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By women...for women...about women.

Möt Mary (Meet Mary)



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Winter ‘15 Contents


Möt Mary (Meet Mary)


Guided By Angels


Evangeline Lindbergh


A Life of Faith


Eighty-eight years on the 88 Keys

Mary Abendroth: a multi-cultural singer, dancer, linguist, globe trotter, knitter and former Peace Corps volunteer. By Jan Kurtz

Marianne Washburn, the director of Sexual Assault Services, says she doesn’t believe in “knocking down doors,” but she successfully raises funds for new programs. By Jenny Holmes

The history of Little Falls native Charles Lindbergh is now mired in controversy while his mother, Evangeline, has her own complicated story. By Jill Dahmen

Associate pastor at Lutheran Church of the Cross, Kari Williamson has a joyful countenance that’s contagious. By Bonnie Rokke Tinnes

Not just an easy listening pianist, this nonagenarian can rock the room. By Mary Aalgaard



By women...for women...about women.

Möt Mary (Meet Mary)



On The Cover Mary Abendroth


Photo by Joey Halvorson

In This Issue editorial • 4

health • 16

recreation• 28

travel • 38

by Cynthia Bachman

by Denise Sundquist

by Sheila DeChantal

Writing In and Out of Her Comfort Zone

Creativity In Prosthetics

the arts • 12

Her Voice, Her Song

Saturday Night At The Speedway

outdoors • 14

clubs and clusters• 20

by Meg Douglas

by Sandra Opheim

Snowkiting and Kiteboarding by Joan Hasskamp


racing• 18

by Sheila Helmberger

Hard-Hatted Women by Karen Ogdahl

spirituality • 22

Serving The Faith Community by Elsie Husom

Polar Express food • 30

These Chicks Can Cook by Marlene Chabot

entrepreneur • 32


her Voice ISO• 42

Beating The Winter Blues by Rebecca Flansburg

Over The Top

by Jenny Holmes

books • 34

Sisterhood of the Traveling Book Clubs by Mary Aalgaard

Winter 2015 | her voice 3


from the editor


most every

By women. For women. About women.

edition of Her Voice we tell


the story of a woman


entrepreneur - women

Tim Bogenschutz

striking out on their own,


setting up a business. Jenny Holmes and Husband, Tim, posed for “a romantic getaway” story in the 2011 Spring Her Voice.

Writing In and Out of Her Comfort Zone In this edition, Jenny Holmes writes about two women who design and sell boot accessories, items especially popular over the holidays at arts and crafts shows. No one knows the entrepreneurial spirit any better than Jenny, who since 2010 has developed her own communications/ public relations business. Jenny’s been a creative contributor to Her Voice, interviewing area notables such as Marissa Mills and Rachel Reabe, as well as writing columns about a friend’s cancer diagnosis. Always a good sport, one of her stories landed Jenny and husband Tim, then a Nisswa policeman, now Brainerd’s fire chief, on the 2011 Spring cover. In a piece on cost conscious getaways, Jenny coupled a romantic dinner with snowshoeing at the Arboretum. A self-described “homebody,” she was forced out of her comfort zone to write the piece, while Tim endured more than his share of ribbing from his peers. In another story, photographer Joey Halvorson talked Jenny into modeling Christmas clothes at Common Goods. Appreciating the chemistry that’s developed over the years Jenny says, “Joey’s done 99 percent of the photos (for my stories.) We have a blast.” Writing was fun for Jenny, even before she crafted a career. Moving to Brainerd as a sixth grader, she credits English teachers Cindy Kushel, Barb Stokke and Karen Ogdahl for encouraging her writing. Recognizing her talent as a budding journalist, the Dispatch offered Jenny a beat covering the Brainerd School Board 4 Winter 2015 | her voice

and Baxter City Council. She credits that position for teaching her to dig into unfamiliar subjects like levies, bonds and tax increment financing. With a good grasp of school issues, Jenny accepted a position with the Brainerd School District in 1998 that evolved into a communications role. Jenny said she appreciated how superintendents Bob Gross and Jerry Walseth brought her into the management circle, so she could communicate school issues to the community. Finding clients for her own business was an easy transition. Besides freelancing for area magazines, Jenny’s clients include school districts and area non-profits. While writing continues to be her passion, animals are another. Jenny initiated the Vest Our Dogs project 13 years ago where money is raised for bullet and stab-resistant vests for law enforcement dogs working in Crow Wing County. Three dogs, Lilli, Sid and Betty, and Finn the cat, live with the Holmes family that includes children Jack, 12, and Izzy, 10. But over the years Jenny’s willingness to explore her own heart in a column or share the lives of others has made her an integral part of Her Voice and the Brainerd lakes area community.

Meg Douglas, Editor


Lisa Henry


Joey Halvorson COPY EDITOR

DeLynn Howard


(entertainment tab)

CONTACT US: Advertising:

(218) 855-5895 Comments/story ideas:

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

copyright© 2003 VOLUME 15, EDITION 4 WINTER 2015

Möt Mary H


(Meet Mary)

ave you met Mary? The one wearing the

long striped skirt, embroidered blouse and plaid scarf? She sewed that folkdräkt herself,

patterned after the traditional dress of her great-grandfather Kallberg’s region of Sweden. She plays that Army field pump organ and sings in eight languages. Watch what happens when she sings: Hälsa dem där hemma. PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON Mary Abendroth

The Skäl Club Spelmanslag band takes its place on the stage. Mary’s husband, Paul, raises his bow and the fiddles, accordions and bass come to attention. On the down beat, their notes weave Scandinavian songs that go straight to the immigrant heart. Mary’s clear, sweet voice joins in and the crowd sways, releases a soft sigh and tears well up in their eyes. Lips stumble over the foreign tongue of their ancestors as they join her, reviving scenes of a land they do not know and memories that belong to their grandparents. This is just one glimpse of Mary Abendroth. Mary also teaches international folk dancing. Imagine a summer’s night, the shadows lengthening over the cornfields surrounding South Long Lake Town Hall. The windows are open to let out the heat of the day and the sound of stomping, clapping and unfettered laughter. It is a Piney Woods Folk dance. Neighbors, friends and families circle up. Paul pushes the boom box button and Kortanc, a Hungarian tune, fills the room. Mary speaks into her headphones: “Right, left, sway to the right.” Someone loses the beat and lands on Mary’s heel. She chuckles and then whispers, “Start with your other right foot.” When Mary isn’t involved in her music, she is probably knitting a sweater, hat, scarf or mittens from her Scandinavian heritage. Her Grandma Kallberg introduced her to knitting when Mary was only seven. “We began with washcloths, but I wanted more color and design,” Mary recalls. “I had to go to many books to learn the Scandinavian patterns.” Now, Mary’s knitting is not only found when she sells at craft fairs, but on Etsy, an artisan sales website. I first “found” Mary at a Brainerd Building Expo. She was 6 Winter 2015 | her voice

Mary Abendroth and husband Paul play Scandinavian songs at the annual Nisswa-Stämman concert.

quietly knitting at a table with a photograph album of log buildings and two stacks of business cards. One read: Sahuri Log Builders and the other: Scandinavian Knitting with Se habla español and On parle français in the fine print. I introduced myself in Spanish and was thrilled to have a conversation. Over time, I became aware that she also was fluent in Swedish plus sang in Hebrew, Norwegian, Russian and Finnish. Today, 30 years later, I drove through the woods to her log home. She waited in the doorway, a work of art intricately carved by her father. The walls are of massive pine, oak and poplar logs cut and hauled by her Grandfather Kallberg. These

After a log building class, Mary and her sister built this cabin on a site purchased by her grandfather in 1936. Inside, Mary displays items from her travels.

“My music began with the piano in the sixth grade,” Mary said, “but I didn’t practice much. By ninth grade, I sat down to play on my own, so Mom started up my lessons again. I also sang in the school choir.” It was this musical talent that literally opened up a world of opportunity. While studying at the University of Minnesota, a friend invited Mary to join a touring Mary (left), and music student group based at her sister Deborah English University. “We traveled by bus for three month periods, putting on concerts in Yugoslavia, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, destination India,” Mary explained. “I sang and played guitar on tours in 1969, 1975 and 1977.” After one such tour, Mary and another friend left England, crossed through Eastern Germany and headed to Moscow. were hand hewn and hoisted into place with pulleys by Mary There, they boarded the iconic Trans-Siberian Express train and her sister, Deborah. The mere physicality of this project is and road nearly 6,000 miles to Nakhodka. Now, recall this is breathtaking. “In 1936,” Mary began,“my grandfather, Clarence Kallberg, during the Cold War period! Yet, Mary simply remarked, “I purchased this property. As a young girl, my family came here had taken a night class in Russian and could say a few polite most weekends in the summer. Grandpa built two cabins, one words. Why not go?” From Nakhodka, she took the ferry to Japan, staying a few with regular lumber and one log. The latter was the inspiration for mine. He always wanted another one, so my sister weeks before flying on to Anchorage, Alaska. There, she took Deborah and I took a log building class in Two Harbors and residence above a knitting shop. “By request of the owner, I added the Alaskan moose and deer motifs to my sweaters.” gave him the chance.” It was at that seminar that Mary met Paul. Deborah had pre- Mary says. “I sold enough to pay rent, but it was my Kelly viously met him at the University of Minnesota International Girl Temp job that finally paid my ticket home.” During the 1970s, Mary also fit in time as a Peace Corps Folk dances. Their days were filled perfecting building skills and evenings were spent around campfires, singing and play- volunteer in Paraguay. From 1970 to 1972, she and her ing music. That same year, Deborah and Mary returned to the Paraguayan co-partner worked specifically with programs designed to empower women. They worked with 4-C clubs, simproperty and built this cabin. These many years later, the logs have weathered, the wood ilar to our 4-H, emphasizing cooking and childcare. “Often,” stove still warms the rooms and surround sound fiddle music Mary explained, “the men would take the crops, sell them and creates ambience as we page through scrapbooks of dances, drink up the profits. Educating women was our top priority.” When her assignment ended, Mary and several volunteers festivals and concerts. Winter 2015 | her voice 7

Mary and Paul are founding members of The Skäl Club Spelmanslag, a band dedicated to traditional Scandinavian music.


Jan Kurtz became an “international” folk dancer with Mary and Paul’s ‘Piney Woods’ group at its inception. After dancing around the globe with their music, she now dances in her kitchen, around bonfires and under the full moon.


flew to Panama, purchased motorcycles and . . . rode home! We’re talking Central America and Mexico here. I sat back, expecting tales of rutted roads, crazy drivers and at least one impending civil war, but Mary’s observation was: “People react with some caution when four motorcycles approach. The fact we were all fluent in Spanish helped.” Of her globe-trotting, Mary mused, “I guess it is my mother’s fault. She admonished me to travel before I got married. It helped me to focus, but I was fortunate to marry a man that liked to travel, too!” Two Scandinavian trips resulted in their local ‘fiddler’s festival,’ the annual Nisswa-Stämman. Paul and Mary are founding members of The Skäl Club Spelmanslag, a band dedicated to traditional Scandinavian music and ‘a little lunch.’ After some of the musicians participated in Musik vid Siljan, a festival in Sweden, they returned with a vision of smörgasbords, fiddlers’ parades, outdoor concerts and international dancing. Thanks to many folks, the Stämman will celebrate its 17th year in 2016. Mary’s presence in our community personifies culture, languages and ethnic music. Her voice is heard by the elders in local nursing homes and has reached a global audience through MPR’s Prairie Home Companion. She has convinced us we can dance with ‘two left feet’ and a twinkle in our eye. Daily, her knitting needles click through brightly colored yarn creating warmth for impending winters. Deep in the woods, inside this unassuming log cabin, meet Mary, one amazing woman. n

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Guided by Angels

Sexual Assault Services executive director grows new programs

Women of Sexual Assault Services (left to right) Heidi Fairchild, Marianne Washburn, Janice Olson, Stacy Riede and Amanda Schwarzkopf.


