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Girlfriends Southern Minn

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Mrs. Minnesota

For Courtney Shey, winning that crown wasn’t her main goal.


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about us editor: Beth Forkner Moe

contributing writers: Kari Berit Grace Brandt Lisa Cownie Carlienne A. Frisch Rian Dicke-Michels Kelsey Erwin Trent Jonas Beth Forkner Moe Sarah Osterbauer Terri Schlichenmeyer

multimedia consultants: Amber Casterton CariAnna Chaney Kathleen Davies Allison Davis Debbie Ensley Jennifer Flowers Crystal Hobart Tim Mart Mark Nelson Jay Petsche Gayle Stelten

graphic designer: Kate Townsend-Noet Volume 11, Issue 5

Copyright© Girlfriends 2019 Published Sep/Oct 2019 by: Southern Minn Media 514 Central Avenue Faribault, MN 55021

contents features

5 The Most Beautiful Gift

30 Adopting - A Special

9 Those Three Words

from foster care.

Helping others achieve their dreams of creating a family. An area woman shares her story of unexpected pregnancy and adoption.

Gift to All One families story of adopting


17 a man’s perspective 36 book reviews St. Peter resident Courtney Shey shares her journey on becoming Mrs. Minnesota. 38 gf directory 4 editor’s note 18 Three Women, 33 unexpected caregiver Three Longstanding Groups, 34 wellness

12 Reigning Champion

One Common Thread

Several women’s groups that have been in existence for decades.

22 The Power of the Pack The awesome impact of women supporting women.

24 Breaking Barriers:

on the cover:

Courtney Shey - Sharing her platform with as many people as she possibly could was her motivation. Photo by submitted by Courtney Shey See Story on PAGE 12.

HealthFinders Collaborative

Ensuring that anyone who needs it gets the basic healthcare they need. Send releases and story ideas to:

Beth Forkner Moe at Girlfriends magazine

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Editor’s Note


forkner Moe Beth Forkner Moe is the editor of Southern Minn Girlfriends magazine.

Find Southern Minn Girlfriends on Facebook

’ve always been amazed at how capable and strong women are, and how many roles they fill – daughter, mother, sister, friend, aunt, niece, neighbor, wife, volunteer, community member, and so many more. Some days, and some seasons of life, this is much easier than others. There are good days, and bad. There are good times, and bad. There are hard times, and happy times. There are times we mourn, and there are times we laugh so hard we cry. During all of these times, we are stronger when we are together. Lifting each other up and helping each other makes things much better. Even the happy times are better when we have people to share them with. I’ve known women who have been through amazingly happy times, who are oh-so-glad to share their joy with others. And I’ve known women who have been through dark and almost unimaginable days – I’ve seen other women step in to hold them up (sometimes literally). I’ve been fortunate enough to be lifted up myself at times, and also to have had others trust me enough to hold them up. I’ve had women stand in front of me as a visual shield so others could not see me weeping. And I’ve done similar things for other women. That’s what we do; we are there for each other. We take care of each other. We are strong for each other, and sometimes brave enough to let others be strong for us. Women truly are gems; that’s why this issue talks about “multi-faceted women.” We bring many facets to our days, and share them with others. In this issue, we share stories of some of these women with you. From women whose friendships (and friend groups) span decades, to a woman who shares her beauty inside and out to help spread the message of the importance of health screenings, to women who help raise us, to women who have made difficult decisions and beautiful decisions about babies, and more. We hope you enjoy the stories of these lovely women and have a chance to reflect upon the beautiful women in your own life. Also – don’t forget to reflect upon the beauty and love you bring to others. I hope you know how much you mean. You are a gem.



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By Beth Forkner Moe

hat would be the best gift you could ever give? The best gift you could ever receive? After Tanya Berzinski and her husband Brad had their third child, they knew their family was complete. But the couple from southeast Minnesota knew they weren’t done helping other families. Early in 2018, they became foster parents and have had several placements – some very short-term, some longer-term, some siblings (at one point, they were caring for a group of four siblings), some by themselves. They currently have a 1-year-old girl who has been with them since September 2018. On her blog (, Tanya said, “The desire to provide foster care began for me in college. I (worked) part-time in a

foster home, and I saw firsthand the need for loving, compassionate, and empathetic foster parents. (My husband) Brad’s career has been in education; he has seen the glaring need firsthand as well. I knew that this was a way we could pay it forward and make an impact. I feel like we have a pretty darn good thing going at our house, and we can share that with kiddos when they need it most. We can do our best to be there for them during the small window of time we have the opportunity to do so.” About the same time, she and her husband were pursuing another dream. After working with an agency and going through a wide variety of medical and psychological screenings, she became eligible to become a gestational surrogate mother. This was, she said, something she had been thinking about since their third child was born. “I realized how ludicrously lucky we were to have three beautiful, healthy children. I felt fortunate, and maybe even a little guilty, at how easily it came to us - knowing there are many whose dreams of a family are not so easily achieved,” she said. CONTINUES ON PAGE 6

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They were matched quickly with a married gay couple in France and were able to “meet” them via Skype, then in person a few months later, in Portland, OR, where the Berzinskis now live. Tanya had an embryo transfer in November 2018, with a baby to be born in August (or there-abouts). We talked with Tanya in mid-July, right before the baby was born. GF: How, if at all, is this pregnancy different than your others? TB: I would say that this pregnancy has been very different, but in most ways it’s been the same. It’s been a really great pregnancy. Physically, I didn’t feel great my first trimester, but I expected that and it could have been much worse. I’ve had normal pregnancy symptoms pop up here and there, but no surprises and nothing terrible! This pregnancy has been much easier than my last two. Mentally, it’s been different because the bonding with baby is different. I still make choices as if he were my own - I avoid certain foods, follow doctor’s guidelines, etc. Probably even more so, really, because there’s an added responsibility when it’s not your own child. When it’s your own baby, you’re thinking about baby names, planning the nursery, buying the clothes. We aren’t doing these things. We aren’t preparing for sleepless nights. I want the very best for this baby, but I don’t think of him as being mine, because he’s not. I almost feel like an aunt; like I am invested in his well-being but he has parents that already love him like parents do.

GF: Tell us about the relationship you’ve developed with the parents. TB: The dads have been here twice since we were matched, which has been amazing. They came to Oregon in June 2018, at which time we all got to meet them, including our kids, and then Brad and I spent some time with them just the four of us. In March they flew here for the 20-week ultrasound. We found out that they are having a little boy. It was really great to have them there in person for that moment! They will be arriving in Portland again in just a few days (right before the baby was scheduled to be born), this time with their little boys as well as some additional family members. We’ve said hello to their boys on FaceTime, but haven’t met them in person yet. I absolutely loved their excitement and joy when they saw my belly


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on the screen! They just lit up, knowing their brother was in there. (That’s) another moment I’ll never forget. Some surrogates only want to be matched with a family who is trying to have their first child. For me, this was an exciting opportunity to help them complete their family. I not only get to give two loving parents a child, but I also get to give two sweet boys a sibling. Being that I am really close to my sister, I feel like the gift of a sibling is incredibly special! It also felt fitting to me because it was having our third child that led me to surrogacy, and now I will be giving them their third child. GF: Are you biologically related to this baby? Or, if not, how do you carry the baby? TB: All of their embryos were created from the same donor eggs, so they have the same biological mother, and some were created with each dad’s sperm. Two of the boys will be biologically related to one dad and one boy will be biologically related to the other dad. GF: Have you felt supported throughout this pregnancy? TB: Going through the agency has been extremely helpful. They know exactly what they are doing and they just walk us right through everything. It has been incredibly seamless and smooth. I have a case worker assigned to me, and I just reach out to her any time I have a question. Some people choose to do a private surrogacy, where no agency is involved. I see how advantageous it is to have a wealth of knowledge just an email or phone call away. I’m also a member of a few surrogate groups on Facebook, which has been really great. Two of them are transfer groups with women around the country who had transfers around the same time as me, so it’s been a lot of fun to meet people that way and go through these experiences together. While most people have been incredibly supportive and excited to share this journey with me (including my husband and kids), I have gotten a few puzzled, well-intentioned questions. Primarily it’s the same question, perhaps asked in slightly different ways: “How can you give this baby up?” When people ask me this, I know that they just aren’t understanding what surrogacy is about or why I’m doing it. I always try to make them understand; with some people it works, (but) there are some people who just won’t ever really get it and I have to accept that. I start by explaining that the baby isn’t mine, so it’s not biologically mine to “give up.” This isn’t like an adoption situation where I have to make the choice to give up or keep my baby. This baby was never mine to begin with. My whole mindset has been different throughout this pregnancy. Surrogacy has been in my heart for several years before we got to this point, so I have literally had years to mentally prepare for this experience. I’m not doing it because I want to add another baby to our family. I’m doing it because my family is everything to me, and I want to help another family grow. When I began this journey it was with the ultimate goal of seeing IPs, fulfill their dream of having their baby in their arms. And that is the moment I am most excited about. I sometimes compare it to babysitting. You don’t go to a house and watch someone’s kids, and then when they get home think “you know what? I’ll keep this one.” You went into the babysitting job with the set expectation of watching their children for a specified length of time, and even if you enjoyed your time babysitting, now it’s time for you to go back to doing your own things because your work here is done. That’s how surrogacy works! I’ve loved my time with their child. I’m so l honored that they trusted me to keep him safe. But now it’s time for him to be with his daddies, which has been the end goal all along.

ship with our guys. We’ve been texting at least a few times a week for over a year, obviously about baby stuff but also what our kids are up to and what our families have going on. We’ve exchanged pictures and stories; we’ve gotten to really know one another and that makes this even more special. Right now Brad and I are in the process of planning a trip to France next summer. We look forward to visiting them on their home turf this time! GF: Does the baby have a name yet? Do you know what it is? TB: I’m going to respect the privacy of the dads and not share any names, but I will share a tidbit about baby’s name. They told me a few weeks ago that they had chosen a name for him; they then told me that they chose a name that begins with “Ta” because they wanted to honor me with his name. I was blown away; I never in a million years expected them to choose a name that incorporated part of my name. It was a huge surprise and I was (and still am!) very, very touched.

