The Male Perspective: Life, Love, and Relationships

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Written by Pam Whitfield

Name: John Edmonds

Hometown: New York City, New York

Age: 68

Relationship: Married to Karen

Teenagers Living at Home: Kira, Jaeden and Kalia

Adult Children: Rachel, Dane, and Nor

Job: Supervisor of Family Support Programs, Olmsted County Child & Family Services


HOMETOWN: Rushford, Minnesota

AGE: 90

FAMILY: Wed in 1946, Gladys and Marvin Manion were married for 62 years. The couple had three children—Stephen, Peggy and Gerald. Gladys now has five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, with another due in February 2016.

EARLY DAYS: I was born in 1925 in Hart, Minnesota. My earliest memory is when I was about 3 years old. Someone came to our house taking pictures. That was unusual. I have a picture of myself then. I got to sit on my little red chair in the front yard, and my sister let me wear her beads. They were a long, long string. I remember how proud I was to wear my sister Lucille's beads for that picture.



Recycled Creations: Glass Jar Luminaries

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Written by Melissa Eggler Photography By Melissa Eggler

n the dark of winter, after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is over, and after the glitz of holiday decor has been packed away, there seems to be a gloomy stillness that comes over us. We definitely need some bright spots. 

One of my favorite recycled creations to make, especially at this time of the year, is a glass jar luminary. These luminaries are so easy to make and help those dark, chilly nights seem a bit brighter. Repurposing the many glass jars we toss into the recycling bin every week is a great way to keep them out of the landfill, and it is easy to repurpose them into this beautiful and easy home decor project. 



Recycled Creations: Beaded Silverware and Serving Pieces

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Written by By Melissa Eggler, Photography By Melissa Eggler

The entertaining season is upon us and with it comes thoughts of decorating. Decorate your dining room table with a touch of holiday charm, right down to the silverware and serving utensils.   

Unique beaded flatware is a wonderful party favor or hostess gift during the holidays; it adds a bit of whimsy to your holiday dinner or cocktail party. They are very easy to make, look classy and will be a cherished memory of the holiday season. The recipient will feel like a queen as she dines with these beauties. They’re even dishwasher safe!

You can usually find sets of flatware and serving utensils at thrift stores. I found a large set of mismatched ones at our local Goodwill, which was perfect, as I’m planning on giving them to different people. No matched set needed.  


Contrary to many stereotypes, not all attorneys spend their days arguing in court. But what do they really do? And when you need one, how do you pick the right one? We sat down with several lawyers in town to get the answers.

Practicing Law 

After attending three years of law school and passing the bar exam, lawyers tend to practice law in one of two categories: those who go to court (litigators) and those who do not (transactional attorneys). They typically work for the government, in a private law firm or business or for nonprofit organizations. 

Unlike their glamorous television counterparts, most litigators spend the bulk of their time in offices and conference rooms gathering and preparing evidence and witnesses, doing legal research and counseling clients. Transactional attorneys also counsel clients, in addition to a myriad of tasks such as drafting contracts, wills, articles of incorporation and business plans, registering trademarks and patents and assisting families with various issues, including adoption.



The Male Perspective: (The Real) Santa Claus

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Written by By Pam Whitfield

Name: (The Real) Santa Claus

Hometown: The Hearts of Children

Age: 742 years old (original St. Nicholas)

Family: Mrs. Claus, no biological children, but lots of elves 

Profession: Toymaker and Hope-amplifier

PAM: When did Santa first fall in love?

SANTA: There have been moments of puppy love or infatuation, but that was before I met my present Mrs. Claus. I believe in love at first sight, at least with Mrs. Claus.

PAM: How did Santa meet Mrs. Claus? How did you know that she was the one?

SANTA: I met Mrs. Claus in Barnes & Noble in the children’s section. We were both looking for the same children’s book, “The Nutcracker.” She saw it first, and there was only one copy, so I said she could have it. That struck up our conversation, and I knew then and there that we had chemistry. She is the lady whom I choose not to live without.

