food writer, book reviewer and former middle school teacher. She is the president of the Northwoods Arts Council in Hackensack and one of the chairs for the Annual August Northwoods Art and Book Festival. Sue blogs at http://sockfairies.blogspot.com with recipes, up north living and travel adventures. Her book reviews are posted on Facebook under EverReady Book Reviews and on her blog.

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HER PASSION + teaching

Retired teacher Voni Larson (middle) was presented with gifts and flowers on a beautiful spring day by her former students Cynthia Bunting (left) and Melissa Rogers (right).



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eachers make an undeniable mark on the lives of the students who pass through their classrooms. For former classmates Cynthia Bunting and Melissa Rogers, the teacher who made the biggest impact on their lives was their sixth grade teacher Voni Larson.

“Even though I only had her as a teacher for a English, reading, education and first year expevery short time, she made an impact on me I have rience courses at Anoka-Ramsey Community College. Rogers lives in Brainerd where she works never forgotten,” Rogers said. Bunting and Rogers were in Larson’s class, then as a histologist at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s known as Miss Motschke, at Harding Elementary Medical Center. It wasn’t until their 30th high school class reSchool in 1979. Miss Motschke was a new teacher at a small school in Harding when everyone went to union that Bunting and Rogers realized they shared school in one building. The pair attended school to- the same favorite teacher from all those years gether through junior high ago. “It came up in a disschool with their own quiet cussion with some of our but sweet memories of their classmates, and we kind of looked at each other like, ‘I year in Miss Motschke’s didn’t know (Larson) was sixth grade class. your favorite teacher, too.” “She was so sweet,” “We had this idea,” Bunting recalled, noting Bunting said. “We had to that both she and Rogers - Cynthia Bunting find her and see her again.” would show up to school Through the magic of early just to learn calligraphy from Miss Motschke. “She opened her arms Facebook, Rogers tracked Voni Larson down and and her classroom to us,” Bunting said with a reintroduced her to Bunting. Larson was delighted. smile. “And she was such a classy dresser.” Now retired and living in Little Falls, Larson Motschke was married mid-year so spent nearly four decades teaching elementary by the time the girls were mov- school with hundreds of students under her tuing on to seventh grade, Miss telage over the years. Of all her students, Bunting Motschke had become and Rogers held a special place in her heart. Mrs. Larson. “You try not to show favoritism, but they were Bunting went on my favorites,” Larson said. She even recalled their to pursue a career early morning calligraphy lessons, adding that she in education, often partnered calligraphy with poetry. now teaching “I really wanted parents to see the ability their kids

“She opened her arms and her classroom to us.”

continued on page 12

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TOP: Through the magic of Facebook, Melissa Rogers (right) tracked Voni Larson (left) down. BOTTOM: It was all smiles for Voni Larson (middle) when she reunited with former students Cynthia Bunting (left) and Melissa Rogers (right). FAR RIGHT: Former Harding Elementary School students Cynthia Bunting (right) and Melissa Rogers (middle) enjoy a spring visit with retired teacher Voni Larson (left). Bunting and Rogers reached out to Larson because they wanted her to know how much of an impact she had on them as young students.

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endeared them not only to her but to her whole family. “They really love (Bunting and Rogers) because of the way they have honored me,” she said. “Sometimes you feel like you don’t deserve it, but I am so grateful.” With the warmth of a teacher welcoming students into her classroom, Larson welcomed her former students into her home with shared tears and laughs and a flood of memories. The trio caught up on Larson’s deck with their own personal paparazzi present to capture the memories. Not that they would easily forget their precious time together. “It was a day I’ll never forget,” Rogers said. “I went to bed smiling that night.” For Larson the reunion was packed with

bl ic Schools

had,” Larson said. “I loved that so much — I wanted to teach students something they could enjoy.” Larson said she often saw a lot of her young self in her students and made it her mission as a teacher to love every child who walked through her classroom door and to make sure they left her class with a sense of confidence. “Every child should know there is at least one adult who is irrationally crazy about them,” she said. Larson and her former students made plans to reconnect in person for a lunch date, but as with many things during the spring of 2020, they had to cancel due to the COVID-19 outbreak. “We were pretty heartbroken. At that point we just weren’t sure what would be possible because the virus was still so new,” Bunting explained. Determined to figure out a way to see their former teacher, Bunting and Rogers hatched a plan to visit Larson at her home in Little Falls. Coordinating with Larson’s daughter, Danielle, Bunting and Rogers found a day in June to see Larson. With flowers and gifts and snacks in hand, they showed up on her doorstep. In recalling the day, Larson said the extraordinary measures Bunting and Rogers took to make sure the reunion could occur

d Brainer


www.isd181.org (218) 454-6900

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emotion. Decades of teaching and a passion for inspiring lifelong learners made for a beautiful moment of seeing students as successful adults. “I was overwhelmed with joy,” Larson said. “For them to come and see me just meant so much to me.” Bunting, Rogers and Larson continue their friendship through Facebook and plans for continued real-life reunions. Their time together comes easy and with genuine fondness — the kind of shared affection that truly lasts a lifetime. While Bunting and Rogers are grateful for the impact Larson had on their lives all those years ago, and for their continued friendship with their former teacher — they know they are not alone in their gratefulness.

On a mission to ensure

all students achieve

their individual potential

“I know she made this impact on a lot of her students,” Rogers said. “I am blessed to call her my friend.” Weeks after the June reunion, Bunting said she and Rogers received identical cards in the mail from Larson. Written in Larson’s perfectly neat penmanship, as only an elementary school teacher could write, she wrote of how much the day meant to her: “I’m thankful God allowed our calendars and paths to align on June 11, giving us the opportunity to reignite our friendships and bond which began so many years ago,” she wrote. “Even though time has forged forward, and the person in the mirror has changed, our hearts have not.”

Sarah Nelson Katzenberger is a displaced Californian who had no idea there were four seasons until she moved to Minnesota. She is a former missionary, law school drop-out, high school teacher and awardwinning journalist with the Brainerd Dispatch. She continues to write for local and national publications and provides unsolicited grammar correction as needed. Sarah lives in Brainerd with her husband Chad and their three baby Vikings, Ellis, Meredith and Truett.

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HER STORY + advancing



By 1960, televisions were owned by 90 percent of the population. The first ones were not in color but that soon changed. 14

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he 50s, 60s and 70s were times of great prosperity and life changing advances. Computers, television, travel, communication and family life, the postwar world altered everything and freed up every aspect of our lifestyle. However, it had its pandemic and racial issues very similar to today’s challenges.



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An aerial view of the Northern Pacific shops in Brainerd.


