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Court Ordered Friend [weightloss] Less is More Christmas Legacy


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800-525-1033 I 218-894-1515

Winter ’14 Contents Features


Tender Hearts 4 Kids


Fran Holden


Women who Love Their Fatties


Merry Christmas, Appalachia


Holistic Health

A nonprofit combines core musical concepts in playful music lessons for little ones, as well as offering a lending toy library. By Kathleen Krueger

Interviewed just months before her passing, Fran Holden was a Brainerd lakes area philanthropist. By Jill Hannah Anderson

Want to get off the couch this winter and ride a bike? Denise tells you how. By Denise Sundquist

In the season of giving, read how Cathy Olson organizes others in donations for Appalachia. By Carolyn Corbett

Women can make lifestyle choices to improve their health. By Mary Aalgaard


On The Cover Photo by Joey Halvorson Kim Anderson joins friends on Cuyuna trails for winter fat biking.

In This Issue

10 holidays • 6

service • 26

spirituality • 37

by Jill Dahmen

by Joan Hasskamp

by Audrae Gruber

Christmas Legacy

volunteer • 30

by Rebecca Flansburg

by Connie Wirta

clubs and clusters • 16

Work Hard, Play Hard

editorial • 4

Court Ordered Friend

health and wellness • 10

Less Is More



by Jill Neumann

recreation • 18

Ice Princess

by Carol Campbell

Christmas Stockings young ones • 32

Nisswa Playtime by Jodie Tweed

entrepreneurs • 34

Dream Becomes Reality by Marlene Chabot

A Christmas Prayer nonprofits • 38

Moore to Be Done

by Amanda Whittemore

the arts • 40

Leaps of Music by Jan Kurtz

her say • 46

A Barter

by Catherine Rausch

Shelly Bean The Sports Queen by Meg Douglas

Winter 2014 | her voice 3

from the editor

Shelly Bean the Sports Queen


This holiday season expect the media to blast you with gift ideas that are the “next big thing.” But for the school-age kids on your list — consider a series of three books by Brainerd native Shelly Boyum-Breen, featuring “Shelly Bean the Sports Queen.” As a child, this former varsity Brainerd High School basketball star looked for books about girls who played sports, but didn’t find any. And 25 years later, not much has changed. Princess stories abound, but where are the girl characters that like sports or want to learn to play a sport? Thanks to Shelly Boyum-Breen and illustrator Marieka Heinlen, Shelly Bean learns to play catch, make a basket and skate across an ice rink, picking up some valuable life lessons along the way. At the end of each book Shelly provides practical instructions on learning skills like throwing a ball and shooting a basket. Shelly Bean makes mistakes, deals with frustration, then picks herself up and goes on. She dreams big, a national championship on her radar, then concentrates on mastering the small steps to get there. Shelly Bean has girlfriends supporting her, as well as brothers, parents and coaches who mentor her along the way. Sounds like the Shelly we knew growing up in Brainerd. In high school, she was a forward on the first BHS girls basketball team to earn a state consolation title in 1992, the first girl to score 1,000 points and competed in tennis doubles at state her senior year. Shelly drew on her Brainerd background in creating the book. Recurring character Coach Carol is modeled after Carol Miller, former Brainerd Community college bas4 Winter 2014 | her voice

By women. For women. About women.


Tim Bogenschutz Author and former BHS basketball star Shelly Breen and her Shelly Bean sports books.

ketball coach who coached Shelly’s softball team. Spectators in the stands are Shelly’s niece, Audrey Breen and sons of Derek Dorr, a BHS athlete. For jerseys, Shelly borrowed Warrior blue and for printing she worked with former BHS athlete Todd Vanek at Bang Printing. Shelly’s sports credentials extend beyond Brainerd. Derailed from playing college basketball by an injury, she took over coaching the Augsburg College women’s basketball team, followed by coaching stints at Anoka and Robbinsdale Cooper High Schools. Later a marketing job with the Lynx and Timberwolves brought her further into the world of girls’ sports as did her creation of Foundation IX Let Me Play grant program, now operated by the Ann Bancroft Foundation. Interviewed for Her Voice in 2010, Shelly listed creating a set of children’s books featuring young girls playing dif different sports as one of her goals. Kudos for bringing her goals to fruition. And while a number of professional athletes continue to tarnish their star qualities, Shelly Bean is a healthy role model. Books are available at the Brainerd Public Library and may be purchased at Turtle Town books in Nisswa or online at n

Meg Douglas



Lisa Henry


Joey Halvorson COPY EDITOR

DeLynn Howard

For advertising opportunities (218) 829-4705 1-800-432-3703 Online at: CONTACT US: Comments, suggestions or story topics: (218) 855-5871 or mail to 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 13, EDITION 4 WINTER 2014

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Dr. Patricia Westerberg recently joined the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at the Essentia Health-Baxter Specialty Clinic and the Family Birthplace at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd. Her children, who range in age from 10 to 17, are Ryan, Ben, Kate, and Sara.

Dr. Westerberg grew up in Deerwood where her parents still live. She joins an experienced team of OB/GYN physicians and nurse practitioners that focus on each patient’s needs. To make an appointment with an OB/GYN physician, call the Essentia Health-Baxter Specialty Clinic at 218.454.5935 or the Good Beginnings OB Clinic at Essentia HealthSt. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd at 218.828.7688.

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Carolyn Oswald decorates halls, walls and ceilings of her home in Swanville at Christmas time.


Christmas Legacy BY JILL DAHMEN


â&#x20AC;&#x153;I just love Christmas!â&#x20AC;? Carolyn Oswald exclaims, her smile broadening across her face and her blue eyes shining warmly. She loves to bless others through the decorating, the music and the traditions. What is especially meaningful for Carolyn is the joy of giving. For her, giving is not only a way of blessing others, but also a way of honoring a family legacy.

6 Winter 2014 | her voice

Known as “The Cookie Lady,” Carolyn may bake 42 loaves of bread and 24 varieties of cookies and candies during a holiday season.


Loaves of bread!

From floor to ceiling, the halls and walls are decked with various themed displays and nine decorated Christmas trees. There’s the white tree, the candy cane tree, the jewelry tree, a kitchen tree filled with baking and cooking

ornaments and more. The center of the decor is a tall, elgant angel whose wings encircle Mary, Joseph and the Christ Child. “Christmas is about the Lord,” Carolyn emphasizes. As Carolyn gives a tour of her home, she pauses frequently to point out artIt’s durable, with a limited lifetime warranty. It’s flexible, able to fit your space and your style. It’s American made, and an employee-owned brand. Best of all, it’s beautiful. But you can see that.

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Each Christmas, Carolyn turns her home into a delightful sensory Christmas experience. Christmas music plays quietly in the background. The scent of fresh baked goods fills the air. Warm, home brewed apple cider waits in a ceramic mug in the kitchen.

Winter 2014 | her voice 7

Her father’s tradition to give to others is deeply imprinted in Carolyn’s heart. work that was a gift from a neighbor, a tea cup from a good friend and other items with a story of love and friendship. Most items in her vast Christmas collection are gifts from others who want to help her celebrate Christmas. She relishes the process of displaying these treasures and typically spends about 8-10 hours a day for a full week setting up her Christmas displays. One evening Carolyn and her husband Oz will deliver the 42 loaves of bread she bakes to various friends, neighbors and loved ones. In addition to the bread, Carolyn bakes 24 varieties of cookies and candies, acquiring the nickname “The Cookie Lady.” Carolyn says, “Most people really seem to appreciate it. They don’t have time to bake anymore.” Baking is an important part of Carolyn’s history and a way of honoring people in her past. As a child, she baked as a way of spending time with her mother. As a young woman, she baked an apple pie for Oz when he first met her family. Each year she bakes angel wings as a tribute to her love for her 8 Winter 2014 | her voice

mother. The peanut brittle is a tribute to Wilma, a friend who passed away. The mocha balls honor her dad’s grandma, who gave her a new pair of mittens and a box of mocha balls each year. The process of giving bread, cookies and candy is a special tribute to her father and his giving heart. Although Carolyn knew her father as a very kind and generous man who had been a medic in World War II, he hadn’t talked about his experiences in the war. Shortly before he died, he told Carolyn about a life-changing experience. At war’s end, his unit looked forward to going home. Instead, they were given a new assignment of opening the concentration camps to assess the health of the prisoners and assisting them with medical needs. This experience affected him so deeply that as he was dying, he told Carolyn that if he could take one thing with him, it would be greed. If he could take greed out of the world, people would not have to suffer from its effects. Carolyn grew up giving to others and that tradition continues, her father’s

desire imprinted deeply in her heart. Carolyn’s giving continues throughout the year with active involvement in her quilting and sewing groups. She has recently been busy with the Quilts of Valor program, providing quilts to veterans, one million pillowcases for charity programs and crafting handmade items for children in foster care. What does Carolyn want for Christmas? She reflects, “I wish there could be peace on earth and goodwill to men. Giving is the most meaningful part of Christmas; I wish I could give more.” Through Carolyn, a legacy of giving from the heart is continuing. n

Jill Dahmen is a licensed psychologist with a private practice in Little Falls. She also teaches at St. Cloud State University as an adjunct faculty and promotes wellness at Pierz Foods. She and her husband Allen are involved in short term missions, riding motorcycle, hobby farming and raising seven children.

m d n.

The white tree is one of nine decorated trees. Many of Carolyn’s decorations are gifts from friends and family.


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Winter 2014 | her voice 9


s i s s Le


Missy Norring before her weight loss program. Right, Missy 70 pounds lighter after following a lifestyle weight loss program.



