With sadness and joy… We have a Cuddle Cot in Fairmont



“There is no footprint too small that it doesn’t leave an imprint on this world”

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Month, and October 15th was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day; the day the world sent a wave of light by lighting a candle at 7pm to remember the children loved and lost.

As I’ve mentioned before, I lost a nephew and others amongst my family and friends have lost infants through miscarriage, still birth, or other complications.  It is something rarely acknowledged even within families, much less with the public.

So it was with great joy that The Fairmont Women of Today was able to dedicate and donate a Cuddle Cot to the Family Birth Center at Mayo Clinic Health Systems – Fairmont on Monday!

We got to see the Cuddle Cot in person and place our plaque of dedication on the device, as well as present the clinic with the check made possible by all of you out there who generously donated funds, attended fundraising events, and gave us moral support for our mission to give grieving families a little extra time with their cherished children.


Thank you to Sandee Vaske, The Family Birth Center nursing staff, Darla Nelson-Phillips, Amy Long, Dr. Buchholz, and all of you who helped make this happen!

This was a very special project for the Fairmont Women of Today. A special thanks to Kylie Saari for bringing this idea to our attention in the first place. Thank you for your dedication to our community!

Thank You!


Approaching Column Three

I have to say it is so exciting for me to think about the possibilities of our Next Chapter with our newly experienced returning members and our newly acquired members looking for that something to add to their life.

I am currently getting ready to leave for a long awaited vacation, and as I was cleaning my house I came across the MWT chapter mailing with a letter from our new State President Shelli Struzyk.

One of the points in the letter was to “Step out of your comfort zone and take a leadership positions… that needs to be filled.”

Our chapter has several board positions, and some of them need to be filled, or positions renewed. Joining a group and immediately taking a role is a daunting task, but it is not impossible. This is what happened to me when I joined and was almost immediately asked to be President.

BOY, I did NOT know what I was doing! But here I am, three years later with a chapter 14 members strong and an amazing group of women behind me that helped me figure it out. I may have had a determined demeanor and a mask of confidence, but I was constantly worried I would fail and FWT would be closed down forever!

One of the tenets of MN Women of Today is “Growth”, and I don’t know if you remember the feeling of growing pains from childhood, but I’ve come to learn that those pains apply to physical, emotional, and mental growth as well… but the result is worth it.

About a year or so ago, fellow member Kylie and I were talking about an article she read regarding putting things you have to do in three columns.

  • Column One: Things that you have no problem doing
  • Column Two: Things you would rather not do, but you will if you have to and
  • Column Three: Things that you find very difficult and do not want to do under any circumstances… AKA: Please pull out my hair strand by strand before you make me do this!!! The point of the article was to work your way through the columns slowly until you were able to attempt things in column three.

We started rating things that we accomplished by which column would put the task in to see what would happen to our attitude towards these things.  A funny thing happened, we noticed that when we acknowledged that the thing we were doing were hard, but we did them anyway, we felt GOOD! There was a sense of relief that the world didn’t explode, and that we accomplished it, and that maybe just maybe we could handle being an adult. I started to realize that even though I had the gurglily feeling in my stomach, I could still do these things. Sometimes I even did them well! Column three items don’t seem so impossible now, even though they are still difficult.

Things in Column Two for me:

  1. Returning phone calls (I’d rather text or email),
  2. Delegating tasks that have importance to me (I want my hand in everything),
  3. and this next one is almost a column three… taking on a position that I’ve never done or is important (like PRESIDENT).

I dare say in the last year, several of our members have attempted Column Two tasks and are even approaching Column Three. I know that Sue‘s article on her depression was a Column Three and it took monumental courage for her to share it. I’m so proud and impressed by her bravery and the tremendous impact it has had on many women in our community. It was even published in the State MNWT Newslet to be shared with all members in Minnesota! Amazing.

So while I’m gone this next week, I hope you will consider whether you would like to try for a Column Two or Three and maybe attempt a few of them. If you need support, joining Fairmont Women of Today is a great place to start… maybe that’s in one of your columns… don’t worry we understand it’s hard to do some things. We’ve got your back.