From Tanya’s blog:

GF: What type of relationship, if any, have you developed with the family? TB: Some surrogates (and some Intended Parents - IPs) want it to be business-like, meaning you share the pregnancy experience, update on appointments and things related to baby, and then baby is born and you kind of move on and go separate ways. The dads, and Brad and I, (have had) a closer relationship, where we communicate often about all kinds of things, and plan to stay in touch afterwards. Obviously that’s something that just has to happen naturally, but the agency definitely takes preferences into account when matching people. We’ve really been happy to form a great relation-

Sweet surrobaby has arrived, and it was a perfect ending to a truly wonderful journey! We arrived at the hospital at 5:30am on Wednesday, 7/24, for a scheduled c-section at 39 weeks. It was really, really important to me that both dads be in the room when their baby was born. I had been told that the hospital usually only allows one person in the OR, but sometimes makes an exception…..I explained to (the doctor) how much I felt both dads should see the birth of their baby; it’s a moment they can never get back. I told her how throughout the surrogacy process it was THAT moment that I anticipated the most — seeing them see their baby for the first time. “Here we go! He’s a big boy!” and they held baby boy to the little window so we could all see him. The doctor cut the cord extra long, and then baby boy was taken over to the warming table nearby, CONTINUES ON PAGE 8


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where both dads were able to check him out as we all listened to his powerful little lungs protest the cold air and the bright lights. It was the moment I had dreamed of. The dads got emotional, the baby was healthy and strong (and sturdy, we would soon learn) and everything was perfect. Dad cut the cord shorter, and baby was weighed before getting wrapped up. The nurse exclaimed “10 pounds, 11 ounces!” And a collective “Wow!” “Oh my gosh!” “Whoa!” came from every person and filled the room. Tears fell, rolling down my cheeks and staying there because I couldn’t use my hands to wipe them away; they were still stretched out like a bird. I couldn’t stop smiling. The dads brought baby to me, their proud smiles evident beneath their surgical masks. We took some photos, and then dads and baby left the OR to go back to their room; it was time to begin bonding. I had 9 wonderful months with their little treasure; it was their turn. My doctor had previously been concerned with how I would feel when they left the room. She didn’t want me to feel stressed out while I was still on the operating table, because the more difficult, longer part of the c-section was still to come. However, when they left, I didn’t feel any stress at all. I only felt peace. I was absolutely filled with joy to have done what I set out to do - I helped a family grow. I gave those precious boys a brother and those wonderful dads a son. Once I was stable enough for visitors, my husband went and picked up my mom and the kiddos so they could visit. The dads brought the baby in, and it was so wonderful to hold him and look at his little face. Over the course of the pregnancy, when I felt his movements I would often feel them in several places at once, like he was extending all of his limbs simultaneously like a starfish. That became my nickname for him: little starfish. Hello, little starfish. 8

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GF: What advice would you give to others contemplating this process? What about people who are looking for/needing surrogates? TB: First and foremost, it’s important to do your research, (whether) you hope to be a surrogate or if you’re looking to start this process as an Intended Parent (IP). Research various agencies to find one that is a good fit if you’d like to go the agency route. If you’re hoping to do an independent journey (without an agency), it will be important to find a good lawyer who is well-versed in surrogacy laws. The type of journey you embark on is a matter of personal preference. I was prepared to do an independent surrogacy, but wound up going the agency route, and in the end I couldn’t be happier with that choice. It was extremely helpful to me to have a knowledgeable agency there to walk me through every step of this sometimes complicated process. Beyond that, my best advice is don’t give up hope. I was rejected as a potential surrogate by one agency six years ago. At the time, I took it as a definitive answer, and though extremely disappointed, I accepted it. For awhile. And I’m so glad that I came back around and listened to my heart and tried again, because I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was capable of doing this, and I very much wanted to give this gift to a family. To the IPs considering surrogacy... many have been through so much heartbreak by the time they reach the point of using surrogacy as an option to build their family. It can be hard to trust that it’s going to happen, and hard to trust someone else to carry the most precious of cargo - their baby! But another gift I have received through this process is meeting so many wonderful surrogates. There are truly wonderful people out there who want to help you achieve your dreams of having a family. It can be scary and you can feel very vulnerable, but try to hold onto hope that it can actually happen. Beth Forkner Moe is Editor of SouthernMinn Girlfriends Magazine.

Those Three Words a story of unexpected pregnancy, adoption and love By Beth Forkner Moe


reshman year of college is supposed to be a time of learning, new adventures, and figuring out who you are. That’s what happened when Chris Bauer went to college, just not in the way she had expected. She detailed her experiences in college and beyond in the book “Those Three Words: A birth mother’s story of choice, chance, and motherhood,” published in 2018. This heartbreaking and heartwarming memoir takes readers along on Chris’ emotional journey about the power and importance of choice and the deep bond of maternal love. In September 1984, just after beginning school at (now) Minnesota State University-Mankato (MSUM), the native of Mitchell, SD, wasn’t feeling well. CONTINUES ON PAGE 10 u u u FALL 2019



She had a suspicion -- and fear-- and made an appointment with the campus health service. There she was told those three words – “You are pregnant.” In spite of using birth control, she was pregnant. She was devastated. As she said in her book, she had enjoyed the first couple weeks of college, yet, “in just a few weeks I had tumbled from standing on the high board of life to lying at the bottom of the pool.” As she saw it, she had options: “Option 1. Give up college. Get married. Live in Mitchell. Be a mom. Option 2. Have the baby. Be a single parent. Live with my parents in the town I had so desperately wanted to leave. Option 3. Have an abortion. Don’t tell anyone. Ever. Go on with life. Option 4. Grow the baby. Have the baby. Give it to some strangers to raise.” “But none of those seemed right,” she said. “But here I was. Which is how I ended up at Option 5.” Option 5 was planning to take her own life. Thankfully, she did not do that. Instead, after agonizing over what to do, Chris ultimately chose to make an adoption plan for her child. She found and worked with a doctor who helped connect birth mothers with waiting families. For Chris, open adoption, in which the birth mother and family have contact, was the only way she could proceed with adoption. “I didn’t want any secrecy or sealed records. I want to know who the parents were, their names, where they lived, what they did for a living, what they did for fun, what they believe in, what they cared about. I wanted to be able to contact them and them me if needed. I wanted to know where my baby was going so that I could always find him or her.” During the next few months, she waited to be matched with a family who wanted her baby and was willing to have an open adop-


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tion. Then, through a personal connection with her sister and a bit of serendipity along came Dennis and Cindy Schultz, who already had a little boy they had welcomed through open adoption. On May 29, 1985, Chris heard another three words – “It’s a girl.” The next day, the Schultz family welcomed home their new baby girl and Chris went back home to South Dakota and back to school at MSUM that fall to carry on her new life, knowing her baby was safe with a loving and kind family. But it was not easy. There were many emotions of loss and grief throughout the early years after placing her daughter and later in Chris’s life, especially when she had more children years later. She always thought of her daughter but left it up to her when they would reconnect. Shortly after Katie turned 18, she came to Minneapolis to “meet” Chris and the rest of the family. That weekend was the start of an ongoing, wonderful relationship. Eventually, Katie got married and moved to New Zealand with her husband. In 2015, Katie gave birth to her own baby girl. Chris was in the delivery room for the birth of her granddaughter, almost exactly 30 years after placing Katie for adoption. It was at that point that Chris knew she had to finish and publish her book. “I wanted to tell my story, and I needed to write it.” She said. “The bulk of it was done about 10 years ago. I tried to get it published then (which didn’t happen at the time), so I put it away. When Remy was born, I knew my book had a new ending -- an extremely happy ending, so I had to finish and publish it.” Chris’ book was “a labor of love,” she said. It was important to her to tell her story, both for her own family and for other people in the same situation. “I kept a journal through my pregnancy and beyond. I knew I wanted to write a book someday, because I knew it was a good story,” she said. “It’s an important look at life; often, the hardest and most painful things we go through turn out to be the best.” It was also important to her that everyone in the family be comfortable with the book, Chris said. “I sent the first manuscript to my mom, my sister, and Katie’s other mother. I asked them, ‘are you ok with this?’ ‘will Katie be ok with this?’” She also shared the story with her sons. “It was hard, but I think they understood it. Dylan told Jared ‘I hope that someday I will raise my children as well as mom and dad raised us’,” she said. “I worried about the impact on them, but they turned out pretty great.”

“There were a couple times when the book was at the printer when I had ‘OMG, what did I do?’ moments,” Chris said. “It was difficult to put myself out there. But I’ve been rewarded about a million times over by people who have met me and reached out with their own stories. They’ve thanked me for being vulnerable and honest.” Beth Forkner Moe is Editor of SouthernMinn Girlfriends Magazine.


