Inspire(d) Winter 2022-2023

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Inspire(d) free! AN EXPERIMENT IN POSITIVE NEWS FROM THE DRIFTLESS REGION DRIFTLESS MAGAZINE NO. 71 WINTER 2022-23 DEFINING enough | located at 1600 PROSPERITY Road, decorah, IA | 563.387.6700 Toppling Goliath Taproom weddings • rehearsal dinners • reunions bus tours • corporate events • holiday parties private event space catering + private bar weddings + parties
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...and more! WINTER 2022-23 contents WHAT WE’RE LOVING RIGHT NOW DIANE KNIGHT SHAUNDEL SPIVEY MARNIE HOFMEISTER-POOLEY SUM BIZ: GABI MASEK / WILDCRAFTED DEFINING ENOUGH PAPER PROJECT: DREAM BOARD PROMPTS FINDING JOY IN DECORAH WINTER FUN IN THE DRIFTLESS! SEAMUS SCHWABA + SUGARLOAF THEATRE GREAT HORNED OWLS PROBIT: HAZEL GROTEGUT 09 15 20 23 26 33 40 42 54 56 62 66 ON THE COVER: Diane Knight created this gorgeous piece, Tree Rings on Wood, with ink and markers on watercolor paper glued to a piece of wood from a friend’s scrap pile. You can learn more about Diane’s art and work as a Community Builder on page 15, and see Tree Rings on Wood in its entirety on page 16. 26 42 62 05
The Snow is Falling...But RATES ARE RISING! Scan the QR code to learn more about our high interest savings accounts or visit us at CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT (CD) MONEY MARKET ACCOUNT A Classic Bell eed Savers Exchange 3094 North Winn Road, Decorah, IA 52101 NEW VARIETIES , INCLUDING: Snow on the Mountain The Collection FROM Instructions- Lima beans thrive in hot temperatures. Sow seeds outdoors after danger of frost has passed and soil and air temperatures have warmed. Seeds will germinate in 7-18 days. Seed Savers Exchange is a nonprofit organization. Your purchase ensures that heirloom seeds will be around for generations to come. Always Open-Pollinated and Non-GMO Direct Seed 2" Apart Seed Depth 1" Rows Apart 36-48” Light Full Sun eedS Savers Exchange 3094 North Winn Road, Decorah, IA 52101 Hjerleid Blue corn The Collection FROM 0334 -Corn,‘HjerleidBlue’(Zeamays) SeedSaversExchangestaffrankedadozencornvarieties forflavorin2018—andthismid-season-maturingone toppedthelist!Theearsofthiswhitesweetcornturna strikingdarkblueatmaturitybutaremostflavorful(and havetenderkernels)whenjustslightlyblueincolor.SSE receivedthisvarietyfromMarvinGonitzke,whointurn receivedit fromEugeneHjerleid,acoworkeratJohnson PrintinginEauClaire,Wisconsin.Thiscornwasgrown sinceatleasttheearly1940sinBlair,Wisconsin,by Eugene’sgrandfather,LudwigHjerleid.100days. Instructions-Sowseedsoutdoors1"deepafterdanger offrosthaspassed.Forgoodpollinationandfullears, plantinblocksof3-6rowsinsteadofonelongrow. SeedSaversExchangeisanonprofitorganization. Yourpurchaseensuresthatheirloomseeds willbearoundforgenerationstocome.Always Open-Pollinated and Non-GMO Best Before It’s Blue DirectSeed 4"Apart Germination 4-21Days RowsApart 36-48" Light FullSun LearnToGrowIt From the Collection-SeedstewardedbySSEtobegrownbyyou. ExchangeSaverseedS 3094 North Winn Road, Decorah, IA 52101 The Collection 0431 Jan growing Horne ® From 3lb Coffee Can Asparagus The Collection FROM 0341 - Asparagus, ‘3lb Coffee Can’ (Asparagus officinalis) Seed Savers Exchange co-founders, Diane Ott Whealy, brought this variety with them when Decorah, Iowa, in 1984. Diane recounts its origin Gathering: “A few years earlier, a gentleman had pound Folgers coffee can full of seed. He said the grown from seed and rivaled any commercial variety, came to me with no name. His claim was true. These eventually transplanted to a patch in front of the barn Farm and 20 years later have developed into a magnificent good thing about growing older: your asparagus patch Instructions- Seeds may take up to 2 months to Time the planting to be ready to transplant the shoots weeks later. Plant in early spring, after all danger of frost Seed Savers Exchange is a nonprofit organization. Your purchase ensures that heirloom will be around for generations to come. Always Open-Pollinated and Non-GMO Great Story, Better Taste Planting Depth 1" Germination Up to monthstwo Plant Outdoors18-20" Apart Learn To Grow It From the Collection-SeedstewardedbySSEto eedS Savers Exchange 3094 North Winn Road, Decorah, IA 52101 Shop Online + Free Catalog Request your 2023 catalog featuring over 600 varieties of untreated, non-hybrid, non-GMO seeds, including new varieties from our seed bank.

Lagom. It’s a Swedish word meaning “just the right amount.” “Not too much, not too little.”

“Just enough.” The Swedish proverb “Lagom är bäst” literally means “the right amount is best,” and is also translated as “enough is as good as a feast.” Enough is as good as a feast! Leave it to the Scandinavians to have just the right phrase to encompass my feelings for this winter.

In a time and world where the mantra is so often more, more, more, I encourage you, this season, to say, “Better, not more.” Make choices that count –shop local, show up for your community, be present with your loved ones. Define what’s enough for you. A lot about defining enough is being creative with your resources.

Artist Diane Knight used a piece of wood from a friend’s scrap pile to create the art on this cover. Diane considers some of her greatest work to be bringing people together in her bank-turned-home in Whalan, Minnesota (pg 15).

Shaundel Spivey wanted to give more to his community so that they had enough. He co-founded BLACK – Black Leaders Acquiring Collective Knowledge – an organization that is fostering the next generation of community leaders and organizers (pg 20).

In Hillsboro, Wisconsin, Marnie Hofmeister-Pooley opened Let’s Shine Coffee in order to let the people of her town shine and gather, face-to-face, to build community.

This issue’s Sum of Your Business features one of my favorite people, Gabi Masek at Wildcrafted Acupuncture & Herbs. She is such an inspiring business owner. Plus, lucky us, she shares Five Chinese Medicine Tips for Winter Wellness (pg 31)!

We introduce the work of Defining Enough through my infographic on page 33, leading up to Olivia Lynn Schnur’s Mental Health piece. Olivia walks us through the process of Defining Enough following Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – first comes survival needs, and you move up from there.

Feel like you don’t have enough – yet – in a certain area in life? Let’s manifest that destiny! The first step is believing you can do it. The next step is…taking the next step. Check out our Paper Project Dream Board prompts (pg 40), and get dreaming!

What’s it mean?


Inspire(d) – pronounced in-spy-erd... you know: inspired – stands for inspire and be inspired. The idea is that person one inspires person two. That person is now inspired. Then that person inspires person three (or person one again), who is now inspired. Then the cycle continues! That’s what those arrows around the (d) are about! Our mission is, ultimately, to change the world… starting with our own community!

Who are we?


Aryn Henning Nichols / editor & designer Benji Nichols / writer & advertising sales (& husband, distributor, head of logistics)


Sara Walters / contributor

Tallitha Reese / contributor

Steve Harris / contributor

Olivia Lynn Schnur / contributor

Christy Ebert Vrtis / contributor Craig Thompson / contributor Mary Thompson/ illustrator

Navia Erbst / Fall 2022 intern

Inspire(d) Magazine is published quarterly by Inspire(d) Media, LLC, 412 Oak Street, Decorah, Iowa, 52101. This issue is dated Winter 2022-23, issue 71 volume 16, Copyright 2022-23 by Inspire(d) Magazine.

0431 - Poppy,LavenderDouble (Papaversomniferum) JanSuchomelofVanHorne,Iowadiscoveredthispoppy growinginthebackyardgardenwhenshemovedtoVan HornefromCedarRapidsin1967andproceeded,over thenextthreedecades,togiveitsseedstoallherfamily members.Shewassotakenwiththeflowerthatshe even plantedsomeofitsseedsattheseniorcomplexshemoved toin2003sothatshecouldcontinuetoenjoyitscolorful blooms.Allplantpartsexcepttheseedsaretoxic.91days.

For the Tlou family in the 1960s, the dream was a United States education at Luther College. They emigrated from Zimbabwe to Decorah, Iowa, where their kids –especially Hla and Joy – always felt at home. After Joy’s unexpected death in 2021, Hla and friends created a memorial scholarship and a rental house in Decorah that they hope will help future immigrant families like hers find the peace of home.


In early 2022, 15-year-old Seamus Schwaba wrote a musical that ended up blossoming into an entire community theatre organization in Winona, Minnesota. He shares his refreshingly optimistic outlook on life in a Q&A on page 56.

Instructions-Directsowingispreferable,aspoppiesdo notliketohavetheirrootsdisturbed.Sowinearlyspring whenthesoilisstillcoolandlightfrostispossible.Canalso besowninthefalljustbeforethegroundfreezes. SeedSaversExchangeisanonprofitorganization. Yourpurchaseensuresthatheirloomseeds willbearoundforgenerationstocome.Always Open-Pollinated and Non-GMO

Finally, our favorite conservationist, Craig Thompson, gets us fascinated with the Great-horned Owl (one “tuft” bird!) this winter.

And gosh, one of these days we’ll have to do a tally of the number of Probit interviewees who, like Hazel Grotegut in this issue, answered “lefse” as the one thing they could eat every day. I mean, with butter and sugar, how could you go wrong?!

Happy Everything, friends! Here’s to 2023 being the best year yet. Thank you for your continued support - you inspire us!

Support Inspire(d)

Although Inspire(d) is free on stands, you can have it sent to your door (or extended family!) for only $28/year. Email for a membership or visit for more info.

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Contact Benji at or call 563-379-6315.

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What is the driftless?

It’s a region in the Midwest – Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota, Southwest Wisconsin, and a wee bit of Northwest Illinois – that was skipped by the glaciers in the last ice age, leaving the area “lacking glacial drift” – i.e. Driftless. The gist of that is we get to enjoy bluffs, valleys, coulees, and other fun geographical features that don’t typically occur in other parts of our states (the Mississippi River contributes nicely to this list as well). It’s a lovely place to live and visit, and we’re happy you’re here!

07 From the Editor
Aryn Henning Nichols
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Cozy up and sharpen your skills with a class at Vesterheim’s Folk Art School. From woodworking and rosemaling, to fiber work and weaving, Vesterheim offers chances for artists of all levels to explore these world-class traditions. Workshops in Nordic Cooking, as well as Language classes, and an awesome youth and family series offer up some excellent ways to see the winter months through. Winter classes run January through March and include both one-time events such as baking, cocktails, or even storytelling, while other

classes like Norwegian Language or weaving run for most of the season. Check it all out online at – and don’t forget that the Vesterheim Gift Shop also sells all kinds of supplies for folk artists, kitchen activities, and more! Members of Vesterheim receive special discounts, free admission to the Museum, the Vesterheim magazine, and more. Join online at or call 563-382-9681.


The Decorah Public Library is launching (and continuing) several program series designed to help build community this winter. Join in the fun while learning something constructive and meeting new friends! Some programs are geared more toward younger families (and, oh, are they amazing resources in the middle of a Midwestern winter!) like “Dog Tales,” “Crafternoons,” “Take & Make Tuesdays,” and “Family Yoga” while other programs lean more towards adults, like book groups and the newly-added Thursday daytime “Coffee & Creativity” program, scheduled for the first and third Tuesdays of the month each month. Folks attending get to explore easy creative activities while chatting with new friends (and drinking Impact Coffee!). This program is free and open to the public and all materials are provided.

Check out the winter Coffee & Creativity schedule:

December 6: Zen Boards: Painting with Water

December 20: Furoshiki Wrapping Cloths (reusable gift wrap)

January 3: Collage Fun: Fantasy Postcards

January 17: Knitting

February 7: Valentine Fun

February 21: Felting

Visit or join their mailing lists to keep in the loop on the latest goings-on!

Dance & Theatre

JEWEL THEATRE \ Winter 2022-23 09 MACHINAL JEWEL THEATRE APRIL 20 & 21– 7:30 PM APRIL 22 – 1:30 & 7:30 PM DANCE 2023 MAY 4 & 5 – 7:30 PM MAY 6 – 1:30 & 7:30 PM ULTRA MEGA MEGA Mark your calendars for Luther Dance & Theatre shows! More info online at PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRITTANY
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UERPC has a governing board of local elected officials, business and education leaders, economic development professionals, and individual citizens.


As of Fall of 2022, the Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission (UERPC) has devoted 50 years of service to the counties and communities of Northeast Iowa. A lot of folks have probably heard the name, but might not understand what UERPC actually does to serve Northeast Iowa. Well, we’re here to tell you why we “love it” (and you should too)!

In 1972, visionary public leaders founded UERPC to provide professional planning, programming, and technical assistance to Iowa’s cities, counties, businesses, community organizations, and Iowans of all ages. In short, they are a nonprofit agency that helps other hard-working groups more effectively and efficiently accomplish good things for our region.

“As I think of where UERPC is now and where UERPC came from, it always amazes me,” Executive Director Rachelle Howe says, commenting on 50 years. “One could look at the facts and data and be impressed – bringing in over $387 million dollars of grant dollars to the region since 1972, while indirectly providing over 275 jobs from those grant dollars each year.” The project list has a deep breadth of variety, from wastewater treatment facilities to housing rehabilitation projects to fiber builds, playground equipment to walking school buses to trail development and everything in between. Plus fiscal agent work, business workshops, workforce recruitment and transportation, daycare and community center builds, energy efficiency programs, rental and food assistance, revolving loan funds, historical preservation projects, fire trucks and equipment, and so much more. Visit to see the full (very impressive) list of projects UERPC has been involved with. Thank you to UERPC for growing Northeast Iowa’s communities, businesses, leaders, regions and future for half a century.

