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Holiday + Winter Inspire(d) – Read it Online Here!

Holiday + Winter Inspire(d)

The Holiday + Winter Inspire(d) is about Looking for the Bright Spots in every day – even through the darkest days of winter. Inside, you’ll find tons of inspiration to make the most of this time of year – and lives:

Focus on Mental Health • GrandPad • Make the Most of Winter • Pete Espinosa • Adrian Lipscombe • Cross Stitch Gnome Card • Q&A with Dr. Michael Osterholm • Ferndale Market • Moxi + Riedell Skates • End-of-Life Doula • Probit – Ruth Woldum • More!

Read the whole thing online here!

A note from Aryn:

You know those winter days when you head out for a walk and the sun is shining…and you tilt your face up to meet it and it feels like everything is going to be alright?

This is feeling we’d like to encourage you to find in your day-to-day lives – even when the sun isn’t shining (and everything doesn’t feel alright). We want you to Look for the Bright Spots everywhere.

2020 has been a year where we’ve had to frequently reinvent ourselves.

How we communicate: We found platforms like Zoom to stay social, something that is more important than ever, according to nationally renowned epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm. I got to chat on the phone with him for 15 minutes to talk COVID-19, Zoom, and how his path took him from Waukon, Iowa, to his current role at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. See the interview on page 29. For our relatives who have a little more trouble with tech, or needed a little more help on a regular basis, we turned to devices like GrandPad, based out of Wabasha, Minnesota. Decorah native Scott Lien and his son created a tablet purposefully sans complicated features – but with large, easy-to-use buttons and instant access to online help (pg 14).

How we think: We have had to dig deep to find positivity this year. And we’ll have to keep digging. Learn some strategies from regional mental health counselors like Olivia Lynn Schnur, who joins us as a new contributor this issue, plus tips on staying positive from yours truly, too. I’ve spent more than 13 years running Inspire(d), and it’s offered a great foundation for keeping on the sunny side of life. I’d love to help you do the same (pg 33).

How we find joy: Contributor Erin Dorbin found it in a pair of super colorful and totally awesome roller skates – Moxi’s Lollys. Then she discovered they were made right here in the Driftless Region at Riedell Skates Co. in Red Wing, Minnesota. It led her down a path of a pretty darn cool collaboration, and the story of how roller skating popularity has surged across the nation during this pandemic.

How we live: We carry on, Building Community, like Pete Espinosa and Adrian Lipscombe. And how we die: Kristine Jepsen takes on this important topic about choice and comfort, end-of-life doulas, and how we need to be having these conversations.

Through it all, we find the Bright Spots. Making the most out of winter and holidays, cozy reading, cross stitching, kits in the mail, cooking a big fancy meal just because, and small town charm.

Speaking of, every issue, we hope to get suggestions for probituaries. This issue, we got a few from a Decorah resident, and we reached out to one: Ruth Woldum. She agreed to be featured, and not long later, we got an email from her granddaughter…Britney Bakken! The same woman who interviewed her grandfather in the Summer/Fall issue! We had no idea that Ruth was her grandmother (on the other side of the family), and we all laughed at how perfectly “small town” this coincidence was!

Finding creative ways to overcome the challenges of the year has definitely highlighted bright spots for me. That said, I am looking forward to next year with…what else?…hope and optimism! As we come to a close with 2020 and take tentative steps into 2021, let’s keep looking for the Bright Spots.

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

Read the Winter 2019-2020 Inspire(d) Online!

Winter 2019-2020 Inspire(d)

The Winter 2019-2020 Inspire(d) is all about winter fun and big ideas in the coming year! Inside, you’ll find:

Q&A with 5 Driftless Bakers: Sassy Baker • Fayette Sweets • Meringue Bakery • Newburg Vintage • Jo’s Coffee House – Jonah’s Hands, Paper Fortune Cookies, Big Ideas in 2020! Arthur Geisert, Organizing with Michelle Whitehill, Stay Active This Winter: Curling • Broomball • Sledding – & More!

A note from Aryn:

2020! What!

It’s the future, you guys!

It seems almost impossible that we’re approaching this new decade – and that we’ve been publishing this “experiment in positive news” for 12 years! But it’s not impossible…and, in fact, it never was. That’s always been one of our biggest goals: to remind you that big dreams start with that first step, a lot of hard work, and the willingness to jump in! Are you ready?! Let’s Make 2020 the Year of Big Ideas!

Of course, I just had to put a “Big Ideas” infographic together to give you some inspiration! Check it out on page 34.

We also want to share our infinite gratitude to all of our readers, and especially our advertisers, as we see our 60th issue of Inspire(d) roll out into the world. Woohoo! Time just keeps on slipping…so we’ve got to embrace every day.

This winter season, we hope that means embracing the fun, the cozy, and the notion that there is no bad weather as long as you’re wearing the right clothes.

