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Country Roots Inside:


by women… by women… for women… • Finally Finding Prose andforPoetry women… about women… about women…

• Posthumous • A Queen of H.A.R.T. • Knitting for Baby A BRAINERD DISPATCH PUBLICATION

Hattie • Reliving History, One Bead at a Time • Estrogen Alley A BRAINERD DISPATCH PUBLICATION


SUMMER 2012 | her voice

It’s Here!

The all new Brainerd Dispatch iPad App View archived editions See the “real” paper on your iPad Have instant access to news, pictures, even classifieds! Share the news stories via Facebook, Twitter or email! Scan this QR code to download the app or visit the iTunes App Store *free for a limited time SUMMER 2012 | her voice







Sandy’s Country Roots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Here’s a nursery east of Brainerd whose owner re-creates her “country roots.”


by Annie Bandel

Reliving History, One Bead At A Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Her interest in art lead to the creation of two businesses in downtown Brainerd. by Jodie Tweed

Bloom Your Beauty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 With a radiant complexion of her own, Diane Peterson shares tips on skin care. by Diane Peterson

Sisters of Noway Ridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Two sisters run this supper club north of Breezy Point, opened originally in 1948. by Carolyn Corbett


Every Child Needs A Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 In an age of two-child families, this couple opens their heart and home to foster children. by Mary Aalgaard

An Artist’s Eye In The Garden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Her gardens fill her yard and your eye with waves of color, texture and whimsy. by Pam Landers

In This Issue 20

moms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

clubs and clusters . . . . . . . . 36

entrepreneurs . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14


A New Mom by Jan Kur tz

When an Aussie Moves to Crosby by Sue Wipper ling

yard and garden . . . . . . . . . . 18 Fine Gardens by Jackie Bur key

travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Isles of Shoals by Meg Douglas

pioneer profile. . . . . . . . . . . . 26

38 40

A Penchant For The Past by Melody Banks

witty woman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Estrogen Alley by Jill Ander son

wellness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Hands-on by Mar lene Cha bot

families . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Finally Finding Hattie by Heather Duninick


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Pinetree Patchwor ker s by Brenda Peter son and Kr is Rossina


The Sisterhood Of Dance by Becky Flansburg

good reads


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

Stephen King’s “11-22-63” by Sheila DeChantal

wellness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 N o t Yo u r T y p i c a l R u n n e r by Myra Hor ner

C o v e r p h o t o b y J oey Halvorson On the cover: No stranger to far ming, Sandy Museus owns and operates Countr y Roots Greenhouse east of Brainerd.

Summer 2012 | her voice



fr o m t h e e d i t o r

Nora sneaks a peek at her Grandmother’s tattoo.

Tale of the Tattoo


Mothers and daughters. Over the years that relationship has expanded my world and enriched my life in ways I never imagined. A few months ago, my grown-up daughter Erin posted on Facebook a photo of a young woman, unblushingly staring at the camera with a breast cancer ribbon tattooed over her mastectomy scar. “Perhaps inspiration for your first tattoo?” she wrote. I facebooked back, “Hey, not a bad idea!” But inside I felt not so sure. She didn’t let go. “You should!!” she responded, “ Nora (my granddaughter) and I would take you, bday gift, perhaps?” Now she had my attention. Yes, I did indeed face one of those not so fun birthdays where a Medicare card looked to be the signature gift. And who wants a surgeon’s scar to have the last laugh, anyway. So I answered back, “Oh man, I’ll have to think about that. I like the concept— a way to dance on the dreaded C—just not sure I can take the leap.” Going online, I googled “breast cancer tattoos” and in two minutes found a simple butterfly with the iconic pink ribbon integrated cleverly into the design, no bigger than an Oreo. “I could do that,” I thought to myself. Wanting more feedback, I talked to, emailed, facebooked more friends and family. Responses were overwhelmingly positive: “Whoo hoo,” “WOW” and “You go girl,” were followed by, “It will be beautiful,” and “Love it, Meg, celebrate you, celebrate life that rises again and again.” How could I not feel buoyed by the support! By now I was hooked, though extended conversations face to face brought up more 6

Summer 2012 | her voice

photo by Erin Chisholm

PUBLISHER Tim Bogenschutz

issues. Questions included: Was I going through (another) midlife crisis? How many times would I actually see the tattoo? Tattoos are forever. What was my pain tolerance? Are the inks carcinogenic? All good questions requiring more research. I knew it had to be a woman tattoo artist. After finding her online, I checked out credentials and we emailed questions and answers back and forth until I was satisfied and ready to commit. I was prepared for pain, nothing I couldn’t handle after bearing three children, but the process was amazingly painless. (Not always so, I’m told, depending on the tattoo placement) and the appointment took less than an hour. Erin continued to cheer me on, drawing her own breast cancer tattoo designs that Nora colored. At one point 4-year-old Nora exclaimed poignantly, “When I get breast cancer, this is the tattoo I want.” We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. And I can’t promise she won’t ever need that tattoo, with one out of eight women contracting the disease at seemingly younger and younger ages! But I can live my life facing forward, transforming a surgically scarred body with a symbol of life and hope. And so a butterfly now rises where once there was a breast. This summer edition of Her Voice celebrates new life in multiple forms; new growth, new gardens, new mothers and daughters, new families, new dreams. Celebrate the season!


Meg Douglas, Editor

EDITOR Meg Douglas ART DIRECTOR Lisa Henry PHOTOGRAPHER Joey Halvorson





• For advertising opportunities call Carla Staffon 218.855.5834 or 1.800.432.3703 find our publication on the web at E-mail your comments, suggestions or topics to or mail them to Her Voice at Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 974, Brainerd, MN 56401 copyright© 2003 VOLUME NINE, EDITION ONE SUMMER 2012

by Annie Bandel photos by Joey Halvorson

A farm girl, Sandy Museus likes to fill her greenhouse with collectibles as well as flowers. What once was an old washtub may soon be blooming with summer annuals.



Country Roots

Country Roots Greenhouse, owned and operated by Sandy Museus, is no ordinary plant shop. It’s a greenhouse built with love and deep roots. Sandy comes by her country roots honestly. Her mother grew up on a dairy farm not far from where Sandy’s greenhouse stands today, and Sandy says, “my mother loved digging in a garden and had a special way with flowers and plants.”

Neighbors would bring ailing plants to her mother, and if by magic she would coax them back to health. Even now her mother who is suffering from dementia will remember to water her geraniums. Sandy also remembers as a young girl going hand in hand with her father to neighboring greenhouses and picking out flowers for Mother’s Day. She remembers this espe-

cially because her father was often working out of town and there wasn’t much time to spend together. The rich smell of dirt and mulch made a deep impression in her heart that she calls on today as she plants “her babies” in the spring. Sandy says deciding which seeds to order for the upcoming season is one of her hardest yet enjoyable jobs. While the snow

Summer 2012 | her voice


Sandy searches out whimsical items from flea markets and garage sales to use as planters.

flies, Sandy pours over seed catalogs and plant magazines, foregoing one of her other favorite hobbies, reading fiction, until July when she takes a break and allows herself to read two books. It’s that discipline that has kept her going, even when the greenhouse wasn’t paying for itself. Sandy’s husband Les, a loving supporter of his wife’s passion for all things green, has pitched in financially as well as with muscle to ensure that her vision and beloved “babies” live on. Every year there are new varieties of plants. For instance there are over a hundred versions of petunias to chose from! Last year the “Black Petunia” was the award winning new “kid on the block” and Sandy carried it at the greenhouse. She thinks it will be quite popular this year too. Owning her business has been one of Sandy’s dreams, but it’s not without sacrifice. Sandy confessed it’s “time consuming; I haven’t been to town in three weeks.” Most of the time, that’s okay with her because she prefers to stay put, saying she is “very contented to be here.” But she did say it was difficult not to be able to be with her son and daughter-in-law when a new


SUMMER 2012 | her voice

What began as a “Plants for Sale” sign has become two greenhouses, several cold frames and a cabin that houses garden art and collectibles.

grandbaby was born. She had to wait two months until she was able to visit the family. Sandy has also missed out on the weddings of nieces and nephews over the years. Since she comes from a family of four siblings and her husband from a brood of 10, there is at least one wedding a year to go to. Their families have adapted though, and Sandy says they get lots of company throughout the summer. Her grandkids love to visit, spending most of their time outside with the critters and of course, “playing in the dirt” with Grandma. Sandy didn’t make the leap from growing her own gardens to owning a greenhouse all at once. As a matter of fact, she got married, had three sons and worked for the Brainerd School District for many years before her husband, feeling crowded by all the plants in their small home said, “Sandy, why don’t you get a greenhouse?” And she did. Starting with a 30 by 40 frame. Laughing, Sandy says “little did I know what I was getting into when I stuck my homemade sign ‘Plants for Sale’ at the end of the driveway.” That was eight years ago, and since then she has added two more greenhouses, several “cold frames” and a cabin that came from a nearby lake home in sections that had been sawed apart by her husband.

The cabin holds local items for sale such as candles, wind chimes and collectibles. Sandy also has been able to hire three young people to help out, especially during planting season. But she is quick to add that Country Roots has been a “family business” since day one. Her son, Reid, and his significant other, Molly, who live on an adjoining property have been indispensable, from keeping the driveway clear, doing plumbing and excavating to helping out at the cash register located in a recycled corn crib! Her son, Chad, who owns his own greenhouse near Bemidji pitched in with the wiring and heating systems and youngest son, Trent, built the lattice shade house for perennials needing a cooler environment. Her sister Gail also gets into the act by going with Sandy in the off season on buying expeditions to estate sales, garage sales and even Rochester to a huge flea market. This is where Sandy finds the fun collectibles that she sells or makes into creative planters. She calls herself a spendthrift and loves a bargain that she can bring home and showcase. For example, an old galvanized washtub sits adrift in front of the “cabin.” Sandy says she hasn’t found the “right spot” for it yet, but by the time she opens for business, I’m sure it will be filled with a colorful assortment of

petunias or zinnias, two of her old-time favorites. Country Roots is located off Hwy 18 between Brainerd and Highway 6, which means a lot of Sandy’s customers come from surrounding lakes, such as Mille Lacs and Bay Lake but she also has loyal local support. Sandy shared this touching story of a longtime customer who overheard an elderly couple discussing the hanging baskets, but how they couldn’t afford to purchase one. The customer approached Sandy, supplying the money telling her to let the couple to pick out the basket they wanted. It’s this story and others like it that keeps Sandy going, even when her days are 12 hours long and only cold cereal awaits her for supper. Sandy says her favorite customers are the young families. It puts a smile on her face to watch the children pick out their flowers and veggies, creating the spark from which their own “country roots” may grow.