Marianne Washburn relies on her inner wisdom. That’s just the way

she lives. “I have angels who guide me,” she says. She stands by her belief that they have guided her throughout her career, even more so in the later years. “I don’t believe in knocking down doors. I go where I’m led.”

Winter 2015 | her voice 9

Amanda Schwarzkopf is the education coordinator. “Amanda is a walking resource for this agency,” says Marianne. She is an advocate first and foremost. In her role as education coordinator, she provides professional trainings, community outreach and event planning.

Marianne applied for the SAS executive director position in 2014, knowing she would take a large pay cut and lose her benefits. But every time she had doubts of giving up her secured position, something happened to confirm she was on the right path. Marianne went to the job interview on a dusky, late winter afternoon, relying on the address to find the SAS office in the old Brainerd mall. She Marianne Washburn ended up in a tattoo parlor. Asked the first thing she’d do if she got the job, Marianne said, “Move!” As in, move the office to a safe and welcoming location. The board was looking for someone who could write grants and grow the SAS program. Marianne was upfront with them. “They were OK with me talking about angels and miracles.” In her new leadership role at SAS, what she had figured

Sexual assault is an act of violence Sexual violence includes rape, incest, child sexual abuse, intimate partner violence, human trafficking, sexual harassment and sexual exposure. Sexual violence occurs when someone is forced or manipulated into unwanted sexual activity without their consent. Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault; people of all ages, races, lifestyles and economic backgrounds have been victims. Victims are male and female.

Sexual Assault Services of Crow Wing County 218-828-0494 • 1-888-458-0494 211 South 4th Street, Brainerd Web: SAS.CrowWing 10 Winter Winter2015 2015 | her voice 10 | her voice

Stacy Riede is a primary prevention educator. She is developing a program to prevent victimization, targeting 18- to 25-year-olds and professional staff who are in a position to intervene and prevent sexual violence. Partners include local bars, local law enforcement, Central Lakes College, College of St. Scholastica Brainerd Campus and “The Shop” youth center in Brainerd. One goal is to offer bystander/ bar staff training to all liquor serving establishments within Crow Wing County by end of the grant cycle.

would take two years took only six months. Grants came in, a new building was found, wages were brought up to standards and additional staff were hired. Marianne’s career originally began in Itasca County in 1986 as an intern, followed by volunteering. During this time she was living in an abusive relationship, which really opened her eyes. She left the relationship, took a break and worked with physically and mentally challenged people for several years. Then she spotted an opening with Advocates Against Domestic Abuse in Aitkin County. Within several years she was co-director and began writing grants. The first grant she authored was one of only two she has written in 30 years that was not funded. Turns out she was too conservative in her request – the grantors didn’t feel there was much of a need. Lesson learned, when a grantee sets a maximum request limit and you can justify the need, go for it! After Aitkin, almost at burnout, Marianne took three years to pursue her music career. Then the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe asked her to substitute in a STOP Violence Against Women grant position. She was there eight and a half years and brought in millions of dollars in grants. Working for the Mille Lacs Band (MLB) entailed difficult 50-60 hour work weeks – and that’s when the door opened to the position at SAS. SAS has been the sole sexual assault service provider in Crow Wing County for 40 years. As the Sexual Assault Task Force, it operated from 1975-1977 through the Crow Wing County Attorney’s office when it joined the Battered Women’s Task Force. The program was housed at the Women’s Center of Mid-Minnesota from 1979-1989 when SAS became an independent 501c3 organization, in order to fill an identified need to serve both male and female victims of sexual violence, which could not be achieved while at the Women’s Center. SAS is a non-profit, tax exempt organization. Services provided are confidential, free of charge and available to anyone. SAS provides 24-hour crisis intervention. Listening to an individual, responding to questions and providing options are often the most immediate needs. Ongoing services include advocacy during medical and legal procedures, including court hearings and trials, and assistance in filing an Order for Protection, as well as referrals for additional services to victims. Marianne has written a federal grant for over half a million dollars to develop a CJI program. CJI provides legal advocacy for sexual and domestic violence victims who are in

Janice Olson, a certified sexual and

Heidi Fairchild worked at Aitkin County and MLB alongside Marianne and recently joined her at SAS. Working in domestic violence for 17 years, Heidi has a passion for this field. She was CJI Coordinator for the MLB and knows how important it is to create good working relations within the community and legal system to facilitate the highest good for the victim. “I’ve been taught by the best,” she says of Marianne.

need of criminal justice intervention. This includes explaining the court process and accompanying the victim through it, attending hearings and intervening with criminal justice personnel on the victim’s behalf and assuring the victim’s rights in case proceedings are upheld. Marianne is also working toward funding a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners program (SANE). Crow Wing County is one of few counties without such a program. SANE registered nurses have specialized education in medical forensic care of patients who have experienced sexual assault. SANE conducts medical forensic examinations consisting of medical forensic history, physical and emotional assessment, written and photographic documentation of injuries, collection and management of forensic samples, emotional and social support and resources. SANE also testifies in legal proceedings and ensures the chain of custody and in-

domestic abuse advocate with 12 years of experience, joined SAS through a grant from the Hallett Charitable Trusts soon after Marianne was appointed. “Being a survivor herself, she has a gift of genuine compassion and understanding for victims of abuse,” Marianne says. “Janice knows first-hand the traumatic effects of sexual violence and the importance of listening and validating each individual’s personal experience.”

tegrity of samples are maintained so evidence is admissible in court. With the majority of sexual assault court cases resulting in unsuccessful outcomes for victims, the need is clear. As Marianne continues strategic planning to expand the SAS program, she attributes her success in generating funding as divinely guided. Angels open doors. n

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

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Winter 2015 2015 || her her voice voice 11 11 Winter

the arts

The Staples Area Women’s Chorus has been performing in the Staples community for over 35 years.

g n o r e H , e c Her Voi B SANDRA OPHEIM By


person can live in a community for 20 years, cross paths with a familiar face, get a greeting in passing, and yet, not know the song in that other person’s heart. I have met Barb Cline in passing, heard her sing at a public Veterans Day program, and really did not hear her song until I sat down to have coffee with her. “I have been with the Staples Area Women’s Chorus for 35 years. This is nearly since it began.

12 Winter 2015 | her voice

It began in the 70s sometime, but nobody really has the exact date,” shares Cline. Her enthusiasm, energy and smile truly showed me her love of being a part of a ‘town that sings.’ “Staples is such an artistically and musically talented community. Some people are calling our town ‘the town that sings,’” says Barb. Barb is the Staples Area Women’s Chorus (SAWC) marketing and promotions coordinator. “I have had many titles and this is my newest title,” she says. Barb and her husband David of 48 years have three adult children and six grandchildren. She grew up in the Motley area in a very musical family of eight children. “I sang as young as 5 years old and began singing at weddings at 14. Music gave me a sense of purpose and identity. I had a low self-esteem and I thought the only way to be valued was through my singing.” She was a singer at weddings, funerals, anniversaries, community celebrations and fairs. As Barb tells the story, her pastor paid her $5 to sing at church. There, an evangelist heard her sing and offered her a scholarship to Wessington Springs College in South Dakota. As a student of music she got voice lessons, sang on the radio, and was in a quartet. “Making the money was not so important to me. Music for me was a way I would be accepted. It would be a way

that my voice would be heard through my song,” says Barb. Barb’s idea for a women’s chorus came from Steve Hoemberg, former Women’s Chorus Director, who helped host Real Men Sing events. The intergenerational event included male youth, college-aged singers and men’s chorus members. Clinicians were brought in to teach singing strategies, breathing techniques and soloist and group singing skills. The group wanted young men to know that athletics is not the only avenue in life. “I liked the concept of Real Men Sing and so did our choir members. I thought it would be a wonderful thing to try with women, high school girls and college choirs,” says Barb. In 2014 the “Her Voice Her Song” event took place in Pillager. In 2015, Staples hosted a second event for women, high school youth and invited Patricia Kent and Susan Cogdill, both from the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University. The St. Benedict choir performed in the 24/7 SURGICAL COVERAGE

main gymnasium at Staples-Motley High School, one of four featured choirs. Midway through the concert, the director asks her choir, “If you are a music major, raise your hand.” Surprisingly, only two of the 34 student singers raised their hands. “As you see our choir is not just for music majors. It is for girls who have experienced choir in their lives. It is a way to keep connected with their love of music and others once they head to college. We are a family,” says Susan Cogdill. With over 300 choir enthusiasts in attendance it was a great event. Several young soloists from area schools performed pieces for the audience. The SAWC, currently directed by Rob Freelove, performed second in the program. Members consist of teachers, stay at home mothers, retirees, beauticians and more. These lovely ladies meet on Monday evenings at 8 p.m. in Staples to share a song, share a love. “We welcome anyone who enjoys singing. No formal training is required,” says Barb.



Her Voice Her Song was an enormous amount of work prior to the event. Grants were written and approved and community businesses were asked to help with ticket sales and advertising. “The Five Wings Arts Council gave $5,000 towards the event. Twin Valley Dairy donated milk to us for our hospitality room. We ordered over $3,000 in sheet music for the event through Popplers Music and as an in-kind donation they discounted a portion of our music,” says Barb. “It was well worth the work to give girls this opportunity.” If you have music in your heart, get in touch with the Staples Area Women’s Chorus and start your own song. n Sandra Opheim is the author of the picture book, “Whose Hat is That?” An educator and coach in the Staples-Motley Schools, she is also a mother and wife who loves anything outdoors.



