31 December 2011

it's official.

It's official River City Eatery can sell STRONG BEER or should I say REAL BEER as of midnight tonight, January 1st, 2012.  What a great start to the new year!

22 December 2011


Another day has passed.  I'm enjoying the quiet in what was once the walk in freezer of Mix Bakery, but what I like to call the water heater closet/eatery office now.  I'm definately feeling the hustle and bustle of the holiday season that so quickly approached, so it feels good to just sit with only the somewhat unsettling sounds of an old building's personality to listen to.  Somebody pinch me, this blessing can't be real. 

Now that I feel like I'm getting into a groove of organized chaos here at River City, I'm looking forward to making some New Year's resolutions.  On my priority list is to help organize a Retail Association of sorts for our local businesses.  I've made some great contacts and together we are going to get the ball rolling to a great 2012 in downtown Windom, and I couldn't be more excited.  There is an energy coming back to our downtown--I can feel it, many are starting to feel it, I think.  It's the energy that keeps me going here at River City and the energy that makes Windom such a great place to be.

06 December 2011

nice and warm.

Saturday turned out to be one of the most beautiful snows I have seen in a long time (okay, maybe since last year at this time).  It was beautiful because I didn't have a place to be except River City Eatery, the holidays are among us, the lights on the trees across the street on the Courthouse Square, the smell of coffee and warm desserts were in the air and people enjoying them, and traditional holiday tunes made the perfect backdrop.  This afternoon was right out of a storybook, I swear. Although I shouldn't glorify the snow so much, as I know to those who were driving were probably not enjoying the big, white flakes as much as me. 

Just as I thought my afternoon in downtown Windom couldn't have felt any more warm, cozy and just plain perfect, two young couples came in to order coffee and desserts.  As they sat at Table 7, sipping warm drinks, they continued to get out a deck of cards and continued to laugh with eachother, enjoying their company across from the table.  I was on cloud 9 knowing these people came into River City Eatery in Windom, Minnesota, to be with friends.  It wasn't long after finishing their card game that they approached me with my favorite question--what else is there to do in this town?  I told them how excited I was that they had found River City Eatery, and they told me they found Windom on the map because it was between the two places they now live and came to spend the afternoon with eachother. 

I continued to tell them about our bowling alley, which is a unique bowling alley because you have to keep your own score. I told them to check out the deals around the downtown square and the new store that just opened on the corner, Enspired. I told them to take pictures by the courthouse because its so very photogenic.  I told them that Abby Park was a wonderful place to go sledding (I wish I could have supplied sleds!). I also told them to come back to River City Eatery because we were having live music that night.  And of course I gave them a City of Windom brochure and a Cottonwood County Visitors Guide that I like to keep on hand specifically for this reason.  I'm sure you can imagine how tickled I was by this time because there was so much more I wanted to tell them, but refrained because I didn't want them to think I was too crazy.

After they left, I continued on my merry way with River City to-dos, a skip in my step and smile on my face.  It was a few minutes later when I looked out our big front window to witness yet another beautiful sight...they were having a snowball fight and taking pictures by the courthouse as the breathtaking snowflakes came down...

I love this place.

28 November 2011

Occupy Windom.

Talk about a holiday weekend...although Thanksgiving was a mere few days ago, it's hard to remember since 3 more "holidays" follow so closely after--Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. 

During Small Business Saturday, River City Eatery offered to give away a free soda or coffee to anyone who brought in a receipt from a local downtown business in order to encourage shopping local.  So I celebrated one of these holidays following Thanksgiving, I guess.  I have also vowed to do my Christmas shopping right here in Windom...and it can be done because I have almost everyone checked off my list already, only a few people left...

Well anyway, I caught a little bit of the late news on Black Friday and one story grabbed my attention.  A group in Seattle, WA, called "Occupy Seattle" was peacefully demonstrating to the public to remember what the holidays are really all about.  Let's just say shopping isn't high on the group's priority list and they weren't afraid to remind the public about how out of hand these crazy shopping "holidays" can be.

After watching the story, of course the first thing that ran through my mind was that Finding Windom is similar to "Occupy Seattle" because we are a group of people with opinions and ideas about our community and not afraid to voice these opinions and ideas in order to make the quality of life in our community a little better than we found it...and of course I was relieved to know that I'm not the only crazy person insanely passionate about the community in which I live.

And then I thought about how ironic it is that here "Occupy Seattle" was discouraging people from spending money on Black Friday, and that I would love nothing more than to see a crowd of people in downtown Windom frantically shopping the stores around the downtown square to make sure they get the best deals.  I mean, wouldn't that be a fun sight!  Of course I wouldn't wish pepper spray or stampeding or for anyone to get hurt, but a little hustle and bustle in beautiful downtown Windom during the holiday shopping season would be nice...

So, yeah, go ahead and Occupy Windom...Happy Holidays!

23 November 2011

it's finally off my chest...

Today between lunch and dinner at River City Eatery, I got a chance to swing by the Cottonwood County Commissioners' meeting to talk about some things that have been on my mind.  If I'm good at anything, I'm good at giving my 2 cents (pun possibly intended).  I, along with some others, got a chance to talk about utilizing our beautiful courthouse chimes in order to make the downtown Windom experience that much better during the holiday shopping extravaganza.  We asked if the Commissioners would help us to get Mr. Jim Austerman's gift he wrote for our lovely town, "The Christmas Bells of Windom" song, along with other holiday tunes, to be played on the chimes during the most wonderful time of the year.  I couldn't be more happy to know that we have the Commissioners support in this matter, and I couldn't be more excited about how receptive they were to our voices.  I really hope their support will work to make this happen, since this is year number 2 that I, along with others, have tried to make this happen.  Thank you to those who have also voiced their opinions in this matter--you are so appreciated because it is easier with more than one voice!

And I know you are dying to know if I brought up the "No Loitering" signs on the courthouse lawn at the Commissioners' meeting as well...and you'll be happy to know...I did.  They are also looking into changing the signs to something a little more welcoming than "No Loitering."  YAY!!!!  I don't know if I'm ready for such big changes downtown, what will I write about?  **enter sarcasm here**  It feels good to get this stuff of my chest...

Happy times,

15 November 2011

just another day.

Let me just tell you it is 2am, and I'm sitting in the office of the eatery finally sitting down for the night.  I'm still trying to get used to juggling business, family, time, finding windom, me, and well, business again.  I can't even begin to describe how wonderfully tired I am from River City Eatery.  It feels good to be exhausted from doing what I love all day--I'm just hoping that soon I will be able to balance the other very important joys in my life, like little Mr. Henrik.  He has been so patient with me, but his growing older is anything but patient. He is something else, I tell you, what a gift I have been given. 

Today I had the opportunity to speak with the senior economics class about business--it felt good to step out of the cave of River City Eatery for a bit to chat, well, about the Eatery.  I'm hoping at least one of them got something out of the discussion--I had fun anyway.  I've also been helping two seniors with their Eagle Achievement projects, and I'm very much enjoying it.  I got to put my English degree to work this afternoon helping these students outline their big research papers (part one of the Eagle Achievement project).  One is focusing on small businesses in rural communities and the other is focusing on teen volunteering--right up my alley.  My, we have some very talented youth in our community!

Well, I think I'm going to head two blocks north to my cozy bed and get a few short hours of sleep before I return to the smell of fresh brewing coffee, ready to start another day in beautiful downtown Windom...

08 November 2011

Moving right along.

I know it has been awile since I have posted--my days keep getting shorter for some reason.  I've been fully immersed in River City Eatery, trying to get a foothold on being a business owner and juggling all the awesome things that come with being an entrepreneur.  I still need to pinch myself every once in awhile to know that I'm not dreaming, especially since I've been so exhausted.

We had our monthly Finding Windom meeting last night, and I'm fired up, ready to go!  We are starting to make our new year's resolutions by setting some achievable goals for 2012.  We will continue to be in close contact with the city council to ensure we work together because I think our goals are very similar. 