From the mid-1950s until the late 1960s, Martin Luther King played a key role in the civil rights movement for equality through peaceful protest. He helped bring about the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. The first business computer to be used was at the Great Northern Railway called the Univac 1. It covered a whole floor of the Great Northern Building in St. Paul and had to be operated in air conditioning. My father and his associates were promoters of this new invention and my brother Paul did some programming on it. I was fortunate to have that connection and took a tour one day. Immense and amazing! The Northern Pacific Railway was often thought as the originator of Brained in the early 1800s. Railroads were the main mode of transportation. Their progress continued and was the main employer in Brained for many years until a merger of main railroads in 1968 changed everything. The Great Northern, Northern Pacific and Burlington became the Burlington Northern Railway. Going by rail to any part of the country was the main mode of travel for many years. Because my father worked for a railway, our family was able to travel with special compensation

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By 1976 there was a race to produce personal computers and the days of typewriters were diminishing.


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continued FROM page 15

Many thanks to the Crow Wing Historical Society and Brian for the photos. They have a wonderful collection and offered great help.

so I experienced traveling by rail to California and New York as a child with two and a half days on a train. The improvement of air travel became a more popular option and the NP shops in Brainerd were closed. By 1960, televisions were owned by 90 percent of the population. The first ones were not in color but that soon changed. The home use of record players was outstanding – and went from a windup large record player to the combination radio and multi-record player all in one and onto discs. Elkhurst 6503 was my telephone number during this time. Dialing included letters and numbers – EL 6503. Each phone had its own combination. The telephones were in two separate parts connected by a cord. Usually, there was only one to a household. The music of the times used old telephone exchanges in their music. Glen Miller’s recording “Pennsylvania 6-5000” was a popular song. In 1955, the Supreme Court directed schools to integrate. I became a “helping teacher” and concentrated on the west side of St. Paul. It was a time of change and I helped teachers and students deal with the issues brought about by the first school experience of bussing children out of their neighborhoods bringing a vast change of experiences and new learning styles which became very successful. In the early 1950s, polio reached epidemic proportions and became the worst epidemic in our nation’s history with 58,000 cases reported, 3,200 died and 21,000 were left with disabling paralysis. Children were affected with paralysis, wheelchairs and leg braces for a lifetime. It started in 1946 and I can well remember not being allowed to leave the house or neighborhood for over a year and no state fair. On July 29, 1958, NASA was created in response to the Soviet Union’s October launching of its first satellite which circled the earth in 98 minutes. In 1958. NASA launched its first successful earth orbit and has continued to make great advances. In the 1960s, women’s rights became important. Women struggled for change in the workplace as well as socially. The view of them as “homemakers” became a political as well as a social issue. Women were unable to obtain high-paying jobs and equal rights in the workplace and considered “second-class citizens.” Male teachers were paid more than women for the same classroom environment. By 1976 there was a race to produce personal computers. Apple was amongst the most successful with a more advanced distribution

system. I remember going to my first writing session with Carol Bly the summer I retired and taking my typewriter and how amazed I was at all the young women there with these strange new computers. Soon after, I got my own. This edition will be the last of “Remember When” for me. It has been a great adventure of remembrances. Many family members and friends have had a wonderful time reminiscing as well as many readers of Her Voice have been in touch as well. My goal was to inspire others to do the same. We all have our stories and they are all important. Every age has its importance — personal as well as environmental stories. Enjoy the sharing. Savor the journey.

Audrae Norris Johnson Gruber, retired St. Paul elementary teacher, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, Brainerd resident of 15 years, poet, writer, nature lover, former volunteer for hospice, suicide prevention, library board, Brainerd Dispatch advisory, member of Homer’s Writers group and happy camper.

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FOR HER + gratitude

Heart smiles BY MICHELLE OIE


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t’s been 14 years and I’m only half way through it. “It” is a gratitude journal I made at a Mothers of Preschoolers meeting when my daughter was four. She’s now 18. It’s not that I don’t have much to be grateful for, I do. I just forget about writing in it. When it catches my eye, I grab it. I write the date at the top then list as many things I am grateful for as one

page allows. I could probably fill the whole notebook in one sitting but one page is about how much time I have before something else calls my attention. Gratitude is being thankful for anything and everything. Writing in my gratitude journal requires me to notice those things in life that help sustain me, help me grow or simply make my heart smile. What are those things for you?

HERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT MAKE MY HEART SMILE: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

An unseasonably warm, sunny day. Leaves budding from seemingly dead, winter trees. Making summer plans... in January. Eating a favorite comfort food when I’m really craving it. A happy pet greeting me when I get home. Having no plans so I can do whatever I want. Wrapping a birthday gift for an unsuspecting friend. Standing in a hot shower when I’ve been cold all day. Deciding to take action in my life and feeling empowered by the potential results. Seeing someone cured of cancer. Knowing a friend who went through a tough time is now happy. Having lunch with great friends. Getting fun stuff for very little. Being a mom to great kids (most days). A spouse who still wants to spend time with me after 23 years. Not having to cook! Extended family I can count on. Silence when I really need it. A crackling bonfire on a cool night. Freedom to worship. Knowing something I did really helped someone. Realizing I have more to be thankful for than to complain about.

Grab a notebook or your phone right now and ask yourself: “What am I grateful for today?” List at least five things. Now add five more. (While focusing on your list more items might come to mind. Add those too!) Do this every

once in a while so you don’t forget what and how many things make your heart smile. Then when you have a tough day and are feeling down you can read your gratitude list and your heart just might start smiling again.

Michelle Oie is a motivational speaker, blogger, freelance writer and soon-to-be author whose passion is letting people know how awesome they are. She loves Jeep Wranglers, peanut butter and hitting all green lights driving through Brainerd. Learn more at www.michelleoie.com.

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Did you open a new business? Do you have a career accomplishments, celebrations, or announcement to share? Put it in Her Voice!

Be sure to mention Women In Business section Advertising / Her Voice Magazine 218-855-5895 / advertising@brainerddispatch.com

Nancy Vogt

ABOVE AND BEYOND Nancy Vogt has been the editor of the PineandLakes Echo Journal since July of 2006. Nancy is active in the communities covered by the Echo Journal. She was honored as 2019 Queen Bee for the Pequot Lakes Beanhole Days and currently serves on the Pequot Lakes Chamber advisory board. She covers numerous city councils meetings and writes a popular column - Vogt’s Notes. Nancy and her Echo Journal staff have won more than a dozen Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in recent years. Before being Echo Journal editor, Nancy worked for 14 years at the Brainerd Dispatch, including serving as features editor. She graduated from Moorhead State University in 1987 with a degree in mass communications. Nancy worked at the Owatonna People's Press as a reporter and then a copy editor. She joined the Dispatch in 1992 as a reporter. Nancy and her husband, Dave, have two adult daughters, Nicole and Megan.

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Salon Coordinator

Married 14 years, 3 kids ages 16, 11 and 7. Stay-at-Home mom for 10 years until youngest started school. “My favorite part of my job is seeing people leave happy and feeling good about themselves. Clients are like family. We get to know them and their stories. When they leave feeling good, we feel good.” “I enjoy being helpful, so helping to keep the salon in order and running smoothly is very satisfying.” Hobbies: Camping, fishing, woodworking/ sign painting. Being on the water. Repurposing.


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Awards: Best Salon 2018 and 2019 (the two years I’ve been here). Creative outlet even though not doing hair: Organize, plan, create and decorate.