There is more to Missy Norring, owner of Belle Cheveux Salon in Nisswa, than meets the eye, but there is also less. Not only has this talented stylist been making her clients beautiful since 1999, but she has also served as an inspiration to others who are struggling with weight loss. After finding her rhythm as a stylist, Missy admitted she had a profound realization in early 2013 that it was time to start taking care of herself. “I’ve always been on the heavy side and nothing I tried diet-wise ever seemed to work. Despite that, I just knew it was time to get my health in order.” In February of 2013, she confided her frustrations to her chiropractor Derrek Johnson of the Wellness Center of Nisswa. “I was preparing for a family vacation and was not thrilled with my 200-pound weight,” Missy admitted. She confided this to Derrek and he shared information about a new weight-loss program called Ideal 10 Winter 10 Winter 2014 2014 || her her voice voice

Protein. After spending some time listening to him talk about it, and also researching it on her own, she started the program on Feb. 26. “I loved the fact that it was a not a diet; it was a lifestyle change. It’s a food-based program that teaches the participants how your body utilizes foods and how to eat properly,” said Missy. Five months later, Missy was rewarded with a remarkable 70-pound weight loss. “It hasn’t been easy, but it has absolutely been life changing,” she confirmed. Missy says she knows she needs to work out, be active and make better food choices every day. “With the Ideal Protein program they have signature foods you can buy and they also have amazing coaching for the times when you feel yourself slipping back into old habits. I can honestly say it has drastically changed the way my husband Justin, our 13-year old Gavin and

myself eat and we are the healthiest we have ever been.” It’s been a year since Missy’s weight loss and she’s proud to say that she’s kept it all off and has every intention of keeping it that way. “I am proof that losing weight is doable, but you have to be ready. Ready to be 100 percent invested in your goals and your journey to a healthier life.” The new lighter Missy continues to lead and empower others. As a business owner, she mentors those who work with her to do their best and reach for their dreams. As a stylist, she reminds her clients to always take time for themselves and as a weight loss success story, she is walking proof that lifestyle changes work, but they also need to be focused on every day. A Brainerd High School grad, Missy attended Regency Beauty Institute of St. Cloud shortly after graduation and spent several years as a stylist working for various salons. “Hair is my passion and I can’t imagine doing anything else,” she af affirmed. “Right out of beauty school I started working for Cindy Noyes at a salon in Pequot Lakes. Cindy was not only my mentor, but she took the time to show me all aspects of being a business owner. She taught me about everything from

time management to payroll and taxes. She was the guiding light for me to have the confidence to open my own shop. Missy opened Belle Cheveux in Nisswa in 2009. She started as a licensed “solopreneur,” but has grown to seven full-time and part-time stylists. “We have such a strong team at my salon. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today without each and every one of them,” says Missy. Another facet of her life that Missy is very proud of is the fact that she is the area’s only national educator for Paul Mitchell products. At the age of 18, Missy had the opportunity to attend a huge hair show in Chicago with a Paul Mitchell main stage show. “As I was sitting there in the audience listening, I had a huge ‘ah-ha’ moment when I realized I could inspire others just like the speaker was doing for me that day. To this day I work to help and mentor other stylists to achieve their goals. I don’t consider them future competition at all. The only person I am in competition with is the person I was yesterday.” For more information about Missy and Belle Cheveux, visit them on the web at n

Rebecca Flansburg is a freelance writer and work-at-home-mom who lives in Baxter. She is also a full-time virtual assistant in the field of social media, content management and blogging. You can connect with Rebecca on her blog,

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Winter Winter 2014 2014 || her her voice voice 11 11

Tender Hearts

Cathy Jacobs, Executive Director, Tender Hearts 4 Kids, Inc.



“I’ve always had a passion for very young children,” says Cathy Jacobs, executive director for the local nonprofit, Tender Hearts 4 Kids, Inc (TH4K).

In the Twin Cities, Cathy operated a daycare called Tender Hearts Daycare. When a job opportunity in the Brainerd area was offered to Cathy, she, along with her hushus band Marv, decided to pack up the family and move to the lakes area. In 2009, Cathy began her own business, Tender Hearts 4 Kids as a certified Kindermusik educator. Kindermusik is a uniquely structured educational program for children, which offers classes from infant through elementary ages. The tagline, “Where Music and Learning Play,” demonstrates the basic concept. Children love music and they love to play. In the Kindermusik class and take home material, children and their parents receive guidance in activities that combine core musical concepts in a playful way to enhance children’s social, emotional, language and motor skill development. A generous donation of toys and books from a grieving family sparked the addition of a toy library to TH4K. Melissa, a young wife and mother of two, had been diagnosed with the late stages of a rare form of cancer. In the process of preparing to open her own daycare, she had asas sembled a large collection of toys and books, far more than her own two children would ever use. When Melissa passed away, her husband donated the collection to Cathy. Deliberating on what to do with all the toys and books, Cathy realized it would be the perfect start for a free toy lending library.


Winter 2014 | her voice

p t t k Th t a t

f a p l i M I

i t i T K

Toy Librar y

The concept of the toy library is sim simple. Instead of buying and accumulating toys year after year, parents come to the toy library to “check out” toys for their kids to play with for a period of time. The toys could be returned and different toys borrowed. It saves parents money and kids never have to worry about get getting bored with their toys Cathy presented the idea to Melissa’s family. All of the family members agreed that the toy library would be a perfect way to honor Melissa and her love for children. They decided to name it Missy’s Toy Library, even though Melissa never went by the name Missy. It just had a playful sound to it. Cathy took on the project of manag managing the toy library and finding a space to house it. It made perfect sense to include TH4K under the umbrella of Tender Hearts 4 Kids, along with her Kindermusik classes.

One of a kind custom designed pendants set with Ethiopian opals accented with colored garnets created by E.L.Menk Jewelers


Thanks to a generous donation, Tender Hearts 4 Kids includes a toy library.

Corner of 7th & Laurel • Downtown Brainerd 829-7266 •

Winter 2014 | her voice 13

Tender Hearts

Kindermusik Classes

From infants through elementary age. Combines core musical concepts in a playful way to enhance an array of skills.

Missy’s Toy Library

Parents and grandparents save money and keep children learning and entertained by “checking out” toys.

ABC Music & MeTM

Researched based school-readiness program designed for childcare centers and special needs children.

Want More ? Information


Cathy and Marv had limited space in their townhome so at first Cathy rented studio space in the Franklin Arts Center for both Missy’s Toy Library and the Kindermusik classes. Cathy and members from Melissa’s family also began the process of forming a nonprofit. Cathy was willing to surrender her business name to the nonprofit corporation. Tender Hearts 4 Kids, Inc. received official nonprofit status in July of 2013. During the months of formation and application, the organization operated under the fiscal sponsorship of Community Action, which continues to act as the fiscal sponsor as the organization establishes its own support base. Cathy also began applying for funding through grants to help pay for the rent expense. She was disappointed on many fronts. “They don’t give grants for play,” Cathy explains. The faith-based component of the organization was also a hindrance when it came to qualifying for some types of educational funding. “The board discussed it,” explains Cathy, “but we decided we weren’t willing to remove the spiritual aspect of our mission from our identity.” 14 Winter 2014 | her voice

The mission statement of TH4K reads: “TH4K exists to promote wholechild cognitive, social, emotional and spiritual development in children from birth through early elementary years and to support parents and caregivers in the nurturing and growth of their children in these areas of early childhood development.”

where music and learning play

In the fall of 2013, Missy’s Toy Library and Kindermusik classes moved to a new home. Bethlehem Lutheran Church in northeast Brainerd offered them rent-free space for the toy library and Kindermusik classes. Located in a basement classroom space, Missy’s Toy Library found a new opportunity to bring smiles to the faces of children. Bethlehem Lutheran Church is part of the Interfaith

Hospitality Network, which houses and feeds homeless families on a rotating schedule. Some of these homeless families include children. During their time staying at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, those homeless children are given access to everything in the toy library. Toys, games and books are not something a homeless family has the luxury of carrying with them from place to place. “Grandparents are another one of our most frequent visitors,” says Cathy. “They can bring their grandkids to the toy library to pick out items to play with while the kids are visiting and bring the toys back when the kids leave, or just spend time playing together at the toy library.” In addition to not having to keep a stash of toys available for occasional visits, grandparents don’t have to worry about having age appropriate toys as the grandkids grow and mature. The same is true of parents who use the toy library. Young parents who are increasingly conscious about simplifying life and single moms who don’t have the money to spend on new toys, both are utilizing the toy library to provide new play options for their kids.

Tender Hearts 4 Kids is housed at Bethlehem Lutheran Church.

A third program offered by Tender Hearts 4 Kids, Inc. is ABC Music & Me. This researched based schoolreadiness program is designed for childcare centers and special needs children. TH4K is providing this program to Discovery Woods Montessori School along with other musical education services. Like all small nonprofits, Tender Hearts 4 Kids, Inc. needs financial support to continue offering their services. Tuition fees for Kindermusik classes allow that program to pay a teacher’s salary. As Missy’s Toy Library continues to grow in popularity, the need for volunteers and financial support grows with it. “Play is how children learn,” the board members of Tender Hearts 4 Kids, Inc., remind us. n

Kathleen Krueger is a contributor to several lifestyle magazines across the nation and is in demand for her content writing services to marketing firms and businesses. She has lived in Brainerd many years with her husband, Steve. You can find her online at Winter 2014 | her voice 15


clubs & clusters

Work Hard, Play Hard


Winter Wonderland! Camp Sertoma! Warrior Lift-a-thon! Pipe and Drape! Flags in the Communities Project! Hearing and Vision Screening! Gossamer Ceiling! National Heritage Essay Contest! SAFEEars! Mariucci Fest! Flower Sale! Christmas Light Recycling! The list goes on and on.

