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WINTER 2016

By women. For women. About women.

• Toy Story • A Bridge to Hope • Finding Her IT Niche

S TO P P I N G

the

g i m t a S

PLUS!

+ ISO-

Holistic Health

+ Heidi’s

Happy Hour

+ Kimmy

The Waitress

A Brainerd Dispatch Publication. Like us on Facebook • Winter 2016 | her voice 1


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Winter ‘16 Contents Features

09

Heidi’s Happy Hour Heidi Rundquist wears many hats at the YMCA and is an inspiration to women in and out of class. By Denise Sundquist

14 Toy Story

Just like Santa’s elves, these toy making volunteers at The Center bring smiles and happy faces to children in need. By Carolyn Corbett

20

A Bridge To Hope

23

Finding Her IT Niche

9

What does living at or near the poverty line look like? Bridges of Hope, with support from area churches and social service agencies, offers some answers. By Mary Aalgaard

After breaking a bone, Amy Schulz breaks into an IT career. By Rebecca Flansburg

26

On The Cover

Sarah Schultz Photo by Joey Halvorson

38

40

In This Issue editorial • 4

entrepreneurs • 26

business • 32

mother/daughter • 38

by Meg Douglas

By Joan Hasskamp

By Cynthia Bachman

By Denise Sundquist

The Cuyuna Connection wellness • 6

Stopping The Stigma By Sarah Schultz

friends • 12

Mixed Company restaurants • 28

Making Friends, One Plate At A Time By Jenny Holmes

60 Years of Friendship

spirituality • 30

books • 18

By Erika Swenson

By Catherine Rausch

Journey To Nicaragua

Petals & Beans

Forced Family Fun

the arts • 34

her voice ISO • 40

Aspiring Artist By Sue Sterling

clubs and clusters • 36

Pickleball

By Maureen Farnsworth

Cultivating Holistic and Physical Wellbeing By Rebecca Flansburg

writers • 42

Thanks For The Memories By Marlene Chabot

Hallowed Halls By Kate Toriseva

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PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON

from the editor

By women. For women. About women.

Staff PUBLISHER

Pete Mohs EDITOR

Meg Douglas DESIGN AND LAYOUT

Writers, friends and comics Jill Anderson (left) and Joan Hasskamp.

THE CUYUNA CONNECTION

J

ust two years old in 2005, Her Voice published Joan Hasskamp’s tongue-in-cheek column about a bake-off competition, our first foray into comedy. A year later, Jill Anderson submitted the story of a bus driver for the Crosby-Ironton school district. Now, Joan’s Her Voice byline count stands at 23, Jill’s at 30. And since Joan lives in Crosby, Jill in Emily, the two writers have become our “Cuyuna Connection,” telling the stories of women on the Range. Born and raised in Crosby, Joan’s Cuyuna roots go deep: her grandfather, Crosby chief of police, her father the postmaster, her mother an English teacher at the middle and high school. In this edition on page 26, Joan shares more Cuyuna history; Crosby coffee shop Mixed Company, with ties to Johnna Johnson’s family. Early on, Joan crafted a fun, light-hearted employee newsletter for Crow Wing County Social Services called “The Rag.” “I kept thinking the director would shut it down,” says Joan, but staff begged for more and Joan found she had a flair. Next came the bake-off story, illustrated with a flour-covered Joan and an assortment of cooking supplies. While Jill shares Joan’s comic flair, early pieces looked at women in non-traditional roles. A city girl, Jill had moved north from a St. Paul suburb, landing in rural

Emily. Eventually she found work at Emily Cooperative Telephone and met “amazing women” in the area—women whose stories she wanted to write. Jill first featured Mary Fletcher, “a tough but tender” bus driver who cut, split and delivered wood. Interviewing women like Mary helped Jill meet her neighbors, she says, something she appreciates still about Her Voice writing. No surprise, Jill and Joan are friends, meeting first through bowling and golf, later at writing workshops. Jill got serious about writing fiction four years ago, starting a blog, getting a grant from Five Wings Art Council, joining the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, finding an agent, landing a publisher. It’s taken time, but Jill’s reward will be the publication of her first women’s fiction novel, “The To-Hell-And-Back Club” in early 2017. While Jill works on her second novel, she steered Joan into putting together a collection of humorous essays titled, “We Don’t Care Who Wins as Long as Joan Loses.” Both women acknowledge Her Voice as contributing to their prolific writing. “Writing’s a domino effect,” says Jill. “To get acceptance at the early stage—that gave me confidence.” Joan says she’s energized to write more by fans who give her positive feedback. Her Voice wishes success to both women, pleased to have provided a launching pad. Meg Douglas, Editor

Lisa Henry PHOTOGRAPHER

Joey Halvorson COPY EDITOR

DeLynn Howard

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copyright© 2003 VOLUME 13, EDITION 4 WINTER 2016

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wellness

PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON

e h t g n i p p Sto

Sarah Schultz is stopping the stigma of mental illness with help from a tool called dialectical behavioral therapy.

I had everything I’d strived for. I should be happy...

Y

By SARAH SCHULTZ

ou’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and you don’t know much about it. Contrary to the doctor’s advising against it, you return home and do what everyone does: Google diabetes. Your search reveals pages of negativity: people with diabetes are selfish, horrible people incapable of love. They can’t hold jobs, are not good parents or partners and there is no hope for recovery.

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I am proof it’s possible to recover from mental illness given the tools and support to do so.

Obviously, a diabetes diagnosis would not conjure such reactions. But, what if we changed diabetes to borderline personality disorder or another mental illness? In May 2014, I first heard of borderline personality disorder (BPD) and was diagnosed with it. I was married with a 1-year-old, had a great job and everything I’d strived for. I should be happy, I should be nurturing and loving. In reality I was suffering daily from debilitating panic attacks, extreme social anxiety, big highs and bigger lows — sleeping 45 minutes to an hour in a four or fiveday period, numb to the world. I didn’t want this. I loved my son and husband. I loved my job and was good at it. Many around me acted as though I was choosing to live in constant chaos for attention or pretended it didn’t exist at all. Friendships ceased and I was

beginning to lose my husband’s support. I needed help. I visited a therapist who later gave me my diagnosis. I wasn’t alone, but that thin hope was quickly diminished by research results, family and trusted friends. Discouraged, I returned to therapy and shared fears of hopelessness regarding my diagnosis. All I had read about BPD was dismal. I feared for my son after reading articles and blog posts titled: “Surviving Your Narcissistic Mother,” “Why Mommy Can’t Love You.” The information I found pointed to my being toxic to my loved ones and incapable of caring for them. I was angry at my therapist for saying I had such a terrible disease! I didn’t know who I was. Many of my personality traits seemed to stem from BPD.

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In he


75%

of BPD diagnosis are women Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms • Unstable intense relationships • Rapid changes in self-identity and self-image that include shifting goals and values • Periods of stress-related paranoia and loss of contact with reality • Intense fear of abandonment • Suicidal behavior or self-injury • Wide mood swings lasting a few hours to a few days • Ongoing feelings of emptiness • Inappropriate, intense anger, losing temper, sarcastic or bitter or physical fights. Source Nami.org

I have a big heart, short temper and artistic talent. Filled with empathy and quick to put others before me. Passionate and sensitive. All traits heavily associated with BPD. Was I just a mental illness? I once badgered my therapist, “What are we going to do about it anyway?! This is who I am; there’s nothing I can do!” That’s when I heard the phrase DBT for the first time. I had no idea it would change my life. DBT is dialectical behavioral therapy, developed by Marsha Linehan for treating individuals with BPD. It’s a two-part therapy that includes weekly individual sessions in conjunction with weekly group sessions. Rather than discussing details of individual hardships, each week was dedicated to learning skills to cope, communicate and be proactive instead of reactive. BPD is generally caused by two factors: genetic predisposition and exposure to trauma at a young age. Often BPD accompanies emotional outbursts, self-destructive behaviors and a host of emotionally stunted behaviors. Most symptoms are suppressed emotions being inappropriately expressed through learned coping mechanisms. Everyone uses coping mechanisms. The difference is someone with BPD can be on autopilot — constantly coping, lashing out, going through the motions and never finding true solace. Prior to treatment I would share my sad story with anyone who would listen, not with the intention of gained sympathy, rather, I could not let go. I was still angry about what put me here and I let that anger drive me. Now, in recovery and post therapy, I know it’s

not important what happened. What’s important is accepting it did happen and moving forward. It sounds like common sense, but when you’ve spent a lifetime rejecting negative emotions your brain learns to suppress these feelings. It’s OK to feel sad and put your own needs in front of others. Without caring for yourself, you won’t be able to care for others. My acceptance has grown into forgiveness and given me peace. Forgiveness has opened doors to relationships I didn’t think could exist. I nurture my son (and daughter now) and marriage in ways I’d always wanted. It’s not just about the learned skills, it includes applying those skills daily and surrounding myself with supportive loved ones, educating them about my mental illness and creating a healthy environment for my family. I can take ownership for my mistakes and move forward instead of wallowing in self-pity. I show healthy empathy without letting others consume me. Recovery is a process. I am proof it’s possible to recover from mental illness given the tools and support to do so. This is why I share my story. If more are willing to share positivity surrounding mental illness, the stigma will fade. We are not crazy. We are not narcissists. We are not selfish or incapable of love. We are people with mental illness longing for love, happiness and peace. Together we can stop the stigma. Sarah Schultz resides in Brainerd with her husband Tim and two young children, Desmond and PennyJane. She is a stay at home mom with a passion for art of any kind. Enjoying and making art are equally important in her daily life. She loves music and begins each day dancing with her children.

1 in 5 Americans live with a mental condition. Help end the stigma. www.nami.org 88Winter Winter2016 2016| |her hervoice voice••Like Likeus uson onFacebook Facebook


PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON

Heidi’s HappyHour I BY DENISE SUNDQUIST

look at the clock on my office wall. It’s noon. I can’t see the top of my desk and my computer chimes as another email fills my inbox. There is no way I can go to the Coming to class today?!! 12:15 p.m. Group Power at the Brainerd Sure. Family YMCA. I’m buried. I’m crabby. Even Group Fitness Coordinator at the Brainerd YMCA, Heidi Rudstrom worse, I’m hungry... I glance at my cell phone and there is a text from Heidi Rudstrom, a.k.a The Red Headed Mistress of Torture. “Coming to class today?!!” Regretting I ever gave her my cell phone number, I reply, “Sure” and walk out the door. Part of the leadership staff at the YMCA, Heidi has worked there for 17 years as an instructor and group fitness coordinator.

connects music to movement in a variety of classes.