Being real Trial Lawyers means we don’t settle out cheap. We fight for full justice and nothing less and see our clients as human beings who we care about. We cherish and place great value on fundamental constitutional rights (Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness). If you or a loved one ever need help, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Request a FREE consultation at 866-TL4J-LAW or

FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE, CIVIL RIGHTS, & EQUALITY Trial Lawyers for Justice • • • 563-382-5071 • 421 W. Water St, 3rd Floor, Decorah, IA
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Nick Wroblewski, an award-winning woodcut printmaker based out of Duluth, Minnesota, will have a show, “The Draw of the Lake,” at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum (MMAM) in Winona through January 8, 2023

Nick’s printmaking is traditional, technical, and precise, but he leaves plenty of room for creativity and spontaneity. His multicolored prints have a style reminiscent of and influenced by 19th century Japanese master printmakers, yet are uniquely his own. On exhibit at the MMAM are his recent large, colorful, handcrafted prints celebrating nature and the rugged beauty of Lake Superior’s North Shore. Do not miss this opportunity to see his extraordinary work on display in the captivating environment of the MMAM. Learn more about him before you go at nickwroblewski. com.

The MMAM will also debut its new Steven and Barbara Slaggie Family literary arts gallery in January. The 2,300-square-foot exhibition will tap into the ageless beauty of wonder, presenting three lauded and celebrated book-turned-exhibition experiences, featuring original illustrations from three book projects: Mary Casanova’s Wake Up Island (University of Minnesota Press) and Hush, Hush, Forest (University of Minnesota Press) as illustrated by aforementioned printmaker Nick Wroblewski, and World of Wonder: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments (Milkweed Editions) written by Aimee Nezhukumatathil and illustrated by Fumi Nakamura. Selections from all three books will be accompanied by wood carvings from the MMAM’s collection of Leo and Marilyn Smith folk art – sculptures informed by the whimsy and wonder of the Mississippi River marine environments – interspersed throughout the gallery. This will run concurrently with the Museum’s Flora & Fauna season – a suite of exhibitions and public programs that explore the plants and animals of our mysterious and brilliant world.

The Minnesota Marine Art Museum is a nonprofit art museum that engages visitors in meaningful visual art experiences through education and exhibitions that explore the ongoing and historic human relationship with water. Located in Winona, Minnesota, the purpose-built museum is located on the banks of the Mississippi River and boasts six galleries, an educational and events space, and a destination retail shop on its seven-acre riverside campus. Find out more at: \ Winter 2022-23 11 Open daily! 563-382-4275 • 112 West Water St. Decorah Bestsellers Mysteries Puzzles Poetry Childrens Books Scandinavian And more! Get your book buzz! family- ned Fantastic Selection • Great Gifts • Readings & Signings • Knowledgable Staff Sponsored by Marion E. Jerome Foundation & Depot Outlet Winter Performances Ticket info at Free admission An American in Paris Sunday, February 26, 2023, 3 pm Bel Canto Saturday, January 7, 2023, 7:30 pm Sunday, January 8, 2023, 3 pm Decorah High School Auditorium Decorah High School Auditorium Prelude to “The Afternoon of a Faun” - Claude Debussy Carmen Suite No. 1 - Georges Bizet Pavane for a Dead Princess - Maurice Ravel The Seine at Night - Virgil Thomson An American in Paris - George Gershwin Operatic arias sung by Rachel Storlie - soprano Diana Stoic - soprano Drew Duncan - tenor Dan Richardson - bass baritone
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Nick Wroblewski (American, b. 1973), The Draw of the Lake (detail), 2018, Diptych, woodblock print on paper.

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“Dinner on the Bluff” is back at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center just outside of Lanesboro, Minnesota! Eagle Bluff is a nonprofit, year-round environmental learning center providing education programs and outdoor adventures to more than 16,000 children and adults each year. Through transformative handson experiences in nature, they aim to increase environmental awareness and academic literacy, spark curiosity and appreciation for the natural world, and empower people to care for the earth and each other. One of the ways Eagle Bluff connects people to nature and each other is through their annual Dinner on the Bluff speaker series.

Now in their 19th year, the Dinners are designed to give thoughtleaders and experts in the environmental field the opportunity to discuss issues with the broader Eagle Bluff community. Each event includes a delicious dinner prepared and served by Eagle Bluff’s inhouse chefs, followed by a speaker giving a presentation on a topic related to conservation, sustainability, or other environmental issues of importance to the community. For 2023, Eagle Bluff has three dinners planned:

February 11 – Marty Walsh, the “instigator” behind the Minnesota Driftless Hiking Trail, will speak on the effort to develop a 110+ mile backpacking-focused trail from Chatfield to the Mississippi River through Minnesota’s Driftless Area.

March 25 – Doug Duren, passionate hunter, farmer, land manager, conservationist, and frequent contributor to the Meateater television show and podcast, will speak about Sharing the Land, a conservation cooperators network connecting landowners with hunters and private land access seekers.

April 22 – Bill & Mary Bailey of Chatfield, Minnesota – forester and farmer, teacher and bluebirder – have the future as their primary focus for all they do on the land they own. From careful farming practices and timber stand improvement to fostering eastern bluebirds and promoting the local Lost Creek Hiking Trail, they will share with you their enjoyment of all aspects of nature. Menus and full details of each event are provided on Eagle Bluff’s website at Tickets are $35/person per event and include dinner and a talk. More info at: 507-467-2437, or email

Winter 2022-23 / 12 563-379-1292 | Sarah Zbornik With you every step of the way Pulpit Rock Campground Decorah, Iowa Visit 5 9 pm thru 12/25/22 KinderHaus Outdoor Preschool For Ages 3 6 Play! Play! Play! Explore! Explore! Explore! Grow! Grow! Grow! 563 - 379 - 7303 kinderhausdecorah com 563-382-4646 | 415 W WATER ST, DECORAH, IA M-F 10-15 • Sat 10-4 • Sun 12-4 FIND US AT 804 SHORT ST EARLY 2023! WE’RE MOVING SOON!


ArtHaus, Decorah’s nonprofit home for the visual and performing arts, offers so many great opportunities for our region (Roxie is loving classes there this year!). And if you haven’t stopped in lately, you should definitely check out the recently refurbished Gallery, and the awesome offerings at the Makers Market! Art and wares from a variety of talented regional artists are featured in the Market, including items perfect for holiday gift giving. You can also give the gift of ArtHaus classes or studio time – stop by and check it all out at the corner of Washington and Broadway in Decorah – or www.


There’s something magical about holiday lights on a dark night, and Helping Services for Northeast Iowa delivers a big dose of magic each year at its Holiday Lights display at Pulpit Rock Campground in Decorah. Now in its 18th year, Holiday Lights is open nightly, 5 to 9 pm, for drivethrough visitors through Christmas night. And Santa will be at Holiday Lights every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 5:30 to 8 pm leading up to Christmas. Santa’s last night will be Sunday, December 18. Mark your calendars so you can catch the fireworks show on Friday, December 9, starting at 6:30 pm over downtown Decorah. All guests are welcome to enjoy the show in the Decorah High School football stadium.

A free-will donation will be collected as you enter the gates of Holiday Lights. All donations benefit Helping Services for Youth & Families. For the complete schedule and list of sponsors, please visit

Barneløpet Feb. 4, 2023

FREE! Enjoy the winter at this non-competitive ski/walk event for children ages 3-13.

Decorah Prairie, Ohio Street Start time: 10:00 a.m. Registration: 9:40 a.m.

For Information: Darlene Fossum-Martin, 563-419-4958 Weather cancellations: Check local radio.

Supported by Jon and Mary Hart in memory of Kjell Berntsen, and a partnership with Sons of Norway Lodges—Valdres #503 in Decorah, Iowa, Heimbygda #376 in Lanesboro, Minnesota, and Valheim #364 in Spring Grove, Minnesota. \ Winter 2022-23 13
catch a Save the
rental opportunities contact wendy
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Here at Inspire(d), we’re always grateful for the hard working road crews that keep us all on the move (and delivering magazines!) through the winter months. And while all that work probably isn’t much fun most of the time, the Minnesota DOT (Department of Transportation) has had some serious fun the last two winters when it comes to snowplows. Yep, that’s right, sometimes you have to find fun where you can!

In December of 2020, MnDOT invited the public to submit funny snowplow names, and 22,000 ideas later, put the 50 best up for vote. Plowy McPlowFace was the ultimate winner, and the legacy continued on into 2021 through a second contest, when eight more named were picked for eight new district snowplows. They are, in order of vote totals:

Betty Whiteout – District 8

Ctrl Salt Delete – District 7

The Big Leplowski – District 4

Plowasaurus Rex – Metro District

Scoop Dogg – District 3

Blizzard of Oz – District 2

No More Mr. Ice Guy – District 1 Edward Blizzardhands – District 6


For events & ticket information visit 207
N. Main, Elkader, IA 563-245-2098
We’ll have to watch MN Dot’s social media to see if they’re running the contest again this December, and meanwhile watch the roads for Betty Whiteout or Control Salt Delete, and give a little (careful!) wave of thanks!

Diane Knight

Turning Curiosity into Art & Community

Quick. Think of an artist. Rembrandt, Picasso, Van Gogh might come to mind. If it’s music, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart certainly qualify. Maybe you think of dancers, writers, actors. All artists, of course. Maybe you didn’t need to think at all. Maybe you just needed to look in a mirror.

What, me an artist, you ask? Sure, why not? “Everyone can be artist,” says Diane Knight. “All of us can create, at every age. It looks different for each person, from a little child arranging colorful rocks to young people and adults painting, crafting, doing needlework, dancing, writing, singing. There are so many ways to create. Even cooking is an art form.”

Diane knows what she’s talking about. Now in her mid80s, she lives in Whalan, Minnesota, (four miles east of Lanesboro), and has been an artist all her life. She studied and taught art and has worked hands-on with clay, wood, puppets, masks, and combinations of all of the above.

“I was born in Clinton, Iowa, and was blessed to grow up in a close, loving family,” she says. “People were always doing and making things. My mother was creative and inventive and liked to sew. My dad was a great fixer of things. My aunts were wonderful quilters. We never had a TV. My siblings and I were encouraged to be curious, to use our imaginations, to entertain ourselves. I guess I never stopped.”

After first attending Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, Diane graduated from Iowa Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa) and began teaching art. “It was the mid-1960s,” she says, “which helps explain why at one point I got in my VW bug and headed for the west coast.


Whalan, MN

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Diane has explored many mediums in her artwork. This is an example of one of her “doodle” pieces. / Photo courtesy Diane Knight

I ended up in San Francisco and one night I found myself at the Avalon Ballroom walking into the same restroom as Janis Joplin. Strange, interesting times.”

Returning to the Midwest and accepting a job in the art/graphics department at the Mayo Clinic gave Diane’s life – and creative skills – new direction. “My kids joined Rochester’s Masque Youth Theatre and School with Sylvia Langworthy. I volunteered making masks and puppets out of clay and paper mache. It was a true community and I

In 1991, Diane purchased the former State Bank building in Whalan. “It became a perfect space to do and share art. My siblings got involved, too. I was making small figurines out of clay,

LovesMEBY JOE MASTEROFF DEATHtrap Lovesshe me HIGH COMEDY + HUMAN DRAMA MAR 25 JUN 24 MAY 6–AUG 19 A DEVILISHLY CLEVER THRILLER JUL 1 OCT 21 A FLIRTY COMIC CAPER AUG 26 OCT 29 A CHILLING CLASSIC REIMAGINED NOV 4 DEC 23 FERVESCENT MUSICAL COMEDY (800) 657-7025 | (800) 657 7025 | This is the full, uncropped view of the art featured on this Inspire(d)’s cover, Tree Rings on Wood, by Diane Knight. Diane used “ink and markers on watercolor paper glued to a piece of wood from a friend’s scrap pile and then varnished several times.” / Photo courtesy Diane Knight

one brother fashioned wood and wire into beautiful tree sculptures, my other brother was turning wood, and my sister re-designed old jewelry. In 2015 we opened as ‘The Old Bank Art Gallery’ and ran that together that for a number of years, adding other artists as we went along.”

All that creative energy in one family makes you wonder – is artistic skill genetic, is it something you’re just born with? “Who really knows where that comes from,” Diane says. “But it starts with being curious. Curiosity leads people to creativity and finding ways to express themselves. It makes life more fulfilling.”

Even through doodling. Doodles are easily dismissed as simple drawings people make while their attention is actually somewhere else. (President Ronald Reagan was a famous doodler). Diane was doodling long before she considered it art. “I took notes at work meetings. Afterwards I couldn’t read my own writing! So I started drawing little squiggles, lines, and shapes instead and found that it helped me remember things much better.

“One day my little granddaughter and I were painting random lines and shapes and colors. Later I added black lines to my painting and that became my first ‘formal’ doodle. I find the whole process relaxing, even healing.” Having created hundreds of doodles, Diane has framed and sold many.

Over the years her art has known different seasons. “One day I decided to let go of my kiln,” she recalls. “It was sad; I loved doing clay and I miss it. But it was time to move on. I noticed that in my journaling and dream-work, thought-provoking phrases jumped out at me. I never thought of myself as a poet, but I started writing poetry.” Diane’s first book, “Putting Down Words,” has sold hundreds of copies.

