By Women. For Women. About Women.
A Brainerd Dispatch Publication
Accepting True Beauty
Lisa Haberman shares the strengths she’s gained through her alopecia hair loss
+ True North
+ Pen Pals For
Icon — Amy Price
HER VOICE By women. For women. About women.
MAGAZINE STAFF PUBLISHER
Pete Mohs ADVERTISING DIRECTOR
Susie Alters Eller
Sarah Herron COPY EDITOR
DeLynn Howard DESIGN & LAYOUT
Her Voice staff Lisa Henry (left), Sarah Herron (center), and DeLynn Howard hope to see you for the country western hoedown out at True North Ranch Ministries Sept. 15. Details on page 16.
BY DELYNN HOWARD The Brainerd lakes area is often known for the beauty it possesses. We really have it all — numerous lakes for swimming, fishing and boating, biking and hiking opportunities on many trails and superb dining spots on and off the lakes, to name a few. What Brainerd has is what many flock here for in the summer months. We are truly a tourist’s paradise and have so much to be thankful for. But do you know what else we should be thankful for? The Brainerd lakes area has a plethora of wonderful women who give of themselves without question, donating their time, attention, love and support to causes near and dear to them. In this issue, our readers will get to know Amy Price, daughter of the late James Wallin, former mayor of Brainerd, who has followed in her dad’s footsteps in many facets of our community.
You’ll meet Pam Streed, who is the executive director of New Pathways, a program that last year provided 38 families with a safe place to stay and assisted them with getting their lives back on track. And speaking of getting lives back on track, you’ll be introduced to Lee Shelstad, who is one of the co-founders of Truth North Ranch Ministries located in Merrifield. This ministry is doing great things with horses named Bokoda and Nugget who bring hope to troubled and hurting souls. The stories of these women, along with many others, are gracing the pages of this fall issue. We hope you’ll take some time to read and get to know these women who are our neighbors, our community members and friends.
Correction to the Luna Women’s Wellness and Birth Center article in the summer 2018 issue: The hospital with whom they primarily consult with was listed incorrectly. Luna Women’s Wellness and Birth Center consults primarily with Lakewood Health Systems as well as other area hospitals. Like us on Facebook • Fall 2018 | her voice 3
Next Issue of Her Voice: Advertising Deadline: October 8 Next Publication Date: Brainerd Dispatch: November 13 Echo Journal: November 15 You can also find Her Voice Magazine in over 100 Discover Rack locations in the area or read it online at:
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Sarah.Herron@BrainerdDispatch.com Mail: ATTN: Her Voice Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 974, Brainerd, MN 56401 Quarterly publication of the Brainerd Dispatch. Printed by Forum Communications. copyright© 2003 VOLUME 15, EDITION 3 FALL 2018
CONTENTS Fall 2018
Your Voice Celebrities
Her Story Amy Price â€” Doing Community
By Sheila DeChantal
Pen and Paper Create a Lasting Friendship 19
True North Ranch Ministries
By Sue Ready
By Susan J. Smith-Grier
Women in Business
By Sheila Helmberger
Her Family Have Kids, Will Travel
By Sarah Nelson Katzenberger
Her Health Lakes Area Pregnancy Support 34 By Nicole Stracek
For Her Celebrity Interview
40 Her Table
Jan Schmid, Backus Locker
Cover StoryLost Hair, Strengths Gained
By Elsie Husom Lisa Haberman shares her story of an unexpected diagnosis, her challenges and acceptance of her total hair loss.
By Joey Halvorson
By Joan Hasskamp
37 Camino de Santiago
9 From Belarus to Brainerd
By Jan Kurtz Jan and her two friends hike the 1,000-yearold multi-European route and make new friends along the way.
By Kim Raboin A temporary move turned into a whole new way of life for Galina Weber when she came to America from the tyranny of the Soviet Union.
By Erica Swenson Learning from those who have gone on before us. Medical student Erica Swenson delivers an insightful look at human anatomy, life and death.
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12 Reflections from the Cadaver Lab
I AM CALLED
to make a healthy difference in peopleâ€™s lives Dr. Jessica Tabatt | Podiatry
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PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY AMY PRICE
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DOING COMMUNITY BY SHEILA DECHANTAL
If you know Amy Price, you know she is one busy lady.
is a real estate agent, mom of two amazing teenage girls, Emily and Morgan, wife to Chad, and a friend to many. Along with a fully rounded life, she still finds time to volunteer in our community. When their girls were younger, Amy found herself volunteering as many do when they have young kids. She volunteered at their school, for class trips, and at church. She liked doing that, and knew it was good for her kids to see her being an active part of their community. On several occasions, they volunteered with her. As the girls grew and became more independent, Amy wanted to find other ways to help in her community, something more consistent.
“Can you imagine if everyone in our community volunteered somewhere, even for an hour?” - Amy Price
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Amy volunteering at The Center in Brainerd.
Volunteering: • Young families can find ways to volunteer together. The Soup Kitchen is a great place for families to volunteer. • Watch the newspaper. You may find something interesting you would like to help with. • Help a neighbor – shovel, mow, plant flowers. • Go with what you love. Into gardening? Volunteer at the Arb. Into reading? Volunteer at the library. Like pets? Consider helping at HART. Like talking to people? Volunteer at one of our assisted living homes. The list is endless.
The Center: thebrainerdcenter.com Ruby’s Pantry: www.rubyspantry.org Soup Kitchen: (218) 829-4203 Brainerd Public Library: (218) 829-5574 Northland Arboretum: northlandarb.org HART: hartpets.org
This consistency started the end of 2015 when her father, James Wallin, passed away. James had been involved in the Bethany Auxiliary, a service organization dedicated to creating an environment where GSS-Bethany residents, family members and staff feel loved, valued and at peace. When he passed, Amy followed in her father’s footsteps and stepped in to volunteer her time at the Bethany Auxiliary fundraising events. If you are on Facebook, you may have seen her live video posts advertising those events. In 2018, she was named the ambassador of The Good Samaritan Bowl in Brainerd, another honor she shared with her father, who held the title in 2013. Amy enjoys taking two of her past clients to the monthly dinner at The Center. It was during a dinner last fall Amy was asked if she would be interested in coming in to help make the doughnuts that are made every Thursday morning. As Amy has a hard time saying no, she found herself going in to The Center at 5 a.m., starting that very week. While she continues to volunteer on Thursdays with the doughnuts, she jokes that after getting up that early to volunteer, she was sure she was only going to do it the one time. (Amy now goes in at 6 a.m.) Through this volunteering, Amy has met some amazing people and those who come in to purchase doughnuts now know her by name as she packs their selections. “I love surprising people by dropping doughnuts off for them,” Amy said.“What a fun way to make someone’s day!” Amy feels part of finding a good volunteer fit, is finding a way to do what you love. “Being a part of a large service group is a wonderful way to volunteer, but I found I like the more personal touch,” she said. “I enjoy spending extra time with senior clients. Some seniors don’t have any family in town to help them. I like getting to know the people I volunteer with and for. Taking extra time for someone who
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might be lonely, giving a ride to an appointment or grocery shopping because they no longer drive, can make a positive impact in someone else’s life.” Amy volunteers in other ways as well. She has helped occasionally at Ruby’s Pantry, a pop-up pantry that serves the local community by offering a box of food for $20. She is a member of the Friends of The Brainerd Public Library and helps at Wine and Words. In 2015, and again in 2017, Amy won the Mark Sjoblom Weichert Pride Award. This award is presented from Weichert for Above and Beyond Customer Service and Community Involvement. She also maintains the flower garden at Kiwanis Park that her dad built and maintained. “There are people out there that give way more time than I do to the community. Often people think they are too busy to volunteer, and I get that,” Amy said. “There are so many ways you can volunteer without a huge commitment – even an hour a week. Can you imagine if everyone in our community volunteered somewhere, even for an hour? What a huge difference that would make in the lives of so many.” Amy’s final advice, “Don’t be afraid to say no. So many places can use volunteers and once you start, more opportunities tend to follow. Figure out what you can commit to, don’t overdo it, and have fun!”
Sheila DeChantal is a freelance writer and book reviewer. She writes about life meanderings and books at the website Bookjourney.net. She is president of the Friends of the Brainerd Public library and is on the City Library Board. When not reading or writing, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, biking, hiking, mud runs, kickboxing, and finding any excuse to wear a costume.
HER STORY +moving
O T S U R A L E B FROM BRAINERD Belarus, Soviet Union
Brainerd, USA BY KIM RABOIN
PHOTO BY JOEY HALVORSON
loves living in the present and wants others to do it too. We obviously exist in the present if we’re alive, but the question is are we living well? In a world of ever increasing distractions and busyness, Galina has learned the value of being fully engaged in the here and now. She doesn’t promote forgetting the past or ignoring the future, but she does teach others the benefits of being attentive to your immediate surroundings through the five senses. It’s what mindfulness is all about.
“To survive under tyranny you learn to keep your head down, your mouth shut and your thoughts to yourself.”- Galina Weber Like us on Facebook • Fall 2018 | her voice 9
Galina’s maternal great-grandfather Tikhon Godnev Nikolayevich, a famous plant physiologist and his daughter, Maria.
Galina with mother Elena.
Galina with grandparents Vladimir and Maria.
Years ago, while seeking a healthy solution for a loved one battling anxiety, Galina had a profound experience herself. She discovered mindfulness and meditation. She now craves this experience almost as deeply as the air she breathes. Coincidentally, breathing awareness happens to be an integral part of Galina’s approach to health and wellness. As a certified Yoga instructor, she stresses the importance of this de-stressing exercise in every class she teaches. She was born in Minsk, Belarus (Bella-roos) as Galina Alexandrovna Spirydovich. Her maternal great-grandfather, Tikhon Godnev Nikolayevich, was a famous Soviet plant physiologist back in the early 1900s. His foundational research in chlorophyll biosynthesis merited two Orders of Lenin, a large apartment in the bustling city center of Minsk, and a beautiful summer lake home. She grew up in both inherited residences with her extended family. Galina’s most treasured time growing up was spent with her resident grandfather. She looked to him for guidance on life’s deeper questions. “He wasn’t like everybody else, drinking and partying,” she divulges. “He had a great sense of humor, intelligent humor, but also strong opinions. From a young age he whispered in my ear to ‘get out’ of Belarus.” Their comfortable living quarters couldn’t calm the fears of living in a country regarded by many as Europe’s last dictatorship. Galina’s parents, also scientists, wanted her to pursue an academic career where opportunities were more abundant. She studied Belorussian law for two years while pondering her options. Toward the end of that time her mother encouraged her to apply for a U.S. student visa. Galina applied in 2003, got a call from the
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One of Galina’s favorite things to do was spend time with her resident grandfather, Vladimir.
“...he whispered in my ear to ‘get out’ of Belarus.” - Galina Weber
American Embassy two weeks later, and within two months she was on her way. She looked forward to experiencing New York City’s renowned cultural diversity. Instead she found throngs of people coming and going and minding their own business. She felt alone and culture shocked. Galina’s initial goal was to work and return to Minsk with enough money for her next move. However, toward the end of her time here, she was unable to move at all. Living expenses had consumed all the money she’d earned. She was at a crossroads. Go back to Belarus, no further along financially than before, or stay in America. The decision was difficult. She missed her family and home terribly, but knew there was no future there. And she was already here. She forged ahead, eventually moving to Denver,
- Galina Weber
Galina in Belarus where the climate is similar to Minnesota.
Colo., where she met and married her husband. Two children later, they decided to move to Minnesota. Teaching yoga and mindfulness has become a big part of Galina’s American experience. It marries her passion for movement with her desire to help others. Each class is a reminder that when we’re willing to slow down, peace can be found. She also homeschools her two boys, teaching them to be mindful along with their academic studies. Galina is a multilingual, high energy extrovert, but possesses the quiet
confidence of one who’s been on the path of peace for awhile. She believes strongly that when we focus on the present, we’ll learn to stop allowing distractions, past regrets and future fears to rob us of enjoying each moment. The transition from Minskovite to Minnesotan was easy enough. “The climate, lakes and trees all have the same feel as home to me,” Galina says. She’s also added aebelskivers (stuffed Danish pancake balls) to her list of favorite foods alongside her beloved borscht. Long held fears about speaking freely, however, aren’t as easily overcome. When I asked Galina to do this interview, her first response was one of heart-pounding fear. To survive under tyranny you learn to keep your head down, your mouth
shut and your thoughts to yourself. Galina’s willingness to share her story proves she’s courageous despite any fears. She has truly been transplanted from her old country, not just physically, but in her determination to root herself in the here and now of Minnesota.
Kim Raboin is a sugar eating, coffee drinking, recipe sleuthing, Bible studying, book reading junky. Oh, and a lefse rolling Norwegian. She loves using words to communicate clearly - and humorously. Kim believes everyone has a story to tell, whether they realize it or not. She and her husband Jim have seven grown children and four grandchildren.
One of a Kind
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“The transition from Minskovite to Minnesotan was easy enough. The climate, lakes and trees all have the same feel as home to me.”
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Photo by Jenna Swenson
Reflections from the Cadaver Lab BY ERICA SWENSON
The cadaver lab is one of the most notorious parts
of medical education. It seems to be a test of endurance and a mark of how much one can truly handle. To non-medical professionals it seems to be both disgusting and terrifying. To medical professionals it is fascinating and essential to education. Erica Swenson is currently a medical student at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth. Photo by Jamie Morrissette. 12 her voice | Fall 2018 â€˘ Share your voice with us on Facebook
have one of the lowest student-to-cadaver ratios in the state.” After this declaration, my parents chuckled and nervously looked to see if that excited me or scared me away from the profession forever. There is laughter in the cadaver lab. Maybe it’s because it’s easier to laugh than face the truth of this life — that it must come to an end. Maybe it’s because we are so uncomfortable with the fact that to learn human anatomy, we must ask others for help once this life is finished. Maybe it’s because humans in life, but also in death — especially those treated with formaldehyde — smell funny. I once returned home for a holiday break and my mother — whose superpower is surely smell — attempted to locate a foul smell. When I admitted I had been in cadaver lab that day, the joy of my homecoming lessened significantly. But maybe cadaver lab is funny because death doesn’t have to be so depressing, cold, dark and fear-
“...My undergraduate experience allowed for a bit more space to comprehend what it meant to learn from a human body.” - Erica Swenson ful. Maybe cadaver lab is fun and humorous because we are still learning from those who have gone before us. I assure you, someday, if I’m on the table, I hope the students are laughing at the smell of formaldehyde and the difficulties they have locating all the required structures. I hope in my death there is still laughter, because in life it’s something I cherish most. Amidst the humor, there is still grief. Unlike medical school where we dove straight into learning, my undergraduate experience allowed for a bit more space to comprehend what it
As aspiring medical professionals, my fellow medical students and I learn from the cadaver lab about the anatomy of our patients as well as prepare for the messiness that is caring for humans. For me, an aspiring family practice doctor, the cadaver lab teaches me about the authenticity of life and has prepared me to be more aware and comfortable with the realities of life and death. Medical school was not the first time I had the privilege of learning from a cadaver. I was first introduced to human anatomy in my undergraduate work at Concordia College, where I was incredibly lucky to spend an entire semester learning dissection techniques as well as the miraculous artwork that is the human body. The fact that Concordia offered cadaver lab to undergraduates was actually a selling point used by many admissions representatives upon learning of my interest in medicine. I distinctly remember a saleswoman’s voice saying, “You know, at Concordia we
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meant to learn from a human body. The first day we simply observed. We recognized the strange way that life is taken from bodies during the embalming process, stealing some of the vibrancy that makes us human. But then, we marveled at painted fingernails on one of our cadavers — surely she was loved and cared for. For the first month of lab I struggled between two states of mind: one of amazement and one of grief. I grieved for the loss of life and for those whom had lost a beloved person. I marveled at their hands, for the hands seem to maintain the life that was otherwise washed away by embalming fluid. After having spent my summer working at an assisted living, where holding hands of the elderly was a daily joy, I found myself wishing I could learn from the cadavers in conversation while holding their living hands instead. The third point of reflection — my utter amazement. In undergrad a friend said it best the day we got
“The way the body develops from two cells to become a tapestry of perfectly threaded blood vessels, nerves, muscles, tendons and fat cells placed for resiliency and protection is truly remarkable.” - Erica Swenson to explore the organ systems for the first time. Upon revealing the heart of one of our cadavers, my friend literally screamed, “That is the COOLEST thing I have ever seen!” It was the most authentic and genuine way to express my own feelings of amazement during cadaver lab. Human anatomy is an incredible creation. The way the body develops from two cells to become a tapestry of perfectly threaded blood vessels, nerves, muscles, tendons and fat cells placed for resiliency and protection is truly remarkable. What I have found to be true in the medical school cadaver lab is that all of these reflections are not exclusive. Human anatomy is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and is the reason during lab exams my heart is truly singing. With this beauty comes the humor of life. Why does this person have an extra vein? Why can you smell the cadaver lab from miles away? Why is learning with my team so much fun? The beauty of the anatomy allows for joy, humor and fun, because it is what the people who have donated their bodies intended. Laughter is the universal language and bodies are our universal experience — why not enjoy them both together? Our cadavers died knowing they offered a great gift of knowledge
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Photo by Jamie Morrissette
and beauty to be discovered among the hands of novices who have the energy, joy and curiosity to take something dead and bring it to life once more. The art is not lost in the humor, nor is the grief lost in the experience. We all understand the truth behind this privileged opportunity. In order for us to learn, there was loss. It is why looking at a cadaver’s hands is still difficult. There is gravity in the circumstances of the cadaver lab. The fact that cadavers are with us requires them to no longer be with those they loved. But, there is a beauty in this too, because their loved ones must know the joy they bring to us, the knowledge they share with us, the deep questions and curiosities they pull from us. This is where these three emotions meet, in the bittersweet revival of life in learning. So, may we laugh in the face of death. Because there is beauty in life and human anatomy that is not lost in death. Let us rejoice in the curiosity of students of anatomy and recognize the privilege it is to learn from one another, be it in this life or the next.
HER PASSION + healing horses
The Unique Ministry at True North Ranch
Ashley says her experience at True North Ranch Ministries and working with horse Bokoda has been life-changing.
PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON BY SUSAN J. SMITH-GRIER
When I mentioned I was writing an article about
horses to my friend, I told her it’s a place where people whispering takes place. “You mean horse whispering,” she said. “No,” I answered, “I mean people whispering. Horse whisperers are people who talk to horses and calm them down. At True North Ranch, the horses communicate with people and help them see things differently: People whisperers!”
Unbelievable? Consider the important role pets play in people’s lives. The presence of a dog or cat actually lowers blood pressure and heart rates in humans. Lee and Dan Shelstad are the co-founders of True North Ranch Ministries (TNRM) located in Merrifield. Their ministry includes Bokoda and Nugget, two horses who, through their gentle spirits, bring hope to troubled and hurting souls.
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“It was an amazing time of blessing. We saw smiles on their faces, and we had never seen smiles on their faces before,” Lee says about bringing three children to the horses after they lost their home to fire.
Lee Shelstad, co-founder of True North Ranch Ministries (inset photo), looks on as Ashley (left), talks to Bokoda, and Grace brushes Nugget.
JOIN US! Country Western
HOEDOWN Fundraising event
September 15 • 3-7p.m. True North Ranch Ministries 12600 Pelican Beach Rd. Merrifield Enjoy music, line dancing, games, fellowship and food. See what True North Ministries is all about and feel the love. For more information: http://www.truenorthranch.org.
An Open Door While exploring summer opportunities for fun and learning, the Shelstads came upon a ranch whose horses needed training. This seemed the ideal situation for the Shelstad children, Mackinzey and Mitch, who were homeschooled at the time. Lee and the kids were taught how to train horses and learned how to play certain games with them. Lee noticed, through their interaction with the horses, something important. “Through those games,” Lee said, “I could see the gospel; I could see how the horses could represent so much a part of who Christ is and the sacrifice that He gave and how much He adores us and could really help us heal through trauma in our lives.” A door opened. As Lee watched the relationship between her kids and the horses unfold, she thought about the benefits other kids could receive by being around these gentle creatures. The opportunity came in the form of three children who had lost their home to a fire. Their home life
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left much to be desired and was reflected through the sadness in their eyes. When Lee brought them to the horses and taught them how to interact with them, she noticed a change right away. “This was an amazing day. It was an amazing time of blessing. We saw smiles on their faces, and we had never seen smiles on their faces before. They had been so sad and so torn. The feeling of abandonment and fear was in them and just to see a totally different side of that with this fun time with the horses. I thought this would be a wonderful thing to do all the time.” Soon after that, Bokoda came into the Shelstads’ lives. Named by Mackinzey, little Bokoda was too young to ride, but took easily to being trained and learning the games he was to play with kids. Once he became old enough to ride, a completely different level of interaction opened up. Nugget joined a little while later, and, together, they help people heal those broken parts.
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The Four Pillars of HOPE True North Ranch Ministries is built upon four pillars: Healing, Overcoming, Peace and Empowerment. They provide hope when it seems there is none. The power of this unique ministry can be seen in the lives of the people who are touched by Bokoda and Nugget. Jessica Kargel had been concerned about her daughter’s health. Ashley’s self-confidence was low. She had a difficult time making friends at school because of her illness. After hearing about TNRM on The Pulse radio, they decided to give it a try. “Just being there gives you a sense of peace. You turn off the highway and go into the ranch and it’s just complete peacefulness,” said Mrs. Kargel. At first she didn’t understand how the gospel message was incorporated with working with horses, but as she watched first hand, it became clear. She also saw a big Grace leads Nugget. It is essential to build a trusting relationship and communicate with the horses before they ride them.
Your Property. My Priority.
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Working For Buyers & Sellers
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Playing games with horses, caring for them and allowing them to care for you doesn’t seem like it could be a life altering experience, yet through this ministry of peace and love, that’s exactly what it can be.
work with the horses. Sex trafficking victims are helped to overcome their challenges at TNRM. Playing games with horses, caring for them and allowing them to care for you doesn’t seem like it could be a life altering experience, yet through this ministry of peace and love, that’s exactly what it can be. Children can see how powerful they can be, broken adults can experience the feeling of forgiveness and unconditional love. All By the Grace of God True North Ranch Ministries offers a unique experience as people come to develop relationships with Bokoda and Nugget and receive peace and healing which is much needed in today’s world. Each step in this journey for the Shelstads has been an act
bl ic Schools
improvement in Ashley’s demeanor. Ashley’s experience with the horses was really life-changing. “We went out there, and it’s in the middle of nowhere, then Lee came out with this really big smile and then I just knew, this is going to be good!” And it was. So good, in fact, a session with Bokoda became the answer to prayer. Last year Ashley had been in the Mayo Hospital and had an adverse reaction to medication. Her unusual behavior caused great concern, and nothing seemed to help until they took Ashley to spend some time with Bokoda. Both mother and daughter talk of that day they saw healing power working through Bokoda to heal Ashley. Real Problems, Gentle Solutions TNRM has helped people of all ages. While the focus is with children from five years on up, they have also helped adults. The men from Adult & Teen Challenge enjoy monthly visits with Bokoda and Nugget. Families from the New Pathways program find peace and empowerment when they
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of faith. Everything one sees at the ranch, has been gifted to them for the ministry. Tax-deductible donations, along with a Crow Wing Power grant and St. Joseph’s Foundation Community Health Grant, keep TNRM running smoothly without cost to participants. Though it is powered by faith, it is not a religious organization. It’s open to all individuals and groups. Susan J. Smith-Grier, mother, grandmother, writer, storyteller, blogger, and Reading Corps tutor of early elementary kids, enjoys the changing seasons of Minnesota lake country. She lives for those moments when the possibilities light up the eyes of her awesome school kids and delights in the power of words and story.
On a mission to ensure
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their individual potential
Pen and Paper Create a Lasting Friendship BY SUE READY
When was the last time you put a stamp on some-
thing other than a bill? There is something exciting about checking the mail and finding an envelope addressed to you with a handwritten note inside. In today’s world, a pen pal friendship spanning 70 years is truly a rarity and one cherished by Brainerd resident Ann Hanlon Ruttger. Her correspondence with Audrey McBain Westgarth over many decades became a treasure trove of memories, journaling and record keeping that formed a lasting friendship.
Pen pals for 70 years, Ann Ruttger (left) and Audrey Westgarth in front of Audrey’s home in Hull, Yorkshire, 2006.
Ann Hanlon was just 11 in 1944 living in Aitkin when she exchanged her first letter with Audrey McBain, 10, from Hull, Yorkshire, UK. Ann’s sister Mary “Mugs” was a pen friend of Eileen, Audrey’s sister. Ann still has the first three-page letter exchanged and in mint condition (left). Audrey wrote this letter using meticulous penmanship and attached a photo of herself as a way of introduction. This became the start of many letters exchanged over decades where both girls shared their stories, daily lives, hopes, dreams and traditions. For many writers, finding the right stationary is half the fun. Ann and Audrey took great
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Photos: (Top) Audrey Westgarth and Jack Ruttger at Itasca State Park, 2003. (Above) A postcard of Audrey and Harry’s wedding. (Below) One of Ann’s most treasured gifts from Audrey — a clock surrounded by forget-me-not flowers.
pride in choosing special papers, note cards, envelopes and stamps to personalize their letter exchanges. Each of their letters and notes were written in longhand. They marked memorable events, e.g. birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and birth of their children with cards and a variety of memorabilia. As time went by, their friendship grew through correspondence and they became more like sisters. Ann has come to value and appreciate English traditions after being Audrey’s pen pal for 70 years. Ann Hanlon Ruttger and her husband Jack have owned Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge for more than 60 years. Their family includes daughter Julie; her husband, Perry; daughter, Mary; son, Chris; his wife, Joanne; seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Their son Chris is the president of the resort. You can find Ann and Jack in the summers into fall at the resort greeting guests and making sure visitors enjoy their stay. It was pure joy meeting face to face in London in 1973 when Ann and Mugs met Audrey and Eileen for the first time. In 1992, Ann and Mugs traveled to Hull, Yorkshire. It was there they met Audrey’s husband, Harry, who at that time, was in the Queen’s Coldstream Guards, and their twin daughters, Heather and Joy. In 1990, Audrey and her daughter Heather traveled to the U.S. to visit Ann and Jack. In 2003, Audrey came for Ann and Jack’s 50th anniversary. During her visit, Ann and Jack made sure Audrey visited several “up north” locations including stops at Itasca State Park and the North Shore. In 2006, Ann visited Audrey’s home in Yorkshire again to enjoy English hospitality. On each visit, whether it be in the UK or the U.S., Ann and Audrey were respectful of each other’s religion. Despite being of different faiths, they made sure each of them knew where to find a church nearby for a service.
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In later years, the two updated their correspondence to include email and occasional cellphone conversations. Audrey’s husband died in 2007, and in May 2017, Audrey passed away after a short illness. Ann’s connection with Audrey’s family still continues through her daughters, Joy and Heather.
The art of writing letters and notes today has become scarce... On the day of my visit, Ann had gathered an impressive amount of memorabilia exchanged by her and Audrey over the years that totally covered the dining room table and buffet. There were scarves, pillows, Christmas ornaments, sweet looking little trinket boxes, handbags, candles, books and framed cross stitch art to name a few. Since Brits seem so fixated on royalty, there also were a variety of magazine and newspaper clippings dating back to the beginning of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. Ann’s most recent gift from one of Audrey’s relatives was a commemorative piece from Prince Harry and Meghan
Side by side or miles apart dear friends are always close to the heart.
HANDMADE BATH & BODY GOODS Ann Ruttger with one of her most treasured gifts— a collage of highlights from her and Audrey Westgarth’s 70-year pen pal friendship.
Markle’s wedding. One of Ann’s favorite gifts from Audrey was a small round clock with delicate forgetme-not flowers trimming the outer edge. Ann sent Audrey a thank you note enclosing a packet of forgetme-not seeds. Another cherished gift is a small poster board filled with mementos that highlighted their 70-year pen pal friendship. But the most meaningful reminder of their friendship is but a simple photo of her and Audrey together taken in front of her home in Hull, Yorkshire, in 2006. The art of writing letters and notes today has become scarce with the emergence of technology providing instant communication. A handwritten letter or note is a personal touch, a unique way to share and record one’s life, hopes, dreams and stories. With a grateful heart, a pen pal friendship with
Audrey that spanned 70 years, is one Ann Ruttger will always treasure. It has become a legacy for both their families with the wealth of memorabilia left behind that signifies the deep bond Ann and Audrey formed over the years. The longevity of their pen pal correspondences serves as an example to their families the value of letter writing and the lasting effects of friendship. Sue Ready is a freelance writer for several local publications, a poet and former middle school teacher. She is the president of the Northwoods Arts Council in Hackensack, MN and chair for the Annual Northwoods Art and Book Festival in August. She blogs at http://sockfairies.blogspot.com/ with recipes, travel adventures, book reviews and The World According to Bella stories. Sue writes a food column for the Pilot Independent, Walker, MN, Great Northern News and Lakes Area Living Magazine.
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PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON
Gained Strengths BY ELSIE HUSOM
Like finely sculpted alabaster,
Lisa Haberman’s head is a work of art Unadorned by hat, wig or hair, its smooth, perfect shape complements her natural beauty. People often assume she is a cancer survivor; however, her hair loss is a symptom of alopecia, a disease that develops when the immune system mistakes healthy hair follicles for foreign substances and attacks them.
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“I wanted to inspire others. Although I did not expect it quite this way...” - Lisa Haberman
HER HEALTH + hair loss
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There are three types of alopecia: areata - spotty hair loss; totalis - head hair loss; and universalis - head to toe hair loss. While scientists believe there is a genetic predisposition, it is often triggered by environmental/behavior factors. Lisa, who has universalis, remembers, “I had a love/hate relationship with my hair throughout my life. My curly hair was so much to handle. Most days, it had a mind of its own. But, it was a part of who I was for 40-plus years.” When her hairdresser noticed a small bald spot on Lisa’s head, Lisa knew what was happening because her father and his brother were affected with alopecia, both before age 40. Although Lisa knew alopecia can be genetic, she had little concern for herself as she reached past that age with no symptoms.
Lisa thought she was in the clear for alopecia after reaching the age of 40 with no symptoms.
“ ...It was more traumatic than I gave it credit for at the time.”
Now, although she wears a wig or hat for protection from hot sun or winter cold, she is very comfortable in her own skin. “Hair is an accessory for me,” Lisa states. “Sometimes I wear it, most times not.” According to Lisa, “No one has ever made adverse remarks. Everybody is super supportive, which facilitates my self-acceptance.” Stares from strangers, especially children, are more curious than unkind. She recalls one little girl asking, “Are you a boy or a girl?” Lisa replied, “A girl.” “Then why don’t you have any hair?” the girl asked. Lisa’s reply, “It just fell out,” was met with a shrug and an “Oh, OK,” and that was that. Lisa explains, “I believe my acceptance of the bald head (and the challenges that go with it) make it easier for others to accept my appearance. I have come to a comfort level that is more at ease than most and have a true appreciation of my baldness.”
- Lisa Haberman
Lisa with a full head of hair in her graduation photo.
However, in her mid-40s, she experienced an unexpected career transition. Lisa believes this stress triggered her autoimmune disorder – which then resulted in a series of dermatologist visits, 25 steroid shots in her scalp and varied ineffective treatments. “Looking back,” Lisa states, “I
realize it was more traumatic than I gave it credit for at the time. It was humbling to see myself in the mirror, and I realized my life was going to be very different. I not only had to deal with a career change, but also with a bald head. That realization impelled me to redefine who I was and how I was going to move forward. Concerned about job interviews (“Who would hire a bald gal?” she wondered), she was fitted for a wig that replicated her own hair – long, dark and curly. She wore the wig in public and for job interviews and, when hired, wore it every day - at first. “One summer day I was hot and uncomfortable. I also felt like I was hiding, so I just took it off and put it in my desk drawer.”
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Lisa Haberman with partner Craig Holm.
Her companion, Craig Holm, has been with her through the whole experience. They have been a support for each other as Craig was diagnosed with throat cancer during the time Lisa
lost her hair. Craig has shaved his head for a long time; however, during his chemo treatments, people asked if he shaved his head to support her. Lisa’s response: “No, he’s the cancer survivor and I just have alopecia.” Lisa chooses not to fuss much with cosmetics, just a little eye makeup. “No foundation,” she laughs, “after all, where would I stop applying it? However, I missed my eyebrows.” She decided to have microblading, a tattoo technique of drawing on tiny lines that look like individual hairs and last an average of 18 months. She had the same professional apply permanent eyeliner. Her mirror image now is more defined, especially her eyes. When a new career opportunity arose, Lisa decided to interview without wearing a wig. “That is when I finally realized that I was going to be OK,” she relates. She is currently affiliated with MPPL Financial. “I help clients with their financial planning and investment needs and also recruit financial advisors in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois,” she said. Lisa is also driven to continue her academic studies. She has begun studies in the Education Leadership and Learning Doctoral Program at the University of St. Thomas. Her goal is “to teach others in the disciplines of business administration and leadership development at the collegiate level.” During the time when Lisa was seeking an encore career, she had thought about her purpose in life. “I
cepting, Lisa says, “I now can appreciate that I may never again have to fret over bad hair days.”
Elsie Husom is a retired education administrator who lives west of Brainerd. She enjoys golfing. reading, making art, gardening and volunteering at the Crow Wing County Jail, The Crossing Arts Alliance, Friends of the Brainerd Public Library and New Pathways.
Virginia Knudson, “Top Attorney 2018” Minnesota SuperLawyers Magazine
Only 5% of Minnesota’s Lawyers are awarded this title each year Knudson has been named again as one of Minnesota’s top attorneys by Minnesota SuperLawyers Magazine for 2018.
Family law • EstatE Planning • BusinEss law • rEal EstatE
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- Lisa Haberman
wanted to inspire others. Although I did not expect it quite this way, through my experiences, I have been given the opportunity to help others understand that it is what is within oneself that matters.” Her advice to herself and others: “Don’t limit yourself, create your life and truly live it.” As for hair, Lisa now thinks that, for her, life is better without it: no shaving mess, no haircuts, no hair products. After four years of adjusting and ac-
“I have come to a comfort level that is more at ease than most and have a true appreciation of my baldness.”
LIFE & HEALTH LIFE & HEALTH
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BUS in ESS HER VOICE
Women in business is a feature showcasing careers of women in the Brainerd lakes area. Call for more information.
Sarah Herron | 218-855-5821 | email@example.com
Meet Brainerd’s Newest Architect Ashley Martel, RA
Architect Ashley Martel had no previous connections to the Brainerd lakes area when she relocated here after receiving her master’s degree in architecture from NDSU in 2012 -- but that didn’t stop this energetic professional from joining Widseth Smith Nolting’s Baxter architectural team as an intern. Over the years, she has developed as a professional and
is now a registered architect, leading and contributing to several highly visible regional projects such as The National Loon Center, Crosslake Community School, ISD 181, Timberlake Hotel and Essentia Health Sports Center. She is the creative force behind many of the visuals and animations clients and the public view to get a clearer vision of a project’s
possibilities. Martel says, “I’m so appreciative to WSN for allowing me to develop my strengths and to the amazing people that have made me grateful to call BLA home!”
Community News Is Vital Nancy Vogt
After working for 30 years in the newspaper business, Nancy Vogt still believes community journalism plays a vitally important role in all communities, big or small. As editor of the weekly Pineandlakes Echo Journal in Pequot Lakes/Pine River, she thoroughly enjoys the small towns the newspaper covers. Nancy started her career as a staff reporter at the Owatonna People’s Press in
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December 1987. In October 1992, she joined the Brainerd Dispatch, where she worked for 14 years as a reporter, copy editor, regional editor and features editor. In July 2006, Nancy became editor of the Lake Country Echo in Pequot Lakes and later of the Pine River Journal for a short time as well. Those two weekly newspapers later merged into the Pineandlakes Echo Journal.
Nancy strongly encourages anyone living from Nisswa to Hackensack, Pequot Lakes to Crosslake, to subscribe to the Echo Journal for valuable hometown news and advertising.
Attorney at The Raboin & Francis Law Firm, Ltd. Brook Mallak
Brook Mallak graduated with a J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law, a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Bemidji State University and an A.A.S. in Law Enforcement from Central Lakes College. Brook has two sons, Henry, 15, and Frank, 4 (deceased). Brook has 18 years of legal experience in the areas of criminal prosecution and defense, family law, juvenile delinquency,
estate planning, business planning/organization, municipal representation, HROs, OFPs, child welfare matters, guardianships, conservatorships and mediation. In 2017, Brook decided it was time for a change and joined Raboin and Francis as the lead Attorney for legal research, writing and investigation. She’s also part of the law firm’s management team and
provides family law mediation services. Brook’s passionate about community service. She sits on the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement and is a longtime classroom volunteer. Brook is also a Presenting Yourself mentor and teaches fitness classes at the YMCA.
Ashley Nelson Stylist
Belle Cheveux Salon A seven year stylist that grew up in Brainerd., Ashley has always wanted to do hair so she attended the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis. She has attended many advanced education classes and hair shows to keep up on trends in the hair industry. She loves the feeling of making her guests feel more confident and enjoys
Sharon Thorson, Owner
color the most. Some of her most memorable moments in her career have been corrective color. Having a new guest come to the salon with a hair emergency and with her talent and skill level she is able to fix the problem. She loves that feeling you get when they cry because they love their hair so much and you saved the day!
She has said that she loves what she does so much that it never feels like she’s going to work. When she’s not at the salon creating awesomeness she enjoys spending time with friends and family.
It’s a WING DING thing! OnlyThorson, a short Owner six months Sharon madeafter the retiringonly from Xcel 6Energy decision a short monthsI decided to feed entrepreneurial after retiring frommy Xcel Energy spirit by opening a wine crafting to feed the entrepreneurial spirit store in Pequot Lakes. inside of her and opened up her Celebrating our first full year store in Pequot Lakes. in business we have certainly grown in our knowledge of Celebrating first full year in what our our customers are looking business weishave for. What “it’scertainly a WINGgrown DING in thing” our knowledge of what our we get asked… the simple customers are looking for. What answer is our customers get to is experience “it’s a WING making DING thing” theirwe own at our — answer and in is getwine asked… theshop simple to six weeks ourapproximately customers getfour to experience
cometheir backown to bottle, making wine atcork, our and- and labelintheir wine. Creating shop approximately four labels the to personalized six weeks come back makes to bottle, experience completely individcork, and label their wine. Creating ual to them. Our customers can their own labels making it the excome as a group, a couple, or by perience completely individual to themselves. them. Our can come as We’ve customers had customers make a group, a couple, or by wine for a variety of yourself. reasons — Ourtheir customers have made wine forcliown wedding, business their wedding, made as entown appreciation gifts, wine Christmas business client appreciation gift, gifts, resort “welcome” bottles, Christmas gifts, resort “welcome” bachelorette parties, or to simply add to their own to wine bottle, bachelorette parties, just Our store also own carries as collection! simply as adding it to their
a unique gift Our linestore for wine wine collection! also lovers and aanyone for awine special carries unique looking gift line for gift and for the winelooking lover in lovers anyone foryour a life. Come in to mix your own special gift for the wine lover in wine and mention HER VOICE to your life, come in to mix your own receive $15 off your mixing fee. wine and mention HER VOICE and receive $15 off your mixing fee.
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NEW PATHWAYS Homelessness is not always visible.
BY SHEILA HELMBERGER
Sometimes life’s journey can include a bump or two in
the road. When it does, having the right place to go for help is the key to getting things back on track. New Pathways serves 10 counties in Minnesota with sites in Brainerd and Cambridge. Pam Streed is the executive director at New Pathways.
www.newpathwaysmn.com To make a donation or to see a list of items currently needed, visit their website.
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In the past year in Brainerd the program gave 38 families a safe place to stay and worked with them to locate the right resources to find employment and a new place to live. Last fall the agency was dealt a hard blow when it learned funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) were going to be cut, a loss of $86,000 in annual funding in Brainerd. Streed says they shifted into fundraising mode. “We were given a 10 month notice. That’s not a lot of time to replace half of your funding.”
partnership with over two dozen local churches, on a rotating schedule, allows them to keep families fed and provide a safe place to spend the night. To be eligible for New Pathways there must be at least one child under 18 involved. Unlike some programs males are welcome, too, which means families can stay together. “We make sure all basic needs are met with diapers and personal hygiene items,” says Streed. “If people have an income while they’re here, they should be able to save that money and use it to get set up in a new place.” If they’re not working or in school, families are transported by van each morning from the host church to the day center, located in the basement of First Presbyterian Church. “Here we provide showers and laundry facilities. There’s a work space with computers to search for jobs and other opportunities. Most importantly,” says Streed, “we have a case manager onsite.”
In the past year in Brainerd the program helped 38 families get back on their feet with resources, jobs and homes. Gratefully, some relief has come thanks to strong donations from a matching grant program and a generous $10,000 donation from The Motley Free Methodist Church. Helping offset the loss is a generous $100,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation. “That’s huge,” says Streed. “It’s a one-time grant. It doesn’t solve the problem long term, but it gives us more time to develop other funding sources and we’re very, very thankful.” Volunteers and donations are key to the success of New Pathways. Its
“Talking with clients, we’re finding out there are a lot of people sleeping in their cars or couch hopping from family member to family member or friend to friend.” - Pam Streed
Geneva Cabello works with each family to come up with a plan to overcome their obstacles. Needs vary by family. Sometimes they include addressing poor credit issues, past evictions or criminal activity. Saige has two children and currently lives in Staples. She spent about six months at New Pathways last year when a move from Louisiana and time staying with her daughter’s
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father’s family in Brooklyn Park was no longer working out. “They were so great,” says Saige of New Pathways. “Geneva was awesome. She was the person that kept everything running smoothly for us. She doesn’t just work there. She was a friend. Whatever needed to get done, she would find a way to help us. The greatest thing about New Pathways, for me, was the people I met. They have wonderful volunteers. I really needed them at the time. Every church we stayed at was different. I made a lot of good connections. I found a church family. Saige works full time at the Dairy Queen in Staples near her new home. “I was working while we were in Brainerd. I liked my job there. I don’t have a car, though, so I had to get a new job when I moved to Staples. It was about timing and rent.” She makes the trip to work on foot and says it takes about 25 minutes.
“The greatest thing about New Pathways, for me, was the people I met. They have wonderful volunteers.” -Saige
Sometimes she takes the bus. She also babysits for some of her new neighbors to help them out. “Saige was very determined when she came in that she was going to better her life,” says Cabello, “She didn’t care that she would have to walk to work. She did it. Through the cold and the rain. She hit the ground running every morning that she was here. Now she has a great townhome. Things are going well for her.”
PHOTO BY JOEY HALVORSON
Pam Streed, executive director of New Pathways.
“We try to guide people and not just do everything for them,” says Streed, “because we want to set them up for long-term success on their own.” Each family fills out a daily sheet with their progress and a sit down is required once a week with Cabello. Homelessness in Brainerd isn’t always recognized as a problem because it isn’t as visible as it is in larger cities. “Talking with clients, we’re finding out there are a lot of people sleeping in their cars or couch hopping from family member to family member or friend to friend,” says Streed. The Brainerd facilities can serve six families at capacity, or a maximum of 18 individuals. In the winter months, the program is often forced to turn additional families away.
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“We try to guide people and not just do everything for them, because we want to set them up for long-term success on their own.” -Pam Streed
Sheila Helmberger lives in the Brainerd area and is a frequent contributer to Her Voice.
Brainerd, MN: (877) 295-1897 Cambridge, MN: (866) 274-2610 firstname.lastname@example.org
+ ‘mommed it’
Have kids, will travel
BY SARAH NELSON KATZENBERGER
most of my 20s traveling the world. Anytime I had extra money, I just went somewhere — anywhere I could get a decently priced ticket to. India. Turkey. Poland. Brazil. I hit more than 30 countries before my 25th birthday. With just my passport, whatever I could fit in my backpack and some sort of translator, I saw the world. I used to pride myself for the way I packed my belongings. I could cram a month’s-worth of clothes, toiletries, electronics and snacks into one manageable backpack. And then I became a mom.
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This summer, my husband Chad and I, along with our three kids who are 6, 4 and 2, traveled to the west coast to visit family and we packed 12 bags. Twelve. For five people.
“We packed 12 bags. Twelve.” - Sarah Nelson Katzenberger There were several sleepless nights leading up to our trip, as I sorted through my mental checklists — where are the iPads? Did we pack enough snacks? Which bag do we pack all the applesauce in? Who should sit with which kids? How many dollar section toys do I need to purchase in order to keep the kids busy for five hours straight? I spent $97 on snacks just to keep my little darlings somewhat content while flying with very little
elbow room between us and complete strangers who board the flight praying they wouldn’t be seated next to a family. Then they see us. We share our snacks and my kids are exceptionally charming, so we do our best to make friends and not contribute to a stressful travel day for anyone else. On our last flight home, I sat next to a woman who I could tell was not particularly happy to be wedged in a small space surrounded by my offspring — no matter how adorable I think they are. She quietly slipped her headphones on and did her best to ignore us for the duration of the flight. It made me mad. She didn’t do anything wrong or say anything rude — I could just feel how much she resented our presence on her flight. Chad and I got the kids settled (after running through the terminal to make our connection), got out blankets and iPads and snacks. I sat in the
Sarah (holding Meredith, 4), next to husband Chad (holding Truett, 2), and Ellis (front), 6. Photo by Denise Apgar.
Good Food, Good Students, that is our aim.
Better fresh. Better value.
417 8th Ave. NE, Brainerd | 218-828-1816 14133 Edgewood Drive, Baxter | 218-828-4601 32 her voice | Fall 2018 • Share your voice with us on Facebook
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“We have road-tripped with our kids all over the country... You know what — I don’t regret it. And we will keep doing it.” - Sarah Nelson Katzenberger
middle and kept my 2-year-old son, Truett, in the isle so his busy little feet would stay out of her space. Deep breath. Almost home. The woman fell asleep and left her phone in between her seat and mine and I caught a glimpse of the text message screen she left open. It said, “Yeah, three LOUD kids. It’s going to be a long flight. Good thing I have headphones.” I felt tears well up — which made me even more mad that it even bothered me. Seriously!? I don’t know this woman. Who cares what she thinks about my kids? But I did. I didn’t want to be the terrible story of a stranger’s flight home. I wiped my face and snuggled with my boy who was content finishing off his third bag of airplane pretzels. A lifetime ago, I was that woman. I remember flying home from Europe years ago in the front row of the economy class of a 777 airbus. I sat down and noticed five small collapsible boxes attached to the wall in
front of me, spanning all three rows of seats. I thought they were meant to hold my carry-ons. As families with small children boarded, I realized those were not for backpacks. They were portable bassinets meant to hold a sleeping baby on a transAtlantic flight. It was loud. I could see their mothers looking determined to get to their destination without a major breakdown. Their babies were loud and restless. All kind of crying and running in the aisles. It was madness. I hardly slept on the overnight flight. I look back on that period of my life with fondness for my adventures and also a whole lot of respect for the families brave enough to travel with their kids across the world. Also, a little face-palm of humility for my own attitude. It’s no joke. It’s exhausting to travel with children. We have road-tripped with our kids all over the country. They have racked up thousands of miles on airplanes. You know what — I don’t regret it. And we will keep doing it. It’s
not easy. We come home and need a vacation from our vacation, but our kids have these amazing memories of flying on airplanes and visiting new places and making new friends. This spring I found a scratch off map of the U.S. My girls -- Ellis, 6, and Meredith, 4 -- were so excited to work at scratching off their travels. They have visited 16 states in their short little lives. When we got home from our summer trip out west, Ellis said to me, “Mom, can I go get the map?!” We had hit a new state and she couldn’t wait to scratch it off. She searched until she found it. Colorado. With a smile, she scratched it off. “That’s number 17, Mom,” she said. “Now … which state is going to be number 18?” “Arkansas!” Meredith chimes in. She is fascinated with Arkansas for some reason. Apparently, our next trip we head south.
Sarah Nelson Katzenberger is a displaced Californian who had no idea there were four seasons until she moved to Minnesota. She is a former missionary, law school dropout, high school teacher and award-winning journalist with the Brainerd Dispatch. She continues to write for local and national publications and provides unsolicited grammar correction as needed. Sarah lives in Brainerd with her husband Chad and their three baby Vikings, Ellis, Meredith and Truett.
Like us on Facebook • Fall 2018 | her voice 33
HER HEALTH + pregnancy
BY NICOLE STRACEK
Regardless of your age, an unplanned pregnancy often coincides with a cascade of difficult emotions. If you think you are pregnant and unsure about what to do next, knowing where to turn can provide the support and care when you need it the most. PHOTO BY SARAH HERRON
Established with caring hearts and open arms, the Lakes Area Pregnancy Support Center also known as LAPS in Brainerd is a non-profit organization that provides guidance and education for both women and men who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. LAPS provides a safe place free of judgement to help expecting parents process emotions, learn more about their options and answer questions about pregnancy
and parenting. Located in its new downtown Brainerd space with an additional office in Staples, LAPS is a life affirming, faith-based organization entirely funded by generous community members and offers an array of services designed to help expecting parents navigate through pregnancy and beyond. “One of the most common services we provide is pregnancy tests” shared Ginny Rogers, executive director at LAPS. “We provide
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free pregnancy tests for women in a safe, judgement free environment that is also confidential. If the test comes back positive, women can receive the support they need in a caring environment,” adds Ginny. From answering questions about pregnancy, the abortion pill or procedures to adoption and parenting education, the staff and volunteers at LAPS are dedicated to helping clients throughout their personal journeys.
