Posts Tagged: minnesota

Read the Winter 2016-17 Inspire(d) Online!

Winter is a wonderful time to cozy in and think about making life better. So we’re excited to bring you the new Winter 2016-2017 Inspire(d) Magazine, all about bettering yourself and your communities! Online today, and out on stands starting this weekend!

Here’s what you’ll get to read:

Forgiveness Initiative • Smithsonian Water/Ways in Lanesboro • Northeast Iowa Food & Fitness • The Walking Revolution • Sum of Your Business: Brenda Harris • Heard About It? Try It! • Wild Rice Chicken Soup recipe • DIY Envelopes! • Probit: Grace Peterson

Winter 2016-2017 Editor’s Letter

These are some tumultuous times here in our world. There are so many things folks are upset about, and rightly so. These problems are very real and concerns about the future are legitimate.

arynroxie_fall_winter16We’re not here to say everything is going to be all right, but we are going to say that this time is yours to shape. Just like any time. And just like always, Inspire(d) encourages you to start small, start in your own community, or even just start with yourself. Winter is the perfect time to look inside and work on being well and being a better person.

Where do you start? How about with a little (or a lot of) forgiveness? Sara Friedl-Putnam chatted with Luther College forgiveness expert Loren Toussaint, who has done extensive research on the mental and, yes, physical benefits behind being more forgiving of others and yourself. It makes perfect sense to us – holding on to negative feelings will only make us feel more negative. Toussaint shares some tips on how to start forgiving on a more regular basis – we hope you’ll give it a try (pg. 24)!

winter_16_coverInspire(d) newcomer Cerrisa Snethen covers the part where we make our communities better places – she did an fabulous job covering the amazing work of Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative. Come 2017 (which is, indeed, coming!), FFI has been bettering Northeast Iowa for a decade! We had no idea just how many awesome changes in the region were due to this many-faceted organization. See for yourself on page 50.

Speaking of communities, we’re pretty excited that Lanesboro, Minnesota is one of the towns hosting the national Smithsonian exhibit, Water/Ways, January 7 – February 18, 2017. Water is life – we need to protect it, conserve it, and respect it. Kristine Jepsen fills us in on all the cool details of the community-wide exhibit and its multitude of events. It’s going to be a perfect combo of education and fun (pg. 14)!

This issue’s Sum of Your Business feature, Brenda Harris, owner of the Acupuncture Center Decorah, fits perfectly with winter wellness. The three facets of the Center – acupuncture, qigong, and herbal medicine – are fascinating to learn about, and Brenda’s business story is great too (pg. 24).

And while we’re talking about wellness, we should also talk about staying well – I’ve included my go-to chicken soup recipe (pg. 48) – make this for yourself or your family when someone is under the weather, or if you’re just looking for a healthy, warm winter meal.

We were happy to have former Inspire(d) intern, now legit-design-pro Kristin Anderson create the paper project this issue. She came up with a fun idea for reusing your favorite magazine pages: Homemade envelopes (pg. 33). They’re super cute, and who doesn’t love to get a fun little piece of snail mail delivered to their door?

Okay, and winter doesn’t have to be all about looking in – you can get out too! Try some of our fun “get active” ideas – from silo ice climbing to Aerialates – on page 30! And, finally, don’t miss Grace Peterson’s wonderful probituary – we just love reading those interviews!

We here at Inspire(d) hope you enter 2017 with optimism, strength, and health. Make it the best year possible. You’ve got this.

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

Fall Art Trips: Lanesboro Arts Center

Fall is the loveliest season around here (we think). So we put together a little list of events to add to your calendar! Go ahead and hit the road this fall for some fun art trips in the Driftless Region! Next up: Lanesboro Arts Center!


lanesboroartsLanesboro Arts Center
Swingsation November 5, 2016
Lanesboro, Minnesota 

You know what drive is lovely? Any way you head into Lanesboro, Minnesota. Lucky for us, the arts scene is rich in this tiny (pop. Roughly 750) community, so if you’re looking for a little cultural exploration, plan to stay all day – or even the weekend! Make sure to check out events going on at the Commonweal Theatre, St. Mane Theatre, and, of course, Lanesboro Arts Center.

The Lanesboro Arts Council was formed in the early 1980s – it helped create the Cornucopia Art Center, giving artists a beautiful space to exhibit and providing community arts activities. In 2010, the Council and Cornucopia merged to create Lanesboro Arts.

Programming includes free youth education classes, fine arts galleries, internship programs, performance art, opportunities to participate in public art, and more. Lanesboro Arts has brought innovative arts experiences to audiences for over 30 years, becoming a national model for empowering communities through the arts. A great way to support this darn cool arts center is at their annual benefit gala, Swingsation, November 5, 2016. The event always features a live and silent auction, and this year there’s a New Orleans-inspired theme, with food by Johnny Mango’s Catering, and New Orleans swing jazz. Find details at

Electing for Change: Sarah Schroeder

electing_sarahschroederSarah Schroeder

The debate was heated, and, as it turned out, not easily forgotten.

“I felt that the admission prices being proposed for the town’s new swim center were outrageously high,” says Sarah Schroeder of her tenacious verbal sparring with the Spring Grove, Minnesota, city administrator during a 2006 city council meeting. “And I didn’t keep my opinion to myself.”

The moment passed, the admission prices were set, and that was that – or so Schroeder thought.

“The city administrator remembered that encounter and later suggested I consider running for elected office,” she says. “I remember first laughing and then thinking, well…maybe I should.”

The seed planted, Schroeder went on to mount a successful campaign for city council that same year, knocking on doors, passing out flyers, and sharing her ideas with all who took time to listen, including patrons of her mother’s local beauty salon. “I didn’t know much about city government, but I cared very deeply about the future of Spring Grove,” she says of her motivation for entering the political arena. “It was an interesting four years serving on the council, and I learned a lot.”

In January 2015, Schroeder took the oath of office once again, this time as mayor of this thriving small (population 1,300) town. Her responsibilities include presiding over council meetings, serving on various council subcommittees, helping guide the town through emergency situations (as she did when the town received a hoax bomb threat in late July 2016), and, of course, casting votes on city matters.

electingforchange_logoHer overriding philosophy? “I believe it’s city government’s responsibility to facilitate the betterment of the town,” she says, noting that contention over the city’s extensive, multi-million-dollar Main Street renovation project (now complete) was one of the reasons she decided to get back into local politics. “It’s about not obstructing groups that are working to make the town a better place to live, work, and visit.”

A self-described “joiner, doer, get-involved type of person,” Schroeder recalls engaging her parents in political discussions while she was just in grade school. By high school, she had found another outlet for her love of debate, discussion, and the democratic process – serving on the board of Ye Olde Opera House. “I was young, but I really enjoyed the dynamic of people sharing ideas, agreeing, disagreeing, and ultimately deciding things together,” she says. “It was really fun for me.”

The same holds true today – and that’s a good thing. Schroeder, who works in audio-visual media at Gundersen Lutheran in La Crosse, jokes that “when there is a fifth Tuesday in the month” is the only time she has a week without meetings. In addition to (still!) serving on the opera house board, she also sits on the town’s economic development authority, planning and zoning commission, and fireman’s relief association board.

As she looks optimistically toward reelection this fall, Schroeder says she feels energized by the importance of the work that local citizens have entrusted to her and her fellow council members. “Local government impacts everybody’s daily lives – it’s responsible for the water you drink, the streets you drive on, the parks you play in, the sidewalks you don’t trip over because they have been maintained,” she says. “Very few citizens of Spring Grove want to complain – most are just grateful we care enough to take the time to serve.”

Read more about other folks getting involved here!