Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Promoting community pride & more in Faribault June 7, 2021

Signage atop the Message Board defines its purpose. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo May 2021.

GRATITUDE. PRIDE. POSSIBILITIES. Those topics theme a new opportunity for locals and others to voice their thoughts on the positives in my community via a public Message Board.

The portable board is currently stationed along the Second Avenue side of Faribault’s Central Park. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo May 2021.

The Faribault Foundation, which aims to promote and enhance the quality of life for the greater Faribault area, recently developed and then crafted a portable public board from wood and fencing and stationed it along Second Avenue NW in Central Park.

Central Park is the backdrop for the Message Board. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo May 2021.

I love this concept of inviting people to ponder, and then post, their Faribault pride, gratitude and hopes for the future of our southern Minnesota city. Too often we hear the complaints, the negatives. This emphasis on the good qualities and the possibilities is much-needed. And appreciated.

Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo May 2021.
A container on the side of the board holds the tags and a Sharpie. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo May 2021.
Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo May 2021.

So what are people writing on the colorful tags wired onto the fence? On the Saturday afternoon I stopped to photograph the Message Board and then leave my thoughts, I counted 23 comments. Among the positives in Faribault—history, River Bend Nature Center, murals, historic buildings, diversity and more.

The Cathedral of Our Merciful Savior sits right across the street from Central Park. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo May 2021.
Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo May 2021.
Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo May 2021.

As I aimed my camera, I looked across the street toward the historic Cathedral of Our Merciful Savior. In the other direction, I noted the historic Bandshell, where our community gathers on Thursday summer evenings for free concerts in the park. On the side and back of that bandshell are two historic-themed murals. Although I didn’t grow up here, I appreciate Faribault’s rich history and the beautiful old buildings that grace our downtown and other parts of the city.

An iris blooms in a Central Park garden. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo 2021.
A lovely garden bordered by hosta. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo May 2021.

Then I meandered through the park, admiring the flowerbeds tended by Faribault Gardeners Reaching Out With Service (GROWS). That reminded me just how much I appreciate the natural beauty of Faribault. And also how grateful I am to the Faribault Farmers’ Market vendors who set up here on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the growing season.

Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo May 2021.

Just as many of those vendors grow produce to feed the body, so this new Message Board can grow positivity to feed the spirit. I hope my community embraces this Faribault Foundation project. When we shift our focus to that which is good, to hopes and dreams and gratitude, then the possibilities for this place we call (or called) home are endless.

Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo May 2021.

FYI: The Message Board will be moved to different locations throughout Faribault for greater accessibility and exposure.

TELL ME: Have you seen a similar project? Nearby Northfield has a Gratitude Tree at the public library. I recently featured that in a post.

© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Words matter & my hope for 2018 December 29, 2017

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Some of the quotes posted on my refrigerator.

 

WORDS HOLD INCREDIBLE power—to hurt, to heal, to build, to tear down, to discourage, to embolden, to darken, to enlighten…

 

A wall of quotes…I love this public posting of inspiring words discovered this past September inside the Jack Pine Center in Pequot Lakes.

 

During my life, I’ve felt the sting of unkind words unleashed by teen bullies, by a teacher who should never have been a teacher, by individuals angered with my writing, by those who spoke (or wrote) without first considering how deep their words would wound me. Oftentimes it is those we love most who hurt us the most.

Perhaps you can relate. And if you can’t, I am thankful you can’t.

I expect my words have also at times hurt others. And I’m sorry for that.

 

 

As a professional wordsmith, I strive to use words in a positive way. I realize the power in the words I write and in the words I speak. I accept that responsibility.

 

 

 

 

Often I turn to words to inspire me, to give me hope and refocus my thinking when I need a shift in mindset. With that thought, I want to share some of the quotes currently posted on my fridge and in my office.

 

Inspirational quotes posted on my desk, on the shelf above my desktop screen. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

 

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all. —Emily Dickinson.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. —Philippians 4:13

Keep your heart brave and your imagination wild. (from a Hallmark bag)

Let your roots grow down into Him and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught and you will overflow with thankfulness. —Colossians 2:7

Without a love for books the richest person is poor. —unknown

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.— Romans 12:12

Sometimes it’s nice to get an unexpected hug for no other reason than just because you’re loved. So while you’re reading these words, don’t think of them as just words…Think of each one as a hug for your heart from mine.  —Barbara J. Hall

It is my hope that in 2018 we as individuals, as communities, as a nation, as a world, will grow kinder in our use of words. I hope we will think before we speak/write, considering the power of our words.

