November 2018 Calendar!

November 2018! Winter is on its way, and so are the holidays! Gear up and start your planning with this handy-dandy Novmber 2018 calendar (you can download the pdf here). Happy holidays! XO, Inspire(d)

LOOKING FOR MORE DETAILS ABOUT EVENTS ON THE CALENDARS?
Check out these great November 2018 activities!  In chronological order, each event’s number coincides with its number on the calendar!

16. November 17: Harmony Holiday Fest – Art, Craft & Gift Expo. 10am-3pm Start your holiday gift shopping at Fillmore Central High School! Over 50 vendors selling crafts, direct marketing items & more.

17. November 22: Holiday Lights Magical Nights Open through Dec. 25! 5 – 9 pm at Pulpit Rock Campground in Decorah for Northeast Iowa’s largest drive-through holiday light display. Goodwill donations benefit Helping Services for Youth & Families. HelpingServices.org/holidaylights

18. December 1: FEAST! Local Foods Festival, featuring more than 100 food makers and growers from Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. 10am-4 pm, Rochester Mayo Civic Center. www.local-feast.org.

Pumpkin Surprise Balls!

Once I heard of surprise balls, I knew I wanted to make one for Roxie! Plus, I thought pumpkins would be perfect for the Fall Inspire(d) – thus, Pumpkin Surprise Balls were born. You start with a bunch of tiny presents, and wrap and wrap them into a ball filled with fun! It would be a cute Halloween present, or table settings at Thanksgiving, or just because! Here’s the how-to:

Supplies:
Orange & green streamers
Small bit of pipe cleaner
Tiny presents
Tape
Glue
Scissors
Paper (if adding a note)

1. Find the best present to create the base of the ball (we went with Flarp).

2. Start wrapping the orange streamers around it. Make sure it’s wrapped all the way around before you add in the next tiny present. Don’t rip the streamers – keep it in tact to make for more fun unwrapping!

3. Try to plan out the way you add in the tiny presents so the pumpkin shape begins to take form.

4. Keep adding presents…

5. …until you’ve got them all added to the pumpkin.

6. I happened to have this stamper that looked like it would make a great pumpkin stem! You don’t have to add this, though – you could make the stem with just a bit of pipe cleaner and green streamer.

7. Attach a bit of green streamer to the green pipe cleaner on one side. Trim it up to look like a pumpkin leaf.

8. I stuck the pipe cleaner into the stamper.

9. Then wrapped the stamper to be part of the pumpkin.

10. Continue to wrap the ball until it seems like the streamers are on tight and the pumpkin will hold together.

11. Then add a bit of glue to the end of the streamer and tuck it under the bottom.

12. Add a piece of tape to keep it all secure.

13. Wrap some green streamer around the stamper to look more like a stem.

14. Then glue the end and hold until it stays in place on the stem.

15. I added a note for Roxie (that’s supposed to look like a pumpkin leaf) and attached it to the second side of pipe cleaner, then wrapped the extra bit of green streamer to also look like a leaf. And it’s done! All that’s left is watching someone unwrap, and unwrap, and unwrap all the tiny surprises inside! I know Roxie had fun! Enjoy!

Why Positivity?

We here at Inspire(d) like to stick with positive news – it’s what we’re all about, and we think it’s an important thing to do, especially in these days of constant – often negative – news at our fingertips. That stream of all-day-every-day events can bog a person down, and make a good day turn bad.

I want to talk a little about that, and my goals with Inspire(d) Magazine. It comes down to weeds (I want to crush them!) and flowers (I have a crush on them!).

So, yeah: I’ve been spending a lot time out in my gardens lately. Okay, rephrase – I’ve been spending minutes here and minutes there out in my gardens lately (because that’s all I get, generally), and I know one thing for sure: the weeds are here. I do – literally – nothing to cultivate them. In fact, I actively attempt to get rid of them. Some days I’m more successful than others.

My flowers, on the other hand, take cultivation. They take care – water, sun, space – I even talk to them, because, damn, I love those things. They bring me a lot of joy. Even at this time of year, when it’s the end of the season and you think, “I should just give up!” it pays to keep at it.  There’re perennials out there that will bring color and joy for years to come, if you spend some time taking care of them.

Negativity is like those little jerk weeds. It is here, and it will spread with no effort. My goal in this life is to help it not spread. I put my efforts in cultivating the positives in this world so that we can have a happier life.

If I can improve one person’s day, it’s worth it. Frankly, if I can improve my own day, it’s worth it. This is life; it’s all we’ve got.

While we choose to not write about negative things in Inspire(d) in an effort to NOT spread negativity, we also attempt to pull the weeds – we can do this by writing about inspiring people, being active in our community, supporting candidates who support our goals, voting, standing up for issues that matter to us, and speaking up when we see or hear something that isn’t just or kind.

We aren’t sticking our heads in the soil, thinking everything is all good, all the time. Things are tumultuous in the world right now. I have never felt the desire to pack it in and just go more often in my entire life. But I keep coming back to this desire – this need – to cultivate these flowers.

I’m talking about you guys. I’m talking about this community. I’m talking about this world. It brings me so damn much joy. It is filled with light, love, and wonderful people.

I was helping deliver the Summer Inspire(d) Magazine a few weeks ago, and while I drove, I was thinking about some personal problems. I came up with three F words (no, not my favorite F word, don’t worry) that have become a bit of a mantra for me over the past month:

Don’t fixate on the problem. Find solutions. Focus on the positive.

So that’s what I’m doing out here – minutes here, hours there, focusing on the positive, and always looking forward with hope, excited to see what blooms next.

XOXO – Aryn