And speaking of the city council...as of January 1, River City Eatery will be serving STRONG BEER (or what I like to call "real beer").  My letter to the council worked, and the ordinance change has passed and now we are going through all the formalities of changing an ordinance.  I couldn't be more excited!  But it just goes to show how busy it has been around here--it has taken me this long to sit down and tell you about this crazy fun news. 

25 October 2011

day 4.

I can't even begin to tell you how exhausted I am right now, and my head is swimming with business to-dos.  To be expected as a new business owner I guess, but I wanted you to know I haven't forgotten about you, the blog, Finding Windom or my quest to make this town even better than it already is. 

I was asked to be on the Chamber board, which would have been a lot of fun and another part of this journey of finding windom, but I just can't take on another project right now.  I wish they would have asked last year...heh.  Something to look forward to in the future I guess...

I'm sitting here in the dark, quiet shadows of what is left from day 4 of River City Eatery.  I didn't realize just how much the freezer buzzes until now.  A sweet sound I must say when one gets the chance to sit for a second and realize all her dreams have become such an unexpected and wonderful reality right here in downtown Windom.  It's also I chance to remind myself how lucky I am to be surrounded by family and friends who believe in this as much as I do...I wouldn't be this far without them.  I don't know what I did to deserve such wonderful people in my life.

Henrik has also taken a liking to the place, I think mostly because there's food--he ate 5 popovers last night, they just fit so perfectly in his tiny hands.  He helps us clean up when the supper rush slows.  I hope he is as eager to help when he gets older...

Thanks for listening,

21 October 2011

You are probably wondering how our first day of opening River City Eatery's doors to the public has been going, well, I'm still standing and getting ready for the supper rush as the lunch rush was just that--a rush!  We had a few kinks with our POS system, but fixed it--I hope and as with any new thing, we will continue to work through more kinks and hopefully get into a good routine so we can make sure everyone is very happy with their stay here at River City Eatery.  Thank you to all who joined us, for your patience, and your taste buds for our very first lunch hour.  We are looking forward to seeing you again...

Here is to preparing more fresh veggies...

20 October 2011


I couldn't be more disappointed to tell you that we had to push back the opening of River City Eatery until Friday, October 21st, because my body just couldn't keep up with all the excitement and adenaline running through it.  I came down with the flu on Tuesday evening and Wednesday, so I had to make the decision to wait until I was healthy. Today, I'm feeling much better and preparing for the big day tomorrow!!  See you there!

13 October 2011

this is my heart and soul.

I can't begin to quite explain to you in words the emotions pumping through every inch of my body right now.  I'm doing everything I can to stay in my skin, to keep from jumping up and down and shouting for complete joy.  I've been randomly dancing, smiling from ear to ear, and skipping like a little girl all day after our final inspections have allowed River City Eatery to open its doors.

These feelings are all so unexplainable, but I feel exactly how I was hoping to feel and exactly how I knew it would feel to literally make my dreams come true. It has been a long time coming, not only for the past 6 months since purchasing the old Mix Bakery building in downtown Windom and completely flipping it with the help of amazing family and very gracious friends or the months of research, planning, writing the business plan, trying to sell the idea to financial resources, hearing "you're crazy" a million and one times, but it has been a long time coming because I have wanted to do this since I can remember.  This place has been in my head for years and years and years, and it has finally come to life. It is real.  At 28 years old, I am living my ultimate dream right here in Windom, Minnesota.  This is passion with a capital P.  This is my heart and soul.

I'd like to say I did it all by myself, but you must know, I have an amazing support system I'm lucky to call family and friends.  Truly, without these people who believe in River City Eatery just as much as I do, it wouldn't be real--it wouldn't be what it is right now, which is absolutely unbelievably incredible.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.  You have no idea how much I love each and every one of you for your support and helping hands throughout this crazy, wild ride.  I am the luckiest girl in the world for having these amazing souls in my life. 

And a special thank you to my parents and my husband, who have worked a million and one hours with me--as tired, sore, stressed, and emotional as one can be--we did it!  We made River City come to life together.  You have shown me that anything is possible if one is willing to work their tail off to do it.  And, if you're going to do anything right, you must do it wholeheartedly. 

So, this is the moment I have been waiting for, folks, to finally tell you that River City Eatery will be opening its doors on Thursday, October 20th, 2011. 

May you all leave a little bit of your heart and soul with us after enjoying River City Eatery in beautiful downtown Windom. 

Happy times,

04 October 2011

inspired by Enspired.

Today was the grand opening of Windom's newest business, Enspired.  It is located along Highway 60/71 in the Got Ink Tatoo Shop. 

I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to have a store like this in Windom.  A store that gives local artists an outlet to share their art, a store that inspires to create and enjoy the simplicities of nature, a store to find a gift or be selfish and buy something for yourself.

But what a wonderful gift the owner, Hilary Mathis, has shared with Windom.  My friend, my classmate, and now my fellow business owner right here in Windom, Minnesota.

But this is what I'm most excited about, someone believed in an idea so much that she made it happen right here in Windom-she took a risk and followed her dreams. I most excited that someone believed in Windom enough to open a small business.  I'm excited that she saw an often unexpected opportunity within these city limits, and she took it.  

And this is what it means to truly find Windom...

27 September 2011

a look inside.

Check out our River City Eatery video! 

Couldn't be more excited to show it to you.  Getting closer and closer to opening our doors.  You'll be the first to know the official date!

Happy times,

26 September 2011


Check out http://www.findingwindom.com/. It is finally up and running and I couldn't be more proud.

I'm hoping this website will be just as beneficial for our residents as it is for our guests. 

Welcome to Windom on the web!

putting the "busi" in business.

Let me tell you, things are crazy busy around here, which is a great thing!  I don't know where to begin with all the wonderful things happening right here in Windom.  Between findingwindom.com (will be released very soon), MN Intelligient Rural Communities classes starting again, River City Eatery, The Little City That Would, well, the list continues...Windom is a great place to be right now, especially when the fall air and autumn colors are thrown into the mix, how can one not be the happiest person in the world?

Check out the fun weekend River City Eatery had at the book signing this weekend on Facebook:


Happy times,

20 September 2011


River City Eatery has some great things coming and we aren't even open for business yet.  Check out our progress and enjoy some coffee samples and desserts this Friday, September 23rd starting at 9 a.m. during the Windom Chamber of Commerce's new event, the Fall Street Fair.

Also, on Saturday, September 24th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., River City Eatery will be hosting a book signing with Windom's very own, Michelle Weber (Mickelson), who has illustrated the children's book, Levi's Lost Calf.

Looking forward to a great weekend at River City Eatery!

We are hoping to be open for operation the beginning of October.  We are finally in the home stretch of remodeling and finishing up the details.  How exciting!

I'll keep you posted on the grand opening day...it's just around the corner and I couldn't be more excited!

19 September 2011

it's time for real beer to come out of the shadows in Windom...

I love it when people can explain things better than I can.  Thank you!

Check it out:

Chronicles of Cottonwood County: it's time for real beer to come out of the shadows in Windom - Bluestem Prairie

We should know soon the outcome of River City's beer dilemma.  I will be sure to keep you posted...

15 September 2011

on the right route.

I've been meaning to write about this for awhile now and apologize for the lateness of the reply to this awesome "news," but I think it deserves attention and a huge congratulations.

I want to congratulate the community members who have made the 17th Street sidewalk happen.  What a perfect example of community members coming together with a passion, purpose and dedicating time in order to make something as wonderful as safe routes to school for our children happen.  Because of this dedication, these people helped Windom Area Schools receive grant money to add a safe route sidewalk along 17th Street.  They also made a positive impact in our community and for our youth.  Awesome!

A huge thank you for being a positive asset to our community!  This is why I believe Windom continues to be The Little City That Would because of all the possibility our community and community members have. 

10 September 2011

this is bliss.

There is nothing better than watching my son enjoy all the beauty of a rural September Saturday.  We spent the afternoon under the perfectly warm sun among the granduer of nature at Shalom Hill Farm.  They hosted a fall festival of hospitality, food and music.  They created a perfect oppotunity to spend with family.  Not only is Shalom Hill Farm one of the Windom area's biggest assets, but the atmosphere is one where creativity and inspiration collide.  And then there is my son, my beautiful boy, taking it all in with me-enjoying the gifts of the earth.  The sunset, the colors of the season, the bright moon starting it's night shift.  The simplicity of spacious fields that roll for miles and the complexity of the living things in them.  Wow.