One of our favorite things to do on a cold winter day is bake. In fact, we’ve got some of my chocolate chip cookies in the oven right now (see the recipe on page 26)! We loved reading Maggie Sonnek’s interviews with five Driftless Region bakers – Karin Sassaman from Sassy Baker, Kristy Donovan from Fayette Sweets, Jen Barney from Meringue Bakery, Irene Fishburn from Newburg Vintage, and Mikki Boyd from Jo’s Coffee House (pg 16) – and learning how things work in their kitchens.

Stay with the warm fuzzies while you read about Jonah Larson, an 11-year-old crochet prodigy from La Crosse, Wisconsin (pg 28). He has hooked the hearts of folks across the world with his beautiful crochet projects and kind heart.

Then get motivated for some winter adventures – you could head to the Dubuque Museum of Art to check out Elkader, Iowa-based children’s book author and illustrator Arthur Geisert’s work, on display through January 5, 2020. It’s a fun drive, and be sure to read all about Geisert beforehand in Kristine Jepsen’s story on page 38.

Or perhaps you’d like to add “try the sport of curling or broomball” to your adventure list! After reading about these sports on page 56, I really want to try both! At the very least, I’ll go sledding. It’s my favorite! Check out our tips for hosting a Sledding Party on page 64.

As we launch into this year of Big Ideas, a great first step is getting organized – read this issue’s Sum of Your Business, featuring Michelle Whitehill of Personally Organized, to get the de-cluttering ball rolling at your house.

Thank you so much, dear readers, for your support of Inspire(d). We couldn’t make this magazine without you! We wish you the happiest of holidays and the best New Year possible. You inspire us.

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

Click here to read the Winter 2019-2020 Inspire(d) online!

Read the Fall 2019 Inspire(d) Online!

The Fall 2019 Inspire(d) celebrates our 2019 Community Builders! Inside, you’ll find:

Community Builders – Luke Zahm, Emily Kurash Casey, Julie Shockey Trytten, Amanda Ninneman, Debra Lash – Driftless Mill History, Mid-Wisco Roadtrip, 12 Ways to Show Up for Your Community, Apple Orchards, & More!

A note from Aryn:

12 years! It seems impossible that much time has passed, yet here we are 12 years in on Inspire(d) Magazine, and 12 years in on our mission to make the world a better place, one community at a time.

In fact, it’s through communities that this mission has the best chance to succeed. Building communities is one of the most important things we can do on this planet, whether it’s through a book club or civil leadership or neighborhood networks or… you name it.

To celebrate that, and our 12-year birthday, we’re once again highlighting awesome Community Builders this fall. Congratulations – and a huge thank you – to the 2019 Inspire(d) Community Builders: Luke Zahm (Viroqua, WI), Emily Kurash Casey (Winona, MN), Julie Shockey Trytten (Decorah, IA), Amanda Ninneman (Caledonia, MN), and Debra Lash (La Crosse, WI). We love telling stories of folks out there walking their talks, and these people are doing just that. Check them out starting on page 34.

Anniversaries and birthdays often make us think about what’s important in our lives, what we’ve learned over the past year, and what we want to accomplish in the years ahead. The biggest, most obvious truth that comes to the top of our list every year is that people are what matter, and all people matter. I recently read an article that said, “It’s not self care we need, it’s community care,” and I realized this is the phrase I was missing. Community care! We need to Show Up for each other, in big and small ways, because often when we most need help, self care isn’t a possibility. I put together an infographic with 12 Ways to Care for Your Community – hopefully it inspires you to do some (intentional) acts of kindness in your neck of the woods!

Like every fall, there is A LOT a lot of fun to be had around here. Like heading out to apple orchards! Read about how Al Peake of Peake Orchards got his start 40 years ago in this issue’s Sum of Your Business, and see our list of apple orchards in the region – there are way more than we knew! Will you check one (or three?!) out this fall?!

Speaking of places you can check out, consider putting mills on your list! Benji Nichols explores these historic buildings dotting riverbanks in the area, and the grains they once processed (or might still today).

And in that spirit of getting out and enjoying every last lovely day, we put together a fun Mid-Wisco Road Trip for this issue. Check out what Benji and I did on our adventure from Viroqua to Richland Center to Spring Green and beyond, starting on page 56.

Thank you so much for reading Inspire(d) Magazine all these years, and for being part of this amazing community. You guys are the best. Here’s to creating a bright future together!

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

P.S. Please let us know if you’ve got a Community Builder you’d like to nominate for the Fall 2020 Inspire(d) – email me at aryn@iloveinspired.com.

P.P.S. Are you interested in writing for Inspire(d)? Shoot me an email! I’m on the lookout for experienced writers in the Driftless (extra bonus if you live in a place we don’t cover that often – we’d love to keep expanding our coverage).

Click here to read the Fall 2019 Inspire(d) online!