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Reigning Champion By Grace Brandt

Shey’s response to pageant stereotypes “The women who enter these contests have a heart to serve. It isn’t about beauty. The most beautiful woman on that stage is not going to win unless their heart and their mind and their soul is to improve their communities and to reach out to people who need some help. There are

many opportunities that having a crown and a sash provides. I think sometimes people don’t know that when you are crowned, you are expected to go out and serve your community, not just be like, ‘Oh, look at me in my pretty picture.’ It really is about having a microphone for those who need it, to amplify those voices. It’s really about being in the community and finding ways to connect with those groups that you could help.”


hen Courtney Shey arrived in Las Vegas at the end of July, she joined dozens of other women who were there for the same reason: the Mrs. United States competition. Shey, a resident of St. Peter, was representing her state as Mrs. Minnesota, earning that title in March. For the next four days, she would meet with judges and go before a nation-wide audience in her quest to take home the national crown. But for Shey, winning that crown wasn’t her main goal. Instead, she was hoping to share her platform with as many people as she possibly could. That platform is lung cancer, specifically screening and prevention, since many people aren’t aware that they can be at risk even if they don’t smoke. Both Shey’s father-in-law and father passed away from lung cancer this year, though neither of them smoked. Shey’s father died only three weeks before the national competition. “I just need to honor him,” Shey said. “It’s all for my dad. I was in there at Las Vegas of wanting to share my story about my dad, and I was able to do that.” Shey’s commitment to sharing that story represents what makes her such a perfect fit for Mrs. Minnesota—a passion for helping others that extends far beyond herself. At the end of the day, Shey will continue to work for the causes she believes in, whether or not she’s wearing a crown. “I have one year—52 weeks—as Mrs. Minnesota,” she said. “After my reign ends in March, it’s not going to ever end. I can still serve these organizations that I work for without a crown and sash, and I will continue to do so.”

Looking for adventure

Shey has always been adventurous. Some of her previous adventures include skydiving in CONTINUES ON PAGE 14



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tralia, backpacking across Europe, teaching

whitewater rafting and hiking Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the continental United States. “I’m not afraid of adventure,” Shey explained. “That’s kind of my motto… I’m always looking for that next challenge, living the path that God wants me to live in the direction he wants me to go in.” Shey grew up in Portland, Oregon and studied broadcast journalism before looking for more adventure in her life. First, she worked as a ski instructor in Lake Tahoe, Cal., then moved to L.A. to pursue an acting career. While she secured a few parts in independent movies and on the television show “Boston Public,” she eventually decided she had achieved that dream and it was time to move on. Shey moved back to Portland, where she met her future husband, Doug Shey, who was from Iowa. The two of them eventually moved back to Iowa to take care of her father-in-law, who was dying from lung cancer. (He passed away this April.) After some time, they moved to St. Peter, where Shey began teaching English at St. Peter Middle School, as well as waiting tables at the Third Street Tavern. Once her family got settled into their new community, Shey was eager to find another adventure—and the Mrs. Minnesota pageant fit the bill. She said she


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didn’t grow up as a “pageant girl,” but she had a friend in college who participated in the Miss Oregon pageant. When Shey read about the Mrs. Minnesota United States pageant in the newspaper, she decided to give it a go. “I didn’t even know that there was a category for married women,” she said. “I thought, ‘Why not try something that I’ve never done before?’”

Sticking with it Shey first competed for the Mrs. Minnesota title in last year’s pageant. She explained that the process started with putting in an application to be the “Mrs.” of a town, city or county, so she chose Mrs. St. Peter. The Mrs. Minnesota pageant came about four months later, in March 2018, and included four categories: roundrobin interviews with each judge, an onstage question, the swimsuit round and the evening gown round. For her platform, Shey focused on both lung cancer and the work of the ALS Association (which raises funds for research into Lou Gehrig’s Disease). As part of her

platform, Shey stresses the need to increase education about lung cancer screening and

Trying again Shey said the United States system offers opportunities for former contestants to compete again at the national level, though they need to pay their own entry fee the second time around. She has a year to decide whether to try again, but she confessed she’s already leaning toward giving it one more shot. “It’s just that competitive nature that I have,” she said. “I know areas that I can improve. And I can do it. I think I might try again.” Shey said it would be particularly helpful to have a year to heal emotionally from the loss of her father, as well as the

still recent loss of her father-inlaw. “Coming into nationals, I was bearing an extremely heavy load, emotionally,” she said. “When you’re trying to balance the stress and the emotional attributes of a national pageant, with the fact that you just lost your father, that is a very hard combination. I came into the national pageant with two recent deaths, and that is a heavy load. I’m wondering if I just need to give myself permission to try it again without that emotional toll.”

Getting to know Mrs. Minnesota (Courtney Shey) From: San Diego, CA Lives in: St. Peter Day job: English teacher at St. Peter Middle School, waitress at Third Street Tavern Family: Husband Doug, son Tommy, daughter Janie Fun fact: Shey met her husband, Doug, when she accidentally hit him in the head at a restaurant st acting credit: An early role on the television education drama “Boston Public” Volunteer organizations: ALS Association Minnesota/ North Dakota/South Dakota Chapter, A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation

prevention, such as dealing with heightened radon levels (which are especially prevalent in Minnesota) in people’s homes. Both causes are very personal for Shey; besides her father and father-in-law’s deaths, her aunt passed away from ALS. Shey was named first runner-up in last year’s pageant, and she said that she couldn’t leave it at that. Instead, she returned this year, determined to be more authentically herself and more fearless about sharing her platform—which is why, she believes, she was crowned Mrs. Minnesota. “Last year I was like, ‘What do they want to hear?’” she said. “And this year I was like, ‘This is me. This is what I stand for.’ It was a completely different experience. I had no fear, none. I just went out there and thought, ‘Even if I come in dead last, it doesn’t matter, because I can still serve my community. I can still be a role model.’ I think sometimes women don’t want to talk about their achievements or strengths, because [they think they] need to remain humble. You can be confident and share your strengths and be humble all at the same time.”

Do you get to keep your tiara when you reign is over? “I get to keep it, but when my reign is over, I can’t wear it [in public]. [So for now] any time I can put this thing on, sister, it’s on.”

Since she was crowned, Shey has thrown herself into her role as Minnesota’s royal ambassador. Luckily for her schedule, she’s on summer break from teaching, though she does still pick up shifts at Third Street Tavern. She has still managed to fit in dozens of classroom visits, speaking events, parades and more.

The national stage At the end of July, Shey flew to Las Vegas to participate in the Mrs. United States competition, which was the step before the Mrs. Universe competition. This was a fourday event that included round-robin CONTINUES ON PAGE 16 u u u

What she brought to the state-themed contestant gift exchange: A Caribou Coffee mug stating, “Life is short—stay awake for it,” coffee, and a book of interesting facts about Minnesota What her state-themed costume was: A loon Thoughts on the infamous swimsuit category: “It’s all honestly [about] your confidence with your body and what that body looks like. They don’t tell you that you have wear a certain size or weigh a certain amount. They’re looking for the healthiest version of you, and your confidence. One of my proudest moments was working enough to have the confidence to put on a two-piece swimsuit onstage in front of an audience, in five-inch heels, and I did not fall over.”

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Congratulating Mrs. United States At the end of the national event, Mrs. Texas—Lindsay Closson—was named Mrs. United States 2019. Closson ran on a platform about infertility, openly sharing her own six-year struggle to become pregnant before she had her “miracle baby,” son Caiden. Closson volunteers with the nonprofit Braving Infertility Together. Shey said she met Closson the first day of the event and was struck by how “incredibly genuine” the Texan is. “She was very easy to talk to, very warm, very welcoming,” she said. “She’s an incredible person.” She said she wishes the new Mrs. United States all the best during her upcoming reign. “I’m very happy that she won,” Shey said. “She’s going to be an amazing Mrs. United States. She’s going to make a difference, not only with her platform but anything she gets her hands on.”


interviews with the judges, a swimsuit category, an evening gown category and a state-themed costume category. Shey said she flew out from Minneapolis as Mrs. Minnesota, receiving quite a few stares and photo requests in the airport—and even receiving a good luck wish from the crew over the plane intercom when they landed. “That was an incredible experience, because it was full of support by strangers who really wanted me to succeed, who take great pride in their state,” she said. “It was a wonderful way to enter the competition.” Shey did not end up placing in the top 10, but she said she is still proud of how she did.

“I went into the competition know that I had done everything that I possibly could in order to be 100 percent ready, 100 percent prepared, and 100 percent present,” she said. “I did get feedback from judges, and they said that I was right up there with the top of the competition.” Regardless of how everything ended, Shey said her father would have been proud of her. “I know I made my dad proud,” she said. “He always was extremely proud of me. I think he would have enjoyed meeting all the contestants and been incredibly impressed with everyone there, with the level of competition. And I think he really would have been proud of me, being so new, that I was a contender. I was right in there with them.” While Shey didn’t win the national crown, she is committed to continuing to be the best ambassador for Minnesota that she can be. Just days after the Las Vegas competition, she participated in the Breath of Hope Foundation Healthy Lung Run/Walk event in Minneapolis—the largest of its kind in the county. “I did extremely well, but I didn’t win, and that’s okay,” Shey said. “But I’m still and always will be Mrs. Minnesota United States 2019.” Grace Brandt is a wandering reporter whose home base is Mankato.



fabulous? 16

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425 Division Street South Northfield, MN 55057 507-366-2020

A m a n ’s perspective

Appreciating Every



Trent Jonas is a Twin Cities-based writer and divorced father of two. He is fascinated and frightened by women but is working through his issues.


n considering what to write regarding “the multi-faceted woman,” I have to admit that I was overwhelmed with the possibilities that the subject offered. I mean, I’m pretty sure I don’t know any women who aren’t multi-faceted. The women I’ve known are daughters, mothers, students, professionals, teachers, adventurers, and on and on. And there is never a single word, apart from their first name perhaps (“Well, that’s Sarah, for you!”) that can accurately describe an individual woman. The idea of appreciating the many facets of women brings to mind my late friend Arlene Cardozo, who wrote a book called Sequencing (Scribner, 1986). Her book offered a roadmap that women could use to explore each of their individual facets in sequence. The notion is that women can have a career, a family, and a personal life, etc., and balance them more easily if they don’t try to tackle everything all at once. Arlene’s book, written in the 1980’s, was addressing a way in which women could live a multi-faceted life in a white-male dominated culture. More than 30 years later, while we have made some cultural progress, woman still face

many of the same challenges from the same quarters. It seems, then, that the best way for me, as a guy, to think about this issue’s topic is to take the time to appreciate the many facets of the women in my life. Because, ultimately, the reason for a book like Sequencing or the need for an issue celebrating the multi-faceted woman is our male-dominated culture’s historically limited notions of the role women play in society. Women were mothers or household managers; women were teachers or librarians; women were nurses or secretaries. Women were wives. Women were not seen has having facets in addition to those labels slapped on them by society. Women were stigmatized for being single for too long, for being divorced, for wanting a career, for not being feminine enough. But the simple fact is — and I’m going to take a pretty safe leap with this sweeping generality — all women are multi-faceted. All women defy labels. And it is all their singular facets that makes every woman a wonderful, unique individual, who deserves to be appreciated.

