30 November 2010


It's cold and windy and snowy and I love it! And I'm sure most of you don't agree with me, and I completely understand.  Since I started working for the school, I feel like I'm ten years old all over again just waiting to hear those oh so delightful two words...SNOW DAY.  What a great birthday present for me today! It is rather funny to think about how my exciting snow day went from putting on my snow pants and boots to play on the big snow pile in the American Lutheran Church parking lot across the street to getting excited about finally having time to clean the house--something a ten-year-old me would have definately frowned upon.  Boy, have times changed--and so quickly.  What a wonderful, snowy day in southwestern Minnesota, it forces me to relax and slow down once in awhile, even though there is much to be done for Finding Windom. 


27 November 2010


I was rather excited when I was asked to write about rural economic development, a subject I'm very passionate about, for the blog Hindsight on Minnesota 2020.  What an awesome opportunity for Windom, and I look forward to writing more for MN 2020.

Check it out on http://www.mn2020hindsight.org/

Here is the post I wrote for Hindsight:

Rural: Not Just for Farmers!

One may think because I live in rural southwest Minnesota , I know everything one needs to know about harvesting and planting fields of corn and beans, I tend to farm animals like cows and swine, but I don’t. I may have dabbled in wearing cowboy boots because of a Hollywood trend some ridiculous celebrity magazine told me about, but I sure wasn’t wearing them for any morning chores. Although farming is one of the main reasons my small rural city of Windom, Minnesota, is on the map, the beauty of technology gives rural economy a chance to bloom beyond agriculture.

While the internet can hurt our rural economy by giving residents an easy option of shopping at the click of a button and finding the exact service needed by using a search engine, we must remember it would be that much easier for others to do the same to find us. Not only can we use the internet to market our services, but market our unique, pleasant way of life.

Despite past trends of flocking to urban areas to obtain employment and endless opportunities, technology gives many people an option to choose where they want to live based on the quality of life in which they seek, instead of where they are employed. Our rural areas are a wonderful place to live, work and play; it is a relaxed pace of life, surrounded by peaceful wildlife, neighbors, family, friends, and plain good living. I believe a lot of people are seeking just those things in a place to call home or to visit, so here is our chance to find and tell them “we have a place for you!” No need to be a farmer to live and enjoy rural, the internet works here too (psst…you don’t even have to own a pair of overalls or drive a tractor).

Read more about rural life at http://mari2cents.blogspot.com/

25 November 2010

giving thanks.

1. That big beautiful courthouse in downtown's center.
2. Our unique downtown square with a perimeter of history, character, and endless possibility.
3. The thriving businesses that give me that great small town service.
4. The parks.
5. The Des Moines River.
6. Lakes!
7. The Historical Society.
8. Hwy 60 and 71.
9. The school and my wonderful daycare provider.
10. The fastest fire department and EMT volunteers you can find.
11. The Toro Company.
12. The railroad tracks.
13. Wildlife and the peaceful outdoors at my fingertips.
14. Family and Friends so close.
15. So much to keep me busy and so much to keep my happy.
16. Windom and all its possibilities.

22 November 2010

o christmas tree.

I'm not a big believer in celebrating Christmas before Thanksgiving, but I've made an exception tonight, although I hate to admit I'm bursting at the seams just waiting to play Christmas songs. Tonight, Finding Windom decorated their very first Christmas Tree as an organization.  The Historical Society is putting on their annual Festival of Trees from December 1-23, and we are very excited to be a part of it!  I encourage everyone to check out the holiday cheer by going to see all the beautiful trees on display in the Remick Gallery, one of Windom's highlights, during the month of December.  Don't forget to vote for your favorite one...I won't tell you how to vote, but the Finding Windom tree is nice.  Season's Greetings from Finding Windom!

18 November 2010


Tonight I got to experience just another reason it is good to be here.  The Windom Area High School presented the public with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and it was nothing short of amazing.  To see and hear all those talented and wonderful kids up on that stage blessing us with their almighty voices gave me the goosebumps.  Not only do I appreciate those kids on that stage, but the people dedicating their time and knowledge to direct these kids to do their ultimate best is something we should all be thankful for. 

Thank you to the cast, crew and directors of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  You are a great asset to this community and put on a show tonight worth a thousand bravos!  THANK YOU!

14 November 2010

oh, mr. channing, you are so correct.

Beauty is so precious, the enjoyments it gives are so refined and pure,
so congenial with our tenderest and noblest feelings,
and so akin to worship, that it is painful to think of the multitude
of men as living in the midst of it, and living almost as blind
to it as if, instead of the fair earth and glorious sky, they
were living in a dungeon.

-William Channing

11 November 2010

it's nice here.

No person can perfectly put together the correct words to describe the beauty of a quiet night at home.
It is during these nights, when the world around me is settling in for the upcoming hours of rest, that I take a deep breath and find the inspiration that keeps me going.  I don't have to dig too deep or look too far to find just what I'm looking for.  I find it in that beautiful baby boy I just put to sleep and in the snoring Boston Terrier seeking warmth next to me.  I find it in the creaks and strange noises of this old house we call home.  I find it in the man who continues to adore me for exactly who I am (as hard as that may be sometimes).  It is during these quiet nights that I sit, write, count my blessings, and look forward to another wonderful day in Windom, Minnesota.