Go in Courage, my friends.

Erin Howk; President

How Fairmont Women of Today Changed My Life – by Sue Bay

Have you ever wondered how powerful an organization can be?  I would like to share my story about joining my local Women of Today chapter so you know how much it improved my life.

I have lived in this community for 24 years and my life was consumed with raising my 2 children and trying to be a good wife in a small town.  I was the very active mom in my children’s Lutheran schools by being on committees, volunteering for every event and trying to hide my depression by keeping active.  Depression haunted me more often than I care to admit.  It began to break me down and I let it ruin my ability to communicate with my husband.  After 13 years of marriage, we were doomed and divorce was the result.

I moved from Truman to Fairmont and started to pick up the pieces.  My life would not be the same with my children.  They were entering their early teen years and I ruined their life.  That guilt to add to my depression.  Time heals and forgiveness started to show its face.  As time passed and they matured, things improved.  I had a new husband and a job I loved.  But depression knows how to find me too easily.  It would sneak back into my life and attack me when I least expected it.

With my children grown, and a husband that was over the road truck driving, I found the darkness often.  Tears were a nightly occurrence and I longed for friendships.  It occurred to me that after 20+ years in my community, I had very few friends that I could confide in and turn to when I needed help.

Then one day, I received a Facebook invite from a woman that I only meet a month earlier.  She invited me to a Woman of Today event for an evening of card making.  I love making homemade cards.   I was excited to attend the event.  The event was a recruiting tool for new members.  I didn’t know that but I was there, making cards, and I enjoyed it.  So, I thought why not; I could use more friends.

Little did I know that day would change my life.  Being a part of the WOT has given me a sense of purpose again.  I am back volunteering, but this time, it is for our community.  This time, I am working along with my new “sisters”.

I am so grateful to have joined the WOT.  I never knew how powerful the friendships would be for me.  I still have dark moments with depression, but this time, my sisters are there to support me.   I look forward to our adventures and our community service projects.

Depression is a part of me.  I don’t think I will ever be free from its grip.  But I am getting stronger and I can talk to my husband when I feel the darkness surrounding me.  This time, it won’t destroy my marriage.  And my WOT chapter, they embrace me.  They accept me for the person I am and what I achieve to be.  I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t know these amazing women in my life.

If someone asks me about WOT, without hesitation, I can say it changed my life for the better.

Sue Bay-
Fairmont Women of Today Member since 2015
Membership VP

More About Cuddle Cots…

We are very excited about our Princess Party coming up in THREE WEEKS! But more importantly we are excited about the possibility of providing a Cuddle Cot to a local hospital.

When our member Kylie told us about the Cuddle Cot, the meeting became very silent and not much was said between us about the idea for the rest of the meeting, except that we thought it was a “good idea”.  All of us went home with something very tragic and meaningful to think about, “What if I was in that situation?”

Kathy, our programing VP spent the entire night researching and crying over what it would mean to have to use a Cuddle Cot and how devastating it would be to endure the lost of an infant or small child.

At our next meeting, though we all had frogs in our throats trying not to cry, we talked about what a Cuddle Cot was, what it would mean to our community, and how to we talk to our potential donors about such a heart wrenching topic.

How do you talk about the lost of a baby? Not many of us do, even with our own family members.  About 350 babies die each year in Minnesota before they are age 1 year.

Each year, about 350 babies die in MN

The leading causes of infant death in the U.S. are birth defects, disorders related to premature birth and low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), conditions due to pregnancy complications, and injury. Infant mortality includes:

Perinatal mortality (death when less than 7 days old, plus fetal deaths of 28 weeks gestation or more)

Neonatal mortality (death in the first 27 days of life). The leading causes of neonatal death are disorders related to premature birth and low birth weight.

Postneonatal mortality (death from the infant’s 28th day, but within the first year). These deaths reflect events in infancy and are more likely to reflect environmental factors. SIDS is the leading cause of postneonatal mortality.