24719 Hazelwood Dr, Nisswa | 218.961.0095 www.bellecheveuxnisswa.com


Kera A. C. Porter Mortgage Banker, NMLS# 1295988

Frandsen Bank & Trust, Crosslake location Where did you grow up? My hometown is Kennesaw, Ga. What was your first job and how did it help you with your current position? My first Job was a White Water Park Lifeguard. It was important because families were trusting me with their lives as they took a moment to enjoy quality time at the water park. I’ll never forget guarding the most dangerous ride, and a family who couldn’t swim came down one by one. I jumped in the strong current over and over as each of them entered the pool at the bottom. By the time the last family member was brought to safety senior lifeguards lined the pool for support and the onlookers in the stadium seating gave me a standing ovation! Lifeguarding helped me in my current position by giving me a sense of urgency for other people’s needs, and teaching me to take on challenges one by one. Before you know it, you’ve conquered them all! What is something that might surprise your colleagues? I’m a licensed Esthetician in Georgia and Montana. When I lived there I would do makeup for wedding parties outside of my full-time job. I’m certified in spa therapies, reflexology, waxing and makeup application. What is your most proud career moment? Moving out of retail and into banking. I came into banking with no experience, but I was promoted from Teller to Assistant Manager within the first three years. Then, I was honored with Personal Banker of The Year.

This was quite the compliment because I was nominated by my peers and voted for by upper management. What is the favorite part of your job? Building long-term relationships with our customers. Often, customers come into the bank with one pain point. Through conversation we’re able to identify a solution and direct them to other services such as financial or estate planning. We want to build a lifelong relationship with our customers, and part of doing so is helping them with every stage of life. We’re here to help you plan for those pivotal life moments, and celebrate them too! What do you like most about the company you work for? That we’re a big bank with a smalltown feel. We know our customers by name, and we know their dogs’ names too! However, we have all of the latest technology and services that a big bank has to offer, and our primary concern is your success. When you are not at work, what are you doing? I’m at home with my husband enjoying our amateur farm. Now, I spend time in the garden and experimenting in the kitchen with farm fresh foods. I also have prioritized time to get involved in my community. While it looks a little different lately, I’m a part of the Brainerd Lakes Chamber Blue OX Leadership Discussion (BOLD), The Crosslakers and attend the Crosslake Chamber’s Explore Crosslake meetings.

Frandsen Bank and Trust 35470 Co Rd 3, Crosslake, MN | 218.692.2455 24110 Smiley Rd, Nisswa, MN | 218.963.3316 7429 Excelsior Rd, Baxter, MN | 218.855.1320 like us on facebook • fall/winter 2020 | her voice


March 1, 2021 PRESENTED BY

Key-Note Speaker


Kindra Hall is President and Chief Storytelling Officer at Steller Collective, a consulting firm focused on the strategic application of storytelling to today’s communication challenges. Kindra is one of the most sought-after keynote speakers trusted by global brands to deliver presentations and trainings that inspire teams and individuals to better communicate the value of their company, their products and their individuality through strategic storytelling. Kindra is a former Director of Marketing and VP of Sales. She is Chief Storytelling Officer at SUCCESS Magazine and was guest faculty at the Harvard Medical School. Her book, Stories that Stick: How Storytelling can Captivate Customers, Influence Audiences and Transform Your Business debuted at #2 on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller List and Forbes said it “may be the most valuable business book you read.” Kindra’s message spans all industries and her clients include Facebook, Hilton Hotels, Tyson Foods, Target and Berkshire Hathaway and many others.

Like us on Facebook • Summer 2019 | her voice 47

What began as a storytelling assignment in 5th grade, grew into a passion for not only telling stories, but a mastery for teaching others the methods and science of storytelling so they can better tell their own. She was a National Champion storyteller (yes, they have those), a former member of the Board of Directors of the National Storytelling Network and has her master’s degree in communications where she conducted original research studying the role of storytelling in defining and revealing organizational culture. Regardless of the industry, Kindra has become a conference favorite for her clients. The blend of inspiration and education in her keynotes mean that audiences leave feeling excited and equipped to finally put their stories to work in a tangible way. Kindra lives in Manhattan with her husband, young son and daughter. When she is not traveling around the world speaking, Kindra can usually be found at spin class or in Central Park with her family.

Save the Date...



Ticket Information can be found at: www.ClearVisionwithConfidence.com or Facebook

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VIRTUAL VIDEO VISIT Face-to-face interaction with your Essentia Health provider from the convenience of home or work.

We’ve introduced virtual video visits, allowing you to receive care from your provider, right where you are. Virtual visits are now available for nearly all clinic appointment types in most specialty areas. Virtual Visits are done through the MyHealth website or the MyChart app using your own computer, tablet or smartphone.


Kathy Sell is first and foremost a proud mom of 3 boys who keep her laughing every day. Currently she is the Marketing Manager at Essentia Health, Board Chair of the Brainerd Family YMCA,

If you have concerns or symptoms related to COVID-19*, Essentia Health is providing E-Visits at no cost for evaluation. To learn more, or to start an E-visit, go to EssentiaHealth.org/COVID-19.

Kathy Sell

Marketing Manager at Essentia Health

Testing ordered as a result of screening may incur a charge.


and serves on the Crow Wing Energized Steering Committee. Instrumental in bringing the Make It OK Campaign to the community, she’s delivered dozens of presentations to reduce mental health stigma and serves as an ambassador trainer. In her free time she does some creative writing, and you can occasionally find her articles in Lake Country Journal.

Kathy will be a panelist speaker at Clear Vision with Confidence March 1, 2021. For More Information visit www.ClearVisionwithConfidence.com

Abbey Pieper, Managing Partner, Maddens on Gull lake

Abbey is a third generation Managing Partner of Madden’s Resort on Gull Lake. Her primary responsibilities include leading both the sales and marketing and financial functions of the resort. Prior to rejoining Madden’s, Abbey held several roles at the Broadmoor Hotel and Hyatt Regency Chicago. She graduated from the University of Denver with a degree in premed, holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas, and is certified in revenue management through Cornell’s School of Hospitality Management. Away from work, Abbey is often having fun with her husband and three boys enjoying their favorite outdoor activities.

Abbey will be a panelist speaker at Clear Vision with Confidence March 1, 2021. For More Information visit www.ClearVisionwithConfidence.com

Sarah Barrett, Partner / VP Operations /Head of Quality and Regulatory Affairs



Like us on Facebook • Summer 2019 | her voice 47

Like us on Facebook • Summer 2019 | her voice 47

What is the best part of your job? Every day is a different task! Do you have a pet? Our office cat Alfie strayed in December 2013 and I couldn’t say no! I have a rescue dog, Surley. I also have four horses - Willy (Clydesdale gelding), Hoppy (Clydesdale rescue - she had a horrible underbite and couldn’t graze and is on a special diet), Bugsey (22 year old Welsh pony) and Khemosie (14 year old Arabian). I also have Porky, my beloved rescued pig. What type of food would you like to make that you haven’t made yet? We make some really unique foods already. I hope we can make elephant or polar bear food someday. What makes BPI unique? We cater to smaller family owned business and start-ups. I enjoy working with these types of companies because of their great attitudes. It’s personal to them just like their product is personal to us! I also think we are unique because we have a farming background. We constantly look to better ourselves or reinvent ourselves. What do you do in your free time? Restore old furniture, raise pheasants, spend time with my many farm animals, and go fishing with my husband Mike. Are you a city or country person? Country!

