08 November 2013

the show must go on...

I'm sitting at Table 1 at River City Eatery after a crazy Friday night rush (blessings!), music of the 40s is coming from the speakers that I can finally hear after all the hubub of the evening, and I keep catching myself looking out the window and admiring hope in downtown Windom--the Windom State Theater's fresh, modern but classic, perfectly lit marquee is the center of attention here in downtown Windom, and I couldn't be more excited.  I have goosebumps, no really, I have goosebumps and have had them since 6:45 tonight when they lit the restored marquee tonight.  What was once an eyesore in downtown Windom, is no longer--it' beautiful, it is perfect, it is a gem, it is a Windom icon that we must continue to support as so many small town theaters often don't get the satisfaction they deserve and are forced to close doors. Did I also mention the amount of hope I feel after tonight that more amazing updates can happen in downtown Windom? We should be proud to have a plethora of community members that believe in something so much to make something this awesome happen in our small town.  A huge thank you to everyone who was a part of the Windom State Theater, Inc, for your dedication, for your passion, for your hours of hard work to make our community an even better place to be.  Windom, we have a wonderful, working theater, holy cow!  Thank you, thank you, the show will go on!

And speaking of exciting things happeninging in Windom, I also have to thank our city's EDA Executive Director, Mr. Aaron Backman, for pushing progression in our rural community.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate a city employee willing to push our city forward, utilizing all the potential he sees and Finding Windom sees for us to be a desirable community to live, work and play.  I have the utmost respect for Mr. Backman for the things he has pushed for and made happen, like our new directional/point of interests signs along the highway to only name one.  A small, but big addition within our city limits.  Windom is incredibly lucky to have this man working for us.  Really, people, he is good things for Windom, believe me...

10 September 2013

there's no crying...

I can't help but write about my day today.  It was a day I will never forget..it was the day I dropped my son, Henrik, off at Busy Bee Preschool for the first time. Of course everyone asked me if I was going to cry today after dropping him off.  A fair question, I guess.  Maybe I would cry because time has passed all too soon.  After all, my baby boy was only 5 months old when I started telling you my Finding Windom story right here on blogspot.  There is no question that time has passed all too soon, but what is new, right?  Time is just something we must accept as there is no way to change it.  Maybe I would cry because he is my baby boy and all too soon would no longer fit in my lap or accept my public displays of affection?  In all honesty, I don't know why I was suppose to cry today other than most parents might find it hard to send their babies off to school for the first time.

But I do know that what I saw in that boy today was the most breathtaking thing I have witnessed as a mother so far, besides cradling him in my arms shortly after the crazy ride we both took together the day he was born.  I saw my baby boy so proud to start this new journey.  I saw his excitement for learning, trying something new, discovery, exploring and independence. He was ready to take on the world today without hesitation and without needing me by his side, but knowing that I would be there to pick him up, ready to hear all about it.  And I'm okay with his independence, I mean, he is not mine to possess and selfishly keep for myself.  This is the beginning of his own journey which comes from something much greater than me and for him to graciously accept this new journey
 at such a young age with wide open arms made me so proud to be his mother. It was the most beautiful thing, my friends, to see my son so happy today at Busy Bee Preschool.

He really is the most wonderful thing.  So what was there to cry about?

happy times,

22 August 2013


You know when you have those moments of complete inspiration, when you can hardly stay in your skin because there is this energy inside of you that you just have to get out and share?  Well, when I do, I wish I could figure out how to keep those feelings forever-never letting it go, never letting the doubt or craziness of the energetic idea get scared back into the shadows it appeared from.  I suppose life continues with its own twists and turns and neccessaries it must in order for it to continue on its habitual course, I guess we have to sleep sometimes.  I mean, it might be an awful feeling to feel like you are coming out of your skin constantly, right? 

Well, I must share with you an energy I wish would never leave Windom, and it comes from the young women who work with me.  Some of them have recently taken on their own projects and are writing about it in their own blogs.  I'm so proud of them for putting their beautiful souls out in the world of blogging for all to see, especially Windom. 

These young women will soon be leaving me at the Eatery to resume getting their education, resume finding their perfect balance of confidence and humbleness, and resume finding their way in this complicated world, knowing full well they have something wonderful to offer it.  But what a gift they have been to me, the Eatery and to Windom.

You know how for the past 3 years I've been talking about all the potential Windom has, all the little things that are here that make Windom exciting, different, fun and energetic, well they feel it too.  No, I take that back-they are it.

If only I could figure out how to make them stay, just like all of those moments of inspiration...yeah, a girl can dream, heck, a girl can always dream right here in Windom...and I hope I've encouraged them to do so again someday just like me.