How can I deny the beauty, inspiration, and enjoyment rural gave us today?  How wonderful rural is and may Henrik always remember to take time to immerse himself in our beautiful surroundings.

He is trying to speak chicken.


He can't get enough of tractors.

Picture perfect at Shalom Hill Farm.

08 September 2011

stop. no, go!

I am so excited to see the stop lights in town get a face lift!  Such little things like painting the stop lights, make a huge difference!  The rust is gone, and it looks like Windom is a great place to be by doing small things like this.  It's a good day to be waiting for the red light to turn green, but I'm hoping to see more red lights turn green (try not to be so literal when reading between these lines).   Let's keep it moving!

04 September 2011

henrik wants pancakes.

Every weekend morning, Henrik wants pancakes.  I'm sure he wouldn't oppose having pancakes every morning or for every meal, but weekend mornings are special because I call my mom and together we take Henrik to McDonald's to get his 3 hotcakes and milk.  While Henrik eagerly waits to shove the next syrupy sponge of goodness into his tiny mouth (I often have to remind him to chew--that's how much he loves those pancakes), my mom and I catch up on what's new and converse with other patrons or other patrons try to start a conversation with the toddler whose blood type could quite possibly be syrup. 

But it is more than just pancakes, it has become a routine of conversation and togetherness.  I may be stretching it for an 18 month old's mind, but it is a chance for Henrik to socialize as well.  All those people who stop to say hello to him will be an important part of his life, just as many people were to me while growing up in this community.   

I'm hoping this is what River City Eatery becomes for others.  A place of routine, conversation and togetherness.  A place for Windom to gather and to show my son, Henrik, how wonderful it is to be part of this community.

28 August 2011


Today, River City Eatery had its first "gig."  Okay, it wasn't a paying gig, more of a sampler.  We had the beautiful setting of Cottonwood Lake, the shade of a big Maple and a breeze that made the leaves of the Cottonwood's play sweet music at the Strom family home and David's art studio.  It was the perfect day to share a taste of River City Eatery at Cottonwood County Historical Society's Artists' Studio Tour.  Mixed Berry Bars, Chocolate Chip and Raspberry White Chocolate Scones, Tiger Brownies, and Caramel Squares were on the menu.  We were lucky to share such a wonderful space with such great people.  Thank you to local artist David Strom and his wife, Marilee, for being such wonderful hosts and to the historical society for thinking of River City Eatery. 

22 August 2011

my beer is sweating.

I'm surprised and excited so many have taken interest or, should I say, debate over my recent adventure. This is how progression forward starts! Well, I'm a firm believer in getting all the facts straight before getting my undies in a bundle and taking a firm stance on something, so maybe I should share the exact words of the city ordinance and Minnesota state liquor licensing laws to help spread awareness of correct and true facts, so you can better understand what I'm going to be asking the city council.

Page 5 of the Introduction to Minnesota Liquor Laws and Rules:

    I. Wine On Sale licenses (340 A.404 Subd. 5.) and on sale of strong beer.
            2. A municipality may by ordinance authorize a holder of an on-sale wine license, who is also licensed to sell 3.2 beer on-sale and whose gross receipts are at least 60% attributable to the sale of food, to sell strong beer at on-sale without an additional license- no additional fee may be charged.

Now here is the definition of beer and wine (by ordinance of Windom) .

    Beer:  "Malt liquor containing not less than one-half of one percent alcohol by volume nor more than 3.2 percent alcohol by weight." 

    Wine: "Wine means the product made from the normal alcoholic fermentation of grapes, including still wine, sparkling and carbonated wine, wine made from condensed grape must, wine made from other agricultural products than sound, ripe grapes, imitation wine, compounds sold as wine, vermouth, cider, perry and sake.  For purposes of on sale wine licenses, 'wine' may contain up to 14 percent alcohol by volume for consumption with the sale of food.  For all other purposes, 'wine' is a product containing not less than one-half of one percent nor more than 24 percent alcohol by volume for nonindustrial use."

Now one must take into consideration that River City Eatery will not be a bar, River City Eatery is an establishment dedicated to the sale of food and where there is food, there shall always be drink.  This is not about selling intoxicating beverages- 3.2 beer, strong beer and/or wine will get anyone to that destination if he or she chooses that destination.  It is the choice, not the beverage, that intoxicates.

The purpose of "redefining" the municipal ordinance is to give my customers who wish to enjoy a wonderful evening in beautiful, historic downtown Windom a choice to enjoy some wonderful local products with some wonderful local food and to support local, small businesses--and in this case those small businesses are breweries.  I think of micro brews just like some think of wines, some kinds of beer just go better with some kinds of food.  I can sell those "some kinds of wines," but I can't sell those "some kinds of beers."  It just doesn't make complete sense to me.

It is important to point out that River City Eatery will still be a great place to eat regardless of my success redefining the municipal ordinance because, bottom line, we are an eatery, not a drinkery.  I have no ulterior motives with this adventure, I'm having a hard time figuring out what any ulterior motives would be in this case. I just think it would enhance the overall experience of River City Eatery and Windom all together, and I think many people, residents and/or guests, would conquer.

I'm not trying to move mountains or try something that has never been done before, this is nothing crazy or ridiculous to the world around us. I'm simply asking permission to sell a product that a great number of people have to presently leave the city limits to enjoy with a nice meal.  Why not allow them to enjoy it right here in Windom at River City Eatery? 


16 August 2011


As River City Eatery starts to take shape and my dream of opening a restaurant in Windom are coming true, I'm getting thirsty from all this hard, but oh so much fun work.  I'm getting thirsty for some microbrew.  Unfortunately, a beer and wine license, which we were lucky to recently receive, only allows River City to serve 3.2 beer.  With our beer and wine license we were hoping to serve some great mircro brews from some great local breweries, but these micro brews don't come 3.2 style.  So right now our option is Miller or Bud.  I don't mind Miller or Bud, but I'd like more options, you know?  And I'm sure my customers would want some other options as well.  So here is another option: to inform the city council about this archaic ordinance and allow a beer and wine license to include strong beer, which I have been informed by the state liquor inspector that it is up to the city to grant to an establishment holding a beer and wine license.  Good news this ordinance can be changed at a local level, and I definitely think it is something for the city council to consider. I'll keep you informed with the progress I make trying to get the city council to consider allowing something other than Miller or Bud products in River City Eatery.

Here's to the microbrews, our local breweries, and a cold one!  Cheers!

10 August 2011


Yesterday I was so surprisingly, informally and indirectly asked by a city worker to take down my beautiful hanging baskets on the posts in front of River City Eatery or the consequence would be that a city worker would take them down for me and I would be fined.  The fine would be because of "city right of way."  I would be fined because I hung flower baskets on city property.  My goal throughout this blog and throughout this journey have been to remain postitive, but sometimes I just need to be honest.  I have obligations as a respectable citizen of this community to follow rules set for our city, and I will continue to do so, thus the baskets that were hanging on the posts outside River City Eatery have been taken down.  I'm hoping that after enforcing harmless hanging baskets on city property that the ordinances to keep our city clean and tidy are also enforced.  I'm hoping the ordinances to keep our historic downtown buildings from deteriorating into dust will be enforced. And I'm hoping that someday, together as a City, we can set a standard of living, expectations for an outstanding quality of life, that we will all feel obligated to follow.

I'm going to stay postive.

RIP dear flowers, someday I hope we will meet again...

08 August 2011

nite to unite.

Tonight is Windom's Nite to Unite on the Courthouse Square, and I can't help but think that it was a year ago that I was trying to build awareness about Finding Windom.  I wrote a post about all of Larry's friends gathering around him and the excitement of all of Windom's possibilities was weaved within every word of the post.  The same excitement holds true today, a year later.  There is so much we have done, are working on and hope to accomplish-what a wonderful feeling!  What a beautiful night to unite on the downtown square.

