29 September 2010

a girl has needs.

This past Saturday I took a little road trip.  I wasn't taking the usual road trip to Mankato or Sioux Falls, I was going to the small Sibley, Iowa.  I had heard there was a new coffeehouse and roastery that opened and I was curious.  I guess I'm a self proclaimed coffeehouse bum.  I could sit all day, everyday in a coffeehouse, maybe because I always somehow find inspiration at the bottom of a great cup of strong, black coffee and I think I'm drawn to the people who have enough courage to open one.  I had absolutely no idea what to expect from The Latern in Sibley, Iowa, but when I walked in the door, I was pleasantly surprised.  It was so warm and inviting and smelled like inspiration.  The high tin ceiling, full of character, held together the exposed interior brick walls, so imperfect it was perfect.  The original wood floor had once again been found and restored to its original beauty.  Not only was the atmosphere just what I had hoped for, but we were greeted by a friendly smile.  I was sold before I even had a cup of their very own house blend or tasted their delectable cakes.  Of course my husband thought I was crazy for falling in love so soon and so hard (but he shouldn't question it because the same thing happened when I met him) for "just a coffeeshop".  To me it is more than a coffeeshop--it felt like hope, it was a dream put to life.  Yeah, I am probably crazy for wanting to drive all the way to Sibley, Iowa (which is 45 miles from Windom and for big city folk that translates into about 45 minutes away from Windom) for a cup of fresh brewed black coffee, but on Saturdays, they have live music--a perfect combination for yours truly.  But it just goes to show, people are willing to find what they need even if the gas it takes to get there is more expensive than the product they are seeking.

28 September 2010

dear diary.

I just put Henrik to bed for the 207th time, something I will never take for granted despite it happening every single night.  Every night around the same time, after a hectic day provided by life, the lights in the house are turned off and we sit, Henrik in my arms and me in the rocking chair.  It really is my favorite time of the day, a chance to finally breath and think about how lucky I am to have these precious moments with my son.  I whisper in his almost 7 month old ears all the secrets I know about life, some I assure him we will someday learn together.  I sing to him sweet simple songs that I hope he will always remember and find comforting.  He snuggles tight into my arms, where he fits so perfectly, but everyday makes my arms stretch even more around him--a different kind of clock reminding me of how fast time goes.  But tonight he did something different than usual.  Tonight, when I laid him in his crib, just after I could feel his tiny body finally relax into a slumber while peacefully sucking away on his new pacifier, he turned away, his back to me, and snuggled into his own comfortable position.  A position I didn't provide for him this time--the 207th time.  It made me start to think he was starting to become less reliable on me--a scary thought for a parent, especially a new one.  It seems I have become so accustomed to taking care of this baby, providing him life's necessities of care and love, but tonight, he didn't need me to put him in a likable sleeping position, he did it all by himself.  Such a crazy feeling for a new mother and maybe I'm making a big deal out of such a small gesture, but it is a feeling of sadness because he is growing so quickly and soon will not need me for such simple tasks such as feeding him or rocking him to sleep. But it is also a feeling of excitement because this is what it is all about, watching this tiny thing we brought into this world become, well, something capable of hopes, dreams, passions and ambitions.  I know this is only a small step in the giant world of parenting, but this is what my life has been for the last 207 nights, which is still very new to me (and scary).  I suppose this has become more of a personal journal entry, but I must also say that for the last 68 nights I've been trying to take care of my community the best I know how, just like I do for Henrik. And I guess I have the same hopes for Windom.  I'm hoping someday it will become something full of not only hopes and dreams, but passions and ambitions. Just a small step in the giant world of possibilities in Windom.

Goodnight sweet Windom, goodnight.

26 September 2010

sunday's best.

The echoing church bells, crisp air and warm sun were my best friends today. The golden hues of fall were brillant with life as I roamed freely on a Sunday afternoon, which brings me to the reason I write tonight. I wish to point out the amount of pride I see not only on Sundays, but everyday and every season--it's the pride I see in our community's churches, and I can safely say this about every single church in our city.  The lawns are always perfectly manicured, the landscaping not overwhelming, but a perfect amount of love and attention, inviting benches and tasteful seasonal decor.  Our churches look inviting and cared for, but I suppose this is the way it should be given the purpose for its foundation.  I appreciate the care and love put into our local churches.  Thank you for being a beautiful part of our community.

23 September 2010


With the craziness of building awareness by meeting with several groups in the past few weeks, which has been keeping me very busy, and our Divide and Conquer: Square Edition, I think many are wondering what is next for Finding Windom.  There are a lot of things we are working on, overwhelming at times, but we are to a point were we need to take one thing at a time (a problem I'm constantly working on in my personal life as well).  During the next few weeks, we will be working with the Plum Creek Food Coop to enhance their business, so watch for a Plum Creek Food Coop Grand Reopening "Found by Finding Windom!" coming the beginning of November.  More details will be given in the near future--we are very excited for this opportunity!  Along with the Food Coop project, Finding Windom will be launching a support local campaign by challenging the residents of Windom to shop and support local, especially with the upcoming holiday season.  With all these things going on, I'm also still continuing to meet with various groups and organizations in order to build partnerships and awareness of Finding Windom's cause and always striving to keep the enthusiasm of Finding Windom alive. 

There are more exciting things happening right now as well for Finding Windom, but I hate to give it all away in one post...you'll just have to keep reading...

21 September 2010

everybody, somebody, anybody and nobody.

This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job.
Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

--Author unknown

20 September 2010

ode to elementary poetry.

W indy most days
 I mperfect lovliness
N ot your average
D es Moines River
O ddly square
M any interesting gems

19 September 2010

differently the same.

This past week I had the pleasure of speaking with two groups in order to build awareness and to find partners for Finding Windom and our cause.  On Monday night I was invited to speak at Circles of Support and on Thursday I was invited to speak at Kiwanis Club. I talked about the same things at both meetings: my purpose for starting the blog and organization, Finding Windom, the things we have done and the things we are going to do in the future.  I'm going to be honest, I could easily talk all day, maybe two, about Finding Windom and just Windom in general if I could find someone willing to listen for that great amount of time (okay, well, maybe my husband does on occasion, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate his ears, his nods, his ideas, his support and for just loving me for who I am--I can only imagine how exhausting I am to listen to sometimes). 

It was just yesterday that it dawned on me how the two groups I met with this past week couldn't be any more differently the same.  You are probably thinking "how can two things be 'differently the same'"?  Well, in this case, it is quite possible.  I'm not going to write about the differences between these two groups--there is no point to dwell on negatives-it doesn't accomplish anything.  But what is being accomplish on Mondays from 5-7pm and Thursdays from 12-1pm is the push for a better community and I felt it in the atmosphere of both meeting grounds.  It is amazing how many groups around our city have the same focus--our community.  We have Circles of Support, Kiwanis Club, the Chamber, the Conventions and Visitors Bureau, Church and Society boards, the City Council Board and Commissions, the Riverfest Committee, the Lions Club, the Masons, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, Women of Today...are you overwhelmed yet?  I'm sure I forgot a bunch.  All of these groups are promoting help to better our community of Windom, they are all paralleling each other to one grand destination.  It finally dawned on me that maybe we should all consider crossing paths?  Is it okay to call it perpendicularing?

Thank you to Circles of Support and Kiwanis for listening to me! I enjoyed my time with you and  I look forward to working with you...

Finding Windom together,

17 September 2010

check it out!

Finding Windom is making its way across the country thanks to Aaron Horkey art fans!!!

Thanks guys!  Come back soon!

Check it out: http://insidetherockposterframe.blogspot.com/

Also check out: http://www.burlesquedesign.com

16 September 2010

calling all women.

check out lady's night on october 5th starting at 5pm at the windom community center. come enjoy a night out featuring speaker gayle hanson, a chicken breast dinner, wine coolers and set ups, various area vendors and the revealing of  3 "makeovers".  get your tickets for $25 at the windom chamber. 

sounds like a real treat.  i know i'll enjoy it...


From an interesting book titled "Who's your City?" by Richard Florida:

Without question, both of those decisions—the what [job] and the who [life partner]—mean a great deal to our lives. But there is another decision that has an equal, if not greater, effect on our economic future, happiness, and overall life outcome. The question of where.

Maybe this seems so obvious that people overlook it. Finding the right place is as important as—if not more important than— finding the right job or partner because it not only influences those choices but also determines how easy or hard it will be to correct mistakes made along the way. Still, few of us actually look at a place that way. Perhaps it’s because so few of us have the understanding or mental framework necessary to make informed choices about our location.