Many have experienced these events and programs. While fun, the more practical effect is that all are built to benefit or create funds that are distributed to the greater community. How are these amazing community events being powered? Sertoma! This non-profit international organization is dedicated to “SERvice TO MAnkind”. Brainerd is the fortunate home of two Sertoma Clubs, with a combined membership of over 130 community members representing all walks of life. In fact, Brainerd has one of the largest Sertoma clubs in the country. Sertomans are big on service, getting important things done, and having fun in the process. Here in Brainerd, that mission is being driven by volunteer female leadership including Board Chairperson Andrea Holmes (Noon Club), Board Chairperson Roz Haapajoki (Morning Club), President Becky Pakarinen, 1st Vice President Christina Landree, 3rd Vice President Karen Munstertieger, Treasurer Karen Owen, Foundation District Representative Laura Bielke, and District Governor Lori Rubin. “By the time you are in the board chair seat, you have been with Sertoma at least five years,” stated current Noon Club Board Chair Andrea Holmes, 16 Winter 2014 | her voice

Sertoma Women Leaders: Left to right bottom, Karen Munsterteiger, Karen Owen, Laura Beilke, Lori Rubin, Christina Landree. Upper left to right, Roz Haapajoki, Becky Pakarinen and Andy Holmes.

Baxter, Associates in Eyecare. She added, “The chair should help meet goals but should no longer be putting their own stamp on the organization.” In speaking with current Sertoma Noon Club President Becky Pakarinen, Deerwood, Lutheran Social Service, she states, “My goal is to make sure the club makes a lasting impact on our communities by having fun volunteering and building great memories.” Christina Landree, Aitkin, Pro Staff, is the current 1st Vice President of the Noon Club, leading to the President role next year. She joined in 2010 and loves to attend meetings because “there is never a shortage of laughs!” She works

with the Sponsorship Committee and the Winter Wonderland Committee, awarding grants and raising funds. Noon Club Treasurer Karen Owen, Brainerd, retired, holds the honor of being the first woman president of Sertoma, and has been a member since 1986. “Involvement in Sertoma has become a large part of my life. Besides making good friends over the past 28 years, I am involved in “Service to Mankind”. Laura Beilke, Baxter, is the Foundation District Representative and past North MN District Governor for the Noon Club. She states, “I try to be a resource for the eight clubs in

Northern Minnesota for Club leadership training, connections, and development and a resource for promoting the Club’s mission of hearing health by encouraging Celebrate Sounds Walks. In recent years, my mother has lost most of her hearing and I am even more of an advocate for preventing hearing loss.” Noon Club District Governor Lori Rubin, Baxter, CTC, stated, “I wish to improve communication between Clubs in the MN North District and Sertoma International. While each Club does great things in their respective communities, they are a part of a larger organization and we can all work together to provide greater service to mankind.” She added, “I fell in love with the people at Sertoma and the mission.” “One of my employer’s core values is “Sense of Community”. Their belief in this value led the way to my membership. Our Club embraces a family environment and works hard to provide service. I am grateful to my employer for their support so I can be a member,” stated Noon Club 3rd Vice President Karen Munsterteiger, Brainerd, Mid MN Federal Credit Union. In addition to the Brainerd Area Sertoma Club that meets at noon on Wednesdays, there is also a Sunrise Sertoma Club also known fondly as the “Morning Club” that meets at 6:45am on Thursdays at Northwind Grille in Brainerd. The Sunrise Sertoma Club is 19 members strong, presently led by Board Chairman Roz Haapajoki. Important

contributions of the Sunrise Sertoma Club include the Warrior Lift-A-Thon which raised over $15,000 last winter. All funds are used for scholarships for high school seniors, donations to the food shelf, United Way, Soup Kitchen, Camp Sertoma, Camp Confidence, and more. “I enjoy volunteering and fellowship. We work hard but we play hard, too,” said Morning Club Board Chair Roz Haapajoki, Baxter, Pinnacle Private Wealth Group. “I am involved not only because of the great work being done, but also because my late husband, Jon Haapajoki, was very involved with Sertoma,” Roz added. For complete information about the Brainerd Area Sertoma Club (Noon Club) or the Sunrise Sertoma Club (Morning Club), please see Potential members and guests are always warmly welcomed to attend a meeting at either club but need to come prepared to laugh - while helping contribute towards SERvice TO MAnkind. n

Jill Neumann is the director of the Brainerd Public Schools Foundation and Communications for the Brainerd Public Schools, mother of two, and a proud member of Sertoma (Rookie of the Year 2014).

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Ice Princess



I’m not sure when I learned to skate or who taught me, probably my sisters, seven and 10 years older than me who patiently held my hands while going through the “walk slide” stage of beginning skaters.

Once I learned to keep my balance and the joy of sliding across the ice, I loved it. It felt like I was magically propelled and could change direction with just the slightest lean. I could cross one foot over the other while leaning slightly to follow the oval pattern of the skating rink, never even slowing down. I learned to dodge slow skaters or quickly side step if someone in front of me fell. A big influence in dreaming about being a skater was when my folks would take me to see “The Ice Follies.” This was a magical show that came to our city once a year, presenting professional figure skaters, wearing gorgeous costumes. There were men and women — ice dancing couples, clowns and an orchestra that played for the big production pieces. I was enchanted by the 18 Winter 2014 | her voice

beauty of the production and in awe of the feats of the skaters, twirling, jumping, gliding at great speeds, yet never falling. In our town, we had two wonderful rinks, one for hockey and one for recreational skating with a warming house in between. This was located about a mile from home. A simple walk to have loads of fun for a few hours and it was free. I grew up toward the end of the big depression and money wasn’t easy to come by. My girlfriends liked to skate too, so that’s where we spent most of our spare time in the winter months. When we got home there was cocoa and cookies served at one of our homes. What a treat. I became pretty good at skating. I practiced a lot and loved it. We had a fancy skating rink located in our down-

Ice skating is a fond memory from Carol Campbell’s childhood.

town area. I knew people took figure skating lessons and practiced there. It wasn’t too expensive to skate for a few hours and when I had enough money saved, I’d go there. Sometimes I just sat in the bleachers behind the rink and watched the best skaters. That’s how I learned to use the spikes on the front of the blade to manipulate first fairly fast turns, and then advanced to small jumps and spins. I somehow learned to look straight ahead while I twirled – probably by first looking up or down and becoming dizzy. Oh yes, there were lots of most ungracious “wipe outs” while I experimented, but I never gave up. Once while skating at the downtown rink, an older girl, whom I thought skated well asked if I’d like a little help. Even though I was shy, I said, “That

would be wonderful.” Her name was Dianne and she showed me how to go faster, how to extend one leg and sway back and forth by leaning, make a circle and look almost professional. I could hardly wait to get home and amaze my friends with my newly acquired talent. My memories about skating include one special Christmas. I was 11 when Mom and Dad gave me a beautiful pair of white figure skates. I’d never had brand new ones, always hand me downs from my sisters or neighbors. There was more; my mom had made me the most gorgeous skating outfit that I could have imagined out of an old suit of my dad’s. It was dark gray wool tweed, beautiful and warm. The top was double breasted with shiny silver buttons going down the front in a V-shape. The sleeves came to a point over my wrists. The bottom was a circle skirt which twirled beautifully when I spun around on the ice. To finish it off, the whole outfit was outlined in red caracal fur. It was prettier than any outfit I’d ever seen. Well, not as fancy as the skaters

in the “Ice Follies,” but certainly fancier than anyone at my school rink had. The gift included tights to complete the look. No more bulky snow pants and jacket to keep warm. I felt like Sonia Heine (the skating idol from my generation) and knew I looked just as beautiful, circling the rink happily through the winter. I could only wear it for a couple of years, but I could never give it up – I still have it packed away and have shown it to my kids – bragging and exaggerating greatly about how good I had looked and skated and how other girls were extremely jealous. To this day I still enjoy skating. Well, perhaps just a little differently, like sitting in my recliner with a fire in the fireplace watching the figure skaters on TV competing in the Winter Olympics. n

Carol Joan Campbell and her husband Bill live in Brainerd, close enough to spend time with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Carol has published three books, wrote songs for a children’s safety CD and won fourth place in John Lennon’s international song writers competition. She also loves to write poetry, but mostly, short stories.

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Winter 2014 | her voice 19


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Sadly, Fran Holden passed away af after her interview, on Sept. 7, 2014. Her legacy will live on for many years to come through all the lives in the Brainerd lakes area who’ve been enriched by her generosity.


What would you do with a million dollars? Think about that for a minute. Then I’ll tell you what Fran Holden, a longtime Brainerd resident, did with it for the community a few years ago. |When you meet Fran, don’t let the

wheelchair fool you, or her size. Or her age. At 94, Fran Holden can still be a spitfire. Visiting with her at the Good Samaritan Bethany home, along with her niece, Mary Jo Hamilton, I learned right away — her memory might be slipping, but her witty comebacks are still there. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Fran’s family moved around quite a bit, due to her father’s work as a dredge operator. Fran attended a different school, in a different town, for each of her four 20 Winter 2014 | her voice

Fran Holden (second left) married Clarence Holden (far right) when she was 37, he 45.

years of high school, graduating from Hancock, Mich. From there, she attended an all girls’ school, graduating from college in Evanston, Ill. Upon graduation, Fran taught kindergarten for a few years before she moved to Arizona, where she typed war bonds during World War II. Leaving Arizona, Fran moved to Chicago and worked for American Airlines, before heading back to Minnesota, where her father was dredging the Rabbit Lake mine in Crosby, Minn. When her family moved on, Fran stayed in the Brainerd lakes area. “I loved this area right away.” And that love has been shown many times over the years. Fran worked for Spalj Construction and eventually worked summers at Mills Motors where, through the late Henry Mills, she met Clarence Holden. Clarence and Henry were friends and Clarence owned and operated Fleet Wholesale Supply stores, along with Napa Auto Sales. Fran opened Fran’s Children Store in downtown Brainerd and ran it for five years, all while she dated Clarence. Once they married in 1956, Fran decided it was time to close her business and concentrate on their life together.

