About the Summer 2021 Cover Photo Keith Glendon

U.P. holistic business, U.P. holistic wellness publication

The healing, centering, powerful magic of Lake Superior is a foundation of strength—and a source of whimsical play, joy and fun for those who live and love here. Whether you’re a child, a child-at-heart or an adult who’s lost touch with your child-at-heart: Superior and the U.P. will speak wisdom to those who listen.

Photographer Keith Glendon is a devoted husband and father of four, poet, writer, joy-seeker, entrepreneur, founder of Campfire CoWorks in Marquette, believer in Spirit and optimistic advocate of a better world.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Spotlight On… Blackbird Boutique with Owner Brett Stiles

Blackbird boutique, sustainable fashion, U.P. holistic business, U.P wellness publication

Tell us about Blackbird Boutique.


Blackbird carries anything from new vintage-inspired clothing to bohemian to more timeless, elegant classic pieces. I try to have quite a range in a small space, and for a range of ages too.

I spend a lot of time researching and networking with other designers and going to markets to find sustainable, ethical, fair trade clothing and accessories. I think it’s important to understand where your clothes come from and who made them. We carry a lot of things made from natural fibers. They’re more durable, and require less water to manufacture. A couple of brands I carry are zero waste. They use scrap materials that larger clothing manufacturers would have to get rid of, even whole bolts if there’s one little flaw, because they use machines. These are handmade, and if the fabric pieces are too small, they’ll use a more traditional patchwork style or weaving. Some lines use organic cotton or non-toxic, natural dyes. Some manufacturers say their items are natural but they still use copper and things to bring out more vibrant colors in clothing.

There’s a huge selection of locally made jewelry and artwork, gift items, accessories too, a little home décor as well—the little unexpected treasures that people find, whether it’s for themselves or gifts—little luxuries, little out-of-the-ordinary bits ’n bobs. I’m constantly on the hunt for unique jewelry, clothing, and accessories.


While it is difficult at times to be the sole proprietress of a business, it also has many rewards. Blackbird is really an extension of my life, philosophies and interests. It is challenging to have to wear so many hats—to be the creative force, as well as have the business mind that goes with it.


I think Blackbird fits well into the downtown Marquette scene. I feel I’ve created an inviting space and sometimes customers will just pop in for a little inspiration and because they love the way the shop makes them feel. I really can’t believe it’s been four years since Blackbird opened. I am excited to be a part of such a wonderful community here in downtown Marquette. 

Why did you open Blackbird?


I grew up with my mom having a boutique. I worked there summers early on during college, and I absolutely loved it—helping women find things that inspired them, and all the patterns and textures and colors of the fabrics. I enjoyed it so much, I was kind of hooked.

Even back then, opening something like Blackbird was always in the back of my mind. I wanted to do it so badly, and just always thought, “It’s not a practical thing. I can’t.” I was afraid of going for it.

I finished school, was living in Denver a while, working at the Clyfford Still Museum. Although I loved it there doing event planning and coordinating for donors or for weddings, I just had this calling. I wanted to do something that made more of an impact. And I was missing Michigan, the lake, and family. It was time to move back. So I decided to go for it.

At the time there wasn’t a lot in Marquette like what I had in mind. I was nervous not knowing what the reaction would be. I always wanted to do something that was good, that made a difference. Finding sustainable, fair trade, ethically-made clothing allows me to offer something good for people and the planet.

I went to Western Michigan University and Kendall College of Art & Design. I have a degree in English, and minors in Environmental Studies and Art History. My education and art background play a big role in the design of Blackbird as well the merchandise I carry. I try to bring in a sort of ethereal, otherworldly vibe, and to make women feel empowered by dressing in a way that respects their confidence. There are things you can’t really find anywhere else—unique pieces that are also timeless and versatile, and can be worn comfortably too, with interesting forms and natural fibers. They just feel better.

What’s new at Blackbird?

I just did a little update while we were closed for March. I took down a couple free-standing walls to open the space up a little bit more. Also, there is a new wall mural, some new lighting, and I’m adding a much needed second dressing room. The space definitely feels more open because of the changes made.

What do you find most challenging about running Blackbird?