PAM: Does Mrs. Claus ever get jealous of the reindeer? 

SANTA: Mrs. Claus doesn’t get jealous of the reindeer. The issue is when the reindeer sneak into the kitchen to get a fresh cookie or two and then dash out. But Mrs. Claus knows who they are by the hoof prints. Plus, it’s really hard to train a reindeer to run a mop or a Swiffer.

PAM: Do you take her on sleigh rides?

SANTA: I do take her on sleigh rides in the off season. We plan rides together. Sometimes we take the 11th reindeer out for a ride—our warm-weather reindeer. His name is Thunder, as in Harley Thunder.

PAM: You’re a very busy man. How do you balance your work in the workshop and your marriage?

SANTA: Santa is just as busy as the elves at the North Pole. We all work 26 hours a day, and since the workshop is at the top of the world, we can take advantage of the polar rotation, time shift, date line, longitude and telepresence. This helps me work longer hours and still have the energy to do a good job. But I have to remember that being really busy, as in too busy, puts one into the situation of being what the letters b-u-s-y stand for: being under Satan’s yoke.

PAM: When you and Mrs. Claus have issues or miscommunication, how do you resolve them?

SANTA: Miscommunication usually means that Santa was only listening with his ears and not with my eyes. I need to listen with both ears and with both eyes. I do the same thing when there is a child on my lap. I’m within a few inches of the child’s face. All my attention and my hearing is for the child, and I think the child knows they’re at the center of the universe. I’m here to provide the most magical experience I can.

PAM: What’s one thing you’ve learned from being in relationships? 

SANTA: You never take the relationship for granted. You must always keep focused on what is best for the relationship for both individuals. With Mrs. Claus, if I put her as number one in my life, then any problems and issues I have myself will be greatly diminished. It’s the same when I’m dealing with the elves. I try to be heart-centered and treat everyone with sincerity and respect. 

Santa has a lot of opportunities to be the best he can be, not only for Mrs. Claus, but for all the elves as well. E-l-f stands for extra lovable friend. When you get a present from Santa, it usually says “Love, Santa.” That meaning of l-o-v-e? Labor of various elves.

Pam Whitfield is a teacher, writer, horse show judge and spoken word artist. In 2011, she won the Minnesota professor of the year award from Carnegie Foundation.



Interpreting Your Dreams: What your dreams are telling you

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Written by By Carole Cravath

Dreams are a mirror for us. They reflect back to us our thoughts, attitudes and feelings. They show us specific behaviors and ideas about ourselves and our lives that need our awareness and consideration.


Dreams can reveal to us how to resolve problems, relate to specific people, give us new directions and show us things we weren’t aware of. They also give us creative ideas, intuitive information and solutions we hadn’t thought of. They can be prophetic and give us truths from our soul.

To understand dreams, we need to learn the language of the right brain, which is our vehicle for dreams. The right brain speaks to us in images and symbols, feelings, intuitive knowing and allegories (double meanings, puns, pictures, metaphors and parallels).


Most dreams apply to our inner or outer personal lives. The symbolic meanings of scenarios, characters, landscapes and actions are messages from our inner self to help us.

Symbolic interpretation can be translated into valuable insights, instruction and breakthroughs. Our dream symbols have a universal interpretation as well an individual one that applies only to us. Focus on what the car, storm, spoon, elevator, rug or scenario means to you.

To decode the symbols of the creative mind and understand the dream, we must realize that it is not confined to logical sequences or literal meanings. All parts of the dream are symbolic for things that are going on in our unconscious or our lives. 


Pictures, images and scenarios in a dream represent the abstract connotation of a concept or image. Usually our dreams speak to us about the most pressing current issue we are dealing with. Your inner self is telling you that it’s important to deal with it now; that’s why it has created this dream. 

If you are being chased in a dream, you aren’t in actual danger but possibly are “running away” from a problem, fear or situation in your life that you need to face. What is it? Going through a doorway in waking life means entering a room or leaving it, but in a dream, it means a new door is opening for you, a new project or relationship is coming.