Most things that Fran has done have been geared toward children. Never having any of their own, (Fran was 37; Clarence was 45 when they married) they embraced the Brainerd community youth, something Fran has continued on her own since Clarence passed away in 2005. As philanthropists, the Holdens have made substantial donations to the area they came to know and love. “I really fell in love with the area when my family moved here,” commented Fran. For the most part, their donations have been specific to the Brainerd area — such as the Brainerd Arboretum, the Brainerd YMCA, Central Lakes College scholarship program, called Project Achieve, and the Nisswa Library, just to name a few. Those contributions have made a difference to the community Fran loves. Fran has always tried to stay away from the limelight. “There are a lot of people who have given like we have; we’re no different than anyone else.” Fran explained, very matter-of-factly. I wasn’t going to argue with her, but they’ve gone above and beyond what most of us could, or would, have done for the community over the past half century. Six years ago, I was on the Brainerd

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built a home on Gull in the early 1970s and lived there for 28 years. They moved to the townhouses by Target until Clarence passed away in 2005. Afterward, Fran moved to Excelsior assisted living, where she lived until November 2013. After she fell and broke her collarbone, Fran moved to Bethany, where she participates in every activity available. I asked what activities she enjoyed when she was young. “Clarence and I biked everywhere. We were in a cycling club and spent a lot of weekends biking all over.” She has always been an avid Twins fan and still is today. Over the years, she’s been very active at Trinity Lutheran Church. “I also liked to bowl and love playing cards.” Both are activities Fran is still able to enjoy today. She plays bridge every Monday, participates in wheelchair bowling, Bingo, Yahtzee, and will now be enjoying the sport of curling, right from her wheelchair, thanks to the Floorcurl kits she purchased for the area schools and nursing home. These four sets allow people to learn the basics of the sport of curling without stepping onto the ice. People can curl from a wheelchair (as Fran is), and her niece, Mary Jo, will be taking the Floorcurl sets around to schools to encourage children to get involved in the sport. As we ended our interview and Fran wheeled her way to the cafeteria, she said, “Thank you for taking me back

A generous gift from Fran financed building the Brainerd Lakes Curling Club.

through my youth again.” No, Fran, thank you. Thank you for all the ways you have enriched the lives in the Brainerd lakes area through your generosity. n

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Lakes Curling Club Board, and as a new club, we were desperate for our own ice (we were playing on hockey ice, not conducive to curling, and playing at the random times the ice was available.) One of our board members mentioned a possible private donor who was interested in donating enough for us to build our own curling club (close to a million dollars.) “Oh, sure,” I thought. “Who would donate that kind of money to us?” It took a year or so before I heard who: an elderly woman named Fran Holden. Once she agreed to fund the project, she initially wanted to be anonymous. I’m not sure who convinced her it was okay to be acknowledged for such a wonderful gift, but I can tell you in the past three years, our curling club has continued on as a club, curling in our new curling house, introducing the sport to the next generation — all because of Fran. I mentioned this to her recently when she visited the club. “Who knows, one of those children out there could be a future Olympic curler, thanks to you.” As usual, Fran just waved her hand, shooing away any acknowledgement as if she’d done nothing more than bake us cookies. One foundation outside our area that has captured Fran’s heart and generosity is Project Haiti. Collaborating with area doctors and the Brainerd Rotary Club, over the years, Fran and Clarence helped enhance the medical staff in Pignon, Haiti. They donated several hospital vehicles, contributed to surgery expansion and generators for the hospital complex. Instead of traveling the world, living a lavish lifestyle, the Holdens enjoyed staying home. I asked Fran what was the most fascinating trip she ever took. “I suppose our trip to London.” Years ago, she and Clarence traveled on the Queen Elizabeth II to London, and then hopped on the Concorde to fly back to New York. That was the extent of their luxurious traveling. After they married, they lived on Cedar Street, with a small summer place on Gull Lake. Eventually, they

NORTHRIDGE AGENCY Winter 2014 | her voice 21


Women Who Love Their




The DNR had fun naming the trails with historic links to the mine: Syracuse, Klondike and woman named “Cuyuna.” He was gone Blaster. Buffalo Run Trail refers to a buffalo skeleton found in the park and Copper Nugget spring, summer and fall cycling on the refers to an 1,800 pound copper nugget found on the sight. Names like Discombobulator and trails of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Hilarious come from riders’ impressions. Kim Anderson is a cycling enthusiast, teachBike Trails. ing spin classes at the YMCA and is an avid I tolerated their relationship because it made mountain and road biker.  She believes the trail him so happy, but when Cuyuna Country State system has something for everyone, “What Recreation Area Park Manager Steve Weber holds a lot of women back from trying the had the idea to groom seven-and-a-half miles Sagamore trails is the misconception they are of those trails to create year-round cycling, I too challenging. You can always get off your knew I would never see my husband again. Sure bike and walk it up or down a hill.” The climbs are worth it when you stop to enough, my husband purchased a Salsa winter fat tire mountain bike and left me to join this take in the breathtaking views including the Mississippi River.   These scenic vistas are the new phenomenon. Fat tire bikes run on 3.7” to 4.8˝ wide tires. perfect spot for the stronger cyclists, such as This large footprint allows you to ride them at Kim, to take a break and wait for everyone else very low pressure, which allows floating over all in the group to catch up. Everyone rides at their kinds of terrain…wet stuff, roots, rocks, peb- own pace; no one is left behind. Balance is a challenge in winter mountain bles, gravel, sand and snow. The Cuyuna Lakes biking, especially on the curves. Luckily, when Winter Mountain Bike Trails are within old mining haul roads, railroad grades and a few you fall over, you aren’t going too fast and there is a nice meringue of snow to fall on. We call connections cut through the brush. My husband purchased me a fat tire mountain these “snow angels.” Ashley Macy is known to bike the next year so we could bike together. hit the corners a bit fast and ends up buried in But when our busy work and family schedules the snow. She makes no apologies, “There is no conflicted with our ability to schedule a date, I shame in falling. It is what I do best.” A winter mountain bike also allows you to had to look for new opportunities. I was fortuenjoy cycling year round. No longer are you nate to find a group of women that fat bike on Friday afternoons, and I began my love affair forced to spend hours in your basement, by yourself, with your bike on a trainer. Winter with a man named “Sagamore.” The Sagamore Unit is located just a few miles cycling improves your skills and strength. And east of Brainerd on Highway 210. There are six with the advanced grooming techniques, the plateaus to bike, with the trails fairly flat on speed is nearly as fast as summer riding with an top and below and circles winding to the top. increased workout due to the rolling resistance

My husband was having an affair with a


Winter 2014 | her voice

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Taking to the Cuyuna trails in the winter on their fat bikes are: (left to right) Denise Sundquist, Bonnie Finnerty, Nadine Albrecht and Kim Anderson. Winter 2014 | her voice 23

While we don’t ride in negative temof the fat tire against the snow. And the views are more interesting than your lower peratures, most of the trail system is protected from the wind and you do warm level and the dirty laundry pile. Because of the popularity of fat tire win- up after a few minutes. Nadine Albrecht ter mountain bikes, prices have become apprehensively shows up every time, “I am more competitive and options have grown not a big fan of the cold, but I enjoy hangat an exponential pace. You can purchase a ing out with my mountain bike friends all basic winter fat tire mountain bike, aptly year round.” She added, “Toe warmers are named “Minnesota” for around $800 or, a good investment.” Bonnie Finnerty found her passion on once you discover you are a true-blooded yeti, you can spend well over $6,000 for a the trails snowshoeing, mountain bikbike featuring a carbon frame, carbon rims ing and fat tire winter mountain biking. She loves the outdoors and her family has and top-of-the-line components. Most of us have purchased a bike that made the trail system a favorite family achovers around the $2,000 mark. Fat tire tivity.  “It is something we can do with our winter mountain bikes are sold locally at kids. Everyone is happy.” With a flexible work schedule, Bonnie Tr a i l b l a z e r s , can join the women fat Easy Riders and tire winter mountain Acceleration in bikers on many Fridays. Brainerd. You “When a group of can try this friends would ask me to unique experi~ Nadine Albrecht go on a shopping trip, my ence by renting heart sank because I hate a bike at Cycle Path & Paddle in Crosby. And the good shopping. I wanted to spend time with news is these bikes aren’t just for winter other women, just not shopping. Cycling riding, you can use them year round on any with women is a better fit for me; I get to trail system that is open to mountain bike do what I enjoy and I don’t have to return use. As my husband tried to convince me, anything.”   For additional information, take a look at “A fat tire bike is a good investment; it’s like getting two bikes for the price of one.” “Brainerd Lakes Fat Bikes” on Facebook. It is important to buy the right sized fat They post group rides. Also, by connecttire bike; one size does not fit all. Don’t ing with the Facebook page “Cuyuna wait for end of the season clearance, start Lakes Mountain Bike Trail system” (facebuying in August before fall has even set you can stay in the area. According to Chuck Shaw at informed of the conditions of the trails Trailblazer Bikes, “The time to buy is early courtesy of the trail stewards, the Cuyuna in the season. Some models sell out really Lakes Mountain Bike Crew. Some critics write that a fat tire mountain fast and can be difficult to get.”   Figuring out what to wear can be more bike is a trend. But I think it will continue challenging than navigating through the to grow in popularity and communities will trails. Just like other winter sports, layer- develop more winter trails to support this ing is key. You don’t have to invest a bunch growing segment of cyclists who want to of money; you can wear your cross-country recreate in the colder months of the year.  I skiing or snowshoeing pants, a jacket, your choose outdoor cycling over my bike and winter boots, and gloves/mittens and your trainer. I choose laundry over my bike and regular bike helmet. As you become more trainer. I choose my soulmate, Sagamore. n established, you can buy a winter helmet (much warmer!) 45NRTH winter cycling boots and bar mitts.

