Online Exclusive: The Story of Penelope’s
Tracy Brandjord shares the meaning behind the name Penelope’s.
My Afternoon with Andrew Wyeth
Andrew Wyeth, prominent 20th century visual artist (Photo courtesy: Peter Ralston, Ralston Gallery, Rockport, ME. See more Wyeth photos at ralstongallery.com) by Carole Hemingway It was a fall day, and I had left my New Jersey home after arguing with my then husband, driving off into the distance, directionless; thinking about my future as a potential single woman again. Two hours later, having blown off my steam, I finally realized I was lost. Knowing only I was somewhere in southeastern Pennsylvania, I stopped, and got out of my car. Gazing up a steep hill, I eyed a lone telephone pole and a tall, lanky man whose face looked like an 18-wheeler had run over it years before, dressed in an ecru fisherman’s knit sweater and a pair of jeans. To this lonely figure, I yelled out, “I’m lost!” Like the report on a musket, his voice answered back, “I’m Andy Wyeth. Don’t come up, I’ll come down.” To my surprise, that enchanted autumn day entailed a chance meeting with Andrew Wyeth in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. He wanted to know how long I was staying in Chadds Ford, and would I like to come up to his studio, to rest after my ordeal? As we walked along a dirt road and crossed ill-fated railroad tracks along a creek, I saw him as a regular guy who paid his taxes, obviously had property and money, but none of that appealed to me. What did, however, was his very sense of being—to me, he was a ‘rugged man’ who liked living in the country. I told him I was born in Bear Creek, Pennsylvania so I was at home in his surroundings. It was pretty clear from where I sat, in the doorway of his studio, that he was a craftsman. He picked up his sketch pad and wildly began drawing me. His expression was like a gale that continued to blow. The time frame in which we met was before Andy revealed to the art world in 1986 “The Helga” paintings. He had started sketching and painting her in 1970 in the sanctuary of the Kuerner family farmhouse. He managed to rack a large arsenal of those nude paintings which wrought scandal over the peaceful land. This one is for the critics of Andy: Did you know that men with Mars in Gemini can love someone with whom they have never shared sex? Sex to them is mechanical, and not essential. Their most perfect sexual contacts take place in their minds. After his bout of ‘mad sketching,’ he asked if I was a Rubens beauty, and quickly answered his own question, “Of course, you are.” I love a man who speaks his truth. Andy said at one point, “tell me about yourself, I want to know more, what are your dreams, what do you do with your anger, what you had for breakfast, what forces brought you to my door, why the color of your eyes and the light that changes the color so that I might know you better.” I confessed that I had always wanted to be a nude model but didn’t know how to go about it. He suggested that I ask around to various colleges and universities that held ‘life classes,’ then added, “Carole, I think you have to find the magic yourself. You’ll know where it feels right, no one else can.” As the afternoon wore on, he kept encouraging me to pose nude. He was undeterred, even when I admitted that I weighed a zoftic 250 pounds, to which he commented, “If you don’t love yourself at 250 you won’t love yourself any better when you get down to 106.” It wasn’t long afterward that I posed in life classes at various colleges and universities. I found that anyone who poses nude has the makings of a truly honest writer, which is all I wanted to do since I was a little girl. During one of our deeper conversations that day, I told Andy all I ever wanted to do was write; he remarked “and to write honestly, like painting, is to reveal.” Seeing that Andy painted nudes, rather than landscapes or still life I would think that was what made Andy feel a part of art history. His canvasses, his models, especially Helga, became fuller, richer, and more complex individuals, and he captured beautifully the fullness, the blossoming of Helga’s character. Because it was honest. One day I was approached by a French sculptor from Princeton University, and out of 30-some other models was chosen to pose for a 60-foot statue that stands between two science buildings at Rutgers University. Thanks to Andy, and his encouragement I did find the ‘magic’ he told me I would find. Carole Hemingway Carole Hemingway is an internationally regarded author, speaker, and historical researchers. She currently lives along the coast of Maine where she is writing a book about Gettysburg and waiting to publish another about her father, Ernest.