Also, tomorrow (Tuesday, August 9th), our local and very talented musician, Jim Austerman is hosting a free concert at the Historical Society from 1:30-3:30pm!  I encourage you to check it out!

03 August 2011

this wall talks.

Sometimes you just have to listen in order to find something wonderful.  During the remodeling process of River City Eatery we found this beautiful brick wall under plaster.  As my handy father was trying to patch plaster after pulling off numerous sheets of unwanted paneling attached by huge square nails (you can imagine the holes those nails made in plaster!), the plaster was literally falling off the wall in a some spots.  Naturally I was curious, so I kept chipping away at the plaster and the next thing I know, I had a 4'x4' section of this perfect brick staring at me, begging to be revealed.  So during a stormy night until about midnight, with a hammer drill, a chisel, and the help of dad and some extremely generous friends, this amazing wall was freed from the blanket of plaster that covered it for way too many years.

Cheers to this wall my friends-what a fun surprise! And believe me, in the world of remodeling, not many surprises are good surprises.

02 August 2011


I want to share the 5 priorities of the Windom city council based on the community meetings feedback.  I have enjoyed discussing all of Windom's possibilities with not only other community members, but with the city council as well.  It is now my goal to see these priorities come to life with achievable goals set and made by the council.  How wonderful that we have concrete priorities set-we are on our way to wonderful things:

1. Community Pride-Dynamic future built on a positive and strong reputation and image.
2. Community Vitality-Create new jobs in tandem with a thriving and revitalized square.
3. Organizational Culture-High quality of services via an efficiant and effective workplace.
4. Public Facilities-Prioritize, plan and fun capital improvements.
5. Natural Resources-Utilize the value and beautify of our land and geography.

Next step--setting goals!

29 July 2011

small lights.

the lightning bugs
in the dark of night
glowing in sync
positive energy
making the night
bright with hope
small lights
in an endless black sky.

25 July 2011

respecting youth.

larry, me and bubbles.
unsuccessful, but still much fun, Slinky.

The other day, as I was waiting for my paint to dry at River City Eatery, I had the perfect summer afternoon.  Well, maybe I should start with my perfect summer morning.  I went to get my morning coffee at the local Super America (they have strawberry shortcake flavored cappucino, which tops off my black coffee perfectly) and as I walked in the door of SA, I noticed a small tower of ORIGINAL SLINKYS next to the Roller Dog Grill.  A Slinky, my friends!  So I bought one in hopes I could make it slinky so nicely down the Cottonwood County Courthouse steps sometime.  Well, I was waiting for paint to dry so what a perfect opportunity to give the Slinky I couldn't stop thinking about a try.  So I shared my Slinky with a friend and we got to thinking about all the other fun things we used to do when we were kids in Windom.   It was the perfect day to respect our youth by going to our "new" Ben Franklin, Loopy's Dollar Store. Ben Franklin Variety Store was the store I would always go to when I was young for toys and 10 cent laffy taffys, but is no longer in existence, so Loopy's would have to do.  We grabbed some bubbles, jacks, a kite, and none other than super rope licorice and made our way across the street to the courthouse lawn.  We slinkyed unsuccessfully (the stairs are too wide), but it was fun trying and we blew some bubbles with the Larry Buhler statue, all while chewing on 34 inces of Slammin' Strawberry licorice.  It was the absolute perfect day to be kids again in Windom, MN.  It was food for the soul, and it all started with the glorious ORIGINAL SLINKY.

And I know, I have a really bad habit of loitering on the courthouse lawn, don't tell anybody...

22 July 2011

more poking, more inspiration.

Today folks, it has officially been exactly one year since the inception of my $.02: Finding Windom.  I can't believe a whole year has passed--where did it go?  I went back to read my very first post to see if I stayed true to the goals I set for myself one year ago today.  It was incredible to look back and feel the exact same passion I felt when writing my first post, "poking inspiration with a stick."  Instead of sitting here tallying all the awesome things Finding Windom has done in the past 12 months, I'd rather just inspire more activity by sharing my very first post again even though you can go back and find it yourself, I wanted it to be sure you read it.  I can't wait for what the next year will bring-there is more possibility than ever right now, time to reveal it!

poking inspiration with a stick.

"I suppose it's the time of year that does it to me. The sweet sun's rays hitting my face and filling my body with a little vitamin D that makes inspiration flow through my veins. I get antsy with these compelling ideas of change, community, and just plain good times. Well, this morning was an interesting morning. I felt supercharged with ideas (this usually happens after hitting the bottom of my coffee cup). I took one of my favorite CDs I compiled for a friend after having "one of those summers"--you know, the one full of youth, music, and, well, carefree, happy times. It is amazing that one CD can dig up such memories and passion again. Anyway, so I grabbed my $.60 morning coffee from the quaint, small town gas station (it's the only one that gives me a discount on my cup of joe for using my own cup--thank you Centerstop and other coffee joints take notice) and decided to take my 5 month old son, Henrik, for a little drive while listening to the music on my favorite mix that could potentially change the world if someone would let it. It was a beautiful morning, the fog was kissing the green earth just after an early morning rain as we drove just outside the city limits (not far by any means). Each song provoking more and more inspiration. Of course not too far into the drive Henrik fell asleep to the somber notes of Ben Harper's guitar, but I'm sure he was just as inspired as I was. As I drove the open, winding surrounding county roads, I got this idea. One of those ideas of all ideas...okay mostly just this rush of ambition to actually do what I've talked about doing for years--everyone has that one thing on their so called "bucket list." So on the way back into town, as I could see the valley of Windom in the horizon and its water tower standing tall among the green trees, all I could think about was spreading love and inspiration all over this small, rural town I call home (and have called home for most of my life). You see, I live in this small city thats reaks of potential. Don't get me wrong there are many things I love about Windom, Minnesota. I love it's surrounding lakes, the people, the fact that I can get a cup of coffee for $.60, the idea that my son Henrik will have thousands of eyes watching him grow and helping him become a man who will make a difference in this world with love and passion. But unfortuneately, when I walk downtown (a mere 3 blocks from our old house) I see buildings that need TLC (the very important acronym my mother taught me at a very young age), I see a town that needs a little TLC and I don't see pride or feel community, but it is there, oh, I promise you, it is there and this is where my $.02 comes in. So, for a long time I have felt the need to create and inspire, whether it be in my own house or at work, but now it is not enough for it to be confined into my own space. I don't want to look back at my life and say "what if..." or "if I had only...". I'm ready to complete those sentences with verbs for God's sake. I'm tired of dreaming and I'm ready to do! I'm going to get involved already! Instead of complaining about things--I'm going to do something about it. I want what any parent would want for her child-I want Henrik to grow up knowing he can make a change and live his dreams and that good 'ol saying Monkey See, Monkey Do sure sounds like it belongs right here in this sentence. So now you are probably wondering where this is all going? Why a blog? Well, I can't do it alone. Through this blog and the help of others, I wish to change this town from a sad soon-to-be-gone-with-the-wind town into a tourist destination and rural hot spot in the Midwest. I've always believed that if you write it down, the better chances you have of actually doing it. So, with a big, long breath--do it with me...innnnnnn and ouuuuuuut...I'm going to actually make a difference--a tangible difference in the small world I live in. These are my baby steps of change: *Get people on the same page. I'm going to write a letter to the editor of our local paper about this blog and what I plan to do to for Windom. I'm going to spread the word!!! I want to make it easier for people to see potential where many might not see it, for example where there are weeds, I really see that it could be a beautiful garden. Most importantly, make people understand a great amount of money doesn't have to be involved--although it makes things easier, which leads to the next baby step. *Find some funding. There has to be funding somewhere. Whether it is from the state of Minnesota, from the county, from the city, from programs or from willing donors. Does anyone know of ways to get funding to help a city? I will have to do some research here. *I want to be in contact with the city. The chamber of commerce, the Windom Area Development Committee, the city council and mayor. *Doing my research. Finding cities that are doing what I wish to see Windom do. We have such great wildlife and lakes surrounding us, we have a river that whispers history, we have WIND POWER, and we have a historic county courthouse smack dab in the middle of it all. Now the question is: how do we use these things so people take notice, so people want to come, so people want to stay? What have others cities done to make them a "hot spot?" I'm crying out at this point for help. If anyone can point me in a direction of a mentor and more inspiration it would be greatly appreciated. I'm looking for help in order to get my community to find itself again and for a whole world to find Windom, Minnesota. This is my $.02: Finding Windom on a Map of a Million Cities. With a little hope, prayer and support, watch me blog my dreams come true. Happy times,"

18 July 2011

for your viewing pleasure.