“Toe warmers are a good investment.”

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. 24 Winter 2014 | her voice

Balancing on a snow-packed trail is a major challenge, especially on a curve.

Winter 2014 | her voice 25


Court Ordered

Friend Cindy Dallaire



After retiring from a satisfying career in the corporate world, some people settle into a relaxed lifesstyle. tyle. Not Cindy Dallaire. Because of her interest in working with the senior population, she became a court appointed guardian and conservator.

What started as part-time in 2010 with six clients has slowly evolved into nearly a full-time commitment. During a typical week, Cindy performs a variety of tasks with her 15 clients who range in age from 36 all the way up to 99. She runs errands, places phone calls, transports and makes home visits. Because Cindy is court ordered to work with people, not everyone is eager to cooperate with her. An older woman was resistant to meet with Cindy at first but over time she slowly grew to appreciate her. One day the elderly woman

Cindy Dallaire keeps busy in retirement as a court appointed guardian and conservator for Crow Wing County.

turned to Cindy and said, “I don’t know who you are but I love you.” The Brainerd resident was the business manager at Bethany Good Samaritan for 21 years followed by 17 years as the office manager at Herberger’s. From her interactions with residents at Good Samaritan she realized that there were a number of incapacitated adults who needed additional assistance in areas such as finance and medical care decisions. As a court appointed guardian she can make some or all of the medical

Clients are court appointed to Cindy for one of three reasons:

• A family petitions the court • A judge appoints • A county attorney recommends 26 Winter 2014 | her voice

and personal decisions on behalf of her clients. If she serves as a person’s conservator, she can also manage their financial affairs. Some of her clients have a lot of money, while others have none. “In this position I’m able to do whatever it takes to assist my client to make their quality of life better,” Cindy said. As part of her job, Cindy’s learned how to sell houses, file restraining orders, contact law enforcement, purchase pre-paid burial accounts plus a myriad of other duties. “I’ve really learned a lot,” Cindy said. “One of the best parts of my job is that it’s always different and interesting.” Cindy’s services are generally used as a last resort. “People should be able to make their own choices,” she said. She becomes involved only after all other options are no longer viable. Whenever a person is unable to make good and safe choices anymore, then she steps in

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per the court’s directive. Clients come to her for a number of reasons. Unfortunately, some have no family or friends involved in their lives. In those situations she tries to find companions or visitors. Other times she’s assigned a person because they aren’t eating, they don’t take their medications or they drive when it’s no longer safe. “I make sure people are in a safe environment and are as happy as they can be in their life,” Cindy said. In some cases the court tailors the guardianship to limit Cindy’s decision making powers to areas where the adult is impaired. For example, she serves as a guardian for one woman but only in the capacity to assist her in navigating the healthcare system. She helps another client buy groceries and balance his checkbook. “I’m not an investment broker, but I know how to set up a checkbook and pay bills,” Cindy said. “My goal is to provide only those services needed to keep the individual safe.” Some of her clients require more complex and intensive services. For one nursing home client, she petitioned the court to list the woman’s property for sale to pay for her long-term care costs. When the woman eventually ran out of money, Cindy helped her apply for medical assistance and the elderly waiver program. “Every case is different because every person is different,” Cindy said. “I do whatever is most beneficial for each individual.” As part of her job, Cindy keeps the client’s family informed of the decisions that she makes and in some situations, she and a family member share guardianship. Cindy reports to the 9th District Court, which oversees Crow Wing County. As a member of the Minnesota

Association of Guardians and Conservators, she is required to follow state and federal guidelines. She is also a member of the Crow Wing County Adult Protection Team, a group of individuals from various agencies that work together to insure that adults are protected. Knowing that she’s making a positive difference in people’s lives brings satisfaction and fulfillment to the 64-yearold mother of two and grandmother of one. She is involved with the Healthy Community Partnership which works in tandem with the Housing and Redevelopment Authority and with Habitat for Humanity. In addition,

she is involved in leadership at First Lutheran Church in Brainerd. “I enjoy finding ways to make people’s lives as good as they can be,” she said. n

Joan Hasskamp is currently writing a humorous book. She works at Community Services in Brainerd and lives in Crosby.

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Winter 2014 | her voice 27

Cathy Olson (second right) spear heads a group of volunteers donating Christmas presents to Appalachia.


Merry Christmas, Appalachia By CAROLYN CORBETT

Each year 300-400 boxes filled with Christmas presents are left on Catherine Olson’s north Brainerd porch and in her garage. None of them are for her, but she has a hand in them all.

28 Winter 2014 | her voice


The Appalachian Christmas project was the idea of Father Terence Hoppenjans, a mountain missionary in Kentucky. In the early 1970s, Father “Hop” solicited help from a priest friend in Minnesota. With the help of Sister Nancy Edwards, Father Hop compiled a list of families in desperate need and the list was filled. A small farm in Oakdale, Minn., was the collection point for boxed contributions. Each November, a 53-foot trailer was parked in their yard so parishes and individuals could drop off boxes at their convenience, boxes filled with gifts headed for the needy nearly 1,000 miles away. The program started in Brainerd in 1998, when a representative from the St. Paul-Minneapolis diocese was invited to speak at the fall convention of the Duluth Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (DDCCW), of which Cathy Olson is the International Chair on the Appalachian Christmas Project. The founder of the project, Father Hoppenjans had moved from Beattyville to Pikesville to Paintsville, Ky., and had more impoverished families needing help each year. The DSCCW committed their help, and in 1999 they were given their first list of families. Cathy and her committee were instrumental in getting the program up and running in Brainerd. Today the entire DDCCW participates, sending packages for 300-400 Kentucky families each year. Eighty-five-year-old Cathy, along with co-chair Pat Walsh and Judy Marsh, divide the list of names and distribute them to the parishes in the DDCCW. Each envelope contains an instruction sheet and information including the parents’ names, along with names and ages of the children in each household.







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Lakes Catholic School in Brainerd walk over to the Olsons’ home on North Seventh Street to help load the boxes. Many of the women who pack boxes also dedicate time to help. From there the boxes are trucked to Olive and Vernon Hupf ’s farm in Randolph, Minn., where they are transferred to the semi that carries them to Kentucky. When the shipment arrives in Kentucky, the children of St. Michael’s Catholic School in Paintsville help unload the same packages their counterparts loaded in Minnesota. Father Hop has people with big vans whom he calls to help with the distribution of the gifts. They have to go up into the mountains to reach the families and, as mentioned earlier, many have to be walked in to places inaccessible by vehicle. Cathy laughs when she remembers the first year of the project. She did the job in her dining room with a handful of helpers. Mary Lou Haverkamp, her first co-chair, helped pioneer the project with her husband Phil. Mary and Joe Wagner pitched in, as did Pat Walsh

and her husband Tom. These key people worked as a group, hauling the boxes to Oakdale themselves, until the project got too big and the TCBX truck came into the picture. Seventy-five families received boxes of gifts in 1999. In 2013, it was 341 families - 1,460 people in all – of whom 927 were children. “The DDCCW members are very generous,” says Cathy. “With love and enthusiasm, the women give of their time, talent and treasure to bring the spirit of Christmas to families in another state.” n Prior to playing with words for a living, Carolyn Corbett taught elementary school for 14 years. At 35, she resigned and sailed off into the sunset. Literally. Along the way she became a contributing writer for a number of sailing magazines. Today, as a freelance writer/editor, she has over 250 articles published in cruising, parenting and general interest magazines.

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The parish women look forward to receiving families each year. “It is so heartwarming to see how generous these women are,” says Cathy. “You’d be surprised how many times someone will call to say they want more names.” The guidelines ask for new toys for children up to age 13; these are perhaps the only toys the children will receive. For youngsters over 13, an appropriate gift is requested. Also requested is a new gift for each adult member of the household. No liquor, money or canned goods, no used clothing or articles and no donor names on the packages – all gifts are anonymous. The parish women shop for each member of the family whose name they have taken. Then each gift is wrapped in holiday paper and labeled with the full name and code number of the family who will receive the gift. Next, the wrapped presents are placed in a large plastic bag inside a box or plastic container, which is also labeled with the name and code number of the family. The plastic bags are necessary because floods or rain may wash off the outside writing or damage the goods inside. Sometimes the gifts for one Kentucky family are sent in two boxes rather than one large one, because they may have to be carried by hand for long distances. “It’s a wonderful job these women do,” Cathy says. The boxes and containers from all the deaneries in the Duluth diocese are dropped off at the Olsons – on their porch or in their garage - by the end of October each year. Cathy, who has been facilitating this project for 15 years and is very organized, checks off each Kentucky family on a master list as the boxes arrive. She goes out once or twice a day to log in new containers, using a red Bingo dauber on each side of each box so Father Hop knows which are for his parish when the truck arrives in Paintsville. On the morning the boxes are to be loaded onto a large truck provided by TCBX, an announcement is made at the 8 a.m. mass at St. Francis that anyone who wishes to help load is welcome. Schoolchildren from St. Francis of the

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Winter 2014 | her voice 29





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A colorful Christmas tradition has been revived at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center. Babies born in December are being presented to their parents in Christmas stockings.

PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON Providing a holiday delivery for babies born in December are (left to right) front row: Norma Bjornson and Sharon Moran. Back row: Yvonne Lalahar and Char Welle. 30 Winter 2014 | her voice

The tradition started more than 40 years ago with the Brainerd hospital’s Benedictine Sisters. Over the years, local families cherished the memento of their special holiday delivery. Stockings are now sewn by four volunteers from Fort Ripley: Yvonne Kalahar, Sharon Moran, Char Welle and Norma Bjornson. When Yvonne was recruited for the project two years ago, she turned to three neighbors who share her love of sewing and quilting. “They asked if I’d make 50 Christmas stockings for babies and I said, ‘Oh, sure. I’d be happy to,’” Yvonne says with a laugh. “And then I thought, ‘Oh my gosh! What have I gotten myself into?’” Since the four women get together regularly to work on projects, they simply set aside time to cut and sew the stockings. The St. Joseph’s Auxiliary purchases the red polar fleece and the white embroidered cuffs. The volunteers craft 50 stockings each fall. “Families just love the stockings,’’ says Patty Baillif, a registered nurse who has worked in the Family Birthplace at St. Joseph’s for many years. “They’re just tickled. They take lots of photos.” Families recall when earlier generations were part of the hospital’s tradition and staff enjoys being part of the Sisters’ legacy. The generosity of the Fort Ripley “elves” and Auxiliary ensure that babies go home with stockings. “Families say they still hang those stockings every year – it becomes the child’s Christmas stocking,”



Choose from Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center and its clinics in the Brainerd lakes area. Deb Anderson, the hospital’s volunteer coordinator, matches volunteer’s talents to a task. Volunteers can help at the hospital, a clinic or even from home.


Some volunteers escort patients. Others spend time with patients, offering manicures, playing cards or just visiting. “Some volunteers sit at a desk doing office work while others walk 4 miles in a four-hour shift delivering mail or flowers,” says Deb.

TO TALK ABOUT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: (218) 828-7610 says Patty. “Visiting the hospital in December and seeking the babies in the Christmas stockings is our reward,” says Yvonne. Yvonne was recruited as a sewing volunteer for the hospital after she made and donated hats for chemotherapy patients. She’s reattached belts to mammogram gowns and added Velcro strips to the fingertips of therapy gloves to help stroke patients regain their range of motion. She’s even created superhero capes for the hospital’s chili cook-off team. The local hospital is just one of the many organizations that benefit from the Fort Ripley women’s time and talents. Yvonne has made polar fleece caps that fit under helmets for men and women deployed to Afghanistan with the Minnesota National Guard as well as for their families at Christmas. She and Char also made caps for children at the Boys & Girls Club in Little Falls. Sharon and Char are avid quilters who donate their handiwork to Quilts of Valor, which provides quilts to wounded service people in military hospitals and those returning home from a deployment. “In some way, I want to repay them for their service,” says Sharon. Yvonne has sewn special canvas quilts that soldiers can use as a bedroll, groundcover or shade cover. “My husband and I come from military families and we’ve had family members deployed,” she says. Another organization near to the women’s hearts is Camp Knutson, which serves children with special needs. They’ve all contributed quilts

and other items to the Crosslake camp’s annual fundraising auction. “When you see what a good place it is for kids and you see the need, you want to help,” says Yvonne, who has donated for more than 15 years. All four women work on mission projects at their churches and on service projects with local quilting guilds. Char recently stitched bibs for residents at Highland Senior Living in Little Falls and is crafting a dignity quilt to

respectfully cover residents who die there. “I love to sew and there’s always a need,” says Yvonne. “I enjoy helping others and everything we do is appreciated by those who receive it.” n Connie Wirta is a former newspaper editor and reporter who now writes for Essentia Health.


Winter 2014 | her voice 31

young ones

Paula Anderson (center) operates Nisswa Time for Play with help from moms.





Paula Anderson has never forgotten. She re-

members all too well what it was like to be home with young children during the cold Minnesota winters. “When I was raising my four children, there was nowhere around here to go where you could let the kids just run around indoors during the winter and for me to meet other young moms home with kids,” Paula explained. When Paula’s father-in-law, Paul Anderson, passed away three years ago, Nisswa Parks and Recreation, where Paula spent 19 years as director until she resigned Aug. 1, received about $4,500 in memorials. The memorials were used to purchase preschool play 32 Winter 2014 | her voice

An Indoor Playtime hangout for moms and tots in Nisswa PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON equipment, including indoor climbers, slides, riding toys and to open Nisswa Time for Play. Nisswa Time for Play is open from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from October through April at the Nisswa Community Center. The community center provides an optimal indoor play place for children to run around and have fun with their friends, while their moms have the opportunity to get to know other moms. The community center has a fully equipped kitchen so if parents wish to bring lunch for their children, they are welcome to heat it up or store it in the fridge. Paula extended the hours for Nisswa Time for Play to 12:30 p.m. so moms, if they wanted, could pack a lunch, feed the kids at the community center and take them straight home for their afternoon nap. Time for Play is open for children up to age 6. Cost is only $2 per child per time;


“It’s good for moms, good for kids.” ~ Missy Trees

children younger than 1 are free. Paula wanted to make sure that it was affordable for young moms. Nisswa Time for Play opened in the winter of 2011. During 2012 it had 714 visits from children who came to play. In 2013, this number grew to 789 child visits. The program continues to grow. Paula decided to leave her position with the city of Nisswa, in part, so she could spend more time with her own grandchildren. She has eight grandchildren with one more on the way in September. Several of her grandchildren regularly stop in to play at Nisswa Time for Play. She has gotten to know many of the moms and their children who frequently stop in for play time. “She loves those kids like they are her own,” Missy Trees, a Nisswa Time for Play regular visitor, said of Paula. “She really cares about the kids. She stops and checks in on how things are going and she gives all the kids a hug. I think she has a heart of gold.” Missy and her husband, Bryan, live in Nisswa and have two children, Emma, 10 and Isaac, 4. Isaac is an energetic little boy and Missy says Nisswa Time for Play has allowed him to wear off some of his natural energy. They have been regulars at play time since it opened. “I feel that physical activity is so important. When the temperatures outside are around 40-below, the walls around you in your home feel pretty small,” said Missy. “I’d go nuts if it wasn’t for play time,” Missy says, laughing. “You can have play dates at your

house, but you can only have a couple of kids. It’s nice to be able to meet there for one big play date. I feel I’ve made a lot of friends that way, and I’m sure other moms feel the same way.” Paula said Nisswa Time for Play typically shuts down in April after the snow has melted. Most moms want to get their children outdoors and in the fresh air after being cooped up inside all winter. Many of the moms who frequent Nisswa Time for Play pick different parks to meet at each week throughout the summer so they can stay connected. They also stay connected through the Nisswa Time for Play Facebook page. Paula says she had a feeling that Nisswa Time for Play would be widely received by area moms. She had wanted to do something like this for several

years. She says her late fatherin-law would have been thrilled. “He’s got a lot of grandkids and he would have loved this concept,” Paula says. Paula said she plans to take time off for the next year after working for nearly two decades developing programs for the city of Nisswa. She said she will miss her co-workers and the parents and children she has met through the years. Paula said she is hopeful that Nisswa Time for Play will continue after a new park director is hired. “It’s good for moms, good for kids. It’s good for everyone,” Missy says, of Nisswa Time for Play. n Jodie Tweed, a former Brainerd Dispatch reporter, is a freelance writer who probably would go crazy if she couldn’t bring her youngest daughters, ages 3 and 5, to Nisswa Time for Play.

Winter 2014 | her voice 33

Mother/daughter duo Linda Thesing (left) and Janelle Johnson repurposed the Randall Creamery into the Old Creamery Quilt and Coffee Shop.



Dream Becomes Reality



For well over a decade, an abandoned two-story brick structure from the early 1920s, once thought of as the heart of the Randall community, sat high atop a hill on Superior Avenue gazing down at the town patiently waiting to be rediscovered. Then one day, a couple years ago, it finally caught the eye of two women, Linda Thesing and Janelle Johnson.

“My daughter and I both love shabby chic and repurposing,” Linda said, “and as soon as we discovered the old creamery we began to dream about operating our own business there.” Unfortunately, the two soon learned when making a dream a reality there’s usually bumps along the way. The building they wanted wasn’t for sale. So they waited until the property went on the market and quickly made their offer. In the fall of 2011, after two months of meticulous planning, mother and daughter threw open the doors to the transformed building, allowing customers to discover the Old Creamery Quilt and Coffee Shop for themselves. Whether you desire quilting products or have a craving for food, you’ll find what you’re looking for Monday through Saturday on the building’s main floor.