Her art changes, but one constant is the delight and fulfillment that creative projects give her. “When I’m working on a project I wake up in the morning excited to see how it’s coming along and eager to continue,” she says. “It’s just fun! Every person can experience that joy, no matter what they’re doing or how old they are.”

dinners on dinners on the bluff the bluff \ Winter 2022-23 17
spring 2023 2 8 0 9 7 g o o d v i e w d r i v e , l a n e s b o r o , m n 5 5 9 4 9 Tickets are $35 and are available NOW at:
Join us in the spring for our 2023 speaker series! Each talk is paired with a dinner made from scratch by our in house chefs. Menus, speakers, and dates for 3 upcoming talks can be found on our website!
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View more of Diane’s art at / Photo courtesy Diane Knight

Diane also loves the way art can connect people. “The bank building is my home,” she explains. “I love welcoming people here to do art together. We had a group called the ‘Playful Creators’ who enjoyed all kinds of projects – clay, mosaic, painting, and more – wonderful times of talking, laughter, hands moving. Musicians and writers have shared here, too. I’m as happy and proud about bringing people together to create as I am of any piece of art I’ve ever done.”

In her home sits the old bank vault that long ago secured money and valuables. Makes you wonder, though. What has more value? Long-faded dollar bills or the creative spirit Diane infused into this space? My money is on the art. It sparks joy. It fulfills. It connects people. And anyone can do it. Go ahead. Look in that mirror. Give it a try.

Steve Harris, author of “Lanesboro, Minnesota,” is happy to let people to know that “Putting Down Words: Poems & Doodles” by Diane Knight is available at the Lanesboro Arts Gallery. (

You can do and enjoy art – however that looks for you – all year round. But there’s something about winter – especially our long, industrial strength cold spells of the northern Midwest – that lends itself to creativity.

“Winter is always my most creative season,” says Diane Knight. “That gets truer the older I get. When you’re young you get outside to sled, cross-country ski, go snowshoeing, make snow angels, whatever. That’s more difficult later. Finding creative projects indoors really helps.”

For some, that might be painting, playing an instrument, doing needlework, or cooking. Many people like to puzzle. (In recent covid winters the sale of jigsaw puzzles surged nearly 400 percent). Whatever you like to make, bake or create – winter is a wonderful time to do it.

Winter-time art can also connect people. “In warm weather people get busy with outside activities,” says Diane. “Winter slows us down. It offers time to invite people over to create together. Shared projects are fun, and the conversations and interactions they stimulate help overcome winter’s isolation.”

What are some winter art projects you might enjoy this season? Ready to try your hand at painting or molding clay? Could you invite family and friends over to listen to (or create) music together, do crafting, act out a small play, or do some baking? Maybe there’s a doodle in you just waiting to come out! Get inspired, have fun, do winter art!

Winter 2022-23 / 18 507-498-5484 . Weekly + Weekend Vinyasa-based Yoga Classes Always $10/class @driftlessyogacenter Downtown Decorah 3rd Floor of Impact Coffee Scan for details supplying your
since 2017 downtown decorah

Destination Lanesboro

Bundle up and slide your way into Lanesboro, Minnesota, for a bit of winter fun!

Located just 45 minutes from Decorah, Iowa, and just two hours from the Twin Cities, Lanesboro is the heart of the Driftless region. It is known for its bluffs, forests and truly unique vistas that simply sparkle when covered in snow.

Grab your family and come frolic in our winter wonderland. Sledding and skiing and snowshoeing opportunities abound! Bring your own equipment or rent some from one of our outfitters.

Book a room at one of our inns and cuddle up next to the fireplace, wrapped in a quilt, while enjoying some hot chocolate or cider. Enjoy comfort food at local restaurants or sip some signature drinks at our bars and brewery.

Lanesboro will host several winter events, beginning with Love Birds in Lanesboro (Feb. 10-12) and Cabin Fever Fest (March 10-12).

In April, as winter ebbs away and the signs of spring emerge, make plans to celebrate the arts during the Bluff Country Studio Art Tour (April 28-30).

Juniper’s, Lanesboro’s fine dining restaurant, will celebrate its first anniversary with a chef’s special on Dec. 2.

It will also host a Roaring ‘20s Great Gatsby New Year’s Eve dinner party on Dec. 31.

This winter, Eagle Bluff will be offering events for the whole family, including snowshoeing, indoor rock climbing, maple syruping and a

whole overnight outdoor family weekend.

Cedar Valley Resort in Whalan is open year round and is the perfect escape for winter. Go ice skating, sledding, cross-country skiing and snow-tubing during the day and warm up by the fire with a good book at night.

Winter trout fishing on the Root River is also a big draw. Stop by the Root River Rod Company to get expert information and gear. Visit during the Lanesboro Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament, held annually on the third Saturday in February.

Bring your friends for a weekend of games, crafting, quilting or shopping. Rent a private gathering space at one of multiple locations in town, including the Lanesboro Community Center.

You don’t have to wait for a special event to visit this winter. Be spontaneous and embrace all the possibilities for winter fun: Lanesboro’s natural beauty shines through all seasons and the possibilities are endless for winter fun.

Take some time for yourself and “chill” this winter in our beautiful small town.




DEC 4 HOLIDAY INN TOUR Lanesboro | Showcasing area B&B/Inns charmingly decorated for the Christmas season. Ticketed event:

FEB 10-12 LOVEBIRDS IN LANESBORO Lanesboro | Reconnect with your sweetheart - lighted luminaries, couple activities.

MAR 11 CABIN FEVER FEST Lanesboro | Fight the winter blues: get out of the house and visit Lanesboro for shopping, dining, and entertainment.


JUNIPER’S RESTAURANT Lanesboro | Experience the magic of Lanesboro November 26th, December 2nd 1 year anniversary chef’s special; December 31st roaring 20’s great gatsby NYE dinner party. Presale tickets and reservations required. | Fri & Sat 5-9pm until Dec 31st. Closed Jan 1st to Feb 9th.


LEARNING CENTER Lanesboro | Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center is hosting events for the whole family, including snowshoeing, indoor rock climbing, overnight outdoor family weekend, maple syruping, and more!

CEDAR VALLEY RESORT Whalan 9am5pm | Ice Skating Rink with Broomball and hockey equipment; Cross Country skiing, Snowshoe rentalsgroomed snowshoe paths through the woods; Tubing hill - Snow tubes free for guest use; Bird watching.

SCANDINAVIAN INN Lanesboro | Mysteries at the Scandinavian Inn. No murders – just unexpectedly delightful surprises! Participants move about the house, and clues evolve as the mystery progresses. | by reservation

Find more information about Lanesboro Signature Events at:
Winter 2022-23 / 20 Shaundel Spivey La Crosse, WI COMMUNITY BUILDERS
Co-founder of BLACK – Black Leaders Acquiring Collective Knowledge
A BLACK organization trip to Tennessee for the Summer Youth Experience program. / Photo courtesy Shaundel Spivey

Like many others, Shaundel Spivey landed in La Crosse to go to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He set forth to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, and then a Master’s in Student Affairs Administration. He figured when he finished college, his time in La Crosse would be finished too.

“I was very adamant about leaving La Crosse, actually,” Shaundel laughs. “But the ties to the community kept me here.” As an undergraduate, Shaundel built relationships at a local predominantly black church. He started to volunteer, and his immersion in the community grew from there. And in 2013, Shaundel was working on creating a young black professionals program when he realized several of his college friends were on a similar mission. They combined their efforts, and co-founded what would later become BLACK – Black Leaders Acquiring Collective Knowledge – as a way to empower and elevate the black community in the area.

Now, not only does Shaudel serve as the Executive Director of BLACK, he is also a member of the Beer by Bike Brigade board, the La Crosse School District Board of Education, Governor Tony Evers’ Advisory Council on Equity and Inclusion, and does public speaking engagements on equity and racial justice.

It seems fair to say that if there is a way to help the La Crosse community, Shaundel is likely involved. And luckily for those benefiting from his work, it looks like he’ll be sticking around. “I really like going up to the bluffs. I like nature. I don’t hike necessarily,” he laughs, “but I love to be in it.” Plus, he’s just a short drive from his family in Milwaukee and has built a great network of friends.

He attributes his ability to serve the community to that network. “I know folks look at me as an individual doing all this great work,” he says. “But you have to have the support of the community and close people. And I’m thankful that I have people close to me that join the work with me, and support me, and also hold me accountable.”

Collaborations, such as with the La Crosse School District – where Shaundel became involved as a cultural liaison after earning his Master’s degree in 2015 – help support many of the programs he and BLACK have developed.

After a few members moved out of La Crosse, BLACK took a twoyear hiatus. But Shaundel’s connections in the schools started to bring new life to the organization. “I met other biracial and black folks who were also passionate about the cause, so we resurfaced the idea,” he says.

With remaining co-founder Jazzma Holland, Shaundel invited the group to meet in his living room and plan their resurgence. In 2015, they were back in action. In 2016, they received their non-profit status, and in 2021, they were able to hire some staff, and Shaundel as their first executive director.

The work the organization has done is profound. Collectively, its programs are supporting over a hundred local kids in 3rd-12th grade. One program, Ujima Circle, works with high school students on social and emotional learning. The students are also trained to serve as mentors to elementary students. The program, named after the third principle of Kwanzaa, Ujima, meaning “Collective Work and Responsibility,” has had a 100 percent graduation rate, and all of its participants have gone on to college.

Another youth program Shaundel is particularly proud of is the Summer Youth Experience, which focuses on teaching black history, college readiness, and a different academic topic each year, such as STEM or entrepreneurship. “This program started from the youth,” \ Winter 2022-23 21
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he says. “They came to me while I was in the district and said they weren’t learning enough about themselves, and they wanted to do something to learn about their identity, culture, and history.”

Together, the group travels to historically black colleges and cultural landmarks, and in general, they learn that the world is big and their futures are too. Shaundel has witnessed many of the Summer Youth Experience participants go on to college or other post-secondary options. “We see the benefits from an academic standpoint,” he explains, “But we see them also develop their passions and maybe, someday, become community organizers.”

Shaundel has seen changes happening in other parts of La Crosse as well, like predominantly white social justice groups working to develop a more inclusive community. And more black and multiracial business owners and others are following their passion, which in some cases, has led to more diversity in leadership roles. BLACK is planning for monthly black professional events and luncheons as a way to continue to bring this community together.

But the work is far from over. Shaundel encourages others to help build the community with the right mindset and their own offerings. “First, we need to reimagine how we think and talk about equity work,” he suggests. “Then, examine the skills and gifts that you have that you are willing to lend to agencies like BLACK and others.”

Shaundel sees equitable access to resources as a major hurdle for the black community. “I think there is something that still needs to be done in addressing inequities in policy,” he says. He shared more about this concern in a TEDx Talk earlier this year titled, “Reimagining Equity Work.”

BLACK is also planning for black community caucuses in the coming months. “This is where we can bring folks together to talk about issues and celebrations and to learn about the needs we have in the community,” he says. “This is what helps drive our mission and our work.”

Sara is a mom and writer living in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She has been an Inspire(d) contributor since 2018.

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To learn more or get involved, visit
BLACK’s 2018 Legacy Keepers trip. / Photo courtesy Shaundel Spivey


Hillsboro, WI Marnie Hofmeister-Pooley

Let’s Shine Coffee Lets People Shine!

“Ibelieve that each of us as humans shine in our own way,” says Marnie Hofmeister-Pooley, owner of Let’s Shine Coffee in Hillsboro, Wisconsin. “We are creative in the only way we can be, because there’s no one else like us.”

Marnie has very intentionally cultivated this idea at Let’s Shine Coffee, which opened at the corner of Water Ave. (AKA State Highway 82) and Mill St. in June of 2021. Its cozy setting – teeming with local artwork, handmade items for sale, and a plethora of plants – is a great place to enjoy a cup of coffee or house-made treat.

“My goal was to make a place where people felt welcome and comfortable and inspired in,” she explains. “The whole coffee shop experience should be a good one.”

Marnie, a Hillsboro native, spent more than 20 years as an occupational therapy assistant – work she loved – but she always dreamed of opening a coffee shop. In 2019, she and other community members began to envision a way to make this dream a reality. In line with that vision, Marnie traveled to True Stone Coffee Roasters in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she took a two-day class to become a barista.

“I fell in love with the industry even more after that,” says Marnie. “Realizing all that it took from seed to cup to make an amazing cup of coffee, I did not want to drop the ball when handing that beverage to the customer,” explains Marnie. “From the plantation to the roastery to me…I wanted to put as much respect into that cup of coffee that was deserved.”

Marnie found that not only was the Hillsboro community ready for Let’s Shine, area coffee roasters and shop owners – like Wonderstate Coffee in Viroqua and JBC Roastery in Madison – were happy to contribute knowledge as well.

“The industry is just so fun and there’s no real feeling of competition,” says Marnie. “And there’s so much education to be had from where the beans come from to the little nuances in what type of coffee you’re using and how it’s prepared.”

It’s important to Marnie to serve ethically sourced coffee from roasters who know and are directly involved with the whole process. Marnie learned all that she could so she could, in turn, set up her employees with the full knowledge they needed to given proper credit to every cup of coffee served.

“My baristas shine behind the coffee bar,” Marnie says. “They also shine in other ways, be it as a musician or an artist.”

In fact, Let’s Shine gives local artists and makers the opportunity to shine by displaying a variety of local art and décor, and also serving as a space for handmade vendors to offer their wares, or for local musicians to display their talents. Let’s Shine has established a schedule of live music events several times a month and serves as a host location to a weekly yoga class, meetings for Hillsboro’s new budding chamber of commerce, and just recently a fall artisan fair.

“I wanted to showcase things in the area and give a platform to people who don’t want to or can’t host one themselves,” says Marnie. “Being able to watch them grow and flourish and share what they love is just amazing.”