Annie Bandel

Annie Bandel, grew up in the Twin Cities, without country roots, but appreciates gardening. SUMMER 2012 | her voice



story and photos by Jan Kurtz

A New Mom llan Jan Kurtz dressed in a typical Sevi asies. fant her of April Fair dress fulfilling one


She stared blankly down into the toilet, as she swished his dirty diaper counter-clockwise until the cloth loosened its load. This was her sixth month as a “new mother” and she was laboring under her belief that disposables were bad for the environment and that it was her job to be “a good wife and mother.” What exactly did that entail? “For this I spent four years in college while my husband is out with his high school education, wearing the tailored suit and driving the new car?” The forbidden thought escaped as she rung out the offending diaper between clenched fingers before she reached up to flush. The flush drowned out the crying of her infant in the nursery across the hall. It was after 10 p.m. and again she was alone with the baby that her husband had so dearly wanted. They had even made a deal…There would be no family started until she had returned to Spain, so that he might see and share the place she spent her junior year abroad. As luck would have it, the baby was conceived in Seville, or perhaps, Marbella. Within weeks of their return, the new fashionable pants she had purchased along the Costa were already too tight! With one hand grasping the sink, still 10

Summer 2012 | her voice

filled with dirty diapers and the other propped on the toilet lid, she raised herself up off of the floor. Her baby’s cry had called forth the milk within her breasts and the warm liquid began to grow a darkening stain on her shirt. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror as she washed her hands and pushed the hair off her forehead. “Who is this person?” Her husband had quit a stable, military job just a few months into their pregnancy, to pursue a career in real estate. There was no question that he had not been happy and that something had to change. He had blossomed and already been employee of the month, but did he have to show houses every weekend? Did the clients have to call at all hours? Didn’t people respect a home life? Of course he has to go. Our only salary is commission! Again, the baby cried. “I’m coming, sweetie. Mommy is coming.” She reached down and pulled him out of the crib, putting her hand under his little head and looked into his squinting face. The other hand patted his butt while searching for the answer to “wet or dry.” Wet. As she moved him to the dressing table, she began to hum, as the words to the lullabies had not

yet come back to her. She liked the way he smelled, once he was all powdered up and snuggling in fresh jammies. The sun, wind and blue sky returned to her, as she pinned on a linedried, double folded diaper. She did love hanging out the clothes! He was now dry but hungry as she sat them into the low rocking chair, pulling her shirt aside and cupping his head into her armpit. She began to rock, producing the rhythmic creak that was handed down to her from previous generations. It was a calming click that accompanied them each night at four-hour intervals, when they met here, under the night light. She mused about all the mothers that, at that very moment, all around the world, were united in the feeding of their babies. A special group, that simply existed as a result of this common activity. A sacred rite, participated in purely because you had a baby and there you were. She paused the rocking long enough to shift sides and saddle him into her other armpit. He closed his eyes. She closed hers. This time, it wasn’t a lullaby, but a Sevillana that left her lips. This gypsy tune carried her to the orange trees during April Feria, where white, Andalusian stallions

“White Village” along the Mediterranean.

paraded their stiffly saddled riders with tipped black hats. Her cheek now rested on the top of his fuzzy head. She wrapped the afghan around his feet. She rocked back and forth and back and forth, snuggling him into her dream. She could take him to the Pueblos Blancos and rent a small “piso” clinging to the cliffs over the Mediterranean. It would have a small patio with bougainvillea vining its way up to the balcony. Below, in the cobblestone streets, she

would hear the gossiping whispers of stout widows, heads hidden in black kerchiefs, bodies stuffed into black dresses, barely able to cross their ankles as they leaned together on park benches. Ancient buildings listened and were keeping their secrets. Could she keep hers? She felt a hot tear and tasted its salt.


Narrow Streets of Barrio de Santa Cruz, Seville, Spain

Jan and son, at approximately 1 month old.

Jan Kurtz

Jan Kurtz teaches Spanish and Latin American Studies at Central Lakes College and is a frequent contributor to Her Voice.

Summer 2012 | her voice


story and photos by J o d i e Tw e e d

Reliving History, Rhonda Smith has been a fixture of the downtown Brainerd business community for the past 18 years. Downtown Art and Frame Co. came first, followed by her second business, The Bead Box, about seven years ago.

Framing was a way to preserve history, another one of her passions. She spent five years doing contract framing work for art galleries from Minneapolis to Duluth before opening Downtown Art and Frame Co. on Laurel Street. About 14 years ago a woman came into the art supply store looking for beads. Smith said she directed her to a local crafting store. But the woman persisted, explaining to Smith that beads were fine art, much like the higher end art supplies she carries. The customer implored her to visit a bead store in the Twin Cities the next time she was there. Rhonda drove by a Minneapolis bead store and, recalling the conversation she had months before, talked her husband, Brian, into stopping to take a quick look. When she walked in, she knew she had to carry beads in her store. “I didn’t know anything like that existed,” Rhonda recalled. “I looked at my husband and said, ‘We’ve got to do this.’ I saw it as an art, as opposed to a craft.” A month later, the entire family found themselves in Tuscon, Ariz., the world market for beads, to attend bead shows. It was overwhelming at first. Rhonda broke down into tears at her first bead show, one of about 30 shows held in the city at the same time every February. “I was so out of my element,” she said with a laugh. “I didn’t know what I was doing. I knew I wanted to do it, but I didn’t know where to start.” A single bead can cost anywhere from a penny to several hundred dollars. She didn’t buy anything the first day. But she returned the next day to another show, where she met 12

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Taking a step inside The Bead Box is like going back in time, a glimpse at not only Brainerd’s past but to a Civil War battlefield, an 18th Century African village or when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Owner Rhonda Smith wouldn’t have it any other way. “We have things that not everyone has and that’s what I try to do,” Rhonda said with a smile. She also owns Downtown Art and Frame Co., two businesses that are located a stone’s throw from each other on Laurel Street. Rhonda has always had a passion for art. She enjoys watercolor, drawing and painting, especially encaustic painting, a type of dimensional painting using beeswax and paints. She learned the art of framing 23 years ago. Smith, who is a certified professional framer, became trained in frame restoration.

a bead dealer who took her under his wing. Rhonda opened The Bead Box in Nisswa the following summer, a store her son Brandon ran for six summers. The store put him through college, she said proudly. She made the hard decision to close The Bead Box in Nisswa, even though it was a profitable venture, because her son had finished college and was working in the engineering field and she wasn’t sure she could run both stores. But another opportunity arose. A 3,000-square-foot space, part of the former Scott department store built in 1909, had opened up across from Downtown Art and Frame Co. She laid eyes on the original tin ceiling covered in peeling white paint just beneath a suspended ceiling and immediately saw the potential. Her husband and son sandblasted the ceiling, an arduous task. They painted the tin ceiling copper and textured and painted the walls a rich, historical palette of colors. She wanted antique display cabinets that would fit in well in this new store.

She found them in an antique shop in Iowa, built in 1900 for a Kodak camera store. Seven years ago on Memorial Day weekend she opened The Bead Box in downtown Brainerd. Her daughter Britni ran the store for five years. Rhonda sells beads made of a variety of materials, from glass, stone, wood, bone, crystal and precious metals. Some are as old as 400-1100 A.D., as well as beads made of fossils, including fossilized walrus and dinosaur bones. She carries ethnic beads, including African brass and trade beads from the 1700s to early 1900s. She has Thailand ear plugs made of bone and African brass beads used centuries ago to adorn dreadlocks. “That’s the stuff I feel a connection to

y, One Bead at a Time because it has weathered thousands of years,” she explained. “I also imagine the people who wore them. You’re incorporating a sense of history into your (art) piece.” She has traveled twice to the Czech Republic to hand select beads at a bead factory. “I do really enjoy what I do. It’s fun to have people come in who ask questions and I can share my passion with people,” said Rhonda. “I feel like I’m contributing to that history of Brainerd.”


Jodie Tweed,

Jodie Tweed, a former longtime Brainerd Dispatch reporter, is now a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom who lives in Pequot Lakes with her husband, Nels, and three girls, Erika, 18; Madeline, 3; and Beatrice, 1.

SUMMER 2012 | her voice


en t r e p r e n e u r s

story and photos by Suz Wipperling

When an Aussie Moves t


From Australia to Crosby, Minn., is quite a cultural leap. But since Ros Hirshman has a great sense of humor, the transition has given her some funny material for letters home. Ros followed her heart to the United States. While in an abusive relationship in Australia, she met a graffitti artist named GJ online. An artist herself, Ros was immediately intrigued, learning he was truly a painter of streets for the Los Angeles Street Crews. Often they conversed playing games online. While chatting, Ros and GJ felt an immediate connection and were able to help each other through the tough times. GJ made the decision to fly out and meet Ros and right there in the airport, on first meeting, he planted a huge kiss on her cheek. They both knew this was right. Ros followed GJ back to Crosby in 2003 and the two were married. Ros worked at an antique store and The Bead Box in Nisswa, and then Ben Franklin in Brainerd from 2005 until 2007. With her love of art, she was a natural for helping people with their own creativity. Looking around for somewhere to sell her art work, Ros heard about Letty’s on the main street in Crosby. She started out renting a space and ended up managing the store. Eventually they moved into the apartment upstairs. Life was different in Crosby, in big and little ways. In Australia, tomato sauce is our ketchup. A cookie is called a biscuit and Rice a Roni is called Rice a Riso. When Roz heard we eat spaghetti, she was confused, as that is just noodles to her. Add the sauce and its spaghetti bolognese. Marinara sauce makes her laugh. Marinara is a fish. Australians’ like shortening


SUMMER 2012 | her voice

words, so chocolate is “chocky” and lollipops are “lollies.” You do your Christmas shopping and decorating in the heat of summer. As Ros and GJ were getting to know each other through chat, they discovered that language differences led to many misunderstandings. Once, Ros slipped out to smoke, but didn’t want to tell GJ why she was gone. When he asked her what was going on she said, “I made a stuff up,” which to her meant she made a mistake. GJ thought she was making stuff up and lying to him. There were some hurt feelings until the common Australian phrase was explained. Seven of the world’s deadliest snakes are in Australia. Also, the most dangerous aquatic creatures are all in Australian waters. Red Black spiders live under garden furniture and bite you where you are vulnerable. You don’t kick a rock or a stick (tuft of grass), or put on your shoes without bashing them first. With all of

that danger at your fingertips, it’s not so hard to understand why Australians are feisty. Of learning how to drive on the wrong side of the road, Ros says, “I liken this experience to looking in a mirror and cutting your hair— while using the hand you don’t use the most and closing one eye. Seriously! For me, it was that difficult.” But look out Minnesota, she passed her drivers’ test. Explaining other cultural differences Ros says it is insulting to an Australian if you call them by their last name, or refer to them as “she” or “he” when they are right by you. Also, when having a conversation with an Aussie, don’t ask what they do for a living. It’s like asking what they are worth. Instead, ask where they are from. So if you feel you would like to meet an Aussie, stop into Crosby Arts and Crafts, and meet Ros. If she is in a really good mood, she might even serve you a lamington (cake).


Ros Hirshman made the transition from Australia to Crosby and now does arts and crafts.

s to Crosby

Suz Wipperling

Suz is a freelance writer in the Brainerd lakes area.