It’s very likely that you or someone very close to you has felt the pain of infant loss, but haven’t had a lot of opportunity to talk about the experience.

My family has experienced quite a lot of loss of this nature, and the most recent loss would have benefited greatly from the presence of a Cuddle Cot.  I did not get to meet my nephew before he passed a few hours after he was born prematurely. Because the hospital did not have a way to keep his little body cool in the hospital room they had to bring him in and out of the morgue (in the basement of the hospital) any time anyone wanted to see him, and then for only a very short time.  They recommended against doing this too many times.

Since our family members are spread out across the state, my sister had to make the painful decision of who got to see her son. That decision also included herself. Since she was also in the hospital due to complications, she could have decided to keep her son with her, but that meant her husband, grandparents, and others would not get to say goodbye.

In the end, I did not make the very limited list of who got to say goodbye to Magnus in those few short days of opportunity provided. I am okay with that, because it meant my parents could… but what if… what if there was a way to make it possible for everyone to say goodbye?

The makers of the Cuddle Cot, Flexmort, have a wonderful story on their website on how this very thing was made possible by the Cuddle Cot:

The Cuddle Cot gave us the irreplaceable gift of time. We all have limited time on earth with our loved ones but when decades are condensed into hours every extra minute is precious and necessary. We were granted time in a quiet and private place (after all of the drama of delivery) to say goodbye to our child (and all of the dreams we had for him). We were granted time to just look at him and memorize as best as we could his beautiful form. We were granted time to call our families so they could come and visit us and spend the time they needed to both meet him and say goodbye to him. Humans aren’t hardwired to accept birth and death in one day. It’s not natural. It’s unfair. It’s so many indescribable things. Families that have to suffer this agonizing experience should be treated with as much compassion and time as possible.  – Read the full Story by Corey Kruss Here

So, as we watch our children dance with Princesses, I want to thank each an every one of you that bought a ticket for the Princess Party, that came to Pizza Ranch last Monday, that bought glow sticks at the 4th of July fireworks show.  THANK YOU!  Your support of Fairmont Women of Today events is what is making this fundraiser possible.

Tickets to our Princess Party on May 7th and Donations for this cause can be made Here (To make a donation without buying a ticket, choose a time to buy tickets, but instead of picking a ticket type, choose donation)

As always, if you want to be involved with a group of ladies that have fun and laugh and cry all in the same meeting trying to make Fairmont a better place, we meet every 4th Monday at Jake’s Pizza at 7 Pm.


Doing a little late night “Research”

As we get closer to our big Royal Princess Party event, the ladies of FWT decided that we had better do some research! Going to the just released Beauty & the Beast movie was just the ticket!


FWT members go to see Beauty & The Beast to get inspiration for their Royal Princess Party

It may not seem like going to a movie is ‘event’ worthy, or even worth writing a blog post about… I mean, it’s just a movie.

One of the aspects of Women of Today is fellowship with other women in our community.  That’s a big way of saying, “We can’t forget we’re are also here to make friends.”

I usually go to a movie about once a year, if I’m lucky.  It always seems that I have more pressing things to do, better use of my entertainment budget, or Netflix easily accessible from my couch.  Lately, I’ve been getting a pretty stiff neck from watching movies on my iPad, so I really wanted to watch a movie in a chair with popcorn and more importantly… with friends.

The fun of going to the theatre is the waiting with your friends through the previews, the little jokes as the lights go down, the laughing, and the talking after the movie about what you thought about this latest trick of light and magic.

The shared experience of trying to get tickets on opening weekend of a major blockbuster, having to reorganize plans, and finally going to the movie at 9:30 PM (they play movies that late!?!) will have us laughing through our next few meetings for sure.

Service to our community and Growth as women in today’s world are very important, but so is that third aspect of the Fairmont Women of Today: Fellowship.  As we know, developing adult friendships has many challenges and obstacles, but maybe ‘just a movie’ can make a difference.  I know I value the women I’ve met in FWT and will cherish the laughter for years to come.


Did you want to meet a Princess?

