Posts Tagged: inspired

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

Read the Summer 2018 Inspire(d)!

Lots of fun things to look forward to in the Summer 2018 Inspire(d):

4-H • Dunning’s Spring bridge / Stonemason Ted Wilson • Viroqua’s Growing for Good • Adventures in the Driftless • Summer “Fill Your” Bucket List • Wabasha’s LARK Toys • Sum of Your Business: WW Homestead Dairy, Paper Butterflies, & More!

A note from Aryn:

Thinking back on my childhood, summer was all about adventures. Oftentimes, those adventures were just exploring the woods in my backyard or going down to the nearby creek with my cousins to squish cold mud between our toes.

So there’s nothing that brings me more joy than watching my kid run around our backyard, barefoot, hiding behind ferns and playing silly made-up games with her friends, or climbing up the rocks at Dunning’s Spring in Decorah. (Read Kristine Jepsen’s story about the new Dunning’s Spring bridge, and stonemason Ted Wilson on page 42 – it is fascinating!)

This is the stuff of summer, you guys!

Need a little inspiration to get you started? You clearly came to the right place! Check out our Summer Fill Your Bucket List, and some great events you might want to add to your Adventure Calendar this season (ever heard of the Catgut Paddle? It looks awesome!). Adventuring Ideas start on page 34, plus there’s a nice round up of resources available for exploring our little corner of the Driftless (pg 64), compiled by recent Luther grad Elizabeth Bonin.

CLICK HERE to read the Summer 2018 issue of Inspire(d) Magazine!

I know one adventure we’re adding to our list for sure: LARK Toys in Wabasha, Minnesota. How is it that I’ve never been to this giant (seriously, it’s 21,000 square feet!) toy store? Reading Maggie Sonnek’s story about how the current owners took on this “Willy Wonka-style” job – and how it connects to a slower pace of life – was truly beautiful (pg. 55).

Another big part of my childhood summer was 4-H. At the end of the school year, I would pick a pattern with my mom, and together we’d sew a project (inevitably we’d run right up on the fair deadline in July – an early sign of my aversion to deadlines?). I would often submit a photograph or another craft too, or maybe even do a presentation (I got to go to Cattle Congress as a junior member!). I remember painting awesome trash cans with our 4-H club name (the Cherry Valley Chums) for the Allamakee County Fair and working the food booth with fellow members.

(Sidenote: I totally could have entered something crafty with the Paper Butterflies Project Roxie and I put together on page 21.)

So yes: Fair time was the best! I think the Einck kids featured in this issue of Inspire(d) think the same thing (pg. 14)! Sara Friedl-Putnam tagged along with these three Decorah siblings as they took care of some of the animals they’re showing at the Winneshiek County Fair – from chickens to dogs to sheep to goats! Going through the livestock barns (and the 4-H building) is one of my favorite parts of the fair, and it was fun to get the background on what it takes to get there, and learn some of the history behind my beloved 4-H organization as well (pg. 14).

We’ve got lots of other great stories woven throughout this issue too – Growing for Good in Viroqua, Wisconsin (pg. 26), WW Homestead Dairy in Waukon (pg. 51), a wonderful probituary, and more.

We hope you have a great summer, friends, and that this magazine helps inspires you to get out adventuring!

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

CLICK HERE to read the Summer 2018 issue of Inspire(d) Magazine!

Read the Driftless Food Guide Online!

It’s here! It’s here! We wanted to make sure you got a peek at it online because we are so. darn. excited!

So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce: the first-ever Driftless Food Guide! You can read the whole thing online here!

Let me tell you a little more about what we’ve got going on: At the heart of this publication are the stories of farmers, producers, restaurant-owners, cooks, beer-brewers, wine-makers, spirit-distillers and other foodie-type entrepreneurs who are busy at work, making the Driftless so amazing – and tasty! 

There’s something utterly magical about biting into a freshly picked fruit or vegetable, drinking a locally made brew, or tucking into a just-baked pie. You can taste the love, the family history, the hard work that went into it.

We created the Driftless Food Guide to help you learn a little more about the people behind that hard work, and so that you may be inspired (woot, woot), to make your food local this year. Supporting local businesses directly invests in your community, and building communities is one of the most important things you can do in this life.

Plus, you’ve gotta eat. You may as well make it fun and delicious…and make it count!

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

Got a great story?

We’d love to hear more! There’s a finite amount of space in each Driftless Food Guide (DFG), but luckily we’ll make a new one each year. We can’t guarantee we’ll write every story we’re pitched, but can promise to learn more about and listen to your ideas!

Missed the ad deadline?

Darn, we didn’t get you in this year! No worries! We’ll make another DFG in 2019. Head on over to this page for more information about advertising or getting listed in the Local Producer Directory (see that on page 29).

Watch for the print version of the Driftless Food Guide showing up around the region soon, and in the meantime, please check it out here and let us know what you think! Thanks!