SUMMER 2012 | her voice


by Diane Peterson

Bloom Your

Beauty Celebrate

OK. Before you start, please step in front of a mirror and smile at yourself. Think of your favorite lifetime experiences and your smile will increase. Celebrating and appreciating our lives is very important! As you look at yourself in the mirror, select at least a few favorites: Do you like your smile? Your eyes? Your cheeks? Your hair? My fav is my big mouth. Even as a youngster I’ve looked up and opened my mouth as I smiled. My goofy grin continues. Now look a little closer. What would you hope to improve? A few wrinkles? Some aging spots? Something else? Whether you are in your 30s or a “Baby Boomer,” it can work.


At any age we can begin an antiaging process, improve and protect our skin and always look a bit younger!

Baby Boomers

Yes, that’s me. I laid in the sun for hours back in the ‘60s. Oh, we were so cute, extremely active and grinned as we said, “Groovy” and “Cool, dude” to our friends. Of course we didn’t know how unhealthy the sun would be for our skin as we baked day after day. A few decades later I started seeing spots and some wrinkles. Why? To find out what was happening, I went to see a dermatologist, Dr. Paul Lundstrom at Dermatology Professionals in Brainerd. Dr. Lundstrom took time to check my skin and teach me about the importance of sunscreen.

Most Important Skin Healthcare


We’ve all heard about different brands of moisturizer and how important it could be to help our skin. When I was young, I didn’t use moisturizer at all, but my focus changed at 40. I began by covering my face at night. The next decade I added my throat, hands and my feet. I used moisturizing makeup in the morning (still do!) and started to layer two brands of cream everywhere I could. When I went to bed if my face stuck to my pillow, I felt great. While I do occasionally layer moisturizers, I have now learned a healthier skin process from a dermatologist.

Whether we are in the 20s, or 60s we must protect our skin by wearing a high level sunscreen: at least SPF 30. Children through snowbirds…we need to use UVB/UVA sunscreen before the sun sees us! In fact, if we can layer it on our face (and other parts of our body that will be in the sun) every morning, we won’t forget to protect ourselves from possible skin cancer. Dr. Lundstrom mentioned that when we are in the sun, our level of sunscreen will start to decrease over time. So, if we start with SPF 30 it will become ineffective more quickly than SPF 80. I always use Neutrogena Age Shield Face Sunblock SPF 55 below my makeup. Select your favorite brand, but make sure the SPF is at least 30 and look for one with “active ingredients” that contain one of the following: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, parsol 1789 or mexoryl. Be safe!


SUMMER 2012 | her voice

Skin Challenges

Because of my years of sun, Dr. Lundstrom found basal cell carcinoma, a skin cancer, on my face. He surgically removed it and on exams I have been clear since. Jane Johnson from Nisswa was diagnosed five years ago with melanoma, a potentially lethal form of skin cancer. “I was a sun worshiper for over 40 years until melanoma was found on my leg.” Jane was thankful that Dr. Lundstrom found the melanoma at an early and very treatable level. “I now have yearly checkups with Dr. Lundstrom and have had numerous precancerous moles removed each year. Life is good!” Jane smiled. Jane used Avalon Organic vitamin C serum and moisturizer with SPF which she buys at Target or Walgreens and both of us use the best prescription skin enhancer ever recommended by Dr.Lundstrom: Renova. “I have been using Renova for about seven years,” Jane mentioned, “and it really does fade age/sun spots and helps with the fine lines.” While Renova is a prescription and a bit costly, we believe it is worth every cent. Note: You may purchase a similar but weaker product, retinol, which is in many over the counter products.

photo by Joey Halvorson

Boomers Hair Tips: Some of us are just not ready to be naturally gray. My stylist said that color adds so much depth to the hair and highlights add movement, so try multi-tone color. “If you don’t want a lot of color, do a clear gloss which adds shine and makes your hair more manageable.” And we need to go lighter as we age which makes roots less noticeable and will make our skin look more youthful. And, if we start seeing our gray roots growing back, try a zig-zag part which will hide our roots more than a straight one. Tip: Want some more body in your hair? Try switching your part to the opposite direction. Flopping it to the other side may be annoying for a couple of days, but it will definitely help! And, FYI: At a certain age, say good-bye to your locks and get a shorter style! Your Photo: Erase your neck wrinkles in your picture by always looking up and smiling – like me! Exercise Increases Life: Whether we are walking, stretching or lifting weights, exercising and healthy food are some of the most important factors in our overall health. Low salt diets and exercise have been proven to reduce hypertension and aggressive cholesterol can also be vastly improved by diet and exercise. Aging will happen to all of us, but we’ll look younger if we protect our skin, exercise and eat healthy! Let’s bloom our beauty!


Diane Peterson

Diane Peterson lived in the Brainerd area for 32 years before moving to Fergus Falls. Her Voice inspired her to begin a woman’s magazine in the Fergus Falls area titled “In Good Company” over three years ago.

After finding melanoma skin cancer on her leg, Jane Johnson now follows a few skin care regimens and appears radiantly healthy.

Additional Anti-Aging Tips

Botox: We’ve all heard of those shots and have seen wide lips on screen. I asked Dr. Lundstrom if Botox really “fixes” our faces. “No, it really doesn’t fix wrinkles, etc. Botox actually relaxes muscles for a while. If you start using Botox, you will need to continue every six months, forever!” Yikes! It inhibits the facial muscles and doesn’t let us exacerbate our wrinkles, or lines of facial expression, but they won’t go away. If you start, plan to continue. Chemical Peel: Jane Johnson shares: “Lottie from Chrysalils gave me my first chemical peel this year. It was amazing! I also use Revision Skin Care Intellishade SPF-45 tinted moisturizer which evens out my skin tone.” 30s: If your age is below 50, you still need to begin to use moisturizer, SPF and either Renova or Retinol. “For example,” Dr. Lundstrom stated, “if you would place Renova and sunscreen only on your right cheek in your 30s, you will see a major difference between your right and left cheek in your 50s.” See? Begin protecting your skin before you hit my age! Eyes: Puffy/Dark Circles: As we “grow up” we often notice dark circles or puffiness under our eyes. Dr. Lundstrom said that there really isn’t a lot we can do to remove them. But he did suggest staying hydrated and get more rest if the darkness shows up. SUMMER 2012 | her voice


ya r d a n d g a r d e n

by Jackie Burkey photos by Joey Halvorson

Volunteers in the Daughters of the American Revoluntion, (left to right) Faye Leach, DeAnn Caddy and Coralee Fox, maintain the award winning flower gardens at the Fine Line Salon.


Fine Gardens

Have you ever walked up the sidewalk to the Fine Line Salon and Spa on a warm, humid day and suddenly felt the need for some Godiva chocolate, or at least a Hershey bar? Blame the fragrant cocoa bean hull mulch. A beautiful natural mulch, it’s the finishing touch to the many manicured flower beds on the property, all maintained by several members of the Captain Robert Orr chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The DAR is a nonprofit, nonpolitical, volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history and securing America’s future through better education for children. A few years ago, on the way home from a DAR event in the Twin Cites, members DeAnn Caddy, Faye Leach, and Coralee Fox started plotting an historic preservation project for the Brainerd lakes area. As avid gardeners, along with Betty Ehrhardt, they approached owner Kathy Bjork with their ideas for flowerbeds at the Fine Line on the corner of North Fourth Street and Kingwood in north Brainerd. Originally a family home built in 1903 by Dr. Werner Hemstead, the building is the only Brainerd residence listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The ladies were delighted to find stacks of old yellow bricks in the basement and since they all had experience laying stone in their own yards, they quickly went to work creating a path that ends in a small patio with an antique bench where visitors can sit to enjoy the gardens. Then the fun began. Along with Kathy and her husband Rick,


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the group started planning the flowerbeds. Beginning with the hydrangea in front that is over 100 years old, and the old hybrid crabapple near the hedgerow, the goal became to always have something in bloom. Kathy, who loves color and variety and big flowers like dinner plate dahlias, has the final say and is famous for buying plants she’s fallen in love with for the gardeners to incorporate into the gardens. She also has a habit of cutting gorgeous blooms and giving them away—it’s not unusual to come back to admire a flower only to discover it’s gone! The beds are constantly being expanded or modified. Too much shade or too much hot sun, too crowded, or too overgrown means things have to be moved. New specimens are purchased wherever the ladies find them. Some of the perennials have come from their own gardens, but they all keep their eyes out for new favorites. Last spring tulips bloomed for the first time, and more bulbs were planted last fall, so there should be a lot of early spring color this year. This summer the goal is to put new plantings around the lighted sign and around the base of the clock, as well as adding more blue flowers to the Red, White, and Blue Garden in the back by the barber shop. Master Gardener Coralee stresses good gardening practices — amending the soil, mulching to keep down weeds and preserve moisture and composting their old plant material. MiracleGro is their fertilizer of choice, and they use a lot of it, reports

blooming dahlia dahlia

spring mix; tulips and daffodils

Coralee. An irrigation system takes care of most of the watering, with the Fine Line staff helping out with the containers on the porch. Rick is in charge of Bunny Patrol, but the rabbits get their fair share of lilies and other yummy flowers, especially in the spring. Barring bad weather or an emergency, the women come in every Monday morning, May through October. Hot weather inspires them to get to work earlier than usual, but by September their time is mostly spent dead-heading and weeding. Then, after the first frost it’s more hours again, cleaning up the beds and getting everything mulched and ready for winter. Kathy and Rick like to add spruce tops and lights for the holiday season, so The Fine Line is never bare and boring.


Jackie Burkey

Jackie Turcotte Burkey is a University of Minnesota Extension Crow Wing County Master Gardener, Brainerd Garden Club president, Brainerd Park and Recreation Board member and won the first Brainerd in Bloom Residential Flower Garden award. She also maintains the flowers in Gregory Park and loves to teach about worm composting. She and her husband Mike moved to Brainerd in 2006.