The place we choose to live affects every aspect of our being. It can determine the income we earn, the people we meet, the friends we make, the partners we choose, and the options available to our children and families. People are not equally happy everywhere, and some places do a better job of providing a high quality of life than others. Some places offer us more vibrant labor markets, better career prospects, higher real estate appreciation, and stronger investment and earnings opportunities. Some places offer more promising mating markets. Others are better environments for raising children.

Place also affects how happy we are in other, less palpable ways. It can be an island of stability in a sea of uncertainty and risk. Jobs end. Relationships break up. Choosing the right place can be a hedge against life’s downsides. I hate to dwell on the negative, but you need to think about this. It’s always terrible to lose a job, even worse to suffer a breakup with a significant other. As bad as those are, however, they are substantially worse if you also happen to live somewhere with few options in the job market or the mating market. It’s exponentially easier to get back on your feet when your location has a vibrant economy with lots of jobs to choose from, or a lot of eligible single people in your age range to date.

The point is, where we live is a central life factor that affects all the others—work, education, and love—follow. It can make or break existing work arrangements and personal relationships. It can open new doors. And regardless of what kind of life we envision for ourselves—whether we aspire to make millions, have a family, or live the way of a bachelor—choosing where to live is a decision we all must make at least once. A good number of us will make it multiple times. The average American moves once every seven years. More than 40 million people relocate each year; 15 million make significant moves of more than 50 or 100 miles.

The stakes are high, and yet, when faced with the decision of where to call home, most of us are not prepared to make the right choice. If you ask most people how they got to the place they live now, they’ll say they just ended up there. They stayed close to family or friends, they got a job there, or more commonly, they followed an old flame. Some don’t even see that there’s a choice to be made at all.

I want to read more...I'll keep you updated...

14 September 2010

september blessings.

I can hear the rhythm of the crickets
outside my open window
the window that cools the floor
the old hardwood beneath my feet
another rhythm
the still September evening
supplies a simple song
a blessing
like the warmth of a rural home
surrounded by guards of crickets

happy times.

12 September 2010

courtesy of finding windom.

As I got out of bed this morning, my muscles felt a little tight and the blister between my thumb and index finger had finally scabbed over.  A small price to pay for the job that had to be done yesterday.  I woke up on Saturday morning to the sun making its ascend and the subtle season changing colors of the southwest Minnesota morning.  The two combined are nearly impossible to describe with words.  In fact, these colors are so incredible I think Crayola could sell a box of crayons of all the vibrant yellows, oranges, greens and browns specifically found in a southwest Minnesota morning horizon. But then again, I don't think it could be duplicated in a wax stick.  It was a pleasure to see the sun yesterday after getting two full days of heavy rain the days before, which proved to be a God's send for pulling weeds that would have otherwise been difficult to pull out of dry dirt and sand. 

I was excited to see the Finding Windom team weren't the only hands to show up, so thank you to those willing to lend their helping hands--you were amazing. I would like to tip my hat to the Masons who took the initiative to clean and touch up their beautiful historic building.  They even continued the work today, and its looks great! It makes the Finding Windom workload that much lighter. 

I am hoping those willing to offer their opinions on Saturday of what should be done will someday put their opinions into action.  We could only do so much in one day for a short 3 hours and my body (along with the others helping) had been worked enough for the time being, but I'm proud of what we did accomplish and so thankful for the people helping to make our city beautiful.

Our big pile-it was all found around our Square.
I look forward to another day where we can all come together to take pride in our river city and another gorgeous southwest Minnesota morning.

10 September 2010

the sun will come out tomorrow.

See you all tomorrow, Saturday, September 11th, on the square for Finding Windom's first clean up day.  Meet by Larry Buhler at 9am with gloves for picking weeds and trash.  We will divide and conquer from there.  A big thanks to Runnings, Scwalbach's Ace Hardware and Women of Today for donating to Finding Windom and our cause for this event. 

And the sun will be there... 