Vlog: Marci and Jody talk about the June 2017 issue
Our first vlog! As two former television reporters and anchors, we’ve talked about doing this since we started this journey with Inspired Woman magazine. Finally, 12 issues in, we thought “Let’s do it!” Thanks to our friends at Classic Rock Coffee for the use of their amazing space, and to our friend Dwayne Walker for helping out behind the camera (he’s been trying to make us look good for 20 years!) Look for more of these vlogs in the future – we have so much to tell you about each issue!
Inspired to Travel Together
by Marci Narum | Submitted Photos Paging through a memory book of shared photos, keepsakes, and ticket stubs from a 2013 tour of New York City, Tracy Mertz and Korrine Sailer smile and giggle. “It was so much fun and the ladies we met were a lot of fun too,” Tracy says with a smile. “We have stressful jobs,” Korrine adds. “It was a nice getaway and we were able to take that time off together.” Tracy and Korrine are foster care case managers. They became office friends when they worked together for Burleigh-Morton County Social Services. Thanks to an article in Inspired Woman magazine, they discovered they had something else in common: they like to travel but prefer it most when someone else does the planning and guiding. “Usually I would pick up the Inspired Woman magazine on a lunch break and read it,” Korrine explains. “I came across the ad for the trip and walked across to Tracy’s office and said, ‘Hey look what I found in this magazine. Would you be interested in doing this with me? It looks like fun and I‘ve always wanted to go to New York City.’” Tracy said yes in a New York minute. The tour was beyond their expectations. “All the tickets were purchased for us so there was no waiting in line or having to worry about renting a car, Korrine says. “And we had an awesome tour guide.” The highlights of their trip were the Empire State Building and the World Trade Center Memorial. But the lasting impression is the people they met. Tracy and Korrine have been on every tour Inspired Woman magazine has offered, seeing San Francisco and Boston together, sometimes with repeat fellow travelers. “Some of the same people have gone on the other trips,” Tracy explains. “So it’s kind of building friendships with them too. I’ll run into some people once in awhile. We reminisce about the trip and ask, ‘Are you going on the next one?’” “I think it’s just fun to meet the other women and get to know their backgrounds and where they’re from and what other trips they’ve done,” Korrine says. Tracy and Korrine were among the first to sign up for the next Inspired Woman tour this fall. It will be the first time to Chicago for both of them. But with all the travel experience they have gained, The Windy City will be a breeze. And these two friends are already looking forward to reconnecting and making new memories together, especially since a hallway no longer separates their offices, the Missouri River does. The agencies they work for separated in 2015. “I really miss working with Tracy,” Korrine says. “The trips have helped keep us in contact and keep building our friendship,” Tracy adds.
Tracy Brandjord: Brewing Faith and Friendship
Tracy Brandjord by Marci Narum | Photography: Dwayne Walker With a paintbrush in one hand, and a watercolor block in the other, Tracy Brandjord tells a small group of women, “The most common question is, ‘How do you start?’” The women have gathered around a table covered with paintbrushes, watercolors, ink pads, and small watercolor blocks. It’s an introduction to Art Worship. Tracy tells them there are no rules for getting started; the women have the freedom to choose a favorite devotional, a journal, or even pages of their Bible as a place to paint or draw images that give meaning to the words on the paper. The pages of Tracy’s own Bible are covered in artwork. She opens it to Second Timothy, where the page is embellished with colored pencil drawings; flowers, flourishes, and a sketch of a woman wearing a long, flowing skirt. The word “Entrusted” is the focal point; the words of chapter one, verse 14 are handwritten across the page: Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. “It speaks to me about what He is calling me to do,” Tracy explains. A Dream Unfolds For many years, Tracy has been listening closely for that calling. She is the mother of four children and is married to a farmer. They live north of Bottineau, North Dakota, on Lake Metigoshe. Tracy says when her kids got to a certain age, they didn’t need her as much; her job as a mom slowed down considerably. Tracy suddenly didn’t know her purpose. “I got lonely. When you’re doing your kid thing you have those moms and when you’re