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She currently teaches yoga, Group Power and Silver Sneakers, but has developed and taught a wide variety of classes. Her fitness background includes a childhood full of dance as well as a dance minor from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Her ability to find the beat, carry the beat, and understand choreography helps her connect music to movement. It’s amazing how she’s ultimately able to distract her students from realizing they’re getting a great workout. And unlike running on a treadmill, time

Jean Gustafson Gustafson’s journey into fitness was physical, spiritual and emotional. “I hadn’t exercised in years and needed to challenge myself in a new way.” She walked into Heidi’s class alone and didn’t know what to do, but kind of followed the crowd. After class, she pulled Heidi aside to introduce herself and immediately felt accepted. “She’s very sweet and I loved the individual attention she gave me.” Four years later, Jean is still a work in progress. “Heidi’s Group Power classes have enabled me to become this strong, dynamic, caring, loving person that can take on a lot of challenges; a lot of cases I never would have taken on before as an attorney.” She added, “This is a difficult field. It’s highly competitive and you have to stay strong.”

really does fly by! It’s because of motivating and fun instructors like Heidi, that more people are enjoying group fitness classes. Heidi is known for bringing people together to motivate them in a healthy, positive way. To Heidi, it’s more than fitness and nutrition, “It’s about creating a community in my classes that makes people want to come back for more.” And they do. One of the things that makes these classes appealing is that there’s no pressure. Perhaps the youngest 79-year-olds in Crow Wing County, they retired in 2005 and started coming to the YMCA. It’s more like Marlene dragged Roger; he really couldn’t see the point. They stuck around because, “Heidi takes a personal interest in

Patti Aanes Patti Aanes didn’t believe she was a group fitness person until she attended Heidi’s class and fell in love. Believe it or not, she’s now one of the “regulars.” “Heidi made me feel very welcome and comfortable. She reaffirms we are coming here not as an indulgence, but as an investment,” says Patti. As an attorney, Patti doesn’t always have control of her schedule. “When I can’t go, I notice an increase in anxiety levels and I don’t sleep as well.” Patti gets a lot of encouragement from her co-workers to attend class regularly. “Group Power is a great mental and physical break; I come back with more energy and focus.”

everyone and she makes us feel good about what we were doing.” As Roger continued to participatin group fitness classes, he began to understand the value. Roger loves to scuba dive and his regular workouts prepare him to carry his 80-pound air tank as well as a 30-pound weight belt. Marlene clarified, “I’m not a diver, I just like exercise.” It’s clear, Heidi loves helping people, “We are a family, we’re a team. I enjoy hearing about the difference coming to class makes in their lives.” Her group fitness participants are eager to share their fitness goals which might include climbing a mountain, running a marathon or just keeping up with their grandchildren. Monday’s classes might highlight a weekend “Race Report” while classes later in the week might be tagged “Last Chance Workout” to get participants ready for a special wedding or a big class reunion. In any event, people are always working together to be the best version of themselves. Heidi is a master when it comes to disguising workouts as a social event. She creates individual soundtracks to celebrate birthdays as well as adding costume pieces Halloween week. Her most memorable ensembles include her grandmother’s 1970s square dancing outfit as well as her son’s gorilla costume. “We like to laugh. We like to have fun.” With so much laughter, why isn’t everyone joining in the fun? Heidi acknowledges that people can get

Fitness

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mother of two grown sons, Alek and Logan and a busy 13-year-old- daughter, Teagan. When Heidi isn’t working at the YMCA, she enjoys cooking healthy meals for her family and can be found paddleboarding at sunset on Grave Lake. On weekends, the family often travels to their rustic cabin on Big Sturgeon Lake where they enjoy the sound of a chainsaw as much as a crackling lakeside campfire. Bonnie Crum is an active Silver Sneakers Over the years Heidi’s learned that participant. people get frustrated when they can’t injured or sick or need to take care of see immediate results, not realizing a loved one. Many have personal in- it’s a lifelong journey, something they terferences such as jobs, kids and crazy need to work towards. Building in the schedules that can be difficult to work community and social aspects into her around. Heidi wants everyone to know classes, says Heidi, helps her get peothey are welcome, even though many ple back week after week, despite not believe they are too out of shape to seeing results right away. Heidi is patient and ready to help start or they need to lose weight before anyone that is looking to be a part of they come to a class. Heidi needs to stay strong too. She this community. At 50 years old, she’s has been married to her outdoors- just getting started. “I will always be man husband Kraig for 28 years, is the involved in teaching classes the rest of

my life. No question. You have to keep fitness in your life forever.” So it doesn’t look like I’m getting off the hook anytime soon. All I know is it’s 4 a.m. and I can’t sleep. My leg muscles are sore from that awesome group power class. I decide to get out of bed and take a couple of ibuprofen. I glance at my cell phone on the kitchen counter and decide to text the person responsible for my misery. “Hey Heidi, just wanted to let you know, me and my lactic acid loving legs are thinking of you. You’re the best!” I bet she wishes she never gave me her cell phone number. Denise Sundquist is the health and safety coordinator for the Brainerd School District. Since her sons left for college, she has embraced a more active lifestyle including local triathlons, running races and mountain biking with her husband, Matt, on the Cuyuna Mountain Bike Trail System.

The Women of CENTURY 21

SMARTER. BOLDER. FASTER.®

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GOT SOMETHING SPECIFIC IN MIND? SHE’LL TRACK IT DOWN. WHETHER YOU’RE ON THE HUNT FOR AN EXTRA BEDROOM, A WOODED LOT, OR THAT TOP-RATED SCHOOL DISTRICT, YOUR CENTURY 21® AGENT WON’T LET YOUR TARGET GET AWAY. IT’S OUT THERE, AND SHE’LL FIND IT. THAT’S ONE SPECIAL AGENT.

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friends

Carol Spearman

Jude Vrdoljak

60 Years of Friendship By CATHERINE RAUSCH

N

ot many friendships last 60 years. Carol Spearman and Jude Vrdoljak met in 10th grade biology class. Carol didn’t like dissecting frogs and Jude didn’t like drawing diagrams, so they made a good lab team.

Carol lived in Piedmont Heights. Jude lived about nine miles away in West Duluth. Today they live two short miles from each other near Staples. Six friends: Jude, Carol, Dorothy, Sheila, Jeanne and Joyce hung out together at Duluth’s Denfeld High School. “We weren’t the popular crowd,” Carol said. “We were the intelligent crowd.” Memories come easy of slumber and popcorn parties with lots of laughs and talks about the deeper meaning of life. They stayed after school for GAA (Girls Athletic Association). With sandwiches from home they had more time for talk and laughs. Unfortunately, they weren’t allowed to compete in sports back then; instead other schools came for play days in basketball, ping pong and bowling. During a game break, they also wrote, made costumes and performed a skit based on “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” 12 Winter 2016 | her voice • Like us on Facebook

Outside of school they enjoyed camping, bike hikes and campfires on the shores of Lake Superior. After high school, all six friends went to University of Minnesota Duluth. Carol and Jude were awarded a Hunt Scholarship and lived at home during college. Carol studied sociology/social work, Jude sociology, psychology and philosophy. After college (1963) Carol and Jude’s paths parted. Carol moved to Milwaukee, Wis., to do adoption/foster care work and Jude moved to Minneapolis. By 1969 Jude was fed up with government work and moved to Princeton to live and work on a friend’s grandparents’ crop farm. Jude enjoyed engineering in college and taught herself carpentry while on the farm. In 1973 Jude went looking for Carol and found her attending law school in Minneapolis. Jude was angry that Carol got to go to law school and she didn’t.


Good friends are hard to find. A friend for a lifetime is made in Heaven.

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book club. When Jude gets heckled about cooking she says, “OK, I can’t cook, but I can build a house. Can you?” Jude has a knack for finding the thread in a story and has edited all of Carol’s books. Their greatest frustration is that Jude is a detail person and Carol is not, but these differences become strength when they renovate buildings together. Good friends are hard to find. A friend for a lifetime is made in Heaven. After many years of journal writing, Catherine Rausch published her first poems and a short story in 2003. In 2015 she attended Hollywood’s “Act One” writing program and is currently writing a screenplay. She enjoys drawing, painting and spending time with her grandchildren. Catherine lives with her husband, Duane, in Little Falls, and has four adult children.

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In 1987 all six friends gathered for a reunion at a resort Carol owned on Mille Lacs Lake where they shared their amazing life stories. After Carol moved to England, Jude and Carol stayed more closely connected. In 1991, four of the six friends visited her in England. Carol moved back to the U.S. in 1993. Jude helped renovate Carol’s triplex. Later they tackled rebuilding Carol’s three-stall garage, finding they had a similar eye for design. As in 10th grade biology, they worked

well together. When Carol bought a lake home in Grand Rapids, Jude drove from Princeton on weekends to help her renovate. Carol also owned property in Sylvan Shores, and eight years ago Jude moved there also. Together they renovated each of their current homes. Carol wanted to be a writer since 1959 and has written four books. “Firewall of the Mind,” a romantic thriller (2012), “The Lie Beyond,” also a screenplay to expose sex trafficking (2014), “Half Forgotten Dream,” a story of grief and recovery (2015), and “One Tap Too Many,” a YA novel (2016). All four books are available on Amazon Kindle under C.A. Spearman. Her next book, “Our Synthetic Kids,” is in the works. Jude doesn’t cook, so recently Carol made a cookbook for Jude including four pages of instructions on how to make scrambled eggs, but it didn’t help. Jude would rather read. Carol and Jude also participate in a local

OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK

218-545-1010

128 West Main Street Crosby, MN 56441

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PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON

Toy Story

Leona Selinger (left) and Ann Richardson make cloth dolls and stuffed animals at The Center to donate to area charities.

By CAROLYN CORBETT

By

A card on the wall of a work room at The Center reads: “Thank you so much for the wonderful donation of toys. The dolls, bears and cars are being given to kids coming in to Urgent Care, Family Medicine & Pediatrics. They are a bright spot in a doctor visit. Much appreciated! Wendy Froslie, Mgr. on behalf of Essentia Baxter Clinic.”

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4,000 Dolls, animals and toys in three years.


The Center, sometimes referred to as the Senior Center, describe their mission as a place to “have a Center which is a community focal point on aging, a place where mature citizens can meet and participate in activities, classes, programs and services which will support their independence, and enhance their dignity and quality of life.” Doll makers and toy makers at The Center work to enhance the quality of life for children in the Brainerd lakes area. In their first three years, the group produced and donated over 4,000 dolls, animals and wooden toys. The playthings are hand crafted and delivered to any agencies the makers hear about that care for children in need: Brainerd Police Department, Brainerd Fire-Rescue, Mid-Minnesota Women’s Center, Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center and the Alex & Brandon Child Safety Center. The Baxter Police Department carries smaller sized toy cars in their glove compartments so they can grab one at

Toymakers Marcia Tompkins and Ron Kulla deliver hand-made toys to Deb Anderson (far right), Volunteer Coordinator at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Center. This year Deb nominated the toy makers for the Hospital Awards for Volunteer Excellence.

