Starting 2018 off with abundance…

What I am about to tell you is a really amazing story. Well, actually, I’ve already told this story to all of you several times. However, yesterday was the culmination of this story, and I am still in awe of what our chapter accomplished.

Three years ago, my family suffered a tremendous loss of an infant child. It was devastating and impacted our family in many ways.  Fast forward to one year ago, my sister and fellow FWT member approached the chapter to offer a service project near and dear to her heart.  Provide a cuddle cot to our local hospital.  

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We decided to tackle this huge project and predicted it would take us 2-3 years to complete the project.  On of our newer members, Sue, had the idea of a Princess Party to raise funds. Our chapter was unsure of this investment, but we decided to take the risk.

Boy, did it pay off! Families from the area flocked to our fundraiser and thanked us for starting such a worthy endeavor AND bringing a fun, family friendly event to Fairmont. Something they would have had to travel hours to attend in the past. IMGP3096

When the event was over and the donations and ticket sales tallied… we were blown away… we had met our goal… and then some. We raised enough money to buy TWO cuddle cots for local hospitals. We were giddy with tears and excitement.

In October the first Cuddle Cot arrived at Mayo Health Systems – Fairmont just in time for Infant Loss Remembrance Month…

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and then yesterday we hand delivered the second cuddle cot to United Hospital District in Blue Earth!  It was a very busy day at the hospital, but we had time for a few pictures and hugs. The staff was so grateful for this gift and we, as a chapter, were so grateful to share our abundance of life, love, and service with our community.

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Fairmont Women of Today is a group of women in this community that can make a difference no matter what experience you have in getting things done. This year long project was accomplished with the support and hardwork of women with many talents and ideas. We couldn’t have made it happen with just one person!

If you’d like to know more bout Fairmont Women of Today, browse through this website, and then stop by our meeting the 4th Monday of the month at Jake’s Pizza. We start at 7PM upstairs, just listen for the laughter… there is always an abundance of merriment in Fairmont Women of Today.

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2017 Wreath Making Event – with a twist!

For the last three years Fairmont Women of Today has been hosting a make-your-own wreath event at Smith’s Greenhouse here in Fairmont.  This has always been a really fun hands-on and holiday event. We meet lots of new people interested in Fairmont Women of Today or just want a fun day with a Christmas buzz to it!

This year, our new member Dawn took over the reigns for the planning of this event… and of course it had to be the year the greenhouse couldn’t get their order of evergreen boughs in time for our event!

Dawn was on it and worked out another plan with Smith’s to make spruce top pots, which are just as gorgeous as the wreaths.  They are sure to brighten up our front steps all winter long!

Thanks again to Smith’s Greenhouse for giving us the opportunity to host this event! If you’ve never been to one of these, they are really a lot of fun, and a great way to meet and talk to the Women of Today and what we have planned for the year!

The Fairmont Women of Today has meetings every 4th Monday of the month at Jake’s Pizza at 7 PM except in December. We will be spending time with our families and dreaming of new events and ideas to share with our FWT family at our next meeting in January.

Recovering from loss, as a community

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Here at FWT we have been spending a lot of time talking about the loss of a child through our campaign to provide a Cuddle Cot to our community.  While working on this project member Joanna Borkenhagen came to me with another idea for a service project that was close to her heart.

She was part of a grief support group called Grief Shares that was in need of classroom materials. This included books, DVDs, and basic supplies to keep this group running. The goal was manageable and we as a chapter were excited to help another group dealing with grief.

So we presented the check for Supplies to the St John’s Lutheran Willow Creek Church on November 13th so they could continue their program.  This program isn’t just for church members, it is for the community. It doesn’t matter your religious affiliation, as grief affects us all without prejudice.

I promise you, that the Fairmont Women of Today isn’t only about what our members want, but our members are our direct connection to what is needed in the community. Being part of the Fairmont Women of Today helped Joanna with a network of friends and resources to help out her community and program.

If you are interested in joining FWT and sharing your part of the community with us, join us the 4th Monday of the month at Jake’s (7PM).

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

 

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“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!

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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.

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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!