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story and photos by Meg Douglas

Isles of Shoals


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Bright sun sparkled on the deep blue waters off the coast of the Atlantic as we set off in a boat toward a tiny speck on the horizon, the Isles of Shoals. Earlier in the week, we’d arrived at the harbor in Rye, New Hampshire with fog and mist shrouding the shore, a common occurrence. But when Captain Sue Reynold, boat owner and lifelong coastal resident saw potential storms on the radar, it gave us pause. After a quick scan of the lobster boat turned ferry, I chose not to risk a “Perfect Storm” adventure on the high seas. With just the hint that this low pressure system might create squalls, we decided to wait. It might have taken awhile, as fog and rain can settled in, but we caught a break and in two days were awash in sun on the deck of the “Uncle Oscar.” Just nine miles from the coast, nine rocky islands make up the Isles of Shoals with exotic sounding names like Smuttynose, Star, Appledore and Malaga. It’s said Europeans first explored the deep waters in the 1500s, finding a bountiful harvest of fish. John Smith of Jamestown fame named this assortment of rocky reefs in 1614, ‘Smith’s Isles,” but the name didn’t stick. Fishing peaked during colonial times with over 600 residents living year round on island, but slowed after the Revolution, population falling to double digits. It was tourism that brought a resurgence of mainlanders back to the islands in the late 1800s; a grand hotel built in Victorian style. Little has changed today as we chugged into harbor on Star Island, the Oceanic Hotel standing before us like a “grand dame.” She still sports a sweeping porch with rustic rockers inviting visitors to leave behind the busyness of modern life and come sit a spell. Back in the day, artists came for summer stays to try their hand at seascapes. Writers such as Hawthorne, Emerson and Thoreau read, wrote and rested. And as we walked up the path to the hotel, there was little about the place to suggest the 21st century. I’d first read about the Isles of Shoals in Anita Shreve’s bestseller, “The Weight of Water.” In a story within a story, she tells of an actual event in 1873; the brutal murder of two immigrant women who had been slayed by an ax. Shreve’s description of the islands had an allure that beckoned. Now here I was, viewing those same rocky reefs. As we debarked from the boat, gulls shrieked overhead and the scent of sun-baked salt wafted through the air. Closer to shore waves sloshed in and out of tidal pools made of mussel- covered rocks. A tanned and fit fleet of hotel staff greeted us as we stepped off the boat. Eager for the tourist season to begin, the young women had traded flip-flops for sturdy boots, respectful of the rocky ground we were about to trod. Today the island is owned by a nonprofit corporation and is available to visitors for the day (our trip) or the week. Artists, musicians, writers and church groups still find the island a good place for workshops and conferences. A large assortment of shore birds; colonies of cormorants, ducks and snowy egrets, come and go as they please. Across a narrow channel is the island of Appledore, home to a marine laboratory operated by Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire. Found here also is a cottage and garden that was once home to poet Celia Thaxter. Whether it’s the moderate temperatures or the salty sea spray, something about the ocean deepens flower color and sweetens the aroma, especially with the rugosa rose.

An art barn holds supplies for students painting the stunning ocean vistas.

Photo at left: Nine miles from the New Hampshire coast, nine rocky islands make up the Isle of Shoals. Fisherman as far back as the 1500s once inhabited the rocky islands, now explored by tourists, and students and is the setting for a best seller by Anita Shreve. SUMMER 2012 | her voice


For much of the day we followed trails over five acres of Star Island, rarely losing sight of the sea beyond. Looking like little more than a pile of rocks we viewed ledges where Bluebeard the pirate roamed and is rumored to have buried treasure. At first, native low growing cedar trees provided wood for the sparse and simple houses of the settlement. But when the supply of cedar ran out, settlers quarried native granite for their homes and a chapel that survives today. The first chapel was built of wood in 1800, then burned down. The surviving chapel was built of granite on the island’s highest rise of land. It’s easy to imagine villagers carrying their whale oil lamps up the path to evening services. Not catering to the spa crowd, the hotel provides weeklong stays for those seeking a simpler time. The corporation works hard to protect their fragile ecosystem using a variety of sustainable practices such as collecting rain water, using solar panels and implementing an extensive composting system. Meals are served home style at long tables. Rooms are sparsely furnished, most without private baths. Showers are available every other day. Resting on the hotel porch, after lunch I thought about both the beauty and isolation of life on the island. Eager to visit, I realized I’m not up for an extended island stay. I smile with pleasure as the “Uncle Oscar” chugs back to shore, carrying me home with a collection of island memories.

The Oceanic Hotel sports a long, sweeping porch, reminiscent of a bygone era.


Meg Douglas

Meg Douglas is editor of Her Voice.


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by Carolyn Corbett photos by Joey Halvorson

The Sisters


Norway Ridge

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A life changing experience...

Sisters Jackie Clark (above) and Alicia Elson have owned and operated Norway Ridge supper Club on Kimble Lake for 30 years.


“Aren’t you Norway Ridge?” The question comes at an antique fair in Oronoco. Encounters with cheerful patrons come at a hotel pool in Key West, on the streets of Captiva after a Christmas golf cart parade, just getting off the ramp in Fort Meyers, at a wine tasting on a paddle wheel boat on Lake Minnetonka. Sisters Jackie Clark and Alicia Elson own and operate the charming Norway Ridge Supper Club, overlooking Kimble Lake nine miles north of Breezy Point. The 24

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restaurant, which opened in May 1948, was originally part of the 10-cabin Norway Ridge Resort, which dissolved in the early 1970s. The first owners were another pair of sisters: Evelyn Thompson and Bess Neuman, who established the restaurant with a family-first focus that continues today. Jackie and Alicia are the fifth owners and endeavor to maintain the sense of nostalgia. “I have always felt like a guardian or a steward of the history here,” says Jackie. “Families have come here for generations. Ninety percent of our guests are repeat customers. We know the table and the server they want.” Their acquisition of the site was sudden. In 1982, Alicia was living in Ham Lake and Jackie was up here when they decided they should buy a restaurant for the summer. In April Jackie called to tell Alicia that Norway Ridge had come up for sale. The response was immediate. “Well, let’s buy it!” “It was a life changing experience. We had basically zero knowledge about running a restaurant. It trained us. We took over July 1, not such a good idea. But we learned the ropes quickly and put our own mark on it,” says Alicia. They were ahead of the area technologically, promptly implementing a POS (Point of Sale) system. That application was not welcomed by all the staff, nor was the addition of another fork in the place settings. Some balked, a few left, the rest thrived. Alicia’s kids grew up there and all of Jackie’s children have worked there as well. “This was the best thing we could have done for them,” Alicia says. “They grew up knowing how to interact with people and they

have a good work ethic.” At one point, onethird of the staff was family. Mom, cousins, kids. There are three generations working there right now, including grandchildren. The sisters raised/mentored a lot of other kids. They didn’t realize the impact they’d had for years until grown up “kids” started coming back saying it was the best job they’d ever had, that Jackie and Alicia had been family to them. Their staff is extended family, so much so that there is a waiting list of people who want to work there. For 30 years now, when the restaurant has been open, one of the two sisters has been there. They share the same goals: family atmosphere, high quality and giving back to the community. The kickoff to their season each April is a food shelf drive. A $10 donation gets customers a 2-for-1 dinner, but most guests generously contribute more. One patron shows up each spring with a check for $200. They raise anywhere from $4,000-$5,000 for the food shelf yearly. Norway Ridge is open from April to October. Seating areas for 140 guests are available in the bar, on porch, beside the rock fireplace and in the main dining room. Tables in front of the large picture windows are oft requested premium space. Reservations are not required, but strongly recommended. Otherwise guests might drive a considerable distance only to have to wait an hour or longer to be seated for dinner. Locals and summer people know where to find Norway Ridge. So do others. Paul Newman has been there. So has newscaster Paul Magers and Major League Baseball shortstop Roy Smalley. Known for their ribs,

walleye, steaks and sourdough, the restaurant has been written up in Mpls St Paul magazine. Many of the recipes, including sauces and dressings used over 64 years ago and passed down from owner to owner, are still used today. Their famous ribs are smoked in the smokehouse on the property – guests are welcome to tour it - and sourdough is made daily. The ambience of an old “Up North” wooden cabin includes pine furniture, pine floors and a double fireplace. This summer Jackie and Alicia celebrate their 30th anniversary of ownership. They will use their brand new Facebook page to keep all their customers up to date about an anniversary tent party with a band and an outdoor concert. The sisters’ sense of adventure isn’t restricted to spontaneously buying restaurants. There are also the Mystery Trips. A few years back, Alicia planned a Carnival cruise for the two of them and two close friends, Deb Burton and Ginger Glenn. Picture four independent, business-owning women in a closet with a bathroom. It was a hit! They had such a great time they went on another Carnival cruise the next year. By year three, Alicia was ready for someone else to take over the trip planning. Deb took it on and none of the other three would help her. “Fine,” she said. “I won’t tell you where we’re going!” And she didn’t. The three arrived at the airport with their luggage, looking lost. When a security guard asked where they were going, they didn’t know. They ended up in Ixtapa, Mexico. Since then each woman has taken a turn planning the mystery trip. They go nearly the

same week each year, as they have to plan to be away from their businesses. The only guideline for the planner is that it has to be somewhere warm. The others pack their bags swimsuits and flip flops and show up at the airport at the appointed time. They’ve been to Key West, Maui and – this winter – to the British Virgin Islands, where a completely provisioned 50-foot sailboat named Changes, a captain and a handsome crew member awaited them. Alicia didn’t tell the others the final destination until they arrived on Tortola. The two have plenty of interests in addition to travel and running Norway Ridge. Jackie owns six Tennessee Walkers. She also has an entire room dedicated to quilting and sewing. A closet full of fabrics, baskets of yarn, rows and rows of thread and assorted containers fill with hundreds and hundreds of buttons. Jackie and Alicia are part of a group called Close Knit Quilters, who gather several times a year for “quilt camps” where they quilt, sew, laugh, cry. Each year they donate a quilt to Camp Knutson’s fundraising quilt auction. Both play tennis and Alicia is a dancer, found some Fridays two-stepping, waltzing or swinging at the Eagle’s. She has also been in real estate for four years. She loves the new challenges and dimensions being a real estate agent with Weichert Realtors has brought to her life, especially as she balances her two careers. Alicia has a book in her wanting to be written, one inspired by Norway Ridge: “As the Ribs Smoke.”


Away from the supper club, the sisters lead busy lives including for Jackie (top), a whole room devoted to quilting and sewing and for Alicia a job as a realtor.

Carolyn Corbett

A former teacher, Carolyn Corbett is a freelance editor and writer. Her website is at

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pioneer profile

story and photos by Melody Banks

A Penchant for the Past Amateur genealogist Nancy Thompson volunteers at the History Center in Nisswa.



Nancy’s ancestor, Franz Anton Renz, was a German immigrant who came to the U.S. with nothing and later became the treasurer of St. Paul and Ramsey County.

Nisswa History Center and Pioneer Village Mr. Lee Anderson deeded the land for the History Center and Pioneer Village to the city of Nisswa in 2010. There is no charge for visiting the History Center, a minimal fee is charged to go through the village. Those interested in learning more about the Crow Wing County Historical Society, volunteering or making a donation should contact Leann Carlson at (218) 9632432. Genealogical Surprises, an informal group of amateur genealogists, meet during at the History Center on the third Monday of each month, call Nancy at 568-8824.