You can read about their adventures in their own blogs and I encourage you to do so. Two blogs full of energy, fun and all the inbetweens.


18 August 2013

lets plan on not planning.

I have always appreciated the quote, "we must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." Growing up in Windom, I was always dreaming of places beyond the fields of corn and beans. The open horizon of Southwest Minnesota was the doorway leading to the  big world out there, and I was going to experience as much of it as I could.  Windom was going to be the dust in my trails.  I was going to someday have stories upon stories of the places I had seen and the people I had met, the memories I had made. I got a taste for travel at a young age with my dad's family living in Denmark, I made my first trip over seas when I was 8.  I continued to travel throughout high school. I couldn't wait to graduate and burst through that metaphorical doorway tempting me in that beautiful horizon. The irony in this short story is that my life has become the exact opposite of what I had planned, it is better.  

The past few weeks, well, years, since River City Eatery has opened, I have come to the realization that one can dream, have aspirations, plans, whatever it may be that gives us a purpose to  greet each day with ambition, but to also remember these things are not rules to live by.  These past few weeks I have realized that I may not be the one traveling like I thought I would be, I'm here in Windom.  I'm at River City Eatery everyday watching others create memories together inside a place I had once only dreamed of.  

I love watching friendships evolve among my employees, although I hate to call them employees, because they all have become my friends, who am I kidding, they have become family, and also have a genuine love for the Eatery which I appreciate beyond words. I will miss some of them as they continue on their own personal journeys.

My parents just recently took a trip to Denmark to visit family and friends.  It was unbelievable to hear from my parents after their return that Finding Windom and River City Eatery have an audience in Denmark who are dedicated to reading these posts, as few and far between as they are.  To my Danish audience, your support and genuine interest in Windom and River City Eatery is incredibly inspiring and only makes me want keep my head held high and any of my doubts far away beyond the horizon I once thought was waiting for me.  Thank you.  You must also know Denmark is flowing through my veins that lead straight to my heart, just like Windom.  

This past weekend one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Tom Begich, played at the Eatery. One of many amazing artists that have left their melodies and inspirational lyrics in the walls of the Eatery.  More memories made and stories shared around a table of good food, good drinks, good friends and good conversation.  But now he is traveling on the wide open road, disappearing down the roads surrounded by fields and farms, which will soon change into a less familiar landscape for me, just like a lot of our talented musicians who play at the Eatery.  All while my surroundings will remain the same walls again the next day.

Today, a man proposed to a woman he loved in River City Eatery.  They went on their first date at River City Eatery.  And tonight, months after their first date, he knelt down on those old orange and white tiles with a diamond ring in front of the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with at River City Eatery. Their new journey will begin tonight, and it started in downtown Windom at River City Eatery.  I never imagined how much this place would change my life and the ones who share it with me.

These are only a couple of the stories that make me smile while I sit among my very comfortable home that I'm blessed to come home to every night with my husband and son.  You see, what I have realized is that I may not be the one traveling right now like I thought I would be, I'm not the one meeting the locals or exploring new things beyond the dust of gravel roads, but River City Eatery is becoming the memories and stories for other travelers.  This is the life I never imagined, but I'm so glad its happened and that I have opened my eyes and heart to understanding it, accepting it, and loving it for what it is. 

Happy times,

19 March 2013

judging books by covers.

Finding Windom has doubled in size in the last month with a group of community members seeking answers and resolutions to an ongoing problem in Windom-the appearance of many of our neighborhoods, including the downtown area.  To be honest, the cleanliness, or lack there of, is one of the main reasons I started this blog in the first place.  Just maintaining a clean environment, maintains a thriving, successful environment, which umbrellas all things within a community.  Seems like common knowledge, right?

As frustration excalated among these community members from lack of support from city officials, these frustrated community members gathered together in effort to find a solution--sounds like a job for Finding Windom (this is in our mission statement after all!) and it was decided help from the city officials and leaders was not only wanted, but needed to fix the problem.  After all, the city has ordinances against trash, junk, delapidated housing/buildings, etc, and if they were properly enforced, a chunk of the problem would be taken care of. 

We decided to get on the agenda at the next council meeting in hopes they would listen.  We  were hoping to not just point out the problem, but offer resources to help clean up our city and enforce ordinances to maintain a clean, safe environment.  And so we were on the agenda for tonights city council meeting.

As a speaking member of the group, along with another gentleman, who is also very passionate about beautifying our wonderful community, we sat in front of our city leaders to voice our concerns, solutions and resources.  We had a handful of other community members watching as well.  It felt good to have a crowd!