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Winter 2015 | her voice 13



Snowkiting and kiteboarding


Vicki Hanson regularly checks

the weather conditions on Pelican Lake from her kitchen window. “When the wind is blowing I drop everything and go,” said the avid kiteboarder. Vicki and her friend Kate Johnson are both members of a small but passionate group of area women who enjoy kiting in the summer and winter. Vicki and her husband Todd specifically purchased a home on Pelican Lake because it’s one of the premier lakes for kiting in the area. The large lake produces the necessary wind required to power the kites plus it provides a shallow, sandy bottom for kiters to touch while kiteboarding on open water. According to the Dynamik Kiteboarding website, kiteboarding is similar to wakeboarding, snowboarding, or skiing except kiters - as they refer to themselves - are powered by the wind. In the summer, it is referred to as kiteboarding or kitesurfing, and in the winter as snowkiting. Kiteboarders use a large steerable kite to power themselves across the water, through the snow, up hills, and boost 20-30 feet into the air.  Kate became interested in the sport from her then boyfriend, Bryce, whom she married in May. While she was initially apprehensive and found the sport intimidating, she quickly became infatuated. Kate learned to kite in the winter when less wind is required and on skis which she still 14 Winter 2015 | her voice

Kate Johnson (left), and Vicki Hanson both want to see more women kiting.

prefers. “Kiting is so much fun,” Kate said. “I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and learned how because I really love it.” Similar to Kate’s experience, Vicki’s husband, Todd, piqued Vicki’s interest in kiting when they first dated. On their first date, he took Vicki for a kiteboard lesson. She found her initial kiting session in late September to be extremely cold and challenging. However, with the patience of her husband/instructor, she quickly became hooked. “It’s a totally exhilarating sport,” she said. “It allows you to ride casually and enjoy the scenery or ride aggressively and push and challenge yourself. It can offer a meditative quality or an adrenaline rush, depending on your mood.” Kate especially enjoys snowkiting because it provides her

“ “

We kiters celebrate the wind. You can never get bored of kiting!” ~ Vicki Hanson

an outlet to enjoy Minnesota winters. “I love snowkiting because it provides an improved quality of life in the winter and gets me outside and doing something active,” she said. “Plus it’s exciting and tons of fun. I’ve never regretted going even when it’s 10 below zero. Also, I enjoy being able to kite with Bryce.” Kate said one misconception about kiting is that it requires a lot of arm strength. The kite is attached to a harness around the rider’s waist, and she said leverage, rather than strength, allows control of the kite. While strength certainly helps, that strength can be built up while learning to kite, and people of any age can learn. Kite enthusiasts range in age from 10 all the way up to 80. “You don’t have to be a super athlete to take up kiting,” Kate said. Kate and Vicki would both like to see more women involved in kiting. Unfortunately, the number of female kiters in Minnesota is quite low. “It would be awesome to see more women take up the sport,” Vicki said. “The community of female kiteboarders is very welcoming and supportive.” Both women strongly encourage beginners to take lessons. Two websites they recommend are

and for information on lessons. Also, at the 12th annual Kite Crossing on Mille Lacs next spring, a women’s only kite clinic will be held. While the dates of the event haven’t been finalized yet, interested women can check the website, for updated information on the clinic as it becomes available. Kate and Vicki are regular participants in the Kite Crossing on Mille Lacs Lake which organizers describe as the country’s premier snowkite event. The two women are past champions Kate in the ski division and Vicki in the snowboard division. Vicki’s personal goal is to improve her technique each time she kites because the sport is constantly evolving with better systems and improved equipment. “There’s always new things to ride, ever changing weather conditions and new tricks to try,” Vicki said. “We kiters celebrate the wind. You can never get bored kiting!”

Kate said one of the best aspects of kiting for her is that for a few hours she forgets about everything else going on in her life. “When you kite all you think about is kiting,” she said. “You lose yourself completely because it takes all of your concentration. It’s a perfect combination of individual and social activity.” You can be certain that when Kate and Vicki peer outside on a cold, windy, winter’s day, the intoxicating lure of kiting will nudge them, they’ll drop whatever they are doing, pick up their kites and go. n

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


Winter 2015 | her voice 15



Creativity In Prosthetics Creating Comfort, Mobility and Independence By CYNTHIA BACHMAN


reativity is a top requirement for Rachel Barness as she makes prosthetics and orthotics - articial limbs and supportive bracing that can make someone’s world so much easier after a life altering limb loss or other disability. By thinking outside the box she is able to assess, then overcome the patient’s unique situation to gain comfort, mobility and independence. She is part of a team that creates and fixes artificial extremities to replace a body part lost through trauma, disease or congenital circumstances, such as malformed or missing limbs at birth. With pediatric clients seen by Rachel, the majority need support to take their first steps. Recently she fit a toddler with lower extremity orthotics. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy, he was delayed with motor milestones and was not able to pull up to stand. A physical therapist and Rachel worked together to provide correct bracing and therapy. Now he not only walks, he runs. Rachel assesses and treats patients from pediatrics to geriatrics. This includes cranial remolding orthoses and new systems like TAOS and a variety of lower extremity orthoses and prostheses. Currently she provides patient care at Prosthetic Laboratories, a Hanger Clinic company, of Brainerd and Bemidji as a certified prosthetist and orthotist. According to The Magazine for the Orthotics & Prosthetics Profession ( January 2015): the number of female O & P practitioners in the U.S. has increased 152 percent in 10 years. Women now comprise 20 percent of certified practitioners. 16 Winter 2015 | her voice

Rachel Barness creates artificial limbs for clients of all ages.

design and management of unique, personal devices. She works with an inter-disciplinary team that includes doctors, physical therapists, the patient and others to assist the amputee with limb/ brace creation and with rehabilitation. Cosmetics, ease of use, size and many other concepts need to be considered and managed. All these are ongoing issues, since weight fluctuates and individual abilities change. We are blessed to live in a place and time where the creative skills, energy and knowledge is available to provide the appendages and supportive devices that can make life easier for those in need! n Cynthia Bachman has a BS/Nursing degree from the College of Saint Scholastic and a master’s of education degree from the University of MN. She was fascinated by all she learned about artificial limbs and devices from Rachel Barness.

Common Terms Orthotics: the branch of medical engineering concerned with the design and fitting of devices such as braces in the treatment of orthopedic disorders. Prosthetics: the branch of medicine dealing with the design, production, and use of artificial body parts. TAOS: Therapeutic Ambulatory Orthotic System. It is a pediatric device only. It is not really a gait trainer but used mainly in therapy settings to get the children to focus on natural gait pattern by bringing their joints into a more neutral alignment. Orthosis: Singular for brace and orthoses is plural. That goes for prosthesis and prostheses as well as orthotist and prosthetist.

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So how did Rachel decide on this career? When she was 13-years-old, she discovered a cousin that worked in this field. From then on she announced: “I will be a prosthetic doctor.” Toward this end, Rachel earned a bachelor of arts degree in biology with a minor in art from Luther College and her prosthetic and orthotic technician diplomas from Century College in White Bear Lake, Minn. She continued her education through completion of her prosthetic and orthotic practitioner diplomas in 2012. Now, with open-ended thinking she uses ever changing technology and materials, such as high tech lightweight, high-strength thermoplastics and resins to custom form devises. There are also cutting-edge materials such as carbon fiber and titanium that provide strength and durability. These revolutionary resources make the prosthesis/orthosis lighter and easier for the patient to use and gain independence. In her work facility there are offices, exam rooms and a designated space to make plaster molds. In many cases, a basic plaster cast is still made to create a negative mold of the affected limb, from there the artificial appendage or brace is formed to the exact size of the person it is intended - totally unique to their body. (Thankfully, we are beyond the pirate’s wooden leg era). The next challenge is to hold the prosthesis to the client’s body. Gone are the days of using straps and belts. Many are secured with suction and pin systems which are easier to maintain since the prosthesis is fit exclusively to the client and not mass produced. Prosthetics are created in a ‘creation room’ with woodworking tools and interesting machines. Sometimes advanced electronics are used where muscle movements are converted to electrical signals for the device to function. Amazing! Prosthetic and orthotic are steadily shifting through small improvements in performance and comfort. Rachel’s responsibility includes the

Winter 2015 | her voice 17


For Trista Pankratz, racing is a family affair including grandparents, father, brother and uncle.


“Do it. Go fast... have fun.”

So what

if Trista Pankratz was lapped (twice) the first time she drove her race car at North Central Speedway? After 75 laps and a lesson on how to drive it, the next weekend she took second place in the feature race and hasn’t looked back Heidi Keller’s since. (Well, maybe once or twice to see how close the driver behind her is.) advice to other Trista helps run the family’s farm and works with rescue animals during the women who week. On Saturday nights she puts on a helmet, straps herself into a sport compact want to race. car and hits the dirt track south of town to put pedal to the metal. Racing is probably in her blood. Her grandmother, grandfather, father, older brother Tommy and uncle were all racers. She drives the green 95 car. That Lightning McQueen car out on the track? That’s her dad. Trista’s brother, Michael Flannigan, was killed in an accident two years ago. She has formed a special bond with his daughter, six-year-old Vivian. “Since I started racing I’ve been glad that I can use it to show her you can be anything you want to be. She comes out every weekend and watches me race. Losing him might be why I started racing. We all realized dreams get cut short. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.” Trista credits her husband Shayne for getting her started. “One day he said we were going to Bemidji. He took me to look at a race car. That was the push I needed.” Trista says racing is “pretty exciting.” “A couple of weeks ago I had my car on its side. We’re all coming into the corner and the spindle broke on another racer, Brendon Yamry’s car. I thought, “Oh! I got him! See ya later Yamry! Next thing I know I was hanging upside down from my seat and thinking, ‘What the heck just happened?’ And then I come back down and I got hit from behind 18 Winter 2015 | her voice

Not afraid to dirty her hands, racer Heidi Keller maintains her own car.

thinking I was going into the wall head on, but saved it. I have been in the wall head on before! Hitting the wall isn’t as bad as it looks,” she adds, “because you’re strapped in and harnessed. But the next day you realize you tensed up and you feel it.” A year and a half ago Trista started having severe head and body aches. She was diagnosis with MS and fibromyalgia. “Most of the time, once I get up and start moving and get my mind busy, I’m OK.” But some days she’s bounced around at the track it can take her a day or more to recover. She enjoys Kids’ Night at the track and visiting local schools because the kids love to see the family’s Lightning McQueen car. “Then I think, not only am I inspiring my niece, but all of these other little girls, too. That’s cool.” Saturday nights at North Central mean a little family rivalry, too. “The night I won a feature race I was excited, honestly I was, but I was more excited that I whooped my dad!” she says laughing. When she talks about the influence she can make in Vivian’s life she gets excited, “She’s very special to me. Sometimes I’m kind of hard on her but that’s to keep her respectful. She’s a good kid. She’s a very big part of our lives. My dad says she reminds him of me when I was younger.” A trip to the junkyard to get a part for her vehicle started Heidi Keller’s stock car racing career. “I just started talking to Chris Seidel, who was a racer and worked at the junkyard. He said he had a Hornet racing car he was going

to sell. He was looking for a driver.” 60 mph on the highway.” Heidi hasn’t limited her racing to Her brother and neighbors had raced and she says she’d always wanted to do North Central Speedway, either. She raced BAHA at Crow Wing County it, too. After two years racing the smaller Fair and has won the Powder Puff Hornet she was ready for more excite- event. Heidi says she wouldn’t trade her ment. This past year she moved up to time at the track for anything. She set two lofty goals for herself the beginthe Pure Stock division. “I was a rookie again this year,” she ning of this past year: A top 10 finish says laughing, but the change was a in the division and Rookie of the Year. good one. “I like it. Actually, I love it. That title will be decided at the speedI’m in a bigger car. I go faster. There’s way’s banquet. Heidi has some advice for other more competition. I can do more with my car. I’m the only girl out there,” females that are thinking about racshe says of her new division. But that ing a stock car. “Do it.” She says, doesn’t matter. “I would rather run with “Go fast, turn left, have fun.” n the boys,” she laughs. More photos on Her Voice On Saturday nights Heidi races Facebook page. against her boyfriend, Devin Larson, and his father, Rod Larson Jr. When it’s time to make repairs, they work side by side on their cars. “I’ve had a few close calls,” she says about racing at the track, Sheila Helmberger is a “But honestly, I’m safer in that car than freelance writer in the I15-3572_Ad am on theDesign street. I have a harness and Her Voice.qxp_Layout 1 7/6/15 8:26 AM Pagelakes 1 area. Brainerd a roll cage. I would get hurt more going

RENE MILLNER 35253 County Rd. 3, Crosslake, MN



clubs and clusters

Women Hard-Hatted

Left to right, Participating in Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build: Kathy Wernberg, Julie Moulton, Carol Spear and Shelly Thelen.




you walk by any construction site, you might determine that it’s a man’s world, but that’s not the case with Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build. In 2013 Habitat launched the first Women Build house. Some area women not only built a home for a family in need of affordable shelter, they found some new strengths of their own. For more information on

Kathy Wernberg, Shelly Thelen and Carol Spear were among those volunteers. They came to Habitat with varying levels of skill and confidence. Kathy had the most experience. “ I knew I could contribute. I had helped my husband build our basement and decks and I knew how to use power tools.” Shelly saw a blurb in the newspaper and signed on. “I’m the one who takes care of our yard and house and I can fix things. When I saw the article in the paper for Women Build, I thought, ‘I’m a woman. I can do that.’ I hadn’t had experience, but I wanted to see what I could do.” Carol came with no construction ex-

Women Build 2016 or other Habitat projects 20 Winter 2015 | her voice

perience. “I’m not handy, but I wanted to be involved with Women Build. I didn’t know how to do much, but I thought that doing a build with women would be less intimidating than with a bunch of men I didn’t know. It wasn’t intimidating at all!” The other two women echoed Carol’s experience. “When people come to work on a build, they don’t have to know anything,” Shelly said. “You’ll get paired up with people who know what they’re doing. You learn while you work.” “We need both the Kathys and the Carols if Women Build is going to fulfill its mission,” Habitat volunteer coordinator Julie Moulton said. “There’s

Julie Moulton, contact volunteer coordinator 218-828-8517

a spot for every person to do meaningful work. If you want to help decide which family will get the next home, there’s a place for you. If you want to help plan an event or raise funds, there’s a need for that. If you can recruit a team to learn how to vapor barrier walls, you are crucial to our project.” Some of those jobs don’t even involve construction work. Cleanup help is always appreciated. Workers are needed to help with landscaping. Perennial gardeners can split plants and donate them to the new homeowners. If you have some cooking skills or know your way to the grocery store, you can team up with a few friends and supply lunch or mid-afternoon snacks. What has it meant to these women to be part of Women Build? Much more than pounding nails, it turns out. Shelly remembered, “At the last Women Build I was helping lift the joists. I had this sensation of strength, empowerment. My attitude has changed. I used to think, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I could do this.’ But

now I say, ‘I can do it, and if I don’t know how, show me.’” Shelly has now become a regular on the Habitat crews. For Carol, working on Women Build led to a new pride. “As a lab tech, I perform tests and work with data. Construction is more tangible. It was fun to go by the house and watch it grow. I could see what I had done and be proud of my part in it.” Another perk is that the Women Build is just plain fun! Shelly said, “With the Women Build, there was so much camaraderie. We worked together and had a great time!” The best part, though, seems to be meeting the families who will live in the houses and experiencing the life-changing transformation building a home can bring for both the homeowner and the builder. “When I was working on a home,” Kathy said, “a family member was there to work on the bathroom walls. She was so tired, and I offered to help. She and I will always know we built those walls.”

Shelly shared a similar story. “I was at the site blessing before the house was built. The family looked so familiar to me. I realized that they had been guests in our church as part of the New Pathways program, which coordinates with churches to house homeless families. This family was going from homelessness to home ownership and they were so thankful. I felt pride that I had a part in providing a home for this family.” Now Habitat is planning Women Build 2016, and you could be a part of it. In Kathy’s words, “Grab a couple friends and go together, get a group from work to come or just show up like I did.” You will end up with some new skills and a sense of accomplishment, but better yet, you’ll be giving a family a home to call their own. n Karen Ogdahl is a retired teacher and community volunteer. She has no construction skills but admires those who do.

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Joyce Rush Caren Bedard

Serving the Faith Community By ELSIE HUSOM


hy? That’s the question – by facial expression or words. Why would two women, almost 70, choose to embark on studies for a totally new career? Joyce

Rush and Caren Bedard both decided to become involved in Total Ministry in their local church, but approached their decisions differently.

Caren started the Kids Cabinet, clothing collected by the parish distributed to area elementary schools. 22 Winter 2015 | her voice

When St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Brainerd, contemplated adopting Total Ministry, both Caren and Joyce believed its practice of having a group of volunteer leaders rather than a paid priest was a good way of getting more participation and maintaining the identity of their small, aging congregation. Even though supportive, Joyce was hesitant about becoming a leader. However, for Caren, the decision evolved quite easily. Born into an Episcopal family, Caren served the church throughout her growing years. Her ancestors had been very active in the Church of England. She says, “One of my most prized possessions is the late 1800s Bible given by the Vicar to my great-grandmother in ap-

PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON preciation for her religious work. “ Her interest in becoming a deacon was a natural progression of her spiritual journey. “My son, who has a theology degree, promoted the idea of Total Ministry to the congregation and I caught his enthusiasm.” The decision was not whether she would be involved but finding what role would be her best fit. Joyce’s decision to study for Episcopal priesthood did not come as easily. As an adult, Joyce found a home in the Episcopal Church. She loved the liturgy, the music and that the church encourages one to think for oneself. She says, “I like the ritual – when we say a prayer, someone in Africa, or anywhere, is saying the same prayer. Years ago, before my

Later, after kneeling for a very long reach project Caren has already been prayer, I, with my bad knee, started to instrumental in starting is the Kids lose my balance and almost fell. Luckily, Cabinet. Through fundraisers and donations, the parish gathers baskets of my son came to my rescue.” Family and parish members have been clothing for 10 area elementary schools. very supportive of Joyce and Caren’s ven- The clothing is for kids who get wet at ture and many attended the ordination recess, have accidents, or wear weathservice. Caren’s son and Joyce’s grand- er-inappropriate clothing. For Joyce and Caren, this has been daughter had the honor of vesting stoles an enriching, faith-filled experience. on the new deacons. Now that they are ordained as dea- Their journey is not ending. Both look cons, what happens next? Their studies forward to continued spiritual growth are ongoing: much more in-depth about and using their gifts to serve the faith “There was no rituals, liturgy, religious seasons and the community. n question in my mind; practicum of leading a congregation. with three other volunteers and I felt the Holy Spirit.” Along an Diocesan advisor, they will provide leadership and support for the church’s ~ Joyce Rush working ministry and missions. In the next year, Joyce will also study director at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s. for the priesthood. As an ordained priest, Elsie Husom is a retired Why would I want to add more to my she will conduct church services, share educator who lives west of Brainerd. She enjoys already full life?” She adds, “Besides, I in the administration of the sacraments reading, golfing, gardening and making art. Her had read enough Bible stories over the and officiate at weddings. many volunteer activities include editing the Crossing Arts Alliance newsletter and teaching As a deacon, Caren is to connect the years; I was waiting for a lightning bolt, art and leading book clubs at the Crow Wing a huge event, to indicate that I should church and the outside world. One outCounty Jail. move forward.” One day, Bishop Prior suggested that Joyce “listen to the still small voice within you and feel the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit.” Joyce did. What a commitment these two women made: four years of studying “Life Cycles” curriculum, reading selected books, learning what the service elements mean and meeting regularly for meaningful discussions. Mary Zeise Cassie Mairs David Malchow Stacy Sjoberg Ina Drown Michelle Malchow O.D. O.D. O.D. M.D., Ph. D. M.D. O.D. All of this culminated in a memoWhen it comes to something as valuable as your eyes, put your trust in the hands of rable ordination this past summer. As the Bishop led Caren and Joyce, with our highly skilled doctors. Dr. Sjoberg and Dr. Drown are board certified ophthalmic 31 other candidates, into Breck School surgeons who are trained in cornea and neuro-ophthalmology. Our team of highly Fieldhouse, voices of 800 people welexperienced optometrists provide outstanding care for your eyes. Together we raise comed them with one of Joyce’s favorite the bar in eye care excellence. hymns. Joyce says, “There was no quesLASIK • Cataracts • Cornea Transplants tion in my mind; I felt the Holy Spirit.” • Oculoplastic Surgery • Treatment of Eye Diseases & Infections Thinking she would be very emotional, • Glaucoma • Comprehensive Eye Exams Caren had “tucked tissues in my pocket, but it was such a joyous occasion, it never occurred to me to get weepy.” She laughBAXTER • CROSBY ingly recalls two incidents that added to the occasion. “Just after being seated, we were to read a long passage; however, there were no programs on our chairs. Moving our lips, we frantically reached to get programs from those behind us. marriage, I had been interested in becoming a deacon. It would have involved years of study at a seminary 60 miles away and I already had a full time job. I found it easy to give up the idea then.” In 2011, St Paul’s congregation voted to embrace Total Ministry, and church members thought Joyce was a natural for the priesthood. “However,” she says, “I wasn’t retired yet; I had enough responsibility as administrative laboratory

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Winter 2015 | her voice 23



She gave him roots and wings PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON



vangeline Lindbergh, mother of aviator Charles Lindbergh, was a complex woman who had a rocky relationship with the town of Little Falls. She was challenged by adversities within and without. She nonetheless worked to be a devoted mother to her son and to make his boyhood home in Little Falls memorable and inspirational to his future dreams.

Evangeline Lodge Land was born in Detroit as the daughter of a dentist and inventor, Charles Henry Land. Although it was unusual at the time, her father encouraged her to finish her high school education, then to go on to college, where she received a degree in chemistry. Intrigued by romantic ideas of living near the Mississippi River, she accepted a position as a chemistry teacher in Little Falls. Evangeline envisioned being welcomed by a band, teaching children of mining families, and having a St. Bernard carry her lunch for her. But the town wasn’t quite what she imagined and it wasn’t long before she felt homesick, overworked and under appreciated. Having difficulty building friendships, Evangeline 24 Winter | her voice 24 Winter 2015 |2015 her voice

was falling out of love with the town. Things came to a head when she moved science equipment from her freezing attic classroom. After being reprimanded by the principal for violating the rules, she resolutely set down the equipment and walked out. Her letters home hinted that she would not be in Little Falls much longer. Yet she lingered, as she was increasingly gaining the time and interest of the widower and successful lawyer Charles August (C.A.) Lindbergh, 17 years her senior. After receiving his proposal, she went back to Detroit to consider her answer and finally gave her yes to C.A. and to Little Falls. C.A. and Evangeline were married in the spring of

1901. After returning from the honeymoon they stayed in a two-room cabin perched in the woods on the edge of the Mississippi River while Evangeline’s three-story dream home was built. She planted hedges of honeysuckle and lilac and filled her oval flower beds with many of the flowers that she loved. C.A.’s two daughters from his first marriage came joyfully back to Little Falls from boarding school and the first summer together was a happy one for the newlyweds and family. In February 1902, Charles Augustus Lindbergh was born and it seemed surely their joy would be complete. But the challenges began to surface. Being a stepmother to children who had lost their mother proved to be a challenge for young Evangeline and eventually the two girls were sent away again. Conflict also increased between Evangeline and C.A. as he was at a loss of how to respond to her temper outbursts and frequently changing moods.