not doing that anymore you just don’t have that connection.” That’s when her husband, Wally, asked her to describe her dream job. Tracy told him it would be to have a women’s ministry and a coffee shop. Wally encouraged her to go for it. After years of dreaming and planning—her kids are now old enough to help with some of the work—Tracy opened Penelope’s Place on June 1, 2016. One wouldn’t expect to find a coffee shop in the basement of the Sawmill Corner Stop—a gas station and convenience store on the road to Lake Metigoshe. But as it turns out, people are finding much more than coffee at Penelope’s Place. Common Grounds “I think if you put coffee between two women there is warm conversation and time to linger and talk about things.” Tracy says the conversations at Penelope’s Place come naturally, and as a result, faith and friendships have been brewing along with the coffee and lattes. “I probably stopped on my way to town six to eight months ago,” Jodi Keidel shares. “I did not know Tracy. I had just heard a new place was opening up and I love coffee. The more I stopped the more I got to know Tracy. She’s such a delight. She invited me to different things which was nice, being fairly new to the community. I have met a lot of fun, new people.” “I don’t want people to think they are coming into a church because I think that is intimidating for a lot of people,” Tracy says. “But when you come in here conversations are free to go in those directions if that’s what they’re needing and it’s amazing how many people do go there. “There are people who come in quite frequently and sit in the corner with their headphones on and do their thing. And they’ve become friends because they’ve had that conversation.” Tracy says there is a common theme for those who find comfort and connection while sharing their stories over a cup of coffee at Penelope’s Place: they are hurting. “A lot of women resonate with rejection. They have felt not welcome or not good enough to come to a church. I’m very passionate about speaking to the loneliness and the rejection they have. As women we want to do all the right things for our kids and our marriages, and when those things don’t go exactly as you planned, it’s hard to walk back into a space of saying, ‘I can do this. “They ask, me, ‘how did this work for you?’ I tell them a lot of it is grace that I didn’t know was available to everybody. I didn’t know that was part of religion. I thought it was obedience all the time. And if there was no obedience then you didn’t measure up and there was no redemption.” Answering the Call, Finding Friendship Tracy has developed new friendships with the people who have made Penelope’s Place a regular stop. She also discovered her purpose and calling. “There are so many things I didn’t know about church and about God. But as my Pastor told me, He doesn’t call the prepared, He prepares the called. He is using me in all my brokenness. He can use all of us.” Women are discovering the truth of God’s grace as they hear His word in Bible study groups with Tracy. She also leads weekly study groups with high school students from her congregation, Metigoshe Lutheran Church. “One of the groups is grades nine through 12 and it’s all girls. We call it GIRL—God in Real Life. These girls don’t just need to do church on Sundays, they need to know who God is on Monday afternoon when they’re in the lunchroom and somebody’s being left out. “And then I have seventh and eighth graders. I told the kids you need to name your group. They came up with GLOW. They wanted to be the light. GLOW stands for God Loves Our World.” Metigoshe Lutheran supports the youth group ministry while the women’s ministry programs are funded in part by a grant from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. “We’re buying Bibles and we’re doing Art Worship with women. It is amazing and moving and fantastic. It’s a safe place for people to go. It’s a coffee shop that you can go and get in the Bible.” “It’s special,” Kim Kvernum says with a smile. “A fun place to meet new people. And half the time I don’t know what I’m coming up here for but it ends up being a blast!” Even for those who aren’t sure about where to start when picking up a paintbrush to embellish their Bible, there is grace. “A lot of people think they are not creative. But I tell them we are made in God’s image and He is very creative; He makes beautiful sunsets and all kinds of beautiful things. So we are creative. We start slow with paintbrushes and do all sorts of things in our Bibles, and they’re really beautiful. “We’ve started Bible studies for moms and daughters, moms and sons, and new mothers. When you can speak into a woman and change her life, she changes those around her.”