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the site of an accident or other situation to immediately give to the little boy or girl and they stop crying. Marsha Tompkins is “just one of the guys,” says one of the guys and she laughs along with them. But as a female toy maker at The Center, she pushed for pink cars and got them. After about a year, she began making little rag dolls – boy and girl dolls – each with an extra set of clothes. “I’m retired, so that’s what I do. Make dolls.” Actually, she makes wooden cars and toys at The Center and mostly works on her dolls at home. When Leona Selinger wandered in, Marsha loaded her up with material and filler to take home and Leona just ran away with it. She makes giraffes and pigs, elephants and dogs, cats and lambs and frogs and hippos, not to mention some big teddy bears. Some are smooth, some are wooly, others are fuzzy ones. She enjoys experimenting and each animal has its own personality. Leona has grandchildren and great-grandchildren so she knows what kids like. Leona makes the animals and hopes some child will really like them. She said she never hears who gets them. But thank you cards line a cork board at The Center. Ann Richardson first heard about the doll making at an annual meeting at The Center and thought it was something she could do in her spare time, an hour or so while watching

TV. She questioned at first how many traumatized kids there could be in Brainerd until she saw the numbers. She realized that the dolls and animals and wooden toys provide encouragement to calm youngsters in difficult circumstances. Ann buys quilt squares when they are on sale, making two dresses out of each square. She also uses flannel scraps. Each doll gets two outfits, a dress and a pair of pajamas. She talks about how good it would be to have more people to help make the doll clothing and hopes some women who read this article decide to get involved. She sews and stuffs, painting cloth faces so there are no button eyes or anything that would be dangerous to young children. Then there’s yarn for hair, though she did have an old wig with curly blonde hair that worked great. “It’s a fun thing,” she says of her work. The wooden toy making operation actually started before the dolls and animals. Three original toy makers at The Center grew to a group that varies in size from six to nine most Tuesdays. Ron Kulla arrives at the Center by 7 a.m. to get everything laid out and organized for the other folks who show up an hour later and work until 11:30 a.m. One thing he sets out is a plastic jar. The toy makers each put in a dollar a week, sometimes more, to pay for paint and brushes, sandpaper, dowels for axels and the little wheels that cost a quarter

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Before the dolls, wooden toys were made by Ron Kulla (left) and Dick Carlson.

each, $1 per car. Bill Window and Dick Carlson say it takes a couple of days to create each car. First the pattern is traced on wood before being cut with a scroll saw or band saw, drilled for axels and windows, then sanded. The router takes off sharp edges before a final sanding. Some toys are painted; some are left natural so the grain of the wood shows. All are fin-

ished with a coat of polyurethane before they are sent out into the world. The final step is to wood burn the name and phone number of The Center on the bottom or apply a sticker with that information. Deb Anderson, Volunteer Coordinator at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center has nominated the toy makers from the Center for the 2016 Hospital

Dear Toy Makers,

Once again, thank you so much for the cars and dolls. The children just love them. It is people like you folks who help brighten their days. You also make it possible for us to assist our women and their children.

Sincerely,

The Staff and Board of the Mid-Minnesota Women’s Center


Awards for Volunteer Excellence given out by the American Hospital Association. The HAVE awards recognize outstanding contributions of organized volunteer programs and acknowledges the value of volunteerism to individuals, organizations and communities. “We love having this available,” says Deb of the playthings. “They are so much appreciated.” From the volunteer coordinator’s office the toys and dolls are distributed throughout the facility. Some go to radiology, some to the emergency room, some to the information desk at the front of the building. Deb sometimes hears a stressed youngster in the hall outside her office. She will grab a toy, take it out and say, “Here, you’re having a hard day. I hope this will help you.” She tells of one child who

was given a toy who returned to the hospital about a year later. He said to his folks, “I have to bring my truck.” Tina Dunlap, who staffs the front desk, keeps the toys handy to engage children that are having a hard time. Maybe they are scared. Maybe they are anxious about a family member. Maybe they are acting out or were just in a car accident. Tina says she tells the children, “I have something very special for you. Something that someone made just for a kid. “I love these,” Tina says. “They are really well made and look - they all have wheels.” Says Tina, “Thank you so much for helping us in our mission to serve our patients.”

Tina Dunlap, a front desk greeter at Essentia, keeps toys at her desk to engage children who might be fearful.

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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books

Editor’s note: Friends of the Brainerd Public Library offered two $1,000 scholarships to 2016 Brainerd High School graduating seniors with a current Kitchigami Regional library card planning to pursue a two or four year degree program. Students were to write an essay answering the question: How do you envision the library of the future? One winning essay follows.

H

alls lined with marble pillars, high ceilings and grand archways house rows upon rows of mahogany shelves. Old books line the shelves, leather bound with glistening gold finish. Circular buildings float in the sky, alight with a strange blue light. Holograms flicker as people quietly flip through the digital pages of their books. Dust lies thick on ancient texts and secrets of old. Darkness prevails save for the small lights that flicker along the walls. We’ve all heard or seen these descriptions. From the grand libraries of Europe to the fictional halls of Star Wars and even to the imaginative hopes of every explorer, libraries are 18 Winter 2016 | her voice • Like us on Facebook

College freshman and book reader Kate Toriseva, at home with her horses.

PHOTO BY JOEY HALVORSON

Hallowed Halls By KATE TORISEVA

treasure. We drool over the idea of discovering a hidden library from the ancient Greeks, we stand amazed in the hallowed halls of our grand buildings and we even hold onto the concept of a building of knowledge in a galaxy far, far away. So what is in store for the library? Many cannot imagine a world without libraries, the very concept of a library being a symbol of what we hold dearest: the ability to share the greatest of knowledge and art. The library’s function will never cease, but its structure may. While the ancient libraries of Alexandria and the Imperial Library of Constantinople were honored to be in possession of the physical embodiment of many a genius’s knowledge, they were doomed to watch

these objects destroyed and to lose the wisdom within the writings. Not only was their literature prone to destruction or damage, but it was inaccessible to those who could not come to the library. Today,because of technology,we have seen an end to these shortcomings. All the knowledge of the world has been placed at our fingertips, storehouses of opinions, documents and fantasies are laid at our feet through the web. For the first time in history you don’t have to go to a physical building to discover the words of John Adams or Winston Churchill, you need only pull out your phone. A virtual library has been presented to us. This availability of the world’s knowledge makes physical libraries more and more unnecessary.


ing dedicated to the storage and availability of knowledge and the strength of community will remain. They will compete with the modern world, housing computers, holograms or whatever the future might bring. Teenagers will huddle near outlets and young and old will search through pages of EBooks and online databases. Libraries will reach the world, bringing the works of India to a Minnesotan child and children of Japan will be able to read the works of a Midwestern author. The library will facilitate the learning and outreach of the world, bringing it into an accessible place. Although buildings and places will change, the content of libraries will remain. A place of community, people will come to find the natural quiet of books in a place of knowledge. It’s a bright future ahead, the ability to access hundreds of documents with the click of the finger, but it’s also a safe future, because we value However, the library is not simply for the community of libraries enough to providing books and resources. The li- preserve them. brary is a place of community and the facilitation of knowledge. There is a reverence of physical books and of the Kate Toriseva is the daughter of two loving parents history they hold not just in their pages who homeschooled her and inspired her efforts in literature. She is now a high school graduate, but in the worn covers and the sentiattending Hamline University for chemistry and mentality of those who held them. forensic science. Despite her decision to pursue a degree in science, she has an avid interest in the So what might the library of the fuarts, including both music and writing. ture look like? I believe that a build-

FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY

2017 Scholarship When: February 6, 2017 Where: Brainerd High School Student Success Center Deadline: Return to the center by March 31, 2017 Who: The scholarship is open to BHS graduating seniors who plan to pursue a two or four-year degree program in an accredited institution and have a current Kitchigami Regional Library System card. Financial need will be considered , but may not be a determining factor.

Like us on Facebook • Winter 2016 | her voice 19


A BRIDGE

toHOPE By MARY AALGAARD

As Interim Executive Director of Bridges of Hope, Kassie Heisserer helps connect people in need to services in the community.

N

PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON

ot everyone experiences the carefree life the lakes

area has to offer. While tourists are flooding the roadways and renting cottages, many area residents are barely scraping by. The idea of a vacation is far from their minds as they wonder how they’re going to pay next month’s rent, replace the milk that just ran out and put gas in their cars.

In 2002, area church leaders banded together with concerned citizens and social service agencies to see how to better meet the needs of our community. They formed Bridges of Hope, a place that works as a hub to connect people to the services they need, to keep a record of what the needs are, who is using them and offer that extra element that could make a difference

between making it and not, hope. People like Kassie Heisserer, Interim Executive Director of Bridges of Hope, offer a kind and caring ear. They let you know you’re not alone, help is available. They’ve set up many families with heat assistance. They helped an elderly gentleman get his propane tank filled before the winter cold set in. They offer mentorships and child

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care for women, in particular, who need a support system to earn a degree and better take care of themselves and their children. Kassie and her staff point people in the right direction to get assistance when needed and figure out a plan to be more independent. Many people are living paycheck to paycheck, so when something big comes up,


Bridges of Hope staff include (left to right): Jacklin Steege, Kassie Heisserer, Ashley Sweet, Nicholle Dean, Abby Dahl, Carla Prettyman.

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whether it’s car trouble or a medical condition, they can look at those bills and feel a bit of panic. We’re all just one disaster, diagnosis or bad intersection away from a major life change. Even if you have money saved up for a “rainy day,” most people aren’t prepared for a tsunami of bad breaks. Kassie has been with Bridges of Hope since 2004 and believes, “We have a phenomenal staff and board who also believe wholeheartedly in what we’re doing to serve the Brainerd lakes area, and there’s no way we would be here without the local support from individuals, businesses, service clubs, and area churches.” People need to trust their privacy is protected when they reach out to places like Bridges of Hope. Many people are willing to share their stories, which you can read on the blog on the Bridges of Hope website. Others wouldn’t want their closest neighbor, or even family, to know they needed assistance. Most people find it extremely painful to admit that they can’t make it on their own. So, for the purpose of illustrating the need, I created a fictional person, Annie Nabor. Annie is a stay-at-home mom with three small children. The oldest girl is in kindergarten. Her three-year-old sister goes to preschool two mornings a week while Annie takes her nine-month-old son shopping. Her husband “Joe,” hasn’t been around much. He does handyman jobs and is very good, but gets distracted, blue and unmotivated. He got in with a team building decks at one of the local resorts, but that job ended about the time school started. He drifted after that. Stayed out late with his buddies, gave Annie a hard time for just about everything she did, or didn’t do. When she confronted him, he got angry and stormed out of the house. When she mentioned divorce, he froze the accounts. Without access to her bank account, which was puny, or a savings account that was practically non-existent, she didn’t have any money for the week’s groceries. Joe had maxed out the credit card and stopped answering her calls and texts. Going to church had been difficult for Annie since Joe left. It was hard sit-

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Actual household profiles of BOH clients: From: Kassie Heisserer, Bridges of Hope Interim Director The family was living at approximately

120 percent of poverty.

