Rethink That Drink
By Sandy Tschosik We could all use a girl’s night out once in awhile. However, when it comes to having some cocktails with your gal pals, how much is too much? Do you think it is okay to binge once in awhile? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), defines binge drinking as the consumption of four or more alcoholic beverages for women (five or more for men), during a single drinking session. The CDC reports that one in six U.S. adults binge drinks four times a month, consuming, on average, eight drinks per binge. Unfortunately, North Dakota consistently ranks high in binge drinking among both adults and high school students. According to 2015 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, North Dakota had the highest binge drinking rate in the United States. Additionally, more than 90% of the alcohol youth consume is during binge drinking. Heavy drinking, including binge drinking, is risky behavior and is associated with the following: Unintentional injuries (motor vehicle accidents, falls, drowning) Violence against others (sexual assault, shootings, domestic violence) Unintended pregnancies and sexually-transmitted diseases Fetal alcohol syndrome and sudden infant death syndrome Cardiovascular diseases (high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure) Liver disease and cancer Poor control of diabetes Neurological damage (attention and memory problems, impaired decision making) Alcohol poisoning Alcohol dependency and withdrawal symptoms (trembling, sweating, irritability, insomnia) Unfortunately, this behavior is a widespread problem and a serious public health issue. The good news is that there are steps we can take to help address and prevent the dangers of consuming too much alcohol. Choose not to binge drink If you are going to consume alcohol, do so wisely and in moderation. “Moderation” means no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. One drink equates to 12 oz of regular beer (5 percent alcohol content), or 5 oz of wine (12 percent alcohol content) or 1.5 oz of hard liquor (40 percent alcohol content). Try to keep this in mind when you order that cocktail and note how many ounces of alcohol are actually in it before you order another. That one margarita may already contain more than one drink. Drink slowly Women feel the effects of alcohol quicker than men due to our body composition and how we metabolize it. We usually weigh less, have less muscle and more body fat, and our bodies contain less water compared to men. Since fat does not absorb alcohol, and we have less water in our body to dilute it, the alcohol content remains more concentrated in our blood stream. Women also have lower levels of alcohol dehydrogenase, an enzyme that begins to metabolize alcohol in the liver before it gets into our bloodstream, resulting in a higher blood alcohol concentration. Furthermore, on average, it takes the liver one hour to metabolize the alcohol in just one drink. Consuming more than one drink an hour overwhelms the liver which can cause blood alcohol levels to rise quicker. Even hormonal swings can speed up the rate of intoxication in women. The bottom line, even if a woman weighs the same as a man, and drinks the same amount at the same rate, she will always be more “tipsy” than the man. Again, know your limit. It may be wise to switch to a non-alcoholic beverage after that one glass of wine. Never drink on an empty stomach Food helps to slow the rate of alcohol absorption. Talk to your kids Tell your children about the dangers of alcohol misuse and binge drinking so that they are better able to resist peer pressure. Also, support the minimum legal drinking age. Never drink and drive Have a designated driver or take a taxi. Avoid alcohol Do not consume alcohol if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, you are on medication that can interact with alcohol, you have been diagnosed with alcoholism, or you are under the legal age limit. Get help If drinking is causing health, work or social/family problems please talk to your healthcare provider or counselor. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength. We are given one life. It is an amazing journey that is meant to be cherished and shared with the people you love. So, celebrate all of life’s blessings, but please, if you choose to consume alcohol, do so responsibly. Cheers! Sandy Tschosik was born and raised in Winnipeg. After earning her Bachelor of Nursing degree from the University of Manitoba, she decided that Canadian winters were too cold and moved “south” to start her nursing career in Bismarck. Sandy has a passion for motherhood, wellness, and hockey.
You Are One in 33 Million: Celebrate Your Strengths
By Noreen Keesey “The greatest crime in the world is to not develop your potential. When you do what you do best, you are helping not only yourself, but the world.” —Rodger Williams, Founder of Rhode Island You are unique; it has been proven. Don Clifton, the father of strengths psychology, posed a question during his graduate studies that would lead to years of research and the development of the CliftonStrengths™ assessment. That question was, “What would happen if we studied what is right with people versus what’s wrong with people?” This question led to more than four decades of study on the topic of positive behaviors and success across many job roles and cultures. The result was a list of 34 clusters of behavior, or talent themes, that describe what people do that propels them to excellence in their chosen fields. (This is an important point; the research focused on how people were doing things, not what they were doing in terms of their career fields. Different people can be successful in a given career even with quite different strengths profiles.) These talent themes are not simply things that people do, they describe innate ways that people behave and their inherent potential for developing excellence. CliftonStrengths™ is a development tool wherein a Strength is matured through the existence of a talent and personal investment in the development of that talent. As a strength, one can consistently produce an exceptional outcome in the performance of a specific task. Gallup® research indicates that the likelihood of you having the same signature strengths—your top five talent themes—as another is one in about 278,000. The odds of having those five in the same order as another are one in 33 million. We each bring a unique perspective and set of talents to our experience on this earth. With a list of 34 themes, it is inevitable that there will be talents at the bottom of our list. Though it is unrealistic to ignore our areas of lesser talent, it is not in our best interests to prioritize “fixing” those areas. A study conducted on reading improvement found that far greater improvements were made by those who were already good readers than by those whose reading speeds were not as strong before training. In terms of strengths, that means focusing our attention on honing our top talents is more productive than trying to develop our areas of lesser talent. We are not meant to be well rounded; we are far better off shining in our areas of unique ability. What does this mean for us in our day to day tasks, duties, and responsibilities? First, we must recognize when we are at our best. We need to understand those things that come as naturally to us as breathing. The challenge here lies in the fact that identifying our talents can be like seeing the nose on our face. Without a mirror, we cannot get a clear view of our nose. It is too close to us. Spend some time considering what you love, when you excel, and how that excellence shows up. It can also be helpful to ask others who know us well what they see when we are at our best. Ask them to describe what they see you do well, and try not to argue with them when they point it out. Our talents are so natural to us that they can seem insignificant when they are pointed out to us. Now, about those areas of lesser strength. Though we cannot, and should not, deny them it is important to realize that what we have is much more important than what we do not. Gallup has outlined four domains of talent. They are executing, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking. It is uncommon to have signature talents across all five domains; most people’s top talents are clustered in one or two domains. Focusing on presence of talent and using them may mean using strengths in the relationship building domain in order to achieve the influencing results that are desired. Are there ways to apply our strengths to doing what needs to be done? Rather than focusing on a perceived lack, determine how to accomplish what you want using your gifts. This may mean partnering with others who can provide balance to your own themes while expressing their own. You are unique and your development and growth is a lifelong process. Identify your talents, invest in them, and apply your strengths to enjoy greater success and life satisfaction. Noreen is a leadership coach and trainer who values time for reflection (Intellection), loves to provide helpful resources (Input), and is willing to go with the flow (Adaptability). She enjoys one-to-one interactions (Relator) and believes in continuous improvements (Maximizer). Those interested in more information about CliftonStrengths™ can contact Noreen at email@example.com or go to gallupstrengthscenter.com (scroll to the bottom of the page) to find a directory of certified strengths coaches.
Something Old Into Something New
Photo by Glasser Images By Marci Narum | Photography: Glasser Images Every woman has a reason for choosing the perfect gown for her wedding day. Hannah Cahoon’s reason was her mother, Judy Sagaser. “My mom died in February 2009 after a short battle with stomach cancer,” Hannah says. “I’m the youngest of five. Everyone else is married and has kids. It was always in the back of my mind what would I do for the wedding without Mom.” Hannah got engaged to her fiance Dan in January 2016 and started her search for the perfect wedding dress. It’s traditionally something a mother looks forward to doing with her daughter, but Hannah still had some help from a big sister. “When we started looking for dresses, my oldest sister, Heather, suggested to somehow incorporate Mom’s dress.” Hannah’s mother had sewn her own wedding dress with her grandmother, Marlys Muilenburg, in 1971. “Mom was always a really crafty person. She made clothes for all of my siblings and me, especially when we were younger. She got into quilting. She had projects going on all the time.” This project was going to be extra special. Hannah and her sisters met with Kari Wagner and Diana Greff, owners of Brides on a Dime in Bismarck. “If the mom, a sister, or aunt is there when the bride comes in, we ask if there is anything special they are going to give the bride so they can have a piece of them going down the aisle,” Diana explains. “We wanted Hannah to feel like her mom was there.” “They found us a couple of dresses but we weren’t sure how to incorporate my mom’s dress,” Hannah says. “They found this gorgeous, really simple, basic, two-piece dress that turned out would be perfect to put an overlay of my mom’s dress on it. “They brought in a seamstress, Katy Beler, who worked her magic and did a phenomenal job. We ended up using almost all of my mom’s dress in various parts. We added a halter strap that was a little belt thing from her dress. We added some satin panels, and Katy stitched together all the lace she could use all the way around the base of the skirt. A basic gorgeous dress ended up being a really cool lace and satin taffeta skirt for the gown.” Hannah says when her father walked her down the aisle on her wedding day, October 22, 2016, her mother was there too, and part of the memory of her entire wedding day. “It was like being wrapped up in my mom even though she wasn’t there physically with us.” “When you’re talking about a wedding it’s not just about the bride,” says Kari. “It’s about becoming a family, and remembering those who have passed away. It’s part of your history and who you are.” “I can’t even really put a price on what it means to say, ‘I wore my mom’s wedding dress on my wedding day and I was also able to add my own personal flare to it,’” says Hannah. “That’s one of the best parts of it, just feeling like Mom was hugging me throughout the day and being able to have that memory.” Hannah's mom in her wedding dress. Photo by Glasser Photographry Photo by Glasser Photographry Photo by Glasser Photographry Photo by Glasser Photographry Photo by Glasser Photographry Photo by Glasser Photographry Photo by Glasser Photographry Photo by Glasser Photographry Photo by Glasser Photographry Photo by Glasser Photographry
Stella Baetsch: Sweet Slice of Life
By Jody Kerzman | Photography: Photos by Jacy “I’ve got frosting in my blood,” laughs Stella Baetsch as she wipes frosting from her face. Stella’s frosting has been helping people in Bismarck and Mandan celebrate life’s special moments for more than two decades. Her busiest time of year is just starting; orders are already stacking up for graduations, confirmations, and first communions. Stella knows she will be just as busy come summer. “In the summer, the weekends are full always. There is never a weekend that we don’t have cakes. But I love it. I get the happy times,” says Stella, owner of MagiCandle Cakery. “Cakes go with happy celebrations: birthdays, weddings, new babies, anniversaries, graduations.” Stella has a few of her own happy times coming up: on June 18, she’ll celebrate her 80th birthday and on May 5, MagiCandle Cakery turns 24. Stella opened the store in 1993, when her cake decorating supplies outgrew her home. “The dining room was full, the downstairs hallway was full, underneath my foyer where I have storage was full,” Stella recalls. “I was making cakes all the time, as people called me. It got to the point where it was overwhelming after awhile. So I decided to open a store, and get my stuff out of the house.” She Takes the Cake She never dreamed she’d still be here, at her little store on Bismarck’s East Broadway Avenue, 24 years later. But here she is, working six days a week, teaching cake decorating classes, and still decorating every cake that is ordered. “I do the decorating. You know why? When I first started teaching classes, I thought I’d find someone that would like to decorate too and I could have a day off,” Stella explains. “And then I realized my name goes out on every one of them. It came from here, and my name is on it so I jolly well better do it myself.” She does have help; Stella fondly refers to her three employees as her “girls.” And then there’s her husband, Weldee, who has been beside her since day one. “He is the backbone of this business,” Stella says lovingly. “He is my sidekick, and most important, my accountant. Without him, I wouldn’t be able to do this. We spend all our time together, at work and at home, and it just works out perfect for us.” In fact, Weldee is sort of the reason Stella first got started decorating cakes. “My parents-in-law were having an anniversary. My husband is an only child and there was no one else to do their cake. I begged the instructor of the one class offered in town to let me in. I talked myself up to get into the class, and she did let me in. But I was out of my league! Others in the class were already doing wedding cakes. I was in awe. Total awe. The first thing our instructor asked us to do was to make a rose. I had no idea how to do that and she knew it. When I finally had a rose that I thought was pretty good, she walked by and said ‘that looks like a beginner’s rose’ and kept walking. I went home and took out every book I had, which wasn’t very many at that time, but I found an article by a lady who taught her beginners to put a mini marshmallow on a toothpick and build the rose around the marshmallow. So that’s what I did. I taught myself how to do roses around marshmallows. Since