Good Friends, Great Adventures
by Stephanie Fong | Submitted Photos Wonder if your friendship can survive through thick or thin? For friends Kristen Preszler of Dickinson and Anna Busta of Medora, international travel has proven their friendship can survive just about anything. In 2008, the adventurous duo took a four-week group tour through Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. They added an extra two weeks to visit Bulgaria and Romania. The next year, the friends journeyed for nearly three months to Australia, Malaysia, Borneo, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Stephanie Fong visited with the traveling friends about their adventures and their friendship. Stephanie: How was your friendship strengthened or challenged during your travels?\ Kristen: (Laughing) We never fight, except for when we travel! It was more the frustration with certain situations or discomforts, not necessarily with each other, that came up. Those environmental comforts you’re used to are gone. You’re a little more on edge because you’re hot, or hungry… Anna: …or can’t find a bathroom! Kristen: …or lost. The first place we ever went together was Egypt. The first three days we were on our own before joining our tour. We probably made more mistakes those three days than all our travels combined. A: Yeah, we’d see something from a distance in Cairo and decide to walk there and it would end up being miles. K: We were also on a budget; we didn’t have much money. Even though a cab ride would cost only five dollars, we were cheap and thought we could walk. We’ve learned when to pay the five dollars! S: How did your personalities factor into your planning? A: Kristen’s always the planner! K: I’m ‘Type A.’ Actually, our first trip [Egypt through Turkey] was pretty much laid out by the tour, except for those first three days… A: …and I thought that [unplanned time] was exciting, just winging it! K: (shakes head) Not me!! We did also experience kind of a rough time in Romania… A: (grins) Romania was my country to plan. I didn’t plan! We winged it. And we had quite a few things that could have been disastrous. Like hitting a pothole and losing the hubcap off the car; it bent the rim so the tire deflated. We limped back into Bucharest, and parked near a hostel. We asked if they had a room. They didn’t, but they had a shed, so we’re like, ‘We’ll take it, whatever you have!’ S: Any tips on how not to irritate each other and keep friendship intact? A: I think that planning is probably a key to that. Then you’re at least on the same page rather than trying to figure it out when you’re standing in the street. And go with the flow as much as possible. K: It’s a give and take. You have to figure out what’s most important to that person on the trip. I had no interest in Transylvania, but Anna was really excited about it. Know the priorities of the other person because they may not be the same as yours. Value that for them, so you’re not ruining it for them. S: What safety tips do you give other women travelling internationally? A: We did every single thing together. I didn’t even go to the bathroom myself. K: I know there are women who would love to travel by themselves, but I’d advise to travel with a friend or a small tour group. Being alone as a female in a lot of places in the world makes you vulnerable, especially if you look like you don’t belong or don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t pull out your map on the street. Duck in somewhere or ask for help or stop in a bathroom and then get your map and get reoriented. You have to learn the customs of where you’re going. S: What are your favorite memories? K: I’m a planner, but I liked welcomed surprises. When we were part of a tour, we didn’t have to plan anything, so every day was a complete surprise. Seeing Petra was one of those in-the-moment surprises. And riding camels to the pyramids the day after we landed was just really fun and surreal. A: We went to an elephant festival for five days in rural Thailand. I don’t even know how to explain it. It was amazing. Everyone brought their elephants into town. Elephants used to be a big part of their livelihood so they celebrated them. It was awesome. K: I honestly don’t think we’d be as close today if we wouldn’t have travelled. A: It’s a definite bonding thing. You find out if you’re compatible as friends. K: If you can survive travel together then you’ll probably enjoy life together. Stephanie Fong Stephanie Fong lives and works in Dickinson. She is lucky enough to run into Kristen and Anna from time to time and reminisce about years they all spent working in Medora together.