Thoughts? Or a favorite quote you’d like to share?

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

At the library: Making Faribault a better place June 14, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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This poster at Buckham Memorial Library in Faribault promotes the theme of the summer reading program.

 

BUILD A BETTER WORLD.

 

This sign rests on the check-out desk at the library for all to read.

 

Hate has no business in our community.

 

I picked up this bookmark at the library several days ago.

 

One world, many stories.

I appreciate these three messages, shared on a poster, on a sign and on a bookmark at my local library.

 

Buckham Memorial Library, Faribault, Minnesota. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

 

In this public place along Division Street in Faribault, local residents of all ages, all colors, all backgrounds, gather. While there are certainly divisions and differences, there is also a coming together here facilitated by library staff.

 

These signs were previously (and may still be) posted in the library restrooms. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

 

Words matter. When I read words that encourage building up rather than tearing down, choosing love over hatred and fostering of unity instead of division, I am hopeful. I am hopeful that we can learn to get along, to appreciate the individual stories we each bring to our community. Once we begin to see each other as individuals, the building begins, the love flows, our world widens.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Everyone poops & other examples of positivity in Minnesota February 8, 2017

My great niece Kiera painted this stone, which I got at a recent family reunion.

My great niece Kiera painted this stone that lies on my office desk as a visual reminder of hope. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

WHEN GLOBAL, NATIONAL, state, local and personal issues leave us feeling sad, overwhelmed and anxious, it’s all too easy to give up hope. But it’s precisely the time we most need to search out the positive and shift our focus away from the negative. It’s the time we most need to appreciate one another.

Beautiful flowers for a graduate.

A gift of flowers is always welcome, special occasion or not. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

So I searched for a few positive actions to share with you from southern Minnesota.

Read a book to a child, just like Officer Goodman. Listen to him read Everyone Poops in a February 3.

Read a book to a child, just like Officer Goodman. Listen to him read Everyone Poops in a February 3.

Without hesitation, I turned first to the Kenyon Police Department Facebook page, an ongoing source of inspirational, thought-provoking and often humorous pieces by Police Chief Lee Sjolander. Today I direct you to Officer Goodman’s bedtime story, Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi, read by Goodman (a puppet voiced by none other than the Chief). Everyone poops. They sure do.

A scoop shovel worked best for removing this snow. I shovel where the snowblower can't go.

If you live in a snowy state like me, consider shoveling or blowing snow from a neighbor’s driveway and sidewalk. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

East of Kenyon, writer Rosie Schluter is doing her part at the local weekly, The Cannon Falls Beacon. She notes “some of the good things” in a Pebble-Ripple column. Kindness, she writes, can cause a ripple effect. She cites a teacher who directed her students to share a kindness on a paper chain. She cites a neighbor who picks up mail for an elderly neighbor. And on her blog, Along the way, Rosie gives more examples. Often it’s the little things that make all the difference.

A perfect Valentine's Day weekend treat.

Consider baking valentine cookies to gift to someone. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

At the blog Ever Ready, my friend Sue is featuring “Pay It Forward” acts of kindness daily during February. She suggests baking and packaging cookies in valentine bags to share with others. She suggests shoveling snow for others. She suggests surprising someone with a handwritten thank you note. All are great ideas that can uplift and bring joy.

A little girl stands on the opposite side of the group of children waiting to swing at the pinata.

Children can teach us so much about acceptance. This is one of my favorite images, shot several years ago at the International Festival Faribault. Children took turns swinging a stick at a pinata. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Finally, in my community, The Virtues Project Faribault was implemented last year to “inspire the practice of virtues in everyday life.” One aspect of that project is a virtues column published weekly in the local daily newspaper and on the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism website. Local residents write on virtues such as cooperation, tolerance and peacefulness. To read the thoughts and ideas of others in my community has truly been insightful, encouraging and positive.

A handwritten thank you card is always a good way to show your appreciation for someone.

A handwritten thank you note is always a good way to show your appreciation for someone.

TELL ME: How are you choosing and showing positivity?

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling