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SPRING 2017 By women. For women. About women.

Advocates For

Reproductive Education


Oh Baby! STONEHOUSE Coffee Real and Raw


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Foodie Finds

A Brainerd Dispatch Publication.

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+ A Nun’s Story












A premier magazine for everything home.


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SPRING ‘17 Contents Features


Charlier Women New to the area, educator Hara Charlier and daughters Devon and Lili are making their mark. By Jenny Holmes


Oh Baby


StoneHouse Gal


Maribel Comes to America

Once upon a time, moms-to-be stretched out on the couch and waited for baby. No longer. Read about a new practice. By Denise Sundquist


Julie French and her husband Mike have developed a hotspot in Nisswa called StoneHouse Coffee & Roastery. By Carolyn Corbett

What does a Spanish woman want to see in the Brainerd lakes area? You might be surprised! By Jan Kurtz


On The Cover

Advocates for Reproductive Education: Front row (l to r) Sue Hadland, Cindy Moore. Back row: Julie Ingleman, Becky Twamley. Photo by Joey Halvorson

In This Issue editorial • 4


42 recreation • 20

Her Voice ISO • 42

her say • 36

Jennifer Miller’s Fashion Affection

By Sheila DeChantal

Her Voice short • 44

her say • 16

By Sheila Helmberger

Splish Splash

By Audrae Gruber

Midwives For Haiti

yard and garden • 18

By Joan Hasskamp

By Maureen Farnsworth

Stained Glass Artist

by Meg Douglas

school trips • 9

Australia — Future Teacher Expands Her World By Abigayle Kiehlbauch

Call Me Dear

Fairy Gardening

Small Town Gym Has Big Time Impact

the arts II • 34

Foodie Finds HV Facebook Fan Favorites Page 46

Sx Talk For Teens

By Jo Georges

entrepreneurs • 22

travel • 30

the arts I • 32

By Catherine Rausch

A Passion For Art By Carissa Andrews

By Rebecca Flansburg

Real And Raw Her Voice short • 38

Excavating Memories By Mary Aalgaard

By Cori Reynolds

spirituality • 40

Nun’s Story By Jan Kurtz

24 Like us us on on Facebook Facebook •• Spring Spring 2017 2017 || her her voice voice 3 3 Like

from the editor


SxTalk For Teens

was the early ‘60s when adults divided teens by gender at my church and provided us with reproductive education. Yes, the girls tittered over the diagrams of a uterus and fallopian tubes and boys talked about condoms on bananas, but at least grownups provided factual information about sex.

Sad to say, not much is taught at home or school these days about reproduction, nor is there sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing provided by area agencies. And when Planned Parenthood shut their doors in Brainerd six years ago, teens without family support, a desire for privacy or an inability to navigate insurance lost access to healthcare. That is until a group of women decided to do something about it. Sue Hadland, nurse practitioner; SxTalk at The Shop. Becky Twamley, pharmacist; Julie Ingleman, graphic designer; Cindy Moore, Executive Director of The Shop, the Brainerd/Baxter Youth Center, have created Advocates for Reproductive Education (ARE), a non-profit, 501(c)(3) advocacy group dedicated to “helping young adults stay healthy and well informed.” Getting their ducks in a row over the past two years, these women have created a structured education program. At The Shop, ARE provides monthly “SxTalk” programs, appealing to teens with a format of fun, games, food and talks titled, “Chlamydia: No It’s Not a Flower,” and “Can You Say Papillomavirus?” Recently, ARE explored the possibility of collaborating with Central Lakes College, working with the nursing department and in the future may connect with other community organizations designing programs that meet specific needs. Ultimately, the goal is to open a teen clinic and ARE is currently searching for rental space. Funding comes from a variety of grants including seed money from the Brainerd Women’s Fund and community donations. The Family Planning and Special Projects grant administered through the Minnesota Department of Health will ensure sustainable funding for the clinic. Sue Hadland was a nurse practitioner with Essentia for 15 years and before that traveled all over central Minnesota as a community educator for Planned Parenthood. When teens asked for birth control pills, Sue would say, “Let’s talk,” opening discussions on a wide range of reproductive topics, including “the practical information no one is talking about.” While some may ask, “Isn’t reproductive education the parent’s job?” Anecdotal evidence and data from the MN Department of Health indicate it’s not happening -- particularly with teens from disadvantaged backgrounds. In Crow Wing County the birth rate for the 18-19 age group is more than twice the state average, ranking in the top 10 highest counties in the state. Looking at data from the MN Department of Health, STIs have reached epidemic rates. In 2008, there were 48 cases of chlamydia reported in Crow Wing County. By 2015, that number had risen to 137.

The Executive Director of ARE Becky Twamley posts a sign in her office: “While the adults are arguing, the teens are getting pregnant.” Here’s a group of women tackling that trend. For more information, find the ARE Website at: Meg Douglas, Editor 4 her voice | Spring 2017 • Share your voice with us on Facebook

By women. For women. About women.


Pete Mohs EDITOR



Joey Halvorson COPY EDITOR

DeLynn Howard


(entertainment tab)

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(218) 855-5871 Mail: ATTN: Her Voice Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 974, Brainerd, MN 56401 A quarterly publication of the Brainerd Dispatch. Printed by Forum Communications.

copyright© 2003 VOLUME 14, EDITION 1 SPRING 2017

Here with you when the farm needs you too

Joanne Gross of Harding drives the bailing

The accreditated Joint Wellness Center

tractor every hay season. So when her

at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical

knees were slowing her down and causing

Center, in collaboration with physicians

pain she knew the solution needed to

at Northern Orthopedics, supports more

work around the demands of the farm.

than 500 patients each year on their

Fortunately, it was just a short drive to Pierz

journey to less pain and being more active

to see her orthopedic surgeon for follow-

through hip and knee joint replacements.

ups after a winter knee replacement surgery got her back on the tractor.


PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON Central Lakes College president, Hara Charlier, (center) shares a light moment with daughters Devon (L) and Lili.

Charlier Women

Mother and Daughters Making Their Mark



ou can often tell the character of a person by the children they’ve raised. Such is the case with Hara Charlier and her daughters Devon and Lili. While all in different stages in their lives, each of these dynamic women have already made a significant impact in the lakes area since relocating here in June 2016 when Hara was chosen for, and accepted, the presidency at Central Lakes College in Brainerd and Staples. Hara has been involved at an administrative level in the community college movement for over a decade, most recently working as vice president of instruction and student services at Virginia Highlands Community College since 2012. Having a lifelong appreciation for rural life, Hara was intrigued by the idea of relocating her family to central Minnesota when former CLC President Larry Lundblad announced his retirement and the position was posted nationally. The Charliers became familiar with Minnesota while

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visiting the Mayo Clinic in Rochester where their oldest daughter, Devon, received medical attention; however, the thought of moving to an area of extreme climate changes left the family a bit cold. Devon, 19, was enrolled in her first year of college in Virginia, while Lili, 16, was in the throes of high school life. Both girls were heavily involved in their community. Through her experiences as a patient at Mayo, Devon had founded the Book Wagon – a program raising money and purchasing age appropriate books for children hospitalized in

the pediatric wing at their local hospital. Lili was a record-setting shot put thrower at her high school and, in her off time, played her ukulele at local establishments and donated her tips to charity. Needless to say, making the decision to relocate 1,100 miles, or over 17 hours, away had to be a unanimous family decision. As the youngest, Lili was given two votes. “The first time, I voted against it,” she said sheepishly. “I knew it was something Mom had always wanted to do and I didn’t want to be the one holding us back, to be honest. But now, I’m glad we’re here.” For Hara and her husband a major concern was their daughters’ adjustment. “Family is really important to us and we didn’t want to make it difficult for either of them,” says Hara. “With Lili starting a new high school, you never know how kids are going to accept someone from the outside.” But, it wasn’t long after their mid-summer move to the lakes area that the family began to find their niche and areas of impact. Hara’s husband Russ, a watchmaker by trade, was almost immediately offered a job at a local jeweler. Devon, a certified yoga instructor, took a teaching position at Nisswa Yoga and enrolled at CLC. And Lili registered for her junior year at Brainerd High School and took a job at a local gym. “It was so great when things began to fall into place,” Hara said, noting the family also found a home near Nisswa and began to settle. Then, July 27 hit and with it, trees hit the Charlier’s new home, leaving three holes in their roof and a mess to clean. The opportunity allowed the Charliers to purchase a new chainsaw and provided an education on outdoor burning. “The sense of community was just so profound,” Hara noted. “We had neighbors who didn’t even know us and came to check on us after the storm, even though their own homes were also damaged. During that time we asked for a lot of advice.”

“I believe

my girls can do

a nything they set their minds to.” -Hara Charlier

Devon (L) practices yoga, her sister Lili is the first female to join the Warrior Varsity football team as a nose guard. When asked by the coach why she wanted to play, Lili responded she had confidence in her size and mental toughness. Coach agrees.

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“The sense of community was just so profound.” -Hara Charlier

“The students were very accepting of me... ‘the new kid’ and a female on the football team.” -Lily Charlier

In the fall of 2016, Lili began classes at BHS and joined the Warrior football team, as a nose guard on the defensive line. “The students were very accepting of me,” Lili said of not only being the ‘new kid,’ but also a female on the football team. “I thought more people would react negatively. But I’ve gotten a lot of compliments and have made a lot of friends. I had always wanted to play football, but I never wanted to be the new kid who played football. Or to be the new girl that played football was even weirder.” But Lili tackled her fears and made an impact in her first season, conditioning right alongside her teammates. “I believe my girls can do anything they set their minds to,” Hara beamed proudly with her daughters sitting nearby. “Going outside of your comfort zone is hard. And we wanted her to have a smooth transition, socially. So it’s been terrific for all of us to see the support and to see Lili set and reach her goals.” In the spring, Lili plans to join the track team and continue her shot put career, adding the sport has been key in helping her gain confidence. “You have to work for what you want,” the wise-beyond-her-years Lili commented. “I’ve learned that from my mom and my sister.” Older sister Devon said she is taking advantage of this school year as a ‘re-evaluation period.’ As a legal adult, Devon was given the option to stay behind in Virginia to continue on the path for a four-year degree, but said she wanted to relocate with her family to explore her options. Described by her mom as “driven,” Devon has a plan to become an occupational therapist and has her eye on Minnesota State University Mankato to major in Cognitive Science to prepare her for graduate work in Occupational Therapy. In the meantime, she hopes to expand her yoga practice – something that has gotten her through some of her toughest of days.

“I first got into yoga when I had chronic illnesses in high school. I used yoga as my coping mechanism with the gentle stretching and breathing. When I recovered, I started practicing more often and I had the opportunity to become a certified instructor. In the future, I’d really like to work more with children; but for now, I really enjoy leading and teaching adults in the studio.” With a few months under her proverbial President’s belt, Hara said she is working to meet and get to know each and every one of the nearly-300 CLC staff. “I do a lot of listening and learning. And I’m also getting to know the history and culture of this institution and college. I truly enjoy listening to the stories and what the people at CLC feel and think.” Hara said she has put a priority on developing relationships both within the college as well as the community. She has since joined the Rotary organization and tries to regularly attend Chamber events to network and meet new people. The emphasis on relationships seems to be a hereditary trait that has been successfully passed down to her daughters. Armed with specific goals and a sincere desire to help others, the Charlier women are already making their mark in the lakes area. See Lily play her ukulele on our Her Voice Magazine Facebook page.

Jenny Holmes is a former reporter for the Brainerd Dispatch and currently owns a public relations and communications business. She lives in Nisswa with husband, Tim and their two school-aged children.

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r a t lia‑ s u A

school trips

Future Teacher Expands Her World

Abigayle Kiehlbauch spent five weeks in Australia as part of her elementary education degree.


Last May, I boarded a plane with eight fel-

low students and a professor from Concordia College, Moorhead, for what is called “May Sem,” as part of my studies for my bachelor of arts degree in elementary education. I didn’t know any of these people personally and I was going to spend five weeks with them in a foreign country. By the end of the trip, the 10 of us would become the closest friends and have a bond that will last a lifetime. 

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“Studying in Australia has been the highlight of my college career.” - Abigayle Kiehlbauch

Bondi Beach

Abi’s tour of Sydney included Bondi Beach, churches and historical buildings, followed by a trip to the Outback and a camel ride.

Our group landed early Wednesday morning in Sydney, Australia. It felt great to stretch our legs after the long 15-hour flight as we toured the city as a group and got a feel for this new country and culture. The hostel that was to be our home for the next five weeks overlooked the incredible Sydney Harbor, home to the famous Sydney Opera House. First seen in my favorite childhood movie “Finding Nemo,” that Sydney Opera House was nothing compared to the one that I walked passed every day.  During the first week in Sydney, I was constantly surrounded by buildings reaching high into the sky, crowds of people in every direction, buses and vehicles transporting people here and there. Around the city are historical museums, war memorials, parks, gardens, schools and churches, most within walking distance of our hostel. Included in our tour was Bondi Beach, one of the most known beaches in the world. Typically flooded with people in the water, the beach was almost deserted because, although it was May, it was fall, only a few weeks shy of winter in the southern hemisphere. Along with Bondi Beach, our group took a historical tour of

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Sydney with Glen, an Aussie native. It was incredible to walk around Sydney and not only see multiple historical buildings but also to hear about Sydney and Australia through a native’s eyes. The next seven days we spent in the Outback. I remember looking out the plane and watching everything underneath turn red. After getting off the plane we met our tour guide, Leah, who worked for a company that gives people educational and cultural tours of the Outback.  That night we stayed at Earth Sanctuary. The area is the only non-carbon output center in Australia. Everything in and around this camp is solar powered and built with eco friendly materials. Becoming sustainable and conscious of one’s waste is a very important idea in Australia and Earth Sanctuary is helping educate people on how to live more sustainably.   The next few days we stayed at Lilla, an indigenous community where we hiked in the mountains. The most impactful spot was a wall the community used to warn and communicate with other groups of people who travel through the area. During the rest of the week, we took a four-hour road trip to Yulara, and hiked in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National

The students visit Uluru, a peaceful stop in the Outback, and Lilla, indigenous community.

Park, a site sacred to indigenous Australians. After our week in the Outback, the 10 of us spent our last three weeks touring different schools around Sydney. We taught a short lesson on American Natives at a 95 percent non-English speaking school. This school was very diverse and had a specific class where students could work on their home language skills, similar to how our students learn English.  We also toured a private all-boys school where the cost of attendance is more than I pay to attend Concordia College. Each school we toured welcomed us kindly and in-

spired me even more to become a teacher. Studying in Australia has been the highlight of my college career. I am excited to go back to Australia but for now I’m excited to share what I’ve learned with my future students and those around me.

A Brainerd native, Abigayle Kiehlbauch graduated from Brainerd High School and Central Lakes College in May of 2014. She is currently attending Concordia College in Moorhead and plans to graduate in May. Abigayle is hoping to return to the Brainerd area and begin her career as a teacher.

At Lilla, Abi tried her hand at Aboriginal artwork taught by indigenous women from the community.


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Baby! 9 Months of


Women staying active before and after pregnancy: Back (L) Allie Bjerketvedt and daughter Aurora. (R) Jeanne King and son Isaac and daughter Greta. Front Traci Staples and daughter.


early 20 years ago, Traci Staples was ecstatic to learn she was pregnant with her first baby. She celebrated every single day by eating at Taco Bell, not talking to her doctor about exercise, just taking it easy. At her last prenatal appointment, Traci stepped on the scale and was shocked to learn she had gained 70 pounds. After giving birth, she had a beautiful eight-pound baby girl to hold and 50 pounds of tacos to lose. Reality sank in when she went shopping and couldn’t fit into XL pants. She was devastated. Traci’s mom gave her a six-month membership to the Brainerd Family YMCA to help her get back in shape.

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Traci never left the YMCA. Her commitment to staying healthy grew into becoming a certified fitness instructor at the Y. She teaches many of the morning classes attended by young moms after they drop their children off at school or Kids Kastle, the free childcare room at the YMCA. Now Traci gets to know many of her pregnant participants and is excited to share in their journey. They aren’t sitting around waiting for their babies to arrive; these women are on the move. For the past two years, Allie Bjerketvedt dropped her two young children, Theo, 5, and Izzy, 2, off at preschool and headed to the YMCA. She joined the Y after she met another mom at the Early Childhood Family Education center and was encouraged to take classes with her. Previously, Allie had memberships all over the place, but she wasn’t staying accountable. Allie just walked with her first two pregnancies. This pregnancy she con-

tinued with her favorite YMCA classes: Group Power, boot camp, cardio sculpt and hot yoga. “I felt different; I had fewer aches and pains.” She added, “I was happier and just had a more positive outlook about everything.” And best of all, her labor was easier, much easier. Allie and her husband Travis welcomed Aurora “Auri” in November 2016. Allie encourages expecting moms to continue working out, even if they are sick in the first trimester. She recommends that you never miss more than two days in a row and most importantly, “Never miss a Monday. Monday sets you up for your whole week!” With a newborn in the house, Allie has put her YMCA membership on hold for the winter months. She can still workout at home with a treadmill, free weights, Facebook Live and YouTube videos. “Working out gives me good endorphins and helps me stay happy.”

Brenda Mehr finds time to run even with youngsters, Jonah and Matthias.

Brenda Mehr started running recreationally when she was in college and ran half marathons on the weekends just for fun. Soon she settled down with her husband, Jake and they received the exciting news of a Mehr-Bear No. 1. She was not able to run during or after her pregnancy

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for medical reasons. Brenda was content being a new mom and two years later, they welcomed Mehr-Bear No. 2, Jonah. With two little people at home, Brenda desperately needed an outlet. “I didn’t have a hobby for two years, other than being pregnant.” When Jonah was just three months old, she connected with a friend that posted her runs on Facebook and asked if she could join her. “I didn’t know if I could run one mile.” She surprised herself by running five miles on a chilly December morning. Running was just what Brenda was looking for. She met more local runners, found the right times, distances and pace. “I would come home beaming.” She finally felt like she was accomplishing an attainable goal. It

“I was happier and just had a more positive outlook about everything.” - Allie Bjerketvedt was rewarding to see progress and most importantly, she found stress relief. Brenda runs at 5:30 a.m. on weekday mornings with a group of women before her family wakes up. “The morning runs are dark and slightly freeing. There is a lot of visiting; I get advice and encouragement and I can vent and share frustrations.” Just six months later, somewhere on the streets of Baxter, Brenda confided to her running friends she was expecting Mehr-Bear No. 3. Surprise! Her daughter was two and her son was barely nine months old. She soon discovered running while pregnant was different. She got dehydrated faster and was more sensitive to the heat. Brenda raced in the Monster Dash 10 Mile in late October when she was 20 weeks pregnant. She had some anxiety going into the race, worrying there wouldn’t be enough Porta Potties on the course. However, she had a great experience, “There is something so special in the community of runners. Even when you aren’t out to win, it’s super uplifting.” Brenda did not run or exercise during her first two pregnancies. She wasn’t sure running helped during labor, but she’s confident the epidural did. She physically bounced back quicker after her third baby. Mathias was born on Leap Day 2016, and one month later, she was out with her running pals. “I wanted to get back at it right away. I needed my outlet.” Brenda doesn’t believe 14 her voice | Spring 2017 • Share your voice with us on Facebook

Jeanne King participated in a rigorous PiYo (Pilates/Yoga) class with adaptations during her second pregnancy.

“I get advice and encouragement and I can vent and share frustrations.” - Brenda Mehr there will be more MehrBears. “I think we’re good, but I’ve said that before.” She teased, “We do have seating for eight in our minivan.” Jeanne King didn’t work out at all with her first baby, Nora, who is now 5. However, when she was pregnant with her second baby, Greta, she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and her doctor advised her to walk for 25 minutes each day. She reported to a treadmill everyday until Greta was born. And once Jeanne had medical clearance, she started back at the YMCA, running

on the treadmill and participating in PiYo (pilates-yoga inspired workout) and Group Power classes. Jeanne was excited when she found out she was expecting Baby No. 3; however, she was very ill at the beginning of her pregnancy and stopped doing everything. Once she felt better, she went back to the YMCA and continued with PiYo classes and walked on the treadmill throughout the remainder of her pregnancy. Jeanne was more active during this pregnancy. She felt better at the end than the

“It’s a good day if dinner gets made and I didn’t forget Nora at preschool.”

During her third pregnancy, Allie Bjerketvedt stayed in her favorite YMCA classes; group power, boot camp, cardio sculpt and hot yoga.

- Jeanne King beginning, “I was so tired in the first trimester; I could barely get off the couch.” At the end, she could do anything she needed to, “I still had the energy to go outside and play with the kids.” Jeanne and her husband, Tony, welcomed Isaac in October 2016. Currently, Jeanne is taking a break from her YMCA workouts to concentrate on keeping everyone alive. “It’s a good day if dinner gets made and I didn’t forget Nora at preschool.” After inspiring pregnant women and young moms for years at the YMCA, Traci

Staples found herself in disbelief four years ago. She was pregnant with her third child at the age of 38. But Traci didn’t want to slow down. Her husband, Chris and their two teenage daughters had full schedules and Traci wanted to continue their active lifestyle. She still taught all her fitness classes, ate healthier, and overall, felt great both mentally and physically. Traci gained just 23 pounds during her pregnancy and was able to comfortably get back into her jeans just one week after delivery. To celebrate, she and her family went to Taco Bell.

Denise Sundquist is the health and safety coordinator for the Brainerd School District. Since her sons left for college, she has embraced a more active lifestyle including local triathlons, running races and mountain biking with her husband, Matt, on the Cuyuna Mountain Bike Trail System.

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her say



ere’s your mail, darlin’” was the new mailman’s greeting as I stood by the mailbox on a warm summer day. The word ‘darlin’ hit me. It’s been years since anyone called me that and it felt kind of good. I stood straighter, even blushed a little. I danced back to the house with a lighter step. I wrote an article entitled “Don’t Call Me Dear” for Her Voice, Fall 2004, about my reaction to strangers calling me ‘dear,’ ‘honey, ‘sweetie pie,’ when they didn’t even know me. It happened wherever I went – the bank, grocery stores, salespeople. Sure, I was short, white-haired and slightly hard of hearing but on the other hand I was active and moving. The article was applauded by those of us in our 70s with grey hair and active lives who felt it was a putdown. Women stopped me at the library or shopping mall to tell me how much they appreciated the article saying they put it on their fridge, gave it to their family members and shared it with their outof-town friends. I added some hair color that week and went about my busy life.

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Writer Audrae Gruber and husband Paul keep their minds active.

Now, however, the view has changed. Life in the 80s has altered in unexpected ways with more physical and mental challenges: two hip replacements, facial skin cancer, physical therapy, issues focusing and multi-tasking, (where did I put my glasses?) and caregiving, to name a few. The postal worker who called me ‘darlin’’ opened up a whole new can of worms. Even more amazing was my change in attitude. Now, I kind of liked it. As I look in the mirror (who is that person?) and evaluate the past years, ‘darlin’’ feels pretty darn good. Perspectives change. Self-image changes. Turning 80 and the challenges of the past few years has helped me gain an appreciation for the more basic functions. Simplify, simplify, simplify has become my motto. I have downsized our home, enjoying

Perspectives change.

giving special objects that hold meaning to family members. I value family and friends, contacts with deeper meaning. The enjoyment of simpler things like bird watching have become more meditation oriented, more introspective. As he grew older, my father used to say “the one thing you can depend on is change.” I thought that that was a strange and conflicting conclusion but I now understand a little better what he was trying to tell me. Now, as the oldest, I find myself telling my family the same wise words. One of my favorite musicians, Jimmy Buffet (boy does that date me), wrote lyrics: “Changes in latitude, changes in attitude, nothing remains quite the same. Through all of the islands, and all of the highlands, if we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane,” which really says it all.

In the changing of the seasons I need to list all those things that make life sweet: The importance of friends, neighbors and family relationships; the privilege of being part of a younger, dedicated writing group; using my computer to keep in touch with grandchildren and great-grandchildren; having lunch with friends and family. We need to start each day with three positive things about ourselves and the good things in our lives. So, wherever you find yourself in the year ahead, approach each day with gratitude and resilience. You are amongst the privileged few and growing majority. Take it a day at a time, savor this journey and keep doing those things which make you happy. Embrace the changes and challenges with your best foot forward. We’re in this together ­­­— you are not alone. Audrae Gruber is a retired elementary teacher. She studied with Carol Bly, is a Writers Group member, has published stories and poetry in Her Voice, Talking Stick, Lake Country Journal and is a participant in Franklin Arts Writing projects of Poetry and Jail writers. Audrae is a grandmother, great-grandmother, advocate and caregiver.

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yard and garden


Gardening With Mary Boran




someone who delights in fanciful

things and anything that evokes the magical whimsy of my inner child, I don’t know why I haven’t yet embraced fairy gardening.

Fairy gardening is simply gardening in miniature with small fairy figurines, miniature structures, furnishings as accessories. A fairy garden may be a miniature garden in a container or a small area of your garden -- unless you are Mary Boran, a.k.a. the “Fairy Godmother” of Brainerd. A visit to Mary’s large outdoor fairy garden in north Brainerd will stimulate your imagination with the magical spaces you can create. People create these little worlds for a variety of reasons but for Mary, all things miniature have intrigued her for most of her life. As a child she remembered playing Army with those little grey and green soldiers with her brothers, and building little forts out of Lincoln Logs or twigs outside. As an adult she continued to

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Mary Boran’s fairy garden is worth a look on Brainerd’s northside.

play miniatures with her four children and helped them to discover the magic in miniature play. Mary also loves to garden and so about five years ago she combined interests and created her first miniature garden in her backyard. She started small with just one fairy house. Mary says, it “looked more like a Keebler cookie jar,” which she covered with moss, then added plants. Wanting her garden a little bigger, Mary dug up plants and “tucked them around some other shrubs,” she said. Then, about a year or so ago, Mary dug the plants up once again and transplanted them into a newly built stone container garden in the same location that now has become a neighborhood attraction.

Mary’s Fairy Garden Class Mary will be hosting an onsite class this spring. She says it doesn’t take a lot of money, using found items or objects that have special meaning like rocks and objects from vacations. Her goal is to provide enough information and inspiration so others can create their own miniature garden. • Which plants to consider • Objects and containers to use • Where to find items

“Dear wonderful people, I have passed by and enjoyed your miniature world countless times. I cannot put into words what your garden means to me. Oh what I wouldn’t give to be two inches tall and live in your perfect little world…thank you for adding beauty to this world. Most sincerely, A kindred spirit.” To gaze upon the little world that Mary has created in her fairy garden is to be enchanted. It is filled with lush and beautiful miniature grasses, succulents, herbs, hardy house plants, dwarf conifers and a variety of flowering perennials. But look closer and you will see open spaces and miniature

Look for more information on a starter class next spring through The Crossing Arts Alliance.

decor that draws in your imagination to consider where the fairies are, where they go or what they may do in these spaces. You may discover a cobblestone path, a fence, a grotto or a slumbering fairy in a pea pod carefully placed among the landscape of plants, tree stumps, rocks and crystals. “I just love going out there every day to see what is new. Because the garden is mostly perennials, I can see green coming up in March. Something new is always blooming or changing and it is so fun to watch it transform,” says Mary. Mary’s fairy garden is becoming an interactive destination. “We have really enjoyed getting to know people from two or three blocks away who have included a visit to the fairy garden as part of their walk,” says Mary, who visits with those who come by, encouraging children to play with the objects in the one part of the garden

that is just for them. Mary smiles as she talks about the many delightful objects people have left in her fairy garden. “One little girl brings a shell from Sanibel Island every year with a note for the fairies.” The most heartwarming sentiment she received was from the following letter: Mary’s fairy garden touches people’s hearts with love and gratitude, promoting positive neighborhood relationships and fostering creativity and imagination. Now that is magical! Maureen Farnsworth enjoys discovering all there is to discover in the Brainerd lakes area and that includes the women she writes about for Her Voice. She also likes being active, exploring the outdoors and nature and nurturing her creativity. Maureen is a certified yoga therapist and lives in Nisswa with her husband Michael.

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Small Town Gym Has


Karen Buckhouse, Nisswa’s Anytime Fitness owner.



o, Karen hile in college 13 years ag Buckhouse joined the nal trainer to fitness industry as a perso she know that help pay the bills. Little did elong journey of she was embarking on a lif h and wellness. helping others achieve healt

of ownership became a In October 2013, Karen’s dream Nisswa Anytime Fitness reality when she took over the many challenges as the with 181 members. Karen faced . Karen had her work cut gym was in a downward spiral out for her. a world-wide brand, Although Anytime Fitness is and required by corclubs are independently owned upgrades being the sole porate to remodel with all ual owner. Karen, with responsibility of the individ renovated the club by husband Truitt, bought and ek after giving birth to themselves. This past fall, a we

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201• Share your voice with us on Facebook | Spring voice her 2020her voice | Spring 2017

an the floor to ceiling her second daughter, Karen beg new cardio equipment. renovations and brought in all I have a brand new baby “To be honest, it was tough. ment with her, but the girl and want to spend every mo a bit of a control freak, it club is also my baby and being and day out.” Along with was hard not being here day in Karen has a family. Her running a successful business, in Hibbing. Currently husband Truitt is a police officer a and Hibbing, leaving he splits his time between Nissw parent many days of the Karen in the role of a single week. and repairs and Karen does all maintenance herself, including the cleans every inch of the gym erations, she has estoilets. In addition to daily op entives tablished programs and inc for her members. Every month the gym hosts challenges including Winter/Summer E IM T Y N A A W weight-loss/ NISS Olympics, FITNESS workout challenges, etc. 1 The club recognizes memRanked # a t o bers of the month, birthin Minnes days and has customer appreciation days. Karen sends a monthly newsletter tas another way to stay connec comed with her members. She has

pletely changed the atmosphere of the club. Karen’s hard work has paid off as two and a half years after



Ranked #5 Nationally

taking over, she now has more than 500 members. Karen’s dedication is res. flected in corporate standing rate ers mb me Anytime Fitness h as suc ia their gym based on criter oatm tion customer ser vice, cleanliness, Today, Lakeshore Conserva elilik and the ls oo and s Sch tie c sphere, gym ameni Club, Brainerd Publi gym r you nd hood you would recomme the Nisswa PTO. the of e s is on en tak has ren The Nisswa Anytime Fitnes to a friend. Ka s and year smallest Anytime Fitness gym also one of the few clubs who, a ssw Ni s of s. red ces turned it into a huge suc round, plays host to hund ked e ran ytime Fitness members as on Anytime Fitness is currently An h in the tourNo. 1 in Minnesota and fift of the biggest recreational, 00 2,2 ost y. At ntr alm nation, which includes ist destinations in the cou n es the guest usage is higher tha gyms. tim ut the ugh Corporate still gets reports abo the regular members and altho ch mu are s ark Nisswa club, but the rem different now: L n for BECAUSE WE ARE AL “The owner has such compassio y friendthe club, she’s enthusiastic, ver y. She’s ly and has a great personalit to help willing to go the extra distance a great me succeed in my goals. She’s motivator.” muGetting involved in the com rtant to nity was extremely impo iring the Karen. She did so by co-cha n Good Dr. Jackie McCall • Dr. Evan Kuh Nisswa Chamber’s “Pretty Excelsior Rd., Baxter 7870 s a huge • 877.338.3957 Brainerd Office: 218.828.9545 Golf Tournament ” which wa 866.894.5455 • 5480 t 894. tha 218. ce: on Offi Staples success. She continues to sit chamber committee and is a Nisswa s Karen member. Other organization men of donates to include: the Wo

their Karen doesn’t see a dime of with s est gu money, she welcomes me So open arms as one of her own. as a even leave her little goodies club her ng “thank you” for them usi so often. ng Karen is a hard-working you ve siti po a woman who is having cky Lu impact in her community. for us, she calls Nisswa home.

Jo Georges, a teacher with ISD 181 at the Lincoln Education Center, is a mother of two daughters and enjoys living an active lifestyle with her husband Randy in Nisswa. Jo spends her time with family and friends, enjoying all the lakes aking, camping, area has to offer - biking, kay time Fitness, Any at out and of course, working Nisswa.



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Jennifer Miller’s


When you step into Fashion Affection Boutique it’s clear the shopping experience is going to be different. That’s just the way owner Jennifer Miller planned it. The racks and displays celebrate the latest styles, there aren’t any pushy salespeople and the price tags aren’t loaded with numbers that are going to kill your clothing budget. PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON Fashion Affection Boutique owner Jennifer Miller (L) and Susan Boege. 22 22 her her voice voice || Spring Spring 2017 2017 •• Share Share your your voice voice with with us us on on Facebook Facebook

Jennifer has always loved fashion and her plans for the store in the Fitquest Athletic Club Building off Highway 371 started long before the doors ever opened. For about five years she has made notes on the clothes she bought and liked for herself, noting the vendors, so she might carry similar items in her own shop someday. Her goal for the boutique was to carry clothes that are not only in style, but are affordable. She worried at first that the word ‘boutique’ might scare customers.

know I’ll be honest. I don’t want someone to come in and buy something, only to wonder why they bought it, and then to leave it hanging in their closet for months. I also generally do not order more than six of any one item. Variety was one of my visions

“I carry plus sizes because I know everyone isn’t a size 8.”

“...What I really love is affordable fashion.” “I do love fashion,” she says, “But what I really love is affordable fashion. I’ve had to shop for things to wear to an event myself, but when I found something I liked, I would always think, can I afford this? Yes, but can I justify spending $80 on one shirt? Not really.” Jennifer doesn’t worry a lot about name brands and tries to carry as much merchandise as possible that has been made in the USA. “I wear a lot of the items from my store myself, for two reasons: one, I ordered them because I like them, and two, I think it is important to see how things fit so I can tell a customer ‘this runs true to size,’ or ‘this needs special TLC when you wash it.’” Carrying attractive items in plus sizes was also something she wanted for the boutique. “I used to be a size 20,” she says. She remembers shopping with her mother and grandma one time and being forced to buy pants in the same section as her grandmother. “I’ve lost 70 pounds since then, but I carry plus sizes because I know everyone isn’t a size 8.” Offering personal attention for her customers was also important. “People come in and they’re willing to step out of their comfort zone because they

for her customers’ purchases, Jennifer says she hopes to include a card line in the future for one stop shopping for gift giving. Jennifer and her husband, Bryan, have a nine-year-old son, Carter. In addition to owning the store she also

JENNIFER MILLER for the boutique and I work hard to make sure that is what my customers receive.” The staff at the boutique might also be a tribute to the store’s success. When Jennifer isn’t behind the counter at the boutique, her outgoing mother, Susan, who drives from Walker to work in the store two days a week, usually is. Jennifer says the store has been a fun venture for both of them. Jennifer’s in her 30s and her mom is in her 60s. They enjoy ordering merchandise for the store together so Fashion Affection Boutique carries pieces that appeal to all age groups, older and younger. The store also features one of a kind accessories and original jewelry designed by local artists. In addition to using chic bags and fun tissue papers

teaches English online full-time in the Houston, Minn., school district. She knows first-hand what it’s like to be a busy wife and mom. Because of that, she offers boutique hours that include afternoon and evening to fit the lives of other busy women. “I don’t want them to have to rush over to the boutique after work and then have 10 minutes to look for something.” She also welcomes shopping after hours by arrangement. Even though the boutique has been open for over a year, signing ordinances in Baxter keep the store from being as visible as she’d like. “I’m off the beaten path,” she says, “so for me, word of mouth has been huge. A lot of my customers are happily repeat customers and they tell their friends about the store.” The cute little shop off the beaten path offers its customers the ideal shopping experience and that’s just the way Jennifer planned. To keep up with the latest arrivals, Jennifer’s blog and seasonal hour changes, follow Fashion Affection Boutique on Facebook. Sheila Helmberger lives in the Brainerd lakes area and is a frequent contributor to Her Voice.

Like us on Facebook • Spring 2017 | her voice 23



ummer 2016 was crazy busy at StoneHouse Coffee & Roastery

in Nisswa. Lines out the door. To the parking lot. Down the sidewalk. Past neighboring businesses. “We’re just thankful people want to wait in line,” says Julie French, who with husband Mike, owns StoneHouse. “We get people through the lines pretty dang quick. We check that out every time we go to a coffee shop. We’re always comparing ourselves, seeing where we can get better.”

This summer, their 16th in the coffee business, they sold tremendous amounts of coffee and scones, so much that they had to limit callin orders for scones. How did they get here? Julie and Mike, both from Iowa, were living in Texas in 1980 when Mike got out of the Army. The couple had saved up money to buy land so they packed their two young sons into a VW van and spent four months camping, living out of the van, looking for the right spot. “That was quite the summer,” says Julie. When September came around and their oldest son was ready to start school, Julie said, “Mike, we’ve got to figure something out here.

Julie French, co-owner of StoneHouse Coffee & Roastery in Nisswa.

We’ve got to find a place to live.” Mike, who’d been a nurse in the Army, got a job teaching nursing at a community college in Rochester. Julie started working for IBM. They continued looking at property all over Minnesota and finally found their piece of land in the Nisswa area - five acres in a pine tree plantation with a clearing out front for a garden to raise their own food. They read in Mother Earth News about cordwood masonry and built their home themselves, living in Rochester while they started construction up here. Julie remembers finally deciding if they weren’t up here it wasn’t going to get done. So up they came, renting a little cab-

24 24 her hervoice voice| Spring | Spring2017 2017• •Share Shareyour yourvoice voicewith withus uson onFacebook Facebook

in on Roy Lake for one month before moving into the house. It was slow going and the living was pretty rustic. Mike even dug the septic by hand. “Those were fun days, but hard days. We tried to do lots of stuff ourselves. We were kind of going through that Mother Earth-er thing,” says Julie. “We were pretty nonconventional at that time. We’ve slowly worked our way into more of the mainstream, if you could call it that.” Sammi J’s, forerunner to StoneHouse, opened in 2001 in a frozen yogurt shop that houses StoneHouse’s bakery today. Frozen yogurt was really big at that time,

Julie in Kenya, checking out coffee bean farming areas. She and Mike take trips each year to form relationships with their growers.

‘Seriously Good Coffee’ but the building was really small. Just a 32-square foot walk-in that only 2-3 customers could get into at one time. No tables or anything like that. When Julie and Mike saw it for sale they thought it was a chance to have frozen yogurt whenever they wanted. They would sell yogurt, but coffee was in their minds. Nearly right away, a small espresso machine went in. That first summer it was just Julie, daughter Samantha for whom the business was named and one of her daughter’s friends. “It was just us and we handled it fine with three people. Staff in summer these days is upwards of 30-ish.” As it got busier, Julie and Mike decided purchasing beans from an-

other roaster wasn’t meeting their needs for getting the quality of product they wanted. They wanted more control over the freshness aspect. Wanting to surpass the competition, Julie started to research coffee, learning all she could. She found a big trade show, Coffee Fest, in Seattle. It only cost $15 to get in the show and meeting all those coffee people was energizing. “It was fabulous. Lots of people just like us wanting to make a bigger step. And there were coffee roasters there. I said, ‘Mike, this is what we have to do,’ and Mike - being the machine guy that he is - I knew I had him.” When they returned to Nisswa, they found a coffee roaster on eBay.

In 2004, the current building came available. They changed the name to StoneHouse and continued to expand. At first they purchased scones from a business in St. Cloud. When that sold, the Frenches looked all over. Tried scones. Tried more scones. Tried frozen scones. Mike finally said, “We’re going to have to bake.” He got a 50-pound bag of baking mix and Julie thought “OMG!” One day she came home to beautiful scones all over their kitchen. She tasted them and knew right away it wasn’t going to work with someone else’s mix. “They were like pretty cardboard,” says Mike. So the pair worked on a recipe, their own recipe, tweaking and

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“We’ve gotten pretty good at figuring things out over the years.” - Julie French Julie and Mike French, surrounded by their daughter Samantha’s paintings. Her Voice featured Samantha’s art in the Spring, 2014 edition.

tweaking. They weren’t selling any yet, just experimenting at home. Mike wanted to do lots and lots of fruit. Julie convinced him they needed to ease off on that a bit, that they needed something to hold the fruit together. They got to that point and the scones are amazing “We’re thrilled to be selling so many scones, so much scone mix. You just never know how something like that is going to take off.” Things also “take off ” during their yearly trips to form relationships with coffee growers. During those two to three week adventures they “just happen” to hear about a person they “just need to meet” or a certain farm they “just have to visit.” Things happen wonderfully. “Sometimes when you plan everything in advance,” Julie says, “you are so focused on your itinerary you’re not open to things just happening.” They’ve visited Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia. Last fall they took their first trip to Africa. They are beautiful, the coffee farming areas, she said. “People always ask if we can take them with us. It would be fun to arrange coffee trips. There are a lot of people who would like to do it but don’t feel comfortable doing it by themselves. That might be something we could do in our retirement,” she laughs. People savor the atmosphere at StoneHouse. They want to see the coffee roasting, to experience the wonderful aromas and to hear the stories about coffee lands and about the people who make it happen. People from 26 her hervoice voice| |Spring Spring2017 2017• •Share Shareyour yourvoice voicewith withus uson onFacebook Facebook 26

all over the country also flock to StoneHouse’s extensive website. “We’ve gotten pretty good at figuring things out over the years. When you’re not a corporate entity, when you have to figure everything out for yourselves, you do get really good at it -- and that’s part of the fun. We get to develop our own recipes for everything we do -- in our bakery, for all of our drinks and in our roaster, including the development of our roast profiles and with where we purchase the beans. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also very rewarding.” Julie and Mike recently opened a new 1,500-square foot StoneHouse shop in Baxter. It’s a great space with seating at regular tables, a comfy area around the fireplace and a patio, as well as a conference room where groups can meet over coffee and scones. At the new location, they offer the same hospitality and ‘Seriously Good Coffee’ as they do in Nisswa. website:

Carolyn Corbett taught elementary school for 14 years before resigning to sail off into the sunset. Upon her return, she tutored English and writing at Central Lake College. Today, as a freelance writer/ editor, Carolyn has over 250 articles published in cruising, parenting, and general interest magazines.

Maribel Comes to America M

“Maribel is coming to America!” I blurted out in disbelief. I have waited 40 years! Can it be

true? I re-read her email. “I will retire in January,” she wrote. “Would it be alright if I came in March. . . for two months?” Wow! Whoa. Two months? I let that sink in. Oh, my.


Why of course I would make that work. I met Maribel Adame in 1976 while revisiting my favorite haunts from Hamline Junior semester in Seville days. Ever since, she had taken me and members of my family into her Madrid apartment, just a short stroll from the Plaza Mayor and Royal Palace, whenever we traveled in her country. I could do this … But, not in a Minnesota March. Make it April. We agreed. After a flurry of inquiries, I discovered she wanted to practice English, see the Mississippi, immerse herself in Midwestern culture, visit Paul Bunyan and maybe places from the movie “Fargo.” Fargo? Maribel is a movie connoisseur. While watching “The Straight Story” together in Madrid, her questions revealed perceptions gleaned regarding the Midwest. “Is Iowa all cornfields? Do people run into deer with their cars? Do guys really wear baseball caps?” Now she asked, “Can I walk to Brainerd from your house?” “No, we take the car,” I reported. “I’ll be driving to town, Duluth, Wisconsin and the Twin Cities,” I continued, resulting in a discussion about our lack of mass transit. “What clothes should I pack?” she wondered the week before her arrival. “Our weather is predictably unpredictable,” I sighed. Do you want the daytime or nighttime temperatures?” For help, I contacted Lois, a friend from the Seville semester days, who had met Maribel once. Lois would cover the ‘urban’ tours, overlap in Duluth and Wisconsin cabin while I’d handle rural events and woodland excursions. After months of brainstorming, the day came. We left for the airport and our reunion. We greeted with long hugs, kisses on both cheeks and a pinch, to make sure this was really happening.

While visiting Seville, Spain Jan Kurtz (left) first met Maribel Adame in 1976. Jan visits Seville again, sharing a late lunch with Maribel at El Escorial.

Like us on Facebook • Spring 2017 | her voice 27

skunks when you need one? “I’ve always wanted to see a skunk, like the cartoon,” She explained, “You know? Pepe Le Pew? On one walk, we caught a slight whiff, to which she observed, “It’s not so bad. . . like coffee?” Her first sighting of Paul Bunyan happened at the Welcome Center south of Brainerd. She immediately sent a photo to her social media group: Fargo I. However, after seeing Paul again in Eau Claire, as trinkets in souvenir shops (made in China) and hearing how Babe used to drink Always wanting to see a skunk, Maribel had from the water tower, her interest had to settle for just the tail. passed by the time the ‘real’ talking Her first wish was fulfilled just Paul opened up on Memorial Day. Maribel was a very good sport, a moments after leaving the terminal. ‘There’s the Mississippi,’ I chirped phrase with no direct translation, as she waited for Memorial excitedly. Her eyes lit up, but “Hey, Maribel! There’s the Day to open up tourist season. Meanwhile, she waned over Mississippi!” lived the Midwestern time, as I conculture, including attinued to call tending church. Note out, ‘There’s the Mississippi,’ at each averse to all orthat she is equally sighting. ‘Just like when Chevy Chase ganized religions. Her first ‘taste’ of got stuck circling in a roundabout in the “European Family Vacation” scene church was an international supper and kept saying, “‘And there is Big served at First Congregational. This world food event was a perfect “entrée” Ben!’” I grinned at her. Our lives were like movies being to the Sundays that followed. Her second church experience was viewed through her questions. “What the spring garage sale at Lutheran is this?” she asked stopping at a quaint little box filled with books on top of Church of the Cross. “This is even biga post. “A neighborhood library,” we ger than in the movies,” she said, wideexplained. She took a photo. “Y, los eyed. Soon, her vocabulary included rummage sale, estate sale and flea marpatos,” she pointket, reinforced by ed to a flock of rethe signage along “It’s not too coffee?” gal strutting birds. the roads. “Canada geese,” - Maribel on skunk smell Her language we said, switching skills were testfrom cultural to voed when we attended the Central cabulary instruction. My backyard forest offered a menag- Lakes College version of “Spamalot,” erie of new birds and beasts. Hours of a British Monty Python done by free entertainment were spent photo- Minnesotans. The following day at the graphing squirrels, chipmunks, a lame grocery store, she pulled me over to a turkey, the illusive hummingbirds and display of ... Spam. Ah, the beauty of waiting for the bears and a skunk to total immersion learning. Spam was not on the menu for the wake from hibernation. Sadly, she was Piney Woods folk dance/potluck/nagone when not three, but four bears took the birdfeeders. And, where are ture hike/welcome party that I had arranged at St. Mathias Park for her 28 her voice | Spring 2017 • Share your voice with us on Facebook

“Oh no! Not another Paul Bunyan!” Maribel with Phyllis Kurtz at Eau Claire History Museum.

Friend Lois and Maribel canoeing Julia Creek while at Jan’s cabin in Wisconsin. Another first.

first weekend. She filmed the dance, took the hike, but hit a cultural bump when we distributed leftovers. As I returned an unopened bottle of wine to its owner, she gasped, “That is very bad manners in Spain. They brought it, you keep it.” More difficult was our custom of doggie bags offered at restaurants. “I could never take one unless I really had a dog,” she informed me. Mealtimes changed around my house for the better. Maribel, a vegetarian, prepared a wide variety of salads (with healthy olive oil and fresh lemon dressing), baked vegetables, slices of

avocados and a sprinkle of pistachios, garlic and onion. One morning, while weeding my flowers, a delectable aroma floated out the kitchen window riding on the notes of Spanish guitar music. Inside, I was delighted to see her, in my apron, cutting up cilantro into my cast iron skillet, the table set, including wine glasses, all for a mid-week lunch. Our cultures began to blend. With summer’s long light, suppers tended toward 8 p.m., a more European time. Our bilingual conversations cleared up potential misunderstandings such as: “Did the pastor just say we were sitting in the pew?” And, I found time during errands for visits to the downtown antique stores and chocolate shop. During the two months, she got to a St. Paul Orchestra concert, saw Stephen King’s opera,“The Shining,” took a riverboat ride down the Mississippi, canoed on Wisconsin’s Chain of Lakes and drove a speedboat on Gull Lake. There, she caught

her first crappie and saw her first loons. She met Amish in Wisconsin, Mexicans at the Long Prairie ‘Cinco de Mayo’ and Ojibwe at the Mille Lacs Indian Museum. On her last evening in America, we gathered around dainty tea sandwiches, Nancy’s Fancy Pants chocolates and more Riesling wine. “What,” she was asked, “What impressed you most? “The people,” she said without hesitation. “Everyone was so kind and welcoming. You show such a strong relationship with the land. Perhaps it is due to your immigrant history, the yearning for land and community.” The next morning, we hoisted her suitcases, including an extra one, into the car trunk. As we turned onto the airport road, I pointed and called out one last time, ‘Hey, Maribel! There’s the Mississippi!’ A retired Spanish teacher, Jan Kurtz once led student groups abroad but her recent travels have been intrastate with family. Both offer new discoveries and adventures.


Amiga Lois (left), joins a visit to Black Bear Potter Haddie Haddechek (middle), while shopping locally.

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Midwives for Haiti L


isa Slepica and Kelly Hagestuen practically glow when they talk about their upcoming mission trip to Haiti. For two weeks in March they will enthusiastically volunteer their time and talents to the organization, Midwives for Haiti.

for the opportunity to serve, they say the investment is well worth it. In fact, they are the ones who feel enriched by the experience. “We get so much CRMC nurses Kelly Hagestuen (left) and Lisa Slepica more out of it than they volunteer their time as midwives in Haiti. probably do,” Kelly said. Kelly has made 10 trips Midwives for Haiti, according to their website, trains skilled birth at- to Haiti. Lisa will make her fifth in tendants to increase access to care March. Traditionally, most Haitian and to end preventable maternal and women never see a trained medical professional during their pregnancy, infant deaths. With their experience as OB instead depending on matwons -nurses, Lisa and Kelly help train traditional family birth attendants Haitian nurses in the class- -- for assistance. With no formal room, hospital and rural clinics. training, matwons aren’t able to proWherever they’re needed, they vide prenatal care nor do they have serve. “We wanted to be part of the skills or training to intervene in an organization that really makes emergencies. Recognizing the need, Midwives a difference,” Lisa explained. “We decided this organization for Haiti has trained 120 nurses to be skilled birth attendants (midwives) was the best fit for us.” Both are employed by Cuyuna and the number is growing. Word Regional Medical Center has spread that women who utilize (CRMC) in Crosby, Kelly as an the trained midwives have better OB and charge nurse and Lisa outcomes. Because there are few as the Excellian (electronic med- birth centers in the country, womical records) training coordinator. en travel from long distances for the While each antes up over $3,600 specialized care. In one instance, an 30 her hervoice voice| |Spring Spring2017 2017• •Share Shareyour yourvoice voicewith withus uson onFacebook Facebook 30

expectant woman experiencing seizures was carried by her family and matwon for five hours to see a midwife. Midwives for Haiti also holds classes for matwons to improve care in their villages when there is no clinic or midwife. Until more birth centers can be constructed, women must rely on outreach clinic sites that can best be described as primitive. Mostly clinics are held in huts or churches. “They’re not like the clinics here in the United States,” Lisa said. Supplies, medications and equipment are in short supply or non-existent. “Often times we are allotted one sheet for the entire day,” she added. “We use a lot of hand sanitizer.” Because they speak very little Creole, Lisa and Kelly depend on an interpreter. Since communication is so important, especially during the birth process, the women also rely on touch and eye contact to build a trusting relationship with their patients. “The most intimate and vulnerable time for a woman is when she is having a baby,” Lisa said. “Touch is so important. Through the power of

I’ve learned to live a grateful life.” - Kelly Hagestuen

Crosby resident Joan Hasskamp is currently working on a humorous book titled “We Don’t Care Who Wins as Long as Joan Loses.” Now that she is retired she has even more time to embellish and exaggerate stories about herself.

do as Christians and as human beings. They encourage others to answer their own calling to volunteer, whether that’s in schools, churches or on a more global nature. Kelly said the experience has changed her in many ways. “Visiting Haiti helped me refocus on what’s really important and for me that’s God and family. The frill and material stuff don’t matter. I realize how fortunate I am.” Lisa echoed similar thoughts. “Haitians live a very

Kelly (left) and Lisa credit their family, friends, work and community for supporting their efforts.

simple life but they are so grateful for what they have. I’ve learned to live a grateful life.” Kelly said she can’t imagine going to a tropical spot to relax on vacation when she could go to Haiti instead. “We probably haven’t changed Haiti much but Haiti sure has changed us.”

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touch, the women understand what it is we’re asking them to do.” What drives the women to use their vacation time and resources to travel to Haiti for two weeks each year? Kelly said she had a tugging at her heart. The idea first came to her after hearing Dr. Paul Severson, a surgeon at CRMC, talk about his medical missions to Haiti. “Once the seed was planted, I knew I was supposed to go,” Kelly said. Several years later she accompanied Dr. Severson on her first mission trip. She found it to be a life changing experience. “The Lord directed me. It was definitely a calling.” When she returned she asked Lisa to join her. “I had excuses for years but eventually I couldn’t think of any more reasons not to go,” Lisa said with a laugh. After her first trip, Lisa knew it was where she belonged as well. “We will continue to go,” she said. “Haiti is in our hearts.” Lisa, who is from Deerwood, and Kelly, who is from Aitkin, credit their families, friends, churches -- Salem Lutheran of Deerwood and Aitkin First Lutheran -- and CRMC staff for their incredible support. Last year they were supplied with 120 layettes, office supplies and even Hallett Center and Crosby Cares T-shirts. Both feel strongly that helping others is what they’re meant to

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the arts I

Stained Glass Artist

“I’m doing what I

should have been doing 40 years ago,” Carol exclaimed as we scurried along the snow covered path connecting her studio to her home.

Artist Carol Kollodge takes a break outdoors from her stained glass creations.


I met Carol Kollodge during morning coffee at Sylvan Shores clubhouse where I learned she did stained glass. I told her I had a stained glass lamp in need of repair, and she said I could

bring it over. I got a birds-eye tour of the stained glass art making process, and a say in picking out the glass for my lamp. Carol started making stained glass art 30 years ago in her spare time. She experimented with drawing, painting and pottery before she decided that stained glass was her forte. Their home in Albertville, Minn., had a lower level that made a great art space. In the beginning she used other people’s patterns, but copyright laws prevented her from making a profit, so Carol became a designer of her own patterns. In 2005 Carol and her husband, Duke, purchased a second home on Little Pine Lake in Sylvan Shores near Motley. For five years they used this home on weekends, holidays and vacations. In 2010 she retired from corporate America and

32 her voice | Spring 2017 • Share your voice with us on Facebook

Sylvan Shores became their full time residence. Five years ago Carol purchased a 10-foot by 16-foot shed and converted it into an art studio. With her son-in-law’s help she installed the Sheetrock. Singlehandedly she went on to mud, tape and paint, frame the windows, tile the floors and put on baseboards. She heats the shed with one (and sometimes two) space heaters in winter. Carol gets bored easily and works on her art almost every day. Her studio is a home away from home. She can get lost in her art for six hours at a time and says it gives her time away from her husband. Carol and Duke have been married for 47 years. They have three married daughters and six grandchildren. Carol explained that stained glass panels are made in two forms. One

outer edge to carefully remove each quote. Contact Carol at pugmunga4@ piece until she gets to the piece that needs to be replaced. Carol also enjoys sewing pieces of fabric together and After many years of journal makes beautiful quilts. writing, Catherine Rausch Her home mirrors her love of stained published her first poems and a short story in 2003. glass art with many diverse pieces In 2015 she attended Holhanging throughout their living space, lywood’s “Act One” writing program and is currently including a stained glass pug dog over writing a screenplay. the kitchen sink. Carol enjoys making She enjoys drawing, painting and spending time custom pieces and would be happy with her grandchildren. Catherine lives with her husband, Duane, in Little Falls and has four adult to consider your idea and offer you a children.

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is leaded glass and the other is copper foil. Making a leaded panel consists of cutting out a glass pattern piece, grinding the rough edges to make a perfect smooth fit and inserting the piece into H came (lead). Then each piece is “wrapped” with the came and put together by soldering each joint on both sides of the panel. The other method is copper foil, which Carol uses exclusively. In the copper foil process each cut out piece of glass is wrapped in sticky backed copper foil and then put in place on the work board. Then solder is run along each piece on both sides. The solder is a bright silver color but you can get a black or copper look by applying patina on the silver solder lines. The patina turns the silver lines into the color you prefer. The copper foil method was invented by Tiffany and used to make stained glass panels, lamps and windows. Carol uses a glass grinder to smooth out the rough edges left on the glass from the cutting process. She also uses a diamond blade bandsaw to cut intricate patterns that are impossible to cut with a standard glass scorer. Stained glass is purchased in small and large sheets that cost anywhere from $4 to over $100. Carol holds each piece up to the light to get a feel for it and how it might work into her planned projects. Stained glass comes in many colors and textures. At her first stained glass class, Carol was given a box of Band-Aids and a red apron. It didn’t take long to figure out that the red apron blended well with the color of her blood. Cuts are common and expected when doing stained glass art. Carol says that Neosporin in gallon size would come in handy. Some of her pattern ideas come from observing people -- the way a person stands or sits can prompt an interesting design idea. In the studio Carol has one or two pieces of art in the works at a time. She also does repairs. When a piece of glass cracks within a larger finished piece she works from the

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the arts II

Returning to her roots, Jeanie Neville creates her art from a “she-shed” in her Brainerd yard.



matter how far away a person may stray from home, sooner or later it embraces you back with loving arms. For some people, it takes the form of brief stays to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas with family. For others, it becomes a mission to be molded into something more than they were before. As a child, Jeanie Neville was always interested in art. She drew all the time and painted in acrylic. In fact, even though her father didn’t think it was a good idea, she wanted to go to art school after graduation. Despite having taught her at a very young age to garden and do woodwork, his generation simply didn’t feel there was any economic security in following a passion for art. She instead got her master’s degree in psychology, all the while still sneaking in art classes on the side. Though she graduated from Brainerd Senior High, Jeanie eventually moved to Alabama, then up to Tennessee. She raised two sons there, before deciding to move back to Brainerd in July of 2014. Having come to visit a dear friend from high school, she was overwhelmed by the feeling she needed to return home to the Brainerd lakes area. Serendipity was on her side, as she received a job offer in the community right away. Within two weeks, she packed 34 her voice | Spring 2017 • Share your voice with us on Facebook

PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON up her belongings and headed back to Minnesota. For the first six months, she stayed with her friend while the 1880’s style cottage home she purchased was being renovated. Since Jeanie moved in, her home has become her sanctuary for all things creative. In fact, the property itself is an ever-evolving work of art. From the handmade stained glass windows and artwork décor, to the garden she works tirelessly on her half acre lot in town -- it’s all art in progress. Complete with her own “she-shed,” Jeanie is able to experiment with her art while connecting to the history and appeal of the property. In addition to embracing her artistic nature, she hopes one day to use her gardens to benefit her neighborhood in northeast Brainerd. Inspired by an article of an Oregon family who used their property to feed those in need, she’s even planted apple trees on the back side of her lot and has two chickens laying eggs. When it comes to art, Jeanie is truly a multi-passionate creator. For herself, Jeanie works with jewelry, including some larger, reclaimed pieces as well. She does stain glass work for herself and by commission for others to hang in front of current windows or other light sources. They truly are a sight to see. She also enjoys finding new uses for driftwood she finds from Lake Superior. “I can’t keep my hands out of new and different art. I love to experiment!” Jeanie said. While she loves to learn all different forms of art and


Carissa Andrews is a freelance writer, graphic designer and author in the Brainerd lakes area. Her novel, “Pendomus”, is a young adult science-fiction adventure and she’s currently wrapping up the sequel, “Polarities.” You can find out more about Carissa on her website at

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use many mediums, it’s her love for metalsmithing that keeps her enthralled. Unsurprising really, since working with metals happens to be a trade that’s been in her blood for generations. Her great-grandfather was a blacksmith and her father would even craft his own tools. While she’s never delved into blacksmithing itself, she says she’d love to try it. Jeanie finds the work of metalsmithing very relaxing, especially when using copper or silver because they’re very forgiving metals. She says it’s cathartic to shift the metal and move it around to where you want it. “It’s almost like drumming in its own way and very spiritual,” she said. One of her favorite techniques when working with metal is called repoussé. By using this technique, she creates unique textures and designs by hammering them into the heated metals. The heat can create iridescent colors that make the piece more beautiful. In addition to her neighborhood altruism and artistic work, Jeanie is also a member of the Crossing Arts Alliance Board of Directors. Being active in the community is an integral part of who Jeanie is. It’s through her art and love of gardening she hopes to make her neighborhood and the Brainerd lakes area a more beautiful place. At present, Jeanie doesn’t have a website to view her art. Some of her work can be viewed at the Crossing, where she occasionally teaches classes as well. Jeanie can be reached by email at (a tip of the hat to her favorite poet and author Edna St. Vincent Millay).

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her say Editor’s note

In 2005, I wrote a feature for Her Voice on Sheila DeChantal titled, “The Trials of Job,” outlining a story of personal tragedy, including the loss of her father and sister to a home fire and her mother and stepfather in a car accident. Through it all, her indomitable spirit and personal faith seemed to be guiding her toward a bright future. And then tragedy struck again. In 2015, her son Justin, 24, was killed in a car accident driving home from work. Now, two years later, Sheila shares the following with Her Voice readers, real and raw.

Real and Raw


When this journey began, I did not know I would live it out loud. What I did know, that day that my husband and I were there in the hospital with my son Justin, was that I knew I would not get through this without my friends. The days that followed are in some ways a blur, but also each detail so clear in my mind. I started to speak out on Facebook. When I was receiving 40-plus messages a day asking what we needed and what they could do ... and most of these messages I could not answer, I found it easier to say it out loud Justin and Sheila shared much, on Facebook -- share my including a zany side to their personalities. heart, let it spread. It seemed to work. As time went on I continued to share my absolute heartbreak with the world. My words were so caught up in my head I had to put them somewhere, so I did. A time came when I worried if I was saying too much. What 36 her voice | Spring 2017 • Share your voice with us on Facebook

if people rolled their eyes when they see something I posted? What if they thought I was looking for sympathy? What if they were waiting for me to move on? Then I decided I did not care. In this new world I live in, a world filled with grief, I had lost my need for approval. In this new world, I figured you were either with me, or you were not. And here is the thing. I started to receive messages and letters sent to my home from people thanking me for being so open about my grief. Parents told me that by sharing my relationship with Justin out loud I had caused them to see their own relationships with their children differently. Relationships, I was told, were being repaired between parents and adult children. Justin’s friends reached out to me in ways I never imagined, sending me Mother’s Day cards and calling or texting me when they were hurting because they knew I could understand. I think I adopted 30 kids through this. Thirty hurting kids, Justin’s friends, that knew I was crying and wondering why, right along with them. Some

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Honduras, we went to a movie. We stayed up until two in the morning watching Netflix together. If I had only known, I would not have slept at all that night but spent every moment I could with him. A mother can dream… I am not the same person I was a year ago. I see things a lot more clearly now. I have a different take on what makes a person strong and what makes them weak. And I have learned that both are important qualities. Sheila DeChantal with her son, I am often told these days Justin, before a car accident took his life. how strong I am. I don’t feel strong, but I guess you find a way to live with it. You get because I get up each day and try to put together some sort up every morning, you push aside of life, not moving on, but moving that lump in your throat and you when I have no desire to, knowing pray to God that He keep him safe that Justin would be so incredibly until you can be with him again. sad if I did not continue to do the Sheila DeChantal is a lifelong resident of the Brainthings I love. For him … and for my erd lakes area. She enjoys reviewing books for publishers, biking, hiking, running, spending time husband Al, and son Brad, both still with family, hanging out with good friends, COFhere with me in this new world ... I FEE, event planning, and saying yes to adventures. Sheila is president of the friends of the Brainerd try to keep going every day. Public Library and on the city library board. She Many say it will get better. I don’t writes on her blog Book Journey ( about all of the above. believe that. I believe that somehow

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of these calls and texts came in the early hours of the morning and the late, late hours at night. I did not care. I took them all. What had started out as me sharing the great pain of my loss of my son, became a venue for me to remind people to be a little gentler in their relationships. Forgive a little easier. Always make a memory. Connect a little more often and by all means don’t put off saying “I love you” every chance you get because these are powerful words and you never know when it could be your last chance to say them. These were the last three words I had spoken out loud to my son when I hugged him goodbye, 42 hours before he left this world. I remind myself often that even in this I have much to be thankful for. I had an incredible relationship with my son, Justin. I had him in my life for almost 25 years. We took trips together, we hung out, we participated in mud runs and color runs, we have a zillion pictures and a zillion memories. I had the amazing opportunity to spend time with him for 21 hours less than 2 days before his accident. We went to dinner, he told me all about his mission trip to

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ordinary Effort

Ordinary Moms Lead Extra



Emily Noble (top) and Meta Mandich are raising money for a water play area in Gregory Park, Brainerd, a place where they come to play with their children.

a bright, warm Sunday afternoon last September, a small but energized group of average, everyday parents and grandparents gathered in a nondescript meeting room in downtown Brainerd for a meeting led by two self-described “regular, ordinary moms” to discuss a community-led initiative: building a splash pad for the city of Brainerd. The meeting had come after several months of behind the scenes work by Emily Noble and Meta Mandich, the ordinary moms at the helm of this effort, and the city of Brainerd. While supportive of the effort to build a 2,000-square foot water play area in Gregory Park, the city of Brainerd is not able to contribute any funds to the project. The entire price tag of approximately $400,000 has to be raised privately. Emily, a 1999 graduate of Brainerd High School, and Meta, a 1998 BHS graduate, are up for the challenge. “We’ve never done anything like this before,” Emily said on that Sunday afternoon in September. “We’re trying to fit this enormous endeavor

38 38 her hervoice voice| |Spring Spring2017 2017• •Share Shareyour yourvoice voicewith withus uson onFacebook Facebook

in between taking care of our kids and working our jobs. But we’re committed to giving our kids something more than we had growing up.” The Initiative Foundation of Little Falls has signed on as the project’s fiscal agent and is providing technical support to RBC Fundraisers which Emily and Meta founded and chair together. Officially, RBC stands for Rebuilding Brainerd Community. Unofficially, it stands for Remembering Bonnie Cumberland, Brainerd’s long-time former mayor and council member who passed away in 2014. “Bonnie was amazing. She believed in everybody and didn’t care who you were. She had faith in everybody and wanted everybody to have a dream and never gave up. She got me into my first city council meeting back in high school,” says Emily. Though they attended Brainerd High School at the same time, it was only recently when Emily moved back to the Brainerd area determined to do something to improve the community that they joined forces. “We were both naughty girls


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[in high school] but in different circles,” Meta laughingly explains. “Now I want something better for my kids to do.” And so they have begun what is expected to be at least two years of fundraisers, community presentations, letter writing and phone calling to build something they hope will draw families and their business back to downtown Brainerd. “Unless we get a big donation,” reminds Meta. “It can be built in 90 days. So if we happen to get the money by February, it will be open for summer 2017,” chimes in Emily. “All it takes is a couple of big donors.” Their vision is for a summer 2018 opening of the splash pad. Until then, they will tirelessly continue leading a volunteer group of average parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents working to bring a big dream to life. As anthropologist Margaret Mead famously said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Cori Reynolds is a recent transplant to the Brainerd lakes area where she works for Brainerd Public Schools and is involved with the United Way and Brainerd Community Foundation Women’s Fund. She and her husband and children look forward to alternating between playing at local beaches and at the Brainerd Splash Pad. This is her first contribution to Her Voice.


has to be raised privately.

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petite, white haired woman ambles along the St. Francis Convent corridor, one hand holding an assortment of index cards and the other pressed pensively over her lips. She looks up as I approach, eyes twinkling and a giggle escapes from behind her fingers. “I thought we might look at these today,” she says, holding out the cards. Ministering at home and abroad: Top, Sister Donna worked as a clinic nurse in Boynton, Fla. in 1996 and on the Antiplano in Peru in 1978.

She guides me into the cafeteria where we’ll brew the tea I brought. “I am not a tea drinker,” she confides, filling our cups with steaming water, “But I’m going to try something new today!” Such is Sister Donna, now in her 86th springtime, as they say in Spanish. At the table, she shuffles through the cards as if preparing to play poker. This is, as it turns out, a high stakes game. Each card includes names, ages, phone, address and a few notes about Latino families in the county that have come under her care over the past two decades. “Yesterday, I went with Margarita and her boys to the doctor,” she said, glancing at the first card. “They all have pink eye. Sometimes, I translate. It’s a shame when the little ones are asked to do all the talking for their parents. They can’t possibly know what might be important.” She hands me the card. “They live close to you. . .” she pauses. I first met Sister Donna when taking the Central Lakes College Spanish Club to Long Prairie for

the Virgen de Guadalupe Mariachi Mass celebration one December 12th. Once there, my students edged themselves timidly into the back of the sanctuary, perhaps more unsure of the Catholic rituals than the cultural mores. Sister Donna looked over, grinned and flowed her way through the collection of young boys dressed as Juan Diego and the teen girls wrapped in shawls, carrying baskets of bananas and red carnations. She sat us by the mariachi band and disappeared among her brood. When

and bridged cultural gaps. “Many “We ate guinea pigs!” Latinos work at meat packing plants and dairy farms,” Sister explained. -Sister Donna “Before my 10 years in Long Prairie, I worked with migrant farm workers in Wisconsin, Texas, Ohio, New Jersey, Mass was over, she reappeared and Florida and Indiana.” invited us to their basement potLong before Sister Donna began luck, filled not with tuna hot dish, her Spanish ministry stateside, the but steaming enchiladas. Mexico in Franciscan Sisters had mission work Minnesota. in Latin America. In 1962, healthAt first, these demographic chang- care and educational programs began es were difficult for the communi- in Peru. ty. Sister Donna helped find hous“Most of us didn’t know any ing, furniture, language translation Spanish, so we went to a language

40 her voice | Spring 2017 • Share your voice with us on Facebook

school in Bolivia. Then, we worked as teachers or nurses in the altiplano, the highlands outside of Cusco. At 12,500 feet above sea level, many of the Sisters had altitude sickness. We went to Arequipa once a year for our health. I lived among the Aymara people and some Quechua, descendants of the Inca, from 1969-1979. And yes, we ate guinea pigs!” “The Spirit then led me to Chimayó, N.M., where the ‘blueeyed’ Spaniards live,” she continued. “They were given land in the days of the conquistadores and still live there. I spent my time in a yellow Jeep, traveling around the Sangre de Cristo mountains doing medical calls and community development work. My Jeep’s name was Mostaza, Mustard. People knew it was me coming,” she chuckled. On this day, Sister Donna and I met at Little Fiesta for lunch. We greeted the waiters in Spanish and she chose a booth by a sunny window in back. “Would you like me to have them

turn the music down a little?” I asked. “Oh, no! I love this music!” she quipped, shaking her shoulders to the rumba beat. We were still settling in

“...they [countries] have a common mentality. A sincerity. Warmth. Love of family.” -Sister Donna when the chips and salsa arrived. “Oh, Janet!” I looked up from my menu to see her gesturing with a chip in each hand, “There are so many wonderful things about Latinos.” “There are differences between countries,” she noted, “But they have a common mentality. A sincerity. Warmth. Love of family. A desire to be in relationship. At meetings, everyone who walks in is greeted by ev-

eryone, one at a time. It’s a personal reaffirmation,” she paused and added with a feigned frown, “It is frustrating when people come late and around we go again. My culture believes that is a waste of time.” “It’s been good work, but I don’t have the energy anymore,” she sighed. “I can’t go to the quinceñera’s birthday party next week, but I can send a card.” The twinkle returns to her eye, “Remember my index cards? I plan to give them to you! Could you take some tomatoes to Margarita on your way home? Shall we give her a call?”

Since Jan Kurtz retired from teaching Spanish, the culture and language comes to her via Spain visitors, local Latino festivals and Mexican restaurants. Travel goes in a circle from home, to a Wisconsin cabin and back to the grandchildren. She still takes her mother canoeing and enjoys catching frogs with the kiddos.

Like us on Facebook • Spring 2017 | her voice 41

Foodie Finds: Eat*Gather*Share



What brings friends and families together? Food! Food is the common denominator in celebrations, gatherings and social time. Lucky for us, the Brainerd lakes area is bursting with exceptional, unique places to “get your eat on.” Here are a few:

[ in search of ]

Downhome Cooking

A.T. The Black & White: 114 1st St SE, Little Falls, MN 56345

If delicious food offered in an inviting atmosphere is something you seek, then this restaurant located in historic downtown Little Falls, may be just the ticket. Opened in 1931, A.T. The Black & White now offers a beautiful and spacious interior that is accented with rich, warm colors and a spectacular wall length mural that was created by a local artist. With seating for 100 diners, scenes from Little Falls history are featured on the walls. Their menu offers stick-to-your-ribs eating such as their famous Hog Wild Burger and lighter fare including their Chicken Artichoke Spinach Wrap. Come early for their Mother’s Day Buffet — always a popular draw.