“Mom handles the finances and ordering of supplies for the quilt shop,” Janelle explained, “and I oversee the needs of the coffee shop and the long arm sewing machine for quilts. Beyond that, both of us do whatever needs to get done.” This is the first business venture for both women. “The daily interaction with people who have the same passion and ideas is so rewarding for us,” Linda stated. Linda, mother of four, was raised in Brainerd and moved to Little Falls af after getting married. She loves to sew and has been doing it for more than 50 years. “I inherited my love for sewing from my mother, Levona Kraklau, when I was just a little girl.” She was taught detailed quilting at a much older age. The woman who has sewed men’s suits, coats, wedding dresses, purses and quilts, has never forgotten the first maWinter 2014 | her voice 35

Both Linda (right) and Janelle love to sew. On the business side, Linda deals with finances and supplies for the quilt shop, Janelle the coffee shop. The old Randall Creamery, built in the 1920s, stood vacant for over 10 years.

chine she learned to sew on, a Singer Treadle sewing machine. There’s one on display in the quilt shop. Since opening their quilt shop, Linda continues to create 52 different sewing samples, one for each week of the year, choosing from the roughly 1200 bolts of quilt fabrics on hand. Her design samples have included purses, car organizers, potholders, and casserole carriers. Janelle, the mother of three girls, lives in Fort Ripley and began to sew at age 8. She has been sewing for the past 23 years. Janelle serves on the Linden Hills Board and Randall’s non-profit City of Vision. Besides being involved with projects for the city of Randall, both mother and daughter believe in showcasing talents of local artists, be it wooden bowls, jewelry, notecards or aprons. “A few ladies like to teach at the quilt shop and their classes are advertised on our web site,” the quilt shop owners said. A sample of classes offered are beginner quilting, machine quilting techniques, felted clog slippers and open knitting. “Quilting classes are seasonal,” Linda shared. “More are offered during the winter months.” Two other groups using the old creamery are the quilt guild, recently 36 Winter 2014 | her voice

established in January, and the Friday knitters. For those of you who have ever thought about opening a quilt shop, Janelle shares the following: “If it’s your passion, you’ll love it. Quilt shops are unique.”

If it’s your passion, you’ll love it. Quilt shops are unique.” ~ Jannelle Johnson

After being surrounded for more than a half hour by so many gorgeous quilts, I finally confessed to Linda and Janelle that I’ve never attempted quilting even though my mother made them for three children and six grandchildren. Linda smiled and said, “If you can do straight stitching, you can make a quilt.” The most important requirements for creating a quilt, Linda stresses, is the need for patience, being focused on what you’re doing and to read and reread your directions.

I returned to the quaint coffee shop now where interviewing of mother and daughter first began. During its planning stage Janelle and a friend, a pastry chef she met while in the military, got together and created the scrumptious recipes now offered. You’ll find several order boards mounted on the wall to peruse, so take your time. My favorite— the chicken wild rice wrap. Besides wraps, the coffee shop offers specialty coffees, Italian sodas, homemade soups and salads. Servings are generous so leave room for the made from scratch bakery goods. This past spring the ballroom on the building’s second level was transformed for the Cream of the Crop Theater Company. The abandoned creamery was thriving once again. Could other projects be waiting in the wings? “Repurposing a garage and landscaping,” Linda supplied, “but there are only so many hours in the day.” n Marlene Chabot is a freelance writer, novelist and member of Great River Writers and Sisters In Crime. Her fourth mystery was released this past summer and she’s busy working on her fifth. Find her on Facebook at Marlene Mc Neil Chabot or

s e e

e d r

e a s

A Christmas Prayer God, Oh Great Spirit, Father, love and grace. Look upon this family with age and death Bonded by birth and marri d hope and with memories of our past an re. thoughtfulness for the futu


eciate our differences Teach us to accept and appr t do not chafe. and to hold tight to ties tha ilarities and May we find joy in our sim ut fear of promote independence witho abandonment. er in new beginnings Help us to support each oth ions. and to forgive old transgress g of warmth and Let each of us be a well-sprin may draw. affection from which others towards each other Give us generosity of spirit and grant us peace. and to the world around us ~ Audrae Gruber


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It was 2008 and the Brainerd area community recognized, through gatherings and focus groups that they needed a safe space for youth. Someone needed to step up, to be their voice, their leader, a champion of their cause. Cindy Moore, once a resort manager and resort owner, lead the charge, finding a space for youth, now called The Shop.

The third of seven children, Cindy’s story begins in St. Louis Park, where she lived until moving to the Brainerd lakes area. After 10 years as managers at Grand View Lodge, Cindy and her husband, Tim, purchased Lost Lake Lodge on the Gull Lake Narrows in May 1988 where they spent 16 years as owner-operators growing the resort into one of the premier vacation destinations in Minnesota. “We did everything. We never asked our staff to do anything we wouldn’t do. We worked alongside them; we were family,” Cindy recalls. The work was rewarding, but was around the clock, 24/7. Ready for a change of pace, they sold the business in July 2003.

Cindy Moore founded The Shop in 2010

“I had a good, successful life and I felt it was time to give back and I chose to give back to kids,” Cindy says. She became a volunteer facilitator with the Lakes Area Restorative Justice Project in 2007 and was hired by Lutheran Social Service in 2008 as a Youth Empowerment Specialist. In that role, she helped at-risk and homeless youth gain stability in establishing things like housing, transportation and sobriety. Her job was gratifying, but more needed to be done. According to the Afterschool Alliance, “Thirty-two percent

Where “loitering” will


Winter 2014 | her voice

for youth to simply loiter after school. The Shop aims to be a place where youth can engage in constructive activities and opportunities in a space that embraces diversity and celebrates youth as assets in their community. In October 2013, The Shop moved from its former downtown Brainerd location to a new location on Washington Street. The larger, more visible space has

“When these kids are in crisis they often shed a few tears... It’s at this critical moment in their life where they need someone.” ~ Cindy Moore

allowed The Shop to expand its programming and activities that include establishing a PC’s for People affiliate office. The PC’s for People program will train youth to refurbish donated computers that will be redistributed to lowincome families in the Brainerd-Baxter area. The program represents the organization’s mission to harness the abilities of youth, further develop their skills and assets and better prepare them for healthy futures. She’s an advocate, a mentor and a leader. Her advice to other women interested in getting involved in their community is to find someone that can be their mentor. “Being involved in the community means being involved with

other women, and there’s a lot of power in working together with women,” Cindy says with fervor. “Kids deserve every chance they can get” and The Shop is testament to how strongly that conviction resonated with her. The Shop serves upwards of 47 kids daily (10,400 youth visits a year) and is also a place for the community to rally around youth. There are many opportunities for community members to volunteer their time and talents or to donate goods and services. Cindy sees great things in the future for youth in the Brainerd-Baxter community and she believes there’s always more to be done. n Amanda Whittemore has a B.A. in English from St. Cloud State University and currently coordinates an AmeriCorps national service program at the Initiative Foundation in Little Falls. She’s passionate about volunteering, local foods and caffeinated beverages. She enjoys fawning over her daughter, spending time outdoors with her hunter-gatherer husband and freelance writing and editing.

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of K-12 youth are responsible for taking care of themselves after school” in Minnesota. Cindy stepped up to address the issue. She met the task with incredible compassion and energy, having experienced her own trials in a journey to recovery. Now sober for 15 years, she exudes great empathy for those who are struggling. “I always wanted to be an advocate for youth who have no one. Not every kid has a quality home life or someone to embrace them.” “When these kids are in crisis,” she says, “they often shed a few tears and after taking a deep breath they hold up their chin and say, ‘It’s all good.’ It’s at this critical moment in their life where they need someone.” And Cindy has been that “someone” for many local kids struggling through the challenges youth face as they journey through their trying teenage years. After years of tireless work, a determined Cindy founded the Brainerd Baxter Youth Center, better known as The Shop in July 2010 with the assistance of the Youth Wellness Initiative. The Shop serves as a safe space in the community for youth to gather and feel welcomed. The mission of The Shop is to “nurture youth to improve overall wellness and develop assets to support healthy life transitions.” The organization strives to accomplish their mission with activities and offerings such as bicycle recycling and sober trip programs, service to community projects, hosting artist mentors through The Crossing Arts Alliance, and by providing a place

Winter 2014 | her voice 39

the arts

The Sestri singers of Little Falls are a choral group of women performing songs from an oral tradition.




sad. But, the messages are universal. The older man pursuing a young woman, love spats, raising families or the fears solar plexus. Her neck arches back, vocal chords of war and being kidnapped by invaders. These songs are oral tradition and, as the stories evolved, stanzas were added. preparing to jump from a lower to higher octave, These became the folk music for their family celebrations, festivals, and finally, their countries.” then her head thrusts forward releasing a burst of This tradition has been brought to Little Falls via a man sound into the women’s melodic chanting. named Čelo V’ec. In 1968, Čelo was a student at Yale and toured, as part of a Russian Men’s Chorus, to Slavic and The languages are foreign to us, but the life themes reso- Balkan countries. There, he was introduced to the women’s nate despite the centuries and miles these songs have trav- choral music. A year after his return, he began the Yale eled to be presented here by the Sestri singers of Little Falls. Women’s Slavic Chorus, which continues in its 45th season. This “yik” and the combination of notes that follow are not “Čelo came to me four years ago,” Abra recalls, “asking familiar to us. They evoke images of women in mountain what I thought of trying this music here. My first reaction villages, hanging out billowing, white sheets, wiping their was ‘yeah, right,’ in central Minnesota? But, I listened to some hands on large aprons, adjusting their babushkas and shoo- recordings. This music has a very different rhythm. Instead ing a similarly dressed girl child into the house. The Sestri of our common 4/4 time, it was a 7/8 beat. Dissonant harsing stories of courting, daily chores, threats of war and fam- monies produce sounds foreign to us. We tend to “smooth” ily feuds that have echoed through the valleys between vil- rhythms. These are jagged, uneven, unexpected. We asked lages of faraway lands and long ago times. other women to listen, then put together a group of eight in“The stories and the cantor of the music don’t always mix,” cluding me, my mom, Gayle Nielsen, and my sister, Golden Abra Fisk, self-proclaimed principle “yikker” for the group Fisk.” explains. “Sometimes the music is joyful, yet the message is