I wanted to share a little bit of the video that we showed to the students for Community Pride Day on the last day of school.  I've been meaning to share it with you for a while now.  Enjoy!

17 July 2011

10 a.m. shadow.

The other day I was working down at River City Eatery painting the walls modern, welcoming colors.  The sun shining in the windows was making beautiful art on the freshly painted Milkweed Pod color I had just glided over the plaster.  It was as if this building was speaking to me, so I had to share the art with you. 

I watched the walls quickly become something new, but its old soul was joyful with the tickle of the paint roller.  I know I sound crazy for giving the walls of a building human emotions, but the atmosphere has changed so much outside and inside that I can't help but think the attention this old building is getting is a sigh of relief for it. 

I can't wait to to see and feel more joyfulness as this spot on the beautiful downtown square of Windom continues to become River City Eatery.

12 July 2011

no words.

Like usual, I'm going to be honest...I'm sitting here at this familiar screen and lately it feels as if the cursor is mocking me with rhythmic blinking and I again I don't know how to start this post or end it.  It's not because this journey has come to an end or that I don't have anything to report, instead it is because there is so much that I can't quite figure out what to tell you next.  Should I talk more about community meetings? River City Eatery? All the things I love about Windom?  findingwindom.com?  MN Intelligent Rural Communities?  The Little City That Would?  There is so much great stuff happening right now here within these city limits that I would have never thought this day would come, but I'm...speechless.  I don't know what to tell you because it is all so exciting and exhausting and none of it has been work because I'm having a blast doing it all.  My brain goes a mile a minute with all the possibilities and a year ago I would have never guessed any or all of it would or could have happened. 

There are no words to describe all the emotions I'm feeling right now in Windom.  I love this city.  I love the endless amount of possibility it has and has started to grasp.  Yup, absolutely no words right now...I'm just going to sigh and take it all in...


11 July 2011

next step.

We had two awesome discussions at the community meetings, so now you ask, what is the next step?  Now that we have gathered some community input, the input will be organizes and presented to the city council in order for them to prioritize and set achievable goals for the city to accomplish.  I couldn't be more excited about being a part of this process.  The most interesting thing I have found is that the community all seems to be on the same page as to what we would lik to see happen within the community.  This should make it a little easier for the council to start prioritizing and set some achievable goals. I'm looking forward to getting some more great things done around the city because like I've been saying since the beginning--Windom has so much more potential than we utilize--now we need to grab some hanging fruit and get some things done around here. 

We are rounding up to almost a full year since the inception of Finding Windom and this strategic planning is a good way to jumpstart year number 2,,,

07 July 2011


The first round of community meetings was held last night and I'd have to say it was a success.  There could have been a lot more people there.  I would have liked to see more city leaders there and business owners, but the discussion we had about our beloved community was productive.  I appreciate those who took time to get involved and take interest in the city's future.  It is up to us as community members to see our city thrive in an ever changing world. 

You still have a chance to give your input about Windom's future on Monday, July 11th from 4pm-6pm at the Windom Community Center.

Along with helping with these community meetings, Finding Windom is getting ready to launch findingwindom.com, Windom's very own community portal website.  This website will not be content driven, but will serve as a directory for all our residents, potential residents, visitors and businesses.  It will be a way to link all the great aspects of our city into one user friendly website and making Windom extremely accessible to anyone and everyone interested in seeing all the great things Windom has to offer.  Findingwindom.com will include links to local websites, including businesses and community organizations (to name a few), a community wide calendar, and local social networks. We are very excited to launch this website and hope this website will increase communication within the community and market our great community to others...just another way we are becoming the little city that would.  Stay tuned!

05 July 2011

you talkin' to me?

Yup, that is me in the refletion.  I was the nerd in the parking lot taking a picture of a bumper sticker. The sticker was so appropriate that I had to share.
I hope to see a bunch of people at the upcoming community meetings to talk about Windom's future. 
Wednesday, July 6th from 6pm-8pm
Monday, July 11th from 4pm-6pm
at the Windom Community Center.

See you there!

02 July 2011

i'm hungry.

I wish Icould tell you everything in this one post.  I wish I could tell you the beginning of River City Eatery, the present of River City Eatery and the future of River City Eatery right here, right now.  What I can tell you is that when I write the book, The Tale of River City Eatery, someday, this interesting story will be organized into lovely chapters of laughter, tears, blood and sweat.  But for right now, I want to give you a sneak peak into what Chapter 32 (just a guess as to what chapter I'm on at this point in the novel basd on the series of events it has taken to get to this point) is all about...the day the State of Minnesota decided to shut down...

Now I don't want to turn this into a negative post--I don't believe in dwelling on the negative--I just want to tell you how interesting things can get when trying to open up a business in the State of Minnesota.  But somewhere on someone's desk at the Department of Labor and Industry are River City Eatery's plumbing plans waiting to be looked at and approved. 

So I wait...I have to wait until those plans are approved before I can keep working to make River City Eatery a licensed food establishment. 

Isn't that exciting? 

Yup, The Tale of River City Eatery will definately make a wonderful book some day.  I'm sure you are all waiting to here the 31 chapters before this one too...believe me...it will be a fun read.

And just to keep the record straight...just because it hasn't been easy, doesn't mean it has been hard, it's just been interesting...yeah, that's the word...very interesting.

Cross your fingers this shutdown doesn't last long because I'm hungry for River City Eatery!

30 June 2011

community meetings.

Next week is the beginning of good things for Windom.  It is time to start hearing what you, the community of Windom, would like to see the city council work on.  This is your chance to tell us what would make Windom an even better place to live.  I know you all have ideas, so bring them to the meeting.  You don't have to come to both, we are just trying to make it possible for as many people to come by offering to different times.  If you can't make either one, you can leave your ideas on Finding Windom's facebook page.  The city council is asking for your help, so let's help...

The community meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, July 6 from 6 - 8 pm AND Monday, July 11 from  4 - 6 pm at the Community Center.

See you there!

23 June 2011

next question.

What do people feel are the issues and challenges that the City is facing?

Check us out on Facebook or leave a comment on my blog, but just give us some feedback!

Watch for further details about community meetings coming up soon.  This will be the community's chance to talk about Windom, give feedback and ideas for the City to accomplish, change, edit, continue, you know, all the things that make this town a great place to live.  This is our town--let's make it what we want it to be!

Right now, we would love to hear from you via Social Media--what a wonderful tool.

20 June 2011

start talking.

Okay, it is time to start talking.  Let's talk about Windom.  Yup, my favorite subject.  Finding Windom is partnering with the Windom city council and Dave (a guide man for strategic planning hired by the city council) and we are going to help the city council make goals, achievable goals, to make the quality of life that much better in Windom.  Here is the deal: I want to hear from you about what you would like to see the city council work on.  Everything from streets, parks to downtown...now is your chance to be heard.  Do it anonymously, do it bravely, whatever you like, just voice your ideas to help Finding Windom help the city council.

Finding Windom will be using blogspot and Facebook to gather thoughts and ideas, so start thinking and start writing.  We are also going to be hosting a city wide meeting for the community to come together and talk more about goals for the city council and Windom.  Watch for further details about time and place.

Let's start talking!  This is the first step to making great things happen.

What would you like to see happen in Windom?

14 June 2011

riverfest, where did you go?

It's hard to believe Riverfest is over already.  It came and went so fast, I didn't even have time to update the blog because time passes so quickly! I enjoyed the weekend, the weather was perfect and the crowd downtown was big--I wish every Saturday our downtown was as busy as it is on Riverfest Saturday. 