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(Bridge is) kind of a

challenging game. It seems you can always learn something new. And


Mainly that.

– Winnie Drentlaw


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By Sarah Osterbauer


until about 4 p.m. Meetings start with coffee and dessert, followed by 18 hands of bridge (usually). Hosting duties rotate amongst the members. 58 years in, some of these women are Winnie’s best friends. They have seen each other become mothers, raise young children into adults, start jobs, open businesses, retire, and lose family and friends to the inevitability of life. They’ve known each other longer than much of the world’s population has been alive. In Winnie’s own words, what

Winnie Drentlaw belongs to four different bridge groups. She’s a true lover of the game and enjoys the company of those who play. However, only one group is riding on a 58-year track record. No, that’s not a typo. Winnie knows the exact year they started playing because her 58-year old daughter, born prematurely, was in the hospital at the time. Through a friend with the Northfield Junior Chamber of Commerce (the women’s group consisting primarily of the wives of the Chamber) Winnie was invited to join the bridge group. Today’s group of eight still retains five original members. All of the women are in their 80’s. Winnie herself is a cool 88 years young, “and single” she says, as her husband passed away six years ago. When asked why Winnie suspects the group has endured for so long, she said “Well, I don’t really know why. We enjoy each other and we have a great time together.” Had they ever experienced any issues, interpersonal type things, spats, cattiness? None that she could recall. While Winnie admitted it was difficult to remember the fine details of their beginnings, it was clear she genuinely felt there were no notable squabbles to highlight. Could the reason be in part that everyone was a lot more polite back then? “Yes, maybe” she said. In the 1970’s no one had a cellphone with Faith and Books group. constant updates about other things going on that could disrupt their bridge meetings. No one could text at the last minute to say they couldn’t make it. No, once they made the commitkeeps her coming back is that “(bridge is) kind of a challenging game. ment to attend, they stuck with it. It seems you can always learn something new. And sociability. Mainly They meet once a month now, in the afternoons, generally at 1 p.m. that.” PREVIOUS PAGE: Winnie Drentlaw in yellow with bridge group.


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Pam When Pam Santerre became the pastoral minister at Bethel Lutheran Church in 2006, her work focused on adult ministry. She wanted to remind people that the Divine is present in everyday life and one good way to do that was through literature. Thus, Faith and Books was born. She found a small group of six to participate, and every Thursday morning they would meet to discuss a common book (which may or may not be classified as Christian or religious). The reading schedule is predetermined. In the early days Pam led the discussion. Quickly word spread and the group grew quite large; too large for the small Northfield coffee shops they had been meeting in. Eventually they settled on gathering at Bethel, which had the space they needed and - more importantly - Pam says, “access to a coffee maker.” Most of the members were from the Bethel community, but all were welcome to join. With ages ranging from 50 to 90 years old, the conversation around the books was friendly and purposeful. The group faced few challenges, most of which were in the form of the PEO group. occasional political conversation. Even then (for the most part) the group was able to agree to disagree. For Pam, the benefits of Faith and Books far outweighed any negatives. “[I gained] such joy in listening to the stories and gleaning wisdom shared in the conversation. Living my faith in our society is [I gained] such not easy but I always left with renewed courage and in listening to the conviction to try,” she said. “I cared deeply for the other stories and gleaning members and felt their care for me.” shared in the One of their more senior members had a conversation. Living my deep commitment to the group, attending in spite of faith in our society is any health issue, bringing not easy but I always left her oxygen tank along if need be. On holidays, this with renewed member would dress in costume, “a good reminder and conviction to try. not to take ourselves too seriously,” Pam said. When Pam left her role at Bethel in 2013, she also – Pam Santerre forfeited her leadership role with Faith and Books. However, the group still continues to meet.




Jan When Jan Stevens was a young woman living in Iowa, the demands of her busy schedule made the task of making friends a difficult one. She was close to her sisters and phoned them often, but she craved a community connection. A few people suggested getting involved with

the PEO sisterhood. The more she learned about their mission, the more interested she became. The origins of PEO date back to 1869. It was founded with the goal of supporting women’s education. According to their website, Minnesota has more than 150 chapters with 6,400+ members. There are chapters across the globe, organizing projects and fundraising, supporting and promoting education for women. Once Jan joined, the connection was instantaneous. Suddenly she had a whole network of women who not only befriended her but supported her. “The warmth and friendship I received from PEO was just lovely.” Jan said. When she had to pack up her family and move to Minnesota, it was the women of PEO who watched her toddler so she could pack. Once she was settled, a Minnesota chapter member reached out to her to join them. Chapters are required to have 15 meetings a year but there are no strict attendance requirements. In Jan’s group there are about 50 members; about 25 of them are active at any one time. The meetings are structured with a speaker and a discussion topic, followed by social time. “It makes me take time to sit down and have a cup of coffee or tea with some women [when] sometimes I’m too busy and too driven to do that,” Jan said. Women range in age from 20 to 100, but Jan noted that - in general – women in the group tend to be older. Jan suggested that the demands and expectations of today’s parents do not leave a lot of time for women with young children to be involved. Their only rules are to be kind. To join, you need to be invited; however it’s not as exclusive as it sounds. To know what PEO stands for, you have to be a member. Jan assured me it’s not bad, but the club rule is not to disclose it to non-members. In addition to the elusive full name of the group, they also have a network of members that provide hospitality to traveling members. For a nominal fee, you can be hosted by a member, with all the proceeds going back to the club’s goal, educating women, a club-member-only Airbnb if you will. It’s clear when you talk to Jan about PEO what she loves most about the group are the bonds formed with other women and the open CONTINUES ON PAGE 38 u u u


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Healing the

Complexity of

Morgan Dr. Morgan Woods, DC is a family and pregnancy chiropractor and certified lactation counselor at Erickson Chiropractic within the Two Rivers Health Center.



507.334.9400 1819 2nd Ave NW, Faribault


good friend of mine recently sent me a wonderful meme. It outlined that as women were often taught to be many things that are contradictory to each other. The particular author of the meme chose to be both strange and powerful. I invite you today to dive deep into who you are, what makes you tick, what drives you, what gives you passion and joy? We as women have so many facets to ourselves that it can be hard to identify the strongest or most predominant aspect of self. I often find it difficult to hone in on the aspect of myself that I’m currently operating in. Am I operating as a loving mother, or am I operating as a chiropractor or lactation counselor, or am I operating as a strong independent woman? Are these things independent of one another or do they provide strength and guidance to other aspects of self? I often ask myself when am I able to be justifiably angry, when can I be vindicated for my irritation, frustration and all-around disappointment with the expectations that are set before me? And after a little while the frustration and irritation wear off because I make a choice. I choose to honor all those aspects about myself. The wife, the mother, the care provider, the healer, the entrepreneur, the chauffeur, the pet groomer, the cook and chef, the teacher and so many more. I’m sure that you have had similar experiences and there are many of the same roles that we play. But what we get to learn from these experiences and contradictory aspects of ourselves is healing. Deep-healing that allows us to open ourselves to more experiences, more compassion, more self-love and deeper gratitude toward ourselves and our “sisters”.

The journey to healing all of our parts to create a whole and healthy self can have all sorts of paths. I personally enjoy learning and attempting to heal generational trauma through several means, such as: shamanic breathing to access deeper parts of self, or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). I’ve learned that by healing the trauma preceding me, I not only heal myself, but I help to shift and change the outcomes for my daughters. When they do the work with me, they have an impact on their father’s line as well. Overall, healing is a journey that takes time, forgiveness and letting go of the things that are not serving us. Those things that may not be serving us are judgments we’ve made about ourselves, others and the world around us. One of the first and easiest (within a broad scope) things to do is just to start recording the things you are grateful for. Create a jar and at the end of the day, write down three things that you were thankful for. Keep the jar and open it on New Year’s to relive the good things. Over time this simple action can rewire the brain for optimism and gratefulness. In the end, any little change in a positive direction will change the overall outcome. Good luck and honor those parts of yourself you haven’t seen in awhile.

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The Awesome Impact of Women Supporting Women


By Lisa Cownie s there anything more powerful than an outstretched hand of another woman reaching in your direction? Accept the lifeline; it will serve you well. “I am a very independent woman, so asking for help isn’t always easy,” Beth Fasnacht of North Mankato said. “But the best things that have happened to me, have happened because someone else cared and took the time to help me with whatever was needed at the time.” Today, Beth is a wife and mother of three, a business owner and a busy community volunteer. She admits she learned to be so independent by leaning on others, a notion that was forced upon her at a very young age. “Although she was unpredictable my whole life, when I was 11 years old my mom went off the deep end,” Beth reflected. “I was the youngest of four and the only one too young - according to the courts - to make my own decision on who to live with when my parents finally divorced.”