09 September 2010


Finding Windom is proud to announce that we will be working with the Plum Creek Food Coop of Windom.  The Finding Windom team has been using our creative minds to build plans to enhance the business.  Tonight, we walked into a meeting of Food Coop board members with our outline, visuals and helping hands to offer our services, and they so graciously accepted our offers.  We are very excited to help the Plum Creek Food Coop, and we are excited they are allowing us this opportunity to show what we have to offer.  Get ready, Windom, the Plum Creek Food Coop is going to be FOUND by FINDING WINDOM!  Thank you, Food Coop, for taking the time to hear us out--we won't let you down or Windom.

08 September 2010

Welcome Horkey Art Fans!

This Sunday, September 12th, from 2-4pm, Windom native Aaron Horkey will be revealing his work at the Remick Gallery at the Cottonwood County Historical Society for a show to last until November.  I can hardly wait to see his work in person.  His art is respected by many artists and people around the world.  He has designed for various skateboard companies and alternative bands.  His work is intricate and flawless and nothing short of breathtaking. Not only are we blessed to call this amazing artist local and that he is willing to show his famous works in Windom, but we will be blessed by the coming of many Horkey fans. So get ready, Windom, let's share our own Midwestern Hearts with the world this Sunday by welcoming these guests with open arms.  Lets dust off the Windom welcome mat and make them want to come back and with their friends.

07 September 2010

just some business.

First and foremost, thank you for all your support, each and everyone...

Second, for those of you who have read or will read the Citizen (http://www.windomnews.com/) this week I would like to clarify that all "my" ideas and things "I" would like to see are not only my ideas, but the ideas of the Finding Windom cabinet and Finding Windom supporters.  A lot of the things mentioned in the paper were a collabortation of the Finding Windom team and not only my ideas.  I must give credit where credit is due.  From this day forward (and past posts as well) when I say or write "Finding Windom," I'm talking about a team and not just Mari Harries alone because this blog would have been dead and gone without such crucial support and passion from beyond my heart and soul. 

Third and definately not the least important, Divide and Conquer.  This Saturday, September 11th from 9am-12pm, Finding Windom will be hosting one of many community beatifying days.  We will be focusing on the perimeter of the Square, front and back, and some spots along the highway.  I'm looking forward to this day for the community to come together, to take pride in what we have, and for us to all Find Windom with our own hands and cooperation.  We will be pulling weeds and picking up trash.  We will be helping businesses with any small "to-dos" that have been on the list, we will be enjoying the beautiful weather Minnesota has to offer in September, and we will be working together--all the things that make us a great community to live in and raise our children in.  Bring work gloves, wear appropriate clothing for dirty work that makes our city shine, and any tools that may help with the job. 

We will also be taking donations at this time to continue our mission of beautifying the city and finding its potential.  We will take work gloves, glass cleaner, brooms, trash bags, rakes, trimmers, hedge clippers, paper towels or reusable rags, old and/or new paint for signs and touchups (both interior and exterior), usable scrap wood for signs, flowerboxes, benches, etc, and flower pots of all sizes.  Anything  you can think of that could be repurposed somehow and be used to beautify the city.  Finding Windom loves to reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose with a little TLC.  None of these things have to be "new," so check your garages, sheds and basements.

See you Saturday by Larry Buhler--let's give him something to really smile about!

06 September 2010

we must learn from the wise.

"As a boy the early pioneer scenes connected with the development of our community made an impression on my young mind.  As I grew older, my mind seemed to dwell upon these things more and more.  When I think of those early pioneers who went through these many hardships, how they sowed the seed that has grown to what we enjoy today, I ask: 'Should we not be thankful for their work and perseverance?' So let us stop a moment and think of these things.  Those days to me are almost sacred.  I know whereof I speak...I often think of the pleasant association I have had with all of these men and women of our church and community, from the time I was a small boy to the present.  And I think of how they tried, by their work and influence, to give us a clean community in which to rear their children, and their children's children.  In these later years I have wondered, sometimes, if we who have carried on this work have done it as we should, the work which they started and expected up to carry on?  In many ways I am afraid sometimes we have not measured up. We are passing through some very trying experiences, days when men and women are being tried.  We must all stand for those things that are just and right..."

Edward Ellsworth Gillam
The First Methodist Church of Windom, MN
Published in 1949

04 September 2010

a foot in the door to autumn.