Aviator Charles Lindbergh learned to love the outdoors at his home on the Mississippi River in Little Falls. While his mother Evangeline separated from his father, Charles spent time with both. A replica of The Spirit of St. Louis, Lindbergh’s famous plane, hangs in the museum at the home site.

Winter Winter 2015 2015 || her her voice voice 25 25

The Historical Society of Minnesota preserves the Lindbergh home in Little Falls, offering tours, including one during the holiday season.

Then in 1905, Evangeline’s dream home burned to the ground leaving the family homeless. It was around this same time that C.A. confessed to Evangeline that they had vast amounts of debt and would be forced to sell some of their belongings, let some of the staff go, and rebuild a smaller house. Eventually, they separated. Evangeline requested a divorce, but due to C.A.’s growing career in politics, he refused. To add to Evangeline’s unhappy situation, she was also disliked in general by the community and was shot at on several occasions. Evangeline spent her time with Charles in storytelling, playing the piano and singing to him, picnicking in nearby towns, traveling and homeschooling him through the second grade. She encouraged him to pursue his interests in machines, the outdoors, farming and adventure. Ironically, her support of adventure was tested when Charles saw his first plane and learned the aviator was offering rides in town. Evangeline declared it dangerous and expensive. Although Charles was exposed to some of the marital conflict, Evangeline tried to promote a positive relationship between father and son. 26 26 Winter Winter 2015 2015 | her | her voice voice

She spoke in supportive ways about C.A. and encouraged them to spend time together. When C.A. was elected to U.S. Congress, Evangeline and Charles would travel to Washington, D.C., for most of each school year, so that father and son could spend more time together. While in D.C., schools were changed yearly as Evangeline viewed this as adventurous and enriching experiences for Charles. Both Evangeline and C.A. believed in placing significant amounts of responsibility onto Charles, which he seemed to receive with eagerness. Charles was taught to drive at the age of 11 and thereafter did most of the driving for cutline cutline including cutline cutline cutlinewith cutline the family, a drive his cutline cutline cutline cutline cutline cutlin mother out to California. Because of his love of machines, he also learned to repair the car, which it seemed to need frequently, first the Model T, then the Saxon Six. He learned to look forward to challenges, regardless of the danger. Some of his chores resulted in inventions to help make the task easier, such as the slide system he developed to get large blocks of ice up the front stairs in order to maneuver them into the icebox. While studying in Washington D.C., Charles would count the months

before returning to his beloved farm. In 1918, the decision was made to stay on the farm through the winter and year round. Charles, then 15, and Evangeline became a team working to ensure the success of the farm. Charles loved the outdoors and animals and oversaw the management of the farm duties. The home needed a source of water that didn’t freeze in the winter so he dug a 25-foot well in the basement, then designed a plumbing system to pipe the water through the woodstove to heat it. Meanwhile, Evangeline tended to the house and meals. Caring little for conventionality, she gave her support to many of Charles’ ideas and interests, such as moving the furniture out of the dining room in order to make room for chick incubators. After graduating from Little Falls High School, Charles decided to go to college as he knew it would please his mother. With Charles off to college in Wisconsin and embarking on the next chapter of his life, Evangeline’s tie to Little Falls vanished. She moved to Wisconsin as well and resumed teaching. Over time, she eventually recognized that Charles needed to pursue his passion for flying and told him it was what he should do. After his legend-

We live here.

love here. know here.

Evangeline played the piano and sang to Charles as part of homeschooling in his early years.

Call us.

ary journey, she was immensely proud of him, but disliked the fanfare however of being the mother of a celebrity. She was criticized for her reclusiveness and rudeness toward such recognition. However, in Charles’ memoirs he speaks fondly of his time at the farm in Little Falls, a source of stability and joy for him, as well as the mother who raised him there. n

Tammy Schul 218-851-19



ky Kars Nina-821-3373

a Knosall1 Sandy 11









More photos on our Her Voice Facebook page.


Sources: Berg, A. Scott. “Lindbergh.” New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1998. Lindbergh, Charles A. “Lindbergh Looks Back: A Boyhood Reminiscence.” St Paul: Minnesota Historical Press, 2002. Minnesota Historical Society “Christmas with the Lindberghs.” A Living History Event. Little Falls, MN: Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site, November 29, 2014. Mosely, Leonard. “Lindbergh: A Biography.” Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1976.

Dinah Sundberg 218-839-1918



Flam Debra21-7229 218-8

Betsy Hollister 218-330-1920


Jill Dahmen is a licensed psychologist with a private practice in Little Falls. She also works at Pierz Foods promoting health and wellness. She and her husband Allen are involved in short term missions, riding motorcycle and hobby farming. They have seven children.

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Jolaine Johnson








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Pat Heinen



Winter Winter 2015 2015 || her her voice voice 27 27



Jenna Ruzich trains for biathlons winter and summer; cross country skiing, taking target practice at 50 meters, blading on a paved trail. Jenna says the most challenging aspect of a biathlon is shooting.


We met on a chilly

December day at Starbucks. I clutched my steaming coffee while she sipped on a frozen frappuccino. I knew immediately this girl was pure Minnesotan, but not your normal Scandinavian. She is fueled by wind chill.

28 Winter 2015 | her voice

Jenna Ruzich is a biathlete. This highly physical sport only attracts a handful of female athletes and one of the best grew up flying through the popular Brainerd lakes area trails at the arboretum and French Rapids. Biathlon combines cross country skiing and shooting. The competition consists of a race where athletes ski around a cross country trail system. The total distance is broken up by either two or four shooting rounds, half in prone position and the other half standing. For each shooting round, the biathlete must hit five targets. The skier receives a penalty for each missed target which usually results in skiing a penalty loop adding additional time to their race. Jenna said, “The most challenging part of a biathlon competition is the effort to focus when you are shooting. Your hands are shaking, wind and snow blowing in your face and you can’t feel your fingers.” Did she mention the target is 50 meters away?

Jenna grew up in the Brainerd lakes area. Her journey into this unlikely sport was rooted in her early years as a Crow Wing county 4-H member where she learned to shoot air rifle, shotgun and 22-gauge shotgun and competed in statewide shooting events. Like many northern gals, she used those shooting skills to hunt small game and deer with her parents Frank and Joy Ruzich. Besides being active in 4-H, Jenna competed on her junior high cross country and track team. It was after her 7th grade fall running season she became interested in joining her school’s Nordic Ski team to stay in shape for the upcoming track season. She purchased her first pair of cross country skis at a local ski swap and met Bill Meyer, the coach of the Nisswa Northwest biathlon team. Normally, a skier learns to shoot. But this accomplished marksman needed to learn to ski to be successful in the sport.

The following summer, Jenna could be seen roller skiing down the Paul Bunyan trail. Her blood began to chill and her focus changed from running to biathlon. In order to be competitive, she missed most of her high school nordic ski practices and trained with her biathlon coach. She worked her high school nordic ski races into her training program and became one of the best skiers in the area. Not surprisingly, Jenna’s favorite season is winter withher favorite temperatures in the 10-15 degree Fahrenheit range. Winter races are only cancelled when the air temperature dips to -4 degrees. Many times, athletes wait to race in tents set up on majestic courses with portable heaters. Even with the harsh conditions Jenna enjoys biathlon. It has made her a better skier and a better person. It has improved her ability to communicate; it’s an interesting conversation starter. Jenna raced year round with most of her competitions

Express taking place in Minnesota. The most exciting place she has competed was in Alaska in 2008 and 2011. She has also raced in Maine, Vermont and Montana at the Youth and Junior Biathlon World Team trials. Trials take place at one location in the United States every year. Hundreds of youth racers convene and compete but only 16 (8 male/8 female) make it to the “Youth and Junior World Championship” representing

an unusual person to be sucBrainerd High School in cessful in this sport. Jenna is high spirited and the United States in the 2011 and the University of world competition. Jenna Minnesota Duluth in 2015 coachable. You have to have raced head-to-head with the with a bachelor of science ambition to be a biathlete.” Jenna is currently worksome of the best skiers and degree in biology. She was shooters in the country and a member of the Bulldogs ing for Michigan State missed making the U.S. team Nordic Ski Team and also as a seasonal research helped coach the Nordic technician researching and by two shots. To fund this experience, Northstars. She believes her experimenting with lake in Onaway, Jenna relies heavily on her success is due to her deter- sturgeon parent’s generosity. The mination, practicing every Michigan. Onaway is known Brainerd Nordic Ski club has day to get better and learn- as the “Playground of the also helped her with trav- ing from race day mistakes. North” and should offer el and she was the recipient The best part of her journey is her plenty of new trails to of the Ann Bancroft grant. becoming friends with ath- tame.  But with a population Jenna also worked year round letes from all over Minnesota of only 880, there may not be while attending college. and the country. Says her a Starbucks. n Jenna graduated from coach Bill Meyer, “It takes

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Winter 2015 | her voice 29


These Chicks


Two chicks strut in precision across their

business cards with the clever caption, “These chicks can cook.”

Connie Ritter (left) and Kerrie Harms run a catering business called Connie’s Kitchen.

30 Winter 2015 | her voice

Connie Ritter and Kerrie Harms operate Connie’s Kitchen, a catering business serving the Brainerd lakes area and beyond, including Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Iowa. Last year alone the women covered over 30,000 miles on Minnesota roads. When a future client steps into Connie’s Kitchen, there’s no need to inquire about references. All they have to do is take a quick peek at the hallway wall. It’s covered with the pictures of satisfied customers. Love of cooking brought this dynamic duo together. They work side-by-side 50-60 hours a week, each having taken different journeys along the way until they finally connected, forming a partnership six years ago. Connie Ritter, who started in Duluth said, “My first real experience with cooking took place at my grandma’s drive-in.” When the 13-year-old wasn’t filling in as a car hop, she fried the chicken. Coincidentally, this caterer has been collecting chicken paraphernalia for years. You can spot a few items inside their building. When Connie came to Brainerd 27 years ago as a single mom with three kids, she knew the area. Her folks had moved here when she was 17. Wanting to be home with her children as much as possible, Connie took on work that gave her that leeway. “There were times I had five jobs going at once to make ends meet, including bus driver,” she said. Sixteen years ago, Connie established Connie’s Kitchen as a lunch truck service, making food available for auctions, motocross races and businesses. Her children pitched in whenever they could, learning the ins and outs of running a business. After they left home, she sold the business, but retained the name. Kerrie Harms, the quieter of the two and mother of one, grew up in Swanville. Known as Sergeant Kerrie Harms in Minnesota’s Army National Guard, this hard working woman received a commendation medal for putting in 20 years of service at Camp Ripley as the coordinator of distribution of more than 6.5 million meals. During her Army days she also enjoyed intense labor in construction. “My skills enabled me to build a whole structure - roofing, flooring, framing,” Kerrie said. It wasn’t until after Kerrie’s mother died in 2000 that she decided to learn how to cook. The love she had for

Can Cook her mom inspired her to master those special recipes she enjoyed through the years. “Mom made the best fried chicken.” When she retired from the service, Kerrie operated the Sixth Street Café and Catering business in Brainerd. A little over six years ago, Connie reached out to Kerrie when a health situation left her unable to cater for a customer. Not too long after, Kerrie ended up in a bind and asked Connie for help. Pleased with each other’s work ethics, the two decided to join forces. “The most rewarding aspect of our catering business is our friendship,” the women said. Kerrie, the serious one, took three years to figure out that her partner has a strange sense of humor. “Now she just talks back to me,” Connie said. Both women love incorporating their mother’s recipes in menus and the planning of homemade meals from scratch for weddings, funerals and businesses. Their extensive menu list includes such items as dinner buns, beef stroganoff, wild rice casserole, coleslaw, marinated roast pork and scrumptious desserts. “We work within our customer’s budget,” the duo said, “and incorporate a special family recipe if requested.” No detail is too minute for these caterers, like presenting the bridal couple with a Betty Crocker cookbook for use in their home. Some days Kerrie and Connie cater to four different parties. Huge ones usually require the help of Dana Potter, who has assisted Connie since she was 13, and her twin sister Donna. The largest group handled to date - 800 for a business event. Connie’s Kitchen building is always available to rent for meetings, weddings, birthdays, baby showers and memorials.