Healthy Options

Crow Wing Co-op: 720 Washington St, Brainerd, MN 56401

If light and healthy savory and nutritious soups, wraps and salads for lunch- on-the-go is what you desire, Crow Wing Co-op has carved a niche for themselves for those diners. Their weekly soup choices include mouth-watering options like Brazilian stew (full of roasted sweet peppers and cashews), the popular coconut curry with spinach, a tomato bisque, a Southwest black bean and a vegetarian chili. Deli Manager Bri Keran also makes sure the menu includes two different kinds of wraps or sandwiches along with a deli salad every week, sourced from Cre8it Salads in Minneapolis. Some of the Co-op’s popular wraps/sandwiches are the fancy pants PB sammy (a peanut butter sandwich with banana, apple, honey, and cinnamon), the smoked salmon wrap and the spicy turkey and cream cheese sammy.

42 her voice | Spring 2017 • Share your voice with us on Facebook


Valeri Ann’s Family Foods: C.R. 3, Ossipee, MN 56465

If you consider pizza the world’s most perfect food and are looking for something outside the norm, then you might want to consider visiting Valeri Ann’s Family Foods. Valeri Ann’s mission since their opening in 2011 has always been to offer patrons affordable and delicious dinners made with real food and no added preservatives. This dine-in restaurant is also home to Valerina’s Pizza, a delicious take out or delivery pizza service that offers a variety of fresh toppings and tummy-warming pizza combinations. Valeri Ann’s may be off the beaten path, but this family owned business prides themselves on creating from-scratch pizzas that keep patrons coming back for more.

Steaks and Burgers

Ernie’s on Gull: 10424 Squaw Point Rd, East Gull Lake, MN 56401

Located on Squaw Point Road in East Gull Lake, Ernie’s on Gull boasts a dining menu that includes enticing favorites like hand-cut prime rib, Not My First Rodeo Burger and PBJJ Burger (Peanut Butter and Jalapeño Jelly Burger), New York strip herb-rubbed prime rib and beef and beer poutine. Owned by brothers Chris and Mike Foy, the venue also has amazing views of some of the most beautiful areas of Gull Lake shoreline. This view can be enjoyed from inside their cozy restaurant in the off season or during warmer weather via their patio and outdoor bar area.


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I’ve been guiding a class at Northern Lakes Senior Living called Excavating Stories. To get the stories started and to spark imagination and memories, I provide some images, a song or two and a related story or poem. Once someone starts talking, the conversations begin to flow, and people start sharing their stories, even those who might be struggling with memory loss.

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Group Tours & Cruises Galore

“You’re Locally Owned Backyard Nature and Gift Store” Bird Feeders, Bird Seed, Puzzles, Books, Garden Decos and many Gift Items. MN made products-Chaga, Wild Rice, Honey, Hot Sauce, Soaps, Lotions and more.

Cynthia Rieck, P.T.

218-831-5243 •


utrinkets, llc

Accra Care Home Health........48 Arlean’s Drapery.......................37 Belle Cheveux...........................31 Brainerd Glass...........................15 Breezy Point Spa.......................39 Crow Wing Power....................15

Updos * Nails * Pedicures Colors * Extensions * Perms Hair Removal

Experience matters. Serving the Lakes Area since 1995. | 218.568.8771 | Pequot Lakes

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15620 Edgewood Drive, Baxter Call 218-454-7012 with questions Visit our website at

a t t i s h v t d w t h h a o

Hytec..........................................21 Jana Froemming.......................39 Just For Kix................................35 Lakes Area Eyecare...................35 Midwest Family Eye Center....21 MN Teen Challenge.................13

sessions, traveling with my high school juniors for a college tour and thinking about my parents whose stories are like leaves floating around in my memory that I need to rake together. “When did Grandpa Aalgaard open his photography studio?” I finally asked. My mom started with the details she knew. Dad filled in some more. Soon, they were telling me things I never knew about the studio, my grandpa and how my dad started farming, almost on his own, at age 15. No wonder he doesn’t know what to do with himself now that he’s forcibly retired. We were all tired that afternoon. Still, in that moment, they talked, we listened and learned a little more about the people we love.


(218) 839-4390

Jana Froemming REALTOR®/Agent

Real Estate decisions are based on lifestyle needs…call me when that need requires a professional Realtor.


Dolly Matten - 218.851.4292

Associate Broker | Realtor I CRS |

Dinah Sundberg (218) 839-1918

• Fine Homes & Estates Certified • Century 21 Quality Service Award 2016 Certified Residential Specialist



Your Key For Your Next Real Estate Transaction


15244 State Hwy 371 Baxter, MN 56425 Cell: 218-820-3282 Office: 218-829-1777



Live your lifestyle!

Sandy Swanson, Realtor®

14391 Edgewood Drive N, Baxter, MN

Mary Aalgaard is a playwright and piano/theater teacher who writes theater reviews. She teaches youth theater workshops in the Brainerd lakes area, writes articles for regional magazines, and works with both seniors and youth in multi-generational programs to enhance quality of life and build community. You can follow her on her Play off the Page Facebook page, @MaryAalgaard on Twitter and email her at Check these sites for more ideas on Excavating Stories.


Northridge Agency...................31 Pequot Lakes Supervalu...........19 Schroeders Appliance..............29 Weichert Realtors.....................11

Knowledge. Experience. Commitment.


When you’re excavating stories from your loved ones, set the mood with some tea or coffee. Relax. Bake something from your family’s favorite recipes. Ask the questions you’ve always been wondering about and listen. You might want to record the conversation, take notes and archive those stories. They are the link to the past. You are the bridge and your kids -- the future.


Sandy Halvorson, Activities Director at Northern Lakes, brings in the coffee and often there are homebaked goodies. Someone begins by talking about the corn harvest and describing the special hook the pickers wore over their gloves. Soon people are explaining that back in the days of one-room school houses, many of the boys stayed home during the fall to help with harvest and didn’t come to school until the winter months, and most of them didn’t go past the eighth grade. Then, a woman might talk about canning, putting up jellies and how all the houses had coal shoots back in the day, the hard work each day and the irreplaceable taste and smell of cooking apples over a wood stove. I was coming off one of these fruitful

Kay L. Fitterer Realtor/MA Nursing

218.821.2293 •

Nina Karsky


231 Barclay Avenue, Pine River, MN • Open Monday-Saturday 9-5 Email: •




Your Neighborhood Health and Wellness Center


Vitamins Herbs Health Essentials KRIS & DAN KAYSER • 218-587-5900




Vintage Home Décor & Interior Design

317 W. Washington St. | Brainerd | 218-270-3430

Brynn Haglin Owner/Designer


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Louie’s Bucket of Bones:

Lip smackin’ and finger lickin’ goodness located in the heart of Ironton. Louie’s menu caters to anyone that not only appreciates BBQ pork or beef ribs, but also for those looking for other yummy options like pulled pork or beef on Texas toast, fried catfish or deep fried chicken. And don’t forget Joyce’s legendary pineapple upside-down cmake for dessert. Their hours make it a little tricky, but if you are in the area Thursday through Sunday from 4-8 p.m., don’t miss the chance to savory some amazing eats from a unique dining venue.

[ in search of ] HER VOICE

We asked our Facebook fans:

Tell us your favorite meal or food find in the lakes area. Holly Holm- Wings Airport Cafe Cheeseburger Wild Rice Hot dish, with a side of homemade fresh bread. YUM!

Beverage-based Happiness StoneHouse Coffee & Roastery of Nisswa:

Lisa Henry- The Local 218’s Buffalo Chicken Sandwich.

Mike and Julie French are master coffee roasters and owners of StoneHouse Coffee & Roastery of Nisswa. This family owned business specializes in gourmet, on-site roasted coffee beans and custom blends like Urban Legend, Brazilian Yellow Bourbon, Black Velvet and Costa Rican Fire. This cozy and stylish gathering place is also legendary for their fresh-baked scones, the perfect pairing with a steaming cup of StoneHouse Coffee. Some of their more popular scones options include wilderness wild berry white chocolate, cherry raspberry almond and savory cheddar herb.

Jackie Turcotte Burkey- Truffle fries at Cru (at Grand View Lodge). Molly Cosert- The train wreck at the Skillet! Jill Carlson- Risotto of the day at The Classic!


Meta Mandich- Tater tots at 612 Station!

Happy’s Drive-In:

Located just off of Highway 169 South, Happy’s is a fun family-owned fast food style restaurant with a twist of homemade goodness. Aside from the usual fare of burgers and fries, the Happy’s Hard Ice Cream Parlor offers homemade ice cream treats that are said to rival a certain national chain, but at the fraction of the cost. Happy’s has abbreviated hours during non-summer months but thanks to their great food, yummy ice cream and an indoor/outdoor playground, Happy’s is well worth the drive.

Gail Ripley- Paradise Resort Bar & Grill on Upper South Long!! Best burgers around !! Deborah Jacobs- Blackened Ahi Tuna Salad at Prairie Bay. Mary Aalgaard- Bourbon wings at KC’S in Pillager. Home made soup at the Fort. Wedge salad and bruschetta at Prairie Bay Grill. Spinach salad wrap at The Shante in Pillager

Join the conversation and look for new questions. /hervoicemagazine

Rebecca Flansburg is a proud mom of two who spends her time freelance writing, blogging and being the project manager for the national children’s literacy event Multicultural Children’s Book Day. When not writing, she appreciates being outside, reading and spending time with her kids. You can connect with her on Twitter as @RebeccFlansburg or via her blog

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Look for it May 2017!

spirit body




THRIVING Like us on Facebook • Spring 2017 | her voice 47


WE PROVIDE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN, ADOLESCENTS, ADULTS AND FAMILIES OF ALL ABILITIES AND AGE. Each person has unique needs and with our 25 years of experience providing support to people with disabilities – we'll help you navigate the different services and possibilities available to you. With PCA Choice – you have the option of choosing your own caregiver, including your friends and family members.

More Choice. More Flexibility.

Call our Brainerd office and ask about the possibilities!


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Profile for Brainerd Dispatch

Her Voice Magazine - Spring 2017  

Charlier Women: New to the area, educator Hara Charlier and daughters Devon and Lili are making their mark. • Oh Baby: Once upon a time, mom...

Her Voice Magazine - Spring 2017  

Charlier Women: New to the area, educator Hara Charlier and daughters Devon and Lili are making their mark. • Oh Baby: Once upon a time, mom...