CLIENT SERVICES With a variety of services, clients can turn to staff and volunteers at LAPS for guidance, friendship and support to help make difficult decisions about pregnancy and parenting. An unplanned pregnancy can be challenging to process both emotionally and physically. Each situation is unique and can coincide with a variety of needs. “When a client comes through the door you have no idea what their needs are, or what their personal situation is. It is important to always be ready to adapt to clients’ needs because each week their needs could change,” added Ginny. In addition to free pregnancy tests, LAPS offers weekly one-on-one meetings to help prepare expecting parents for the future. Clients can work with a mentor each week to set goals, discuss fears and receive education on pregnancy and parenting. LAPS also offers dad support to help educate expecting fathers on how to be a good role model and offer guidance on parenting. The Dads’ Program provides clients with male mentors that meet with expecting fathers to provide emotional support combined with an education curriculum designed to help expecting fathers make good choices. Additional classes include nutritional cooking
on a budget and basic car maintenance and buying tips.
SUPPORT FOR MOM AND BABY To help expecting mothers prepare for childbirth, LAPS offers doula services and baby supplies. LAPS also offers a Next Step Basic Life Skills curriculum that consists of a six-week course that helps educate expecting parents on bathing and dressing an infant, renting an apartment, obtaining insurance and more. “Clients can earn coupons as they complete the curriculum that can then be used to ‘purchase’ new or gently used baby
LAPS: STRIVES TO BE A BEACON OF HOPE FOR WOMEN AND MEN EXPERIENCING AN UNPLANNED PREGNANCY. items, pack ‘n plays and diapers,” notes Ginny. Additional support for mom and baby include access to the
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clothing room for clients who need maternity clothes and clothing for infants to size 3T. Additional services for both men and women include Life Coaching where clients can be matched with a certified life coach to help provide additional support for expecting parents who want to make better life choices and set goals for the future. A recent addition to their services, Life Coaching has recently been opened up to students in the area who want to improve their personal relationships. Junior high, high school and college students do not have to be pregnant to utilize the program. Client Service Director and certified Life Coach Kaydi Johnson oversees the curriculum development and volunteers. “One of the best aspects of my job is when a client and mentor match goes really well. The client is excited to be here and the mentor leaves at the end of the day feeling excited as well,” said Kaydi.
DEVELOPING RELATIONSHIPS With the help of staff, volunteers and generous donations from community members, LAPS strives to be a beacon of hope for women and men who are struggling with circum-
PHOTO BY JOEY HALVORSON Clients can earn coupons to spend in the LAPS store. (Clockwise starting in front): Client Service Director Kaydi Johnson, Project Manager/Bookkeeper Melody Evans, Executive Director Ginny Rogers and Office Manager Mavis Oden.
stances surrounding an unplanned pregnancy. Because some situations require additional resources, the staff at LAPS works with area support agencies to help clients receive the resources they need through referrals to local organizations. “I am so proud of our staff and volunteers,” Ginny said. “They truly care about each and every one of our clients.” An unplanned pregnancy can be a difficult situation or a happy accident. However, each situation is unique and knowing your options can provide you with the support you need to help navigate through the
uncertainty of what comes next. If you are worried you may be pregnant or you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, call or visit the Lakes Area Pregnancy Support Center in Brainerd or Staples.
Nicole Stracek is a freelance writer based in Staples. She lives along the Crow Wing River with her husband and three kids. She graduated with a bachelor’s from St. Scholastica. Her writing can be found in both local and national magazines.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
www.lakesareapregnancy.org/ or call 218-825-0793 to schedule an appointment. All services are free regardless of age, race, religion or income.
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BY JAN KURTZ
The Camino pilgrimage dates back a 1,000 years, when devout Pilgrims began walking for penance, personal petitions to God or seeking favor in the next life. The remains of St. James the Apostle had reportedly come to rest in what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela. Today, it is part of an extensive, official, multi-European hiking system, marked by iconic
Camino de Sanitiago
yellow sun-conch shells,
Lois and Jan, while the French countryside was still visible.
On my last evening in Spain, Maribel was already wondering when I’d come back. “I don’t know when,” I said, “but maybe we could hike some of the Camino de Santiago. I don’t want to do a month of penance, but a few days in some picturesque places would be good.” Five years passed, but there we were, Maribel, Maria, Lois and I, in a taxi leaving Pamplona, Spain, destination St. Jeans Pied de Port, France. We were now, by Spanish standards, all women of the ‘tercera edad,’ third (and last) stage of life. For the first time in my travels, I wondered if I could physically do what I had planned. The prescribed 22 kilometers per day was more than I walk in a week.
guiding hikers to Santiago’s
The literature was clear about boots, blisters and first aid. “What about no penance?” I asked Maribel as the taxi wound around the switchbacks climbing into the Pyrenees mountains. Pepe, our delightful driver, grinned at me as he pulled into the 13th century Pilgrim’s hostel at Roncesvalles. “At least she organized to have your packs ferried from place to place.” The Medieval edifice was one of the first pilgrim refuges, upgraded over the centuries to include showers, 183 beds and a store providing the entire line of hiking needs. The halls resonated with shuffling boots of every brand as people from all over the globe greeted each other with the universal, ‘Buen Camino,’ which Roy Rogers Like us on Facebook • Fall 2018 | her voice 37
would translate as, ‘Happy Trails.’ Tall, Nordic retiree-volunteers plopped our packs in a damp, stony storeroom and then sold us official Pilgrim Passports before we continued to France. It was, as they say, a dark and rainy night, when Pepe dropped us in St. Jeans. The wet cobblestone glistened and street lights reflected off the ancient photogenic bridge into the Nive River. We removed our boots in the hostel’s entry and climbed the stairs. Our room was one of the more private along the Camino, sleeping only eight. This hostel offered breakfast in a communal kitchen where it fell to early risers to explain coffee making and finding marmalade to those arriving later. A French woman tried out her broken English. The young man’s Spanish had an Argentine accent. The next couple to sit down had a quaint accent … Minnesotan!
“Don’t worry, everyone takes their own pace.” - Maribel Only the bakery was open that Sunday morning, so we were grateful that cheese and fruit were offered ‘to go’ after breakfast. We adjusted our packs and stepped out into the rain. We passed the murmurs of pilgrims at Mass before crossing the bridge out of town. We were at 591 feet headed for 3,000 feet, but I didn’t know that then. “Don’t worry,” Maribel offered. “Everyone takes their own pace.” With this, we spent the next four days with Maria leading, me in the middle, followed by Lois with Maribel. Pilgrims would pass us and later, we’d find them sipping local wine at a village cafe and pass them. Within hours, the smiles became familiar and lit up our day. There was Eva and her amigas from Brazil. When the incline went up and the rain came
Jan, Lois and Maribel on the ‘last leg’ of their hike through the Navarra region of Northern Spain.
down, they sang sambas. There was a Nigerian man, gesturing wildly and shouting into his cellphone over his wine breakfast. How did he manage to catch up with us? There was the giant man from New Zealand who asked where I was from and let out a roar. “Minnesota? Like in ‘Fargo?’ Say something in Minnesotan?” he pleaded. Maribel and Maria had wisely cut the usual kilometers to half the first day. The mist was constant, as was putting one foot in front of the other. We arrived at Kayola, our night’s lodging, in the early afternoon. The cottage had thick walls, red shutters and a large hearth including firewood. Maria quickly got a fire going and put water on to boil. She had picked mint along the trail and found some pasta in the cupboard. That, plus the cheese, bread and raisins became our meal. A young girl slept in one of the three bunks in the loft while we dried ourselves, our boots and our from clothes. There wereHoney bedscollected for 12, one the hives toilet and two showers. It wasn’t until night the door opened, ushering in the next guests. I was rather expecting the seven dwarfs, but it was a large German man, his wife and their adult son. They draped all their wet laundry between the bunks, pulled sausages, cheeses, wines and hard bread from their
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packs and listened to Lois, reading slowly in English from a book left on the shelf. Occasionally, there was an interruption to translate something into German or Spanish. Day two presented less rain, but brought the clouds down over the mountain tops and filled the valley with pea soup fog. Hikers appeared and vanished from sight just feet from us. Maria often stopped and sighed, “I wish you could see the vistas! The pastures, the forests, the mountains are so beautiful … if only you could see them.” We could hear the tinkling of bells worn by the local cattle and sheep roaming
Maribel refills her water at a Basque Village fountain.
who moaned all night. The seven language sign in the Uni-sex bathroom warned against washing boots in toilets. Two stories of open cubbies rise to the ceiling of this medieval church, where every night, 112 strangers sleep together, snoring in their native languages. The Camino. A place where humanity walks together, shares food, sings in the rain and sincerely wishes
passersby ‘Buen Camino.’ Good travels on your life’s journey. Jan Kurtz pivots between her family cabin in north Wisconsin, her mother’s in Eau Claire and her son’s family in Otsego, coming home to do bills and touch base with area friends. She continues her interest in cultures and languages locally (festivals, powwows, celebrations) and globally, through Whatsapp chats and trips abroad.