And when possible, the Let’s Shine menu further showcases the community through organic and local ingredients, such as seasonal produce from Meadowlark Community Farms in neighboring Wonewoc, Wisconsin, and meat items from Mr. B’s Smokehouse Meats, located just down the street in Hillsboro. \ Winter 2022-23 23
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“We’re in this epicenter of organic food and beauty – why not let that shine?” continues Marnie. “I try to utilize local produce so other people can shine through their maple syrup or their black garlic or spinach.”

The look, atmosphere, and feel of Let’s Shine is also very much a community effort – from the logo that was designed by Hillsboro High School’s former art teacher, Julie Johnson, to the community loom collaborative art piece displayed in one of the shop’s sitting areas, to the miscellaneous pieces that just appear in the shop’s eclectic collection of décor, courtesy of generous, mysterious visitors.

“There’s a lot of stories in our décor,” explains Marnie. “I love treasure hunting and a lot of the décor is stuff I’ve accumulated through the years. People also will just call and say ‘hey, do you want this?’ They bring plants as gifts a lot of times as well.”

Some special pieces for Marnie include a banjo that belonged to her grandfather, who was a musician, and art created by her grandmother, reminding Marnie and her customers that a big part of Let’s Shine’s community is Marnie’s own family.

“My family is super supportive,” Marnie says. “In the beginning I worried that what I had to engulf myself with in order to do this right would take time from them, but it’s become such a family effort.”

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Above: Marnie with her daughter, Savannah, near the Let’s Shine Coffee cart. The mobile cart took its maiden voyage this past summer to the 25th annual LarryFest, a bluegrass festival near La Farge, Wisconsin. / Photo courtesy Marnie Hofmeister-Pooley Below: A view of Let’s Shine Coffee from the street. / Photo by Tallitha Reese

Marnie’s husband, Ben Pooley, helps around the shop, doing whatever is needed in the moment, from hauling and unpacking to helping with clean up. Their two kids are involved in the business as well.

“My daughter (Savannah –16) took the classes with us and is one of the baristas,” says Marnie. “And Gable (13) is the musician of the family, playing guitar and singing – occasionally joined by his sister – when a performer takes a break or during Open Mic. He helps bring out the food a lot of times, too.”

Going forward, Marnie is dedicated to maintaining an atmosphere that is fun and welcoming to both visit and work in, where people can just come and be.

“The pandemic really took away the ability to be able to take people at face value, interact with them directly and really know what they’re like as a person, rather than just what their social media persona is presented as,” says Marnie. “I love that this is a place where we can have different ideas and opinions and still remember to connect as humans in a true community.”

Unique Experiences
Discover them here.
Tallitha Reese is a freelance writer and content manager based in Cashton, WI. She owns Words By Reese and you can find out more about her and her work at On top of a great cup of coffee, Let’s Shine serves up a variety of drinks like chai, matcha, and lemonade, plus food offerings like quiche, soup, and baked goods. Hempies, a gluten-free and vegan pastry made with hemp hearts, rice krispies, peanut butter, local maple syrup, and chocolate chips, are a customer favorite. / Photo by Tallitha Reese

There are two size options for Gabi’s Chinese Trauma Kits. Pictured is the smaller version. Gabi sews each unique pouch herself!




*Ed Note: When I asked Gabi how to write her credentials, here’s what she said: “I have a Masters in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MAc.OM) from Seattle Institute of East Asian Medicine and am a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac) in the state of Iowa as well as a nationally board certified Diplomate of Oriental Medicine (Dipl.OM) through the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine). So it ends up being: Gabi Masek, L.Ac, Dipl.OM, when I’m official!”

Winter 2022-23 / 26
Wildcrafted Acupuncture & Herbs has an inviting “lobby” area. / Photos by Aryn Henning Nichols


Everything about Wildcrafted Acupuncture & Herbs welcomes folks in. Dozens of plants perch in the sunny windows, backdrops for comfy seats, wellness products, and a collection of herbal goodness.

Patients visit owner Gabi Masek, licensed acupuncturist and diplomate of Oriental Medicine*, at her downtown Decorah clinic to heal, grow, or find new energy through a variety of styles of acupuncture, Chinese herbalism, tuina, moxibustion, cupping, gua sha, and more.

Are some of these words completely new to you? You’re not alone, and that’s totally okay – Gabi is passionate about Chinese medicine and healthcare, and is more than happy to talk through any and all treatments. Having some needle trepidation? Don’t worry – there’s a lot more to Wildcrafted Acupuncture & Herbs than pokes. So what exactly happens at an appointment?

“During your first visit we will conduct an in-depth assessment of your health,” Gabi writes on her site, “Talking about sleep, appetite, digestion, diet, pain, bowel movements, emotional disharmonies, and menstrual cycle (if applicable!). All of these factors help me understand what is going on with your system to formulate a Chinese medicine diagnosis that guides how to best support your body in its healing.”

The clinic has supported many people in Decorah and surrounding communities since opening in March of 2017. Wildcrafted is one of three accredited acupuncture clinics in this town of 8,000 people – an amazing, and a bit unusual situation for a rural community. It speaks to the area’s emphasis on this type of healthcare, Gabi says.

Gabi’s caring attitude and creative nature is evident throughout her business, from homemade pouches that hold her practical and useful Chinese Trauma Kits, to the tiny information sheets that accompany a crystal purchase, to product labels of her own design that manage to encompass both information and beauty.

Read on to learn about how Gabi boomeranged from Decorah to Seattle and back again to start her business, Wildcrafted Acupuncture & Herbs, and don’t miss her Chinese Medicine Tips for Winter Wellness on page 31.

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Name: Gabi Masek

Age: 39

Business: Wildcrafted Acupuncture & Herbs

Years in Business: 6 years in March!!

Business address: 111 Winnebago St Website:

1. Tell us about the “leap” moment. When/how did you decide to jump in and become your own boss?

In 2010, after seven years in organic farming, I had significant pain in my low back due to a repetitive stress injury and started seeing Brenda Harris, L.Ac for acupuncture (another amazing acupuncturist here in town!). It was transformative learning about my body from a different perspective while feeling seen and heard by my practitioner; I saw her on and off for other reasons over a few years’ time and at one of my appointments she recommended I consider going to acupuncture school. After much deliberation, I did! I applied to a few different acupuncture schools and ended up relocating to Seattle, WA for three years. During this time, I worked in a really busy clinic and observed with several acupuncturists in private practice, and I could see owning a private practice was hard work but everyone also seemed immensely fulfilled. I went back and forth during my master’s program about starting my own practice vs. joining a practice, and after a move back to Decorah the stars aligned in such a way that I found my amazing clinic space (with the most stellar landlords) and decided to take the plunge into small business ownership!! It has been incredibly empowering (also: stressful, scary, exciting) to create my own career path and job, and I am so grateful for everyone who has helped birth and sustain this business!

2. What’s the best thing about being your own boss?

Oh my goodness, I really love just about everything about it! I LOVE the creativity involved, the constant evolution that’s required to continue growing as a person, practitioner, and business owner, getting to know the amazing people I am privileged to work with, the freedom to create my own schedule and be generous with time off for professional growth and learning as well as personal retreats/ staycations to unwind, process, catch up, and enjoy life. There is always something to learn, something to improve, a challenge to navigate – no day is ever the same and I appreciate that. I feel really privileged that I have been able to make the decision in my business to prioritize my own health and wellness and never feel like I have to compromise that.

3. How about the worst?

As a small biz owner, with just me at the helm, everything falls to me – which as a Virgo is great (haha, IYKYK) and also can be overwhelming at times. I didn’t really realize how much I would constantly think about my business – when I was first starting out I worked on my business alllll the time – after hours, weekends, on vacation. I had to learn how to set healthier boundaries around my time and energy and sometimes still feel like I should be doing more, creating more – more more more. But honestly, relaxing more and doing MORE of the other things I love has helped make me a better practitioner and biz owner (practice what you preach and all that!).

4. Was there ever a hurdle where you just thought, “I can’t do this?” How did you overcome it?

The early days of COVID in 2020 were really hard. I ended up closing the clinic for almost three months and the first two weeks of that I literally spent in bed crying and buffering my feelings with Netflix (some raw honesty here, this is a non-judgmental space, right!?). The mix of not knowing what the future was going to look like combined with a feeling of total helplessness amid the lack of information and fear was completely overwhelming. I gave myself time to feel into this because that felt important and then began

Treatment rooms are as cozy as the seating area out front (right), featuring “shop dog” local art. / Photos by Aryn Henning Nichols

figuring out how to move forward. I spent time photographing and adding all of the retail products to the website and feel incredibly fortunate that I have such wonderful community support that during this time folks shopped online and purchased gift certificates for future use. I don’t know if people really realize how much these small gestures during this time meant to those of us in business. It was literally a life line and every sale, every gift certificate, every person who booked an online appointment to receive support via diet + lifestyle suggestions, gua sha tutorials, qi gong recommendations, or herbal consultations so we could continue care was just a breath of life during a time I was really struggling.

5. Any mentors/role models you look to/have looked to?

I had some really amazing professors and mentors in my graduate program and they continue to inform how I think, practice, and navigate life. From 2017 to 2019 I volunteered for two to three weeks every September with a nonprofit one of my teachers, Daniel, founded. We set up a free clinic in rural Nepal providing acupuncture, and it was an incredibly potent time to pick his brain, learn from the other volunteers, and see an overwhelming number of people for care. I believe I grew exponentially as a human and practitioner during those trips. I have many other mentors I’ve studied or worked with over the years. If anything, I have a very hard time saying no to learning and diving into fun little rabbit holes –some which are clinically relevant, some business related, some to satisfy my own nerdy desire to just know more!

6. What’s the one thing you wish you had known before you started?

Wow, this is the hardest question to answer so far!! My business grew really fast and I wasn’t really prepared for the rate that growth happened, which made the first year and a half a lot. One thing I wish I had known: that asking for help doesn’t mean you’re failing (I mean, I logically I know this but I didn’t really start living it until a few years ago). It’s taken me a while to get to a place where it doesn’t feel like a vulnerability, and had I embraced that earlier, I think there would have been much more ease and flow and a bit less stress and overwork! \ Winter 2022-23 29 211 College Dr, Decorah, IA . market local vendors bottle shop N Market TH E L A NDING Online farmers market all year long. Pick-up sites in Decorah, West Union, Postville, Calmar and Waukon. 120 WASHINGTON ST . DECORAH, IOWA 563-382-3067 RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED
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7. How do you manage your life/work balance?

Honestly, over the years my work/life balance has become much more, well, balanced! My dogs definitely help remind me what’s important in life – moving, hydrating, being outside, living in the present. I have been able to schedule my days so that I always have time in the mornings to take it slow – enjoy some coffee (shhh) and breakfast, go for a nice walk with the dogs, and take in the seasonal changes in the neighborhood and trails systems. These were my non-negotiables when I initially sat down to create my schedule. Having this consistency helps me feel grounded as I move into my work day, and creating time for unstructured movement and creativity in my personal life has really allowed my brain space to process, think, and ultimately be more creative in my business. Recognizing this definitely helped in giving myself permission to slow down and create more firm boundaries around work and home life.

8. What keeps you inspired? Any quotes that keep you going?

The landscape of our corner of NE Iowa definitely keeps me inspired. I walk for at least two hours a day in almost all the weather we get, and I have to say that being connected to nature in that way, witness what’s sprouting, blooming, fruiting, the critters out and about, and the seasonal migrations definitely inspire me daily. I often have really good ideas and brainstorming sessions during these long walks – some I remember, some I forget, but it’s such wonderful time to let my senses take in the world around me while my brain plays. I’ve turned my entire yard, front and back, into gardens, and that also holds immense inspiration through the colors and cycles, dreaming what to change for the next season, seeing what does well and what needs more support – creating an incredibly varied landscape to share with the birds and insects has been so wonderful and a never-ending source of joy! My amazing group of acupuncture friends online definitely also keep me dreaming and inspired – we share about classes we’re taking, books we’re reading, pick each other’s brains about systems we’re using in our businesses and how they’re working (or not). I am a huge Mary Oliver lover, and the line in her poem The Summer Day – “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” has stood by me through wonderful and challenging times and helps direct me when I’m feeling disconnected. And finally, I am inspired by everyone I work with – collectively they (you!) always keep me in wonder and that’s a lovely place to exist.

Winter 2022-23 / 30 406 W WATER ST DECORAH, IA
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The retail section of Wildcrafted Acupuncture & Herbs features many great wellness products, including crystals & herb bundles. / Photos by Aryn Henning Nichols



Holiday gifts, décor, one-of-a-kind folk art, accessories, apparel, and more in store and online at

Looking for a great gift? Give someone the experience of a folk-art class! There is something for everyone with classes available online and in person. Nordic cooking, rosemaling, woodcarving, jewelry, fiber arts, language, music, and more! View available classes and register at or use the QR code -> 563-382-9681 Scenic Decorah, IA

Visit the Vesterheim Museum Store for all your Nordic-inspired shopping!


There’s often a point during the holiday season where I ask myself: Did I do enough? Is this enough stuff? And ultimately: Am I enough?

This place of self-doubt is uncomfortable. And, to be honest, I find myself there more often than I’d like to admit. I’ve heard it’s a frequent feeling for mothers, especially, and it got me thinking about the idea of enough. It’s such a slippery word and concept: What is enough? How much do we need? To survive, to be happy, to thrive?

The perception of the world is that there is a level everyone should strive to attain to have “enough.” But the reality is that beyond having our basic survival needs met (air, food, water, shelter, clothing, sleep), enough is a level we get to set for ourselves. We can strive for as much or as little as we feel we need.

Shortly after Benji and I got married, we started a joke that has sort of turned into a core value in our lives: Let’s live the “Frugal High Life.” (It has nothing to do with the beer of the same name.)

Some of it comes from necessity, some from choice. Live big in a little house.

Spend money where it counts, and instead of going for more, going for better (hello, local businesses!). Savor the good stuff that filters through our lives. It’s an ongoing effort and it’s not always easy.

This holiday season, winter, and beyond, I challenge our readers to do the same. Support your neighbor’s businesses, shopping local for holiday gifts. Plan outings to our region’s many high quality museums and activities. Participate in events that bring our community together, and help you find fulfilling relationships and gratitude for this place we get to call home.

As you’re doing this, start defining your enough. The following pages take us through this process of Defining Enough for ourselves in our day-to-day and larger lives. What are your needs, right now? What is most important to you? What goals, if achieved, would be enough for you to be satisfied?

Don’t worry: Your enough is not something you have to commit to forever. Enough right now might look totally different from enough tomorrow, and that’s okay. And no matter what, I’m here to remind you that each day you are doing all you can do, and that’s enough. \ Winter 2022-23 33 30+ REGIONAL MAKERS. 100% WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES! RE-HABBED VINTAGE FURNITURE, HANDMADE HOME DÉCOR, MIDWEST-INSPIRED CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES 309 E Water St. Decorah, Iowa •
Enough: “As much or as many as required” 1. Makea list of all the thingsyou needto survive& thrive.(It mightbe long!) 2. Audit the list. Be relentless. Whatcanyou eliminateto create enough inanotherpartof yourlife? Howcanyoulive spend time, money, energy whereit counts? Measureyouravailability. You are a limited resource Let go of the hustle mentality DefineYourEnough money stuff work love time food Check yourself... & your Google calendar Go for better, not more. sleep friends space energy family ideas
35 & online. Details at Do you have your basic survival needs met? Practice gratitude at your fortune, and come back to that place as you define your enough
–of your time, energy,
thin. Be honest with others
give. • Grateful for what you have • Effectively spend your money You Do You! The approval of others doesn’t matter GRATITUDE Benefits of Defining Enough • Less Envy of Others • Life feels fuller (in a good way) Embrace Lagom , Swedish for “just the right amount.” Comparison is the thief of joyTheodore Roosevelt
When there is literally not enough
mental capacity
to go around,
are stretched too
about how much you have to


Mental health counselor Olivia Lynn Schnur walks us through the process of identifying - and defining - our enough.

When is enough…enough?

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines enough as, “occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations.”

It’s hard to grapple with on the page, and even harder to balance in reality. Those needs, demands, and expectations can vary by day, person, or task. And if we’re accustomed to looking outside of ourselves for answers, “enough” becomes even more perplexing. The increasing demands and expectations of the world can leave us feeling like maybe we just don’t measure up.

But, good news: Defining enough is an inside-out process. It requires looking within and determining what we realistically have to give to others (and ourselves) within each moment. It is up to us – not others – to decide when we’ve had enough, done enough, and simply are enough.


In the 1940s, Abraham Maslow developed Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a system of foundational – and theoretically universal – needs that build upon each other to form a pyramid. This system can be a great starting point for defining enough in our lives. Every human must have enough of each need before they can start thinking about the next level of the pyramid.

At the first level is survival needs: air, water, food, shelter, and sleep. Basically, what we need to stay alive. We may sometimes take these basic needs for granted, so take a moment of gratitude if your foundational needs are met. Come back to this gratitude daily.

When our survival needs are met, we begin to seek safety and security. Physically, this need can come in the form of a home and a safe community. But we can also look beyond the physical and consider what makes us feel mentally and emotionally safe and secure.

Winter 2022-23 / 36
Illustrations by matsabe / shutterstock Inspire(d)

Next, it is natural to seek out love and belonging through families, friendships, romantic relationships, and/or community involvement.

If we are lucky enough to have all of these previous needs met, we can start to look for outlets that meet our esteem needs. Esteem is anything that leads to feelings of achievement or self-worth (think “self-esteem”). For many people, this comes in the form of a career or passion.

Finally, at the top of the pyramid, we pursue self-actualization. This is a process of recognizing (and meeting) our potential from a place of authenticity. Some people might describe self-actualization as a feeling of living in alignment with their purpose. It’s important to note that only a small percentage of people achieve self-actualization. So it might be more realistic to attempt to live in alignment with our values and personal priorities.

Take a moment to consider where you fall within the hierarchy of needs (without judgment). What would it take to nourish and satisfy those needs so you can move up the pyramid?

NOT _______ ENOUGH

Many people have uttered the phrase: “I’m not ________ (good, good-looking, smart, talented, funny, qualified, insert your own…) enough.” This might indicate a core belief of “not good enough.” Core beliefs, or schemas, are like colored glasses. They are patterns of thinking – both positive and negative – that tint the way we view the world and ourselves.

A core belief of “not good enough” can stem from feelings of unworthiness, thinking we must perform in order to be loved, valued, or accepted. Not feeling good enough may lead to overperforming at work to avoid feelings of imposter syndrome, which is a feeling of being undeserving of our accomplishments. In relationships, not feeling good enough may create a deep fear of rejection.

If we consider feeling “not good enough” within the context of the hierarchy of needs, it might relate to esteem and a need for greater self-worth or feelings of accomplishment.

However, core beliefs are not fixed. Once we develop an awareness of our negative core beliefs, we can work to shift our thinking. We might practice adopting (and believing) a positive core belief by reciting a mantra, or phrase we would like to believe instead.

A positive core belief is simply the opposite of a negative core belief. For example, if we struggle with feeling not good enough, the positive core belief might be “I am good enough,” “I am loveable,” or “I am worthy and deserving of my achievements.”

Take a moment to consider your core beliefs. Do you hold a core belief that isn’t serving your needs? Core beliefs take a lifetime to develop, so it’s important to approach them with selfcompassion. Keep in mind, core beliefs are often subconscious and shifting them might require the help of a therapist or healer.


When we repeatedly visualize a successful outcome of what we hope to achieve, we may be unconsciously manifesting our desires. Manifestation is based on the idea that our thoughts and beliefs can create our reality. In other words, we can envision the life we dream of and make it a reality.

So, what does that mean? And is there any truth in it?

If we look at it from a psychological perspective, manifestation is the process of shifting our perception. In essence, thoughts become our reality. If we continually think negatively about ourselves, others, and situations in our life then we will perceive them in a negative light. Furthermore, if we do not believe in our potential, we will not reach it.

One idea behind manifestation is that we create subconscious blocks, which prevent us from reaching our potential. Manifestation is a process of removing those blocks. So, every time we begin to envision our dreams, instead of returning to fear or self-doubt, we can visualize a successful outcome.

Consider this within the context of the hierarchy of needs. Perhaps, we have a hard time moving up the pyramid because we cannot visualize what it would look like. For example, if we hold a core belief of not being good enough, it’s hard to imagine our needs getting met – especially when we feel unworthy of them.

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We can practice manifestation by visualizing a successful outcome. To make this process more robust, we can also write our dreams down as if they already true. Along with this, we can recite mantras that align with our desires.

Altogether, this process can start to shift the way we view the world, ourselves, and our circumstances. So, dare to dream… what might selfactualization look like for you?

See this issue’s Paper Project for inspiration for making a Manifestation or Vision Board.


No one is going to define “enough” for us. There is no barometer that determines when we have done enough. The feeling must come from inside.

So, how do we know when enough is enough? Perhaps, we can start by deciding what it is we hope to achieve. And we must stop comparing ourselves to the perfection we so often see on screen. We can choose to (literally) stop buying into the false narrative that tells us we are not enough.

This mantra may help: “Perfect is not possible, but good enough is good enough.”

When we look at our to-do lists, we often fail to congratulate ourselves for all we have achieved. Instead, we tend to focus on the tasks that remain. And we rarely audit our lists to ensure only the most important tasks have made the cut.

When life leaves us feeling not good enough, it is time to evaluate how we are spending our time, money, and energy.

There are things that must get done, but have we given ourselves a realistic timeframe to complete these tasks? And do all the

high-priority items on our list really need to be there? Sometimes, we exhaust ourselves attempting to do everything perfectly. But there are always tasks where good enough is good enough.

We also must remember to give ourselves grace. We are not perfect, and the sooner we stop attempting to have perfect houses, children, friendships, or jobs the happier we will become. Instead, we can learn to laugh at our mistakes and learn from our failures. This is all part of being human.


Gratitude is one of the best strategies for leaning into feeling good enough. It is a practice of appreciating what we often take for granted. Going a little deeper, it’s another method for shifting our perspective.

A gratitude practice trains our brains to notice what is going well. Essentially, it helps us to become optimists. And when we look at the hierarchy of needs, it allows us to appreciate all the ways in which our needs are met, rather than focusing on what we lack.

When we take off the “not enough” glasses, we learn to appreciate all that we have. And more often than not, we find all that we have is enough. With gratitude, it is easy to see that we have done enough, and we are enough.

Olivia is a mental health counselor, yoga teacher, and writer. She writes about mental health and wellness to educate, uplift, and inspire readers. You can read more on her website,

Winter 2022-23 / 38
Auny Pole Photography
563-382-3657 . 108 Fifth Avenue, Decorah, Iowa .


By taking a closer look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in relation to our own lives, we can practice appreciating all the ways in which are needs are met. And we can begin to manifest greater abundance in areas waiting to be fulfilled.

Take a moment to write out your gratitude for all the ways in which your survival needs are met. Don’t be afraid to get specific: I am grateful for the delicious breakfast I had this morning with a steaming mug of coffee.

Next, think about what areas of your life feel safe and secure. Are there areas that feel less safe or secure? What does emotional security look like for you?

Now, we can take a moment to appreciate the people in our lives that meet our love and belonging needs. Our loved ones are often who we turn to for support when life gets hard. A gratitude practice might include sending a card (or text) of thanks. It could also mean calling a loved one with the intention to simply listen or offer support. Take a moment to consider the spaces or relationships in your life that might provide a sense of love and belonging (this can include community spaces that allow you to feel seen and valued).

At a basic level, our jobs (hopefully) help us afford to meet our safety and security needs. If we’re lucky we might also feel a sense of love and belonging with our coworkers or team. Some of us may even feel that our esteem needs are met through a role that helps us develop self-worth and feelings of achievement. So often, we take our jobs for granted and fail to recognize how our needs are met in the workplace. But our esteem needs can also be met in other ways. Take a moment to consider what hobbies, passions, roles, or pursuits contribute to your feelings of selfworth or achievement (no matter how small).

Set aside a moment to breathe. Slow and gentle breathing brings the body and mind into a state of ease. If possible, we get the most benefit by breathing in for a count of five and breathing out for a count of six. Then, we can become aware of our emotions. Somedays, we’ll be met with feelings of exhaustion or even resentment. This might be an indication we have given too much to others. Other times, we may be met with cravings for sustenance, closeness, or achievement. This might indicate we have not given enough to ourselves.

On occasion, we simply melt into feelings of contentment. This feeling is often an indication that our needs are met… but a regular meditation practice can also lead to increased feelings of contentment.

Begin to visualize what your life would look like if all your needs were met. What would it look like for you if you were living in alignment with your purpose? Write this down as if it is already a reality and practice manifesting self-actualization. \ Winter 2022-23 39


About four years ago, each member of our family (there are three of us: Aryn, Benji, and Roxie) made Dream Boards. Sometimes called Vision Boards, they’re meant to show a visual cornucopia of your littlest-to-biggest desires.

We were having so much fun, we filled both sides! (FYI: this makes it difficult to display...) This process was pure Big Dream Energy: digging through old magazines, calendars, and journals, cutting things out, and finally gluing them together to create a collage of ideas that were just on the cusp of what could be, if we just believed (and took the next steps).

Roxie’s board was about 70 percent dogs. And, I tell ya, these things work! Not one year later, much to Benji’s and my surprise, we said yes to letting a 60-pound animal (Athena the bernedoodle) live inside our house and become a member of our family! I wonder what Athena would put on her Dream Board? Probably treats, toys, squirrels, and scritches.

Winter is a great time for Big Dream Energy. We come to the year’s end and start a new one, all in the same season. And honestly, Big Dream Energy goes hand-in-hand with "Defining your Enough" – because maybe your enough level should include more in the fun arena (big dreams!), and less in the vacuuming the floor arena, eh?

No matter what your days hold, remember: All you can do is all you can do.

I said this to Roxie one day, and she said, “Oh, I like that much better than, ‘Do your best.’”

To which I replied, “I know, right?! Because sometimes we don’t have our best to give!”

So: We encourage you to build your dream board with your enough in mind. Be honest about how much you want to give to yourself and others to achieve these goals. Then get after it. You are inspiring and amazing!


We’ve made some Dream Board prompts to help inspire your own board at home (and make it look pretty cute). Download them at, then have fun!


• What have you achieved recently? Looking at this can help you focus on what you are actively trying to improve in your life.

• Don’t go over(dream)board. Too much can be overwhelming. Consider your biggest strengths – play into those.

• Consider different aspects of your life –home, work, relationships, passions, hobbies – and build your goals / dreams around what’s most important.

• Ask yourself what you want to: try, learn, experience, accomplish, start, stop.


• Choose your base – poster board, construction paper, one side of a cardboard box.

• Choose your items for your board – are you cutting up magazines or using real photos or drawing things on? We did a combination of all of the above for ours.

• Arrange your items – Maybe you want to put your biggest dreams front and center? Or items that aligns with your strongest values? There’s really no right or wrong. Glue, tape, or staple them on, along with the coinciding labels we made, if you like.

Note: We encourage you to use paper because paper is awesome, but you could also make your board online with Pinterest or Canva or a vision board-specific app (there are many).


Display your board somewhere you see it regularly. Each day, pick one or two images and imagine your life if you achieved those goals. What steps do you need to take to make it happen? Try to bring yourself one step closer, and always believe it is possible.

