THE ROADMAP

Stories about anticipating, planning for and navigating life’s twists, turns, tragedies, and triumphs.

Coach Fleck brought his enthusiasm to the Spare Key gala.

At Spare Key it’s all About the Bounce

2/26/17 When resilience is at the core of an organization’s mission it’s only fitting that its executive director exude tenacity, creativity, and energy. And that his favorite saying (greeted with trepidation and enthusiasm by his staff), is, “I have an idea.” That man is Erich Mische, who, for the past five years has led Spare…

Honored to sport the hair nets with Jordana Green and Sue Zelickson

Feed the Kids, Feed Your Soul

I’m making a pledge for 2017 and I’m looking for others to join me. At least once per month I’m going to volunteer to help others. Last month I donated blood. Yesterday I helped to put food in bags for children who eat nothing – or baked clay – because in some countries (like Haiti and…

Lessons from Life in the Middle

2/16/17 The sandwich generation. That peculiar term that applies when adult children are parenting their children, juggling careers,  driving carpool, and caring for aging parents. It’s the subject of a new anthology titled Here in the Middle.  Curated by Christine Organ and Julie Jo Severson, Here in the Middle is a collection of essays that offer various paths into the…

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Norm Coleman’s Lessons from Loss

2/5/17 When Donald Trump was sworn in last month Norm Coleman witnessed  the peaceful transfer of power, though the New York native had supported several other candidates. I was curious about his view of the Trump presidency and the visceral reactions to it. Coleman has been a Democrat, a Republican, the mayor of St. Paul,…

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Celebrating Five Years at Spare Key: Getting to the Number Zero

2/5/17 Periodically I invite other writers to share their inspirational stories. This week we hear from Erich Mische, executive director of Spare Key, a Minnesota nonprofit that operates on a shoestring but has a large wingspan. Though my family never accessed the services, we surely could have when my daughter was hospitalized for nearly a…

Dragon Divas

From Caregiver to Patient and Beyond

1/2/17 Five years ago Lisa Mackall spent so much time writing about her husband’s traumatic brain injury on CaringBridge she published a book of her journal entries (27 Miles: The Tank’s Journey Home). At that time she was writing as a wife and caregiver. She went on to become an advocate for people with traumatic…

image courtesy of redcross.org

Taking the Poke and Saying Thanks

1/10/17 I’ve never enjoyed being poked by a stranger in search of my blood. On the discomfort scale it’s akin to having a dental hygienist stretch my lips to floss my molars. But there’s a notable distinction between the two. While flossing is good for my health, having my blood drawn can save others‘ lives. Though…

A man in Peru showing his gratitude

The Secret Power of Expressing Gratitude

1/3/17 Everyone is talking about gratitude these days. It’s good for your soul to feel grateful. Gratitude fosters resilience. What’s even better than experiencing gratitude?  Expressing your gratitude – to your boss for the great year-end bonus, to your spouse for giving you a day at the spa, to your neighbor for shoveling your walk…

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Obstacles to Resilience: Frigid Temps, No “Inn” to Call Home

1/1/17 It wasn’t that there was no place at the inn. It was that there was no inn. When December wrought frightful temperatures and meteorologists warned Minnesotans to limit outdoor time, suburban Dakota County had virtually nothing to offer single people who needed a warm place to sleep. While the homeless rate in Minnesota dropped…

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Leaping Before Looking

12/28/16 Guest blogger Claire Nitschke aspires to be a sommelier.  Since she graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 2016 she’s been taking steps to make her dream come true. I think she has a lot of gumption. What do you think? On her blog, www.claireseats.com, she writes about her first adventure in wine country. They…

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Grace, Gratitude and Giving

12/25/16 There is a family with an empty chair at the table today. I don’t know who they are or who once sat in the chair. I just know it is empty. There is also an intact family filled with gratitude and grace, every seat at their table filled. Though both families have a story…

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Art, Autism & Accolades

12/8/16 It happened so quickly.  Jimmy Reagan was playful and happy. Then everything changed. He became sickly, withdrawn, and uncommunicative around his second birthday. One of five children, his challenges became endless and all encompassing for his mother, Peg Schneeman Reagan, and his father, Brian. Jimmy’s autism diagnosis was shocking. But his health issues were perplexing. Why…