So far, the pandemic has been the most challenging thing to go through, but I have managed to successfully stay on top of it by following health department guidelines and offering contactless payments and pick-ups, if people wish. Also, there is an online shopping option at www.blackbirdmqt.com. And while not all of my inventory shows up online because so many things are one-of-a-kind or small batch, I can take pictures of similar items for customers if they desire. It’s sort of a personal shopping experience, and I’ve worked with many people this way. 

What do you enjoy most about running it?

I enjoy my customers the most, definitely. I just love getting to know them, and I especially love the one-on-one experience. To connect with these women, and just have fun, and have them leave feeling really good about something they purchased, not just because it looks good on them, but also because they know it’s sustainable clothing. That’s something I really hold close to me, and what Blackbird is all about.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Inner Nutrition: Minding Our Words, Charli Mills

anti-racism, U.P. holistic wellness publication

Words are the paint to my page. I’m a literary artist who minds my words to communicate the stories that flow through me to connect with readers. I want my stories to live in others, to change their minds and move their hearts. Because writing is my vocation, I know words carry power. Yet, I’ve observed that people often use words out of habit. To live as an antiracist is to mind our words. Habit can hide racism.

First, let’s examine the words, “not racist” and “antiracist.” Author and historian, Ibram X. Kendi clarifies the difference:

“The opposite of racist isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is ‘antiracist.’ What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an antiracist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an antiracist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.’”

We live in a time when we are working to shift our understanding. We explore words through concepts and explain their meanings. Recently, I read this meme on social media:

“White privilege does not mean your life was not hard. It means your race was not an obstacle.”

Everyone has had hardships. To understand these difficult or discomforting words, we must go beyond our poverty, trauma, and circumstances. We need to heal our wounds and not confuse personal pain with experiences of racial inequities. If indeed you’ve suffered, get help. Inner nutrition means we feed and heal our unseen parts. If you are White and have emotional pain from hardships, it’s near impossible to understand the lived experiences of Black people. Think of it this way—if you had an untended broken arm, you can’t pay attention in class. You’re going to focus on your pain, not the lesson.

To understand “white privilege” you need to set your inner broken arm. If the words “white privilege” trigger a pain response, explore its origin. We all experience suffering. It’s a shared human experience. Suffering is why we may practice breathing, mindfulness, and seek the comfort of shared spirituality, why we may hike, dance, learn yoga, tap, meditate, and participate in different types of therapies. From a centered state of self-awareness, we can examine discomforting words with resiliency and grace.

You can look up “white privilege” in an online dictionary, but Black historian and author, Ibram X. Kendi, explains it well:

“White privileges are the relative advantages racism affords to people identified as white, whether white people recognize them or deny them. To be white is to be afforded one’s individuality. Afforded the presumption of innocence. Afforded the assumption of intelligence. Afforded empathy when crying or raging. Afforded disproportionate amounts of policy-making power. Afforded opportunity from a white network. Afforded wealth-building homes and resource-rich schools. Afforded the ability to vote quickly and easily.”

If you are White, consider observing your social privilege the way you’d track daily gratitude.

When you pay attention, privilege reveals itself. I was surprised at how quickly I added up my white privilege despite being a woman who comes from poverty and survived childhood sexual abuse. None of my hardship erases the truth that I don’t fear for my white son’s life during a traffic stop.

Another set of contentious words built the movement #BlackLivesMatter. It’s action to end the deadly oppression of Black people after the 2013 acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. According to the official organization, “These three words have been said many times in many ways. And they still need to be said. Today.” Watch the words in action at https://blacklivesmatter.com/these-three-words/ and explore the website to understand their meaning beyond a rallying cry.

If your response to “Black lives matter” is “all lives matter,” pause, and take a clearing breath. Your response reveals a misunderstanding over semantics because “all” is an inclusive word. For clarity, expand the idea to: “All lives will matter when Black lives matter.” “All” is not true until we overcome systemic racism and end deadly oppression. You may have Black friends or family, but if you are White, you have not lived the greater Black experience. By greater, I mean a collective of experiences, an ongoing history of oppression, and social constructs that rely on White people remaining color-blind to systemic racism.

To open our eyes, let’s mind our words.

Be curious and willing to understand the stories of others. Respond from a place of healing to help others on their healing journeys, too.

As I conclude my series, I impart what I’ve learned so far on my journey to be an anti-racist.

