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How To Be a Better Friend

How To Be a Better Friend

Just before the holiday season, Lesley Dormen’s phone rang. The voice at the other end was so frail and frightened she had a hard time recognizing that it was Toni, her former college roommate. Though they had been close in school, they didn’t speak often, nor did they see each other much as both lived […]

Pathways to Happiness

North Dakota is the happiest state in the U.S. according to this year’s annual Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Minnesota follows close behind at number four. And why shouldn’t we be happy? We have a strong economy, the air is clean (often cold, but clean), crime is low, and we have our “Minnesota/North Dakota Nice” attitudes. In […]

Difficult or Delightful: 6 Reasons to Appreciate Your Mother-in-law

Immediately upon walking out of the church on my wedding day, my mother-in-law burst into tears. While she claimed they were “tears of joy,” I know it was very hard for her to hand over her son to another woman. Mothers-in-law often get a bad rap. Mother-in-law jokes abound, and somewhere right now there’s a […]

Small Moment, Big Question

Last night, we heard the familiar sound of footsteps on the stairs well past bedtime. From the living room, I heard my husband talking in the kitchen to the kid who couldn’t sleep. Over the years, we’ve heard every “I can’t sleep” excuse in the book—not tired, too thirsty, too dark, monster under the bed—but […]

Man Writing Obituary

Writing Your Own Obituary

Pondering your own death can be considered pessimistic, depressing, or morbid. What’s the point anyway? You’ll be gone, so it’s not your problem, right? That might be the wrong attitude. Contemplating what will happen after you die—not in heaven or through reincarnation, but in the days on Earth just after your last breath—can be a […]

The Hanukkah Menorah

The Hanukkah Menorah

This year, for eight nights starting December 8, Courtney Taylor of Fargo will light the candles of her menorah and feel connected to 2,100 years of tradition. That is because sunset on December 8 marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. “Lighting the menorah,” she says, “means providing spiritual light in the physical […]

A Healthy Mind

A Healthy Mind

I  am not a doctor. The six years of college I attended were spent wantonly evading gainful employment, not in studious pursuit of a PhD. I am barely equipped to remove plastic butterflies in a game of Operation, let alone dispense medical advice. Again, I am not a doctor. Fortunately, I don’t have to […]

Virtual Worship

Virtual Worship

Arvin Halvorson is a man of God about to turn 80; a believer who has kept near the faith all these years through staying connected to a worship community. But in recent years, when he and his wife, Twila, headed south for the winter, the retiree felt a pang of regret at leaving his hometown […]

CHARITY: FOSTERING A GIVING HEART

CHARITY: FOSTERING A GIVING HEART

People from our region have been counted among those who volunteer most frequently. In 2009, North Dakota ranked 12th in the nation for volunteerism. Here are the accounts of two local mothers who, through their children’s medical conditions and giving hearts, were inspired to foster a life of giving, not just during the holidays, but […]

Johanna's Life

Johanna’s Life

  By Janelle Brandon Photography by Ann Arbor Miller It was the day before Valentine’s Day in 2006 when a giddy trio of young Nistler sisters learned they were going to add another sibling to their pack. Their parents, Brenda and Pat Nistler, had something to show them. “Mom and Dad set a picture face-down […]