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Nancy Thompson has been interested in history for as long as she can remember. The amateur genealogist and archivist has a long past in Nisswa and has her own place in its history. Nancy worked as the deputy clerk for the city of Nisswa for 25 years. Serving the municipal position provided the opportunity to meet numerous area families and become involved with many of the policies and procedures that helped shape the quaint little village. She retired in 2004. “The week I retired,” she says, “I stopped into the history center and I have been there ever since.” Nancy was born in 1938. Her family lived near the state fair grounds in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, but she spent much of her time growing up in Nisswa. Her grandparents bought property on Gull Lake in 1916. She was only a year old when she made her first visit to the area and then spent time nearly every summer at their home. Nancy first met her husband, Harold, when she was just 5. “My uncle used to build water skis. Harold was one of several young boys who would come over to my grandparents to visit my uncle,” she recalls. “The funny thing is, he never showed interest in me until I was 18 and he started attending Dunwoody academy in the Cities. Then we finally started dating.” Their union lasted over 52 years. Harold passed away from complications of heart surgery in December of 2010. “Harold wasn’t interested in genealogy,” Thompson says. But he was supportive of her research. “He’d be watching television and I would come out of the back room grinning. He’d take one look at me and ask, ‘What’d you find this time?’ He walked through many a cemetery

with me looking for tombstones of ancestors.” Nancy credits her father for peaking her interest in genealogy. He began researching his family history and sharing what he found with her. Nancy’s search for ancestors began in earnest in the 1970s. “We didn’t have the Internet,” she says. Research done then took a lot of travel time, legwork and phone calls to counties and areas where family had lived. “Now online services like Rootsweb and with databases and records have made finding information a lot more accessible.” One of the most interesting discoveries Nancy made was in a cemetery in Canada. She was looking for information for her father’s ancestors. She found the gravesite of a child, John Scott, age 7, and his sister Mary, age 3. The tombstone indicated they died just days apart. It was a great find. “My dad knew of the family but he was unaware of the children. They would have been his uncle and aunt,” Nancy explains. While checking further into the cemetery records, she discovered that the children’s maternal grandmother was interred on the site with the children but her grave was unmarked. Nancy’s latest effort is writing an account of Franz Anton Renz. Renz was an ancestor on her mother’s side. She has a copy of a narrative chronicled by him entitled “The Widow’s Youngest Son.” “It appears he wrote the story in response to the question of whether he would amount to much due to the challenges he faced,” Nancy speculates. Renz must have been a determined individual. “He emigrated from Germany with nothing in 1848,” Nancy says. “The only person he knew in the U.S. was a brother who had come earlier and was living in New York.”

By 1849, Renz had moved west to Minnesota. He bought property in Carver County and St. Paul, was a landlord and even owned a brewery for a short time before it burned down. He eventually became a public servant and worked as the treasurer of St. Paul and Ramsey County. It is Nancy’s love of genealogy that fuels her volunteerism at the History Center but she is quick to acknowledge the other volunteers there who share

A gravestone of Thompson’s ancestors, John and Mary Scott. The children died just 10 days apart.

her passion for history and the importance of preserving it. Bonnie Armstrong, Teresa Berg, Darlyne Dano, Alice Kraemer, Gladys Schmidt and Suzy Wallin, share Thompson’s enthusiasm but more importantly they’ve become good friends. Many of the women’s family surnames may be familiar. Their own roots run deep in Nisswa, with ancestors who settled in the area in the late 1800s. On any given Tuesday, the women can be found working together: gleaning newspapers, clipping articles, scanning photos and archiving the history of the Nisswa area. “Our work is ongoing,” Nancy says. “Yesterday is history in 10 years.”


Volunteers at the Nisswa History Center: Back L-R: Darlyne Dano, Teresa Berg. Front L-R: Nancy Thompson and Gladys Schmidt. Not pictured: Bonnie Armstrong, Alice Kraemer and Suzy Wallin.

Melody Banks

Melody Banks is a graphic artist and writer. She lives in Nisswa, Minnesota with her husband Ron.

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witty woman

Estrogen Alley


First off, let me just say up front, not everyone can be good at everything and sports are supposed to be about having fun. I repeat this mantra under my breath every time I step up to bowl on Wednesday night women’s league at Cuyuna Lanes in Crosby. It doesn’t help when I’m surrounded by bullet-bowlers who could throw blindfolded and get more pins down than me. I’m a runner; it’s an easy sport to figure out. You put one foot in front of the other and run. All you have to think about is watching for potholes and barking dogs. The learning curve for bowling, however, is an endless, frustrating climb. Some people pooh-pooh bowling as not even a “sport.” I’m here to tell you it’s as perplexing to me as football regulations. Keep your arm close to your side, make sure your arm is straight out, bend your knees, no, not too much, don’t turn your wrist, and watch where you stand…The things to remember are longer than my honey-do list. By the time I get up to bowl, my mind is so flooded with all the information from my three pages of notes, the stress throws me into hot-flash mode! It is also one of the few sports you can play while drinking. I’m still undecided whether that’s a good thing or not. I was told the other night, while having myself a malt beverage, that it was supposed to be a celebratory drink deserved only if I was doing well (which, to nobody’s surprise, I wasn’t). I replied I’d die of thirst if I had to wait for that! Now, I’m not going to point fingers at anyone I’ve seen imbibe a tad too much and slide across the foul line while throwing her ball down the wrong lane. Since she still got more pins down than I did stone-cold sober, I’m not bringing her name up. Suffice it to say this woman, just to make herself feel good, will pose with bowling trophies off of the shelf, bullying perfect strangers to take pictures so she can plaster them all over at work and on Facebook. Do I sound bitter?


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Not really, I have too much pride to sink that low. Some people think the bowling season is too long, about the length of a pregnancy and sometimes just as painful, but the duration serves a purpose. It gives one hope that over months your average will improve. Not for me, of course, but that period does give me a chance to come up with excuses for my score. I blame the arthritis in my fingers, the air is too cold, too warm, I’m tired, my ball is dirty, my shoes are too tight, someone is staring at me, I’m thirsty (see the whole “celebratory drink” issue). If there’s a reason, I’ve thought of it. And just when I think I’ve gathered everyone’s sympathy, I get a strike. Nothing throws a wet blanket on excuses like a good strike. Never mind that other bowlers around me have arrived with walkers and canes or with a screaming baby on their hip. They

show up with knee or wrist braces, nothing stops these determined gals. Young women in their early twenties bowl next to greatgrandmas, all with their various estrogen levels which can affect any sense of reasoning. Sometimes it makes them do silly things like wear a football helmet and throw themselves down the lane to see how far they can slide. Then there are “normally-ofsound-mind” women who prance around doing turkey dances every time someone gets three strikes in a row. Some pull a “Fred Flintstone” and fly down the alley with their thumb stuck in their ball. I try and ignore the odd behavior around me. I’m just there to bowl, mind my own business. Who am I to point fingers as to why these women go crazy once they leave the house for their big night out each week? For some, our league is their buoy in the sea of changing diapers and wiping snotty noses, for

Jill Anderson’s bowling league at Cuyuna Lanes in Crosby. PJ night helps relax their bowling techniques. Owner, Nancy, kicks back in the middle with a beer while trophydreaming-Joan plays “make believe” in the background.

story and photos by Jill Anderson

others, it’s their lifeline once they retire; a chance to reconnect with females instead of talking to the walls at home. Their reasons are as varied as their bowling styles. But we all have one thing in common; a night out of having fun. And it gets you off the couch at night, before you morph into it. “Normally I have my pajamas on by now” someone said one night, which, big surprise, prompted “pajama night.” It’s true; it’s so easy to go home after work on a dark winter night and hibernate. But once your family kicks you out that door, you find yourself drawn to the brightly lit bowling alley, pulsating with a life of its own, where you are greeted by a roomful of fellow bowlers out for a good time. The night seems a little cheerier, your energy level renewed and you find the stress of your day seems to roll down the lane with your ball. And, maybe a body or two.

Joyce “Ma” Rademacher, and daughter, Cheryl, make it to bowling regardless of their walker and cane. This is “Ma’s” 62nd year in the MN Women’s state tournament and daughters Cheryl and Lynne have bowled since they were toddlers.


Jill Anderson

Jill Anderson lives and works in Emily but enjoys taking out her frustrations in Crosby at the bowling alley. When it’s not bowling league season, Jill resorts to running and gardening.

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Ph y s i c a l T h e r a p y

story and photos By Marlene Chabot


“I’m a caregiver at heart...” ~ Pam Miller


Pam Miller (left), occupational therapist at Essentia Health Rehabilitation Center, demonstrates some therapeutic techniques with Essentia employee, Sharon Olsen.

Our hands are marvelous tools. They help us hold a baby, pick up objects, operate precision machinery and even touch the face of a loved one. Only over-use or an injury stops us from using them. Without our hands many things get left undone. Thankfully, there are qualified professionals who can help us regain the use of our hands. Occupational therapist Pam Miller, who is certified in hand therapy and lymphedema, sees approximately 8-15 patients a day at Essentia Health St. Joseph’s-Rehabilitation Center in the lower level of the Northern Orthopedics Building on South Sixth Street in Brainerd. Miller, a graduate of St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul, has helped people in our area for the past 35 years. She loves what she does and it shows. The minute Pam sits down with you her sunny disposition and soothing voice puts everyone, from a young child to a person in their 90s, at ease and you’re ready to do whatever she suggests to help you regain the use of your fingers to your shoulders. A patient with tendonitis in their hand or arm may require treatment with cortisone and ultrasound. You may need a splint formed for a fractured wrist. The post-operative patient is shown the necessary exercises to strengthen parts of their hand or arm. “The most rewarding thing for me is when the patient leaves with less problems than they came with,” Pam said. Before a treatment session starts, the hand therapist evaluates the injury. She may look at your wounds, range of motion, strength and endurance, coordination and ask about level of pain. When Pam first arrived in Brainerd from her hometown of


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Annandale, she worked as a physical therapist assistant. Then in 1994 she went back to school in occupational therapy and did various internships to earn a hand therapist certificate which must be renewed every five years. Later, she did intensive training at Norton School of Lymphedema Therapy. The job of a hand therapist is always changing. It’s a challenge to stay informed. New research brings with it different ways of handling arm and hand problems. One of the newest innovations, a wrist splint used for fractures, has a zipper attached to it which allows the patient to remove it while showering. The daughter of Robert and Marlys Pritchard, both now deceased, has thought about a career in occupational therapy ever since she was in high school. “It was my mother, a nurse, who steered me in that direction. The opportunity to work for St. Joseph’s Hospital is what originally brought Pam to the area. It’s rare she said to find a hand therapist in a small community, generally a person with her specialty locates in a metropolitan area. If you are thinking of going into Pam’s line of work, she stressed that you should enjoy one on one work with patients. “I’m a caregiver at heart,” Pam said. It makes her feel good to know she was the one who helped a patient return to work again with a

Pam is certified in hand therapy and lymphedema and works with patients on issues from tendonitis to fractured bones.

“The job of a hand therapist is always changing...” functioning arm or hand. The more complicated the patient’s problem the more challenging it becomes for the therapist. Her job is to let the patient know they’re doing really well for the type of injury they have encountered. Pam can tell when a patient hasn’t been doing the strengthening exercises required for their recovery and she’ll educate them further on their condition and what it means for everyday functions if they get stronger. “Empowering the patient with knowledge on their condition makes them responsible for their recovery.” One of the biggest challenges Pam faces in her job today are the restrictions health insurance companies are placing on the patients. For instance, some companies set a limit on therapy sessions. That means the patient’s therapy will no longer be covered once they’ve gone past their limit, even if the

person’s problem hasn’t been resolved. Other insurance companies don’t cover the bandages and special garment used to treat the swelling of arms and legs caused by lymphedema. The garment itself can cost upwards of $1,000. Besides the many hours Pam spends on the job, she still finds plenty to do outside of work. You’ll find Pam fishing, boating and biking with husband, Lester and their adult son Christopher or working in her garden. “Gardening is very healing,” she said. An avid quilter, her 30 years of experience are put to good use creating unique quilts for new great-nieces and nephews born to the family. She also is secretary of the Susan G. Komen race committee. This year the 13th annual Susan G. Komen Brainerd Lakes Race for the Cure will be held June 30, 2012 at Forestview Middle School, Baxter. As a

four- year cancer survivor, Pam says, “I believe we need to live each day to the fullest and celebrate each day.” And this therapist definitely does just that.