  • Be willing to sit with your discomfort.
  • Be curious and explore your roots.
  • Amplify Black authors and artists.
  • Acknowledge and heal your inner pain.
  • Empathize with experiences you have not had.

“No one becomes ‘not racist,’ despite a tendency by Americans to identify themselves that way. We can only strive to be ‘antiracist’ on a daily basis, to continually rededicate ourselves to the lifelong task of overcoming our country’s racist heritage.” ~ Ibram X. Kendi

Charli Mills grew up out west where she once won a rodeo trophy for goat-tying. Now she wrangles words from the Keweenaw as a literary artist, writing about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history. She makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com.

Works Cited
Kendi, Ibram X. How to Be an Anti-racist. Penguin Random House LLC. 2019
Black Lives Matter. “These Three Words.” Vimeo. 2020. https://blacklivesmatter.com/these-three-words/.
Franklin & Marshall College Library. Black Lives Matter: Antiracist Resources. 2019. https://library.fandm.edu/c.php?g=1045768&p=7588278.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Green Living: U.P. Style Re-Creation, Steve Waller

green living, green recreation, sustainable recreation in MI's Upper Peninsula, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

The COVID freeze is thawing. We are waking from a yearlong hibernation, anxious for “normal,” ready to get back to work, enjoy family, friends, and summer fun. Life is restarting. Summer recreation can re-create our lifestyle and for many, lifestyle re-creation would be helpful.

The American Psychological Association’s latest “Stress in America” survey of 3,000 people indicates that since the pandemic began, about 42 percent of U.S. adults gained weight—29 pounds on average. About half of the weight-gainers added more than 15 pounds; 10 percent, more than 50 pounds. On average, men added 37 lbs., women added 22 pounds. Younger adults gained more than older people (millennials 41 pounds, baby boomers 16 pounds). Only 18 percent reported unwanted weight loss. Stress, lack of exercise, unhealthy changes in eating habits, and increased alcohol consumption are all contributing factors.

It’s time to get outside, but being dragged around by a gas-powered ATV, boat, jet ski, dirt bike, motorcycle. or even an automobile won’t help you get back in shape. Recreational gas burning burns gas, not calories. It increases your personal contribution to the global warming problem, not your metabolism. It’s time to re-create your idea of recreation.

U.P. forest trails, some of the best in the nation, are ready for hikers, talking with friends, without noisy gas burning ATVs.

Trails seem much longer, more peaceful, relaxing, and more interesting when on foot. As John Muir, the famous 19th century naturalist, said about his 1,000-mile walk to the Gulf (instead of traveling by train or stagecoach), “How can you see anything when you travel 40 miles in a day?”

Streets are ready for bicyclists running local errands instead of running gas-burning automobiles. Electric bicycles are waiting in local bike shops for those with 10 to 15-mile daily commutes to work, or for a couple of hours of awesome trail riding. Two wheels roar. Four wheels snore!

Swimming is healthy and fun. Snorkeling the U.P.’s clear-water lakes is fascinating. Even sailboats are better exercise. Noisy gas-burning boats or jet skis won’t get that beach body back in shape.

Besides, after a two-year study, the Michigan governor’s recent U.P. Energy Task Force report clearly states that we, all of us, must move away from fossil fuels.

The easy first step is to eliminate recreational gas burning and get healthier at the same time. It’s a win-win!Even converting gas-powered yard tools, mowers (including riding mowers), trimmers, and blowers to battery power reduces stress on your ears, eliminates gasoline, and minimizes fossil-powered pollution. Today, battery-powered tools are versatile workhorses that help you spend more time outdoors, peacefully.

After a 2020 dip in carbon dioxide emissions due to COVID-19, CO2 emissions are forecast to jump this year by the second biggest annual rise in history as people and global economies recover from the pandemic’s recession. Our “new normal” could easily just repeat the old toxic normal. Now is the time to start fresh with smarter habits and less fossil fuel.

Once you’ve paid your bills, put COVID relief money to good use. Don’t blow it on another couch-potato TV, cable or video game subscription. Cancel those subscriptions. Invest that money and freed time in gas-free products and activities. It’s time to dump that gas guzzler and buy an electric car. Install solar power. Replace gas furnaces and water heaters with a cold weather-rated, high-efficiency heat pump.

Explore the U.P. Keep our land, our air, and yourself in great shape. Re-create that pre-COVID body naturally by abandoning recreational gas burning, and physically enjoying the beautiful local places where we live.

Sources:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/the-big-number-a-major-pandemic-weight-gain/2021/04/16/cc347e3e-9dfd-11eb-9d05-ae06f4529ece_story.html
https://www.healthline.com/health-news/61-percent-of-americans-say-they-gained-weight-during-the-pandemic
https://www.michigan.gov/documents/egle/Report-UPETF-Phase-II_720856_7.pdf
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/20/carbon-emissions-to-soar-in-2021-by-second-highest-rate-in-history

Steve Waller’s family lives in a wind- and solar-powered home. He has been involved with conservation and energy issues since the 1970s and frequently teaches about energy. Steve can be reached at Steve@UPWallers.net.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Healthy Cooking: Grilling for Summer, Val Wilson

tofu kabobs, healthy grilling, healthy cooking, U.P. holistic business, U.P. holistic wellness publication

Summer is my favorite time of year. One of the reasons is because you can grill food outside. For some reason, food just seems to taste better to me when cooked outside. Be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking you have limited options of just grilling veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs if you are living a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. I have experimented grilling many vegetables and other fun recipes such as the tofu kabobs described below.

Tofu is a great option when you are grilling. When you marinate tofu, it takes on the flavor of the marinade and creates a very tasty dish. Tofu is a complete protein. It contains all eight essential amino acids. It’s also is a good source of calcium and iron, plus it contains phosphorus, zinc, copper, magnesium, and vitamin B1.

Yellow summer squashes are one of my favorites on the grill. They have high water content, helping to keep you hydrated, and have lots of potassium and fiber. Carrots and radishes are high in antioxidants and contain potassium, which is essential for healthy blood pressure. And onions contain anti-inflammatory properties.

When creating this recipe, I chose the vegetables to give a rainbow of colors to the kabobs. These kabobs taste great when grilled. However, if you do not have a grill, you can cook them in a skillet or even bake them in the oven.


 
Tofu Kabobs

Wooden kabob sticks  
1 lb. fresh firm tofu  
1 onion (cut in chunks)  
4 carrots (cut in long, round diagonals)  
1 yellow summer squash (cut in cubes)  
20 radishes (cut in thick rounds)  

Marinade
1/3 cup tamari  
¼ cup each olive oil and water  
2 T. each brown rice vinegar and mirin  
1 T. brown rice syrup  
1 tsp. each basil and thyme  

Arrange the tofu and all the vegetables in a shallow dish, lying flat rather than stacked on top of each other. Whisk together the marinade ingredients and pour over the vegetables. Let marinate 30 minutes. Take the wooden kabob sticks and place the tofu chunks and vegetables on each one. Alternate the vegetables to make each one unique. Heat a skillet or grill and brown the kabobs on each side, or place the kabobs on a cookie sheet and bake at 350  degrees for 20 minutes. If grilling the kabobs on a barbecue, soak the wooden sticks in water for 20 minutes before making and grilling the kabobs. 

Chef Valerie Wilson has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. You can attend virtually including a special class through Peter White Public Library on 6/15/21. Visit http://www.macroval.com for schedule, cookbook purchases, phone consultations, or radio show, and follow her on Facebook at Macro Val Food.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Senior Viewpoint: Head to Your Local Farmers Market ASAP! Kevin McGrath

U.P. holistic business, senior nutritional needs, value of farmers markets for seniors, U.P. wellness publication

Now that summer has begun taking hold, nutrient-rich soils are transferring more and more of their life-sustaining power to the herbs, grains and vegetables that we then consume and absorb. Our farmer’s markets play a vital role in not only making these fresh, healthy, in-season, locally grown foods available for our choosing, but also offer an open air venue where we can safely and easily engage as social beings again.

As a senior who has been primarily cooped up for over a year in an attempt to keep my fellow citizens and myself out of harm’s way and is finally fully vaccinated, I’ve come to truly appreciate the importance of fellowship. Social isolation can become a routine way of life for many seniors, pandemic or no. Farmers markets bring together humans of all ages, which can be particularly helpful for seniors’ vitality. And, as John Lennon once said, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is a reality.”