The 52 degree crisp night air coming through my dining room window on an early September night makes these words I'm about to share even more beautiful.  I found this book called This Way of Life at an antique store.  The calm red cover with a picture of old barns and a silo that looks as though it was taken just a few miles out of Windom city limits caught my eye.  I immediately picked up the book and turned to a random page to start reading.  There was a humble, genuine truth in the short paragraph I quickly picked to read.  A must have after reading these words and $7 later, the book now sits next to me and my laptop on my dining room table.  The book is a compilation of thoughts of rural women, and I want to share the very first page, especially as we are starting to enter one of the most beautiful times of the year here in Southwestern Minnesota--autumn.  While reading these lines, Windom and its peaceful surroundings is all I can picture in my mind.

"Being an early riser, I often go at dawn to our front door and look out across the spread of fields.  The land lies table level as far as eye can see, stretching its flatness to reach a blue down-curve of sky.
At times the field before me suggests a proud piece of fabric cut to the pattern of a particular season.  The serenity remains constant, yet the field itself is forever changing.  During winter its dull brownness may lie under snow, with nothing more than an occasional jackrabbit train adorning that white blanket.  The sun lifts itself to cast a dazzling illumination over this expanse of emptiness. 
The snow melts, and after that tractors wend up and down pulling plows that stir the soil to a rich new browness.  The smell of moist earth drifts across the road...
The men plow, the spring rain falls on each straight-as-an-arrow row.  The men plant, and in a little while green shoots begin to peek through the earth.  They grow without a sound.
Spring green becomes the deeper green of summer as the stalk reach skyward.  Workers still come occasionally, to set the aluminum tubes through which pours all essential water for irrigation.  The sun, with sultry authority, commands the stalk to stretch high. 
The season progresses.  the sky's indigo blue changes to hazy gray.  My field's green begins to turn yellow-brown, and on the tops of the straight stalks sit proud heads of grain.  The ripen, pledging a rich harvest of grain sorghum.  The men come again, with more machines; the brown and red-gold field gives up its wealth and becomes an expanse of stubble.
All this I can see through the year, contemplating the seasons from our front door.  The tranquility and serenity of nothingness...then the birth of new life, the growth, the harvest...and again the waiting quietness."

02 September 2010

wish list.

Finding Windom is starting to find jobs, lots of jobs, and we need your help.  With all of these things on our to-do list, we are discovering there are many small things that would make our job so much easier and allow all kinds of people to be involved.  I have also had some requests to provide a wish list for people who want to help, but can't physically be here to do it, so here it is--Finding Windom's Wish List.  I realize some of these things are pretty big things, but everyone needs goals and I'm not afraid to go for it for the sake of finding Windom's potential and beauty.  All of these things would make our job of reviving our city that much easier:

Things to make the city shine: trash bags, brooms, rakes, window cleaner, paper towels, Round Up, working gloves and more helping hands to put in the gloves, lawnmower, trimmer, and any yard-working tools.

Things we can repurpose and need in order to repurpose/reuse things: flower pots of all sizes, scrap wood (big enough pieces to work with for signs, flowerboxes, benches, etc), hammers, screwdrivers, drills, nails, screws, new or leftover paint for signs or touchups, any leftovers you have from a project that could be used somehow, anything that may need some sprucing up and could be creatively used to add a unique touch to the city (I love fixing things up, repurposing and reusing things!).

Finding Windom could also use: a place to put all this stuff, a van to transport these items to a jobsite, ladders, paper to promote ourselves and our "community activities" and give Windom a good 'ol pep talk every once in awhile, willing business owners to work with (we want to help you and your business in numerous ways).  Hey, we could even use the expertise of a lawyer and/or tax dude to find out how to become a non-profit organization. 

Finding Windom is all about reducing, reusing, recycling, repairing, and repurposing in order to revive our city.  We are trying to think outside the box and we are willing to put a little elbow grease into things that will beautify and make our city welcoming and unique.  We encourage you to think outside the box as well.

If you would like to make any offerings or donations, send it to Finding Windom, PO Box 76, Windom, MN 56101.  We will also be taking any generous offerings on Saturday, September 11th from 9am-12pm at our "Divide and Conquer: The Square Edition."  There are so many things we would like to accomplish for the sake of saving Windom and thanks to all those people who have so willingly offered their help.  We appreciate your support beyond measure!