Winter 2022-23 / 40
Biggest Dream Not More Better you are enough! Most Attainable Dream Relationships Hobbies goals Family Health opportunities growth work friends community Wildest Dream money dream board Prompts love HOME goals goals
MAKE IT: step-by-step instructions at ILOVEINSPIRED.COM Paper Project! Dream Boards
Winter 2022-23 / 42
Joy Litha and Josiah Tlou, with their children Lee, Hla, Leeto, and Joy. / Photos courtesy Hla Tlou Litha and Josiah Tlou "about 60ish years ago," Hla says Although this photo of Decorah’s Leif Erickson Drive was taken in the fall of 2022, you can almost see the memories of hours of playtime and “kick-the-can” back in the 60s and 70s when the Tlous lived here. / Photo by Navia Erbst


In 1966, the Tlou family immigrated to Decorah, Iowa, in pursuit of an education at Luther College. What they found was a neighborhood that became a family. \ Winter 2022-23 43

Zimbabwe)," Hla Tlou says.

Mouthing-watering food. Stunning nature photography. Beautifully crafted pottery. Music that made other people happy. Passionate dedication to students as a college administrator. Joy Tlou’s many talents drew people to him throughout his life. And his magnetic personality kept them close – even when separated by thousands of miles and many years – and even after his unexpected death in June 2021.

Bound by their love for Joy, his sister, Hla, and childhood friends from Decorah – Steve Berg, Pete Ylvisaker, Amelia Kurth, and college roommate Stephen Streufert– worked to create the Joy Tlou Memorial Award criteria at Luther College. Additionally, Hla established a rental home for international students and their families on Leif Erikson Drive in Decorah to honor Joy and parents Litha and Josiah. This neighborhood, right in Luther’s backyard, was the place where home took on deeper meaning.

1966. The Sound of Music was popular in theaters. $.25 cent hamburgers for a family with three kids was hard to come by for many. The war in Vietnam was escalating. Protestors marched to Selma and, shortly thereafter, the Voting Rights Act was passed.

Josiah Tlou, a principal and teacher in Rhodesia, Africa (now Zimbabwe), immigrated with his wife Lithia, daughters Lee and Hla, and son Joy to Decorah, Iowa where son Leeto was born. The family was supported by a sponsorship from the Lutheran World Federation in Geneva and fueled by the dream of a United States education at Luther College.

Winter 2022-23 / 44 P e o p l e y o u c a n t r u s t . P e o p l e y o u c a n t r u s t . Q u a l i t y y o u c a n Q u a l i t y y o u c a n d e p e n d o n d e p e n d o n Est 1961 M o n d a y : 9 a m 7 p m T u e s F r i : 9 a m 5 p m S a t u r d a y : 9 a m 3 p m 3 g o l d s m i t h s 2 g r a d u a t e g e m o l o g i s t s 1 w a t c h m a k e r 3 d i a m o n d s e t t e r s 5 6 3 5 6 8 3 6 6 1 e l l i o t t j e w e l e r s . c o m 3 1 W e s t M a i n S t r e e t W a u k o n , I A
"Joy had just learned to walk in Rhodesia (now
Background photo: Luther College's Sunnyside Hill has been a popular spot for sledding and playing for Leif Erickson neighborhood kids for decades. / Photo by Navia Erbst In the back, Lee & Hla; front, Joy & Leeto. / Photos courtesy Hla Tlou

Lee, Josiah, Joy, & Hla pose for a photo on Riverview Drive.

When word got out that a family of color – one of the firstever – was moving to town, Lutheran Pastor David Berg and other community members formed a sort of task force to welcome them, and see how to help make their family feel comfortable in Decorah.

An effort to remove lawn jockeys – painful reminders of slavery –that were found in some yards across the town was a good example of “know better, do better” for the community. Circumventing discriminating landlords by finding the Tlou family a safe place to call home in the basement of Luther College Professor Clair Kloster and wife Hedvik – was next on the list. And as soon as the Tlou family settled in, the neighborhood embraced them.

“The family moved onto Leif Erikson Drive – Joy, and Hla, and Lee and their parents – and they just fit in,” recalls Pete Ylvisaker, former Decorah resident and then-Tlou-neighbor. “It was this strange little melting pot of a neighborhood where, you know, we are all kids about the same age. Nobody cared where we were coming from, or our ethnicity, or any of that. It was just more kids to play with on summer nights and winter days sledding down the Sunnyside Hill.”

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This statue of a mother elephant with her baby was donated by the previous homeowner. To Hla, this statue is yet another example that this house was meant to be hers: Tlou means elephant.

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Hla says it went further than playtime as well. The neighborhood kids and their parents helped teach the Tlou children English and the nuances of American culture. She remembers learning social rules and customs, like how to give a firm handshake and look people in the eye when communicating with them.

The kids – and parents – formed fast friendships and, over the next few years, evolved into a self-proclaimed extended family that has remained connected for nearly 60 years.

“When the Klosters took us in, it felt like the entire community opened up to us,” Hla Tlou remembers. “Not everyone is fortunate to experience that. We were fortunate. As internationals, as immigrants, especially from the perspective of a parent who was trying to find a place for his family to live, who was trying to keep his family together because that was very important to our family and to our culture.”

A few years later, their family moved to Illinois so Josiah could pursue a master’s degree in history at Illinois State University. They returned to Decorah in 1969, when Josiah became a faculty member in the Education Department at Luther. He helped to establish what was then known as the Black Studies Department.

They returned to Illinois three years later, where Josiah earned his Doctorate of Education degree. Finally, they settled at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, aka Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, Virginia, where Dr. Tlou worked as a professor in the College of Education for more than 30 years and is currently Professor Emeritus.

However, in the hearts of Hla and her brother Joy, Decorah remained “home.”

1982. E.T. is an immediate hit in theaters. 700,000 people gathered in New York City to protest nuclear weapons. “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John is number one on the Billboard Charts.

The pull “home” was especially strong for Joy, who returned to Decorah in the fall of 1982 to attend Luther College.

Pete Ylvisaker, who had just transferred to Luther for his sophomore year, recalls sitting in his communication studies course on the first day of classes.

“We all had to go around the room and introduce ourselves, and I did my schtick, and there was this kid the next aisle over [...] who said ‘you know, I’m from Rhodesia originally,’ and something clicked in my head,” Pete remembers, laughing. “And then he looked at me and said ‘You know, none of you know me except this kid next to me. Hey, Pete? I’m Joy.’”

Joy and Pete picked up right where they’d left off, hanging out, playing hacky sack in front of the student union, and generally having fun. Friendships were rekindled with Leif Erickson neighborhood friends Amelia Kurth and Steve Berg, now students at Luther, as well.

“Suddenly the gang was back together,” Pete reflects. “Sometimes you don’t see someone for awhile, and things have changed, and there’s awkwardness, and it sort of flames out. That was not the way, you know? The flame was burning hotter than ever.”

But Joy, always a likable kid, had blossomed into something much bigger than anyone had really remembered from their youth.

“Joy wasn’t just the life of the party – he was the party,” Pete remarks, smiling and shaking his head. “And the smile and laugh, Man Alive!”

Joy became close friends with fellow student and roommate Stephen Streufert, now Chief Development Officer at Northwest Mariner Center in Washington State, and the two became known on campus for their famous fish fry dinners in Peace Dining Room.

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The invitations would often capture Joy’s humor, playful spirit, and desire to bring people together. An excerpt from the third – and final – Fish Fry Dinner invite reads as such:

“You are cordially requested to share an evening of good friends and good food, together in the most sacred of all eating places, (no, not Morris Eatery), but in Luther College’s own Bits and Peaces Dining Room, on the day that Caesar was slain (a shame huh). [...] You and your table mates will be whisked via taste buds and transcendental meditation to the scenic shores of Cook Inlet and Chub Key, not to be confused with Key Largo, African Queen, Casablanca, or any other Humphrey Bogart flick. Anyway, you will enjoy, we hope, gastronomical D-lights from around the world.”

Those delights literally came from around the world.

“Joy and Stephen had gone to work at a fishery up in Alaska, and they brought back all the salmon, like tons and tons of salmon, and they threw this huge, amazing party!” Steve Berg says. “Like, it blew me away. The generosity and just that they thought to do that. I felt so honored to even be invited.”

1994. The Lion King and Forrest Gump top the movie box office. “The Sign” by Ace of Base reigns over the Billboard. Friends debuts on TV. And Nelson Mandella is elected President of South Africa.

Joy’s love for connecting people remained central to his life, even as he moved to Park City, Utah, where he worked as an administrator at Salt Lake City Community College (SLCC) for nearly 30 years.

As the Director of Public Relations at SLCC, Joy was recognized for his deep commitment to the college and his dedication to the students and the college community.

“Joy’s reach across the college was positive and profound,” says SLCC President Deneece Huftalin via email to the Salt Lake City Globe Newspaper. “He was constantly looking for ways to promote SLCC as a special place that could help anyone find success. Joy was gifted in ceramics and the culinary arts. He was also an extraordinary and successful musician and was renowned on the local, regional, and national music scenes.”

Those music scenes are where many people first encountered the “soulful crooner” that was Joy Tlou.

At the age of three, shortly after moving to Decorah, Joy was asked by the iconic music professor and conductor, Weston Noble, to sing a solo in Handel’s Messiah as part of the annual Christmas at Luther concert. Despite this early exposure to music performance –and in such a grand setting – Joy did not return to music until almost three decades later.

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Joy Tlou in a recent photo. He passed away in 2021.

Joy was the lead singer of the Salt Lake City-based band Soul Patrol. And then Joy got an idea. He approached the band’s guitar player, Eric Sopanen, and they formed The Joy & Eric acoustic duo.

Joy & Eric quickly became a mainstay in the local music scene, and played as the opening band for big name musicians like Natalie Cole, Al Green, Chicago, John Oats, and many others.

And the Leif Erikson crew? They were still going strong. Although each of them scattered to different parts of the country, when they got together it was like a piece of home.

“I think of sitting in Joy’s kitchen in Park City, and it’s not a big, big kitchen, but it’s got the stove and he’s just surrounded by all of his cooking stuff,” says Amelia, now an Iowa-based animator for Sony Video Games. “And then there’s a big wooden bar with stools around it, and you sit there and he just cooks and talks to you the whole time. And he’s got great music playing in the background and you’re just surrounded by these wonderful smells and this wonderful conversation, and the music. It’s just, it’s such a hard thing to bottle.”

Joy’s gregarious personality meant that people knew – and remembered him – no matter where he went.

“It was astonishing,” Pete observes. “You know how many people knew Joy, and you hear these crazy stories about him, and you think there’s no way that Joni Mitchell wrote a song about Joy, that there is no way that that’s true. And then you find out that it’s absolutely true! Because that’s the effect he had on people.”

2021. Joy’s death was a shock to everyone who knew him. He was 57.

“I got a phone call from Amelia,” Pete recalls. “And she said that Joy had died. And it was just a punch in the gut like nothing else.”

Once again the Leif Erikson crew – kids (now adults) and their parents – came together, this time to mourn the loss of their Joy.

“I’ve had other friends pass and there’s sadness,” Pete continues. “But it’s not sort of this community rallying around itself to be there for each other, and that’s the way Joy was, both in death and for sure in life.”

Out of Joy’s death grew the possibility of rebirth and a continuation of his legacy of care, support, and giving back.

Amelia, Pete, and Hla met up at the Bluebird Cafe in Iowa City shortly after Joy’s memorial. And Hla had a plan.

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Welcome to the Tlou House.
Winter 2022-23 / 50 DECORAH, IOWA 563-382-8406 The hope is that the Tlou House will help immigrant families feel at home in Decorah just as the Tlou family felt during their time in the community in the 60s and 70s. /
Photo by Navia Erbst

What if they created a memorial scholarship at Luther College? Would that help them grieve, while also providing support and opportunity to students, like Joy, who bring light to those around them?

Hla fully endowed the award. Then the group, Amelia Kurth, Steve Berg, Pete Ylivisaker, Steve Streufert, and Hla, went to work raising money, crafting the selection criteria, and getting the scholarship ready to award. If things go as planned, the first official Joy Tlou Memorial Award will be awarded in the spring of 2023.

Students – with or without demonstrated need for financial assistance – whose character, leadership, and participation in the campus community enhances the quality of campus life and encourages a ‘community of Joy’ can apply or be nominated for the award.

The hope is that students will be able to use some of the funds to create a project, similar, perhaps, to Joy’s Fish Fry Dinners, that is inclusive and brings the campus and/or local community together to create, share, and spread joy.

2022. “The group” didn’t stop with the memorial award.

After Joy’s passing, and while the memorial award was in the beginning stages of creation, Hla decided she wanted to buy a house in Decorah. But not for herself. She wanted to buy a house with the intention of renting it to families “just like hers,” international students attending Luther College and their families. Like the Klosters had done for her family.

And she knew where she wanted it to be: Leif Erikson Drive.

She took to the internet to see what was on the market in July, 2021. And there it was. A picturesque home on Leif Erikson Drive, directly across from the Sunnyside sledding hill. Joy had even “hunted” rabbits with Pete along the rock wall in the backyard of this house.

Unfortunately, an offer had already been accepted. Deflated, Hla turned her energy to finalizing Joy’s memorial award.

A miraculous alignment of fate led Hla, almost a year later, to go online to check the Decorah housing market. And there it was. The same house she tried to buy in 2021. It had been on the market for 21 days with no offers.

She jumped. Her first offer was accepted. The day after, eight other offers came in.

But now, the dream house in her “home” town was hers – for Joy. Hla immediately went to work. She called on the folks at Good Shepherd and the Decorah community and they showed up with furniture and lamps, bookshelves and rugs, dishware and bedding, and to help with maintenance and minor construction.