Social isolation has been shown to significantly increase your risk of dementia and premature death from all causes, maybe even more than smoking, obesity or physical activity. On top of that, according to the American Psychiatric Association, lonely seniors are more likely to smoke, drink in excess, and be less physically active. 


Additionally, we seniors actually need fewer calories, but more nutrient-rich meals.

Plant foods (vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and whole grains) tend to be nutrient dense and are also a great source of fiber, which can help prevent Type 2 diabetes, aid digestion, lower cholesterol, and help you maintain a healthy weight. Research supports filling at least half of your plate with vegetables and fruit at each meal.

To get the greatest nutritional value, as well as flavor, from your produce, you want it to have the shortest possible time between harvest and consumption, making your farmers market a winner again. Food imported from other states and countries is typically older, has been handled more (exposing it to more contamination risks), and sat in distribution centers before arriving at the store.

Another consideration that becomes clearer as I age is the importance of supporting local businesses. Our local economy can be hurt by having our produce transferred in from all over the world, and oftentimes even sold more cheaply. If we don’t support our local businesses with our purchases, and then wonder where all our local businesses went, whose responsibility is that?

Nationwide, growers selling locally create thirteen full time jobs per $1 million in revenue earned.

Those who do not sell locally create three. And dollars generated locally tend to circulate locally, bolstering the economic health of local businesses and families. Plus, if natural disasters continue to increase, affecting the growth and distribution of food from elsewhere, we’ll certainly become even more grateful to have locally-sourced options.

So with summer in full swing, I look forward to seeing my experienced neighbors and friends taking advantage of nature’s “farm-aceuticals” at our local farmer’s market, supporting our own health and that of our community.

While Kevin McGrath isn’t a farmer, he has the greatest respect and admiration for our local farming community and can be found visiting farmers markets wherever he may roam.

Research contributed by Roslyn McGrath, a fellow fan of food, farmers markets, useful info, helpful humans, and Mother Nature.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Health & Homes: 10 Symptoms of Mold Exposure—and What to Do About It, Rich Beasley

U.P. holistic business, household mold detection, mold prevention, healthy homes, U.P. holistic wellness publication

With many of us spending more time indoors, ensuring safe air quality is more important than ever before. If your health has been feeling “off” lately, there may be an unexpected reason why: an undetected mold infestation in your home or apartment. Let’s look at some common warning signs that mold is becoming a health problem in your living space and explore some simple actions you can take to fix it.


Mold—A Pervasive Problem

Mold is a much more common problem in buildings and homes than many people think. When left untreated, it poses a significant risk to health and wellbeing. According to some estimates, roughly 70% of homes in the United States have mold of some kind. It’s important to remember that not all mold is dangerous to your health—but many are.

10 Health Symptoms of Mold Exposure

If you’re wondering if an unseen mold infestation could be affecting you or your family, an excellent place to start is by evaluating your health. If you’re currently experiencing one or several of the following symptoms, it’s time to take the next steps towards mitigating the problem (more on that shortly).

  1. Stuffy nose
  2. Sore throat
  3. Coughing or wheezing
  4. Tightness in the chest
  5. Hair loss
  6. Memory loss
  7. Brain fog
  8. Burning eyes
  9. Nosebleeds
  10. Skin rash

Mold exposure will affect each person differently, and this list is not exhaustive. For example, in asthmatic people or those with a mold allergy, reactions will be much more severe than in the general population. Additionally, immune-compromised people or those with chronic lung disease may develop severe infections in their lungs from mold exposure.


What Causes Mold in a Home?

Mold is an opportunistic scoundrel. It enters your home through ventilation, cracks in the walls, leaky roofing, and open doors or windows. Once in your home, mold will flourish on pretty much any surface imaginable, including household dust, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, paper, cardboard, wood, and much, much more. If you live in a humid climate (like Michigan), mold may be more of a concern as it thrives in damp areas. As a solution, it’s suggested that you keep your home at less than 50% humidity. A simple dehumidifier will do the trick in most cases.

What To Do When You Suspect a Mold Problem in Your Home

So, you’re feeling off and suspect that mold may be the cause. What’s your next best step?