So you are wondering about the outcome I'm sure.  I was happy to hear the city officials were interested in fixing the problem and that they understand its not just about eye sores, but safety as well.  Did you know that cleanliness and crime go hand in hand?  It's true, there are studies that show by maintaining a clean environment is just as effective as having more police on the streets or bars on windows.  Just take this for an example, methaphetamine drugs were being produced in a building in downtown Windom. Just 2 blocks from my house, across the street from my very own small business, a block from the very place we pay our city bills and gathered to talk about the future of Windom with city officials--drugs literally in our back yard, people.  We have invited this into our community--our downtown, without a head being turned at the root of the problem...cleanliness--the lack of expectations for a superb quality of life or simply put, ordinances set in place to maintain clean safe environments are not being enforced. 

Along with crime, which I feel is the most important reason ordinances for cleanliness need to be enforced, our appearance reflects our character and success as a community.  We want to show visitors what a wonderful community we are, we want to show our pride.  We want more visitors, more businesses, more residents.  We want more families in affordable quality homes and more students in our schools, we want to grow our tax base so we can maintain our ammentities.  All of these things are an effect of a clean environment.  We all judge books by covers and we buy magazines because of what is on the cover, it is the same concept here.  We have to sell Windom to more businesses, more residents, more visitors, and thats easier to do when it just plain looks better.

So with all of this said and with the acceptance of the problem and an agreement that there needs to be a solution by the city council, I'm disappointed to say I don't feel any better after this meeting.  I don't feel reassured the city leaders are prioritizing the issue as they have numerously recorded.  We were so politely brushed off to another "commission" who rarely, if ever, meet to discuss the future of our community.  We were so nicely told there simply isn't funding to take action. But there is always funding if you make it a priority.  It seemed that no one behind the etched name tags behind our city logo seemed to want to dig in first hand to fix the problem or even questioned why things haven't been enforced in the past. I don't know what else to do at this point-I feel hopeless and I hope I'm wrong by feeling so discouraged after this city council meeting.

Did you hear us tonight when we told you that over 150 violations of ordinances have been reported to the city office in the last year? Why is this going unnoticed, unquestioned? In fact, shortly after we spoke, the council was advised by a department head that "people have rights to their things and the city should consult an attorney before enforcing these ordinances," just goes to show the attitude our city portrays to our community's concern, and it is quickly dividing, or maybe already has divided the community and the City of Windom. We have elected you to listen, to plan, to question, to research, and most importantly, to take action. I hope, I pray, something will be done.  There are a group of community members reaching out to help, and I hope the city council reaches right back. 

But, I guess if this is an issue of people's rights as stated by a department head, I have rights too.  I have a right to live in a clean, safe community.  I have a right to raise my child in a community that has high standards for quality of life.  I've dedicated my life to this community, I've built my life in this community, built my business, my family, my faith, and I have a right to protect it, along with all those community members with me tonight.  Thank you to these concerned community members brave enough to protect your quality of life, we need more of you and more importantly, we need an active City to help us protect it. 

more happy times are soon to come I hope,

19 February 2013

getting sweeter...

I'm ashamed to look at how long its been since I've posted anything.  I really am sorry for not keeping you updated like I should.  Don't think nothing has been going on in this neck of the woods because let me tell you--thats why you haven't heard much from me.  I know, you're probably wondering how that makes any sense.  Well, let me start by just pointing out a few things that may be a little different around town.  For example, new WELCOME TO WINDOM signs have officially been put up and look mighty fine if you ask me--a long time coming on that one.  Finding Windom is also giving our input to the EDA regarding some new directional signs that will be going up thanks to the help of the Remick Foundation (what would we do without the Remick foundation? Yay!) for both the highway and downtown area-very exciting. O'Reilly Auto Parts has done an amazing job on the former HyVee store building and Big Game has out done themselves with the facelift of the former Lewis Family Drug building.  Fast Sprayers is also going to be building/expanding in Windom's north industrial park--also good news for the city of Windom.  So many exciting changes, and I'm sure I missed some. I've always been a believer that when I write things down, those things are more likely to happen.  But also, when I'm not writing, its usually because things are happening.  And boy, are things happening!

And even more exciting, yours truly is an official member of the Chamber Board of Directors and I couldn't be more excited to be a part of such an influencial board in this community!  And did I also mention I'm having so much fun at River City Eatery that I decided to also share the love with Mountain Lake?  Yup, you heard it here first, folks,  River City Eatery and Sweetfields of Mountain Lake will both be owned and operated by...me.  Whoa, call me crazy, but it just feels right.  Its a good feeling to know I've found what I love to do and get to do it for a living, you know?  My mom always told me to share, so I think its a nice thing to share the love, cupcakes, sin pie, sandwiches, wraps, salads, homemade soups, specialty coffees, and ice cream with more of rural southwest Minnesota,don't you?  Things are just getting sweeter all around Windom...

happy times,