Sarah will be a panelist speaker at Clear Vision with Confidence March 1, 2021. For More Information visit www.ClearVisionwithConfidence.com


Like us on Facebook • Summer 2019 | her voice 47

Like us on Facebook • Summer 2019 | her voice 47

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HER FAMILY + peace


her voice | fall/winter 2020 • share your voice with us



Finding things to be grateful for even in the pandemonium of a pandemic BY JENNY HOLMES | PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON


ut on your own oxygen mask before helping others. The well-known rule of thumb has become a mantra Mallori Sheik has learned to live by over the last eight months.

If her full-time position as director of accessibility services at Central Lakes College in Brainerd was her only commitment, Mallori’s life would be considerably full. However, add in that she’s also a wife, full-time mother of three, a student pursuing her Ph.D, and currently remodeling a home – all during an international pandemic. One could argue this mama could add “juggler” to her growing resume of responsibility. But she takes it all in stride – showing grace and overwhelming gratitude through it all.


Born and raised in the Brainerd area, Mallori has lived a life of service to others. With a master’s degree in social work and a career ensuring the needs of others are met while pursuing their own education, just months ago, Mallori began a three-year program pursuing her doctorate. “Life was very structured,” Mallori recalled of life before COVID-19. “Between piano lessons and guitar lessons and dance lessons, working an 8 to 4:30 job, managing doctor and dentist appoint-

ments… Everything was on the calendar. Mondays, we did this. And Tuesdays, we did this. It was all very structured and scheduled. And then March hit.” When CLC staff began working from home and students began distance learning, Mallori soon found herself in a careful balancing act. “It was just mass chaos at first,” Mallori admits. “Emotions were high. Everybody was just trying to figure out how to make it work on top of being extremely frightened of the potential of what COVID was going to be.”

continued on page 26 TOP: The Sheik family pictured left to right: Hudson, Mallori, Nondus, Craig and London. Submitted photo. BOTTOM LEFT: Mallori Sheik has a lot of things to balance in her life. Add a pandemic into the mix and most people might throw in the towel. Instead, Mallori saw it as a blessing in disguise. Sheik said they're more connected as a family because of all of the time they've spent together.

ADVENTURES for every member of the family!

BOTTOM RIGHT: Mallori Sheik snuggles Leonard “Lenny,” one of the family’s cats.

www.isd181.org (218) 454-6924 CE Her Voice Ad (1).indd 1

like us on facebook • fall/winter 2020 | her voice 25 5/7/2020 4:23:14 PM

“It’s been about appreciating those moments that you didn’t have before,” - Mallori Sheik

continued FROM page 25 It was the start of a new norm for her family of five. While Mom maintained a full-time work schedule, she also had to tend to the diverse needs of her 12, 8, and 4-year-old children. “My oldest son has high-functioning autism, so he excelled. It was his ideal environment and situation. He’s like, ‘Perfect! I don’t have to deal with people. I can just get my work done. I’ll just do everything I need to do for the week on Monday and then I’m done.’ And then, I had to deal with that,” Mallori explained with a laugh. “And for my middle son, he has a lot of dyslexic tendencies and needs a lot more one-on-one. If I could’ve sat by him all day, he would’ve been happy as a lark. But I was working full-time from home, so I just couldn’t. That was a challenge.” 26

her voice | fall/winter 2020 • share your voice with us

TOP: Mallori Sheik balances family life along with a home remodel, her career and continuing education. Pictured from left to right are son London, son Hudson, daughter Nondus, husband Craig (standing) and Mallori. LEFT: Mallori took some time for herself last year on a girls’ trip to Montana. Submitted photo.

Four-year-old daughter Nondus was pulled from her normal routine of daycare and structured activities and playtime. Mom was now her provider, 24/7. The month of May provided a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel. Then, summer provided a sense of more stable footing and an opportunity to carve out extra time for each other. “Over the summer, I felt really grateful,” Mallori said. “We had that time where the kids were home; we were all a lot less stressed and scared. It was just nice to go outside, to go for walks, or even be able to sit down and have lunch together. Or even just not having the hustle of the morning – the little things.”


While the unknown of moving forward leaves many feeling uneasy, Mallori said these experiences caused by COVID-19 have provided her with perspective. “I think that you gain flexibility through something like this. You learn that you can’t control what you can’t control and what you don’t know. So, it’s kind of like you just let go a little. Sometimes you just have to roll with it and take it as it comes.” COVID-19 has also brought out the best in some, Mallori believes. “That’s probably been one of the biggest things — whether it’s my family or in the community –- everybody has been just more kind and understanding and patient, at least to an extent. We’re kind of all in this together, you know?” And a forced slow down has been a blessing in disguise, she added. “It’s been about appreciating those moments that you didn’t have before,” Mallori noted, explaining the day-today routine of rushing to and from work, driving kids to activities, hurrying to eat dinner, and getting home in time to get everyone in bed — only to rinse and repeat the next day. “In times like this, you just realize how much time you didn’t or don’t spend with your family. I think we’re also

more connected as a family because of all the time we’ve spent together — the good, the bad and the ugly — but it all still connects you and brings you back together.”


Self-care is not selfish; it’s essential. Mallori said both she and husband, Craig, have quickly learned that you can’t care for others if you don’t care for yourself first. “For me, it’s friends. Whether it’s calling a friend — I have three good friends that I can always count on, and I know one is always going to answer. Or maybe just checking out and scrolling Facebook for a little bit or taking a bath. Or doing something to get out of the house. That’s really helpful – just planning and scheduling and knowing.” And while self-care looks different for every person, Mallori said it’s critical to take the time to do what fills you up, especially in a time of uncertainty and added responsibility and stress. “It’s okay to not have it all figured out and not to be able to do it all. It’s okay to say no, like I’m not taking this on or handing it to somebody else and asking for help. Be kind and gentle to yourself. It’s okay to have moments where we just lose it. Where we break down and cry, and that’s normal and good and should happen in this kind of stuff. Be kind to yourself like you would for a friend.” And when you begin to doubt the importance of selfcare, Mallori shares a little secret that she visualizes now and then. “I always think about the airplane — you know, you have to put the mask on yourself first so you have oxygen for you before you can help somebody else. Otherwise, you’re no good if you pass out.”

Jenny Holmes is a freelance writer and communications consultant from Nisswa. She and husband Tim have two children - Jackson and Izzy.


Located in the heart of downtown Nisswa



Forever young. Forever fun.

Virtual Tours Offered!

