Posts Tagged: Driftless

Spring 2022 Inspire(d)

Spring 2022 Inspire(d) cover

The Spring 2022 Inspire(d) encourages you to look at this season as an opportunity to Restart. Just as the world begins anew, growing out of the muck, so can you. Inside, you’ll find inspiration for restarting your goals, gardens, and more! 

Restart with Spring! Q&A with MN Artist Amy Rice • Circular Economy – Secondhand as a Way of Life • Climate Advocacy – Ayla Boylen & Leslie Smith Sand • Community Builders: Friends of DPL; Renée Bergstrom; Bree Breckel & Eric Weninger • Spring Gardens • Mental Health – Restart Your Goals • Sum of Your Biz: Jamie Gavle of Rendered Unique • Spring Ephemerals • DIY Scratch Notebooks • And More!

Read the whole thing online here!

A note from Aryn:

The first thing we do when something’s not working – a computer, a coffee grinder, a phone – is do a restart.

We power it off. Sometimes we even unplug it, and then we power it back up again, hopefully with its functions restored and ready to restart.

Sidenote: Pretty much every day I get a prompt from my computer: Updates available. Restart  > now; later; remind me tomorrow?

Every time, I click “remind me tomorrow.” Ha! We are all works in progress!

And that’s more than okay. Our mental health writer, Olivia Lynn Schnur, gives us a background on why restarting – a goal, a day, your life – is a worthwhile endeavor (pg 36). She writes: “Each time we restart, our why becomes louder and our why not loses its voice.”

Minnesota-based artist Amy Rice (featured on the cover) made a conscious decision to restart her creative direction more than a decade ago, painting her future, rather than her present or past. Much of her work switched to featuring the flower farm of her future – which is now a reality! Inspire(d) is sponsoring Amy’s upcoming show at Lanesboro Arts, “A Few Steps Ahead: Finding Hope in a Seed Started.” Her work often features reuse of items like old maps, love letters, and stamps – a good way to restart the life of these items, and a perfect fit for this issue (pg 16).

This Restart theme is also a nod to Earth Day. I can’t let an opportunity to love the Earth slip on by; it needs all the love it can get!

Kristine Kopperud met up with two women who are both working to spread that message: Ayla Boylen of Cedar Rapids, and Leslie Smith Sand of Decorah. They have found a way to advocate for climate action on a community level, building their communities up as they go (pg 56).

We have other great Community Builders in this issue as well – read about Decorah’s own Friends of Decorah Public Library; Renée Bergstrom of Lanesboro, Minnesota; and Bree Breckel and Eric Weninger of Cashton, Wisconsin, and how each group, person, or partnership has worked to make their hometowns a better place to live.

Speaking of “re-” words, reuse is the name of the game in our piece about four awesome, women-run secondhand stores in the Driftless (pg 50). Plus, our Sum of your Business features Jamie Gavle and Rendered Unique, home to great rehabbed and vintage furniture, handmade jewelry, Midwest-inspired apparel, and more (pg 42).

Dreaming of restarting my garden is one of the things that gets me through the end of winter. You too? Check out inspiration on page 48. Love plants that don’t require weeding? Conservationist writer Craig Thompson gives us a tour of nature’s spring ephemerals (pg 60). Don’t know that word? I didn’t either. It means: “lasting a very short time.” Which is often the case with the entirety of spring, so let’s soak it up!

Spring can be a time where our dreams from the start of the year have fallen to the wayside. But just as the world is restarting its life outside your doors, peeking out of the earth toward the sunshine, so can you. Press restart today.

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

Summer 2021 Inspire(d)!

Summer 2021 Inspire(d) Cover

The Summer 2021 Inspire(d) is all about finding ways to make do with what you’ve got on hand – in your fridge and for your summer. Inside, you’ll find fun activities, inspiring people and organizations, and tips for self-care and working with what you’ve got. 

Work With What You’ve Got! Community Hunger Solutions • Little Free Libraries • This American House • Blue Fruit Farm • Mental Health + Self-Care • Hammered Flower Postcards • Community Builders: Lara & Neil Martinsen-Burrell • Driftless Tiny Towns Day Tripper • Sum of Your Biz: Big Driftless & More!

Read the whole thing online here!

A note from Aryn:

After a year that felt stocked to the brim with lemons, it’s time for some lemonade, don’t you think?

Many have been “working with what we’ve got” – i.e. making lemonade out of lemons – for a while, perhaps forever if you’re particularly skilled at that character strength. Others might still be honing those talents.

But either way, we’ve definitely all had some practice. We’ve become better at recognizing our ever-shifting comfort levels in this ever-shifting world, and have found new tools to better Work With What We’ve Got.

So we here at Inspire(d) say it’s time to squeeze the best out this summer! Let’s make some dang lemonade, friends!

This issue is filled with inspiration for just that: Stories of innovative folks who know how to make the most of, well, whatever.

In Sara Walter’s piece about Community Hunger Solutions (pg 16) in Viroqua, Wisconsin, find out how this organization takes seconds and surplus food and produce from farmers, factories, and more – food that would normally be heading for the bin – and gets it on local tables that need it.

Meet Jason Loper and Michael Schrieber – and their house, the Meier House in Monona, Iowa – in my story about their path from Chicago to the Driftless, and their new book about the history of their house, the only Frank Lloyd Wright American System-Built Home in Iowa (pg 22).