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Beth’s mother had schizophrenia, a disease so complex it would warrant a story on its own. But for the purposes of this story, we need to know only how that diagnosis shaped a young girl. Or rather, how it could have shaped her, if other women wouldn’t have stepped in. As the saying goes, “it takes a village.” You might hear others say, “find your tribe.” They mean the same thing…our lives are built first and foremost on the people that surround us. In Beth’s case, her tribe started with her older sister Joan, who testified on Beth’s behalf to get her away from her mother and into a “village” where she could thrive. “She really became my mother,” Beth said. “She saved me from the life I would have had if I would have stayed with my mother.” Her grandmother (her mom’s mom) also stepped in to guide Beth through adolescence and into adulthood and being a mother of her own. “She was the only one who truly understood what we went through with my mom,” Beth said. “I called and asked her advice on kids’ stuff all the time. And she came and stayed with me for a couple

of weeks after each baby was born.” Beth has been growing her tribe ever since. “Life is too short to have friends that drain you instead of lift you up,” Beth said. “I have such a wonderful support group of other women. People I can count on for advice or just to listen. Countless times I have needed them and they have been there. I always wonder with my upbringing, how did I know how to be a mom myself?” “Also, I spent so much of my early childhood scared to death. So why am I now fearless to take on new challenges? I think it’s just a combination of things I have picked up along the way from my sister, from my grandmother and from my friends. They have always and still do, shape my decisions,” she said. Even for young women who have good support at home, the stability of a “sisterhood” remains key to a well-balanced life. Sisterhood brings stability. Early in high school, Natasha Laskey and three close friends forged more than a friendship. She reflects that it truly became extended family and that included their moms being in the mix as well. If one of the girls couldn’t talk to her own mom about something, she knew she had three other “moms” she could lean on. “My friends and I are so different in a lot of ways, and so are all of our moms,” Natasha said. “Which is great because when I have a problem, I can tap into four different perspectives on how I should handle it. All without judging, they just care about me.” Natasha is quick to point out, it’s not just in times of trouble. “As we get older and celebrate different milestones in life - like graduation, or a new job - all my moms are there to celebrate with me,” she said. Likewise, for the moms involved, it became the “all in this together” mentality. The four women who didn’t know each other

before and didn’t have similar circles forged their own support group. Monthly lunch or wine dates were a must, just to check in on how the girls were doing from the other moms’ point of view. “It’s incredible to have a group of women you respect around you and being able to see that you are not the only person experiencing the imperfections of motherhood,” Natasha’s mom Jane said. “It is uplifting beyond words. There is no judgement, we just are who we are.” And finally, if you are reading this and live in southern Minnesota, you may have heard about this story (the video is online and very popular!) Jean Ann Hastings of Elysian was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2019, but she did not fight in the battle alone. In fact, by her last treatment in July a group of women, family and friends (48 people in all) drove to Rochester and gave her a Flash Mob – a tribute to her five-month endurance with Dance Therapy, which is the term Hastings used to refer to chemotherapy. Participating in a Flash Mob was on Hastings’ bucket list, and it was made even more special because it was made of (mostly) other women, her dance partners in life. Her family (husband Mike – who is Minnesota State University-Mankato’s men’s hockey coach – and her children Hannah and Hudson). The group learned choreography to “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake on YouTube, posted practice videos on a Facebook page, and all came together to help her celebrate the milestone We need to reverse the stereotype that women don’t support other women. They do in good times and in bad, in celebration and in mourning. If you look close enough, you’ll find that the multi-faceted woman of today is made up of so many different pieces, put together from all those around her. Lisa Cownie writes from North Mankato. Her work can be found at FALL 2019


Daisey Sanchez, left, of HealthFinders Collaborative in Northfield and Faribault, regularly works with clients to get connected to health insurance via MNsure, Minnesota’s marketplace. On average, certified MNsure navigators at HealthFinders help around 30-40 clients per week with insurance access. (Northfield News file photo)

Breaking Barriers:


By Kelsey Erwin

s many know, not everyone has access to healthcare – especially that which is culturally sensitive. In Rice County, though, there is a group that prides themselves on providing just that, ensuring that anyone who needs it gets the basic healthcare they need. With locations in Northfield and Faribault, HealthFinders Collaborative provides services to anyone who might not have the resources or information to

find appropriate healthcare. With its mission to “ensure healthcare for all,” HealthFinders originated when community leaders came together to identify issues impacting the quality of life in the local Latino community. At that point, they determined that the most critical issue was access to healthcare. From there, they have grown into a robust organization that serves people who are underinsured, uninsured, or low-income. HealthFinders is a primary access point between patients and health services throughout Rice County. Established in 2005, HealthFinders provides community health services at its clinics in Faribault and Northfield. Both offices are 24

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staffed largely by volunteer providers, nurses and interpreters. With health providers who are fluent in English, Spanish and Somali, HealthFinders works closely with area hospitals and clinics to promote health and wellness in marginalized communities. Through primary medical care, dental care, medication assistance, patient education and advocacy, and community-based wellness programs and more, HealthFinders works to build up communities. One important offering is their patient advocacy and MNSure program, which provides in-depth assistance, connecting patients to resources such as housing, food support, and more. HealthFinders has certified MNSure navigators to help guide patients through the process of obtaining insurance connecting with partners throughout the community. Last year alone, HealthFinders helped more than 3,000 area residents get quality, affordable health coverage. This summer HealthFinders received a grant from MNSure to help people enroll in and keep health insurance they can afford and that meets their needs. Another unique program HFC provides is in-person training to medical providers. They offer sessions that support patient-centered care and help providers identify both problems and solutions that

may not be immediately apparent. This training is a part of a HealthFinders initiative to making mental health issues more of a continuing conversation in the community. This initiative, funded in part by a HealthRise grant, assists HealthFinders in helping bridge the gap between mental and physical health in order to normalize the situation for patients. In particular, this initiative focuses on providing mental health resources to the local Somali community. Now, according to Natalie Marfleet, the project lead for HealthRise, Rice County’s Somali population will be able to meet with one of two Somali-speaking counselors in Faribault who are piloting this program. “We hope to mirror the success (we have had) with the Hispanic community,” Marfleet said. She said HealthFinders is not only providing two counselors but also building a multi-cultural network of providers for underserved and uninsured patients. “Our students (volunteers) took on the challenge of calling providers throughout the area to build a network to refer patients to for classes and therapy. Many of the providers volunteer their time for this unique effort,” Marfleet said “We (provided) an intercultural effectiveness course for our staff, providers, and volunteers (last) December and are (now putting) this out to our current providers.” “We’re showing (the patients) how to self-advocate, how to follow-up with the provider and make sure they understand what the health provider needs them to understand,” she said. “We’re working more with screening our patients to measure their depression and stress conditions. We then speak to them about the importance of mental health and work to line them up with the appropriate therapist.” “We’re working with folks suffering from (not only ongoing) mental health issues but also episodic. We want to make sure we have providers for general wellness, as well as for those with chronic conditions. We’re starting to see progress in acknowledging mental health as something that can be treated,” Marfleet said. To learn more about this initiative and others, visit www. Kelsey Erwin is a Digital Marketer and freelance writer based in the Twin Cities. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising from Winona State University. Kelsey is a Winona native, and in her spare time enjoys storytelling and getting out on the Mississippi every chance she gets.

Services provided by HealthFinders include: Primary Care Services Two clinic locations in Faribault and Northfield. In addition to clinic staff, both locations are supported by volunteer providers, nurses, interpreters, receptionists and student volunteers. Patients are also able to access free diagnostic testing through collaborations and in-kind support from both District One Hospital and Northfield Hospital and Clinics and five area medical clinics. Dental Services Mostly provided at the Faribault clinic. Also in the WIC Clinic at Rice County Public Health two days weekly, in addition to regular outreach locations across Northfield: Wellness services - Pura Vida Healthy Lifestyles Free fitness and nutrition classes to provide participants with the tools, knowledge, and inspiration to journey towards a healthy lifestyle. Classes are offered in Faribault and Northfield during weekday evenings for anybody interested in becoming more active or maintaining a healthier and happier lifestyle. Patient Advocacy Advocate for the health and wellness of HealthFinders patients. Provide assistance based on each patient’s specific needs, while connecting patients to community resources and social service programs in Rice County. Help patients enroll in healthcare insurance through MNSure.

In addition to MNSure, HFC’s advocates assist patients with other services supportive to their overall health including food and housing support, social services, among others. If HFC advocates aren’t able to assist, they work with partners to connect patients to the services they need. Community Engagement Some staff also attend GrowingUp Healthy neighborhood team meetings to engage in discussions with Rice County residents about health topics through our Community Conversations Program. The staff are able to bring community feedback to us and assist us in understanding issues, and engaging the larger community that HFC serves. Coordinated Care Hub Blending community and clinical resources is at the heart of the Hub. This project supports and extends HFC’s current care coordination program. This care coordination program unites a diverse care team that expands beyond the clinic and into the community connecting patients with a broad range of community wellness resources including community health workers and community paramedics. Partners in this Coordinated Care Hub include HealthFinders, Mayo Health System, Northfield Hospital and Clinics, Allina Health Clinics, District One Hospital, part of Allina Health, and Rice County Public Health. This Coordinated Care Hub connects its patients to community resources focusing on nutrition, diabetes, goal setting, various physical exercise activities, and home visits.

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Hours: Fridays 3-9pm, Saturdays 12-9pm, Sundays 12-5pm. m. Upcoming live music and events: 9/15 @11am- Paint and Sip - The Upper East Side 9/21 @ 2-5pm - Live Music - Jake Illika 10/5 @ 2-5pm - Live Music - Jud Hailey 10/6 @ 11am - Craft & Sip - Whitmer Crafts • Located in Minnesota’s stunning lake country. • Wine crafted from locally- grown fruit. • Vintage inspired tasting room and beautiful patio with a great view.