09 November 2010

just a thought.

How do you build a truly creative community--one that can survive and prosper in the emerging age? The key can no longer be found in the usual strategies.  Recruiting more companies won't do it...The rise of the Creative Economy has altered the rules of the economic development game.  Companies were the force behind the old game and cities measure their status by the number of corporate headquarters they were home to.  Even today many cities, states, and regions continue to use financial incentives--some of them obscenely extravagant--in their efforts to lure companies.

But while companies remain important, they no longer call the shots. As we have seen, companies increasingly go, and are started, where talented and creative people are.  Robert Nunn, the CEO of ADD Semiconductor, told the Wall Street Journal the "key element of building a technology business is attracting the right people to the company.  It's a combination of experience, skill set, raw intelligence, and energy. The most important thing is to be somewhere where you have a pool of people to draw that."

The bottom line is that cities need a people climate even more than they need a business climate.  This means supporting creativity across the board--in all of its various facets and dimensions--and building a community that is attractive to creative people, not just to high-tech companies.  As former Seattle mayor Paul Schell once said, success lies in "creating a place where the creative experience can flourish." Instead of subsidizing companies, stadiums and retail centers, communities need to be open to diversity and invest in the kinds of lifestyle options and amenities people really want.  In fact you cannot be a thriving high-tech center if you don't do this.

--Taken from the book The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida.

07 November 2010

ring on.

Windom needs this beautiful song composed and written by Jim Austerman to be played on our courthouse bells.  I love waking up to the bells of the courthouse and hearing those bells play on the hour, and how wonderful that Jim Austerman has composed this song for Windom.  We should be proud and honored he has done this for our community, and this melody needs to be a part of our downtown in respect of his gift to us.

06 November 2010

the coop finale.

The finale of the Finding Windom experience with the Plum Creek Food Coop was a huge success!  It was an eventful and exciting Grand Reopening, and I had a blast.  There was a great turnout, and I appreciate all the support and attendees the beautiful morning brought to the downtown square.  How wonderful to have such events grace our square on a Saturday morning!  I can't thank Jim Austerman and his wife enough for the generousity of sharing such gifts with us.  Thank you to the staff of the Plum Creek Food Coop for allowing Finding Windom the opportunity to put our visions for the Coop to life. And a big Thank You to all the people who helped during this transformation--I couldn't have done it without you!  I'm looking forward to more exciting things to work on...
She's got the right idea.

Proud to introduce Wheeler Bread--available on Wednesdays and Fridays!

FRESH COFFEE will now be available everyday during Plum Creek Food Coop store hours!

05 November 2010

people do.

Ah, a Friday night.  I love Friday nights because they are full of possibility.  A carefree night, a weekend to look forward to.  And this Friday night was perfect--a night at the good 'ol Bergen Bar and Grill.  For those of you who are not familiar with this Bar and Grill, you are missing out on one of the ten wonders of the world because it is nothing short of amazing.  You are probably wondering what makes it so remarkable because it is so tiny that you have to wait for seating (sometimes for up to an hour or two), it is oddly located, and the parking, well, what parking?  But I'm telling you the food, the food is well worth the wait.  This place goes against all rules of the restaurant world except for one thing: people are willing to wait hours for and willing to drive miles for damn good food.

While you wait for one of the 10 tables that are crammed in the old small building located in the absolute middle-of-no-where between Windom and Jackson, you have two options based on the time of year--your car, in the winter of course, or the deck in the summer. And while you wait in one of these two places, you can order a cold beer or set up (you can bring your own bottle) and stare at the abyss of farmed fields and lose yourself in the abundance of wind turbines.  You can't help but think about the upcoming experience you are going to be giving your tastebuds because in the very near future the best piece of meat you can find on a plate will be sitting right next to the best twice baked potato you can find in Southern Minnesota.  I know you are thinking I'm crazy talking about food like a teenage girl talks about Justin Bieber, but this food does not disappoint...

And people come from miles, wait and eat.  Just goes to show--if you give them what they want, they will come.

03 November 2010

if those old tracks could talk.

As I sit here staring at the mocking, blinking cursor, I hear the train coming.  The whistles blow, getting louder and louder, making it easy to judge the distance the train is away from the city.  As the powerful push on the tracks makes its way closer, the walls of this old house start to shake.  We sit a short few blocks from the tracks that were laid years earlier than the foundation of this historic house we call home.  The tracks--one of the foundations of this city.  Some may find the shaking walls and boisterous whistle rather annoying.  I guess if you're not used to it, it may come as a shock when you hear the first whistle blow and the gradual vibrations become a noticeably obvious shaking.  Sometimes I don't even notice or pay much attention, but every once in awhile especially on a quiet, restless night, I think about how many days and nights that train comes through this town and how many days and nights I have felt the walls of my house bow down to its power--even in my childhood.  It is amazing to think how many times that train has come through this city so confidently and that it still does to this day.  A piece of true history.

01 November 2010

courtesy of Finding Windom.

This is the new addition to the downtown square donated by Finding Windom.  It was a beautifully dented, uniquely shaped, planter and I fell in love with it when I saw it at the old antique store on the edge of town on Highway 60. It was perfectly imperfect.  A can of paint and some natural elements later and it now smiles at those who walk by.