I’m so sorry that I’ve neglected updating you all on the activities of Fairmont Women of Today. We’ve spent January and February relaxing a bit and planning what we want to do for the 2017.

After spending two years getting the feel for being in a re-vamped chapter, we decided we were willing and ready for a BIG challenge. We wanted to make a meaningful and needed gift to our community.

Since Fairmont Women of Today focuses on how to be of Service to women in our community, we thought long and hard about what needs weren’t being met and what we could do to change that.

One of our members told of her experience of infant loss in her family and how difficult it was for the whole family. She had heard of this new device made in the U.K. called a CuddleCot that allowed families to spend more time with a infant who passed away. There are very few of these devices in Minnesota, let alone a rural area and we felt this was just the right size challenge for us!  I promise to tell you more about Cuddle Cots as we progress towards our goal, but first…

How to make it happen? We need a big fundraiser! A Royal fundraiser, fit for the Princesses of Fairmont.  How about a Princess Party!

On May 7th, The Fairmont Women of Today will host a Royal Princess Party with help from Pretty Princess Parties of Minnesota.

We’ve invited The Little Mermaid, Beauty, Tinkerbell, and The Snow Queen down to Fairmont to tell stories, sing songs, and make tiaras with children ages 1-12 at the Red Rock Center for the Arts.  They are even staying for two events so more people can meet them. One at 12:30 and one at 3:30! Be sure to come dressed in your royal finery to meet the princesses!princess-party

Visit and like our Facebook Page for updates on the Party and click the Royal Princess Party link above to buy tickets.

The proceeds from this event will go towards our Cuddle Cot Fund!

Cake and Coffee, with a hand made twist!

We are smack in the middle of our 2016 membership drive and we have been having so much fun!  We started a little earlier this year to avoid some of the holiday rush, and now I think I’ve made my holiday season even busier… I have so many ideas for how to make it more festive!

Let me back up and explain my sources of inspiration. Many of you may know Jackie Lueth of JACKie of All Trades. She hand makes many items in her beautiful home to sell at markets and fairs AND generously opens her home to host parties and teach others how to do what she does! This woman is amazing and truly an inspiration to our community!


We took some scraps of old sweaters and string and made them into something fun, beautiful, and brimming with personality.

Now that we had our coffee ready it was time for some cake! JenniLee Rosburg, cake decorator at Fareway, came by to show us how to make borders and flowers out of frosting. I have to tell ya, I have a new respect for cake decorating, it’s quite a challenge to get those reverse seashells to look like anything more than a stripey blob!

Needless to day that the trick to trade is Practice, Practice, Practice! I may not be making my own wedding cake (Jennilee plans on decorating her own wedding cake next June!) but this may up my Thanksgiving dessert or Christmas cookie game this year!

I didn’t go to these events expecting to be inspired by a coffee cozy or by decorating a cake, but rather just a way to while away a Saturday afternoon.  Instead I spent time learning my own limitations and inspirations in the company of women of many talents. These women are around me everyday working at the grocery store, running a farm, raising families, and running businesses. Sure, I may or may not ever decorate a cake again, but I have a better understanding of the skill behind it and the amazing women of Fairmont that make it happen.


If you want to surprise yourself with opportunities for Growth, Fellowship, and Service then contact anyone of Fairmont Women of Today’s members, email us, or join us at a meeting at Jake’s on the 4th Monday of the month at 7PM upstairs. We welcome you to stop by and ask questions.  This is a member driven organization, and your ideas define what we do.

Our next event is December 4th at Smith’s Greenhouse. RSVP at our Fairmont Women of Today Facebook Page!

Fiona the FWT Member Joins the Team!

This last weekend, Fairmont Women of Today hosted a booth at the local arts event, Fairmont Market Square. The event had a scarecrow contest that boasted a $150 prize! With the theme of Community Spirit, we new we could come up with a great scarecrow!


We created Fiona the FWT Member and invited patrons to take a selfie with her! Fiona also had brochures to hand out the told of all the ways Women of Today are active in the community.  We had a lot of fun making her and taking pictures with her throughout the day! Even though we didn’t win the prize, it was a blast to figure out how to make her come to life! None of us had built a scarecrow before!