Couple: ages 26, 23 with four kids: ages 6, 3, 2, and 1 Both work and also receive county assistance/food support. They called because they were looking to move into a new home (the family of six was living in a two-bedroom apartment) and needed help paying the damage deposit (typically equal to a full month’s worth of rent).

Typical monthly expense budget for a family of four, one parent working and one staying home with young children Debt/CCs: usually exist but may be Rent: $550 Food: $500 defaulting on payments Childcare: none because one parent Car insurance: $112 Car payment: $220 stays home w/kids (Otherwise typically Gas/maintenance: $200 $30/day per child.) Electric: $70 Savings: none Gas (heat): $50 Medical/insurance: usually receiving MA Phone: $100 Cable/Entertainment: $100 Total Expenses: Garbage: $30 Monthly $2,182 Misc/basic needs/baby care: $250

Annual $26,184

ting amongst all the “happy” families. Watching that offering plate go by, she felt a twinge of angst. She’d always given the kids change to put in the plate. Now, when they grabbed her purse to find a dime or a quarter, she almost snatched it away. She might need that for milk tomorrow. After the service, Pastor asked her, “Where’s Joe?” Annie couldn’t talk. Her throat was so tight and her eyes so full of tears that she couldn’t even see the nursery worker handing her the baby. Pastor gently said, “Why don’t you wait for me in my office? We can

talk while the older kids are in Sunday School.” Annie gave her a grateful look and hurried to get behind the closed office doors so she could have a meltdown in private. After Pastor listened to her story, she took her hands and said, “Have you ever heard of Bridges of Hope?” Annie shook her head no. “Here’s their number. You can call them tomorrow, and they’ll get you set up. They’re here to help you.” Annie’s hands shook as she took the slip of paper and tucked it into her purse. She gathered her children

This equates to one parent needing to work full-time at $15.17/hr (which is $31,554 annually, minus taxes), for the family to make ends meet without outside assistance. It puts this family at approximately 130 percent of poverty. If both parents work, there are increased transportation and childcare expenses (which could be $1,200 for an additional car/gas/childcare for one child), or another $14,440 annually. This would mean both parents, working fulltime, would need to make at least $9.76/hr. Most (lower-skilled) area jobs don’t work out like this, though — one adult may be working for $12/ hr, 35 hrs/week, and the other adult may be working for $10/hr, 20 hrs/ week. This would equate to $32,240 in gross income, as an example.

who were running down the hall with coloring sheets, big smiles and a treat from their teacher. The sun was peeking through the otherwise grey November day. She strapped her kids into their car seats, kissed them each on the head and said, “Tomorrow is a day for hope.” Bridges of Hope.

Mary Aalgaard is a freelance writer and blogger. Her words stretch across the globe through her blogs on www.playoffthepage.com, which include inspiration, entertainment and restaurant reviews, and travel adventures with The Biker Chef on the back of his bike. Mary is a playwright and has produced her shows in the Brainerd area. She works with both children and adults to create original dramas, and is offering theatre classes for kids in the area. Contact her at Mary@playoffthepage.com. 22 Winter 2016 | her voice • Like us on Facebook


FINDING HER

By REBECCA FLANSBURG

IT Niche

F

OR SOME, THE PATH TO “WHAT I WANT TO BE WHEN

I GROW UP” IS STRAIGHT AND SURE WITH FEW HICCUPS. FOR OTHERS, THE JOURNEY IS FILLED WITH STOPS, RE-STARTS AND A HANDFUL OF DETOURS BEFORE FINDING A PROFESSION THEY LOVE. The second scenario was

the case for Cold Spring native and Brainerd resident, Amy Schulz. Amy is the business systems programmer and department head of IT at Grand View Lodge, a position she has held since 2013. Being a business systems analyst superstar at one of Brainerd’s premier resorts Not just a techie, Amy Schulz, Business Systems Programmer at Grandview Lodge, has a variety of interests.

PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON

was not part of her career plans, but the journey played a key role in her current success.

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After high school graduation, Amy spent several years at University of Minnesota Duluth, switching majors, not having much direction in her life. After moving to Rochester, Amy enrolled at the University of Rochester School of Nursing, hoping that was to be her career path. But by second semester, she knew that nursing was not what she wanted to do for a living. Feeling miserable and stuck, Amy says she went rollerblading with her dog to clear her head. The impromptu jaunt didn’t turn out as planned and an unexpected fall resulted in a broken finger and bruised pride. But it was exactly what she needed to get her career path back on track. “Because of my injury, I couldn’t work or even do the tasks required to complete the nursing program,” says Amy. “I remember sit-

“I remember thinking ‘now what?’” ting on my couch with a broken finger, no job and no classes to attend and thinking ‘now what?’” In a quandary as to where to turn next, Amy reflected on what her immediate family was doing for a living. Her dad had started his career as a computer programmer and her brother was on a similar career path. “I knew I had quite a bit of time on my hands, thanks to this injury, and saw it as an opportunity to not only figure out what I wanted to do, but to do what I needed to

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“I knew I was blessed with a logical mind...” do to move forward with any new plan,” she says. “I knew I was blessed with a logical mind, like my family members, so I started seriously considering a job in computer programming.” With renewed determination Amy took advantage of her six weeks of downtime by researching the world of computer programming. With the help of Google and programming books, she built her own property management web application. “I remember finishing my first basic html form and being amazed with how much I enjoyed it. I was also thrilled watching my bits of code come to life once it was all complete and live. I felt like a magician! It was the rewarding and exciting feeling I had been searching for.” When her recovery was over, Amy left the nursing program, enrolled in programming courses, earning an associate degree in computer science in 2009. That same year she was able to start a programming-related job with the online


“I felt like a magician!” company BuyOnlineNow.com. Though she enjoyed her job, she continued to be on the lookout for something new and better in the world of programming. In late 2012, she spotted a job posting for an IT Technician position at a large resort called Grand View Lodge. The rest, as they say, is history. Amy was hired for the position in 2013 and immediately set to work making new improvements and creating more streamlined functions to enhance the guest and employee experience. In August/September of 2013, thanks to the tech savvy of Amy and her team, Grand View launched its first ever digital concierge system that allowed guests to plan their stay and scheduling activities in a more timely and simplistic fashion. The software was designed to be user friendly and used from a guest’s home computer, tablet and/or mobile devices. The innovative new system was a hit with guests and also garnered Grand View a Hospitality Technology Hotel Visionary Award in June of 2016, recognizing excellence and vision by finding original ways in using technology to solve problems and improve service in operations or the guest experience. Amy and her IT team have recently launched an enhancement to their digital concierge system that allows guests the option of texting requests to concierges. “Grand View Lodge never wants to replace oneon-one hospitality,” Amy says, “but we do want to provide the option for those guests who prefer tech-based options like our digital concierge system. It’s also been rewarding for me to be able to develop software and programs and then actually see it in action as it makes our guest’s experience

here even more enjoyable.” When not working her magic at Grand View, Amy enjoys all the Brainerd lakes area has to offer with her husband, Justin, one-year-old son, Emmitt and three fur babies that include dogs Tucker and Mayble, and cat, Archibald. Amy also is a musician who enjoys playing acoustic guitar and singing with the Whitney Cougar Roggenkamp Band. The band’s blended styles and talents make for an engaging and memorable performance as she and her bandmates play a wide variety of genres including country, pop, oldies, Amy with classic rock, folk and husband, R&B. Justin and When asked what son Emmitt. advice she would give

to those feeling stuck and unhappy in their current career, Amy says with a laugh, “THAT “Go rollerblading and DISASTROUS break your finger!” Not wanting peoMOMENT WAS really ple to break bones she ACTUALLY A says, “…that disastrous was actually a BLESSING IN moment blessing in disguise for DISGUISE...” me. That six week break was what lead me down a new path to discovering what is now my dream job. A ‘break’ that doesn’t involve a cast could be just what someone needs to find clarity and a way to a new path in life.” Rebecca Flansburg is a proud mom of two who spends her time freelance writing, blogging and being the project manager for the national children’s literacy event Multicultural Children’s Book Day. When not writing, she appreciates being outside, reading and spending time with her kids. You can connect with her on Twitter as @RebeccFlansburg or via her blog Franticmommy.com.

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entrepreneurs

STORY AND PHOTOS BY JOAN HASSKAMP

W

hen Johnna Johnson attended a Cuyuna Lakes Chamber meeting in 2012, she had no idea the course of her life would change. The speaker that night talked about a “breakaway” moment in his life when he had total clarity about an action he needed to take. When she walked out the door that evening she told herself that if she won the bid on the espresso machine at a local restaurant auction in Crosby the next day, she would open a coffee shop. Her one caveat was the bid had to be $1,000 or less. At the auction she and another interested party bid back and forth on the machine. In the end, she won with exactly $1,000. “I think I scared the guy when I whipped my pony tail and stared him down,” Johnna said with a laugh. “He stopped bidding and I opened Mixed Company.” From that moment on, Johnna said, everything clicked.

Johnna Johnson

Her mother-in-law offered use of a building on Main Street, the Hearth Room, designed the interior just as she envisioned and her grandpa, Beryl Foote, transformed the space with his carpentry skills. As a first time business owner, Johnna relied on advice and input from her mother, Jeanette Radinovich, who had small business experience. “The first day I opened Mixed Company, I knew it was where I was meant to be,” Johnna said. On that day she was visited by a group of ladies who knew her great-grandma, Mary Radinovich. They had fond memories of regularly sampling Mary’s very tasty “potica” — a Slovenian sweet

“I want to help keep the stories and traditions alive.” ~Johnna

Gathering after yoga: Clockwise, Eileen Patrick, in red, Claudia Tessmer, Nancy Evans, Jan Doonan, Marian Segersten, LuAnn Henrichs, Bonnie Fairchild, Judy Kirchoff, Audrey Wittnebel and Sharon Simons. 26 Winter 2016 | her voice • Like us on Facebook

pastry. In honor of her great-grandma, Johnna sells potica in her shop. “I want to help keep the stories and traditions alive,” she said. Johnna said she has learned a lot about her family history from her customers. “I’ve discovered my great-grandma had an entrepreneurial spirit which I hope I inherited from her.” In fact, as a tribute to her ancestors, Johnna named the


y’s ompan Mixed C . e g a ok p Facebo

“Potica” a Slovenian sweet pastry.