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Gift Store Assisted Living in Downtown Northfield

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Millstream Commons, 210 W 8th Street, Northfield 507-650-0141 ·

When should you draw

Social Security?


ew Research tells us that 10,000 Americans will be turning 65 every single day for the next 15 years; this is the biggest demographic shift in American history. Most of those turning 65 do not know where to go for advice, and consequently, taking advice from everyone but knowledgeable advisors. For example, if you have heard someone say they were taking their Social Security at 62 because “everyone knows it is bankrupt”, you can be assured that they DO NOT KNOW what they are talking about—ask them if they have ever read the Social Security trustee’s report. This is a bi-partisan, actuarially and demographically based report whose opening statement is: “Social Security SPONSORED BY is NOT bankrupt and is not going Sandy Flom, CPA, CFP® bankrupt in the foreseeable future.” 414 Central Ave., STE A If you believe you know otherwise AND Faribault, MN you have read the trustee’s report then 507.333.3973 skip reading the rest of this article. The number one question in America regarding Social Security is, “at what age should I sign up?” Bluntly, no one can answer that question except if you can tell me exactly when you are going to die. If you can, then, mathematically I can tell you the best answer. For everyone else, our answer should be based on your analysis of the 3 factors that determine when you should draw: Genetics, Personal Health & Financial Need. The choice to draw at age 62 or waiting until you are 70 may be the wisest or worst financial decision you will ever make, depending on this 3-factor test.

3. FINANCIAL NEED is a complex factor; however, some simple introductory guidance may be provided. All Americans have something called a Full Retirement Age (FRA), which is the age used to determine their monthly benefit check. Today that is between 66 and 67. You may also draw Social Security as early as age 62, BUT your monthly benefit checks will be permanently reduced roughly by 6% per year for each year you draw early. However, the benefit will increase each year you wait beyond your FRA by about 8% annually until you turn 70. Waiting beyond 70, does you no good as there is no additional increase in benefit. This chart ignored annual cost of living increases, which would have a greater positive Impact on the waiting longer to draw your benefits.

Age to Draw Monthly Benefit Total drawn by age 66 Total drawn by age 70 Total drawn by age 78 Total drawn by age 84

62 $750 $36,000 $72,000 $144,000 $198,000

66 $1,000 $0 $48,000 $144,000 $216,000

70 $1,320 $0 $0 $126,750 $221,760

Women are typically the lower bread winners and have a longer life expectancy. So, if you are only going to get 50% of your spouse’s benefit, what “he” does will have a significant impact on your financial stability when he’s gone. Your monthly retirement check at FRA is based on your highest 35 years of earnings. All those self-employed folks, who avoid paying into Social Security with tax write-offs, are only hurting themselves at retirement time and are sentenced to an old age of destitution. If 35 years determines your benefit, then we all have 8-10 years where income doesn’t matter, but everything after that does, and taking time off for advanced college, raising your children, retiring early, to name a few, all have a direct negative impact on your retirement. Social Security Administration tells us that the average monthly benefit check for a single American in 2019 is only $1,461. Is that enough for you to live on during your retirement? No, and it was never meant to be. Social Security was designed by President Roosevelt to keep Americans from starving to death, not to provide a full retirement check, you are on your own for that. By the way, 35 years of paying Social Security tax on $25,000 (inflation adjusted) is what it took to get this $1,461 monthly benefit. Making the wrong decision can cost you and your family tens of thousands of dollars of Social Security benefits.

1. GENETICS can be summarized as at the age your ancestors of your same sex died (except by accidents). If you are a woman and your mother and grandmother died in their early 60’s then genetics is not on your side. Genetics are not a true indicator as we have had advances in medicine but they play a major part of your decision. 2. PERSONAL HEALTH could be based on your life expectancies from above, as adjusted shorter for smoking, diabetes, kidney disease and obesity. These factors will generally take off about 10 years of an individual’s life expectancy.

We are scheduling FREE 30-minute appointments to discuss Social Security issues with the first 50 clients. We will review what to bring, point out evident omissions, and discuss what the general rules of Social Security benefits are. If you wish to go further after this meeting, we will also assist you in a plan of action, in writing, to illustrate what you can do and need to do to maximize your Social Security Retirement Benefits. Call today to schedule your appointment Sandy Flom CPA, CFP - 507-333-3973

Taxes, Investments, Business and maybe a little more Sandy Flom CPA, CFP® Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, fees and expenses before investing. For this and other important information please obtain the investment company fund prospectus and disclosure documents from your Rep/ Advisor. Read this information carefully before investing. Registered Representative, Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Cambridge and Sandy Flom, LLC are not affiliated. Cambridge does not offer tax advice.

Did you know? September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Take charge of your health and use the following ovarian cancer information to advocate for yourself! Potential signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer.1 • Bloating/pelvic or abdominal pain • Feeling full quickly while eating • Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often

1 in 78 women will develop ovarian cancer in their lifetime2

A Pap test does not detect ovarian cancer1

The 5-year survival rate for early stage ovarian cancer is more than 90%1

SOURCES: 1. National Ovarian Cancer Coalition 2. American Cancer Society

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FALL 2019

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you, call or visit a property, financial you advisor may today. also want to appoint a in reaching your family’s education savings conservator to act as a guardian over whatever goals. Developing a strategy for achieving your financial assets your child might inherit until education savings goal can help you stay on the child is of age, which will be 18 or 21, track. And if you have other goals, such as depending on where you live. Your legal prosaving for retirement, it’s important to address how they fit into your overall financial strategy. fessional can help you determine whether you should write a will and possibly create other • Insurance – If you did not have life estate planning documents, such as a living insurance before, you may want to consider it trust. now. Ask yourself: If something happened to me, would my child be able to stay in the same Even when you devote the time and money necessary to your new child, you can’t forget house? Receive an education? Enjoy a comfortabout yourself and your own needs – in able lifestyle? Even if you have an actively involved co-parent with a steady income, it still particular, you must save and invest for retirement. Contribute as much as you can afford to might not be enough to take care of your child the retirement accounts available to you, such in the way you would have wanted. Consequently, you may need life insurance – and you as your 401(k) and IRA. After all, the more you might need other types of protection, too, such put away, the less likely the need for your child to help support you later in life. as disability insurance. You’ll have much to think about when you • Estate plans – With luck, you will live welcome a new child to your family but by takto see your children as adults who have found ing the time to make the appropriate financial their way in the world. Still, it’s best to be premoves, you can help make the transition a pared for anything – which means you should positive one. draw up your estate plans well before they are This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local likely to be needed. Among other things, you Advisor. Cate Grinney, Edward CFP® Jones FinancialMember may want to name someone to serve as your SIPC Financial Advisor child’s guardian if you – and your co-parent, if Heritage Place one is involved – are not around. And404 because Faribault, MN 55021 a minor generally cannot inherit money or 507-334-1666 .


f a new child has entered your life, you are no doubt full of joy today and hopes for the future. And you can help make that future a brighter one for your child and your family by taking some important steps in these areas: • College – Given the consistently rising costs of higher education, the earlier you start your savings and investment plans, the better off you will likely be. While it may be difficult to set aside money for education when you’re still a young family, planning to cram at the last minute is not a good idea. Time is one of your biggest assets, and delaying even a few years can have a big effect on your portfolio’s value. • In addition, just like regular attendance is crucial for success in school, setting aside money every month can help make a difference

T By Carlienne A. Frisch

Sam Biehn on adoption day.

to 30

FALL 2019

he route to becoming adoptive parents may vary, but whether it’s infant adoption or adoption of a foster child, families approach their status as new parents with anticipation and love. Some adopting families, especially those who receive a newborn in swaddling clothes, are matched to the infant by an agency such as Catholic Charities. Sarah Vetter, the director of Catholic Charities Pregnancy, Parenting and Adoption Program, said, “Moms who place their children for adoption are doing so out of love, and they want what’s best for their baby. We give the baby’s mother an opportunity to choose the family that will adopt the baby. We have an average of six to eight placements a year. It’s a small adoption program, part of a pregnancy, parenting and adoption program.” The Catholic Charities Domestic Infant Adoption Program serves 20 southern Minnesota counties, with seven offices, including Mankato and Rochester. Another program through which foster parents adopt a child who may already have a place in their homes and their hearts is statistically larger. Last year, Lutheran Social Services completed 387 adoptions in partnership with the Children’s Home Society of Minnesota in St. Paul. Kristina Berg, Director of Engagement for Lutheran Social Services in St. Paul, said, “People may not be aware of the opportunity that foster families have to adopt their foster children, nor of the many needs that exist.” “Statistics indicate that of the children in Minnesota foster care needing adoption, 66 percent have a documented special need,” Berg said. “There’s a wide range, perhaps from speech therapy after a cleft lip that has been repaired, to physical therapies for mild developmental delays. More serious is fetal alcohol syndrome, which can affect children the rest of their lives.” The need for foster and adoptive families is not new. In 1986, when Connie and Daryl Biehn took their family to the Minnesota State Fair, they inadvertently became aware of the needs of children waiting for a foster home. The Biehns allowed their son, Chris, to put address labels on the forms in

Daryl and Connie Biehn with Sam a few years after his adoption.