Thanks to all those people who work so hard to keep the tradition of Riverfest alive--you are much appreciated.

Here's to another great Riverfest and I can't wait for next year's...

09 June 2011


It never ceases to amaze me how many people there are passionate about rural Minnesota and its life.  I encourage you to read other stories on this site as well from young people trying to keep rural alive.

Check it out: 

07 June 2011

getting personal.

On Sunday afternoon, Henrik and I loitered on the Cottonwood County Courthouse lawn--right next to the No Loitering sign too--don't tell anyone.  It was a beautiful summer day, a slight breeze and we were under the gracious shade of a big maple with life running through its every branch and leaves stretching to the perfect blue sky--it's hard to believe we live in a material world when we have moments like that.  Across the street, we looked upon the future home of River City Eatery.  I watched my dad and husband, Henrik watched his grandpa and dad, give their time and attention to the building that will someday make new memories in Windom--how lucky I am to have family that believes in me, that believe in Windom. Henrik and I slowly started to watch River City Eatery become something real under that crystal blue sky and beaming Sunday sun. 

I couldn't help but think about Henrik watching all of this.  He pointed his tiny, pudgy fingers at his men carefully placing the River City Eatery sign atop the awning, he looked at me with those eyes of innocence, squinting from the bright sun, and boldly nodded his head in delight.  His blonde curls blew in the breeze.  What a peanut.  I started to think about how River City Eatery will be his life as well as mine.  How this is what he will know of me and of Windom. He will never know what graced those walls before River City, he will only know stories and someday he will have memories of his own to share about River City Eatery.  This makes me almost as happy as sitting there with him under that powerful and generous maple on the courthouse lawn.  Oh, what a perfect place to loiter.

01 June 2011

river city eatery.

Okay, I'm going to give it to you straight...

Today was my last day as a secretary for Windom Area Schools because I have decided to follow my ultimate dream...I'm opening River City Eatery.  I know, I'm excited too. 

Besides being closer to family, this is why I wanted to move back to Windom...to open the kind of place that inspires merrymaking, good times, entertainment, celebration, "where the locals go," to tell stories, make stories, to get to know people, what they want, how they like it and make sure they get it, you know, that community get together...the 3rd place that every community needs and deserves. 

Really, I don't know where to start with this post because there is so much to fill you in on and I will, I promise.  I'll keep you posted on all the construction, the menu, what to expect and, well, as much as I can until you can experience River City Eatery for yourself. I hope you are as excited as I am. 

I guess this is a big reason as to why my posts have been few and far between these days...I've been busy working on getting to the point where I can put this dream not only in words on my blog, but for it to become a reality on the downtown square in Windom, Minnesota.  But it is real folks...wow, let me say it again because it gives me goose bumps...River City Eatery is real and it is coming your way Summer 2011.  

Cheers, Windom, good times are here again!

**more to come on River City Eatery.  Yup, you read it right, an eatery right here in river city. 

31 May 2011

pocket park.

As a part of Community Pride Day on Monday, May 23rd, Darcy Dahna's Landscaping class along with the amazing efforts of Joann Kaiser (who helped collect all the donations to make this happen) created a pocket park in an empty space on our downtown Square.  A few years ago, the building that used to occupy the space burned down and the space has been just that ever since...a blank space needing much attention.

I couldn't be more happy and proud of the outcome!  It is just what needed to happen in that spot--a little attention paid.

I'd have to admit since the pocket park appeared I have heard concerns about what would happen if someone were to ruin it, but we can't let ideas like that stop us from creating great neighborhood spaces.  We must do it anyway.  When we live in fear, we do not live at all.  So live on Windom!  Keep moving forward despite the "what ifs."

Thank you to those who donated and were so thoughtful in making this pocket park happen and making Community Pride Day a success:

Jill at Pamida

Steve/Mike at Schwalbach's Ace Hardware

Mary at Runnings

Jeri Maras

Geri Burmeister at Windom Area Hospital

Angie and Scott Zamzow

Lori Collin

Dave Derickson at Split Rock Landscape

Darcy Dahna's Landscaping class

Tracy Schramel

Amanda Hunter
Gary Vanderwerf

Rachel and Jim Axford and 8 girls who pulled trees with their bear hands!!

Dave Bucklin at CC Soil and Water

City of Windom

Jesse Kolander

Craig Zimmerman

Duane Kaiser

25 May 2011

rural learning.

The Rural Learning Center and their blog, Reimagine Rural, have been a huge inspiration for me in the last few months.  This place is incredible and gives me hope for the future of rural and the future of Windom.  As you know I have been writing since last summer and doing much research about community revitiatilization and Reimagine Rural talks about all the things I think about for Windom between its potential and capabilities.  Anyway, I couldn't be more humbled when they asked me to submit a guest post.  What an awesome opportunity!  Thank you Mike at the Rural Learning Center--you are an inspiration for me and Windom.

Check it out: http://reimaginerural.com/

23 May 2011

happy community pride day!

So of all the awesome things Finding Windom has been a part of Community Pride Day was my absolute favorite!  The day was amazing.  The weather was perfect for a morning of community clean up and the afternoon exhibitors out did themselves.  The younger kids were beaming with excitement getting to climb on and sit inside firetrucks, dump trucks, street sweepers, snow plows, ambulances, the list goes on.  And our indoor exhibits by local groups and organizations were a delightful surprise of games, infomation and fun souvenirs.  And the older kids were pleasantly surprised to find out community service is not only easy, but neccessary for our community to thrive. 

I can't find the right words to completely explain how wonderful the day was.  The purpose of the day was accomplished.

I also can't tell you how grateful I am for all the support of the community in order to make this day a success.  I hope it becomes an annual event.  Thank you, thank you, to all those people who helped make this day, Community Pride Day 2011, a day to remember in Windom's school's history!

17 May 2011

sounds silly, but true.

Community Pride Day is quickly approaching!  I'm looking forward to it.

I can't express how important it is for our community to promote business and opportunity to our future, our students.  This is why I couldn't be more excited about Community Pride Day. We need to throw away this idea that our students have to leave our wonderful city in order to be successful.  And when these students do decide to stay in Windom or come back to Windom, we must embrace them, not question their decisions.

Here is an article someone shared with me, and I want to share it with you.  It sounds a lot like the purpose of Community Pride Day.  Pretty cool if you ask me. 


12 May 2011

hello, friend.

I know, it's been awhile since my last post.  I feel like I've been neglecting friends, and I don't like to neglect good friends. I'd have to say I don't like going this long without filling you in on anything.  Let me tell you that just because I haven't posted in a few days, doesn't mean I took these days off from my commitment to make my community a better place.  In fact, it is the exact opposite.  My time has been limited and I've been absolutely exhausted from all the great stuff going on right now. And this nice weather always creates a bigger to-do list, right?  I know, excuses, excuses.  I'll try not to let it happen again, and don't get me wrong I'm not complaining because this is fun stuff we are talking about here...

So let me fill you in:

Community Pride Day is coming on May 23rd.  I can't wait to tell you about how the day went because it is going to be great!  Thanks to all those people who have helped plan and prepare for this awesome event.  And also a thanks to all those who are participating!  I hope it becomes an annual event.

www.findingwindom.com is in progress and will be launched in the very near future.  Great news!

I'm starting the process, today, with the City to gather ideas to strategically plan some achievable goals for the city.

The Little City That Would campaign is continuing with much help from Citizen Publishing.  Hopefully you are starting to see a pleathora of The Little City That Would logos around town.

So much fun stuff to do, so little time! 

Finding Windom together,

05 May 2011

your heart and your head shouldn't be so far apart.

I've had two nights of strategic planning meetings for the community of Windom this week.  I couldn't be more excited that Windom is taking action to start moving forward.  One of the nights this week was with the city council and one night was with MIRC (MN Intelligient Rural Communities).  Two seperate nights, two seperate ideas, but both ideas must fit and work together. 