then I have learned how to make a rose. I’ll make a rose for you anywhere you want a rose, I’ll make a rose.” That class was only the beginning of the classes Stella would take. She won her instructor over, and the two of them traveled to Minneapolis to take The Comprehensive Course at Maid of Scandinavia. Again, Stella found herself in over her head and thought about quitting. “I thought I kept up pretty well, but I got the impression that the teacher didn’t like people from North Dakota. She made a couple of comments and I thought I would never go back,” remembers Stella. “When I got home, Weldee asked me how it went and I said it was fine, but that I was never going back because I didn’t really like the teacher. He told me if he would have thought that, he never would have gotten his master’s degree. I thought, darn it. He’s right. So I went back. I completed all of the classes and I have 11 certificates from the Maid of Scandinavia store in Minneapolis. I took all their classes, and even some foreign ones (British and Australian). After that many classes, the teacher did become a friend.” Stella also went to Chicago to the Wilton Cake Decorator School. There she took the Wilton Master’s Class and the Pulled Sugar Class. “My picture is hanging on a wall there. They call it the ‘Hall of Fame,’” Stella explains with a giggle. Teacher and Encourager Maid of Scandinavia is no longer in business, but Stella has continued to share what she learned there nearly 40 years ago. Stella has been teaching Wilton method cake decorating classes in Bismarck for 33 years. “To date, I have taught about 3,000 students.” She offers three levels: course one covers buttercream decorating skills, course two focuses on royal icing, and course three is all about gum paste and fondant. Stella relies on her experiences—both as a beginner and as a master decorator—to help her better teach her students. “From when I started until now, I could write a few books. When I first started, I had the uncertainty of a beginner, of not knowing how to go about things. Because of that, I went about them the very hardest way in the world. I eventually ended up with what I know now and I can decorate a cake much quicker. I know the shortcuts. So in my classes I try to teach the shortcuts,” explains Stella. “I tell my students I’ve been there and I know all the mistakes. I’ve already made them. I hope to keep them from making the same ones I made. Helping them progress is the best. I love it. Hearing them say ‘oh yeah, that makes it better’ is music to my ears.” Even after nearly 40 years of decorating, Stella is quick to point out she still makes mistakes. “I make mistakes,” she says with a laugh. “Sometimes I can just clean off the mistake with the tip of a knife or a pin. Sometimes I have to undecorate the whole cake and start over. But that’s okay. It’s just a cake. It’s not a big catastrophe in the grand scheme of things. It’s just a cake. There are times I have put the entirely wrong image on a cake and not realized it until I was all done. So then I have to take it off and start over. It makes me mad that I made that mistake, but it happens. Sometimes we freeze the mistakes or send them to the business next door.” And when it comes to other businesses, Stella is the first to welcome them to town, even those that could be competition. “My advice for others who are starting a business is simple: just go for it. I encourage anyone. There are people who have started businesses in town and I’ve encouraged every one of them. I’m here to help them.” The Future But while she’s eager to welcome new businesses to town, Stella knows she needs to think about the future of her own business. “I’m not getting any younger.” As she nears her 80th birthday, she also can’t imagine not spending her days here, where the laughter and the decorating are frequently interrupted by the sound of a ringing telephone or a curious customer. “We are sort of the go-to place for advice. The phone rings a lot.” And Stella is happy to share her knowledge with anyone who asks. She’s also happy to share her creations—whether it’s a perfectly decorated cake, cookie, or her famous homemade caramels. “I’ve always loved working with my hands. I have done a lot of crafts. Cake decorating is an extension of that. I call it a ‘sugar craft.’” As for her birthday coming up in June, Stella has decided to throw herself a party. Weldee, their two grown children, and three grandchildren will be there and Stella says there will be cupcakes, caramels, and lots of hot pink party decorations. “I decided all these years I’ve been helping other people celebrate their big days. It’s time I celebrate my own big day. I’m thankful to the good Lord for every year He can give me and 80 years calls for a party.” Click here to see more photos of Stella by Photos by Jacy. And to hear Stella visit with aspiring baker and decorator, nine-year-old Lizzy Kerzman click here. While Stella is famous for her cakes, she also enjoys making peanut brittle and caramels. She says making candy is a nice break from decorating. “If you haven’t tasted a caramel from MagiCandle, you’re missing out. Our caramels are to die for,” says Stella. “A dear friend shared the basic recipe with me and we have since tweaked it a little.”
Web Exclusive: Stella’s Decorating Tutorial
Nine-year-old Lizzy Kerzman is fascinated with baking and decorating cakes. So she tagged along with her mom, Jody, when she went to interview Stella. Lizzy had her own list of questions, and brought a box of cupcakes to get some expert tips from Stella. The two were instant friends, and Lizzy left with some new techniques for her cupcakes. Take a look!
Family Mealtime is a Celebration Even When it’s Simple
By Tracie Bettenhausen When is the last time you sat down with your kids to have dinner? Even if the meal wasn’t fancy, you’re doing your family a favor in more ways than you might think. The NDSU (North Dakota State University) Extension Service is promoting family mealtime through “The Family Table.” The program, which is being championed by extension agents across the state, is unique to North Dakota, though there are similar programs in other states. Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph. D., NDSU professor and food and nutrition specialist, and her colleagues launched the program after several discussions. The project brings together experts in family science, nutrition, finance, and technology. “There are just so many benefits when families eat together, it’s astounding,” she says. “Kids who eat with their families do better in school. The family table is where many of us learn our language skills, through conversations around the dinner table. Both kids and adults are healthier, and the family saves money when buying groceries rather than meals already prepared.” The program’s goal is to have families eating together on a regular basis, or three times a week at minimum. Garden-Robinson says the program launched in January with a website, Facebook page, e-newsletter, and monthly challenges with prizes. “We have a group page, where we post quick meal ideas and conversation starters,” she says. “For example, start mealtime conversations with a question like, ‘If you could talk to anyone, living or no longer alive, for an hour, who would you talk to?’ or ‘Did you appreciate someone today? How did you show or tell that person that you appreciate them?'” The program asks families to put electronic devices away and turn the televisions off. “Families aren’t used to being together just to talk, and the feedback we’re hearing from families already is they’re having fun,” Garden-Robinson says. “By asking questions you wouldn’t normally think of you’ll learn things about one another that might surprise you and that’s exciting.” Kids learn healthy eating habits at home. “Surveys show that more than a third of families increase their fruit consumption, about a third eat more vegetables, and not quite a quarter eat more whole grains,” Garden-Robinson says. “Those trends have an effect on promoting healthy weight among children.” Food is also a good way to introduce cultural history to children. “You might tell your kids about the food your mom or grandma used to make and you might want to try those recipes for yourself,” Garden-Robinson says. “The Family Table” is one program in a suite of NDSU programs aimed at promoting healthy, strong families. Facebook followers of the program can even win prizes along the way, like cookbooks and spatulas. Click here to participate in all aspects of “The Family Table.” Tracie Bettenhausen Tracie Bettenhausen is a senior staff writer/editor at Basin Electric. Her mealtimes vary from picking up grab-n-go smoked ribs at the local food co-op (they’ll have you believing in angels) to trying out recipes a la Julia Child or Chrissy Teigen.
Community Contributor: Great American Bike Race
By Jody Kerzman | Photography: Jerry Ketterling Give us a little history of the Great American Bike Race (GABR). This is our 21st annual event and we will be hosting it at Legacy High School this year which is a new venue. The event began in the mall and was spearheaded by Dr. Kevin Murphy and the local Cerebral Palsy support group. With the incredible support of the community and volunteers who serve on the event planning committee, GABR has grown to be one of the largest events of its kind in the United States, with 110 teams and over 1,300 participants. We have raised over $3 million to support children and young adults with cerebral palsy and other related childhood onset conditions permanently affecting development. How is GABR different from other events like it? The Great American Bike Race is an extraordinary event that brings attention to the needs of our community from around the nation. Thus far this year, we have donations from all 50 states, five Canadian provinces, and two branches of the Armed Forces. Who benefits from the GABR? Families throughout the region are supported with the funds raised. The majority of the funds support families from western North Dakota. These families are able to apply for funds from GABR that help pay for medical services and equipment, such as wheelchairs, communication devices, and adaptive tricycles for children with cerebral palsy or related disabilities. Requests are reviewed and disbursed quarterly. How can people contact you about the GABR? To support the event they can either contact Erin Green at the Sanford Health Foundation at 701-323-8452 or they can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To apply for funds, please contact Sara Haugen at the Sanford Health Foundation at 701-323-8451. How can people donate or get involved? We invite the community to come out and support the event on Saturday April 8 at Legacy High School! Anyone can contribute to help a specific team, raise funds, or make a gift to support our cause at gabr.sanfordhealth.org. What are your needs right now if someone would like to help? We are always looking for volunteers to help with various activities at the event, including rider timers, set up, and clean up, but most important if you know of a family in need please let them know that there is support for them in their community through GABR for things like therapy, travel expenses, and modifications to vehicles and homes. Let’s do it for the kids!
A Horse No One Could Catch, the Jockey Who Rode Him to a Stunning Victory, the Magic of Memories
Ron and Carole, taken the night she met him back in August 2011 in Waterville, Maine. By Carole Hemingway | Photography: Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel Sometimes, dynamite comes in small packages and a jockey by the name of Ron Turcotte, born July 22, 1941 came into the world in human form and was born to win. As feisty as he was small, Ron proved to be the best jockey of his generation in both Canada and the United States. Then there was ‘the horse’ Secretariat, born March 30, 1970; 12:10 AM who set off a genetic explosion and whose echoes of winning the Triple Crown on June 9, 1973 at the Belmont Stakes still reverberate throughout the Hall of Fame and the rest of the thoroughbred world. I first laid eyes on Ron Turcotte when he gave a horse talk in Waterville, Maine, thanks to my dear, cherished friends Julie and Richard L’Heureux. Our souls met across a table he was sitting at when his hand covered mine and a bolt of lightning traveled through my entire physical body. Between late night phone calls, loaded with conversation, laughter and pauses, in the wee small hours of the morning from Ron’s native home in New Brunswick, Canada, plus a lot of reading and extensive research, I learned a lot about horses, jockeys, and the man himself. Ron quit school at the age of 14 to help his father support his family of 12 and like his father, he became a lumberjack in the deep woods of Canada. The actual work was difficult, dangerous, seasonal; low paying with primitive living conditions. At one point in his early years he picked worms on a golf course for $3 per thousand worms, in the middle of the night, wearing a mining helmet, for a bait company. He started at the bottom in the horse world, as a ‘hot walker,’ cooling down horses by walking them in circles. A natural with horses, he began his riding career on June 21, 1961 on a horse called ‘Whispering Wind.’ By speaking to them in French, he discovered that they accelerated into another gear and won races. He knew that horses win races, not jockeys. He married ‘the love of his life’ on August 25, 1965. Gae gave him four beautiful daughters. They were stronger together than they were alone. The circumstances that brought Ron Turcotte and “Secretariat” together were simply destiny, and it played out like a movie. Actually, the true story did become the movie, Secretariat. A horse from North Dakota named Cyclone Larry played Secretariat. Secretariat won the Triple Crown by 31 lengths. As the announcer said, “He is moving like a tremendous machine.” The horse’s performance was electrifying. With Turcotte in the saddle, they had stealth power. In one of my conversations with Ron, I asked him, “How did it feel to ride him all that distance?” He paused, took a deep breath and told me: “I thought at one point, we were going to lift off the ground, like Pegasus and that I was never going to see my family again.” That must have been the closest thing to heaven, not to mention one hell of an orgasm. By mid-1978, Ron won a total of more than $29 million in purse money. He won more than 3,000 races. All this happened during a time of political turmoil when Nixon was being broiled alive in the Watergate scandal and finally resigned. Our world is stressed out right now, many people feel fear and anxiety living in uncertainty. I wanted to tell you ‘a true story’ of courage that will shift your thinking and give you hope and faith in the future. Just before Ron’s 37th birthday, July 13, 1978 his life spun severely out of control. The horse he was riding went down, and Turcotte with her. He somersaulted twice and landed on his back. He couldn’t get his breath, so he pushed his stomach in. It was liked pushing in a bag of water. Then he reached down and touched his legs. An awful feeling. It was like he was touching the legs of someone else. That’s when he knew the truth, that he was paralyzed. He had a few operations but nothing could fix what was broken; yet to this day he keeps his spirit and manages to adapt to his fate. He’s not bitter, cranky, but rather a joy to be around. Ron Turcotte is a much-loved man. Loved by his wife, his family and fans all over the world. He looks forward and thanks God every morning when he opens his eyes. Carole Hemingway Carole Hemingway is an internationally regarded author, speaker, and historical researcher. She currently lives along the coast of Maine where she is writing a book about Gettysburg, and waiting to publish another book about her father, Ernest.
Web Exclusive: Sister Nancy Talks about Her Story Quilts
Sister Nancy Gunderson uses her story quilts as teaching tools in the classroom and to raise social consciousness. She gives many as gifts. Sister Nancy will travel to Uganda in July to teach at a school for AIDS orphans and has created story quilts to take along as gifts. Listen to her describe those quilts here:
Oh Man: Marlo Anderson: Celebrate Every Day!
By Marci Narum We all know what happened to the cat who wanted to learn more. As the proverb tells us: curiosity killed it. For Marlo Anderson, curiosity has been much kinder. Five years ago the Mandan man wanted to learn more about National Popcorn Day. “I’m a popcorn nut and I had heard it was National Popcorn Day so I went online. I wanted to know how the day came to be; I wanted to know the history of it.” Marlo is a self-proclaimed technology nut too, so his curiosity led him to a new hobby. He launched the National Day Calendar website—on National Popcorn Day, January 19, 2013. It’s an online community where followers can learn about days that have special meaning and cause for celebration, whether random or intentional. “Six months later we had 20,000 people coming to the website and clamoring for the information,” Marlo explains. “It was mostly media. I would stay up two or three hours every night researching and writing, and getting the posts ready for the next day.” Marlo’s curiosity paid off. A little more than four years after launching his website, millions of people around the world are curious about the National Day Calendar. “We are the number one thing trending on social media. There isn’t anyone even close anymore. Last year along we trended over 300 times on Twitter.” National Day Calendar was named startup of the year in January. It has its own popcorn sponsor, Colorado Jack Popcorn, and a Hollywood agent—C3 Entertainment, founded by The Three Stooges—to handle licensing and distribution of the printed version of National Day Calendars in the future. You can also purchase “Celebrate Every Day” tee-shirts and hoodies online and Marlo recently added “Celebrate Every Day” stickers. “You just fill in the blank. I was curious if people would actually respond to this idea. Everywhere I go people are pointing at the sticker on my shirt and saying, ‘It’s Tortilla Chip day!’ The day before it was Margarita Day and people were high-fiving me and everything else,” Marlo laughs. “From a sticker?” National media outlets contact and interview Marlo regularly, including the NBC Today Show, Fox and Friends, Jimmy Kimmel, and Ellen DeGeneres. But he is extremely humble in the midst of all the attention and success of the National Day Calendar. “I had a hard time with this right away, with all the attention around this. I thought it was extremely trivial. With all the things going on in our world, why would this be what it is?” He says handwritten letters started arriving shortly before he made the decision to take National Day Calendar from a hobby to a business. Those letters changed his perspective. “A couple wrote to us about their daughter who passed away. She was 12 and she followed us. Now they celebrate every day because of their daughter. “A mother whose adult son has Down syndrome wrote us a letter. He attends an adult learning center in Virginia and the teacher has adopted National Day Calendar into their daily lives. The mom told us that we probably are not even aware of the impact we’ve had on them. “I think people look for ways to celebrate and maybe even moreso now than ever before. We all live on Facebook and Twitter and everything else, on our devices. People don’t get together like they used to. I think this actually brings that back a little bit. Most of the time when people are talking about this they’re talking about how they got together with their friends and family to go out for pizza. It’s almost like an excuse to go out and celebrate.” Curious about what you can celebrate today? Visit nationaldaycalendar.com or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Google-plus, and Reddit. Curiosity killed the cat. It’s too bad the cat didn’t know Marlo Anderson. Marlo says National Day gets about 20,000 applications for new national day proclamations each year. Of those, a committee selects 30. The newest addition to National Day is the opportunity to vote for “Official Destination.”
Change of Plans: One Family’s Journey from Heartbreak to Joy
By Jody Kerzman “The story isn’t going how you planned, but that isn’t a reason to stop trusting that the story has a plan “ – Ann Voskamp Jessica Evenson’s story has not gone according to her plan. After two easy pregnancies, she and her husband Jeff decided to try for one more baby. “It was 2011. Our son Rylan was born in 2006, and our daughter Jordyn in 2008, so we were ready for another baby,” recalls Jessica. “But we had some infertility issues and we were told it would be nearly impossible for us to get pregnant again without in vitro. We decided to take a step back and look at adoption. A month later, we were pregnant.” Even though there were no medical reasons to believe anything was wrong with the baby, Jessica and Jeff were cautiously optimistic and didn’t tell many people they were expecting. The pregnancy was uneventful, until week 37. “I didn’t feel her move one day,” remembers Jessica. “But we were moving into a new house in a new town and I just figured I was busy and didn’t notice.” The next day, Jessica still didn’t feel the baby move, so she went to the doctor. “They couldn’t find a heartbeat. We weren’t given a reason, we were just told she was gone. It didn’t matter to us anyway. We didn’t need to know all the ‘whys.’” Jessica delivered baby Brynn on October 17, 2011. While they mourned her death, both Jessica and Jeff still knew their family wasn’t complete. “We knew trying to have our own was out of the question. I had a debilitating back injury with my last pregnancy, and that whole pregnancy was really hard on me. It just wasn’t worth it and the chance of us even getting pregnant again was pretty impossible. Brynn was a miracle baby. “I was kind of lost for awhile. I left my job, stayed home with the kids for awhile, and then started a different job. I just didn’t know what to do.” Four years later, on the drive home from Brynn’s birthday celebration in Bismarck, the subject of adoption came up. “We weren’t sure it was for us, but we did know we needed to explore it. We were very skeptical, but thought this is how we’re going to complete our family. Adoption was always on the table, even before Brynn.” The couple met with an agency in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and on February 23, 2016 signed the paperwork to get the adoption process started. They were told the wait for a baby would likely be at least six to 12 months. “Over the next month we started to get all of the requirements done but we were in no rush. One month later we learned of Camden. We met his birth mother a few days later and three weeks before he was born, we were officially matched. Seventy-seven days after we started our adoption journey, on May 10, Camden entered this world screaming at 9 lbs 1 oz and 21 inches long. His birth mother invited me into the room and I watched my son being born.” From his very first breath, Camden changed Jessica’s life. “Before he came into our family, we were pretty lost in terms of everything that had happened to our family. Doors just kept closing and nothing seemed to go our way. Camden brought us hope, joy, and happiness. He didn’t replace anyone. He has shown us that God is good and there can be hope and joy, even after tragedy. He is the joy of our lives. He has brought smiles back to our faces.” Camden’s adoption is an open adoption and Jessica keeps in contact with his birth mom. She sends her books of pictures every month and texts her every few weeks. “It’s nice to have the communication with her, especially when there are questions about things like food allergies. We got together with her last fall and she got to see Camden. We want her to be a part of his life. He will have questions someday that I won’t be able to answer, so if she wants a relationship with Camden, we are willing. “I admire her. It’s hard as a mom to understand how she could love someone so much that she chose a better life for him. It was hard when she left the hospital. I could see she loved him so much. It wasn’t that she didn’t want him. It was that she wanted something better for him.” That she chose Jessica to raise her son is something Jessica celebrates every day. Camden wasn’t originally part of her plan, but she says he was an unexpected change of plans that has filled her heart and brought smiles to the whole family. “Many have told Camden how lucky he is to be part of our family. I always tell them we are the lucky ones.”
Thrivent Celebrates Women of Generosity: Kelsey Zottnick
By Marci Narum “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:6 Kelsey Zottnick says she never imagined herself as the executive director of Tracy’s Sanctuary House. But it’s been her full-time job since July 2016. Even before that Kelsey assumed responsibility of a long list of duties at the nonprofit. “I took on everything from operations, volunteering, and fundraising, all on top of my full-time job. That was a huge learning curve and I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into at the time. It became a calling to me. I was checking people in, I was on call 24/7 as I am now, and doing everything I am now. It really became a passion of mine.” Tracy’s Sanctuary House is a five-bedroom home in the heart of Bismarck. It provides short-term housing for people from out of town needing a place to stay when a family member is in an emergency medical situation or when receiving outpatient cancer or dialysis treatments. “People can stay 24 hours up to six weeks and we ask for a free will donation. It does cost us $250 a day to keep the doors open.” Kelsey says that’s where she comes in. A big part of her job is education and awareness about Tracy’s Sanctuary House and raising money to keep the doors open. Funding a vital position like hers is a cost too, but Kelsey is willing to work hard to raise money for her salary as well as operational expenses—because Tracy’s Sanctuary House is in memory of her mother, Tracy Rittel. And it was founded by her father. “He had this direct vision of what he wanted it to be and look like,” Kelsey says of her dad, Bruce Rittel. “He wanted it to be very homey and comforting and also a very spiritual place for someone to go during a medical emergency.” Bruce envisioned a space like Tracy’s Sanctuary House because it’s exactly what he and his family needed but didn’t have when Tracy died in a car accident near Fargo in August 2004. They were far away from home with no place to gather, grieve, and comfort each other. “All these loved ones were there with us and there wasn’t a suitable place to gather other than a waiting room in the middle of the chaos of an emergency room or the hotel lobby where we were staying,” Kelsey says. The experience planted a seed inside Bruce. In December 2005 Tracy’s Sanctuary House opened and has served more than 3,400 families. “There are hard weeks and good weeks,” Kelsey explains. “Every time I get to check in a family it reminds me why I’m doing this. This is more important and I’m glad I’m able to serve others and do it in memory of my mom.” Find out more at tracyssanctuary.com and on Facebook.