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HER TRAVELS + technology




he prospect of world travel is one that beckons to many. There are those who would like to visit other places in the world, but they are saddled with fears, some real, most imagined. Thanks to COVID-19, world traveler and tour guide Claudia Allene has made her tours around the world accessible for anyone with an internet connection.


her voice | fall/winter 2020 • share your voice with us


Claudia is an extrovert who loves adventure, meeting people and exploring off the beaten path. At the age of 58 she made the decision to traverse the world. She set off for a year with a modest budget and ended up traveling for three years visiting a total of 49 countries. Every single day of her adventure is recorded in one of the many journals she kept during that time. Her love for travel transformed Claudia from world traveler to world tour guide. The intimacy of personalized small group travel of 16 people maximum is the hallmark of her business, Claudia Around the World Tours. Not to be thwarted by a pandemic, she continues to offer world tours to small groups virtually.


Through a company called Tours by Locals, Claudia hires local tour guides who, using their phones, conduct foot tours through their home areas. “They are all top-notch in their fields. I have always been so impressed with all of the tour guides that I’ve used through them.” When she received a notice some of their guides were offering virtual tours, her curiosity kicked in and she thought it would be fun to see what it was like. She also saw this as a way to keep people interested in travel during the pandemic. Budapest, Hungary, Dubrovnik, Croatia and a temple in Kyoto, Japan, are examples of the places virtual tourists have visited with Claudia. To some this may seem a poor substitute for the real thing; however, those who have experienced the virtual tours would beg to differ.

continued on page 30

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continued FROM page 29





Repeat travelers and newbies who have yet to travel abroad have taken virtual tours with Claudia. While experiencing a trip in person is still the ideal, virtual travel has many advantages as well. “I had a great time,” said Kori Flowers. “I haven’t done any international traveling yet myself but this is a little taste of what that would be like. Even though she has not gone abroad, traveling virtually with Claudia to Budapest and Kyoto, Japan, gave Kori some inspiration to consider such trips in the future. “I loved the trip to Japan, and I enjoyed exploring new places in the comfort of my own home.” She encourages people to take the opportunity to travel whenever they can, even if it is a virtual adventure. “It was really cool to see halfway across the world while I’m still here at home,” Kori said. Rosemary Goff and Bob Toborg have traveled with Claudia in person. “She’s a lot of fun to travel with,” said Rosemary. When they were contacted about the opportunity to travel virtually, they could not resist. The tour guides are usually on foot which limits the places you can visit, but on the flip side, it also means a more in-depth experience in a local area. Sharing her experiences, Rosemary said, “We visited Budapest. The most interesting part was down by the canal where they had dozens of pairs of metal shoe sculptures on the riverbank.” This sobering memorial named “Shoes on the Danube Bank” was erected in 2005 to pay tribute to the thousands of people killed in Budapest during the second World War.

1. Claudia Allene is pictured with a student offering free hugs in Kyoto, Japan in 2014.


5 6

2. This is a street view from Kori Flowers’ virtual trip to Budapest, Hungary. Submitted. 3. Kori Flowers was able to see this view of Budapest over the Danube River, thanks to Claudia Allene’s virtual tour there. Submitted. 4. In 2015, Claudia went camel riding in Ulaanbaataar, Mongolia, with a French couple she met on her travels. They stayed with a family in their nomadic yurt. 5. Kori Flowers virtually visited the Budapest presidential residence, Sándor Palace. She learned it was almost entirely destroyed during World War II; the stone wall in the foreground are remnants of the original palace. Submitted. 6. Claudia poses at a World Heritage site of Inca ruins in Machu Picchu, Peru.


her voice | fall/winter 2020 • share your voice with us

Bob and Rosemary also took the virtual tour of Croatia offered by Claudia. “These experiences give you enough of a flavor to make you want to go on the tour,” said Rosemary. They have enjoyed the virtual tours so much that they plan on continuing to participate in addition to in-person tours once the pandemic is over. “Get comfortable and enjoy the trip,” quips Rosemary. Linda Hurst is also a veteran traveler with Claudia. When everything shut down due to COVID-19 and she received a link from Claudia to travel virtually, she could not resist. One of the things Linda enjoyed about her virtual trip to Budapest was the fact that it included a lot of detail. There are fewer people out on the streets now and you can see a lot of places in a short period of time. “I’ll do any tours with Claudia. She always makes them perfect. The virtual tours are a way Claudia keeps people connected.”


You may not be able to travel around the world right now, but don’t let that quench the travel bug. Claudia has suggestions on how to enjoy travel while staying at home: •

• • • • • • • • • • •

Submerge yourself in travel books, blogs, podcasts, webcams or join an online travel community. Take a virtual tour of museums, national parks and your favorite zoo. Play around with Google Earth. Spin the globe and learn about a new country. Discover GeoGuessr. Learn a new language. Subscribe to a Travel Magazine. Create a bucket list. Watch travel movies. Get your old vacation pictures into a photo book. Walk and get into shape for your next trip. Discover something new close to home. Take a road trip! You don’t have to go far to take a break!

Take time to start dreaming and planning your next epic adventure by choosing a destination to research.

Claudia “grabbed” the top of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, in 2015. She spent three months traveling throughout India visiting palaces, exploring the slums of New Delhi and driving all three of the world’s highest motorable peaks in the Himalayas. Susan J. Smith-Grier, mother, grandmother, writer, storyteller, blogger, and Reading Corps tutor of early elementary kids, enjoys the changing seasons of Minnesota lake country. She lives for those moments when the possibilities light up the eyes of her awesome school kids and delights in the power of words and story..

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Guided by our Christian heritage to provide you with the quality of care YOU DESERVE in the environment YOU CHOOSE. Receive uninterrupted care when you need it most. Learn more about our services or schedule a free virtual consultation. knutenelson.org | 218.319.3843 like us on facebook • fall/winter 2020 | her voice


HER HEALTH + surgery Fifty-seven-year-old Jane Brink was driving home alone to Brainerd from her sister’s in Bemidji last year when she started feeling uncomfortable. She didn't know it then but she was having a heart attack. Submitted.

Jane, walking with her dog, Henry, says she would have never seen all of the beautiful places in her town or her own neighborhood if it weren’t for her lifestyle change.


her voice | fall/winter 2020 • share your voice with us

A Sincerely



nyone looking for Jane Brink these days might find her out on a walk, hiking on one of the trails in the area with her husband, Terry, or maybe pedaling around the neighborhood on her bike. A little over a year ago, a walk barely took her to the end of her driveway. It took a scary life-changing health event to make her new lifestyle possible. continued on page 34

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continued FROM page 33 Jane, 57, was driving home alone to Brainerd from her sister’s in Bemidji last year when she started feeling uncomfortable. Initially she wrote off some back pain, thinking it was from sleeping on a different bed, or a possible flare-up of the rheumatoid arthritis she had been treated for since her 20s. When Tylenol didn’t take care of the pain, she started to wonder if something else might be wrong. “After a while I had some tingling and I started to feel a little shaky. Then I had a harder time breathing. When I got to Nisswa, I debated whether to call an ambulance or just keep on driving.” She tried calling a couple of people using the hands-free feature in her car to talk but no one answered. Now, she says she is glad no one did. “I might have thought I sounded paranoid and would have talked myself out of going in.” She decided to drive herself, but to go straight to the - Jane hospital when she got to Brainerd. She called Terry to tell him she was at the hospital. He was fishing and she told him to just keep fishing and she would call him when she was done. “I didn’t want him to get off the lake if it was nothing.” When tests determined she had been having a heart attack, Jane found herself on the way to St. Cloud. Looking back now she says she may have had little signs while she was in Bemidji that something was going on. “I didn’t have any of the symptoms you usually hear about, so I never even thought about it being my heart,” Jane recalled. In St. Cloud she learned she had four different blockages. One artery was 99 percent clogged, two others were in the 90s and another was 70 percent blocked.