  1. First, contact your healthcare provider right away to schedule a check-up.
  2. Second, do a thorough search in your home for signs of mold or evidence of water damage. Remove porous materials like carpet or drywall that you think may harbor mold.
    Thoroughly clean hard surfaces with a bleach solution.
  3. If you can’t find obvious signs of mold but still suspect it may be present, schedule a mold
    test with a local home inspector. A home inspector will look for signs of both active and
    prior water intrusion and existing mold in all safely accessible areas, and sample the air
    in your home for mold. Test results are typically available within three business days and
    will tell you whether there is indeed a mold infestation in your living space and whether any existing mold poses a risk to your health.

When it comes to mold, ignorance is not bliss. Listen to your body if something feels off. The sooner you identify the problem, the sooner you can mitigate risk and get back to enjoying your health and vitality.

Rich Beasley is an InterNACHI Certified Home Inspector and owner of UP Home Inspection, LLC. He holds over a dozen specialty certifications, including Mold Inspector, Radon Tester, Water Quality Tester, Indoor Air Consultant, and many more.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Positive Parenting: How to Keep Kids Active, Engaged & Learning This Summer, Jamie Hutchinson

positive parenting, U.P. holistic wellness publication, pandemic parenting advice

So, we’re home with our children, and we are limited in what outings we can do. Now what? How do we keep our kids active at home? How do we keep them engaged in learning? How do we come out of this summer feeling like we did our best, especially as we may be working from home at the same time?

As we gear up for the season in these challenging times, it’s important to acknowledge that each family will have their own very unique work and home situation. Some people may have more flexibility, more caregivers in the home, or older children who are more independent. Others may have less flexibility, younger children, and may be the sole caretaker of those children. We honor all of you, and know that you are doing the best you can. The following suggestions are offered as a starting point for consideration while navigating having children home and working at home this summer.

Children thrive on structure. They do best with routine. Create one for your family that will give children some academic time, active time, and FUN time. Also build in some time for you and your work, and you and the other supportive people in your life. Of course, as you create order, create some flexibility too. This will help everyone adapt.

Keep the routines. Do you have a set bath time? Bedtime? Mealtime? Keep these times consistent. It will allow everyone to feel some sense of normalcy. It also allows our brains some breathing room. Change is taxing on all of our brains.


Get outside!

This is really important to do when and where you can. Being out in nature resets our mind and body in so many ways. If you can go outside to a place that does not have a lot of people, then do it. Do you have a yard? Use it.

Have a family meeting to discuss the situation and the structure you are implementing. Ask every family member to step up the best they can. Emphasize that you are all doing this together, as a family.


Be creative and make some memories!

Maybe you make a fort and read books together, perhaps you have a picnic dinner in the living room while blasting your favorite music. This will be challenging, this will be new, but we can still have fun. Actually, fun is essential in keeping our stress levels manageable. Did you know that belly-laughs are therapeutic?


Managing your stress will help your kids manage theirs. Your children will look to see how you are managing everything. Taking care of yourself is the best way to be sure you have something left to give to your family and your work. You are important. You are worth taking care of.


Do you need some ideas to mix things up? Here you go! Write a book, have a family game night, hold a movie marathon, make a craft with household materials, write a rap! There are no limits.


Build in learning with activities.

We all need to eat, right? Cooking together is a fun way to practice practical math. Double a recipe, measure, add, figure out how many servings you will be making. Take the things you do, such as bedtime stories, and ask some reflective questions after you read. What was the most surprising part of this story? Which character do you relate to the most? How many pages are there? Anything that is age appropriate is helpful.


Speaking of learning…there are free online educational programs available while schools are closed. I like Kahn Academy and PBS Kids. If they are going to be on their tablets more, you can make it educational.


What about activity? Adults need 30 minutes of physical activity a day, children need at least an hour, preschoolers need three hours a day. Get creative. Have a dance party in the living room, use the Wii Fit if you have one, make activity stations around the house and rotate them for two minutes each. For example, kitchen: jumping jacks, living room: sit ups, dining room: wall presses, and so on. The main idea is to stay active. A healthy body and a healthy mind are connected. The healthier you stay, the better you will feel.


Work together.

Thinking of doing something fun? Share the list of fun active things to do at home and let the kids choose. Swap menu planning and chef duties among each other. Take turns caring for pets. This will give you some variety, and be an example of how everyone is working together.


Stay connected.

Schedule times you can reflect with your colleagues via teams or Zoom. Pick up the phone and check in on someone you work with to see how they are doing. Connect with your family via Skype or over the phone. Just because we are may be physically distanced does not mean we should not be connected. It will take us all working together to finish getting through this.