Read about the ever-enterprising farmers at Blue Fruit Farm (pg 48) in Winona, Minnesota, using MPR and lasers to keep pests away, plus how they helped to establish organics and a farmers market in their region in a story from new Inspire(d) contributor, Renee Brincks.

For our summer Sum of Your Business, Benji Nichols chats with Cody Whittle of Big Driftless about the ups and downs of running his hand-crafted (and amazing!) gear, pack, and apparel company (pg 54), and Kristine Jepsen features the Martinsen-Burrells – or the MB’s as they’re know around Decorah – in a Community Builder piece that highlights the family’s work with the local OWL program (pg 44).

As for your summer: are you planning some, ahem, smaller travel plans? Erin Dorbin takes readers on a Southeast Minnesota Tiny Town Day Tripper Adventure that’s full of fun, winding you through tiny towns and Driftless backroads (pg 60).

As you travel, keep an eye out for little house-like structures, filled with books and installed around towns across the U.S. These are Little Free Libraries, and they were founded in Hudson, Wisconsin. There are quite a few around the Driftless, and we learn about the history, and some of Decorah’s LFL, in Sara Friedl-Putnam’s story (pg 28).

Finally, make sure you take a stop mid-way through this magazine for the summer Mental Health piece by local mental health counselor Olivia Lynn Schnur. She walks us through tips that will help us Work With What We’ve Got – starting with self care (pg 37) – with an infographic introduction by me (pg 33).

Plus, there are a ton of fun summer things to add to your to-do list: live outdoor music (pg 14), flower pounding postcards (pg 43), and lots of super cool things around the region (pg 9). We hope you make the most of this fleeting season – it’s your summer, after all…and you’ve gotta work with that!

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

Probituary: Phyllis Green

Phyllis Green, interviewed by daughter Pat Beck

phyllis-green

Originally published in the Fall 2016 Inspire(d) Magazine, Phyllis passed away July 28, 2020.  Our condolences to Phyllis’ family and friends.

People around Decorah know Phyllis Green as a bridge player, club member, cookie baker, reliable volunteer, teacher and loyal friend. These qualities, plus a cheerful outlook, and a pragmatic can-do attitude have had a positive effect on people who have known her over eight decades. Phyllis was born August 16, 1928, and grew up on the Erickson family farm near Burr Oak. Though it was during the Great Depression, her life was rich with farm activities, 4-H, church, a sister, cousins, chores, and her pets. She learned the rewards of hard work, of challenging herself, of true love, and of giving.

phyllis_siblingsPhyllis lived in Decorah during her high school years because there were no school buses. She made this big transition shortly after she turned 13; she shared a room with people she didn’t know, cooked for herself, and was introduced to running water and electricity. Decorah High School offered High School Normal Training to prepare teachers for country schools. Phyllis’s long teaching career led to recognition as Scott County Teacher Award, North Scott Community Arts Patron, Iowa Social Studies Teacher of the Year, University of Iowa Distinguished Teacher Award, and The 51st Point of Light given by President Bush.

What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?

I am rather averse to advice. I learn by example. My mother taught me to try new things because that’s how you learn if you can do them or not.

What is the worst advice anyone ever gave you?

Since this is not a part of my thinking, I usually count on my own ideas – sometimes good and sometimes questionable. Isn’t that how you learn?

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was in second grade, my teacher showed me the love and understanding that touched and impressed me. It was in second grade that I set my goal to become a teacher.

When I finished high school, I taught two years in a country school. Then I married K. Ted Green, my life partner. We have five beautiful children. When they were all in school, I started college and completed my degree at Upper Iowa University. Because of Ted’s job with Oscar Mayer, we moved to the Quad Cities. I taught at North Scott Schools for 25 years. Living just 50 miles from The University of Iowa was incentive to continue my education. I completed my MA in two areas and was accepted in the doctoral program. Ted knew I wanted to further my education and he made this dream a reality by his complete support, encouragement, and understanding. These were the building blocks that made my dreams come true. I’ve always been curious about people and places. Ted and I enjoyed foreign travel so this was a part of our yearly plan.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?

I’d want lots of pictures of our family – children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, a good book, paper and a pencil, and a Hershey Bar. I know that is more than three things, but I usually get what I want.

Try to describe yourself in one sentence.

I am a hard worker, an honored wife, a loved mom, grandma, and great-grandma.

If you could eat anything everyday for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A Hershey chocolate bar.

Name one thing you could not live without.

I need a pencil and paper to record my feelings, my wishes, my poetry, my dreams, my stories, my ideas, and to communicate with family and friends – but if I can really have only ONE thing, it would be my family.

phyllis_ted_weddingTell us about your favorite memory.

I will never forget meeting Ted. I was at the county fair when a friend introduced us. He was the county boys’ 4-H president and I was the county girls’ 4-H president but we had never met. I finished high school, taught two years and Ted went to Madison to start his career.

Our wedding day started 63 years of “favorite memories.” We were married at Upper Lutheran Church and had our wedding reception at the Winneshiek Hotel.  We were blessed with four sons and one daughter. Each birth, baptism, confirmation, graduation, wedding have added to our favorite memories.

Also our 60th wedding party, planned by our children, was also held at the Hotel Winneshiek. I have so much to be grateful for!

green_family2016