With a connection between her arthritis and heart diseases, and a father who had his first heart attack in his 40s, Jane says she’d had some tests done a few years ago. They showed some calcium build-up at the time but nothing like what caused her attack last year. A complication from an angiogram meant some scary days for Jane and a delay on the quadruple bypass surgery on her heart. It also meant a typical five-day stay in the hospital for such a procedure, stretched into 14 days away from home. Then she had a bout with shingles, which she says was its own terrible experience. “You don’t know it until you need them, but we have a lot of really good resources in our community when it comes to healthcare,” she says. “We are incredibly lucky. The people in our cardiac rehab at St. Joe’s are the most amazing women. They were such Brink good coaches for me. They get you going and moving and give you the confidence to feel like you can do it.” In the time since her heart attack Jane has made some key changes in her lifestyle to prevent future attacks. She said she has taken all the advice from her doctors and other medical staff on eating and exercise, and said she knows she probably follows it even more closely than most. She has been on a plant-based diet since her surgery. “I love food,” she laughs. “And I particularly love sugar, but I’ve been able to maintain my diet through all of the holidays last year and now even working from home remotely.” Jane is a regional ombudsman in the office of Ombudsman for Long Term Care for the State of Minnesota.

“I didn’t have any of the symptoms you usually hear about, so I never even thought about it being my heart.”

Jane Brink knows the importance of the "Go Red" American Heart Association campaign for women and heart disease now that she's survived a heart attack and quadruple bypass.


her voice | fall/winter 2020 • share your voice with us

“When you have heart surgery,” she says, “they want you to get up and walking right away.” She did, and she hasn’t stopped, saying she has been able to be more active than she has in years and credits Terry as being a good coach. “In the beginning when I was scared to walk, he’d help me go slow. Now when we go out for a walk, we pass the spot on the driveway that was only as far as I could go before, and it makes me happy how much things have changed,” Jane said. The couple joined a gym but have taken a break since last spring, exercising outside the past few months, which has offered some additional benefits. “I have lived in the Brainerd lakes area most of my life and I have never taken advantage of all of the walking trails we have. I would never have seen all of the beautiful places we have in our town and just my own neighborhood.” She says being more active has helped her arthritis, too. She hasn’t taken a day off work in months because she was sick. “That’s pretty good for someone with a chronic illness,” she says happily. Now that she feels up to doing more, she is not about to let a Minnesota winter slow her down. On her to-do list? Maybe a little snowshoeing. Jane says she is very thankful for her kids, Emily and Mac, who have been great support systems for her since her heart attack and have pitched in to help with anything she’s needed during her rehabilitation and then this year’s pandemic, taking necessary precautions to prevent her from getting sick. “I was never alone at the hospital. Either Terry, Mac, Emily, or my sister stayed with me at night. I don’t know what I would have done without my family.” Son-in-law Ethan has been her most creative cook when it comes to following her new diet. “Last year for Thanksgiving,” she laughs, “he made me tofu turkey.”

Jane says she is glad she followed her instinct that day last June. “I could have gone home and took a nap and never woke up. I wouldn’t have seen my second grandchild born. I was so lucky that I knew something was weird and that I drove in and they were able to find it.” Instead, she spends as much time as possible with her grandsons, Beau and Bennet, Emily and Ethan’s sons. “We just adore them. They are fun and busy and now I can pick them up! And I can get on the ground with them. I can swing them around and I can run with them. Now I’m the fun grandma that I want to be.” Jane says she is thankful to God and for all the people she knows were praying for her. “I really do feel so grateful and so blessed. You realize how many friends you have. When I had my heart attack so many people came to visit me and sent me cards.” Jane’s new diet and exercise have helped her lose 30 pounds. She would like to lose another 10. “I eat all of the right things now,” she laughs, “I just eat too many of the right things. “I hope I can help someone else prevent this from happening and to get to the hospital fast enough. Listen to your body. Trust that things are not just in your head. You know your own body best so if something feels wrong, go in, and get it checked. I really am just blessed. I’m fortunate to be here,” Jane said.

Sheila Helmberger lives in the Brainerd area and is a frequent contributor to Her Voice.

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HER CAREER + sewing

MAIN PHOTO: “We are blessed to be able to offer fine European fabrics to create vestments for many church faiths from Protestant to Roman Catholic. This lovely blue and white piece is a Marian set that was created last year,” said Ecclesiastical Sewing owner Carrie Roberts. LEFT: This Trinity Symbol was created as a special design for a church celebrating its 100th anniversary.



her voice | fall/winter 2020 • share your voice with us

Celebrating 20 years of healthy, happy pets!


pon entering Carrie Roberts’ Baxter establishment, one is dazzled by a kaleidoscope of ornate textiles with rich colors and complex patterns. Ecclesiastical Sewing produces one-of-a-kind vestments, religious fabrics, church linens, kits and books for churches in Minnesota, nationally and internationally. Two large maps of the United States and the world on the wall stand as witnesses and are cheerfully speckled with colored plastic flags to display the many customer sites served in recent years. Carrie said, “We like to bring beauty to worship.” While the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed some supply chains, the desire to enhance places of worship remains.

continued on page 38

Specializing in holistic medicine, including acupuncture, herbal medicine, and laser therapy

– Dr. Deb Brown –

218.568.5095 • www.pequotvet.com CALL TODAY FOR AN APPOINTMENT like us on facebook • fall/winter 2020 | her voice


This map on the wall of Carrie Roberts’ Baxter business, Ecclesiastical Sewing, is marked with colored plastic flags to display the many customer sites served in recent years. continued FROM page 37 The business began in her Baxter home’s basement four years ago and grew large enough to need a bigger space. They moved into their Baxter commercial site last summer. Using her degree in fashion design from the University of Minnesota and a distinct passion for and experience in embroidery and sewing, Carrie’s journey began when she created an altar set 35 years ago for her parish. That genuine groundwork flourished into the current online international operation. Ecclesiastical Sewing is a family business and her spouse, three children, their spouses, and her extended family, all lend a hand along with four employees who sew and embroider. Growing by word-of-mouth enhanced by a strong online and social media presence, the business is nourished by prayer and family artistic and practical talents. One focus is creating religious designs for hand and machine embroidery. After outgrowing smaller machines including her first Bernini embroidery machine, Carrie now uses a large 18-needle computerized embroidery machine for some of her products, accompanied by detailed hand embroidery work. Most of the fabrics lining her walls are brought in from the United Kingdom and are sought after by many customers seeking high quality material. Carrie coordinated the design and weaving of an exclusive fabric named Luther Rose. It alternates a rose with a cross on deep red brocade and is representative of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran reformation in 2017. The Luther Rose fabric is also available in other liturgical colors. 38