The rest of the event we spent selling the handmade greeting cards and homegrown popcorn as a fundraiser for our chapter. The bigger purpose for being there was an opportunity to meet and talk to women in our community about what FWT has to offer.

We have a great group of women of different ages and background that made it easy for people to come up and talk to us. The perfect weather made it a great day to spend with friends, too!

One of the things we were sharing with people was our list of events for the coming weeks. Be sure to check out our Events page on the website to see all the great things coming up! Since it is our membership drive, we are again offering $10 off membership if you sign up between now and December 31st at one of these events!

We hope to see you at our next Growth Event, were we go as a group to listen to speaker Dr. Amit Sood talk about Happiness and Living a Resilient Life!

Handmade Fun

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Some of Fairmont Women of Today’s events are pretty big, and call for ‘mini-events’ to prepare for the bigger event. That’s what happened this last weekend when a few of our members got together in Sue’s amazing crafting space to make handmade cards to sell at our upcoming event on October 16th.

FWT will be at Fairmont Market Square selling handmade items and talking about the benefits of being a member  (we are even making a scarecrow for the contest!).  These handmade cards will be for sale to raise funds for our future events and community services projects.

Even though FMS is a big event for us, we wouldn’t be able to do it with out the dedication of our members and the sharing of talents.  This small get together was a lot of fun and we learned a lot about each other and shared stories about going to college, our kids, and discovered some unknown talents we all had in the card making department.

Sometimes you want to do something, like make a birthday card from scratch, but going it alone or knowing where to start seems like too much work.  Putting the cards together was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the time we had to bond and get to know each other. It is something I wouldn’t have done on my own, and it was great that our member Sue, who loves making cards was excited to share her studio with us.

It’s funny how these things work out, too. Through the people Sue has met through FWT and the ability to ask for support from our members, Sue is now able to teach card making classes for the public. In fact, after our next event at FMS, Sue will be at the Red Rock Center on November 5th doing just that.

All these little things added together are what make being a member of Fairmont Women of Today worth the time and effort. At the end of the year, you look back and see all the GROWTH in your life and friendships.

Heritage Acres (507 Lake Ave)
10 AM to 4 PM

The second run of our annual event is a hit

Fairmont Women of Today’s annual Baby Feeding Center community service project has come to an end and once again it was a success.

Feedback about the room, comfortably outfitted with rocking chairs, toys, and changing table, has been overwhelmingly positive. Mothers found having a private space to feed their easily distracted babies a definite benefit, and the option of a changing table was wonderful considering the bathroom’s long lines!
The Baby Feeding Center was organized by Fairmont Women of Today with help from 12 Baskets resale, who donated use of the furniture, Therapeutic and Stress Reduction Massage with Erin Howk and Family Birth Support Services, who donate the signage, and the Martin County Fair Board, which donated the space.
This pro13906652_1055355154571876_4954807451572789262_nject is a big one for me, not because it is difficult to do, which it isn’t. It is because I felt there should be a place at the fair for feeding babies for a long time. It is hot out there, babies are easily distracted, and trying to keep hold of toddlers while feeding a baby is just hard. But I didn’t think I could do it myself. I just figured it wouldn’t work. When I joined Fairmont Women of Today, and we were talking about projects, I brought up this idea, not sure if others would share this vision. My own kids are older now, and I don’t need a room like this anymore. But to my surprise, everyone thought it was a great idea and encouraged me to take the steps necessary to get it done. Other members helped me with ideas on who to contact, helped me design the signs, and helped check in on the room during the week of the fair to make sure it wasn’t out of diapers, to tidy up the toys, and take out the garbage. Many hands made light work of making this room a reality, and I have been overwhelmed with the thanks I have heard from women who just wanted a place to sit down, out of the way, and take a break to feed their babies. It also gave me the confidence to realize I can make a difference in my community, and with the help of my friends, we can get it done.  We are happy to report the group plans to continue providing this area for feeding little ones at the Martin County Fair in the future.
Kylie Saari
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