Posts Tagged: inspired

Read Inspire(d) Winter 2018-19 Online!

Inspire(d) Winter 2018-19

The Winter 2018-19 Inspire(d) is all about walking your talk! Here’s what you’ll find:

Female Mayors in the Driftless Region • Mentoring in Northeast Iowa, Burning Bright • Getting in the Spirit – RockFilter Distillery, La Crosse Distilling Co., Harmony Spirits • Sum of Your Biz: David Wadsworth • Snowbird on the Cheap • & More!

A note from Aryn:

Those feet on the cover? They’re mine and Roxie’s, and looking at that picture gives me a sense of pride, excitement, and – I’m finding as I get older – a sense of urgency. I know, I know: I’m only 37! But time keeps on ticking away, and I want to be sure we’ve a.) lived this life well and b.) taken care of this world so our daughter can live her life well, too.

I think about it every day – are we doing enough? What will things be like for Roxie in 10, 20, 30 years? The urgency of it all starts to seep in. But I take a deep breath, and do what I can do. I try to walk our talk within our community by emulating the ideas we write about in this magazine.

Others walk their talks in their own, awesome ways, like Driftless women who have recently pulled a seat up to the political table as mayors. Maggie Sonnek interviewed four such women – some are the first female mayors in the history of their towns. This comes as we celebrate a record number of women elected to congress in November 2018. It’s (beyond) time, and it’s exciting. I applaud and support these women, and I’m happy they’re providing these great examples of female leaders for Roxie.

In a different  – but equally important – role, there are mentors in Northeast Iowa who are directly supporting young people through Helping Services Youth Mentoring. 2018 marked the program’s 20-year anniversary of fostering positive friendships and experiences in the area, and January is National Mentoring Month. I interviewed Mentoring Coordinator Kathy Schwartzhoff, as well as local mentor Paul Bauhs and his mentee, Jake, about the ripple of good impacts that has come from the program (and how you can join in too).

Decorah’s popular winter solstice concert, Burning Bright, has been bringing light in the darkness and giving back to the community… also for two decades! Choir member Kristine Jepsen chats with founding members and directors as they reflect on years past and prepare for this season’s performance.

Along with the work (and joy) of walking our talk, there also has to be time for fun. This day – and every day – is one to be lived well. Winter can be a tough time for remembering that, so we put together some ideas to help you get out – of the doldrums, and out the door, too. Winter challenges, ideas for “Snowbirding on the Cheap,” and more. Plus, don’t miss Sara Walter’s feature on the rise in craft distilling in the Driftless – read about RockFilter Distillery, La Crosse Distilling Co., and Harmony Spirits, then grab your designated driver and head out to explore this new and rising industry in our region. Special shout-out to my good friend and photographer, Jen Opheim, for road tripping with me to Spring Grove – see her beautiful photographs of RockFilter starting on page 44.

Other days, you might want to stay in. We’ve got you covered! Maybe as you make your house extra koselig (remember? If you don’t, check page 32) you can read about David Wadsworth and Wadsworth Construction in this issue’s Sum of Your Business. Making houses cozy and well put together is what he’s all about.

All of us here at Inspire(d) hope you have a great end of 2018, and that you look to 2019 as a year filled with possibilities. You can do anything! Let’s do this!

Happy New Year! Thank you for reading – and being – Inspire(d)!

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

Read the Winter 2018-19 Inspire(d) online here!

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