Family - Sam with Connie and Daryl.

exhibitors’ booths. The “prize” Chris eventually received was a younger brother. The Biehns, of course, had no idea one of those labels would add to their family, first through fostering a child and then through his adoption. Connie Biehn said, “One of the booths was Blue Earth County Social Services, and we got a phone call asking if we were interested in being foster parents. We had discussed this possibility, so we agreed. We first had Sam for one year, from the time he was four months old to 16 months. Then he spent one year with his mother.” Berg explained, “The first goal of foster care is to reunify the family.” When Sam’s mother became homeless, she brought her children to Blue Earth County Social Services, and Sam returned to the Biehns as a foster child when he was two-and-a-half years old. Even though his birth mother’s rights had been terminated, she kept in touch with the Biehns. “Sam has had two moms,” Connie Biehn said. “He saw Mommy Ann, which is what we called her, once or twice a year, and she wrote to him. We stayed close to her and visited her when she was terminally ill.” The Biehns have had an open relationship with Sam’s biological family, even attending their family reunions. “We fostered Sam for about five years,” Biehn said. “He was on an adoption list of Minnesota’s Waiting Children (through www.mnadopt. org). Because he had some disabilities, including fetal alcohol syndrome, no one had chosen him.” Berg explained that the website posts a listing of children in foster care who are eligible for adoption. “For families considering adoption, a big part of the journey is assessing what kinds of skills and opportunities you can provide the child who is entering your family,” she said. When Sam was in second grade, Sam’s social worker told the Biehns that Sam would eventually be institutionalized because of his disabilities. His foster parents found the idea of Sam leaving their family for any reason unthinkable. “There was no doubt in our minds that he was ours,” Biehn said. “Our two other children referred to him as a little brother. Sam was five, Chris was 16 and Erin was 18. Two years later, when Sam was in second grade, his social worker arranged for us to have a subsidized adoption through a State of Minnesota program that provides opportunities for

children with special needs. The adoption is without cost to the adopting parents, and additional support is available.” Berg explained that there often are little to no fees for adopting a child who is in the Minnesota foster care system. She said, “On any given day, approximately 10,000 children are in foster care, with 820 children eligible for adoptive families. Non-fostering parents can work with an adoption agency or their county’s social services.” It’s obvious that the Biehns are proud of Sam, who completed school through the 10th grade. He now has a significant other, with whom he has a child, and he holds a part-time

Sam as a foster child.

job at a convenience store/service station. Connie Biehn recalled the times when she and her husband would ask Sam, “How did we ever get so lucky as to have you?” Opening his arms to his parents, he would reply, “Mom, you won me at the State Fair.” For additional information about adoption, contact Kristina Berg at 1-800-582-5260, Sarah Vetter at 507-287-2047, the website www. or the Minnesota State Adoption Assistance Program at state-programs/min. Carlienne A. Frisch, a writer and editor in Mankato, enjoys hearing people’s stories and sharing them with readers.

FALL 2019


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A Salute to the Season Articles will include: • Unexpected Caregiver • Man’s perspective • Women serving our country • Wellness • Book review • Ruth’s House • Culture of giving • How to really enjoy the holiday season • Gifts that are good enough to eat • Interfaith holiday traditions • Gift of longer life - saving a life when seconds matter • A tradition of gourmet dining

Southern Minn


NOV/DEC ISSUE DEADLINE IS OCTOBER 11TH Have an idea or suggestion?

Contact Beth Forkner Moe at


FALL 2019

unexpected caregiver


he Hospice nurse suggested she has one, maybe two, more months to live. I knew this was coming, but I’m not Berit ready. I’m not ready to lose the woman I call my BFF— Kari Berit, author of The Unexpected Best Friend Forever. Caregiver, is a keynote speaker who helps us all She and I met in high embrace the caregiving journey. Follow her at school chemistry class. We passed notes to each other and sang the same wrong words to Phil Collin’s “In the Air Tonight.” We enjoyed preparing for prom way more than the prom itself. She is the one who has explained life’s little subtleties to me. In many ways, she has been my stronger self. I remember falling apart sophomore year in college. I drove many of my friends away, demanding too much from them. But not her. Not my BFF. When I showed up at her dorm room in tears, she held me, cried with me, and listened to the recap from my recent therapy session. She also rescued me when I was out way too late at night and needed a quick French braid in order to be presentable for a choir performance. The author of “Still Alice” brought Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease to the big screen. Lisa Genova, a neuroscientist, wrote a touching novel about a university professor who, at an age we don’t normally expect, developed Alzheimer’s. I interviewed a 40-year-old man on my radio show who also had Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease. He P.S. - My dear friend died Aug 17 described how exhausting it was, going surrounded by her family. I was in the from one doctor to another, trying to get air, returning from taking care of my an accurate diagnosis. mother in law. My goddaughter picked When my friend started showing me up at the airport and tenderly told symptoms, we had each turned 50. me of her mother’s passing. I was able Both of us were feeling more forgetful to say goodbye to my BFF’s body and than usual and more emotional than help wrap her body in a sheet. Another normal. Another radio show guest I layer of grieving now begins. interviewed was a medical doctor specializing in hormonal changes. I was thrilled to interview her, and couldn’t wait to call up my friend to report, “I think we’re both going through peri-menopausal changes. Not to worry!” We spent a lot of time on the phone talking about natural supplements that could help, and whether or not we should seek hormone replacement therapy.

Kari and her BFF in high sc hool, with a to the rescue French .


Then on one of my visits, my BFF asked if I wanted a cup of tea. I watched her hold a cup, take out a tea bag, look back at the cup, and then at the tea bag several times, before finally placing the teabag in the waterless cup. The simple act of making a cup of tea had become a confusing task. As I watched her, I thought to myself, “Oh crap…this is not just hormonal changes….” When she eventually received the diagnosis, she was already struggling with finding words and making change from $20 bill. At one point a woman approached her in a store and said, “I love your jacket; where did you get it?” My friend just stared at her. I jumped in and said, “Oh you’ve had that jacket for a long time.” I looked at my friend and said, “I don’t remember where you got it,” nodding at her while holding her around the waist. In turn, she filled in the blanks for me, explaining what certain phrases or words meant, I was now responding for her, helping her “be normal” in a world that doesn’t know how to recognize a young person with dementia who may not be able to respond. After seeing her recently, I fear the nurse’s prognosis giving her one or two months to live may be generous. My BFF is now in a hospital bed, no longer eating, standing, or using the toilet. She is a mere husk of a once vibrant wife, mother, and friend. I believe that by the time this article is printed, she will have passed away. I will miss her tremendously. Her father recently said to me, “Thank you for your years of friendship with my daughter.” I am grateful that she chose me as her BFF. FALL 2019




FALL 2019

Cultivate a growth

T By Rian Dicke-Michels


he brain is a curious thing. Scientists and psychologists have been working for centuries to unlock the complexities and inner-workings of our neuropathways, trying to make sense of thought and where it comes from. Our childhood relationships and even parenting styles impact how we think, how we feel about ourselves, and how we act in social situations. Our DNA also plays a role in whether the chemical reactions in the brain are balanced or imbalanced. So many variables, so little time. Obviously, if you’re dealing with any mental health disorders, PTSD, trauma, or another personal issue that has impacted you negatively, it adds a few extra bumps in the road. However you break it down, you are the end all be all in your life. In previous columns, I’ve often mentioned healthy coping mechanisms, and today I’m going to talk about positive affirmations. A positive affirmation is a phrase, mantra, or series of phrases one might use to interrupt negative thought processes. These can be printed out or simply written on post-it notes and left in places to be read aloud, at random. Quick disclaimer: reading a positive quote won’t fix how you feel! Briefly, think back to a day that was difficult for you to process. It could be as small as having spilt coffee on your favorite blouse, or something bigger and more serious. If at that moment someone said, “At least you’re alive.” While true, was it helpful? Unlikely, as this is referred to as ‘toxic positivity.’ It is toxic because it minimizes feelings and emotions that are actually very real, and valid. As a human being, it is your right (and everyone else’s) to experience these feelings and give yourself the space to work through them. What practicing positive affirmations does is help to reprogram the thoughts we have about ourselves or how we bounce back on a bad day, and turn it around. Consider it a preemptive strike in the face of negativity. The way I’ve learned how to utilize positive affirmations is by first addressing thoughts or first-response emotions I struggle with. In the last three to five years I have recognized that in order to be a better mother/friend/partner, I needed to manage my emotions differently. My daughter taught me love, my yoga training taught me peacefulness and nonreaction, my relationship taught me compassion, and with the birth of my son, I am learning more about patience than ever before. The battle I now face is applying all these lessons that continue to accumulate and manage how I

express myself when nothing is going according to plan; which is at least every other day! Sometimes I need the reminders to believe in my abilities as a woman, and move through those feelings without lingering too long in negativity. Below I have listed a few positive affirmations that resonate with me in daily life. You can use them, or not use them, but I have them posted in the places that I visit most often: the water pitcher in the refrigerator, the dash of my car, the bathroom mirror, and any other place that sort of makes sense for my own routines. They are as follows… • Don’t forget that you’re human! • I have an open and compassionate heart. • The fire within me burns brighter than the fire around me. • My strongest action as a woman is to love myself, be myself, and shine brighter than yesterday. • I nourish my body with healthy choices. • There is no failure, only lessons and success. • I have the power to accomplish everything I need to do today. • Fear is only a feeling, it cannot hold me back! And my favorite… • Not every day is good, but there is good in every day. Positive affirmations can help to change the narrative that you live by. In a way, it’s similar to a record on a turntable, where the grooves can be likened to our thought patterns. Get caught in a loop and you hear the same internal commentary over and over again. In order to break out, there is work to be done. It’s important to remember that we require more than words to cultivate a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Do right by yourself with sufficient sleep, nutrition, and exercise to balance out systems in your physical body, and use positive affirmations to empower that journey. Repeat them aloud to yourself daily. Create and foster an atmosphere of confidence, then allow yourself to grow to fill that space, and do it all over again so that each day can be better than the last. All you need is a vision of your best self and to ask what that person’s habits are. Believe that you are capable of making those changes, because only you have the power to manifest your reality. Rian Dicke-Michels is a highly independent, Minnesota State University Mankato graduate and the proud mother of an earthy 5-year-old daughter and a brand-new baby boy. Although a 10-year yoga practitioner, she earned her 200RYT in 2015 from The Green Lotus Yoga and Healing center, and is continuing her education toward 500 hours. “My life is a continuous journey toward healing and self-love,” she says, “I’m honored to share it with you.”