A desert in the dream-state is not a physical place. It means you are going in a barren, fruitless direction in relation to a person, project, job, attitude or decision in your life. You are driving in your car and can’t slam on the brakes when you need to. You wake up in a cold sweat. The dream likely means that you must slow down in some area of your life or need to be clearer about a decision before proceeding.

People in dreams may be familiar or unknown. If you know them, it probably pertains to that relationship. If unknown, focus on the qualities of that dream figure because they reflect you and the personal qualities and behaviors your inner self wants you to pay attention to.

TO BEGIN interpreting A DREAM

To begin interpreting a dream, do the following:

  • Write down all the major aspects of the dream; a house, people, a party going on, an argument, being trapped, singing—whatever happened in your dream. Every part of your dream is a symbolic (not literal) message.
  • How did you feel in the dream? What emotions were prominent? This is a big clue that can illuminate the overall meaning.
  • Note the people in the dream and make a list of their qualities, behaviors and words. How are they like you?
  • What do you think the various elements of the dream mean? You can dialogue with each part of the dream and ask it why it has appeared. 
  • Intuitively, what do you feel the dream means?

Record your dreams, give a meaning to each symbol (component of the dream) and intuit the overall meaning. Practice daily and you will be surprised how easy it is to understand your dreams.

Carole Cravath (B.A.) has 30 years of experience in the fields of counseling and teaching. She has taught dream interpretation workshops for 15 years. Call her at 507-287-0884 for a consultation. She also teaches The Perceptive Awareness Technique workshops, which link the intuitive and conceptual minds for rapid control of higher awareness in three days. Visit perceptiveawareness.com and tiptopwebsite.com/carolecravath.



The Male Perspective: Life, love and [early childhood] relationships

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Written by By Pam Whitfield, Photography by MikeHhardwick photography

Name: Kevin Ewing
Age: 60
Hometown: Whitehall, Wisconsin
Family: Wife, Janet; children Lydia, Julia and Ben
Job: Director, Aldrich Memorial Nursery School 

PAM: What lessons did you teach your kids about relationships?

KEVIN: When our children were younger, my practice was to take one of them out for coffee before school. I spent some one-on-one time with each child, individually, each week. The message was, “You’re important enough for me to get up a bit earlier and not go to work right away. You are more important to me than work.”




Recycled Creations: Magazine Farmers Market Tote

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Written by By Melissa Eggler, Photography by Melissa Eggler

Many of us are trying to live a more sustainable life, so we do our best to recycle and be “green.” People are carrying reusable bags everywhere, from the grocery store to the gym, as a conscience effort to keep plastic grocery bags out of the landfills. With anticipation of gathering harvest goodies at the farmers market, what better project than a recycled magazine tote?


        • Colorful pages from a magazine 
        • Ruler or yardstick
        • Roll of clear packing tape


          • Sides: 10 strips x 8 strips
          • Bottom: 8 strips x 8 strips
          • Handles: 2 strips

Begin by tearing out several (like 400!) colorful pages from your old magazines. Place the long edge of the magazine page along a ruler or yardstick, and fold it over and over into a strip. Remove it from the ruler and flatten it down. There’s your first strip. Now make 399 more. This is a slightly time consuming project, but it’s worth it!




Grandma, Mom & Me: Disagreeing

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Written by By Mariah K. Mihm, Photography by AMN photography

Me: My grandma, my mom and I, we are a tight-knit, spend-lots-of time together, huggy kind of clan. We enjoy meals and movies, plays and picnics, phone calls, shopping, cooking and doing most anything together. We are together in groups of two or three on a weekly basis. We genuinely like to be around one another. 

As much as we love each other and as much time as we do spend together, we still manage to overstep boundaries and annoy each other. There have been raised voices and tears. We are human beings navigating relationships to other human beings. So what do we do when we disagree?


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