“History gets revisited daily here; you get a real sense of Crosby’s past and future.” ~Johnna shop, Mixed Company a Kava House, because kava means coffee in Croatian. Customers have also shared many stories about the history of the building. In the past it housed the telephone company, a gas company and Henry’s Sporting Goods store where her grandma, Mardie Radinovich worked in the 1950s. “History gets revisited daily here; you get a real sense of Crosby’s past and future,” Johnna said. Another way she helps keep the history alive is by selling items that are made locally. Her shelves feature homegrown honey, locally crafted hats, jewelry and books of regional interest. She even sells Stormy Kromer’s, the hats her grandpa favors. “I like to sell items that are unique to the area,” she said. Regular customers include her grandpa and his friends, her dad, John Radinovich and his crew, the yoga group, artistic groups, college and high school study groups and the “church ladies,” as Johnna affectionately calls them. Younger and older people both gravitate to Mixed Company. She loves seeing the generations come together to share stories over a cup of kava. While she grew up in Virginia, Minn., Johnna and her family frequently visited relatives on the Cuyuna Range. “Generations come alive here in the coffee shop,” she said. “It makes me feel that I opened more than a coffee shop.” The Cuyuna resident recently upgraded the space behind the shop into a commercial kitchen. She plans to expand her catering business which consists mostly of breakfasts for business meetings and boxed lunches now. “Once I get my feet firmly planted I will start with small events,” she said. Johnna said she was pleasantly surprised to discover that

(L to R), Claudia Tessmer, Nancy Evans and Jan Doonan enjoying a few laughs at Mixed Company after yoga class.

her three best months for business have been July, October and December, in that order. While she counted on a busy summer, she didn’t expect strong winter sales. “We are blessed to have so much local support,” she said. While she is open seven days a week for 77 hours and manages 10 employees, she doesn’t think of the coffee shop as work. “I enjoy Mixed Company so much it doesn’t seem like a job to me,” she said. Mixed Company has hosted the Traveling Art Pub, birthday parties, live music, knit and nibble classes, oil classes, make and take classes and lots of study groups. She said the shop is popular with husbands who like to sit and wait while their wives antique. People stop by for lots of different reasons which is just fine with her. “We fill the need to give people a place to meet and visit over a cup of coffee just like at my grandma’s house,” Johnna said. Crosby resident Joan Hasskamp is currently working on a humorous book titled “We Don’t Care Who Wins as Long as Joan Loses.” Now that she is retired she has even more time to embellish and exaggerate stories about herself.

Like us on Facebook • Winter 2016 | her voice 27


PHOTO BY JOEY HALVORSON

restaurants

Making Friends

One plate at a Time By JENNY HOLMES

Her

long blonde, pigtail braids

are as tell-tale as her nametag. Beneath her name reads ‘may cause dizziness.’ Meet Kimmy Fox, or Kimmy Kay as she has been known for more than three decades to her customers.

Currently the smiling face that greets diners at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Wings Cafe, Kimmy has had a long career in the restaurant business – starting at the age of 15 at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Standing at the Cafe counter rolling silverware, this dynamo personality cracks jokes and laughs as she recalls her first waitressing job at The

Corner Cafe in Brainerd. For a short stint, Kimmy says she also tried her hand at bartending, but quickly found it wasn’t a great fit. “I’m not a night person,” she noted. “After 10 or 11, I started getting crabby; so I went back to waitressing.” For 12 years, Kimmy was a fixture at The Chaparral restaurant on County Road 3 near Merrifield until an unfortunate fire claimed the structure and her job. “I didn’t do it,” Kimmy blurts out and chuckles as she recalls the fire. “I always throw that disclaimer out there!” Her sense of humor serves her well as she meets, greets and serves a steady

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Upbeat and personable, Kimmy Fox has been waitressing for 30 years.

stream of visitors to the Wings Cafe on a Wednesday afternoon. “What’s up?” asks one diner, as Kimmy stops at their table with menus. “Hopefully the planes that are supposed to be,” she chimes back, not missing a beat. A little airport humor, of course. Following the fire at The Chaparral, Kimmy said she resorted to taking a ‘factory job,’ but quickly learned it wasn’t her cup of tea. “I was like a rose in the desert. And I was withering away.” Nothing felt like home the way The Chaparral had, so Kimmy hit the pavement in search of a new home. It was at her next waitressing job


and Delta and the car dudes. They’re all our neighbors. It’s like a little community right here.” Kimmy’s care and appreciation for her customers is apparent as she approaches each diner when they walk in and grab a table. She refers to one gentleman as ‘little feller’ and inquires ‘how’s the missus?’ Each plate of hot meatloaf or cheeseburger and fries comes with a side of sincere hospitality. “Some of my customers have followed me over time,” Kimmy says, adding that she has the opportunity to see families grow from generation to generation. In fact, in one family, she has served all five generations. And the love doesn’t stop after the check has been paid. Kimmy continues to add regular customers to her Christmas card list each year. This year, she estimates she’ll write out close to 500 cards to the friends she now calls family. “They’re making my house payments and have been feeding me for the last 30plus years. So every once in a while, I sit down and take an opportunity to say ‘thank you.’ I don’t think that’s a big deal at all.”

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

11/01/2016 - 12/31/2016

001474327r1

she met Mark Nesheim. The two hit it off and found they shared a common work ethic and expectations. So when the two heard about the opportunity that presented itself at the airport restaurant location, they decided to take a leap of faith. The two decided to “beg, borrow and steal” to go into partnership and purchase the restaurant to make it their own. “Our motto here is we’re making friends, one plate at a time,” Kimmy said. “We really believe that. And, we get to watch planes!” Serving breakfast and dinner, the Wings Cafe is open seven days a week, 365 days a year from 5:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Since traveling peaks at the holidays, Kimmy and Mark want to be sure everyone has an opportunity to fill their bellies before boarding – regardless if it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other day of the year. “We have a saying,” Kimmy explained. “If we say ‘no,’ we say ‘go.’ So we never say ‘no.’” With two commercial flights leaving the Brainerd airport daily, the Cafe accommodates travelers and crews but is open to the general public. “People don’t realize that anyone can come and eat here,” Kimmy said. “It’s not just for travelers. We’re a restaurant that just happens to be at the airport.” Kimmy considers her customers family and the other inhabitants of the airport, her community. “Over here,” she points, “we have North Point. And over here we have the TSA

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spirituality

Journey to Nicaragua Erica Swenson’s life changing mission to Nicaragua included gifting her old tennis shoes to a young Nicaraguan girl.

By ERICA SWENSON

As

I am terrified to answer the simple question, “How was your trip?” — because it was so awesome, hopeful, inspiring and heart filling, but was also awful and heartbreaking — I decided to write it all down. I have to start my story with a confession of complete ignorance. On the last night in Nicaragua gathered with my teammates after a day of glorious celebration at a resort on the Pacific Ocean, we were debriefing. During debrief, our fearless leader, Edy, commented on how this experience has changed us all, and it may take a while to adjust to that. I thought to myself, “Eh, it has been an incredible week, but I’ve been on mission-service trips before, and I know that my heart has always been socially aware. I knew

poverty exists, I expected this. This was another incredible opportunity to see the world and be humbled. But it hasn’t radically changed my heart.” I continued with this belief through the next day’s travels. After barely catching my flight from Dallas to Minneapolis, I was stressed and

“I came back with a much heavier heart than I expected.”

grumpy. Deep in my soul I felt shaken — but still did not believe it was anything other than hunger, fatigue and frustration with travel. So I ate some trail mix, put in some tunes, got ready for a nap, took a deep breath. As the plane took off I was overwhelmed with grief. Only then did I realize, I had been changed — broken completely open. I thought for sure I would be frustrated by the U.S. culture of ‘more’ when I returned, and I would be angry with people of privilege that took it for granted; but, I did not expect to feel grief. I hardly cry at sad movies,

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or even at sad events in life. I tend to bottle things up. Throughout the week surely there had been sad stories, but I had observed nothing but hope; I had had a genuine smile on my face the entire time. My heart was singing in Nicaragua, and I felt nothing but a strong call to the medical vocation and medical mission work. So when I was overwhelmed on the plane home, it truly came as a complete shock. I came back with a much heavier heart than I expected. I still struggle with the ‘why’ of my privilege. Why am I so blessed to have incredible worth everywhere in the world, and others are so overwhelmingly desperate for basic medical care? Such as the woman who, in her mid-thirties, is dying of liver disease for an unknown reason. She looked as if she was nine months pregnant due to the abdominal fluid buildup, she had a hernia in her belly button the size of a softball, her uterus had been pushed completely outside of her body due to the fluid pressure in her abdomen, she was extremely malnourished, her heart was racing, and she was not even planning on being


“I intend to find a new way to stand. I intend to continue to pour myself into the rivers of the world.”

Team of workers on the last day of outreach clinics.

seen at our clinic — she had simply brought in her son. We encouraged her to see us, we were able to get her to the hospital to get the fluid drained from her body. She wept at our great care for her, but what she truly needs is a liver transplant. She cannot get one in Nicaragua — there is no availability for such things. She will die before she is 40. This is one of many heartbreaking stories. The people we saw were referred to Palmetto Medical Initiative’s (now OneWorld Health) clinic in El Viejo, close to where we set up day clinics so that they may continue their health treatments. The hope is that one day Nicaragua will be able to support the health of their people as we can in the United States. As my favorite band, Needtobreathe

— who introduced me to OneWorld Health — says, “There’s a River in the Wasteland.” I only pray that our medical team was but a drop in that river, and that the river in Nicaragua may grow to be an ocean, overflowing with richness, goodness and health. I have been overwhelmed by grief. I maybe should have seen it coming. My two-minute swim in the Pacific Ocean was a foreshadowing event — one big wave came up and stole my contact lens, leaving me without sight, struggling to find a new way to see. My center of gravity has been shifted without much notice, but I intend to find a

new way to stand. I intend to continue to pour myself into the rivers of the world. And while grief will continue to be like an ocean, I am prepared to accept being knocked over, blinded and called to search for new eyes to see. Erica Swenson is currently a medical student at the University of Minnesota in Duluth. She hopes to one day work as a family practitioner in rural Minnesota while continuing to promote health and justice throughout the world. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, especially when hiking on the North Shore and listening to “Needtobreathe.