Marlene Chabot Marlene Chabot is a member of Sisters in Crime and Great River Writers and is currently working on her fourth Minnesota based mystery novel. She and her husband reside in Fort Ripley. When not writing, she enjoys reading, crafts, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

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very Child E Needs a Family

by Mary Aalgaard

iles (circled) hy and Roy M at K e th ith d children w er time n, six adopte re ild ch Imagine dinn al ic ing four biolog family, includ children. and 22 foster


You have to be very strong to do foster care, says Kathy Miles. You have to be strong enough to cry over the heartaches, and be open to all possibilities. There is no “one right way” to raise a family, care for a child, or build relationships. Adults of all ages can be foster care parents, married, single, with a life-partner, or already grandparents. Kathy and Roy Miles, of Staples, have four biological daughters, Angela, Candice, and twins Melodee and Melissa. When the twins were about


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14-yearsold, Kathy felt a longing in her heart for more children. It wasn’t meant to be that she’d give birth to more children, so she and Roy talked about adoption. They talked to the agency in Todd County and explained that what they really wanted was to adopt, that they were interested in permanent placement if they did foster care, and that they’d love to bring home an infant. The agent said that permanent placement was rare and that they didn’t have any infants in the program. They applied anyway. Besides a background

check for their immediate family, they answered pages of questions and were asked how other people in their lives, like their parents, adult children, and neighbors would react to them doing foster care. They had much to consider and many people to talk to, but their hearts kept saying, “We need to do this.” They were approved in 1993, and since then have had 22 foster children in their care and adopted six. Within weeks of their approval, they got a call for Bryan, age 3, who was living just down the street from them. They adopted Bryan in 1998. Within the first month, they were asked if they could take a 2-day-old baby. “Yes,” Kathy said, without hesitation. She would have adopted him in a heartbeat, but that wasn’t meant to be. When the adoptive parents came to pick him up, they changed him out of the clothes she had for him, put him in their own car seat, left her a plant and took the baby. She said she cried deep, wrenching sobs, but in the end, knew he was in the best home for him. She kept in touch with the family and showed me

his picture. There he was standing with his mom and dad and older sister. Kathy said, “He fits right in.” When she got called to take in a 10-year-old, Shawn, Kathy hesitated. “I didn’t think I wanted a 10-year-old,” said Kathy, “But, when he arrived, we knew right away that he belonged in our family.” They adopted Shawn in 1995. They adopted another baby, Curtis, in 2002 and Jordan in 2003. They also adopted two girls, April, in 2000, and Brianna, their rescue child, in 1998. The police brought her to Kathy in the middle of the night. They had found the 11-month-old alone in her crib with just a diaper on. It was January, so the officer squeezed her as tightly as he could to his jacket and brought her to the safety and warmth of Kathy’s arms and the Miles’ home. Brianna, now 16, is wise beyond her years. When Kathy struggles to understand why some of the foster children resisted and rejected her, Brianna explained. If they’ve never known what love is, how it looks or feels, they can’t recognize it when it’s there. They push it away out of fear or lack of understanding or trust. It takes a long time to break

through those emotional barriers, but Kathy believes it can happen for anyone, no matter how deep the wounds, or how severe the damage. Once in a home where they feel safe and are allowed to be just kids, and have all their needs met, then they begin to thrive. A man I know who grew up in the foster care system says, foster kids have delays and setbacks. After a while, they can catch up, but you need to give them time, resources, a safe home and love. He married a woman who was already doing foster care and now they are foster parents together. He says that when he turned 18, he was kicked out of the foster care program and out of the house where he was staying and was on his own. He hadn’t even graduated from high school and was not ready to be on his own. He’s glad to see the improvements in the system today. I visited with Trish Exsted at Pinehaven Youth and Family Services, Inc. in Baxter. She is a social worker who has worked in the field of foster care for more than 16 years. She says, “Every child needs a family—whether the child is a teen and needs rules, structure and consistency or the child is a baby that needs love and affection; whether for a short time or for a lifetime. Foster parenting can make a difference in the life of a child!”

She’s seen the successes in her profession, and now in her personal life. Trish and her husband, Jim, searched their hearts and decided they would like to welcome foster children into their home. Their daughters Madi, 13, and Sophie, 10, were excited for the opportunity to help children. Jim and Trish completed their licensing paperwork and on the same day that they were approved, they received a call that two little boys needed a home. The Exsteds weren’t sure how long the boys would be with them, but were open to have them as a part of their family for as long as needed. They remained with the Exsteds for four and a half months. And, yes, there were tears when they had to say goodbye. But, Trish says, “Our hearts hurt for our loss, not for the boys, we know they are where they should be. They are home.” Trish and Jim talked with their daughters about foster care. They describe it as a stepping stone, or a bridge that takes foster children from one stage to another, whether that be reunification with biological family or to an adoptive family. Foster children need supportive, caring and genuine people to look out for them and do whatever it takes to do what is best for the child or children.

May is Foster Care Month, a time to consider what it means to open your heart and home to a child. Many of us foster children daily, through our cookies and coaching, inviting our kids’ friends into our homes, and being another listening ear. They may not have a permanent place in your home, but they do have a

permanent place in your heart. Your kids are always your kids no matter how far they roam, where they settle down and raise their families, or how old they get.


Mary Aalgaard

Mary Aalgaard is a freelance writer in the Brainerd lakes area. She writes for several area publications, an inspirational blog,, and entertainment reviews on her blogspot on the website of the Brainerd Dispatch. She also wrote her first original full-length play, “Coffee Shop Confessions,” performed locally this spring. Mary lives in the Brainerd lakes area with her four sons and cat named Leo.

SUMMER 2012 | her voice


Fa m i l i e s

by Heather Duininck

Finally Finding Hattie


Hattie Duininck


SUMMER 2012 | her voice

On my 36th birthday in 2006, I cracked opened the folder from the adoption agency. The letter read, “Dear Heather, I would like to personally thank you for considering adoption… Whatever your specific circumstance may be, I know that God has ordained [it] as a way of placing children in our homes. If you proceed…we know you will claim this decision as one of the best you have ever made in your life!” For the next six months, my husband and I diligently prepared numerous documents to send to China. In our initial letter to the China Center of Adoption Affairs, we expressed, “We are grateful for the opportunity to present our desire to adopt a child from your beautiful country…[as] a baby girl from China would bring much joy and satisfaction to our family. …We graciously request that you might grant us a referral…Our young boys…would also care about, enjoy, and benefit from a younger Chinese sister. We promise to receive this child as our very own… We are grateful for your careful and thoughtful effort regarding this vital matter. Respectfully yours…” The next four plus years were spent busily parenting our active sons—watching them move from toddlerhood into the tweens. We collected storybooks about China and plush panda

bears for our unknown child. Friends and family members persistently inquired about “our baby from China”—Have you heard anything yet?” As the years elapsed, I became disheartened about the unavailing process of bringing home a baby. In January 2011, our adoption worker contacted us about 2-year-old, Jing Ziwen. Rather than being categorized as a “Healthy Infant,”—for which we had originally applied—Ziwen’s status was a “Waiting Child.” She was slightly older and she had an obvious medical condition involving her face (what we now know is OAV Spectrum Syndrome). Our family could review her photograph and personal file. We would then have 72 hours to decide if we would pursue Ziwen’s adoption. Promptly, we presented the following to the China Center for Adoption Affairs: “We are writing to request your approval to adopt Waiting Child, Jing Ziwen. We desire to bring this young girl into our home to love and care for her…We will love [her] unconditionally…We will provide [her] with the best care possible …Our family has a strong desire to parent and care for sweet Jing Ziwen…When our sons saw [her] pictures, they all had a fondness for her… Thank you for considering our family for the adoption of Jing Ziwen...Most sincerely…”

The day of my husband’s 40th birthday, we embarked on our long awaited trip to our daughter’s homeland. We would first spend three days familiarizing ourselves with this fascinating culture—tasting the aged, earthy Pu Erh tea; listening to layers of Mandarin speaking voices; and absorbing a brilliant array of vivid hues—reds, yellows and greens. As we relished our sightseeing experiences, we also earnestly readied ourselves for the moment we would meet Ziwen. On March 28, 2011, my husband and I met Ziwen face to face in a hotel lobby. She was the shiny dark haired, deep browneyed child we were hoping to embrace for the past five years. As we approached her, she was shedding tears and was uneager to meet us. She had just shared goodbyes with her foster family and had traveled several grueling hours. Ziwen was feverish, and slumped like a rag doll in her chaperone’s lap, until she was unwillingly pushed into my arms with a raspy wail of opposition. My joyful anticipation of meeting our new daughter rapidly deflated into anxiety and apprehension. Our undertaking for the next several days was to bond with our new daughter, “Wen-Wen.” We observed this vulnerable child trust us initially out of necessity and gradually begin to enjoy our company. The feelings of approval were mutual. WenWen gradually began to play, smile and speak. She would

accept our attention and even request our affection. Within the week, she learned to refer to us as “Mama” and “Papa,” and she quickly adjusted to hearing her new name, “Hattie.” During this special time in China, Hattie steadily demonstrated her inner strength, intelligence and tenderness. After 28 hours of travel, we arrived home with Hattie. Plucking Hattie from her beloved birthplace somewhat filled me with regret. However, she at last filled the clothing, crib, and family’s clasp that had awaited her for so long. An ancient Chinese proverb states, “An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break.” Our dear Chinese daughter has now been with us in America for a year. At this point, to revisit that initial letter from our adoption agency encouraging us to adopt, astonishes me! Indeed, it has been one of the best decisions we have ever made! For the delight and contentment she has brought to my life, I am grateful for finally finding Hattie.


Heather Duininck

A native of Brainerd, Heather (Smith) Duininck lives with her husband, Troy, and their four children. A former licensed independent social worker, Heather is presently an at-home mom. She values spending time with family and friends and enjoys the opportunity to reside in her hometown. Heather greatly appreciates the community support she has received regarding Hattie’s adoption!

SUMMER 2012 | her voice


cl u b s a n d c l u s t e r s

by Brenda Peterson and Kris Rossina photos by Joey Halvorson


Patchworkers Kris Rossina (left) and Brenda Peterson are members of the Pinetree Patchworkers, quilters who donate quilts to those in need through service organizations in the area.

Pinetree Patchworkers

“Making Waves” Brainerd High School June 22 • 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. June 23 • 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. • Beautiful quilts of all shapes and sizes displayed • Vendors, demonstrations and refreshments. • $2 per person admission includes the Bed Turning event: Fri., 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, at 1 p.m. Entertaining and educational. Sharing fascinating stories that an entire bed full of quilts can tell. This queensized quilt, sewn and hand-appliqued by Pinetree Patchworkers, is the prize for the drawing at the Quilt show in June.