FALL 2019


Book Review Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson c.2019, St. Martin’s Essentials $27.99 / $37.99 Canada 304 pages

Review by Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Bookworm

Surrounded by Idiots


FALL 2019


very day of the week, you want to pound your head against your desk. What is wrong with the people you work with? One thinks he’s always right, one is an unrealistic optimist, another actually lines up his paper clips. Argh, you can barely stand it, but read the new book “Surrounded by Idiots” by Thomas Erikson and you’ll see that the situation is not so black and white. Five days a week, you grit your teeth and deep-breathe. That’s thousands of hours per year, spent with co-workers who really bug you. So how can you get along with them? Says Erikson, the first thing to know is that the listener controls communication. You can talk until you’re crimson-faced, but it’s all up to he who hears it. Furthermore, though you may think your co-workers are downright weird, “every kind of behavior is normal.” Knowing that makes it easier to move forward and to understand. Next, using a method of communication called DISA (or DISC), which stands for Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Analytic ability (or Compliance), you can categorize people in your mind by colors correlating to “primary personality types.” This helps you see why people act as they do. Reds, for instance, are the quick-reacting folks who are dominant and decisive and not always good in making relationships. Greens, who make up the biggest subset of people, are calm, supportive, and they generally hate change. Yellows are the sunniest of people and try to always look on the bright side. Organized blues are the Sheldons of the world, and require complete

knowledge on issues before committing. To build your best staff and to foster cooperation, says Erikson, awareness of these personality types is key. Having an office full of Reds, for instance, may be a recipe for disaster. Putting a Blue in the wrong position won’t make anyone happy. Locking a Yellow in a corner office is a terrible idea, and making big changes before preparing Greens is likewise not good. Recognizing these things – and knowing where youare on the DISA - will help your office achieve balance, diversity, and success. Author Thomas Erikson. The first thing Photo credit Maria Ostlin. astute readers may notice is that this book seems similar to the MMDI and Myer Briggs tests. It’s not identical, but alike enough to see parallels. The second thing you may notice is that, while author Thomas Erikson admits that no one is purely one “color” or other, there are a lot of overgeneralizations inside “Surrounded by Idiots.” So why seek this book out, then? Like other tests, Erikson uses science to back up his methods of personality assessment, but his presentation here applies that directly to businesses, particularly in staffing and teambuilding issues. This book is more casual in its approach, more anecdote-based, and more on the lighthearted side, too, which makes it fun to read. That should also make it more fun to share with your team, especially if you’re all suffering from oversniping and lack of motivation. Get “Surrounded by Idiots” and put your business in the pink The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with a mysterious man, two dogs, and 14,000 books. For more information, visit

Book Review Love Thy Neighbor: A Muslim Doctor’s Struggle for Home in Rural America by Ayaz Virji with Alan Eisenstock c.2019, Convergent $26.00 / $35.00 Canada 208 pages

Review by Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Bookworm

Love Thy Neighbor: A Muslim Doctor’s Struggle for Home in Rural America


tional, emotional, and outraged at what had happened. He decided to step down at the hospital, leave Minnesota, and move to Dubai but Virji’s family wanted to stay; friends, a little shocked themselves, rallied in support, but racists were emboldened by politics and sent hate messages. When a local pastor’s intern asked Virji to speak about his faith at a public forum, he agreed, but the outcome was mixed. “What,” he asked about tolerance, “will it take?” Looking at “Love Thy Neighbor,” you might think it’s a memoir with a happy ending, but no. For starters, with politics as they are today and immigration in flux, this book’s real ending may be years away. Opening with a detailed recount of a speech that feels more like a lecture, author Ayaz Virji then shifts to a fish-out-of-water tale with light amusement as he writes about his new and

our best friend loves country music but you can’t stand it. He likes a good glass of beer after work; you prefer plain water. She’s a jeans-and-tees kind of woman, but you’re more button-down. You’re yin and yang, each quite different from the other but as in the new book “Love Thy Neighbor” by Ayaz Virji (with Alan Eisenstock), you’re more alike than you think. Practicing “turnstile medicine” was never his thing. In hospital-as-corporation, though, that’s often the way things are done, and Dr. Ayaz Virji didn’t like it. Keeping one eye on the clock while he cared for patients wasn’t how he thought a doctor should practice medicine, so he was ready Author Ayaz Virji. Photo credit to move his family from their Pennsylvania home, maybe to a rural area that badly needed a doctor. Statistically, he says, in rural beloved hometown. That’s charming but beware: areas, there’s one doctor for every 1,900 patients. just pages in, this story takes two abrupt, paralHe could do good things in a small town. lel, and unexpected turns – one deeply political And that’s how he ended up in tiny, almostand the other, deeply instructional, as Virji all-white Dawson, Minnesota, where his family’s spends pages describing anger at the open and Muslim faith and their brown faces set them sudden racism he experiences, and more pages apart. teaching readers about how Islam compares to Being “Minnesota nice,” Dawson was welcomChristianity. The former is understandable and ing. sympathetic readers will be outraged; the latter Virji’s family quickly became part of the comis interesting but it’s too intense and feels rather munity and Virji worked to make the hospital ill-placed. a first-class place for healthcare. He opened a If you’re expecting that, you might welcome weight-loss clinic that attracted patients nationthe info but if you’re not, head’s up. “Love They wide, his wife opened a skin-care clinic, the kids Neighbor” is well-done and readable, but it’s also settled in at school, and the family adjusted to very, very different. Minnesota winters. Then came the election of 2016, when most of the county’s citizens voted Republican. Seeing what was in store for Muslim families like his, Virji became uncharacteristically confronta-

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with a mysterious man, two dogs, and 14,000 books. For more information, visit

FALL 2019


D i r e c to r y Financial Resources Castle Rock Bank

The Castle Rock Bank has been serving the women in this community for 96 years. To answer the question, “What do women want in banking?” We believe the answer is, “To be heard, understood, respected and valued.” 27925 Danville Ave Castle Rock, 507-645-7751


Hold your next event at the historical campus of Camp Pillsbury. Large auditorium, dining hall, conference rooms, ample meeting space and dormitory sleeping quarters that hold up to 750 overnight guests. Perfect for corporate events, weddings, concerts, leadership retreats, youth development retreats and more. 507-214-2200.

Northfield Retirement Community

Situated on a 30-acre, beautifully landscaped campus, NRC was established in 1969 to provide housing and services specifically designed to meet the physical, social, psychological and spiritual needs of older adults. Housing options include apartments with a minimal level of services, as well as other home settings that make increasing levels of service readily available. Options include rental and owner-occupied living spaces. Units are available for both income-sensitive and market-rate income levels. NRC also provides a fully-staffed care center for those who desire a more traditional nursing home setting. 900 Cannon Valley Drive, Northfield, 507-645-9511,

Home & Garden Judy’s Floral Design

Health & Wellness Millstream Commons Assisted Living

Millstream Commons Assisted Living is located in downtown Northfield. 44 Assisted Living apartments (studio, 1 and 2 BR) featuring three meals a day, supportive nursing care, respite care, & life enrichment activities. Pets allowed. Licensed Housing with Services provider. Part of the Three Links Community. Member of Aging Services of Minnesota. 210 8th St W, Northfield, 507-650-9627,

Whether your wedding is black tie/ ballroom or barefoot on the beach or somewhere in between! Beautiful, quality flowers and great ideas start with Judy Smith. “Specializing in fresh creative and affordable blooms for all the flower moments of your life” 507-645-0008, 1951 Division St. S., Northfield,

Simon Bros Cement Co.

Simon Bros Cement Co. has been serving the Northfield area since 1969. We specialize in quality concrete and masonry including foundations, driveways, epoxy garage floors. Call for a free estimate. We will look at your project and use 40+ years of experience to share ideas and advice. Call Ray 612-328-4591.


heartedness and kindness they have shown her from Day 1. Jan mentions more than once that there’s a certain “sweetness” that permeates throughout the group that she loves, a main reason for her 32-year tenure with the group. Each of these women and their respective groups are different in many ways, but the common thread is one of human connection. Each woman felt the biggest benefit from being a member was the social component. Breathing in the conversation, feeling respected and supported while achieving a common goal, made each woman come away feeling better about herself. In this day and age, it’s tough to imagine a


FALL 2019

The warmth and

friendship I received from PEO was just


– Jan Stevens

MEDIA Southern Minn Media

Our content reaches a larger audience than ever before. From newspaper, web design, digital advertising, special products and services we are here to help you reach your maximum audience. Contact Regional Director of Adverting Mark Nelson at or 507-333-3109 to set up your meeting to see what best fits your needs.


Camp Pillsbury is a unique day and sleepaway summer camp, offering over 100 activities! Flying trapeze, circus arts, musical theater, sports, magic, horseback, gymnastics, dance, technology, musical instruments and waterski– all in the same day. So many activities to choose from! 507-214-2200.

Transportation Northfield Lines, Inc.

Have your group arrive in style when you pull up in one of our luxurious motor or mini coaches. Single or multi-day sightseeing trips, shopping, girlfriend getaways, dining, concerts, weddings, receptions, casino visits – you name the event and we will get your group there safely and on time. 32611 Northfield Blvd, Northfield, 800-944-2190,

group withstanding 10, 20 or 30 years, much less 58. We are lucky if we can get five people to commit and attend one dinner, much less a meeting every month. There’s no doubt groups of this nature are special, and serve a purpose for their members beyond the obvious mission. Winnie’s group is so much more than a game of cards. Faith and Books is so much more than the reading. PEO is so much more than supporting women’s education. The gravity and power of being in a community of women who have your back cannot be understated and is as important now as it was in 1869. Sarah Osterbauer is a freelance writer based in St. Paul.

Best 20





FALL 2019


t l u a b i r a F MINNES


Experiencing American Stories


13-22 14 19 20 27

Disney’s Newsies at the Paradise Center for the Arts

Car Show and Old Country Boys Band at Winjum’s Shady Acres

Taste of Faribault at Faribault American Legion

Car Cruise at Faribault Harley Davidson Takin’ it to the Limit - Eagles Tribute at Paradise Center for the Arts


5 5 5

Fall Festival and Chili Cook off downtown Faribault

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Night at the Museum at the Rice County Historical Society River Bend Ramble at the River Bend Nature Center

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