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Petals & Beans W

hat could be a better fragrance combination than flowers and coffee? That is the allure of a wonderful mother/ daughter shop in Nisswa, Petals & Beans. Dyana Rasinski is the design florist and her mother, Carey Rasinski is the woman behind the gourmet coffee bar. Carey is not just about basic coffee — there are hot and cold drinks. She serves espresso coffee and offers 55 selections of loose leaf teas. These beverages are served in a delightful flower pot shaped cup with their Petals & Beans logo. How cute is that! You can purchase tea leaves and coffee beans to prepare at home. Or you can simply enjoy a coffee/tea to go. Curb side service is available by simply calling ahead. Carey is licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health to serve small food items: scones, bagels, Panini sandwiches, soups or chili. The shop has table seating and comfortable relaxing couches, soft chair arrangements and rocking chairs that make it the perfect meeting place in Nisswa for conversation and a light meal with your gourmet drink. There is a fireplace as well as free Wi-Fi. Interestingly, Carey reports her busiest coffee day to be Wednesday. Her dream of running a coffee shop began in 2003, when they drove their daughter Katie to college in San Diego. That is when Carey first noticed 32 Winter 2016 | her voice • Like us on Facebook

PHOTO BY JOEY HALVORSON

By CYNTHIA BACHMAN

Mother/daughter duo, Carey Rasinski (right) and Dyana Rasinski design flower arrangements and serve light meals and coffee in their Nisswa shop.

drive-thru coffee shops all along the West Coast. Carey’s original plan was a fish house-sized coffee drive-thru. When her daughter, Dyana shared her dream of a floral shop, they blended their ideas to create Petals & Beans in 2005. This is their second location in Nisswa. Carey said they purchased the building from her father’s trust, a building that he constructed for her grandfather, Barney Briggs. Once they took on the location in 2011, these creative women made it a comfortable workplace and welcoming gathering spot for coffee, tea, gift and flower seekers. Dyana has been a flower designer in Nisswa for 11 years. She studied flower design at Koehler and Dramm’s Institute of Floristry in Minneapolis and continues to get her flowers and supplies through their wholesale department. Dyana designs for wedding events, birthdays, funerals, gift baskets and balloon bouquets. For weddings, she meets with the couple six months prior to gather information/plans. Then at six weeks to regroup, which gives her enough time to prepare, deliver and set-up. Dyana has provided flowers for as many as 47 wedding in a year. Basically, she does it alone, but during rush times she has support help from her mother and a florist helper, Pam.


many ways. She is manager of the Lakes Area Food Shelf in Pequot Lakes since 2001. Her coffee shop is a drop off place for food shelf donations. Both of these talented and creative women express the joy and privilege of working as a mother/ daughter team. And their pleasure as role models for the young women in their family and community, working together at a successful, creative business. Summer or winter, as you drive through Nisswa stop and savor a coffee or tea with a sandwich and enjoy the relaxing environment of Petals & Beans.

Petals & Beans 24463 Hazelwood Drive Nisswa, MN 56468 (218) 961-7385 www.petalsbeans.com

Hours Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. On occasion, special arrangements can be made for a private tea party on Sunday.

Cynthia Bachman enjoys a good cup of tea and was pleased to see all the tea and coffee options available at Petals & Beans. It was a pleasure to visit the shop and inhale the coffee and flower fragrance. What a delight!

A Positive Team

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“Minnesota Bridal Magazine” has twice acknowledged Dyana’s florist work. Her creativity was displayed at the Governor’s mansion. For Governor Pawlenty’s inauguration, she provided her floral energy and creativity, and in 2015 “Best Minnesota Events Magazine” voted her one of the top three florists in Minnesota. Dyana services a 15-mile radius: Crosslake, Brainerd, Baxter, Pequot Lakes, Breezy Point and Nisswa. Petals & Beans is an FTD (Florists’ Telegraph Delivery) which sends flowers remotely on the same day using network florists to provide international on-line flower/plant delivery. Also available to purchase at Petals & Beans are eggs from Carey’s chickens (she admits to a flock of 40), honey from her home hives and maple syrup from a local source. They also sell unique items, such as a fish-fry breading mix blended by Nisswa Guide League Tom Briggs. Carey is active in the community in

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Aspiring Artist the arts

PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON

F

By SUE STERLING

emales empowering other females – that’s what has inspired many women throughout the ages. The Brainerd lakes area is blessed with many individuals wanting to make life better. Art teacher Evelyn Matthies, shares a passion for art with Molly Krautkremer, her student for eight years.

Molly’s mixed media collage: “The Beginning of Something Wonderful: the Wedding of Evelyn Matthies.” 34 Winter 2016 | her voice • Like us on Facebook

In the world of art, an aspiring young artist, Molly Krautkremer, Nisswa, is inspired by a well-known artist and community leader, Evelyn Matthies.As a home-schooled child, Molly soon learned that she wanted to do more than just doodle. Her natural talent for drawing convinced her mother that she needed a tutor. She sought out Evelyn Matthies and the magical lessons began. Evelyn was the art instructor at Brainerd Community College/Central Lakes College for 32 years. She taught many, many students the value of art as well as the skills needed to create different genres of art. Eight years ago she was handed the task of molding a seven-

year-old into a skilled artist. Molly, now 15 years old, was taught many of the genres of art by Evelyn — realism, impressionism, collage, paper sculpture, theater murals, puppetry and acrylic painting. Molly’s favorite is impressionism, and if you will forgive a play on words, that choice is most appropriate since she, herself, makes a great impression on everyone who knows her. Quiet intelligence is what she radiates when you first meet her. Somewhat shy, she listens well and respects others. When she brings out her artwork for display, you get a glimpse of the effervescence she brings to the room. Her list of accomplishments is not small. Molly felt


Keep your eyes on the horizon for her magical artistic journey. It will be breathtaking!

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ing her outside her comfort zone to large community of artists. Art, in experience the highs and lows of the itself, brings out the strength and art work. The struggles of being an beauty of the people who live here. artist, conquering the fear of public Whether you’re 8 or 80, there is room rejections, and sticking with it until for you to flourish in the art commuthe project is done, have helped Molly nity. Molly Krautkremer is a living, to grow beyond the constraints of breathing testimony to the brilliance small-town living. Evelyn stands be- of a thriving art community. Evelyn is side Molly with each new task, just the masthead that has set Molly’s sails as she has stood beside her husband, for greatness. Keep your eyes on the Bill. Together they have built and horizon for her magical artistic jourmaintained the Minnesota School of ney. It will be breathtaking! Diving, and the Porthole Art Gallery in Brainerd. Evelyn shares her business acumen at her gallery in the honored to work on the Pfieffer Drug Franklin Art Center, using her many mural with Dave Gunther, and helped years of experience to help build with the stage art for Greater Lakes FAC’s visibility. Area Performing Arts’ “Beauty and During the holiday season the prothe Beast” production at the Pequot fusion of arts and craft sales abound. Lakes High School. More recently The Brainerd lakes area is alive with a she helped out at the John Hassler National Festival at Central Lakes Sue Sterling is a freelance writer, private computer tutor, watercolor artist and long-time calligrapher who is a member of The Colleagues of Calligraphy College. And, with the influence of in Minneapolis. She has written several articles for a Christian publication, is Evelyn, and the matchless energy of currently president of the Lakes Area Singles social group and is engaged to her mother, she became a featured artthis month. 1 7/6/15 8:26 AM Page 1 15-3572_Ad Designbe Hermarried Voice.qxp_Layout ist at Sea of Grass, which was hosted 15-3572_Ad Design Her Voice.qxp_Layout 1 7/6/15 8:26 AM Page 1 by the Timber Lake and Area History Museum in South Dakota. Talented she may be, but she’s still a RENE M small-town girl struggling with school 35253 Cou and life. She struggles with math, but RENE MILLNER Crosslake, surely, that must be a right-brain/ 35253 County Rd. 3, 218-4 left-brain issue. With her mother Crosslake, MN rene@bre and father’s tutelage she has become 218-454-2159 RENE MILLNER an inspiring young lady. When asked rene@breenandperson.com 35253 County Rd. 3, Crosslake, MN what her goals in life were, she did not ESTATE PLANNING • TRUST/WI 218-454-2159 • rene@breenandperson.com answer “boys and ball gowns.” GUARDIAN/CONSERVATORSHIP • BUS ESTATE PLANNING • TRUST/WILLS She said her faith is very important GUARDIAN/CONSERVATORSHIP • BUSINESS LAW to her and she wants to become more like Christ. Her goal is to inspire others in the love of art. Perhaps she will accomplish that with the art of love she has gained through her walk with Christ. She wants to share with others what God has done in her life. She doesn’t know where God is leading her, but she’s excited to see where He takes her. But what about Evelyn, you say? What does she have to do with Molly’s walk in faith? Evelyn has been molding Molly by applying a brush of self-confidence and pushLike us on Facebook • Winter 2016 | her voice 35


clubs and clusters

PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON

P ickleball

The Fastest Growing Sport in America!

P

An enthusiastic group of pickleball players: Left to right, Jean Swenson, Robin Carbone, Sue Kieffer, Paula West, Susan Mezzenga, Joey Halvorson, Maureen Farnsworth, Arla Johnson, Linda Holliday.

By MAUREEN FARNSWORTH

ickleball comes to the Brainerd lakes area, embraced by a group of women who are fostering community on and off the court. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning an enthusiastic group of women can be found playing pickleball at Fitquest in Baxter.

36 36 Winter Winter 2016 2016 || her her voice voice •• Like Like us us on on Facebook Facebook

This diverse group of women came together through Julie Ingleman of Lake Shore, who wanted to share the game of pickleball. Julie searched the area for pickleball courts and discovered Fitquest provided two courts and all the equipment needed to play for a fee of $5 per person per session or free for members. Julie invited friends, who in turn invited friends, and now about 30 women between the ages of 58 and 75, with varying skill levels, are playing. There is a sense of inclusiveness and desire to support each other and have fun while playing a competitive game. Pickleball is a paddle sport simi-

lar to tennis but played on a smaller court. Players volley a whiffle ball, using a paddle that is slightly larger than a ping-pong paddle. Points are scored for missed balls and a doubles team wins by earning 11 points. Most of the women had never played pickleball before. They coached each other through the initial steps and with a little practice and encouragement they started having great rallies, laughter and lots of fun! “Good play or nice return” can be heard frequently from one player to an opponent. Cheryl Swanson of Nisswa expressed the sentiments of many players when she said, “the encouragement and