By the time the house had its first “practice” renters – Steve Berg’s older brother and sister-in-law – it was fully furnished and “stocked” with everything an international family with children could need –including a crib, high chair, laptop and desktop computer, a security system, and all utilities and high-speed internet paid for. \ Winter 2022-23 51 Strong communities are built on rock solid foundations CRUSHED STONE PRODUCTS • SAND • GRAVEL AG LIME SPREAD • CONSTRUCTION SERVICES Serving communities in Iowa, Minnesota, & Missouri BRUENING ROCK PRODUCTS, INC 900 Montgomer y St, Decorah, IA 563-382-2933 . Four generations of Bruenings –90 years in business! RHSHC cares 235 8th Avenue W, Cresco, Iowa • Call 563-547-2022 today to set up an appointment! At Regional Health Services of Howard County, you experience personal care. Now accepting new patients Dr. Kimberlee Burckart, MD Dr. Kelsey omas, MD RHSHC welcomes two new doctors Dr. Burckart and Dr. omas provide obstetric care, women's health services, and family practice care to all ages.
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“If this house can help to even the playing field. If Joy’s scholarship – his memorial award – can help to even the playing field, even though that memorial award is open to everybody – because we, as a family, don’t discriminate” then she will feel like she has done Joy’s legacy justice.

The dedication for the house reads as follows:

The Tlou House was established July 28, 2022 in loving memory of my brother Joy and to honor our parents Litha and Josiah. You supported strangers who became friends, friends who became family, and if you saw a need for shelter your door was always open. These doors will always be open. In dedication, let this be a house where a family can live together while pursuing their life’s dreams. Let this be a house where neighbors become friends. Let this be a house where your spirit and love of community lives forever.

Let this be a home and not just a house.

Joy, Litha, and Josiah... This house was founded in your name for your unwavering generosity to humanity.

With love, from your sister and daughter - Hla



in the Fall

Winter 2022-23 / 52 104 W Water St, Decorah • 563-382-4432 Christian Books & Gifts • Bibles • Advent Candles • Cards 1870 Highway 9 East. Decorah, Iowa. 52101 Quality homes built with simplicity & certainty 563-382-8406 ï Train & Board services ï Behavioral or Service training ï Grooming ïPet Retail 2955 US 52, Decorah ï 563-382-5762 ï ï Day Training Join us for Training Classes! See you at the Pupper Club!
Christy Ebert Vrtis is a teacher, writer, mom, and crime drama enthusiast who loves to curate book lists for family and friends, run (slowly) on the Trout Run Trail, and adventure around the world and throughout the Driftless with her husband and kids. Erbst interned with Inspire(d) of She is currently a senior at Luther College majoring in Visual Communication. She has been working as a Graphic Designer and Photographer for college and personal project and can often be found designing for the Luther Ballroom and Swing Team. Josiah and Litha Tlou currently reside in Virginia, where Dr. Tlou is Professor Emeritus at Virginia Tech. / Photo courtesy the Tlous.

Decorah Public Library and Inspire(d) are here to help you think about

Check out all of these and more at Decorah Public Library

Adult Books Youth Books


Jessie Sima

Looking for a love story that isn’t all hearts and mush? In this book about love, family, and adventure, a robot named Z discovers a message in a bottle signed “Love, Beatrice,” and embarks on a quest to nd out what “love” means.


by Gary D. Schmidt, Elizabeth Stickney & G. Brian Karas

In a story about patience and changing seasons, Ethan and his father wait for Ethan’s tooth to fall out and for maple sap to run.


by Cathy Camper & Kenard Pak

What can snow teach us about paying attention? As Lina walks past snowmen and across icy sidewalks, she discovers ten ways to pay attention to what might have otherwise gone unnoticed.


by Julia Sarcone-Roach

Solve a mystery in the span of a picture book in this story about a cat named Mu n whose job it is to protect a bakery.


Madeline Kloepper

What is art and how do we make it? Join a group of forest animals as they observe a human artist in her home and then try to make their own creations.


by Simran Jeet Singh

Part memoir, part spiritual journey, this is a transformative book of hope that shows how each of us can turn away from fear and uncertainty and move toward renewal and positive change.


This book is full of inspiration and guidance for creating a home that is both sustainable and stylish.


When you use fewer, more impactful words to communicate, you’re more likely to be heard. This book o ers a concise roadmap for improving communication in all formats.


Jolenta Greenberg & Kirsten Meinzer

After following the advice of over 50 self-help books two weeks at a time, these two authors have compiled the advice that changed their lives for the better, the practices that didn’t work out, and the things they wish self-help books would cover.

SLOW by Brooke McAlary

What would your life look like if you rejected our society’s demand to buy more, own more, be more, and do more?

This book walks though the author’s journey to do just that, and nd contentment and happiness along the way.


Winter fun!


The changing of seasons can mean a lot of different things for a lot of different people. Some embrace the warmth and coziness of the darker (and cooler) days going into the Holidays. While others… not so much! Indeed, the colder months of the year can provide some real challenges for us humans – but if mother nature cooperates, our region does provide some fun outdoor opportunities for “snow much fun!”

Live the friluftsliv way this winter! Friluftsliv (free-loofts-liv) translates literally to"free air life" in Norwegian. A little fresh air can make all the difference to a day! / Photo

Winter 2022-23 / 54
by Aryn Henning Nichols


A winter full moon provides one of our region’s most stunning opportunities to get outside. Layer up and bring your sense of adventure for Allamakee County Conservation’s Full Moon Snowshoe hikes!

The events will begin at 6:30pm, providing ample opportunity to get out in the darkness – and likely still be home by bedtime!

January 5, 6:30 pm, County Home park, four miles north of Waukon February 7, 6:30 pm, location tbd

Watch online for confirmation of specific location details, snowshoe availability, and conditions: www. or



Make plans to trek out for the Winter Festival, January 7, 2023, an annual, fun family event at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve near Viroqua, Wisconsin. Potential activities may include sledding, skiing, archery, snow sculpture, ice cave hikes, chain saw carving, wildlife talks & hikes, face painting, horsedrawn bobsled rides, and more. Bring the kids and the dogs and try out the Dog Sled Mutt Fun Run, and don’t miss the Snow Snake Competition and Fat Tire Bike Demonstrations…it’s safe to say that there’s a lot of fun to be had. Later that night, at the neighboring Wildcat Mountain State Park, participate in a candlelight ski/hike/ snowshoe and winter star gazing. Activities subject to change due to weather conditions. Children must be accompanied by an adult.


Get outside and enjoy winter day at the 24th annual Barneløpet, a non-competitive ski or walk event for the community’s youngest skiers, ages 3-13. The collaborative Vesterheim Museum and Sons of Norway event will be held at the Decorah Community Prairie February 4 at 10 am, with registration beginning at 9:40 am. Barneløpet, (pronounced BAR-nuh-lop-it) is Norwegian for “kids race,” is open to children of all skill levels and is a great event for the entire family. “When you complete the course, you’ll be awarded a medal and served hot chocolate and homemade cookies as you

warm yourself by the fire,” Darlene Fossum-Martin, event organizer, says.

Skiers must provide their own skis, but don’t let that deter you. You can join in the fun with a walk through the tall prairie grasses. If in doubt about weather conditions, listen to local radio stations for cancellations.

Sons of Norway lodges all over the country sponsor Barneløpet events. It is modeled after the Barnebirke, a children’s cross-county ski race held each year as a part of the world-famous American Birkebeiner in Hayward, Wisconsin.

The Decorah Community Prairie is accessed by car at the south end of Ohio Street, near Aase Haugen Homes. The trail will be in a loop, with the start and finish at the site of the butterfly garden


If you’re feeling more adventurous, check out the slopes at these regional ski and tube areas. Checking ahead for conditions and hours is always recommended.

Whitetail Ridge Ski & Tube Area – Ft. McCoy, Sparta, Wisconsin

Gentle downhill skiing slopes, a six-lane snow tubing hill with a “magic sidewalk” back up, and more than five miles of cross country ski trails. 608388-4498 or “Whitetail Ridge” on Facebook.

Mt. La Crosse Ski Area – La Crosse, Wisconsin

Three chair lifts, rope pull beginner, plus an ever-growing snowboard terrain park. 608-788-0044 •

Sundown Mountain Resort – Dubuque, Iowa

Four chair lifts, two conveyor carpets, two terrain parks. 563-556-6676 •

Ironwood Springs – Stewartville, Minnesota

Snow tubing on three hills, single rope tow, sleigh rides on specific dates. 507-533-4315 •

Welch Village Ski & Snowboard Area – Red Wing, Minnesota

Nine chair lifts, magic carpet, rope tow, terrain park. 651-258-4567 • \ Winter 2022-23 • 101 College Dr. Decorah, Iowa • 563-382-8209 Let’s get outside for winter fun! DETAILS ONLINE! TUNE-UPS Winter is a great time for a tune-up! WINTER at RENTALS BIKES Purchasing a bike? Support local! Rent x-country skis, ice skates, and snowshoes at Decorah Bicycles
Barneløpet in Decorah, Iowa

eep in the City…of Winona, Minnesota, lives a communityminded teen working to create a space for people to come together.

In early 2022, 15-year-old Seamus Schwaba wrote a musical –Deep in the City – and was looking to produce it for an audience. Along the way, he found that Winona didn’t need just one show – they needed shows that would go on, and on. So, Seamus put the word out, gathered folks for a board, and together they launched Winona’s new community theatre organization, Sugarloaf Theatre, with a mission to provide “fun accessible theatre and other performing arts opportunities for all ages, genders, sexual orientations, religions, and ethnicities in the community.”

Deep in the City brought Sugarloaf to life with three sold-out shows, and began the framework for the schedule: two full-scale productions a year – a summer musical and a winter play – plus additional offerings as allows.

On December 9-10 of 2022, folks can check out the fun 24-Hour Theatre at the Winona Friendship Center. During 24-Hour Theatre, community members gather to write, direct, rehearse, and perform short, original works for the public within 24 hours. The theme will be Upon a Snowy Eve.

“This will be exciting because it’s a fun way for community actors to get involved in a short play without making a huge time commitment,” says Seamus.

The 2023 winter play is The Rainbow Fish, a children’s book that was adapted into a one-act play. Sugarloaf is producing this play in collaboration with Winona’s Bluffview Montessori School, where all rehearsals, auditions, and performances will take place. Community performances are scheduled for February 25 at 2 and 6 pm, and February 26 at 2 pm, and auditions are January 16. “We are looking for all different kinds of actors, adults and teens to audition for this show,” Seamus says.

Additionally, every few months Sugarloaf Theatre offers Three Week Theatre for kids in the community. “We learn a variety of improv games, tongue twisters, and acting tips,” Seamus says. “It’s a lot of fun!”

While Seamus knows theatre isn’t necessarily for everyone, he would encourage anyone interested to give it a try. “Community theatre people are so kind and accepting,” he says. “It makes you feel like you’re a part of something! At least it has for me.”

Turn the page to learn more about Sugarloaf Theatre and its founder, Seamus Schwaba, in a fun Q&A. \ Winter 2022-23 57 H a n d C a r ve d C a ro u s e l O u t d o o r M i n i G o l f Gifts • Toys Galore Fudge & Candy To y Wo r k s h o p Games & Puzzles LARK Made Toys Food & Ice Cream Bookstore • Llamas A n t i q u e Toy M u s e u m Tues-Fri 9:30am-5:30pm Sat 9:30am-3pm SHOP DECORAH'S ORIGINAL GNOME STORE! If itʼs stylish, inspirational, unique, or original, Itʼs Heavenly Made! 126 E. Water St. Decorah . 563-380-1362 . Your number one destination for gift decor and so much more! Heavenly Made Purl Up & Knit for a Spell Call for current hours – 563-517-1059 Yarn, Knitting & Fiber Art Supplies, Classes, & More! D
INTRO & INTERVIEW BY ARYN HENNING A Three Week Theatre class poses for a pic. / Photo courtesy Sugarloaf Theatre

1. What inspired you to start Sugarloaf Theatre?

Well, Winona is a beautiful and very artistic community. It’s a community I’m very proud to be a part of! The one thing I wish it had more of, though, is accessible opportunities for community members to participate in theatre. We are lucky enough to have wonderful programs that offer performing opportunities, such as the cemetery walk, but what I wanted to do was make a true community theatre organization in Winona that does full scale productions with no participation fees. Besides, I’ve always loved community theatre! It’s a fantastic way to bring people together because it allows people from completely different generations to work as a team to create something! I honestly think that’s a really beautiful thing! The other thing is that coming out of a global pandemic,

people need hope more than ever. I think community theatre is the perfect way to bring people together and become a family again. There are just so many reasons to do this!

2. What’s the process of starting a community theatre organization?

To be honest, when I first started this project I had no idea what it would turn into. I wanted to produce the musical I wrote, Deep in the City, and I thought I’d do it as a community theatre thing. As I got further into advertising and fundraising for the show, I had conversations with so many community members and realized that Winona needs more than a one-off community musical. We need a community theatre! So I worked on getting a board! Now, we are working towards non-profit status. It’s a long journey, but we’ll get there. I know we will.

3. The life of a 15-year-old is often pretty busy. How do you manage to fit it all in? Do you have a lot of folks helping to make this community project happen?

Of course I do. Nobody could make all this happen alone! I’ve got wonderful board members, funders, and friends to help me. And I would like to thank all of them for their

Winter 2022-23 / 58
Seamus takes a selfie at Sugarloaf Theatre’s first-ever board meeting.
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/ Photo courtesy Sugarloaf Theatre

support, because without them I wouldn’t be able to do this! This being said, I’d like to think I do a lot of work for Sugarloaf Theatre as well. And I’m very proud of the hard work I’ve put in to making these events possible. Yes, there are definitely times where I’ve gotten overwhelmed, but at the end of the day I know that the work we’re doing matters. We are working to do something that helps people and gives them hope, and that motivates me to continue when I’m having a bad day. I’m also just so grateful for all the people that support this project.


about 24-Hour Theatre?