Thrivent Celebrates Women of Generosity: Sara Medalen
by Jody Kerzman | Photography: Carley Schiele Great teachers think outside the box, and are always thinking of ways to help their students. Sara Medalen might just be one of the greatest. Sara is a Title 1 teacher at Minot’s Sunnyside Elementary School. Last winter when a student showed up without her hair fixed, Sara’s motherly instincts kicked in. “This little girl’s hair always looked so nice but one week it was kind of a mess. She told me her mom was out of town so there was no one to fix her hair in the morning,” recalls Sara. “She was the only one in my small reading group that day so I told her if she would read aloud to me, I would braid her hair. It was so soothing to both of us. It was just a wonderful time.” That sparked an idea: Sara started offering her braiding skills to other students. Books and Braids became a regular part of her before-school routine. “I made a cute appointment book and changed my room a little so it felt more like a real salon than a classroom. I wanted it to be a stress-free time for kids to read. During the school day I focus on phonetics and vocabulary and comprehension. I wanted the kids to enjoy a book without worrying about all those things. I wanted them to attach reading with something really joyful and I wanted them to feel confident about themselves and give them a really good start to their day.” A few weeks after Sara started her program, a professional consultant who was visiting Sunnyside posted a photo of Books and Braids to her Facebook page. The post quickly went viral. “It was so overwhelming! I wanted to reply to all the comments, but I couldn’t keep up. So then I thought I would just ‘like’ every comment. There were so many comments, Facebook wouldn’t let me ‘like’ anymore. They thought I was a spammer!” Sara has no formal hairstyling training, but she is a mom and an aunt; she fixed her daughter’s and niece’s hair regularly while they were growing up. She says it was a natural thing to do for her students. And naturally, good ideas catch on. Books and Braids attracted the national media’s attention; CBS stations across the country carried the story. Sara has received generous donations from local businesses, including money to buy hair ties and a stool, so her classroom feels even more salon-like. But Sara says the best part is seeing her students become better readers, and getting emails from teachers all over the country, asking if they can use her idea in their schools. As for Sara, she’s got even more ideas up her sleeve. She’s hoping to get some magazine subscriptions for her older students to read, which she says will add to the salon feel. And, she’s not limiting herself to just fixing girls’ hair—she has told the boys at her school if they’d like their hair fixed, they are welcome to schedule an appointment. Sara does just one student’s hair each day. “I don’t want to rush through the students. One each morning makes it a special time for both of us. It’s the best part of my day,” Sara says.
Lasting Bonds through Resilience
by Monica Hannan | Submitted Photos Kids are tough. “Resilient” is a word often used to describe them, especially those who live through adversity yet go on to do great things. I thought of this during a recent trip to the The GOD’S CHILD Project’s Casa Jackson Hospital for Malnourished Infants and Children in Antigua, Guatemala. I hoped for that resilience as I watched a baby girl named Sagibi struggle to learn to swallow. Sagibi was born to a young girl who was herself malnourished and undersized. Birth trauma left the baby brain-damaged and very possibly blind. When I first visited Casa Jackson on Monday, Sagibi, now 18 months old, was being fed with a syringe. Washburn nurse Jill Weise gently squeezed her cheeks while Bismarck nurse Teri Brandt fed her drop by drop, massaging her throat as Sagibi cried and choked. They never gave up, talking to her in loving tones, persisting through a six-ounce feeding that took more than an hour. And when it was over, they rocked her and cuddled her until she fell into exhausted sleep, only to wake her two hours later to feed her again. But one week in, a miracle. Sagibi began to swallow! We watched a tiny toddler (just 13 pounds at nearly two years old) named Jennifer struggle to walk. She hasn’t had an easy time, but she’s a tease and a flirt with a ready smile who wormed her way into the hearts of all of the North Dakota volunteers. There’s something about taking part in victories like these that can forge lasting bonds. Though we knew each other before the trip, we learned more and in a different way. Jill was one of the first children I met when my parents moved me to Bismarck in the fall of 1971. At times I felt as if I’d been dropped onto the moon, that’s how different everything felt at the time. Jill was kind to a strange kid even then. I saw that girl again as we waited on a very crowded Sunday street where people from all over the world were lining up to watch the Lenten processions. She had promised to buy a carving from an Antigua artisan, and she found him in the crowd, then agreed to watch his wares as he went in search of just the right piece for her. That wait was a long one. Anybody else would have walked away, but Jill was not about to let her new friend down. When he returned he earned a hug for his efforts, along with the quetzals she spent. Bismarck teacher Donna Fricke makes new friends everywhere she goes. And I mean everywhere. Her friendliness radiates from her. And when the chips are down, you want her with you. She was called on early in the trip, when her Bismarck roommate, Deb Grabow, came down with a nasty virus. The circumstances weren’t great, but Deb had to take comfort in knowing that Donna was keeping careful watch and forcing fluids on her as she shivered through the night. Spending time with the poor in Guatemala sweeps minor annoyances away and puts life into proper perspective. Wicked weather meant some of us spent the night on the Minneapolis airport floor. Yet it’s hard to complain about a cancelled flight when you’ve seen a barefoot woman walk miles into town for a chance at farm-fresh vegetables handed out once a week at The Dreamer Center. We may never know what happens to Sagibi or Jennifer, or the other babies we met and loved at Casa Jackson. But if the employees of The GOD’S CHILD Project are any indication, the children just might go on to do great things. Just like the lawyers, the doctors, the teachers, and the administrators who were brought from the streets of Antigua into The Dreamer Center classrooms, who overcame great odds and now do their part every day to change the world. Resilience. Monica Hannan Monica Hannan is an Emmy-Award winning television news manager, anchor, and talk show host at KFYR-TV in Bismarck, North Dakota and is also the author of several books, including her latest, Gift of Death – A Message of Comfort and Hope. She holds her friends close, and believes they are also gifts sent by God.
