Christine's Story: A 20-Year Military Career Is Just the Start

Christine's Story: A 20-Year Military Career Is Just the Start

“I was blessed with a wonderful career and part of that was being ready and available for every opportunity as it came along and willing to say yes to opportunities.” And, she’s not done yet.

Jed's Story: Searching for Caesar

Jed's Story: Searching for Caesar

Somehow he remembered his calling card number (remember those?) and called his roommate. Since it was in the wee hour of the morning his roommate thought it was a prank, so it took a few tries before Jed convinced him to drive out into the middle of nowhere to pick him up and help search for Caesar.

Meet Alicia from ShoTcha Photography

Meet Alicia from ShoTcha Photography

“I love photography so if I can give back doing something I actually love - great - then I’m not only volunteering, but doing something that truly matters to me and someone else. When you can give a person their photos and they say ‘Wow! I’m beautiful’ - that right there is a blessing.”

Brittany's Story: A Mother's Love Against All Odds

Brittany's Story: A Mother's Love Against All Odds

The likelihood of Dylan’s survival to this point was only 5%. She is defying odds and overcoming obstacles. Her grip on life is matched only by the love and devotion of her mother who whispers in her ear, “You’ve got this, little one.”

Regina's Story: Strong Women Having Coffee

Regina's Story: Strong Women Having Coffee

Regina has taken up residence in places where she is most definitely needed, but not necessarily welcomed. A legally blind muslim woman who takes part in local politics and is active in her community especially in her advocacy for minorities takes a certain chutzpah in today's American life

Sarah's Story: The Next Right Thing

Sarah's Story: The Next Right Thing

"Was that an alcohol problem or just typical stupid teenage behavior?" I asked trying to clarify.
"I think it's a little bit of both," came her answer, "I eventually got to a point where I was drinking because of my problems and not because I wanted to have fun. I was pretending I was a normal person and not an alcoholic…”
Warning: graphic photo included

Greta's Story: Where Sled Dogs, Trader Joe's, and a Covertly Unique Life Intersect

Greta's Story: Where Sled Dogs, Trader Joe's, and a Covertly Unique Life Intersect

I've worked a lot of non typical, "tough," and physically demanding jobs and usually to obsession. And, despite the tough work I've had in my life being a mom requires way more hours and hard work than any other job I've had. Plus, I'm the only person I know who prefers Keystone Light to most other beers. And, I'm not afraid to admit it!


Shedding a Red-Light On "The Dumas Hotel"

Shedding a Red-Light On "The Dumas Hotel"

Here's the backstory for the song, "The Dumas Hotel." My great-aunt Ruby Garrett was the last madam of The Dumas Hotel in Butte, Montana. Not only that, she served two prison sentences; one for manslaughter in 1959 and the other for tax evasion in 1981.

Travis' Story: Between More and Enough: Operating a Micro-Farm

Travis' Story: Between More and Enough: Operating a Micro-Farm

We have just a little spot with only 5 Acres. It's not a lot, but it's enough for us. It's kinda like that sign at Jimmy John's, "The gap between more and enough never closes," or something like that. A person always wants more, but it's nice to be happy with what you have.

Rebecca's Story:: Where Dreams Meet the Land: Life on Today's Family Farm

Rebecca's Story:: Where Dreams Meet the Land: Life on Today's Family Farm

This is totally off the cuff, but our modern-day doesn't really value doing without or sacrificing, broadly speaking. Whereas a hundred years ago it was the way people lived and the way they made things work; they went without.

Eric's Story:: Hope in the Margins: A Correctional Officer's Story

Eric's Story:: Hope in the Margins: A Correctional Officer's Story

Being a correctional officer isn't being some sort of big brute tossing people around. It's having sympathy and empathy. It's former detainees coming up to you in the street and saying, "Thank you for the respect you gave me...I've turned my life around." It's people that go back into the community to be productive citizens - that's what being a correctional officer is all about. 

Amanda's Story: Shaped By Loss: Losing a Brother and the Power of a Poem

Amanda's Story: Shaped By Loss: Losing a Brother and the Power of a Poem

Brian didn't live past 25, and I'm going to be 35. I have already lived the sort of life he never got to live. He never got married, he never had kids and he never left Illinois. I'm married, have a daughter and I've lived lots of different places. Because he didn't get to do these things I'm going to do them and I have done them. 

The Voice that Speaks to Women: An Open Letter to Dr. Jacobson

The Voice that Speaks to Women: An Open Letter to Dr. Jacobson

Dr. Jacobson, you are in a unique position to speak into the lives of women. How will you use your voice? Will you use it to feed into negative self-talk and negative body image? Or, will you use it to inspire women to see themselves in the best possible light through positive affirmation and realistic body images?  

Jessica's Story: Building a Life and Raising a Family With No Religion, Too

Jessica's Story: Building a Life and Raising a Family With No Religion, Too

In 2001, Jessica arrived in Rochester via Winona after graduating from Winona State University. Growing up in Chicago, she loved the city life, and never imagined she would grow roots in a town such as Rochester, but she and her husband have learned a valuable lesson in what it means to create the kind of life you want to live wherever you are.

Driving Off the Side of a Mountain: When to Let Go of a Dream

Driving Off the Side of a Mountain: When to Let Go of a Dream

I would have a (nighttime) dream where I was driving in a car on a busy highway. Usually, I was lost, or unsure of the way....There would always be a feeling that I was out of control. That at any moment the car I was driving would go off the road, or the cars around would hit me, or I would miss an exit or the highway would end.