The event will take place on December 9-10 of 2022. The goal is to write, direct, rehearse, and perform three short plays for the community in 24 hours. It will start on the 9th with a meeting that all writers, directors, stage managers, and actors will attend, where we will go over the schedule for the day following. Then, the writers will go home and write over the night. In the morning the directors will meet at the Winona Friendship Center, which is where the majority of the event will take place. They will have a short time to look at the scripts that were written the night before,

and come up with a plan for blocking (the process of teaching actors where they enter, exit, and stand on stage).

Then, the actors will arrive and they will rehearse the show. The show will be open for the community to see the night of the 10th at 7 pm. Tickets to the performance will be $10 per person, and are available at

5. The summer musical you wrote, Deep in the City, was Sugarloaf Theatre’s first-ever show, and you directed it! Can you tell us about that process? How did you feel once the run was done?

Deep in the City cast photo. They performed for three sold-out shows in Winona. / Photo courtesy Sugarloaf Theatre

I was so proud of Deep in the City! And yes, Deep in the City was my first time directing a show, but I’ve been involved in Theatre since I was five. Honestly, it was the only thing I thought about for a year. I lived for my time to write at the piano. That show was so much fun to work on! I counted down the days for auditions and I couldn’t wait. The show turned out to be everything I dreamed it to be and more. The cast performed for three sold out audiences and got two standing ovations. And I would never have been able to do it without the help of my piano accompanist,

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Can you tell our readers a little more
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stage manager, and musical director. I always expected to feel sad once the show ended, but I really didn’t. I was really happy that it went so well, and I was so excited for the future of Sugarloaf Theatre. I still am! I also had a lot going on. A few weeks after the show I went to go perform at the State Fair for 4-H and I won first place in the performing arts division for the second year in a row. I met so many wonderful people on that trip. This summer, overall, just reminded me how wonderful the world is!! And if you stick through a hard time you can always find yourself and contribute amazing things! If there’s one thing I want people to know it’s that you should always have hope, because things will always get better if you wait long enough and hang in there.

6. Can you tell us a little more about The Rainbow Fish?

Yes! The show is going to be a lot of fun. The actors will be ages 12 and up, but the show is great for children and families. The Rainbow Fish was originally a children’s book that was later adapted into a stage version. It is a one-act play, and it tells the story of a young beautiful fish that has rainbow scales, but never wants to share them with anyone. By the end of the story he learns to share his scales by giving some of them to his new friends. The story has a beautiful message of sharing and friendship that all ages can enjoy!

Winter 2022-23 / 60 @SandbarStorytellingFestival OCT 12-14, 2023 | WINONA, MN Tues Fri 10 6 Sat 9 noon (Dec Sat 9 2, Sun 11 2) Check our socials for events & specials Closed Jan 8 16 Valentines Day Feb 14 You'll find the destination is worth the journey every time as you discover amazing Home Décor & Needful Things Gifts for all ages & styles Fashions & Accessories Hallmark Greeting Cards -Wrap Personalized On-the-spot Engraved Gifts 4 1 3 N M A I N S T R E E T C H A R L E S C I T Y , I A 6 4 1 - 2 2 8 - 2 6 5 7
For show tickets or to register classes and events (actors please register at least a week in advance), go to
The Rainbow Fish is Sugarloaf Theatre’s Winter Play. Get tickets at the door, or at / Courtesy Sugarloaf Theatre
Stop by our visitor center: 15 2nd St NW, Harmony • 1-800-288-7153 • Explore Chef/Owner Ma Brown 121 Main Avenue N 507.886.1234 AMAZINGLY FRESH FARM-TO-TABLE FOOD MADE FROM SC TCH. Catering now available! @beebalm_harmony CONSIGNMENT & BOUTIQUE WOMEN’S + MEN’S + KID’S CLOTHING GIFTS • VINTAGE FINDS • HOME DECOR & MORE Consign with us! Learn more at 65 Main Ave North - Harmony, MN • Handmade home frangrances & soy candles • Hand-crafted custom tumblers • Home decor & more ARM CHARM 35 1st St NW, Harmony, MN • Only 30 minutes away from Decorah, this full-service community offers a variety of great dining options, unique antiques, gift shops and exciting recreational opportunities. Harmony, Minnesota Stop in and see us today! • 507-886-2323 2 Main Ave North Downtown Harmony Small & Large Appliances HVAC • Plumbing Housewares • Paint Toys •Gi s Best 20 feet of bar in SE MN! 507-886-5560 On The Crunchy Side AMER I CAN BAR & EATER Y 31 Main Ave N • Harmony, MN From burgers to salads to dinner entrees, served with homemade bread. Plus tasty pizzas, soups, & chili! wed thur fri 4pm-1am; sat 2pm-1am; sun 12pm-12am /onthecrunchyside Takeout available! Come Explore Harmony, open year-round for excellent shopping, dining, and winter fun!

On a winter evening, when the temperature is so frigid even the thermometer shivers, step outside and cock an ear to the sky. With luck, under the cold light of sparkling stars, you may hear a soft “hoot” drifting down from the bluffs. The source, seldom seen but often heard, is the enigmatic Great-horned Owl. \ Winter 2022-23 63 118 WASHINGTON ST. DECORAH, IA . 563-382-2567 @theperfectedgedecorah + NOW OFFERING A GREAT SELECTION OF LOCAL ART 802 Short St. Decorah 563.382.5592 402 Rossville Rd. Waukon 563.568.3130 personal, affordable style Up to $2000 rebate on Café appliance packages Decorah David J. Wadsworth • 563.419.0390 • Sustainable Beautiful Efficient BUILDING HOMES
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FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS, WISHING YOU A • 563-568-2758 1253 Apple Rd. Waukon, Iowa Upc ing Events December: Sat 10-5. Sun 1-5. Closed January 1 through February 16 After Feb 16: Sat 10-5. Sun 1-5. Like us for details! Great Venue for your next event! Empty Nest Winery December: Holiday wines & sangrias available all month – Berrylicious, Seduction, Coffee Port, Private Reserve wines, & more! New Years Eve Murder Mystery: Enjoy professional Dinner Theater with Prime Rib & Seafood Alfredo dinner! 5 pm Tickets at February 17-19: 12th Annual Blind Wine Tasting! Come taste all our new wines & ciders & vote on your favorites - details on Facebook. M y CHRISTMAS!

The largest of five owl species that breed in the Driftless Area, Great-horned Owls are also the most common. Found from Alaska to Argentina, they are habitat generalists, equally at home in oak woodlands, suburban yards or urban parks. Their pronounced “ear tufts” – modified head feathers – create the bird’s iconic silhouette.

Courtship begins in early autumn. The characteristic, stuttering “hoo-hoo-hoo” that gave rise to the moniker “hoot owl” can be heard in September. By October, the duet of paired owls resonates through leafless woodlands as the birds proclaim fidelity and publicly announce their intention to raise a family.

Nest site selection begins even as daylength diminishes. Not one to waste energy with winter nest construction – wise owl? – the female Great-horned Owl typically appropriates old stick nests from Red-tailed Hawks or crows. Large tree cavities or the ragged tops of broken tree trunks can also provide suitable digs.

By the end of January, contrary to every lick of common sense, the female carefully deposits as many as four eggs in the nest. Over the next four weeks, she will tend her eggs while the male brings her food. It’s not uncommon to see a snow-covered female hunkered and incubating during raging blizzards, signature ear tufts twisting in the wind. As the landscape remains draped in white, little owlets hatch naked, blind, and hungry. Overnight, mom transforms from a doting parent to a voracious hunter, partnering with her mate to feed their brood of squawking owlets.

Great-horned Owls are among the most efficient predators on earth. They prowl the darkness aided by keen eyesight and extraordinary hearing. Serrated combs of small feathers on the leading edge of their wings enable silent flight, facilitating their ability to ambush unsuspecting prey.

Equal opportunity carnivores, hoot owls eat just about anything they can catch. Rats, mice, rabbits, and squirrels are dietary staples. On occasion, frogs, snakes, and birds land on the menu. For reasons not fully understood, Great-horned Owls have a predilection for skunks. Perhaps an owl’s poor sense of smell protects it from the olfactory vicissitudes of Pepé Le Pew and his ilk.

After 40 days of constant care, young owls leave the nest. They’ll spend the summer shadowing mom and dad, learning how and where to hunt. By fall, they drift away from parents and siblings. Another year will pass before they’re ready to seek a mate and begin the cycle anew.

The secretive, nocturnal lives of these feathered phantoms add an element of mystique to our woodlands. But their importance transcends folklore. Predators are essential for functional ecosystems. By keeping populations of rodents and other small mammals in check, Great-horned Owls contribute to the health of our natural communities. Next time you retire for the evening, turn off the lights, crack a window, and listen for the Great-horned Owl. It will be a hoot!

Mary Thompson has degrees in Fine Arts and Education. She has delighted in the creative arts since her first box of crayons. She believes winter is the season for hoots and boots.

Craig Thompson is a professional biologist with a penchant for birds dating back to a time when gas was $0.86 cents a gallon. He hopes never to see skunk on his menu. \ Winter 2022-23 65 563-382-4010 • 563-380-5851 Pick up & delivery available We’ll take care of it! 501 MONTGOMERY ST. DECORAH, IA Folkedahl Service 321 W Water St. Decorah, IA • 563-387-0191 • Serving you for more than 25 years Friendly, local faces 110 East Water St 563-382-4297 • order online FAMOUS PIZZA FUN & CASUAL ATMOSPHERE MABE’S PIZZA DELIVERY AVAILABLE! Celebrating 70 years in 2023! since 1983 563-382-4750 Ar tis tr y in Cabinetr y Live-edge furniture • Kitchens • Bars Entertainment centers • Fireplace mantles Home of f ices • Cabinets & shelving Remodeling • Finished carpentry

Hazel Grotegut (born Hazel Telford) has lived in Decorah all of her 90 years with the exception of two years in Waterloo after high school. She has endured the loss of two husbands, Marlyn Rasmussen and Rollie Grotegut. Cloey, a Yorkshire Terrier, is now her faithful companion; the two of them are great company for each other. Every single night before bed Mom can be found sitting in her chair praying for each of her 3 daughters (Deb, Connie, and Denise) and their husbands, 10 grandkids, and 20 great-grandkids – all by name. She faithfully sends birthday cards to all of them as well as many other friends and relatives.

Mom has a great sense of humor and a quick wit. She’s creative, and has always been good at organizing and planning things. Years ago, she created a list of the “Seven Wonders of Decorah”, listing sights for our family to visit in the area. Each Christmas she writes (and reads) a story about everyone in our family for her “Left-Right” game.

Mom’s passion is sewing. She started the craft as a child and has sewn countless things since then – including matching dresses for her three little daughters and many square dance dresses. For many years, she has sewn quilts, many of which were patterns she developed after seeing a picture of one she liked. She has made well over 100 quilts (most of them queen-size) that she has shared with her family and donated for fundraisers. She now also makes Quilts of Valor to be given to veterans.

Mom has always had a lot of ambition, and she gets things done. She taught us to work hard and honor our commitments.

Some of mom’s other interests over the years have been making ceramics, tole painting, rosemaling, drawing, making woodcrafts with a band saw, camping, square dancing, and wintering in Arizona. She is on Facebook and manages her cell phone and iPad like a 60-year-old! She meets regularly with friends for coffee at McDonalds and is known by name when she calls the library to check out a new book.

Sadly, when mom turned 90, she was denied the renewal of her motorcycle license!

What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Live within your means, pay as you go, and always be honest.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

An art teacher. I would liked to have gone to college to study art, but money was short.

What did you do?

Each place where I was employed, I worked in the payroll department, figuring by hand at first and later with the computer. I spent most of my career working for the District Auditor of Interstate Power Company. I’ve now been retired longer than the 25 years that I worked there. I’ve always liked numbers and really enjoyed bookkeeping. I was usually the treasurer of every organization I was in, including 11 years as the treasurer for Decorah Lutheran Church.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you? My Bible and daily devotions, my loving husband, and my sewing machine.

Do you know someone you’d love to interview for this page? Let us know!

Try to describe yourself in one sentence: I like to think of myself as someone who has worked hard, saved, and raised three wonderful daughters.

If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Lefse, with plenty of butter and sugar.

Name one thing you could not live without: My family

Tell us

first job: When I was 12, I got a job as a waitress at the Springer Hotel

money to go to Clear Lake Bible Camp. I wasn’t very good at waitressing and wasn’t very mature then, so I quit as soon as I earned enough money to go to camp!

Winter 2022-23 /
dining room because I
about your
wanted to earn
Decorah, Iowa 563-382-3603 •
Post-hospital rehabilitation following surgery, illness or injury. •Large, private, fully furnished rooms • Private bathrooms/walk-in showers •Therapy and 24/7 assistance • Cable TV & wireless internet • Restful rehab to return home Valley Suites Rehabilitation Hazel Grotegut PROBITUARY – A NOTICE OF LIFE! Interviewed by daughter Connie Sabbann
Hazel at her wedding to Marlyn Rasmussen in 1951. Hazel and Rollie Grotegut's wedding in 1990.
305 East Water St. Decorah, Iowa • 563-382-4279 • 9:00-5:30 MON 7:30-5:30 TUES-THURS-WED 7:30-4:30 FRI 24 HR EMERGENCY CARE Remember shades, no matter your age! at Winneshiek Medical Center are supported by the latest in MRI technology, quality skilled care for recovery, and a specialized physical and occupational therapy practice. Call 563-382-2911 to schedule an appointment. FROM PAINFUL TO PICTURESQUE TOTAL JOINT REPLACEMENTS Orthopedics & Sports Medicine
art - gi s - jewelry Still Agora, Only Bigger Visit our new location at 102 West Water Street, Decorah, Iowa
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