You are doing your best. Have compassion for yourself and others. We can get through this.

Deputy Director of the MSU WorkLife Office. Jaimie Hutchinson holds a BA in Psychology from Michigan State University, a MA in Community Counseling from the University of Northern Colorado, is a licensed professional counselor, licensed school counselor, and holds a Global Career Development Facilitator certification.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Bodies in Motion: Getting Social and Fit Andrew Rickauer

U.P. holistic wellness publication, Marquette County trail running, fun fitness, social running group

Who says getting or staying fit can’t be fun?! Marquette Trail Running, a casual group of trail runners open to anyone from a first time runner to ultra-marathon racer, is focused on this philosophy. It’s a social group to share trail tips, introduce others to the sport of trail running, promote group runs, and provide a summer trail series.


The summer trail series is an eight-race trail running points series held throughout the summer on alternate Thursday evenings at 6 pm. Locations rotate around the area to showcase the different trails Marquette County has to offer.  The event is affordable and family friendly. The idea behind it is to bring like-minded people together for an evening of fun. The racing is low-key, untimed, and really all about having a great time. After the race, participants fire up a grill for burgers, brats, or whatever else is handy, and sometimes bring a dish to share while chatting about trails and running.


Aside from the race series, group runs and clinics occur at random, based on when members remember to post that they’re happening. As the director of Marquette Trail Running, I wanted to make the group more inclusive of all fitness levels, so four years ago, I added the virtual race series. A course is set and open for a few weeks. Participants can run it as many times as they want and when it is convenient for them. This series is timed, and participants have to provide documentation that they completed the course and the time they did it in (typically Strava tracked). 


The group started in 2007 with a few casual group runs. Because trail running can be such a solo and independent sport, we started the summer trail series the following year. Someone can run trails every day, and only come across a few people. This is fine, but sometimes it’s nice to see others, share stories, and learn from the more experienced. Also, racing can get very expensive, causing runners to limit themselves to just a few events for the year. This also builds up the pressure to train and perform for these few events. The summer trail series is designed to eliminate these problems. It’s affordable at $30/ season (eight races, and post-race food plus awards and giveaways at each event!). Events are held on weekday evening so they don’t take away from weekend fun with your family, and the races are casual enough so there is no pressure to train or set a course record.  The start line is simply scratched in the dirt, and results are self-reported by placing your name on a board when you finish. 

It really provides all the benefits of racing without the pitfalls, and the group has grown into a great community!


All events are outside, with social distancing and masks recommended.  Many of our group runs are broken into smaller groups, making it easy to stay spread out on the trails.  We also have masks and hand sanitizer available for everyone. 


Marquette Trail Running offers a wonderful way to learn a new sport, learn some trails better and explore new ones, socialize with and learn from some great, like-minded people, keep updated on what is happening with running and trails in our area, and yes, it’s also fun to join in on the race series!


The group is also planning to partner with the Keweenaw Running Group in Houghton and may do some collaborative group events or a U.P.-wide points series.


You can find Marquette Trail Running on Facebook, and it’s open to anyone. All events are free/ by donation for club members, and the recommended fee of $30 to join includes everything.  We will never exclude anyone from anything. This group is open, including, and welcoming to all! Most just show up to the first series race to join.  Others contact me and send me the money, but there is no official form for the group—it’s too much paperwork, and we are all there to have fun!


Andrew Rickauer grew up in Colorado and has been a trail runner since the early ‘80s. He came to Marquette to attend NMU where he met his amazing wife. They live in Marquette with their three girls who all love to enjoy the U.P. woods.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Creative Inspiration: “UPportunities” Abound!

U.P. holistic business, creative opportunities in MI's Upper Peninsula

Though some of us have been inspired to express ourselves creatively to deal with pandemic challenges, others of us may wish we felt inspired. And regardless of the many outdoor recreation activities the Upper Peninsula affords, there are still those days when an abundance of rain, sun, black flies, or mosquitoes may drive us indoors, seeking other forms of fun. Or, there may be times we find our summer or other experiences so special that we want to commemorate them in some creative way.

If you’d like a creative head start—no worries! You’re in luck, as creative opportunities abound throughout the Upper Peninsula! Below is a taste of the many you can sample.