While my excitement for the planning stages is geniune. I'll have to admit, I'm nervous the goals to enhanceWindom's quality of life will be too big, excitement will dwindle, become too overwhelming and too costly for action to take place.  We can't let that happen!  While it is always good to dream big, we have to remember that small pieces to a puzzle, when put together correctly, create a bigger and lovely picture. 

And community development efforts should never cease.  Our job is never done.  We should never dust our hands and say, "this is good enough, we are done now." It must keep evolving and progressing.

So, as Finding Windom helps the the city council start collecting ideas to create concrete goals for Windom's future, we must all keep in mind, small is big and big is doable with small steps.  We will have to prioritize, while thinking about the past, present and future.  It won't be easy, but that is what makes it worth it.  Windom is worth it-our home and community is worth it.

How is it said? And I can't remember who said it, but it is something like this: it is a wise man who plants a tree whose shade he knows he will never sit under. 

Okay, end of pep talk. 

Wait, one more thing: I'm really looking forward to getting my hands dirty to bring these "strategic plans" into the most important part of it all--ACTION.  Actually, I liked what Karl (MIRC man- for lack of a better definition) said at the MIRC meeting, "Everybody would talk about fishing, but nobody would take you fishing."  I think it's a good time to start fishing people.

Speaking of fishing (okay this really doesn't have anything to do with fishing, it was just a good transition), we are looking for plants, benches, large pots, potting soil and rock to landscape a "pocket park" in the empty, sad lot between the Connection and Lily's Nails on the west side of our downtown Square.  Darcy Dahna's high school landscaping class is helping to landscape the lot or soon to be pocket park with donated materials on Community Pride Day on Monday, May 23rd.  How great would it be to have a spot to sit, relax, and enjoy beautiful downtown Windom?  Any donations of materials would be greatly appreciated!

Okay, now its the end of my pep talk.

02 May 2011

seems like a crazy idea.

This is an article regarding Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities intiative to get rural communities to fully embrace the internet.  In case you didn't already know, Windom is a community receiving lovely benefits from the MIRC initiative. 

Seems crazy that people still think they don't need to embrace the wonderful world of broadband.  It also seems crazy people used to be able to smoke on an aircraft too. I know, it isn't compariable, I just had to go down memory lane...

Take a look, it's an interesting read...


28 April 2011

Swipin' it good.

It's never been easier to do good.  The modern day convenience of debt and credit cards now makes it effortless to give back  and Finding Windom is a part of it.  You can now sign up your card to round up to the nearest dollar to be donated directly to your favorite town--Windom.  We have teamed up with Swipegood, created by Windom Area High Alumnus, Anthony Nemitz. 

I couldn't be more excited because anyone who knows anything about trying to sustain a mission to do good things will know that much needed fundraising can be time consuming.  In fact, it takes a lot of time and energy to do fundraising and this time and energy would better be spent conquering the mission at hand and reaching goals that really make a difference.  With the help of Swipegood, the mission of Finding Windom can be the focus instead of fundraising.  Isn't that amazing? 

Click on the Swipegood icon and you can get started today or visit https://swipegood.com/charity/finding-windom.

It has never been easier to support your favorite cause or easier for us to get more done to make the community a better place to be. 

Sign up today!

25 April 2011


Soon, my friends, soon...the whole city of Windom will be combined ONLINE for all of your Windom needs!  Finding Windom is collaborating with the City of Windom to give you your one-stop-shop for Windom at http://www.findingwindom.com/.

How would you like to know what is going on around town?  How would you like to know Windom business' hours or maybe you don't even know all the businesses we do have in Windom, but want to know so you can shop local?  How would you like a website to tell you where and how you can entertain your kids, your family, your guests right here in Windom?  Need to find your social network?  findingwindom.com will have it.  Need to know when the school's activities are or when BARC is having their next event?  Check out findingwindom.com for your community calendar. This is it--your convenient, fast, user friendly way to find windom! 

The purpose of the website will be to not only let the community know about all the great things around town, great events happening, great businesses to check out in one easy to use and attractive website, but this will also give our guests and potential tourists an easy way to find us and all the great things Windom has to offer.

We are pretty excited about this website...it is being created as we speak.  But great and efficient things like this take time, so you'll have to wait a little longer to see the finished product.

20 April 2011

facebook friends forever.

Ah, social media, you have got to love it.  And it's not just for teens! Will you be Finding Windom's friend on facebook?  As Finding Windom's community development efforts continue, we want to hear from you!  Because, after all, what the community wants is what the community should get, right? 

Finding Windom is using facebook as a tool to bring the community together to talk about how we can all make our little city be a better place to live, work and play.  Tell us what you love about Windom, tell us what you would like to see, tell us about great things happening around town, just tell us!  We like to talk about Windom and we hope you do to. 

Wouldn't it be nice to see our facebook conversations turn into actions?  This is how we become the little city that would.

19 April 2011

i'm bored.

The famous two words when used together that drove my mother absolutely nuts: I'm bored. I didn't dare say it growing up, I knew I would get a ridiculously sarcastic reply that sounded just as ridiculous as the two words "I'm bored." 

Well, today I got to thinking even more about the theatre project we are trying to work on and how I can't wait to see that theatre all shiny and new again, not only for the pleasing asthetics it would provide our beloved square, but for the kids in our community who utilize it the most.

The group of students who work at the theatre have an absolute unconditional love for this theatre.  They would do and are trying to do everything they can possibly do to see it be successful and see it all shiny and new.  They see so much potential in that theatre even without knowing all the joy it brought the many generations before them. 

The theatre provides a positive gathering place for them.  A place where memories they will have for a lifetime will form and shape who they are in years to come.  We need more of these positive gathering places for our youth.  We don't want them to ever say these ridiculous words, "I'm bored."

18 April 2011

public service announcement.

I know we really haven't had the ideal spring for outdoor activities yet, but just because I have to get outside, I've been taking a lot of walks lately. Henrik enjoys the view from his stroller as well--he makes the perfect walking partner.  I can't quite explain the feeling of being able to truly enjoy the outdoors after a long snow covered winter.  It amazing how something so familiar can feel so new again. Unfortunately, the spring also unveils a mess!

Spring is the perfect time freshen up the place.  Like I have said from the very beginning of this journey, small changes can make a big impact.  There is no better time than spring to search for those small things that can make the community look a little better.  Melted snow uncovers trash, dirt, and dull paint.  It's time to start spring cleaning!  It is definatley my favorite time of year--spring clean up.  It is a great opportunity, especially when the city provides such a wonderful service of free trash pick up coming soon at the end of April and beginning of May, to start fresh.  Take advantage of this great city service!

And Finding Windom doesn't want to waste precious time just cleaning up the place, there is too much fun stuff to do instead, like plan Community Pride Day and spreading awareness about our support local campaign, The Little City That Would.  We aren't a cleaning service, we are on a mission to make the quality of life in Windom even better...


14 April 2011


I sit here and stare at this mocking blinking cursor. I'm wondering where to begin and where to end this post. I sigh a good sigh, so much to say, so much to do.  Will I be redundant and tell you things you already know, will I be leaving something out?  Everyday I'm going further and further into this journey, no turning back.  No reason to turn back anyway because we have done so much and so much more to be done.  It is exciting to wake up wondering where Windom will take me for the day.  But it is in these quiet nights that I get to sit, take it all in, plan my next move to make my community a better place, and stare at this mocking cursor. 

13 April 2011

moving mountains.

Last fall, Finding Windom was proud to announce that we were an organization recognized by the Secretary of State with the gracious help of Ron Schramel, but we were missing that important piece--tax exemption status.  Along with missing that component to be comsidered a true, official non profit organization we were also missing the funds to file the proper paperwork.  And in all honesty, the paperwork was a little intimidating.  Well, right now, after another very generous donation of money, brains and support, Anthony Nemitz helped make Finding Windom, Inc a non profit organization in its truest form.  The paperwork and filing fee are in the mail on the way to the IRS office as I type these exciting words.  I can't express enough gratitude to Anthony for believing in Finding Windom's mission and believing enough in us to donate his time and money to make us a real organization.  THANK YOU!!

11 April 2011

just another day in paradise.