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-Not Your Mother’s Quilters

Envision a quilt guild meeting. Your thoughts may include a group of lovely, grayhaired ladies sedately sitting around stitching. Now, get that image out of your head; let us introduce you to the Pinetree Patchworkers. Pinetree Patchworkers pride themselves in making a difference for others in the community. Members are involved in many service projects that benefit those in the Brainerd lakes area. Last year 100 crisis quilts were made and distributed through both Crow Wing and Cass County Social Services, the Women’s Center of Mid Minnesota and Sexual Assault Services in order to provide for children in need. A queen-sized quilt is a gift to every family that moves into a Habitat for Humanity home. Pinetree Patchworkers believe that a house isn’t a home without a quilt to comfort and welcome a deserving family. Christmas stockings are stitched from donated fabrics and then filled with gifts to be presented to local agencies including the Women’s Center of Mid Minnesota and PORT Group Homes for youth. Every year Meals on Wheels recipients each receive a new placemat, courtesy of members. Thank-

you notes reinforce how much these gifts are appreciated. Once a month another related group meets, simply calling themselves the Morning Group. They assist any member with basting a quilt in preparation for quilting in exchange for bringing a treat. This group also provides a valuable service by making quilts for our local nursing homes. One of the more far-reaching groups involved with the Pinetree Patchworkers is the group which meets to make Quilts of Valor. This group meets twice a month at Country Fabrics and Quilting and works with donated materials, volunteer piecers and machine quilters to make and distribute quilts for wounded servicemen and women. In 2011, 259 QOV’s with coordinating pillowcases were presented through our Brainerd lakes area organization. Since beginning their work here in 2004, 1600 quilts have been stitched and distributed. In addition to these groups, the guild is often asked for a donation to support a local cause. A network of need spurs members into action, and through the talent and generosity of the members, those requests are

generally honored. The club has been in existence since September of 1980. Though a number of charter members remain, the membership has grown and evolved to include approximately 100 women. The club welcomes quilt enthusiasts of all skill levels and anyone is invited to come as a guest to see what is happening in the local quilting community. For anyone intimidated by a lack of experience, remember that not a single member started out as an accomplished quilter. You will be encouraged by kind, patient, nurturing souls. Whether you are highly skilled as a quilter, or merely a curious beginner, plan to attend the show or come to a meeting as a guest. Pinetree Patchworkers are a vibrant group of women (though men are always welcome!) dedicated to sharing their talents in ways that are vital to the community in which they live.


Brenda (above) and Kris wait on customers at Country Fabrics.

Brenda Peterson

Brenda Peterson and her husband are retired school teachers who now reside on North Long Lake full time. Since moving to the Brainerd lakes area permanently, you will be able to find Brenda sharing her wealth of quilting knowledge at Country Fabrics and Quilting. Everyone who meets Brenda leaves feeling stronger and more equipped to tackle another of life’s hurdles.

Kris Rossina

Kris Rossina grew up on Little Hubert Lake. She says that she has always enjoyed being with people, listening to their stories and learning from them. After retiring from teaching, she feels that the women she has met through Pinetree Patchworkers, the American Sewing Guild and at Country Fabrics not only amaze her, but keep her creative side working.

SUMMER 2012 | her voice


re c r e a t i o n

by Becky Flansburg

photos by Joey Halvorson


The Sisterhood of


As I walked through the doors of The Grove in Pine River I was greeted by cozy warmth and peaceful colors. I was there to meet up with Gaia Sophia, owner of The Grove, and witness a festive occasion she called Tribal Wonderland; a belly dance workshop for dancers interested in American Tribal Style® (ATS) belly dance. The gathering was created as a positive supportive environment for dance education and a great opportunity to network with other dancers. Gaia soon arrived and we settled in for a chat. Gaia (pronounced Guy-ya) Sofia never intended to belly dance. A Hatha Vinyasa Yoga teacher, her dance roots began years ago in spiritual dance. It wasn’t until the year 2000 that she was introduced to her first belly dance class and needless to say, it intrigued her enough to keep her trying new styles. It took until 2009 for her to try her first ATS belly dance class, and it was love at first shimmy. “Belly dance is not the provocative ‘mangrabbing-money-getting’ ritual that people seem to think it is,” shares Gaia. “I love belly dance because it is a dance for women, for women’s purposes. The purpose of empow-


SUMMER 2012 | her voice

A belly dance gathering called Tribal Wonderland at the Grove in Pine River brings together women of various ages and ethnicities.

ering women to not (be) afraid to be on a stage. Not (be) afraid to be ornamental and beautiful.” Gaia studies and dances ATS belly dance which was created by Carolena Nericcio in 1974. Nericcio’s eclectic blend of classic Egyptian, Folkloric and any other influence was enticing to students far and wide. When the ATS belly dance was born, it created a community of women from all walks of life who began to come together into what is affectionately called “the sisterhood of dance.” What distinguishes ATS from other styles of belly dance is the way in which steps, movements, gestures, even costume, are redesigned to suit the common denominator of a group dancing together. Duets, trio and quartets worked in set formations and the music is selected for its clarity and simple, elegant and rhythmic style. “You get so much more out of the dance” Gaia shares, “when you don’t dance by yourself.” “ATS is uplifting for the soul, challenging for the mind,” Gaia adds with shining eyes, ““Belly dance is for women of all sizes, shapes, ages and stages of life. Not a single thing has to change to be able to do it, other

than the personal commitment to feeling amazing and luscious! It’s not a ‘dance to entertain men’...but if they witness it, they’re lucky.” Gaia stresses that the sort of belly dance her studio teaches is not what might be seen as the stereotypical sort. “The images of belly dance are of scantily-clad dancers, and that’s one style, but it’s not ours.” Gaia adds that the elaborate and beautiful costuming is centered around working for any body type, and the focus of the classes are on students feeling good in their own body. Gaia recently moved her studio to a new location off the back-side of the Dark Cravings Coffee shop. The Grove is a peaceful, serene setting and is home to her ATS belly dance classes and ongoing yoga classes as well. Classes include posture, body awareness, yoga, belly dance philosophy and history, and are a positive supportive environment for women to embrace their own unique feminine form and expression of creativity and personality. As we relaxed and chatted, other guest troupes begin arriving, some from as far away as Wisconsin, and it doesn’t take long for the music and laughter to start. The

intended “meet and great” evening soon turns to group dance and the room is filled with delightful, toe-tapping drum and belly dance music, all in harmony with the chime of finger cymbals. When I asked Gaia where she sees ATS evolving in the next five years, she shares that the ATS belly dance is being recognized globally and being showcased regionally, as well as nationally. Gais herself has observed more and more ATS inspired classes being offered at well-established belly dance schools in Minnesota, let alone nation-wide. “It feels like this year ATS is blooming, open wide and smiling into the hearts of anyone seeking an empowered community dance experience,” Gaia adds with a smile. “ I see the blooming of ATS and belly dance in general in the USA as a positive sign that people are ready to look within and open up and be open-minded to new experiences. This greatly excites me and I feel completely blessed to educate and support students as they discover the dancer within.” For more information about The Grove and Gaia Sophia’s classes and offerings, visit


Learning to walk sets you free. Learning to dance gives you the greatest freedom of all: to express your whole self, the person you are.” --Melissa Hayden

Gaia Sofie (right) owner of The Grove, first belly danced in 2000, fell in love and continues to try new styles.

Becky Flansburg

Becky Flansburg is author and creator of Mom Squad Marketing and owner of LAMS Communications. The main goal of Mom Squad Marketing is to shine the spotlight on local moms/women in business and provide info, tips, and ideas to make women entrepreneur’s lives easier. Becky is a blogger, writer, virtual assistant and social media junkie. You can reach Becky at

SUMMER 2012 | her voice



in the

An Artist’s Eye

by Pam Landers


photos by Laura Paycer

Marsha Johnson’s gardens let you know immediately that she has an artist’s eye and a sense of humor. Her luxurious plantings give her away to anyone who dawdles through. Their remarkable patterns and colors treat the eyes and all other senses, cheering and calming. A closer look, however, reveals more. A carved cherub hides under a flowering shrub. A piece of sculpture is tucked behind a rock. Marsha’s “adult marbles” (actually colored bowling balls she finds at garage sales) show up unexpectedly. Pieces like these hide all over in the gardens, tucked away as if

Dave doing the heavy lifting, expanded their beds. She filled a raised bed on the house’s west side with roses and perennials. Behind the house they built stone-terraced gardens as retaining walls for the lower walkout. Between the walls they added a patio where they can relax in the shade on hot summer evenings. The gardens, growing in open, sandy soils, require a great deal of water, so Marsha and Dave have added drip lines and soaker hoses covered with mulch. The woods nearby overlooks a small garden where Marsha keeps her extra plants. In the spring their greenhouse shelters plants

Marsha Johnson and her husband, Dave, have created an amazing variety of gardens surrounding their home five miles west of Brainerd.

they really live there, but you might never know if you aren’t observant. Marsha plays with her garden art, mixing her pieces up and changing them to create new designs when she chooses. In 2003, their children grown, Marsha and husband, Dave, bought 160 acres five miles west of Brainerd, built a new home and started their current array of verdant gardens. She describes creating their gardens as six years of fun adventure for the two of them. If Marsha had to classify her gardens, she would say they are English in the choice, variety and color of plants, but not formal. They built the front gardens, patio, sidewalk and water garden first, and filled these with shrubs, hostas and perennials. A waterfall spills into a water garden, run with a recirculating pump. Large pots of annuals fill in around the porch and walks. As the areas around the front of the house filled up, Marsha, with


SUMMER 2012 | her voice

that are for customers, other plants that need to be tempered before transferring outdoors after the frost has gone and some vegetables. Now that Dave has retired, he’s the one in charge of the larger outdoor vegetable garden. . In 2004, the two began an experiment to restore an acre of prairie between the house and Little Pine Road. They seeded the native plants and, for the first two years, tended it to keep out the nonnatives. “It changes and improves each year as the prairie plants and seeds mature,” Marsha says. “We don’t weed now; we just let it be prairie.” What do they receive back from so much effort? Marsha loves the calming effect of the garden and the ready response she sees in the plants in her care. “Plants appreciate all you can give them,” she says “and they show you their thanks. Gardening is an adventure.”

Last summer, Marsha (left) opened her home to a garden tour fund raiser for Bridges of Hope.