The Soul Sisterhood: Girl, You Are Beautiful & Loved
by Paula Redmann | Photos Submitted Take a moment to think about your middle school years. Let’s make a list, shall we? New classes, friends, skin issues, surging hormones, regulations, boys, stress, embarrassment, drama, body image, choices. “Does my (fill in the blank—shirt, notebook, jeans, hair, headband, purse, flute, Mom, locker, jacket, cat) look okay? Puh-leeeze tell me!” The release from elementary school and the call of high school puts middle schoolers in a twist and tug of brain development and emotions. Middle schoolers make new friends, join new clubs, and form social circles that impact them and perhaps even set the stage for what is to come. It’s a challenging, prickly time for both boys and girls. Thousands of research-based doctoral dissertations and a billion years of parenting, however, will tell you that there is a difference between middle school boys and girls. Let’s not journey to the center of the Earth on this difference. Let’s just acknowledge that girls—and women—in general, could use some extra support, understanding, acceptance, strength, and belief in their own worth and place in the world. What if this kind of safe haven and sanctuary could be offered at church? Enter Nicole Fehr, Children and Family Ministry Coordinator at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Bismarck, North Dakota, and her desire to have a special ministry for middle school girls. “I went to a conference for children, youth, and family ministry and I saw this booth about a program called The Soul Sisterhood. I visited with the Minneapolis-based creator and author of the curriculum, Amanda Berger, and I just loved the idea of this Christian-centered program for middle school girls. I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful to provide a program and a positive place where sixth, seventh, and eighth grade girls would know that they are all special and they are all beautiful?’” Nicole pondered the idea and tried to figure out how it could be implemented at Good Shepherd. “I talked with our pastors,” says Nicole, “put together a proposal for the church council, got everyone’s full support, and now Good Shepherd has the first established chapter of The Soul Sisterhood in North Dakota.” Having an official chapter means Nicole has access to the curriculum, which contains thoughtful reflections based on Scripture, project and journaling ideas, as well as craft and recipe ideas. “We announced the program and started meeting in October for three hours each Sunday afternoon,” says Nicole. “The time just flew by. We sometimes would meet at the church and sometimes out in the community at a coffee shop so we could have some fun drinks and treats. We’ve also done a community service project for patients of the Bismarck Cancer Center. ” Nicole says one of their weekly projects and discussion is based on each participant’s Good News Book. “The Good News Book is such a neat part of this program,” Nicole explains. “It’s essentially like scrapbooking. The girls created their own Good News Book and they add to it at their own pace, with their chosen images. They put together pictures of all the people who love and care for them followed by 100 things that they love, and another page of the reasons they are beautiful. We just keep adding positive pages. “Girls know they are loved by their parents. They know they are supported by their teachers. But it’s not often that they hear from their peers how special and beautiful they are, and that God doesn’t make mistakes,” says Nicole. “This message is repeated week after week after week when we meet. We want to have positive internal and external messages, and we want those messages to stick.” Nicole says The Soul Sisterhood program provides another layer in Good Shepherd’s offerings. Church school and confirmation are very valuable and The Soul Sisterhood is an additional piece that speaks right to young girls where they are and the specific issues that concern them. “These girls have met new friends and so now, if they happen to attend the same school and they see this new friend in the hallway, they have a connection, another guide and mentor in their life.” The Soul Sisterhood will meet in June for a lock-in and will get together again in July. The weekly program will kick off in October, and Fehr stresses that all middle school girls are welcome. “Being open and welcoming to all is a very important part of our overall church culture,” Nicole says. “Any middle school girl is welcome to be part of The Soul Sisterhood.” Those interested should contact Nicole at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at 255-1001 or Nicole@goodshepherdbismarck.com. Sisters, unite. Paula Redmann Paula Redmann is the Community Relations Manager for Bismarck Parks and Recreation District. She likes to run, walk, play, sing, putter in her yard, laugh with family and friends, and count her blessings. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Tom. They have two grown sons, Alex and Max.
Look What She Did: Jessica Humble
Bismarck rocks. And so does Jessica Humble. The Bismarck artist’s latest project is designed to spread positivity. She calls it, simply, Bismarck Rocks. “I painted a bunch of small rocks. Some I made into bees and ladybugs, and others I just added a positive message. Now I’m placing them around town for others to find. When you find a rock, you can do two things: either move it to a new place for someone else to find, or keep it and paint a new one to place somewhere.” Jessica got the idea online—cities in Tennessee and Texas have similar projects. “It’s an inexpensive, quick project and it’s a great way to spread some positive vibes.” Jessica says rocks that can fit in the palm of your hand are best, in case the finder wants to keep it. She says if you don’t want to search for the perfect rock, you can buy them at dollar stores and craft stores. A few more tips from Jessica: acrylic paint works best, paint pens make writing easier, and don’t forget the sealant (without it, the acrylic paint will fade quickly). “Once you make your rock, place it where you know someone will find it,” explains Jessica. “If you find a rock, take a picture and post it to our Facebook page.” Learn more, and follow the rocks, on Facebook at Bismarck Rocks. Jessica posts pictures of the rocks she does there, as well as clues to help you find them.
Look What She Did: April Lund
Two years ago April Lund was, as she says, a “hot mess.” “I was 65 pounds heavier. My body fat percentage was 44.8 percent,” she recalls. “I wanted to get back into shape. Running had always been my passion, but I thought it would be a whole lot more fun if my friends ran with me. So there was a group of eight of us that ran together in what we called our ‘track club.'” April’s “GYS Track Club” (GYS is short for Get You Some, whether it’s motivation, exercise, or friendship) has now grown to 87 members. Practices are held at the Bismarck Community Bowl on Wednesdays at 6:15 p.m. and Sundays at 7:00 a.m. “On Wednesday nights we do speed work. That may be 15 second burst of running. You may run 100 meters or a half mile. Sundays are our longer runs. We run anywhere from one mile to 22 miles,” April explains. “We have people at all levels, some who don’t run. Instead, they walk the track. It’s all about increasing your fitness level, whatever level you’re at. People of all shapes, sizes, ages, and fitness levels are welcome.” April, who is a certified personal trainer, says the track club is about more than just getting in shape—it’s also about friendship. “We have all kinds of people who come run with us, everyone from the CEO of Basin Electric to the janitor at McDonalds. We welcome everyone and we’ve all become friends.” Get more information on Facebook—just search GYS Track Club.
Look What She Did: Loni Harper and Annie Beckler
When it comes to eating healthy, it’s important to have a plan. But sometimes it’s difficult to find time to meal plan. That’s where Annie Beckler, Loni Harper, and their new business, GR8 Plates, come in. GR8 Plates provides healthy, home-cooked meals for busy people. “We offer eight shake flavors and each meal replacement shake has 11 grams of protein and about 150 calories. We also offer eight plates, including dishes like salmon, shrimp stir fry, stuffed peppers with ground turkey, and even chicken alfredo. All of our meals are under 500 calories. Chicken alfredo has been our most popular meal so far. I think it’s because when you’re watching what you eat you tend to avoid pasta,” says Annie. “But we use a chickpea pasta so it’s a little healthier. It’s also gluten free and high in protein.” Meals can be picked up at the store, but delivery is also available. GR8 Plates is open Monday through Friday, but Loni and Annie spend seven days a week at the store. Saturdays and Sundays are spent preparing food for the following week. “We have people order a whole week’s worth of meals. If you place an order Monday through Friday, it will be ready to pick up the following Monday. We also have a microwave here so people can stop in and order a meal and eat it right away. It’s so much healthier than traditional fast food, and price-wise, our meals are about the same price as a value meal.” GR8 Plates is located in the food court of the Gateway Mall. Follow them on Facebook; just search GR8 Plates Bismarck or visit their website gr8platesbismarck.com.