At the Bonifas Arts Center in Escanaba this summer, you can create a fairy house, paint your pet, create ceramics or stained glass, weave, watercolor with ink, and more! Visit bonifasarts.org to learn more and sign up.

The Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock is home to a photographic dark room, clay studio, and letterpress, and also hosts classes in other media. Check coppercountryarts.com for upcoming classes and programming info.

pottery making in Marquette, MI
HOTPlate Clayworks

You can also get your hands in clay and create bowls, vases, mugs, jewelry, signage, sculpture, and much more at HOTplate Clayworks in Marquette. Or, leave the three-dimensional creating to others, and pour your creativity into decorating ceramics at HOTplate Pottery, or at your place with their take-home kits. Visit hotplatepottery.com for details.

You may also be inspired by the multitude of talent represented in exhibits, receptions, studio tours, demonstrations, and street performers at Marquette Arts Week, June 21 – 27. Included is Poetic Reconnection Art Exhibition, hosted by the Peter White Public Library in the Lower Level Reception Gallery, where poetry broadsides from local poets focused on the theme of reconnection will be displayed. An outside opening reading/reception will be held Tuesday, June 22, at 7 p.m., with music by Troy Graham to follow.

Also as part of Marquette Arts Week, Life Lines & Notes, an event to reconnect heart and soul through words and music, will feature U. P. Poet Laureate M. Bartley Seigel and musician Ani on Saturday, June 26th, on the steps of the Peter White Public Library .

spoken word album
Slow Dancing with Bigfoot Album Cover

Two-time U.P. Poet Laureate Marty Achatz will be releasing his spoken word album Slow Dancing with Bigfoot, featuring music by Streaking in Tongues, in early summer. There will be a live performance as part of Art Week, plus other live and virtual performances throughout the summer. You’ll find Art Week details at mqtcompass.com.

Live music continues at Peter White Public Library with Concerts on the Steps this summer, featuring popular local musical acts. Visit pwpl.info or the Peter White Public Library Facebook Events page for more details.

The Peter White Public Library also hosts Authors Reading Virtually. At 7 pm on the second Wednesday of every month, local, state, and national authors read from their work and participate in a Q & A via Zoom. Past authors include: John Smolens, Dennis Hinrichsen, Natasha Trethewey, W. Todd Kaneko, and Megan Alpert, among others.

You can get into the writing act yourself with poetry workshops at creativity sanctuary Joy Center in Ishpeming. Marty Achatz will lead a special evening of Bigfoot prompts on June 20th, and also share new prompts every first Thursday of the month at 7 p.m., with a Zoom repeat on the first Sunday of every month at 7 p.m. Poet/musician/filmmaker Ron Ferguson will facilitate “Flying Kites: Discovering Your Electric Ideas in the Brainstorm and Beyond” by Zoom on June 24th for beginners and experienced writers alike. All you need is pen, paper, and imagination. Join in for some poetic inspiration.

creative sanctuary in MI's Upper Peninsula, U.P. holistic business
Joy Center

Joy Center will also host art-making workshops facilitated by Sarah Still this summer. Check the Joy Center Facebook page for details on these and more creative live and Zoom events, or join the snail mail list by contacting owner Helen Haskell Remien at helenhaskell@yahoo.com.

Regardless of your geographic location, you can stay posted for more writing opportunities, including monthly workshopping and open mike time via The Marquette Poets Circle. Contact intrepid organizer Janeen Rastall at janeenpergrin@gmail.com or check the Marquette Poets Circle Facebook page.

And our beloved art fairs are anticipated to make their return this year! You can soak in the creative achievements of local, regional, and even national artisans, and perhaps get some new ideas or energy for your own creative pursuits.  In Iron Mountain, Art for All will be held June 26, from 10 am to 4pm in the City Park. Outback Art Fair and Art on the Rocks will be held in Marquette throughout the final weekend of July, the 24th and 25th. The Waterfront Arts Festival will take place Aug. 7th overlooking Lake Michigan in Escanaba’s Ludington Park. The Eagle Harbor Art Fair will be held in Mohawk on Aug. 14th and 15th. And while the focus of the Keweenaw Summer Celebration in Lion’s Park, Calumet is on health, wellness, and spiritual guidance, you’ll find talented artisans there as well.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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