The women arrange the tables in the roomy well-decorated area according to the group size, 80 being the maximum. For the past four years, Anderson Brothers of Brainerd has used Connie and Kerrie’s building and their catering services for various training sessions. Besides offering the building for group gatherings, the caterers believe in sharing their kitchen space with other local businesses. Lynnel Anderson has been processing her chaga (mushroom products) at Connie’s Kitchen for almost a year now. And Scott and Denise Blood recently began making their delicious

Mama B’s pies there. Humbled by the growth of their business, the caterers want to thank all those who support them, especially Cub Foods and Chad Knutsen. n Marlene Chabot is a freelance writer, novelist and member of numerous writers’ groups. In 2014, two of her mystery stories were selected for anthology publications. She’s currently finishing work on her fifth novel. Connect with Marlene: Facebook-Marlene Mc Neil Chabot, or

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Winter 2015 | her voice 31


Enterprising sisters Sue Lachelt (left) and Karen Crawford repurpose sweaters into fashionable bootsocks, selling them online and at craft shows.



Sisters Sue Lachelt and Karen Crawford are bonded by more than sisterhood. In October 2014, they launched a partnership creating functional and fashionable boot socks for women and girls. The socks are worn under boots and over jeggings and leggings to give them a dressed-up look.

Repurposed sweaters turned fashion boot socks

32 Winter 2015 | her voice

“Just because we live in Minnesota, it adds a little bit to making winter more fun,” Karen said. “They’re a great way to pull your wardrobe together, pairing with long tops and boots. They’re just like another accessory, and they completely bring your outfit over the top like a purse, scarf or piece of jewelry.” Unlike just the boot “cuffs” which only wrap around the top of the boot and calf, the sisters’ boot socks have a far more fashionable appearance when you remove your boots. At first, Sue started creating a few socks and “one thing led to the next.” The ladies loved their creations but wanted to take it a step further, making them in sizes for young and old, large and small and ultra-unique. Then, in February, an entrepreneurial venture Over the Top was born. What started as a fun “see what

happens” project, has quickly spun into an Etsy shop, as well as product carried in several lakes area boutiques and featured in a variety of craft shows. “The response we’re getting is humbling almost,” Sue noted. “You’ll hear people make comments like ‘those are the boot socks I was telling you about.’ And it’s neat at work when you see your coworkers with them on or when you’re out shopping and see people wear them.” Unlike other types of boot socks on the market, the sisters emphasize that their product is not made from “brand new” material. Upcycled and repurposed sweaters of all shapes, sizes, patterns and colors are used – making each pair unique. The sleeves are removed from the sweater and sewn into various widths to accommodate various sized legs. Then, comes the fun part. Sue and Karen add embellishments from jewels and buttons to sequins and faux flowers. “There’s no cookie cutter pattern,” Karen emphasized.

Sue adds, “Sometimes the ugliest sweater turns out to be the cutest boot sock you could ever imagine.” In addition to breathing new life into an old sweater, once the ladies are done with the sleeves they pass the remnants on to a friend who, in turn, makes mittens from the rest. As of late, the sisters have started making boot socks in school colors and for professional sporting events. They’ve also created some with a touch of camouflage for women who want to take them hunting. “We’ve found the business to be so much fun,” Karen said. “We’re just taking things to a different level.” The business also provides an opporoppor tunity for the sisters to socialize. While they often work on the boot socks at home when the opportunity provides, they also enjoy getting together to visit masand sew. “We both have a pretty mas sive set up surrounding the boot socks,” Sue said, noting sewing machines and drawers upon drawers of materials and accessories. The ladies also keep an eye on trends via Pinterest and other social media outlets, noting styles like leopard, chevron and herringbone. Boot socks are often worn with tunics or long tops, leggings or jeggings and tall boots – an outfit flattering on any body shape. “We figure the trend will last for at least the next five years,” Sue said. “You can pretty much tell with the boots coming out; there’s more and more to choose from.” Sue and Karen also make shorter boot socks for women and girls who opt for pairing them with snow boots or shorter boot styles. And they assure that not all boot socks are created with bling. They also keep some simple for women looking for “less fluff.”

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

One novel idea, the sisters create keepsake boot socks from deceased loved ones’ sweaters. It’s a way to keep loved ones with you “like a hug,” Sue said. They also offer gift certificates so recipients can pick out the set that best suits them. The sisters guesstimate in the past year, they’ve created over 700 pairs of boot socks. While their hobby continues to evolve into a growing business, they also both hold down full-time jobs outside the home. Karen works at the Crow Wing County Courthouse, while Sue is a nurse at Baxter Elementary School. “It’s a fun, fun hobby,” Sue said. “It’s a nice release actually, too. But it’s hard to do any sort of mass production. It’s very time consuming. We try to do as much as we possibly can for shows. They’re just so unique and individualized. We’ve really enjoyed creating and deciding what would be the very best or what would take each pair “Over The Top.” n More photos on our Her Voice Facebook page.

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Winter 2015 | her voice 33



Meeting of the Northside Bookies include: (back row left to right) Tanya Person, Jessa Hastings, Tricia Engelstad, Sonja Chamberlain, Linda Wallin. Front: Mary Aalgaard, Kathleen Hermerding.


of the Traveling Book Clubs



a book club dropout. When I first moved to town, I joined a Newcomers book club but it grew a little too large, the meeting times didn’t work and I wasn’t getting the homework done. So, a handful of us broke off from that group, called ourselves “The Defectors” and came up with some good titles to read. But we were too small of a group and drifted away.

To compensate, I’d share books with my good friend and neighbor. I also talked books to anyone who would listen and lent freely from my own library. Last year, at the library’s Wine and Words event (which many book clubs attend together), I won the “Book Club Basket,” 12 copies of “Orphan Train.” I decided to pretend I was in a book club and shared the copies with people I love who love to read. It wasn’t the same. I missed the sisterhood, the yummy desserts, the lingering on after the book discussion closes. Then, I got invited to attend the Northside Bookies club meeting at my friend Krista’s house. The excuse for inviting me was because the book of the month was “Shelterbelts” by local 34 34 Winter Winter2015 2015| |her hervoice voice

author Candace Simar who would be at the meeting. I’m a huge fan of Candace’s books, read that one with delight and wrote a review on my website, Play off the Page. “Shelterbelts” takes place in a mostly Norwegian-American community in rural Minnesota, in the late 1940s, just as World War II is ending. Some soldiers are returning after the war, others are not. Those who have remained on the farmsteads are seeing changes in their lives and in their world. They farm the land, bury their loved ones, hold dear their traditions, and attend services at the little country Lutheran church. This is my story. I’m so Lutheran that I brought a pan of seven layer bars to this northside book club meeting, and just as my grandmother and

great-aunts had done before me, bought my way into the hearts of the club members through their taste buds. The next week, I was invited on a pontoon ride with the club. I had my boyfriend, The Biker Chef, whip up some tortilla rolls and told Shelly, the pontoon driver, that was the best evening of my summer, tooling around Pelican Lake,

“Many women seem to need some sort of sisterhood.” ~ Mary Aalgaard admiring the homes, visiting with the ladies and eating delicious snacks. The September book pick came in a book club bag from the Brainerd library, “Out Stealing Horses” by Per Petterson, another Norwegian story. I had read it several years ago, but downloaded it from Audible to refresh my memory as I walked around my neighborhood and listened to it on my drive to visit my parents. I might have been making assumptions, but with the great club meeting with Candace, the pontoon ride, the snacks, and already knowing the book, I showed up at the September meeting with my biggest smile and a book suggestion. The club read my book choice next, “Born for Life – A Midwife’s Story” by Julie Watson. This is one of the most

fascinating memoirs I have ever read and I couldn’t stop myself from talking about it to everyone I knew. I wrote a review on my web site and posted it on Amazon and Goodreads, as well, to help promote this new author’s work. When Julie was 16-years-old, she was done with her education in New Zealand (equivalent to our high school). After working in the maternity ward at her local hospital, she assisted the Sisters (their name for nurses) in deliveries and patient care. Watson writes candidly about her experiences, her own personal joys and sorrows of becoming a mother and eventually starting her own practice as a midwife. Many women seem to need some sort of sisterhood, whether it’s a sewing club, sports club, church group or book club. Maybe it goes back to the old-fashioned notion that we need an excuse to get together. Maybe it’s simply more fun to

share your interests and hobbies with other women. All I know is that when I finally found my way back to a book club, I got a little misty-eyed. I hadn’t realized how much I missed the sisterhood, the sharing of ideas and reflections on stories, a glass of wine or two with women who love words and a slice of delicious desserts sprinkled with meaningful conversations about one another’s lives. n Mary Aalgaard is a freelance writer and blogger. Her words stretch across the globe through her blogs on Mary is also a playwright, debuting “Coffee Shop Confessions” in coffee shops around the Brainerd area in 2012. She also works with children and adults to create original dramas and is offering theatre classes for kids with the help of her sock puppets Millie and Willie Cottonpoly. Contact her at

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Winter 2015 2015 || her her voice voice 35 35 Winter



Kari Jo Williamson serves as an associate pastor at the Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa.


every Sunday morning, Pastor Kari Jo Williamson’s posts a Bible verse from the Psalms on Facebook. She posts faithfully and regularly, before she heads out to church.