Johnson of Lake Shore says, “It’s wonderful to have so many women to connect with and how supportive they Rosie Prince are.” bends low for a forehand shot. On birthdays, a player can expect a funny card, be presented with a rose and fitted with a princess tiara that must be worn throughout the game that day. Lunch dates are made for other occasions and dinners delivered during times of need. Though pickleball has recently gained in popularity, it’s been around since 1965 when a congressman and his buddy, to entertain their families during their summers in Washington State, developed the game. “Pickles” was the cocker spaniel of one of the game’s co-inventors, who habitually chased stray balls and hid them in the bushes. The game was named in his honor. Not only fun, pickleball offers many health benefits. It coaching helped me improve and gain confidence.” There is a desire to support each other and have fun while play- can improve mood and overall mental health, improve balance and agility, as well as hand-eye coordination. A player ing a competitive game. Most of the women play for fun and don’t take the game can burn calories, tone muscles and condition aerobically. too seriously. But there are also others who want to im- The low impact nature of the game makes it easy on knees prove and enjoy a more competitive game. A wink, a dev- and the smaller court makes it easier on the entire body, ilish smile and an ability to laugh at themselves and each one of the reasons this game is popular among seniors. “It’s other can be observed even among the most competitive a game that will challenge you mentally and physically,” says Paula West of Nisswa. players. Indoor pickleball courts can be found at Baxter Fitquest, One might think the diversity of skill level would split the members apart, but not these women. They accept and Brainerd YMCA and the Community Center in Crosslake. include all and often rotate players so everyone gets to play Some outdoor courts are beginning to crop up, like the one at different levels. “What makes this game so fun is that in Brainerd’s Gregory Park. the range of abilities doesn’t hinder the enjoyment of playing,” says Catherine McGoldrich of Merrifield. Writer Maureen Farnsworth is the youngest pickleball player at 58 of the What this group of women most appreciates about pickwomen featured in this article. Inspired by their vitality, grace and community leball is each other. Says Deb Nelson of Pillager, “I love involvement, Maureen calls them her mentors for aging well and embracing these ladies! They are great sports and willing to help with their age. She enjoys learning, adventures in nature, creativity and writing. She lives in Nisswa with her husband and works as a yoga therapist. suggestions to improve my game. I feel like I’m making lasting friends for this sport on and off the court.” Arla

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mother/daughters

Forced Family Fun

Jenny Ernster (center left) makes running a mother/daughter affair fun with daughters Jessie (left) Cassie (center right) and Grace.

By DENISE SUNDQUIST PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON

Jenny Ernster wakes her girls Thanksgiving morning. They have two choices; either run the Baxter Turkey Run or stay home and clean the house. It’s Jenny’s secret for 100 percent participation. The Ernster gals reluctantly get out of bed, throw on their warmest clothes and brave the weather to raise money for Shriners Hospitals for Children. It’s family fun and a great way to jump start their metabolism before the big Thanksgiving meal. Jenny Ernster started running four years ago. She always hated gym in school and didn’t participate in any sports. Her closest brush with athleticism was her stint as a sub par cheerleader in high Jessie school.

my girls to be inWhen she turned 40, she decided to timidated; I want do a triathlon, even though she could them to know they barely run a mile. The shorter distancare capable.” She es in the swim, bike and run seemed doable. She completed three sprint added, “When triathlons that summer. The followthey are in their 30s and 40s and ing year, she trained for her first 10K. see a race, they can “After I ran the Run for the Lakes Cassie look back and say, 10K, I wondered, why anyone would run more than six miles.” However, in if my mom did it, so can I.” Cassie Ernster, Jenny’s 10-year-old 2014, she completed the Fargo half daughter, loves to run races with her mother. Cassie tries to find the fun “I want them to in every race, “At the Kaleidoscope Run, you get covered in colored paint. know they are I liked the “Run for Hope 5K Glow capable.” Run” at the Arboretum because we wore glow sticks and ran in the dark. - Jenny Ernster The “Race for Grace” 5K run has the best cookies!” She added, “The Warrior marathon with her daughter Alayna, a Homecoming run is the prettiest course along the freshman at the University of Florida. Mississippi River.” Last year, Jenny took a break from While Cassie is triathlons and focused training for the most enthusiGrandma’s full marathon where she crossed the finish line in just over five astic Ernster runhours. ner, not everyone “I don’t want my daughters to take is on board with their health for granted. I don’t want Jenny’s family fun

38 Winter 2016 | her voice • Like us on Facebook

Grace


runs. Grace, age 12, echoes a more typical response of a pre-teen woken early in the morning, “Why would anyone want to run on the weekend?” (I believe this is why it’s called “forced family fun” and not just “family fun.”) Her favorite part of the race is the end. Even though Grace is the most reluctant runner, she’s fast and is the most likely to hear her name called during the awards ceremony. Many race organizers have realized that a lot of people like to run for fun and creating themed races keeps the mood light and less intimidating for children, new runners and those who don’t take speed or distance too seriously. Signing up for these community races supports local charities such as Teen Challenge, Bridges of Hope, Brighter Days Foundation and Warrior Athletics and Activities through modest registration fees. Kara Schaefer is co-owner of Karma Race Management, a professional event management and timing com-

pany creating many of these family events. She is also the race director for the Baxter Thanksgiving Run. Kara says, “We see so many families sign up to race together. It is great to see the kids try to beat their parents or vice versa. At a recent race, a young teenager finally beat his dad after many years of working hard to catch him.” She added, “Training for a 5K race helps people reach their personal goals. Runners can be overcome with emotion when they cross the finish line. It’s not always about the finish time, but more about the experience.” Jenny wants her daughters to suggest more experiences. “My ultimate goal is for my daughters to see this really cool race and ask me to run it with them.” In 2015, Jenny’s 17-yearold daughter, Jessie, initiated running the “Women Rock” race series in St. Paul consisting of a 2.5K Friday night and a 5K and 10K Saturday morning. Jessie was inspired by their theme of “empowerment,” but also really liked

the free jacket she got with the registration fee. Jenny said as soon as any of her younger daughters wants to run 13.1 miles, they are signing up for the Walt Disney World half marathon. This past Thanksgiving, the Ernster daughters were excited to travel to Georgia to spend time with family. They could finally relax, sleep in and not have to run the icicle induced Baxter Turkey Run. But before the airline tickets were bought, Jenny had signed the girls up to run the Blue Ridge Turkey Run near their family destination. Apparently, Forced Family Fun does not take vacations.

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

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Her Voice

ISO [ in search of ]

We asked Her Voice Facebook fans:

What do you do to recharge?

Cori Reynolds “Zoning out while watching mindless television. Hello, Netflix, you beautiful beast!” Maren LaVoie “Outside... walk in the woods.”

Cultivating Holistic and Physical Wellbeing BY REBECCA FLANSBURG If you have ever been on an airplane, you’ve likely heard the safety walkthrough that takes place before takeoff. As part of this pre-flight instruction, parents are always directed, “Before you assist others, always put your oxygen mask on first.” Flight attendants encourage mothers to secure their own oxygen mask first so they are able to help others do the same. If they don’t, they and the person they want to help could both be in trouble. This is fine and dandy until women get off the plane and the “help yourself first” mindset goes right out the window. As mothers, we become accustomed to taking care of everyone’s needs first because it’s our nature to nurture. However, to maintain personal health and wellbeing women need to slow down, set aside some time self-care and essentially, “Put your oxygen mask on first.” Here are a few ways to do just that:

Tess Chase “A quick trip to Duluth to see mom and the best lake in the state!” Nancy Waller “Becoming active in a local theater production where I can lose my real self and become a character that isn’t anything like me. So great to step away into the theater world.” Jennifer Smith “Yoga!” Jill Carlson “Girls Weekend!” Sandie Sumstad Youngblom “Jump on my snowmobile and drive it like I stole it!!” Julie Kemper “I think it really matters age wise. What charged me at 22, or 32, or 42.. Doesn’t interest me now. At my 55.. I recharge with complete alone time. Maybe watching a favorite movie, reading or housework... As long as I’ m alone... Oh.. I will add... A huge bowl of buttery popcorn will Always recharge me!!!!!!!!!!!!” Heather Grell “The swings out at my parents under the maple trees.” 40 Winter 2016 | her voice • Like us on Facebook

Women’s Groups:

Discovery Horse owner Sara Sherman is an equine assisted coach who helps people draw out their “Inner AWEsome.” Sara works with and without horses to bring awareness and healing to individuals by helping them realize what’s keeping them stuck and away from their chosen purpose. Discovery Horse’s innovative and therapeutic Women’s Connection Group meets once a month at Dandelion Farm (home to Discovery Horse) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Girlfriend Getaways:

Manicures, pedicures, waxing, facials, massage and makeup application are all words that make many moms giddy with glee. The beauty of these relaxing and pampering services is that they can all be experienced as part of a soul-soothing girlfriend getaway to the Serenity Day & Med Spa at Breezy Point Resort. Whether you and your gal pals are in the mood for some pampering services, or just a quiet place where lounging is possible (without being asked repeatedly for a juice box or new Lego set), the dedicated team at this luxury resort and spa will ensure you and your crew will have a rejuvenating experience that will recharge your mommy batteries.

Join the conversation on Facebook.


The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are profound, regardless of age, sex or physical ability. A regular exercise routine not only works to reduce fat, enhance heart strength, increase muscle strength and lower HDL cholesterol, it also promotes quality sleep, boosts energy and improves moods. The lakes area is brimming with excellent ways to “feel the burn” including pickleball (more info in this edition on page 36) at FitQuest Athletic Club, building strength at Takedown Gym, testing out some Tae Kwon Do skills at DeWitt Martial Arts or enjoying energetic and calorie-burning Zumba classes at the Brainerd YMCA.

Yoga

Whether it’s hot, Hatha, Therapeutic or Vinyasa Flow, yoga is an excellent way to replenish, strengthen and elevate physical, mental and spiritual well being. Luckily the Brainerd lakes area is home to many yoga opportunities including Lakes Area Yoga Association (LAYA), Brainerd YMCA, Nisswa Yoga and “Gentle Yoga” at the Brainerd YMCA and at the Crosslake CommunityCenter.

What your personal “oxygen mask” moment looks like is completely up to you, but the key is to find it, schedule it and follow through. Your positive impact on the world only comes when you’re happy, and that comes when you actively practice helping yourself first. n

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

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writers

. s . i o i c

r e d A ved i r r

A

W

Thanks for the

By MARLENE CHABOT

With a heavy heart, it’s time to say, “Adieu,” to all who have religiously read my articles in Her Voice magazine since they first appeared in 2007. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the stories as much as I did writing them. If it weren’t for my move to Elk River last November, to be closer to family, I’d continue writing indefinitely about the awesome women in the Brainerd lakes area and the many roads they’ve traveled to get where they are today.

Marlene Chabot

It’s been a wonderful journey for me these past 10 years. Without the help and encouragement of readers, fellow writers, friends, and Her Voice staff, I couldn’t have accomplished as much as I have. There are so many people to thank for their terrific support, so it is fitting that this, my final article, appears around Thanksgiving — a special time to express what one is grateful for. But first, let me step back a bit and share how I got into writing. Since early childhood, I’ve been a voracious reader and found myself devouring every mystery book in my path, including the Nancy Drew series, but I never thought about becoming a novelist until 1995. After reading several mysteries in the car while traveling to and from Colorado that

Au Revoir.