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Designs are created by an artist with client and Ecclesiastical Sewing involvement, then purchased for use, re-use and manipulation in articles over time. This artwork or assemblage of art is digitized so it can be embroidered onto materials. Ecclesiastical Sewing focuses on traditional religious needs and offers four product lines: • Done for You — Simply explained, these items are complete and ready to use such as altar linen, cassocks, chasubles, headwear and hangings. • Bespoke — An item or set that is truly custom, and created with vision, just for the church or wearer. An example would be a cope vestment and sole set designed for a new Catholic priest as a gift from his parents. It could include a memorial label that rests on the priest’s heart. Bespoke items bring a special kind of joy with personality. • Quick Ship — These are items on hand and ready to ship and include ready-made vestments, banners or linens, brocade, linen, thread, trim or notions such as braid or gold thread. • Do It Yourself — This product line provides professionally created patterns for church vestments and needs. Many places of worship boast talented artists and creators who can use these patterns to meet their church needs. Textiles and related items can be purchased together with the patterns.

Carrie stated preserving artistry and bringing beauty to worship is key to her mission. She seeks to marry knowledge with history and disseminate that to future generations. In concert with that mission, she is reprinting and selling vintage and outof-print books to champion access and distribution of this information. Carrie has amassed over 5,000 books for her personal use regarding liturgical use of color, time-honored and proven technical methods for creating religious textiles and preserving artistry and tradition in matters of faith. These are the basis of her ongoing education and reprinting project. Clearly, the wide-ranging products leaving Ecclesiastical Sewing are labors of love, built with the highest quality materials and are meant to last many decades.

Carrie Roberts said they were blessed by the response of their clients and had to move from a single-needle machine to a 15-needle machine.

Jill Neumann enjoys time with family, all kinds of skiing and the outdoors. She is employed by United Healthcare, working nationally with large employers and their employee benefits needs. She and her husband Rob are blessed with two boys, Mitchell, 17, and Joseph, 13.


Thank yo

BY PRESENTED Dispatch The Brainerd

ES INERDdLAK THE BRA Dispatch ed by the Brainer Present


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HER TECHNOLOGY + adjusting



ouch the screen if it’s gone black and it will come back,” I guide my mom through her first lesson (and mine) on the new tablet, purchased so that she can Zoom. “Like this?” she tapped without any results. “That was your fingernail. Use your fingertip,” I suggest. The screen flashed on but quickly went black again. “Maybe you have to swipe left.” This time, the home screen came into view. But, now what? Yes, now what? That burning question being asked in every language on the planet these days! “I used to think about how difficult it must have been for folks to go from horses to cars,” Mom sighed. “This is much worse – on so many levels.”


her voice | fall/winter 2020 • share your voice with us

“The difference between then and now is the speed of changes,” I noted. “Now we’re adjusting every hour. This is a steep learning curve for everyone.” On March 14, I traveled to Eau Claire to celebrate my mother’s 94th birthday on St. Patrick’s Day, despite the dark cloud of impending doom. The warning was clear. “Don’t visit your elders.” With that, my son and family wisely canceled, but I trekked on. By March 15, events were being canceled. In that unimaginable moment, there were no facts to rely on for decision-making. In the days to come, we channel-surfed through a bombardment of bad news. We foraged between the CDC regulations, the administration’s mixed messages and Dr. Fauci’s stern and straight science, hoping to find solid guidelines.

“The difference between then and now is the speed of changes. Now we’re adjusting every hour. This is a steep learning curve for everyone.” - Jan Kurtz

We learned new vocabulary: PPE, N-95 mask, surge, new normal, social distancing and senior shopping hours. “Do you really have to grocery shop at 5:30 a.m., wear a mask, leave the bags in the garage, take a shower and wash your clothes?” Mom asked me on my first trek as a hunter-gatherer for the recommended 14-day-stay-at-home period. She looked at her recipes and made her list even longer. I thought she would revert to a Depression days mentality that was passed on to me through my upbringing. I expected to see flour, sugar and canned goods on the list. “What’s this about maraschino cherries?” I asked. “Those are for the ice cream sundae,” she stated matter-of-factly. “If you’re going to put yourself in harm’s way, you ought to make the best of it.” And so it was that, every day at precisely noon, she presented a fourcourse meal, served on the good China, with goblets for wine. “This is my normal,” she assured me. “I love to cook and we don’t have to starve just because we are quarantined.” We carefully implemented the recommendations to put mail, newspapers and packages into the garage alongside our newly purchased groceries. We sprayed surfaces with the prescribed chlorine-water mix. We washed our

continued on page 38

Phyllis, Jan Kurtz's mom, continued to stay active during the early stages of COVID-19. Here, she is doing stretches in her chair yoga Zoom class. 15-3572_Ad Design Her Voice.qxp_Layout 1 7/6/15 8:26 AM Page 1 15-3572_Ad Design Her Voice.qxp_Layout 1 7/6/15 8:26 AM Page 1 15-3572_Ad Design Her Voice.qxp_Layout 1 7/6/15 8:26 AM Page 1 15-3572_Ad Design Her Voice.qxp_Layout 1 7/6/15 8:26 AM Page 1

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218-454-2159 RENE218-454-2159 MILLNER RENE MILLNER rene@breenandperson.com


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ESTATE PLANNING••TRUST/WILLS TRUST/WILLS ESTATE PLANNING rene@breenandperson.com 218-454-2158 • •rene@breenandperson.com 218-454-2158



continued FROM page 41

TOP: Jan Kurtz’s mom, Phyllis, presents a fourcourse meal, served on the good China, with goblets for wine. Phyllis said, “I love to cook and we don’t have to starve just because we are quarantined.” BOTTOM: Phyllis (left) and friend Pam (right) enjoy a picnic in the “Garage Café” during COVID-19.

hands raw and heard that rubbing onions on them afterwards would keep them away from our faces. My four-day visit became weeks. If I left her, could I return? Up until now, she was totally self-sufficient. She enjoyed grocery shopping “to get exercise” and scope out ingredients. She attended chair yoga, Bible studies and condo lunches. Her cloth library bag was full of the latest best sellers to take her through the week. What would become of her mental and physical health if cloistered inside? Worry is a motivator, but often not necessary. I reasoned the tablet device would offer socialization. I wrote out instructions and held daily practices. “Tap the link,” I began the lesson. “What is a link?” “That blue line,” I’d point and she would tap the screen as if it were on fire. Lessons improved when a friend sent an Andrea Bocelli link of “Music of Hope” sung in the empty Duomo di Milano. Delighted, she touched again and again, enjoying the magnificent music. Motivation – the key to learning. Then, the melodious tenor changed to Carol Burnett cackling. Mom had discovered the black hole of unending YouTube entertainment. On our first techno Sunday, Mom dressed up, including jewelry. We situated ourselves on the loveseat together, repeated the prayers and sang along with