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the hillsides. On one murky, slippery descent, the bells got louder and louder until, out of the dense fog, a very large horse appeared, leading its herd of equally large equestrian friends. Maribel held out bread from the morning and I held my breath. The last two days were sunny perfect. We trekked through beech-fir forests of gnarled trees and brightly colored fungi. Centuries old Basque village houses cropped up along rivers, where Roman bridges still got people and cars to the other side. We waded in frigid, bubbly streams. Some pilgrims biked past us, brakes on, bumping down the steep, rocky paths. A five-year-old Australian boy stopped to watch a 10-inch Babosa slug slime its way over a stone. John, a Brit, gave in and brought his lonely beer to our table laden with red tomato slices drizzled in oil and vinegar, a sampling of Spanish olives, Manchego cheese and a plethora of tapas. That is the Spanish way. That is the way of the Camino. Then, we were done. We spent our last night at Pamplona’s Municipal Pilgrim’s Albergue. Beds are distributed on a first-come basis. I ended up on a top bunk just three feet from a middle-aged Spanish man
Pamplona’s Albergue Municipal is a refurbished 17th century church, having accommodations for up to 114 peregrinos.
7870 Excelsior Rd., Baxter Brainerd Office: 218.828.9545 • 877.338.3957
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HER TABLE + DIY
JAN SCHMID BACKUS LOCKER
BY JOEY HALVORSON When I entered the door at 111 Front St. in downtown Backus I entered a beehive of activity. Five people were doing five different jobs and I had to go to the back of the building to find Jan Schmid. She was all dolled up in regulation butcher attire and hanging around the smoker with a side of beef. As she was patting down another slab of ribs with Cajun spices (below) she told me her story over the sounds of saws and refrigeration units and hamburger grinders. Before I left I bought a big bag of meats and have now eaten three different varieties. Jan Schmid is true to her word. The seasoned pork chops were the juiciest I have tasted since I was a kid. I also have my own punch card.
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“The majority of meat cutting I learned from my husband, but also by helping my mother-in-law. I learned how to brine ham and bacon from watching my father-in-law.” - Jan Schmid
2 Qt. Almaden Rhine Wine 4 Qt. Orange Juice Low Pulp 46 oz. Can Pineapple Juice 8 oz. Natures Seasoning 2 oz. Lemon Juice 32 oz. Clover Honey 1 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar 1 1/2 Oz Garlic Powder 4 Tsp Black Pepper
Inject, if possible, and marinade 1 to 3 days before cooking. Roast your meat until it reaches the internal temperature for the type of meat you are cooking. Enjoy! - Jan Schmid
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IT’S YOUR PLAYGROUND. YOU MAKE THE RULES. The complete Black Stainless Collection from KitchenAid. Because when you have the right tools, your kitchen can be anything you want it to be — and whatever you need it to be. Learn more at KitchenAid.com.
Backus staff: (L to R), Becky Schmid, Thomas Lukanen, Jeannie Hauschildt, Dave and Jan Schmid.
“We love our job, the new faces we see and the friends we aquire. We love helping everyone...” - Jan Schmid The Backus Locker has an extensive customer file with punch cards from almost all 50 states as well as Canada and bicyclists from other countries who purchase snack sticks and jerky. “We fill our orders with love and pride and try hard to do them exactly as the customer wants them. Perfection is the goal we strive for,” said Jan. Besides butchering and processing wild game the Backus Locker sells over 50 varieties of brats, snack sticks, burger patties and smoked chickens. “Last summer someone had tried blueberry and wild rice brats from another state so they Googled the brats to see where else they could be purchased. To my surprise they were only one mile from us, another regular customer was born,” added Jan.
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YOUR VOICE + celebrities
DEBBIE TURNER BY JOAN HASSKAMP
My dream after college was to write for Rona Barrett’s Hollywood, the premier celebrity magazine of the 1970s. Sadly, Rona never hired me. In her defense I never applied for a job but that’s beside the point. I once told a college journalism professor I believed entertainment news was the future of journalism and was destined to be bigger than real news. The outraged man practically hyperventilated while scolding me for my heretic beliefs. I shouldn’t gloat but I think we all know who was right. 44 her voice | Fall 2018 • Share your voice with us on Facebook
While Rona Barrett’s publication no longer exists, it occurred to me I could conduct my first celebrity interview for Her Voice. All I had to do was convince a celebrity to talk with an unknown slightly fanatical freelance writer. I asked the right person because she miraculously agreed. Debbie Turner acted in my favorite movie of all time — “The Sound of Music.” She played the second youngest girl, Marta. Now a resident of the Twin Cities area, Debbie was gracious enough to grant me my first celebrity interview. JH: How did you end up getting the role of Marta? DT: I auditioned against hundreds of other kids. A few months went by with no word. Then I received a call back to do a screen test. They picked those of us who looked like an authentic family. JH: Did you have a stunt double ride your bike through the streets of Salzburg? DT: I’ve never been asked this question. No stunt double for me. I was a seasoned bike rider. In fact, when Julie Andrews had to practice with somebody on the back of her bike, they used me because I was more coordinated than 5-year-old Kym Karath who played Gretl. When the scene was filmed, they used a stand-in for Kym. JH: I knew it! Was your singing dubbed?
DT: No. However, there were three additional kids voices added to the chorus. JH: The production time was long. Did you experience any physical changes? DT: Yes, I lost teeth. I had a retainer made to look like I still had them. One time my mom forgot the glue. The sound man put some disgusting black goopy glue on it to hold it into place. To this day, I can remember the nasty taste. JH: Was Julie Andrews really as nice as she seems? DT: Yes, Julie was very nice. JH: Thank heavens! That would be an article wrecker if she wasn’t. Do you still watch “The Sound of Music?” DT: Yes, of course. JH: Do you receive royalties every time the movie is shown? DT: Barely enough to buy a cup of coffee. JH: Do you ever burst out into “My Favorite Things” while in the grocery store? DT: Not ever. JH: Wish I could say the same thing! What are your favorite things, Debbie? DT: God, family, flowers, cars, skiing, dogs, boating, the ocean. JH: How did you end up living in Minnesota?
DT: I met my husband Rick who is from Plymouth while skiing in Utah. We lived in southern California while he was in the Air Force. We moved to Minnesota when he was hired by Republic Airlines. JH: Tell me about being a floral designer. DT: My business is called Debbie Turner Originals, DTO Flowers, LLC. I design weddings and other large events locally, nationally and internationally. I also design home gardens, planters, window boxes and seasonal decorations. JH: Tell me about your high profile work. DT: This past year I was chosen to help decorate the White House at Christmas which was an amazing experience. I did many arrangements for the Republican National Convention in 2008. Also, I was a float judge for the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade in 2011. That concludes my first celebrity interview. It went so well I’m going to attempt a second one. Crosby resident Joan Hasskamp is a regular contributor to Her Voice. She is currently putting the finishing touches on her humorous memoir, “We Don’t Care Who Wins as Long as Joan Loses.” She is still waiting for Rona Barrett to call with a job offer.
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Our Facebook friends and their celebrity encounters:
YOUR VOICE + celebrities
1. Tiffany Femling “Harry Perry is well known on the streets of Venice Beach, Calif. He is a street performer. I met him in California years ago, and he returns for visits to Minnesota as often as he can. He is pictured here with my daughter, Raegan.”
2. Tiffany Femling “Harry Perry, running with my son, Xander, while visiting Minnesota.” 3. Vicki Randall “with Nicholas Brendon from Criminal Minds.” 4. Joan Hasskamp “with country singer Pam Tillis.”
5. Vicki Randall “The director/star, Michael Galanes, from the reality show, “Little Miss Perfect.” 6. Joan Hasskamp “Terri Carter with Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter.”
7. Missy ‘Owen’ Lake “Proud MN wild fan!” - With Zach Parise.
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Thank you for the nominations and votes! Best Magazine Nominee Look for the winners of the 2018 Best of the Brainerd Lakes Contest in the Award Guide publishing in October!
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Cover Story: Lost Hair, Strengths Gained - Lisa Haberman shares her story of an unexpected diagnosis, her challenges and acceptance of her t...
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