42 Winter 2016 | her voice • Like us on Facebook


“Without the help and encouragement of readers, fellow writers, friends, and Her Voice staff, I couldn’t have accomplished as much as I have.” ~ Marlene Chabot

Memories!

March, I told my husband, “I should write mysteries. I’ve read enough of them and could come up with great plots too.” Then I ticked off titles for books and what each story could be about. And this gal’s writing days began or so I thought. Little did I know there’s a lot more to writing than coming up with great ideas. Every spare minute I had, between substitute teaching, raising a family and volunteering for this and that, I wrote. My plan was to get published before I turned 50. Since I was 48 at the time, I only had two years to accomplish the goal. I don’t recall the actual date I thought my manuscript was ready to be sent off to traditional publishers, but the postman and I were having fun with our “steady dates.”

Marlene (rig retired Salv ht) with a Her Voice in ation Army te chaplain, B rviewee, odil Dahl.

Continued on page 46...

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*Manufacturer’s mail-in rebate offer valid for qualifying purchases made 9/17/16–12/12/16 from participating dealers in the U.S. *Manufacturer’s mail-in rebate offer for qualifying purchases 9/17/16–12/12/16 participating only. For certain rebate-eligible products, thevalid purchase of multiple units of suchmade product is required to receivefrom a rebate. If you dealers in the U.S. only the purchase of than multiple units ofmultiple such product is required rebate. If youwillpurchase fewer units than the required multiple y purchase fewer units the required you will not be entitledtotoreceive a rebate;apartial rebates not be awarded. Offer excludes partial rebates will not be awarded. Offer excludes HDOrigins and Nantucket™ Window Shadings, a collection of Silhouette® Window HDOrigins and Nantucket™ Window Shadings, a collection of Silhouette® Window Shadings. Rebate will be issued in the form of the form of a prepaid reward card and mailed within 6 weeks of rebate claim receipt. Funds do not expire. Subject to applicable law, a a prepaid reward and mailed withinafter 6 weeks rebate claim Funds do not expire.Additional Subject to applicable law,may a $2.00 against card card balance 6 months cardofissuance andreceipt. each month thereafter. limitations apply. Ask participating dea monthly fee will be assessed against card balance 6 months after card issuance and each month thereafter. Additional limitations © 2016 Hunter Douglas. All rights reserved. All trademarks used herein are the property of Hunter Douglas or their respective owner may apply. Ask participating dealer for details and rebate form. ©2016 Hunter Douglas. All rights reserved. All trademarks used herein are the property of Hunter Douglas or their respective owners.

Duette® Honeycomb Shades

Fashionably early.

Like us on Facebook • Winter 2016 | her voice 43


Her Voice Service Directory • Winter 2016 Appliances

Home Healthcare

US Bank

320 South 6th Street Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 828-5406

Schroeder’s Appliance

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

Casino

Accra Care Home Health

Glass

Brainerd, MN (218) 270-5905 www.AccraCare.org

Gull Lake Glass

Insurance

18441 State Hwy 371 Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 829-2881 www.gulllakeglass.com

Grand Casino Mille Lacs 777 Grand Ave Onamia, MN 56359 (320) 532-7777 Grandcasinomn.com

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

Kava (Coffee) House 128 W Main Street Crosby, MN 56441 (218) 545-1010 www.facebook.com/mixedcompanykavahouse

30503 MN-371 Pequot Lakes, MN (218) 568-5001 www.pequotlakessupervalu.com

6948 Lake Forest Rd Brainerd, MN (218) 829-7107 www.JustForKix.com

Home Improvement Hirshfield’s

Drapery

7447 Clearwater Rd Baxter, MN (218) 824-0642 www.hirshfields.com

Arlean’s Drapery

Pequot Lakes, MN (218) 568-8280 www.ArleansDrapery.com

Health & Wellness

Financial

Essentia Health

Frandsen Bank & Trust 7429 Excelsior Rd N, Baxter, MN 56425 (218) 855-1320 www.frandsenbank.com

Thrivent Financial

7217 Excelsior Rd, Suite 105 Baxter, MN (218) 454-8272 www.Thrivent.com/fr/tara.hemsing

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

Salon Belle Cheveux

24719 Hazelwood Dr. Nisswa, MN 564682 www.bellecheveuxnisswa.com

Senior Living

Optometrists

Pequot Lakes Super Valu

Just For Kix

(218) 838-3777

124 6th St, Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 8281248 www.BreenAndPerson.com

14133 Edgewood Dr. Baxter, MN www.Cub.com

Dance

Kathy Herold

Breen & Person Ltd.

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

Mixed Company

(218) 820-3282

Law Firms

Cub Foods

(218) 821-3373 NinaKarksy@edinarealty.com www.edinarealty.com/nina-karsky-realtor

Positive Realty Jana Froemming

Northridge Agency

Grocery

NinaKarksy Edina Realty Baxter

Great Northern Opticians

Woodland Good Samaritan

Lakes Area Eyecare

Shop Thrift

Midwest Family Eye

16227 State Hwy 371 Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 824-0923 bridgesofhopemn.org/common-goods/

2020 S 6th St. Brainerd, MN (218) 829-1335 Find us on Facebook

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

200 Buffalo Hills Ln W Brainerd, MN (218) 855-6617 www.good-sam.com

Common Goods

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

Real Estate

Spa Serenity Spa, Breezy Point Resort

9252 Breezy Point Dr. Baxter, MN (218) 562-7158 SerenityDayandMedSpa.com

Century 21​Brainerd Realty​ 14391 Edgewood Drive Baxter, MN (218) 82​9​-2222 www.c21brainerd.com

Her Voice Digital Version www.brainerddispatch.com (entertainment tab)

Jana Froemming REALTOR®/Agent

Brynn Haglin Owner/Designer

Updos for the Holidays Nails Pedicures Colors Extensions Perms Hair Removal

utrinkets, llc yarn ~ antiques ~ gifts

44 Winter 2016 | her voice • Like us on Facebook

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utrinketsllc@gmail.com • www.utrinkets.com Find us on Facebook & Ravelry

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617 Laurel Street, Brainerd, MN 56401

218-454-9276

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15244 State Hwy 371 Baxter, MN 56425 Cell: 218-820-3282 Office: 218-829-1777 jana@positiverealty.com www.BrainerdLakesHome.com

Vintage Home Décor & Interior Design 317 W. Washington St. Brainerd 218-270-3430

HIGH END THRIFT STORE Baxter: 218-824-0923 Crosslake: 218-692-7682

Experience matters. Serving the Lakes Area since 1995.

saloncouturemn.com | 218.568.8771 | Government Drive - Pequot Lakes

—Store Hours— 10-6 Monday- Saturday Additional Summer Hours Sunday 12-5

Shop Donate Volunteer

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Thank you for making Her Voice a success! Dear Reader, We value the opinions of our loyal Her Voice readers. It is among the top reasons this magazine has been so successful over the last 13+ years. We want to know your suggestions, thoughts and even criticisms. It’s what helps us grow and continue to produce an award winning magazine. Watch for our survey. Rate the topics, writing, layout and more. Let us know what you would like to see more of, less of and if you think there is anything we could do better. Share your input! Please sign up for our email list so we can send you the survey. Unless you choose to leave us your name, your answers will be anonymous. To sign up send an email with the subject line “survey” to: Hervoice@brainerddispatch.com. P.s. If you haven’t already, “like” our Facebook page to get updates, previews and join the conversations!

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~Her Voice Magazine Staff

Helping you get back to yourself again!

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

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

15244 State Hwy 371 Baxter, MN 56425 Cell: 218-838-3777 Office: 218-829-1777 katharine@positiverealty.com www.BrainerdLakesHome.com

Kathy Herold REALTOR®/GRI

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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.

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

Cynthia Rieck, P.T. Carrie Taylor, P.T. 31170 Government Dr. P.O. Box 331 Pequot Lakes, MN 56472

218-568-5666 • www.pequotlakesphysicaltherapy.com

Like us on Facebook • Winter 2016 | her voice 45


Continued from page 43... Needless to say no one likes rejections, not even this author, and eventually I set the book aside. When 1998 rolled around quite a few changes occurred in my life. February of that year, I took a temp position at ECM Publishers corporate headquarters in Coon Rapids and eventually got hired full time. In May, my father, who had encouraged his youngest daughter’s dream of publishing a novel, died suddenly. Dad’s untimely death put me in a spin. He was supposed to be here to see the fruits of my labor. I’d looked forward to the day he’d be handed my first novel and watch how his face lit up with pride. With Dad gone now, I was more determined than ever to get the book published. Thanks to an article my daughter noticed in a magazine, I signed up for an 18-month writing correspondence course with the Institute of Children’s Literature. When completed, I tore my first manuscript apart bit by bit, and finally self-published it in 2003, after moving to Brainerd. Looking back at my four years with ECM, I was given many opportunities to polish my writing skills, including writing short articles for the company newspaper. While I worked there, I used to think about writing a column in one of the company owned local newspapers. But I never had the nerve to approach anyone about the idea. I thought I’d need a background in journalism. So, I tossed thoughts of being a columnist aside, too, and started work on my second book. When the first issue of Her Voice arrived at our home in 2003, my husband said, “Why don’t you look into writing stories for them?” I gave it some thought, decided I probably didn’t write 46 Winter 2016 | her voice • Like us on Facebook

good enough for a magazine and shoved the suggestion aside. Finally, after years of persistent nudging from a fellow Brainerd writer and member of my writing group, Suz Wipperling, I found the courage to submit my first story about Laurie Hall, owner agent of State Farm Insurance. And guess what? Her Voice editor, Meg Douglas, liked the story. As I said earlier, there are so many people to thank for being blessed with this writing opportunity. Suz, if it weren’t for your believing in me, I would’ve never written an article for Her Marlene with author Marie Zhuikov at the 38th Voice. Hats off to Meg Annual Afton Art in the Park 2016. Douglas — you gave me the chance to spread my wings, and taught me the ins and outs of writing for a magazine. And, a huge thanks to all my interviewees for opening their homes and businesses to me and allowing their stories to be told.

Marlene Chabot is a freelance writer, novelist, and member of various writers’ groups. Her fifth mystery, another Minnesota-based novel, “Death of the Naked Lady” was just released April 2016. Connect with Marlene on Facebook: Marlene Mc Neil Chabot; her website: www.marlenechabotbooks.com; at pinterest; or at marlenechabotbooks. blogspot.com.


Like us on Facebook • Winter 2016 | her voice 47


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Her Voice Magazine Winter 2016  

• Heidi’s Happy Hour: Heidi Rundquist wears many hats at the YMCA and is an inspiration to women in and out of class. • Toy Story: Just lik...

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