“I love to cook and we don’t have to starve just because we are quarantined.” - Phyllis Kurtz


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Pastor Leslie, streaming the service alone from her office. “Technology. Love it or hate it,” Mom moaned. “It’s so frustrating when I can’t make it work. This is too much!” she whimpered, remembering the “good old days” of a month ago. A daily routine of stretching exercises, mealtimes, writing letters and FaceTime emerged as the weeks melted together in a dimension of time warps. While others hoarded toilet paper, wore sweatpants and binge watched old movies, Mom dressed in nice outfits, cooked new recipes, and kept her daily date with the newspaper’s crosswords. On April 26, I finally left. I left her pantry full, freezer full, spray bottle full. We blessed each other with a drop of frankincense on our foreheads. We hugged because we could. Since then, she has Zoomed her yoga, Bible class and church meetings, often exhausted when the codes don’t work. She set up a card table in the garage complete with a plastic, pink table covering and centerpiece to receive guests at a six-foot distance with a mask. The robins, lupines, apple blossoms and mosquitos have returned. But, should I?

Phyllis, Jan Kurtz’s mom, joins a chat room, embracing technology in the age of COVID-19.

Jan’s roots are in the north country, but Spanish continues to add extra dimensions to her life’s journey. Since retiring from teaching Spanish, her travels cycle between family, the Wisconsin cabin and the occasional foray across borders. She is writing a book about the surprising places and unexpected adventures opened to her by virtue of speaking Spanish. Find her writings at: www.janetkurtz.com.

30581 Patriot Avenue • 218-568-5001 www.pequotlakessupervalu.com Locally owned and operated


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Your local grocer and partner for all your holiday supplies.


HER TABLE + ingredients




A healthier alternative to traditional sausage when using chicken and apple sausage. They are gluten and nitrate free with no added hormones. Some delicious add-ins include: butternut squash, sweet potatoes and broccoli. Serve the entree with a side of parmesan garlic couscous or your favorite rice. It’s an ever ready special that serves four.

INGREDIENTS: 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons maple syrup 1/4 teaspoon each thyme, parsley, rosemary, cinnamon 1 package (12 oz.) chicken and apple smoked sausage. Cut each link into fifths. 2 cups each broccoli florets and diced sweet potatoes 1 cup butternut squash, cubed 1/2 large red onion, cut into slices 2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced 1 large or 2 small Honeycrisp apples, diced or another crisp apple (could substitute two Bosc pears) 1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries Optional 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes Salt and pepper to taste 44

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Cooking Tips:

I added the broccoli in the last 5 minutes of cooking time with dried cranberries. This avoids the broccoli getting mushy from being overcooked. Reserve one teaspoon of the olive oil /syrup/spice mixture to toss with broccoli. Quartered Brussels sprouts can substitute for broccoli but they will need the full cooking time with butternut squash cubes and sweet potatoes.

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone pad. In a bowl whisk together olive oil, maple syrup and spices. Reserve 1 teaspoon of liquid for broccoli. Add sweet potatoes, butternut squash cubes, sausage links, red onion chunks, garlic and diced apples. Mix well and spread mixture out on a baking sheet. Roast vegetables and apples until tender, about 15 minutes. Mix broccoli florets and cranberries or cherries with reserved liquid. Cook 7 minutes longer.




Cook’s notes:

One of the best things about this soup recipe is its versatility with lots of options: Italian sausage or turkey sausage, green beans, peppers or cubed yellow squash, chicken broth or beef broth, cheese tortellini or tri-color tortellini, spinach or cabbage, spices. Prep ingredients ahead for easier assembly. This hearty rustic soup works well for a main meal and also is one of those soups that tastes better the second day. Pair the meal with artisan or French bread. Recipe serves 4.

INGREDIENTS: 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 cup onion, diced 1 tablespoon garlic cloves, minced 3/4 pound Italian sausage or 2 cups cooked meat 1/3 cup each diced carrots, celery, sweet red pepper 1 cup zucchini, diced 1 32-ounce container of chicken broth (low sodium and fat free) 2 fresh tomatoes, diced and drained on a paper towel

1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano 1 teaspoon each dried Italian seasoning and parsley 1-2 cups torn spinach leaves (remove stems) 1 9-ounce package fresh or frozen tortellini 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

Note: Leftover soup on the second day will need more broth as the tortellini will have absorbed some liquid.

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In a soup pot, brown sausage and drain off fat. Crumble and set meat aside on a paper towel. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and saute onions 3 minutes. Add in garlic and saute 1 minute more. Turn heat to low and add in zucchini, peppers, carrots, celery. Cover 6 minutes, stirring a few times. Change heat setting to medium low and add to the sauteed vegetables tomatoes, spices, cooked meat, canned diced tomatoes and broth. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add in tortellini and spinach leaves, cook uncovered about 10 minutes, until pasta is al dente. Stir in yogurt. (I used Fage brand which is thicker than other Greek yogurt products)

and beyond!


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CONTACT US 13540 Ironwood Drive • Brainerd, MN 56401 | HOURS Monday - Friday 8am-5pm like us on facebook • fall/winter 2020 | her voice


ICED OREO COOKIES Who knew Oreo cookies could get any better? Iced Oreo Cookies are a kid-friendly holiday cookie recipe. It’s a creative idea with lots of decorating possibilities.

Cook’s Notes/Tips:

Classic Family Favorite Oreo Cookies work the best as Oreo Thins fall apart in the dipping process and Double Stuff makes the cookie too sweet. I used one half package of melting wafers at a time following melting instructions on the bag. Use two different microwavable coffee cups with a large mouth one for dark chocolate and one for white with two different spoons. One melting wafer package makes about 15 cookies. Recipe inspiration http://somethingswanky.com/.

INGREDIENTS: 1 package Oreo Classic Cookies, any flavor 1 package each chocolate and white melting wafers Decorating supplies 2 coffee cups and 2 spoons or tongs

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DIRECTIONS: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper. Melt one half bag of chocolate in a coffee cup according to manufacturing directions. Dip one cookie at a time using a spoon or a small tong. Be sure to coat both sides well and place on the baking sheet. Decorate immediately as melting wafers set up quickly. Place completed baking sheet in freezer for one hour to set icing.

Making Transitions Manageable

Jana Froemming REALTOR®/Home Stager

Sue Ready is a freelance writer for several local publications, a poet and former middle school teacher. She is the president of the Northwoods Arts Council in Hackensack and chair for the Annual Northwoods Art and Book Festival in August. She blogs at http://sockfairies.blogspot.com/ with recipes, travel adventures, book reviews and The World According to Bella stories. Sue writes a food column for the Pilot Independent in Walker, Great Northern News and Lakes Area Living Magazine.


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1001 Kingwood Street, Brainerd, MN 56401 Studio #228



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Donations by appointment


Proceeds support the good works of Bridges of Hope.

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A Brainerd Dispatch Publication

By Women. For Women. About Women.

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A Brainerd Dispa


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