Sometimes after a day of working for others, she goes straight to her own gardens to see what her plants did that day. Designing and growing a garden is a creative challenge on many levels. “You need to figure out what plants will grow in the soil and light you have available, how they can be arranged to be pleasing, soothing or exciting, and then help them grow to their best potential,” Marsha says. Others may have anxiety dreams about careers and finances; hers are of deer eating her plants. Marsha has loved gardening all her life. She loved the time she spent gardening with her grandfather, and still treasures the hoe he used. When Marsha graduated from high school, her childhood memories of the fun of gardening brought her into the Brainerd Vocational-Technical School’s retail floral program. She worked in retail floral in Red Lake Falls and later, after she married, in Brainerd, until 1976. Raising a family took her time and energy. When her children were school age, she worked at the Pillager school in ECSE. Not really wanting to go back to the confines of retail floral, she started a housecleaning business. During that period, Dave, a longtime employee of Anderson Brothers, asked her to care for the landscaping at the company’s offices. She did so well, and liked the challenge so much, that she decided to ask other businesses if they would be interested in her services. She had hit a real need. Wanting more training, she enrolled in the Central Lakes College master gardener course. It’s now been 10 years since her housekeeping business morphed into Friends of Flowers, a garden and landscaping maintenance business. “ I love being my own boss,” she says. She now has about 25 clients, both residential and businesses, and has filled her working capacity with only word of mouth for advertising. She builds her landscaping plans around both her clients’ and her own personal preferences. “I have to find out how much time and energy they have for maintenance, and how much work it will be for me,” she notes. From all her experience, Marsha gives advice for new gardeners, or gardeners with new spaces. “Don’t be overwhelmed by the acres of finished gardens you see. Start small, so you can experiment and

change as you go along. In your planning, check sun/shade, soil type look for visual balance and try to plant a variety of color. Look for plants that bloom all summer.” Catalogs are not her first choice for plants. She finds them at plant sales or local plant retailers and also trades with relatives and friends. Marsha is enthralled with creating new gardens every year. She loves the whole process so much that she and Dave are about to sell their current house, move to their new lot on the Gull River and do it all over again.


Pam Landers

Pam Landers was an environmental educator for more than 20 years and is now an environmental writer.

SUMMER 2012 | her voice


go o d re a d s

by Sheila DeChantal photo by Joey Halvorson




Summer time and Stephen King? Doesn’t sound like a fit does it, but “11-22-63” is not your typical King read, and you will be glad you gave this one more than a passing glance. November 22, 1963. A date that is well known in the history books, the day that President Kennedy was shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald. But what if there was a way that this moment could be changed? What if there was a way that you could go back in time and have a do-over of that day or that time…and by placing yourself in the right place at the right time… you could change it all… That is what happens to 35-year-old Jake Epping. Jake is a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine by day and frequents a local diner at night owned by his friend Al. One night, Al shares a secret with Jake: there is a porthole in his storage room that takes you back to 1958. Skeptical (who wouldn’t be?), Jake decides to humor his friend and goes into the storage room…and comes out in 1958. Astounded, excited, Jake returns to present time and the diner where Al fills him in on how he discovered the porthole and what he had done in the past. Al, who is sick and knows his time is short, wants to pass the ultimate mission to Jake, to go back in time and stop President Kennedy from being killed.

Sheila DeChantal with her books


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“ A n e w m o r e u s e r- f r i e n d l y version of King that I feel will reap new readers.” ~Sheila DeChantal

Jake agrees and begins the adventure of a lifetime, going back to 1958 under the name of George Amberson and living within the vicinity of Lee Harvey Oswald from 1958 to 1963. Jake (AKA George) takes a teaching job, enjoys the peacefulness of a laid back pre-Internet society and the 1958 prices, buying his time until the day would come to save Kennedy. What he did not count on was meeting the lovely Sadie Dunhill, or the fact that the past does not want to change and will fight to make sure it does not. Now when you read this book title and then the synopsis you may be scratching your head. Stephen King? Where is the murderous gore? A pet cemetery? Possessed car? A spooky clown? (Well, actually the clown is mentioned in this book in a brilliant way….) But no gore. No horror. A new more user-friendly version of King that I feel will reap new readers. In its place, is a fascinating story of “what if?” Mixed facts (the place, the Oswald’s, Kennedy) with fiction. The result? Brilliance. Interestingly enough, King had first thought about this book in 1972, nine years after the assassination and right before the release of his first novel, “Carrie.” He decided to put that thought on the back burner as it would require too much research while he was teaching full-time. Initially King thought it would be titled “Split Track.” “11-22-63” is such a powerful book. Stephen King did an amazing job smoothly traveling back and forth between 2011 and 1958, switching between cell phones and 25 cent burgers. The walk back in time was real enough for me to feel that I was walking along those streets of 1958 – 1963, scoping out a very real and very dangerous Lee Harvey Oswald. Even listening to the climax of this book made the hairs on my neck stand on end… perhaps, it felt a little too real to the actual event? At the end of the book, do not miss out on Stephen King’s own words about the book, the research and his recommendation of books to read to learn more about the assassination.


Sheila DeChantal

Sheila DeChantal has lived all her life in the Brainerd lakes area. She reviews books of many genres at Besides being a lifelong, crazy, book addict, she also enjoys biking events, rollerblading, hiking, traveling and other adventures!

SUMMER 2012 | her voice


We l l n e s s

by Myra J. Horner

Not Your Typical Runner


I have always been fascinated by runners. I don’t know what fascinates me – if it’s the way their hair bounces back and forth, the way their body moves in syncopation as they glide across the ground or just the fact that they were able to run and I thought I “couldn’t.” In most peoples’ eyes, I would be categorized as “not your typical runner.” I am not a size 2 or a lean, mean, running machine. I am blessed with a stocky build and some Jennifer Lopez-like curves, especially on my, ahem, “upper area.” In my school years I never participated in sports much. Mainly because I just didn’t fit the mold of an “athletic appearance.” This self-defeating mentality started probably as early as kindergarten when, at the age of 5, I was at least a foot taller than most of the kids. Fast forward to junior high, when the taunting and teasing of how I looked when I ran, or played volleyball or basketball escalated to the point where I couldn’t take it anymore. I quit anything to do with sports and that part of me lay dormant for a long time, 30-plus years to be exact. There were things I tried here and there, but old self-doubts always resurfaced and I always ended up quitting. That all changed when last year, at age of 45, I started running in preparation for a 5K. About six weeks prior I set a goal I thought was achievable, walking/running three times a week. And then I told everybody! I posted it on Facebook, told my family and friends. I wanted accountability when all the negative selfdoubt arose, which it did. There were days I thought “There is no way I’ll ever finish.” There were days it took every ounce of willpower to get out the door. Then there was the day I went running and about two hours later I wanted to go running again and I felt a glimmer of success. Or that day I quit focusing on how long it was to my first mile and started enjoying the music instead! Once my first 5K was behind me, it was official. I was bit by the running bug. In 2012 my goal is one race a month beginning in

Never a “jock,” Myra Horner ran her first race at age 45.


SUMMER 2012 | her voice

April through November. So what changed? What made me sign up for that first 5K? I wish I had a Magic 8 Ball-type of answer for this but I don’t. I do know old habits and beliefs can be debilitating, if you let them. Old habits are like grooves in a record and I basically “jumped my needle out of the groove.” I retrained my mind to start believing in myself and to push all the old icky stuff aside. And it started with that first 5K. With my very first 5K I set a goal of finishing. I didn’t care if I walked, crawled or rolled across the finish line. All I wanted to do was finish. I finished that race in 39:03 minutes. And I ran 2/3 of the 3.2 miles. I was empowered. I acknowledged the constant battle between my head and my heart. My heart wanted to run, but my head said, “Oh no you can’t.” But I did and you can too. The mind is a muscle, just like any other muscle and it needs to be retrained. About six months before I began running, I started reading and training to be a life coach. I credit much of my success from using the tools and teachings of my classes to move away from always thinking I can’t, to I can. It helped me reprogram my thinking from “why?” to “why not?” Seven months later I am stilling running and I’m doing things now I never thought I would. I even signed up for a 10K in May. A 10K! Yes. Me! The girl who believed she “never could” because I incorrectly felt limited by the body God gave me. To top it off I ventured on a new journey of taking Tae Kwon Do classes with my husband. Yet another thing I never thought I’d

see myself doing. Maybe I don’t appear to be “your typical runner,” but I am OK with that. I have learned to shut out the naysayers and eliminate those goblins that robbed me of confidence years ago and I am proud of the example I’m setting for my daughter, my husband and others. I can only hope this story inspires others to strap on running shoes, sign up for a class, or do something you “never thought you could.” I promise you the sense of achievement, thrill of accomplishment, the build-up of confidence, will keep you motivated and powering forward.


Myra Horner

Myra Horner is a certified life coach and CEO of Creative Approaches by Myra when she is not running and training for her next marathon. Myra is a longtime resident of the Brainerd lakes area and currently resides in Cushing with her daughter and husband. Myra can be reached at myra@ or via her website:

SUMMER 2012 | her voice


Her Voice Service Directory • Summer 2012 Assisted Living

Excelsior Place 14211 Firewood Drive Baxter, MN (218) 828-4770 Good Neighbor Home Health Care (218) 829-9238 (888) 221-5785


Preferred Hearing 17274 State Hwy 371 Brainerd, MN 56401 1-800-458-0895


Auto Import 22 Washington Street Brainerd, MN (218) 829-3307 Mills Motor 14858 Dellwood Drive Brainerd/Baxter (218) 829-2893


Northern Family Chiropractic 13968 Cypress Dr. Suite 1B Baxter, MN 218-822-3855


Nor-Son 7900 Hastings Rd Baxter, MN (218) 828-1722 (800) 858-1722 Brock White 3855 Independence Rd Baxter, MN 218-829-1929 1-800-201-1929


Just For Kix 6948 Lake Forest Road Brainerd, MN (218) 829-7107


SUMMER 2012 | her voice

Dance (cont.)


Family Planning


Music General 416 South 7th Street Brainerd, MN (218) 829-0076 Natural Family Planning 523 North Third Street Brainerd, MN (218) 829-2861


Gull Lake Glass 18441 State Hwy 371 Brainerd, MN (218) 829-2881 1-800-726-8445


Essentia Health St. Joseph’s Hospital 218-829-2861 Brainerd Clinic (218) 828-2880 Baxter Clinic - Now Open! (218) 828-2880 Lakewood Health System Staples Motley Pillager Eagle Bend Browerville (218) 894-1515 (800) 525-1033

Brothers Motorsports 8194 FairviewnRd. Baxter, MN (218) 829-6656 Lakes Imaging Center 2019 S. 6th Street Brainerd, MN 218-822-OPEN (6736) 877-522-7222


Midwest Family Eye 7870 Excelsior Rd Baxter, MN (218) 828-9545 201 1st St NE Staples, MN (218) 894-5480 Northern Eye Center Great Northern Opticians Brainerd Little Falls Staples 218-829-2020 1-800-872-0005


Hirshfield’s 7447 Clearwater Rd Baxter, Minnesota (218) 824-0926





Northridge Agency 123 N 1st St, Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 829-1166 Showplace Kitchens 15860 Audubon Way Baxter, MN (218) 824-4228

Northern Psychiatric Associates 7115 Forthun Rd # 105 Baxter, MN (218) 454-0090 Rohlfing Inc. 923 Wright Street Brainerd, MN (218) 829-0303

Window Treatments

Arlean’s Drapery 4835 County Road 16 Pequot Lakes, MN (218) 568-8280

SUMMER 2012 | her voice


Her Voice - Summer 2012  

• Sandy’s Country Roots - Here’s a nursery east of Brainerd whose owner re-creates her “country roots.” • Reliving History, One Bead At A Ti...

Her Voice - Summer 2012  

• Sandy’s Country Roots - Here’s a nursery east of Brainerd whose owner re-creates her “country roots.” • Reliving History, One Bead At A Ti...