Today over my lunch break, I got a chance to talk about Finding Windom's support local campaign, The Little City That Would, along with other great things Finding Windom is working on, with the Economic Development Authority.  It was another chance to talk about all the possibilities Windom holds, as well as what Finding Windom is working on to make the quality of Windom that much better.  Finding Windom continues to build bridges within the community in order to make it a better place--it is how things work and how things get done--when we all work together toward a common goal. 

And after work today, I met with the Windom school board to discuss something great--Community Pride Day.  On the last day of school, Monday, May 23rd, Finding Windom is partnering with Windom Schools grades K-12 to host a Community Pride Day in which yours truly, Finding Windom, will be promoting community pride.  The day will start with a lyceum provided by Finding Windom, which will consist of a fun video starring all the great aspects of the city, between our businesses, parks and city "works," as well as how the community, especially young people, can get involved and do their part in community development.  It will also be a chance for them to see how the city works--it will be a chance for us to help them, well, Find Windom.   

I couldn't be more excited about this opportunity with Windom Area Schools, especially after talking about Windom with the Senior class last week.  We need to get young people involved in the community, to take ownership and see the opportunity here.  When young people have ownership, they have pride and see a future here in Windom, which is what we need them to see in order to continue progressing and thriving as a rural city. 

Mark your calendars...Community Pride Day...May 23rd, 2011...Get ready!

10 April 2011


This past weekend I had the pleasure of being in the audience of Prairie Arts Continuum's production of The Wizard of Oz.  There really is no better way to judge the quality of a community better than the amazing efforts of a community play.  What a great show and a great evening of entertainment at the BARC.  To see all those kids and adults working together was an awesome sight to see.  I appreciate all of these great events happening in our great city--just another reason why I love Windom and want to see it thrive.

07 April 2011

our future.

Today I had an awesome opportunity to talk my favorite talk with Windom Area High School Seniors--the graduating class of 2011.  The best part of the day was not talking about all the great things Finding Windom is doing, but discussing Windom from their point of view.  I'm going to be brutally honest, Windom, these kids don't find Windom to be very exciting, and this is a problem!  For a lot of rural areas, and especially Cottonwood County, the amount of out migration happening is absurd.  Our children don't view Windom as a place of opportunity and success, so they go elsewhere to find it.

Of course we need them to go off to college and get their degrees or learn trades, but then we need them to come back.  So how do we do this?  They need to see our community as successful, innovative and thriving.  They may not be able to pinpoint right now as they head off to explore the world exactly what they want in life or in a place, but someday they will have to make a choice, and Windom should be on that list.  We need to get these kids involved in the community.  We need to show them all the possibility within these city limits because there are a lot of them, but they can't see them right now.  It took me 10 years to see the opportunity in Windom, I don't want it to take that long for them.  I challenge you, Windom, to talk about and show to our students all the positives of our community--help them Find Windom.

04 April 2011

making another move.

Disclaimer: I have been trying to finish this measly post since Thursday!  Craziness on the home front, but oh so fun.

I am officially on the agenda to speak at the upcoming city council meeting on Tuesday, April 5th at 7:30pm.  I'm going to introduce myself and Finding Windom.  I won't be asking for anything other than a listening ear.   I'm very excited to add another piece to the Finding Windom puzzle.  I can't express enough how important it is in this whole journey to work as a well oiled machine--all aspects of the community working together toward a common goal.  No pointing fingers here, just holding each other accountable in doing our part to make the community a better place--you know?

On Friday, I had the pleasure of attending the OTA Sessions in Sioux Falls, SD.  A great place to get fired up about action!  The whole idea behind the OTA Sessions is to bring people together to share ideas, passions and experience about the Midwest's abilities for innovation and progression and to shatter the idea that creativity and innovation only exist on the coasts.  **hint, hint, Windom** It was an amazing experience being surrounded by the best in the fields of creative marketing and business.  I'm still fired up!

So, see you at the City Council meeting on Tuesday.  I can't wait to tell you all about it.

28 March 2011

three words and one answer.

Windom State Theatre. 

I know you are all wondering, how, why, and when. How being "How did we let it get this way?" Why being "Why didn't we do something sooner?" and When being "When is something going to be done about that eye sore?"  Folks, I may not know the answer to the first 2 questions, but I have an answer to the last one.  Finding Windom, along with the help of some very ambitious, talented young people (Windom--we should be very proud!) and you, of course, will be giving that theatre the time, attention and work it deserves! 

It will be a process and it will be hard work (that hasn't ever stopped us before), but we are going to be fixing that place up to look like something we can all be proud of.  Yes, this is some news from those lame past posts of mine that have just been scratching the surface of things we've been working on, but I couldn't quite tell you all about until some more details had been worked through. The suspense was killing you I'm sure.

Well, here it is, more good news for our community--we (meaning the whole community, not just Finding Windom) are going to be fixing up our Square's theatre!  I can't wait to get started, and we will soon be letting you know how you can lend a helping hand, so stay tuned. 

See, I told you good things were happening, Windom.

26 March 2011

taking it in.

Tonight I did something I've been forgetting to do for quite some time now.  I often get wrapped up in dreaming about the future or get too busy to slow down.  But, tonight, after a long day a way from home being busy again, I just took in all I could of my baby boy, Henrik.  I studied his little movements, his half white smile, his innocent curiosities.  I absorbed his belly laugh and that deep connection between us in his eyes.  I took it all in as he was in the moment.  For the first time in a long time, I wasn't wondering about what kind of person he will become in the future, I wasn't trying to teach him something that I thought he would need to know for all his days to come.  Nope, not a single thought about the future...I just took him in--I enjoyed him as his one-year old self knowing that tomorrow he may be a little different.

E.B. White once said "I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world.  This makes it hard to plan the day." I couldn't be torn more by anything else right now.  Just as I need to remember to take in Henrik as he is and to stop always planning my every move as a parent to be sure he grows into his own beautiful person, I need to remember to take in all the beauty of my community as it is today.  I have such high hopes and see such potential in Windom's future, but I also need to remember why I started this journey in the first place...because Windom is a beautiful place to be right now in this moment.

25 March 2011


I have been doing a lot of research and reading lately--all great material and examples of ways to develop communities--I will continue to share my findings via blogging.  Not only have I been reading some great material, but the amount of tangible resources I was begging and pleading for in my very first and second posts have come into light. Hallelujah.

I think I have stated numerous times in past posts about the amount of potential we have as a community to develop and progress--well, it is why I started this journey and continue along in my merry ways.  Time will not tell, time will show.

I'm looking forward to our summer months for things to spring forth as new. 

Next week, I'm attending a conference in Sioux Falls and rural progression will be the hot topic at the conference.  More ideas, more inspiration, more resources coming our way. I can't wait!

22 March 2011

21 March 2011

dam proud.

The day finally arrived, and it only took 4 years.  So, yes, the title is definately pun intended. On March 15th, 2011, the Windom City Council made a historic decision for the future of Windom--they made the decision to take out the dam that has graced our part of the Des Moines River.  I wasn't rooting for a specific answer, but an answer was all I needed to be satisfied.  We all knew one way or the other, there would be disappointment, people upset, but a decision needed to be made.  We can finally move forward, and it is a great step for the Windom community.  Now what's next?  We need to keep making more decisions to continue progressing...

It's really wonderful to wake up in a city where every day you realize that today the city is a little bit better than yesterday.  -Jan Gehl, Danish Architect

17 March 2011

spreading the word starts now.

The support local campaign is starting now.  Start talking about it!  Support local, support your community and let's be the little city that would! 

Here is my new article on Minnesota 2020 regarding our campaign, "the little city that would." 


Show your local support by purchasing a non-adhesive window decal with the campaign's logo for only $3!!  Get yours at Frank's Shoe Repair.  Stay tuned for more places you can purchase your very own "the little city that would" decal.

Finding Windom will also be selling promotional support local kits for our local businesses and organizations for only $10.  These kits include window decals, a poster, welcome letter, top ten reasons to be a local supporter and the rights to use the logo and slogan for any advertising purposes they see fit.  Along with the promotional kit, the Citizen is offering reduced rate advertising for those who buy a promotional kit.