A cry? A yelp? Notes spiral from the depths of her

40 Winter 2014 | her voice

s e . ,

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To Join Sestri: (320) 632-2932 Golden and Abra were already music students at the St. Francis Music Center, but Gayle’s entrance into the group produced three separate memories. “I recall being drug in by my daughters. I never had music lessons,” Gayle pointed out. “I didn’t know what a bar was!” They did all agree on the uniqueness of this quest. Not only are rhythms unfamiliar, but the songs are from Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, the Ukraine, Russia and Georgia all sung in the original languages. “Besides learning the music, I had to write every word phonetically on my sheet,” Gayle continued. “For example, ‘dzli’ is pronounced ‘slee’ and “Paxo tide = pă ho tee day.” “We all had to listen to tapes and ‘talk through the lines’ before singing,” Golden added. “Some of the sounds are like high-pitched controlled hic-coughs. “It is a very physical relationship to the music. It is an interaction that involves your adrenaline… body and soul. The music leaps out of the singer,” Abra explained, “and lands on the listener.” The original Sestri group has a repertoire of some 30 songs. When new

members are added, they learn by listening, as is the core of oral tradition. The women’s ages range from 21 years into their 60s. For some, it is a social gathering time. For others, it is an exciting new musical genre. For Claudia, a woman from Romania, it is a connection to her “home” area, as the Ukrainian music is quite similar. Claudia also brought along knowledge of her country’s folk dances. Folk music is dance music. Sestri had performances for Central Lakes College’s Celebration of Nations, concerts at St. Francis Music Center and art festivals before joining with the Vestpertine Tribal dancers to do a fundraiser for the Women’s Shelter. Blending women’s ‘her-story’ ballads and the ancient dance forms, developed by women to communicate with women, was dynamic. A truly sensational moment came at a performance at the Great River Arts Association in Little Falls, as Vespertine Tribal interpreted their dance movements to accompany the songs of the Sestri women.

The lights go down. A line of women wearing long black skirts accented with colorful scarves or costumed aprons wrapped around their waists and embroidered blouses proceed across the stage. A sole man takes his place before them, raises his hands, sweeps his gaze over the gathered and, without warning, juts his arms through the air. A variegated chorus of notes hit the ceiling, sending the audience into an upright position, ears ringing and eyes wide. Abra describes it as “an amazing quantity and quality of noise.” I describe it as “moving through an eon of women’s lives in a single moment.” n

Retired as a Spanish teacher from Central Lakes College, Jan Kurtz continues to expand our awareness of other cultures.

Winter 2014 | her voice 41

Holistic Health




Massage Therapist Darcy Peterson Walkowiak (left) believes holistic health involves physical, mental and emotional faculties. Ellie Slette followed holistic health practices as part of her breast cancer treatment.

For years women were content just taking medicine prescribed by their doctors. But a growing number of women these days are becoming healthier by taking charge of their own health, often through holistic health practices. Darcy Peterson Walkowiak, an area massage therapist, explains holistic health in this way: “I consider holistic health to be caring for yourself in a way that it encompasses your entire being... physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Keep all of those factors in mind when you may be dealing with an ailment. For example if you have neck/shoulder/upper back pain I feel that you can’t just look at it from a physical perspective you also need to determine what’s going on in life that may be contributing to that pain.” Darcy also looks at emotional stress that might weigh down the patient. “Are you carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders or are you keeping your problems ‘behind’ you so you don’t have to face them?” she asks. Or maybe, she says REASONS TO SEEK MASSAGE

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you are spiritually disconnected, possibly longing for a deeper richer spiritual connection. Other factors she considers include nutrition, exercise such as walking, running, stretching, strengthening, time outdoors in the elements, socializing with friends and family, time spent working. “All these things need to be factored into maintaining proper health. We are so much more than just a physical being,” says Darcy. Darcy also promotes massage therapy saying, “You gain increased circulation, relaxation, and a chance to meditate and a more robust immune system.” Ellie Slette, retired RN, is a strong proponent of holistic health, in part because of her own health issues. When she was less than six months retired from her position at Century College teaching holistic nursing, she received a diagnosis of breast cancer. During a six-week radiation treatment, Ellie followed holistic health practices, building up her immune system by increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, drinking water (at BENEFITS PERCEIVED BY CLIENTS

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Debbie Endres (left) massage therapist, says integrating holistic care with Western medicine often increases healing. Tammie Sand-Benson’s holistic practice included cutting out sugar.

least eight glasses a day), cutting back on meats (especially red meat) and nearly eliminating sugar from her diet. She continued to exercise, walking the dog and gardening and taking a trip to Sedona, a place of healing. After the radiation treatment, Ellie considered conventional medication, but chose instead to continue with her holistic lifestyle. In addition to making healthy choices about what she eats, Ellie sees a homeopathic healer who talks with her about her health, what’s happening in her life, how she’s sleeping, etc., and gives her a remedy that is best for her body. Debbie Endres, massage therapist and guide at Life Care Center, says, “Holistic care embraces the wellbeing of body, mind and spirit — the total person, not just a specific pain or issue.

It can be helpful integrating holistic care with western medicine to enhance healing on all levels.” Often, she feels a powerful energy while treating clients and, at times, has visions herself that help the client understand what is going on in their life and body. She takes the time to talk with her clients before and after working with them about anything that might be concerning them. While clients benefit from practitioners who listen, changing eating habits can be an important step in holistic health practices. When routine blood work found high liver numbers at an annual physical, Tammie Sand-Benson took charge of her sugar intake. For her, it was best to go “cold turkey” to cut out sugar entirely for a detox period. She felt better and had more energy. Once

she got it out of her system, so to speak, she ate some sugar with greater awareness and control, finding food tasted better. Even veggies she said had a sweeter taste when she wasn’t on sugar. Tammie lost weight and her liver numbers went down. After researching the ills of sugar she discovered that non-alcoholic liver disease is on the rise in the United States, as well as other diseases related to consuming too much sugar. Cutting back on sugar is not easy to do in our sugar culture. We like to treat each other with baked goods. Every holiday has a special candy. But making lifestyle changes may be the beginning of a healthier you. Drink water, take a walk with a friend, meditate, get a massage. Be aware of your options. Take charge of your health. n


Brainerd Area Holistic Health community

Mary Aalgaard is a freelance writer who blogs on about inspiration, entertainment, traveling, recipes and restaurant reviews. Mary’s play, “Coffee Shop Confessions,” was performed in coffee shops around the area in 2012. She works with both children and adults to create original dramas and is offering theatre classes for kids.

Winter 2014 | her voice 43

Her Voice Service Directory • Winter 2014

Missy Barron


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Season’s Greetings 44 Winter 2014 | her voice

Cuyuna Regional Medical Center

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Her Voice Service Directory • Winter 2014 Kitchens

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Home Healthcare


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Winter 2014 | her voice 45

her say

A Barter The generosity of a store owner enables a little girl to barter for a doll crib. By CATHERINE RAUSCH


Stopping by a consignment store in Brainerd, my husband Duane found a few items for his art shed. While chatting with the owner, Taffy, she told him about a barter she made with a 3-year-old girl — exchanging a doll crib for stickers. I glanced up at the framed stickers, high on the wall behind the front counter

On our way out Duane eyeballed an old kerosene wall lamp. “How many thousand do you have to have for that?” He asked. Taffy said he could have both for $35. Duane took one for $15. What a deal. While Taffy wrapped the lamp I lifted a porcelain swan up to eyeball level. I liked it. Duane liked it. Not quite what I had in mind, but it would work to hold my lipstick at the back door. The tag said $18,but before I said a word, Taffy said she could take $15. We were having fun. Several weeks later I stopped by the store again. I told Taffy how much we enjoyed the lamp and the swan. I also told her that the barter she made for the stickers would make a neat story. She said she always had plans to write a story, but it was hard to find the time. I had just sold my first paying story. Feeling brave I said I would help her write a story. She took my email and sent me the details. Taffy no longer has her consignment store, but here is her story:   A Barter With Sofie I remember the day Sofie came into my shop accompanied by her mother, her grandmother and her sister. Sofie (about 3 years of age) sat on the floor admiring a 1930s shabby pink wooden doll crib on wooden wheels. “What are you looking at?” Sofie’s mother asked. “A doll crib, Mommy! You can buy it if you want.:” “But I haven’t a doll,” her mother replied. 46 Winter 2014 | her voice

“You can use one of mine,” Sofie assured her.    It was time to intervene, so I sat on the floor by Sofie. “Would you like to barter for the crib?” I said, explaining that if she had something to give to me that I wanted then she could have the shabby pink crib. With a twinkle in her eye, Sofie reached into her pocket and brought out a lovely heart necklace, a gift from her sister. “No, I don’t want a necklace,” I said. “What else do you have? Check your pockets. Is there anything else?” I asked. Deep thought covered Sofie’s face. Out of her pocket came some stickers and a card. Wow! On the back of the precious documents were her signature and some precious notes. I had to have these. I told Sofie, “If I could have these precious papers you could have the shabby pink crib on wooden wheels.” Sofie said, “Yes! And I can sing you a song, if you like?” Being a grandmother I couldn’t pass up a song. I listened with love as she sang a song mixed with “Jesus Loves Me” from Bible school. If Sofie only knew how my heart swelled with joy to have met her. She worked hard and gave her all to receive her dolly’s crib. I hope to see Sofie again someday; even if it’s just to show her how important her documents are to me. They are framed memories for all to see. Thank you, Sofie. n Catherine Rausch lives in Little Falls with her husband Duane. They have four adult children and seven grandchildren. She writes poetry and nonfiction stories with plans for a book and a screen play. She also speaks and teaches on topics relating to abuse and offers one-on-one prayer counseling at


Her Voice Magazine - Winter 2014  

• Tender Hearts 4 Kids: A nonprofit combines core musical concepts in playful music lessons for little ones, as well as offering a lending t...

Her Voice Magazine - Winter 2014  

• Tender Hearts 4 Kids: A nonprofit combines core musical concepts in playful music lessons for little ones, as well as offering a lending t...