These faithful FB posts have an especially joyous meaning, according to Pastor Kari, during the holidays - from Thanksgiving through Christmas and New Year’s Day. Effervescent joy describes Pastor Kari when she walks into a room, when she greets someone at Lutheran Church of the Cross where she is associate pastor and when you meet her on the street, in the hospital, or in the grocery store. Her hug, her smile and her handshake are sincere and you always feel at ease around her. Pastor Kari becomes a communicator of good news and the Bible verse she posted on Facebook, “This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!” After the verse she adds, “See you in worship. Blessings…” For Pastor Kari, joy and blessings multiply during the Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas season. This began at home in her childhood forming traditions with her family, traditions that 36 Winter 2015 | her voice

have followed her throughout her life. “Thanksgiving is the one holiday when we aren’t worried about gifts and appearances. We sit around the table with family and friends and are just thankful. At Thanksgiving we acknowledge that God has blessed us abundantly, and we are called to share out of that abundance,” she says. “There are many times Thanksgiving weekend and the first Sunday in Advent run together so even when the first Advent candle is lit and we begin our journey to the manger, we are still thinking about Thanksgiving and turkey.” Lighting of the candle on the Advent wreath is more than a symbol to Pastor Kari. To her it is anticipation of God’s greatest gift, given to us personally and to the world. It is a time to focus on what the coming of God’s love at Christmas means with its message of hope, promise and life. It is also when we are called to share the good news even if calendars are full and stress is high to create a “per-

fect” holiday. Pastor Kari says that Christmas is overdone at times and that it should not be about gifts but about what is special during the holidays. “It is a joy to walk with people during the Advent season and anticipate with them and catch their excitement of the coming of the Christ child.” The Candle Light Service on Christmas Eve is powerful, she says. Standing in front of the church and watching the people with lit candles and listening to them sing “Silent Night” is a holy moment. “For a moment you visually see the light shining in the darkness from the gospel of John. You know that Christ is present,” she says. She also loves to watch the excitement in the children during the children’s sermon. They are full of stories about Jesus’ birth and it is a joy to hear them share their faith. Christmas family traditions are important to Pastor Kari. She remembers

Parishioner Marlene Perkins (right) helps Kari prepare for a service.

going with her dad and sister every year shopping for their mother’s Christmas gift. She also remembers decorating the tree with her sister using ornaments given to them over the years by friends and family. With each ornament, they remembered the one who gave it, giving thanks for the love given and life shared. Tradition, of course, included going to church as a family to celebrate Christ’s birth and then heading over to her aunt’s or going home to be with family on Christmas Eve Christmas morning was special for Pastor Kari and her sister, and they always looked forward to it. It was the time when they would read the Christmas story from the gospel of Luke, share gifts with each other and have a wonderful brunch together as a family. To this day, Pastor Kari celebrates Christmas with her parents and younger sister, who has three children. Pastor Kari believes, however, that the time between Thanksgiving and the New Year is not always happy for everyone. It can be a time of great loneliness, sadness, stress and difficulty. Last year Lutheran Church of the Cross held a Blue Christmas service. At this service, it was acknowledged that the Christmas season is difficult sometimes and that it can bring a mixture of emotions to people. “Sometimes easier is better,” she says referring to simplifying the holiday

with even the possibility of having pizza for Christmas dinner. Born in Fridley, Minn., Pastor Kari grew up in White Bear Lake/ Shoreview, graduating from Minnehaha Academy. After high school she went to Concordia College in Moorhead, finishing with a degree in secondary education and a minor in religion. After Concordia, Pastor Kari moved to Red Wing and was hired as youth director at United Lutheran Church. It was there that the pastors and people of the church encouraged her to go to seminary. “I thought they were crazy at first,” she says. “But one thing led to another, and I began my studies at Lutheran Seminary in St. Paul to become a pastor.” Since seminary graduation in 2003, Pastor Kari has served congregations in

Kari shares her love of religious traditions with the parishioners of Lutheran Church of the Cross.

Cannon Falls, Minn., Tempe, Ariz., and Hope Lutheran in Surrey, N.D. She also was involved in Lutheran Campus Ministry at Minot State University before coming to Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa, Minn. “Church has always been important to my family,” she says. “We went to church every Sunday as a family, and when we came home, we talked about it. My sister and I attended Sunday school, and when we were old enough, we became involved in youth group.” Her parents were role models who

A schematic of the solar panels being installed in the church is one step in addressing energy issues.

were involved in and served in the church. They taught Sunday school and Bible school, were on the church council and lived their faith. During high school, Pastor Kari had a really good youth director who noticed she had leadership skills and talked to her about going into ministry and becoming a youth director. Many people ask Pastor Kari about her time on the plains in Western North Dakota. “You can’t beat those beautiful sunrises and sunsets on the prairie,” she says. “I really appreciated them.” The job in Nisswa has been a gift to her. It brought her closer to her roots and her parents’ cabin, where she spent most of the summer weekends in her youth. She can see God’s hand in bringing her back to Minnesota and closer to friends and family. Most of all, it is a blessing to be one of the pastors at Lutheran Church of the Cross. According to Pastor Kari Jo Williamson, there are many good things about being a pastor. However, “the greatest thing about being a pastor is the people,” she says. n Bonnie Rokke Tinnes is a teacher of English and Russian and a registered nurse with BS degrees from Bemidji State University and the University of North Dakota. She is author of the “Margaret Series,” “Grandma’s Three Winks,” “Snow Presents and Other Poems,” and “Dancing Barefoot in the Wind.” another collection of her poetry. Now retired, she lives with her husband Gilmen in the Brainerd area.

Winter 2015 | her voice 37


Sheila DeChantal’s trip to Australia included a visit to a wildlife rescue zoo in Sydney, Australia, with baby kangaroos and koala bears.



38 Winter Winter 2015 2015 | her her voice voice 38


my husband suggested we plan a vacation in January of 2014, I was all for it. We are both

busy running in different directions and had not had a real vacation since the boys were still at home (more years than I care to admit). I didn’t ask for any details and went on with my life for the next several weeks before I inquired what dates we would be gone. “Jan. 4-27” was his reply.

Wait… What? Where were we going that we would be gone 23 days? That’s when I found out we were going to Australia. The trip was planned with Ray and Wendy Schrupp from Pine River, Judy Gaub of Crosby, and Julie Swenson, also of Pine River. While Al knew the Schrupps through our business, I had not met any of these people and admittedly, I was a little nervous. Who goes on a 23-day trip out of the country with people you’ve never met? When we all went out to dinner a couple of weeks before our trip, I relaxed. Everyone was so nice and down to earth. The more I talked with the ladies, the more I discovered we were a lot alike in many ways. We all enjoyed reading, movies and exploring. That dinner was like hanging out with old friends. I started to look forward to the trip. Travel day was a whole day commitment. Literally. We flew four hours from Minneapolis to Los Angeles and then after a four-hour lay-

over, we had a 15-hour flight on a A380 Airbus that landed in Sydney, Australia. While the flight was incredibly long, the chance to see Australia was well worth it. We spent four days in Sydney exploring the beautiful country. Each day we would leave our hotel and walk around the streets or take a tour and explore the larger surroundings. One day we went to a zoo and fed the kangaroos. Another day we took a small boat and saw the famous opera house and yet another we took a tour to the Blue Mountains to see the breathtaking Three Sisters rock formation. Next we then boarded the Diamond Princess Cruise ship for our 12-day cruise that ended in Auckland, New Zealand. In Melbourne, Australia our entire group boarded the Puffing Billy and viewed gorgeous countryside. In Hobart we experienced the Russell Falls and followed up with a trip to the Meadow Bay Wild Life Sanctuary where we held a koala bear and saw our first

Left, a tasty lunch at an Irish pub in Christchurch, New Zealand, featured an open faced chicken sandwich, topped with avocado, cucumber sauce and “hot chips.” Right, a private home featured in New Zealand’s Home and Garden magazine.

Tasmanian devil. There were two days on the ship where we had a beautiful view of Milford, Breaksea and Dusky Sounds, the br eathtaking fjords covered in lush green grasses and water falls. On our sea days, the girls spent our time in the sun on the 15th deck, and the guys played cribbage. We would meet up for meals and in the evenings enjoy one of the many entertainment opportunities offered by the ship. Sometimes that meant bingo or listening to comedians, other times it meant the disco bar. Our first stop in New Zealand was Port Chalmers. At this spot, Al and I chose to explore on our own and walked around the quaint streets. We found our way to the Historical Carey’s Bay Hotel where we sat outside enjoying a local brew and watching the ships in the Otago Harbour. We rented a car one day and the guys took turns driving on the right side of the road while the girls heckled from the backseat. We drove to the town of Christ Church where we visited the shops and tasted delicious food. On one of our excursions in New Zealand, we saw the Hobbiton movie set, where much of the “Lord Of The Rings” movies have been filmed. The book girl coming out in me, that is what I wanted to see and am so glad I did! The story behind the property is fascinating and seeing Bilbo and Frodo’s home and the whole land of Hobbiton was enough to bring tears to my eyes. On our final day of the cruise, the six of us took the

Glow Worm Grotto tour, exploring the amazing glow worm caves of Auckland, New Zealand. After the tour, we were treated to a Victorian-style wine luncheon at a beautiful private residence featured in New Zealand’s Home and Garden magazine. All in all, the chance to see Australia and New Zealand was certainly the trip of a lifetime. Not only did I have a wonderful experience, I discovered that by opening myself up to new adventures, I also made lifelong friends. And that … is pretty amazing. n

A bookie, Sheila had to visit Bilbo Baggins’ home from the Hobbit movie set in Hobbiton, New Zealand.

Sheila DeChantal is a freelance writer and book reviewer at the website She is president of the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library and sits on the city library board. When not reading she enjoys biking, hiking, mud runs, exploring and spending time with friends and family.

Winter 2015 2015 || her her voice voice 39 39 Winter


Beating the Winter Blues Stretch Your Brain, Stretch Your Body By REBECCA FLANSBURG

Her Voice


[ in search of ]

As hearty Minnesotans settle in for yet another long winter, the onset of colder temps does not mean necessarily hibernation for humans. The Brainerd lakes area is filled with wonderful resources and activities that help keep winter doldrums at bay and help navigate the frigid months. Resources on keeping kids from getting bored are easily available, finding resources for adults, not so much. But grownups can go a little stir crazy too! Luckily, our area is filled with fun and innovative opportunities to read, learn, be creative and educate ourselves. Whatever you choose, there are lots of ways to beat the winter blues! n

Get Your Read On! Brainerd Public Library

Winter is one of the best times to get caught up on your reading list. The Brainerd Public Library has a plethora of wonderful programs and activities sure to appeal to all ages. Some of their regular programs include monthly computer classes, “Book a Librarian,” a one-on-one question and answer opportunity, a Brainerd Adult Book Club that meets every second Wednesday of every month and educational health topic talks on the third Thursday of the month at noon. In the winter BPL also sponsors an adult winter reading program called “Snow Time to Read” from January to March. Readers, ages 18 and over, can join in the program by visiting the library and reading, making them eligible to win great prizes. If starting your own book club is on your winter “to-do,” the library also offers a unique program called Book Club in a Bag. Book Club in a Bag kits have 10 books and a discussion guide available for a 42-day (six week) check out, making it easy for a group to read the same title.

Winter Gardening Crow Wing Master Gardeners

Gardening in the winter? What? Just because there is snow on your beloved flower patch doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy some pre-season planning and education. The Crow Wing Master Gardeners has a wide variety of upcoming classes designed to please the greenest of thumbs and even the newest of gardening newbies. Check the Community Calendar page and sign up for classes like Worm Composting, Two Old-Fashioned Favorites: Peonies and Clematis and Foraging in the Forest - Outdoor Winter Decor. More details here:

Share your voice with us 40 Winter 2015 | her voice


For the mature citizen The Center on Kingwood

The Center on Kingwood Street is a hub of activity and fun recreation for older adults. Their mission is simple: to offer a gathering spot that acts as a community place where mature citizens can meet and participate in activities, classes, programs and services. It’s designed to also be a place that will support independence and enhance dignity and quality of life. The Center’s vast daily, weekly and monthly activities include a book club, a bridge or cribbage group and a walking/wellness program. The Center also offers a jam session that includes a band and dancing every Thursday and creative activities like greeting card recycling and water color classes. For more details, or to see their lineup of options, visit their Activities page:

Eat. Drink. Create. Socialize

Traveling Art Pub

A fun and innovative way to “chillax” with friends while tapping into your inner van Gogh. Multiple TAP events are scheduled monthly at local destinations and all are designed to provide an opportunity to create DIY art projects with friends, co-workers and even with spouses for a special date night experience. Traveling Art Pub gives participant the time, supplies and instruction to create their very own masterpiece and there’s no painting experience required! To view their current schedule and location, view their event calendar at:

Stretch Your Body Winter Exercising

If breathing the crisp, refreshing air of winter tickles your fancy, there are many ways to “stretch your body.” Options to keep your body and health in tip-top shape during the colder months include activities like cross-country skiing or snowshoeing at the Northland Arboretum or a trip to Ski Gull. When the temps dip to dangerous lows, residents can still walk indoors at The Westgate Mall, the indoor track at Forestview Middle School in Baxter (from 6-7 a.m.) and roaming the halls at Central Lakes College as part of their CLC 1/2 mile program.

We have

big dreams. Resources: in_a_bag_handout_20150701.pdf

AT JUST FOR KIX! Kick • Jazz • Hip Hop • Ballet • Lyrical • Tap


but appreciated for recognizing the effort of every dancer. Rebecca Flansburg is a proud mom of two, a freelance writer, blogger and project manager for the national children’s literacy event Multicultural Children’s Book Day. When not happily writing and creating content for others, she appreciates being outside, reading and thrifting. You can connect with her on Twitter as @RebeccFlansburg or via her blog

Just For Kix is perfect for young children looking to be introduced to dance or for extensive dance training. Our 30-year tradition of treating children with respect and our special brand of choreography lets dancers shine! Children learn in an inclusive environment, where dance and respect work hand in hand.


Cindy Clough • (218) 829-7107 • This is more than dance. Here, memories are made.



Winter 2015 | her voice 41

“I just have to play piano.” ~ Bea Henderson

Eighty-eight years on the



Henderson can’t keep her 10 fingers off the 88 keys of a piano, an instrument that she’s been playing 88 plus years. She was born to be a musician, a gift

that she says, “God has given me to share with others.” Bea, who will be 94 this February, began taking lessons from her mother at the age of 5. Her mother played piano, taught lessons and played at their church.

42 Winter 2015 | her voice

Bea watched and listened and soon was trying to pick out tunes on her own. When her mother noticed, she determined to teach Bea how to read music as well as play by ear. Bea learned improvisation on her own. When she sits in the upper lobby at Essentia Health’s St. Joseph’s Medical Center, she reads her audience. “If someone is coming by who is in a wheelchair, I might play something smooth and soothing. If they walk by, and they’re more boisterous, I’ll play something with a little more lilt to it.” In fact, she often matches the rhythm and cadence of her songs to the gait of the passers-by. Hearing live piano music as you walk in the doors of the hospital helps to lower anxiety. Deb Anderson, volunteer coordinator at the Brainerd hospital, lobbied for years to have a piano in place for local musicians to share their talent and give people a calming element when they need to be at the hospital. After approval from the hospital board, the St. Joseph’s Medical Center Auxiliary purchased and donated a Boston baby grand piano, a fine instrument made by the Steinway Company. When Bea saw and heard it one day while she was at the hospital she said, “I just have to play that piano.” Dianne Saumer Guidi schedules the musicians for time slots between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. most week days. She has several dedicated, accomplished musicians who play regularly, and some who play occasionally. Cleo Kuelbs was one of the first people on her list. Cleo was finishing her repertoire for the day when I arrived at the hospital. She has been teaching, singing and sharing her musical gifts for many years in the Brainerd lakes area. Between her and Bea, numerous young people have learned to play this beautiful instrument and develop a love of making music. “Music is magic,” says Cleo. It heals, sooths and connects.

Left to Right, Bea Henderson, Deb Anderson and Cleo Kuelbs.

Hearing live piano music as you walk in the doors of the hospital helps to lower anxiety.


Continued on page 46...

24719 hazelwood dr | Nisswa



Winter 2015 | her voice 43

Her Voice Service Directory • Winter 2015 Appliances


16603 St. Hwy 371 N Brainerd, MN (218) 829-3624

7217 Excelsior Rd, Suite 105 Baxter, MN (218) 454-8272

Schroeder’s Appliance


Thrivent Financial


Cuyuna Regional Medical Center 320 East Main Street Crosby, MN (218) 546-7000 (888) 487-6437

US Bank Corp. Investments

Just For Kix

320 South 6th St. Brainerd, MN (218) 828-5406

6948 Lake Forest Rd Brainerd, MN (218) 829-7107

Essentia Health

Gull Lake Glass

St. Joseph’s Medical Center 218-829-2861 Brainerd Clinic (218) 828-2880 Baxter Clinic (218) 828-2880


Lakewood Health System



18441 HWY 371 Brainerd, MN (218) 829-2881

Arlean’s Drapery

Pequot Lakes, MN (218) 568-8280

Free for your lobby

Staples Motley Pillager Eagle Bend Browerville (218) 894-1515 (800) 525-1033

Cub Foods

417 8th Ave NE Brainerd, MN (218) 828-1816

or waiting area!

14133 Edgewood Dr. Baxter, MN

Home Healthcare

Pequot Lakes Supervalu

Promote your ad within or simply sample our publications. We’ll provide your customers with great local reading!

Accra Care Home Health

30503 MN-371 Pequot Lakes, MN (218) 568-5001

Request your free copies here!

Brainerd, MN (218) 270-5905 • 218-855-5895




Weddings North

Reserve Your Ad Space!




I live here, love here, know here. Call me. 15354 DELLWOOD DRIVE BAXTER, MN 56425

C: 218-831-5243 | F: 218-825-3636 |

44 Winter 2015 | her voice



Bird Feeders, Bird Seed, Puzzles, Books, Garden Decos and many Gift Items. MN made products-Chaga, Wild Rice, Honey, Hot Sauce, Soaps, Lotions and more.

Store Hours- Monday-Friday 8:30-5:00 • Saturday-9:00-3:00 • Sunday-Closed

218-829-5436 * 516 C St NE, Brainerd, MN

Betsy Hollister, Realtor ®

(218) 330-1920


Katie Lee


“You’re Locally Owned Backyard Nature and Gift Store”

Her Voice Service Directory • Winter 2015 Online Marketing


Northridge Agency

Midwest Family Eye

7870 Excelsior Rd Baxter, MN 56425 (218) 828-9545 121 4th St NE Staples, MN 56479 (218) 894-5480

AJ Business Development

123 N 1st St. Brainerd, MN (218) 829-1166

Nisswa, MN (218) 825-9667 1-866-568-3203


E.L. Menk Jewelers


Law Firm

7636 Design Road Baxter, MN (218) 825-1976 (800) 952-3766

623 Laurel St. Brainerd, MN (218) 829-7266

Breen & Person Ltd.

124 N. 6th St. Brainerd, MN (218) 828-1248

Great River/Crosby Eye Clinic

Real Estate

1 Third Ave. NE Crosby, MN (218) 546- 5108 (800) 952-3766

Salons and Spas

Edina Real Estate

15354 Dellwood Drive #100 Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 828-7000

Bell Cheveux Salon and Spa

24719 Hazelwood Drive Nisswa, MN (218) 961-0095

Lakes Area Eyecare


7734 Excelsior Rd N Baxter, MN (218) 829-2929 (888) 540-0202

Lakes Imaging Center 2019 S. 6th Street Brainerd, MN (218) 822-OPEN (6736) (877) 522-7222

Salon Couture

30920 Government Drive Pequot Lakes, MN (218) 568-8771

Share your voice with us


Her Voice Digital Version (entertainment tab)

Cindy Carlson,

Jolaine Johnson,




utrinkets, llc

I Help Buyers and Sellers Find Each Other.

yarn ~ antiques ~ gifts

617 Laurel Street, Brainerd, MN 56401


Text cindykcarlson to 952-856-8300

Sheila Holley, GRI/CRS/RRS Commercial Division/Premier Properties



Tammy Schultz




Download my free property search app today! • Find us on Facebook & Ravelry 001240079r1

Knowledge. Experience. Commitment. Sandy Swanson, Realtor®

218-839-9058 001279499r2

Baxter Office 218-839-4390



Winter 2015 | her voice 45

“I just know that I’m supposed to be doing this. It blesses so many people.” ~ Bea Henderson

...Continued from page 43 Bea is a favorite as she plays a nice variety of hymns, folksongs and a bit of gospel with a jazzy flair. Instead of a songbook, she simply brings her little notebook with a list of favorites to play as she fills the halls with chords and melodies, lifting spirits and giving listeners a little more spring in their step. One nurse asked to hear “Brighten the Corner” as she wheeled a patient onto the elevator. Cleo and I sat and listened to Bea play. It was like sitting in an old-fashioned parlor (minus the soft puff to sit on) listening and singing along to our favorite tunes and feeling the music work its magic on us. No matter what your state of physical or mental health, music connects the wires and gives you a way to communicate and feel and keeps the blues away. Bea says that throughout her life, she has used her gift to connect with people. Her birth mother died when Bea was born. She was adopted at age 2 by her

Bea uses her gift of music to connect with people.

uncle and aunt, who nurtured her skills as a musician. When she was around 10 years old, she started playing piano at her church. She took the hymn book home and learned every song. Bea was 18 when her adopted mother died of cancer. Music helped her through that grief. While her first husband was sent overseas during World War II, she was offered his job by the local paper where they lived in Iowa. She took over his job as circulation manager and needed to find a room to board in town during the week. She put out a request for a room and a home where she could have piano privileges because, she said, “I couldn’t go a week without playing.” A woman who was recently widowed answered the ad. She was an opera singer. Bea would play while she sang, “And that helped her get through the grief.” Deb said she’s heard so many people thanking the musicians for their gift of music, compliments and voicing their

feelings of a calming effect. One day, a surgeon passed by the piano and asked for a certain song to be played. The musician knew the song and played it while he prepared himself mentally for surgery. He thanked the pianist, saying that was just what he needed to hear. Bea’s response to the compliments she receives is, “I just know that I’m supposed to be doing this. It blesses so many people.” n

Mary Aalgaard is a freelance writer and blogger. Her words stretch across the globe through her blogs on www.playoffthepage. com. Her original drama “Coffee Shop Confessions” was performed in coffee shops around the Brainerd area in 2012. She works with both children and adults to create original dramas, and is offering theatre classes for kids. Contact her at

If you’d like to volunteer to play the piano at the hospital, contact Diane Saumer Guidi, 218-454-0268, or email

46 Winter 2015 | her voice

To our past. To our future... To our past. To our future...


Us Us


Two-Stone Fashion Jewelry Two-Stone Fashion Jewelry

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

Personalized Home Care for Both Children and Adults. Accra is a non-profit agency providing supportive services to individuals with disabilities of all ages and older adults since 1991.

Call our Brainerd office for a FREE CONSULTATION at

218-270-5905 or 866-935-3515


Her Voice Magazine: Winter 2015  

Möt Mary (Meet Mary): Mary Abendroth - a multi-cultural singer, dancer, linguist, globe trotter, knitter and former Peace Corps volunteer. •...

Her Voice Magazine: Winter 2015  

Möt Mary (Meet Mary): Mary Abendroth - a multi-cultural singer, dancer, linguist, globe trotter, knitter and former Peace Corps volunteer. •...