Category Archives: Raves

Two Hero Day: Immortal MLK and Marcella

MLK Memorial Profile

MLK National Memorial. Image by Enviro on Flickr

You already know today is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This day always makes me both proud and saddened. Proud that my country celebrates the life and impact of an all time hero of humanity. A man made larger than life as the courageous leader, symbol and martyr of a movement of love and justice. He was an architect, with so many others, of a new system being born while helping an old one into hospice. A person all of us can look up to and be thankful for, no matter what color or creed or culture we call our own today.

It also bubbles up emotions of dark and sadness thinking about the prejudices and hate that were real in Dr. King’s time, before him, and still today in too many ways. It always gets me reflecting on my own prejudices and blinders that are part of me and the way I see the world through the filter of my own worldview and mental models. And, I suppose that is the immortal nature of Dr. King’s message and life–to continually question and challenge my own ways of seeing and being with others in this world.

I had the privilege of meeting and spending some time with the Executive Architect of the recently opened Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial this past October. Dr. Ed Jackson came to Sioux Falls to give the opening keynote at a convention for South Dakota architects that I had organized. How he got there was interesting: I heard him as a guest of Melissa Block on NPR’s All Things Considered (listen to the interview here), defending a design decision that paraphrased a quote from Dr. King instead of carving it verbatim on the memorial’s granite. Something about his demeanor grabbed me, and I thought he might be able to share an architect’s perspective on honoring a national hero in a way that no one else could. So, I googled his name, found a phone number in Washington, DC, and dialed… And he answered! He was so gracious, and said yes to my proposal right there on the phone.

The fact that Dr. Jackson kept his commitment to speak at our little event was remarkable, since that following weekend was the Dedication Ceremony for the new memorial! I enjoyed spending a little time with Jackson, and even walked around Falls Park with him for 15 minutes on our way to the airport. The paraphrased quote issue hasn’t gone away, and in fact the feds have now required it to be changed, somehow. As Ed laid out in his keynote that October afternoon, the decision was not a quick or lite one. It came after consideration and consulting with historians, advisors and Dr. King’s family. His dedication to making this project real–a twenty-plus year effort–is very inspiring. And his bold design decisions are too. Thanks Ed, for influencing me and for building a new landmark to honor a true hero. Congratulations on a masterpiece. I so look forward to walking through the memorial grounds with you for a tour as soon as I get to DC.

Grandam Marcella at the kitchen table

Grandma with family at her birthday party last night


You might not know that today is also Marcella Bartmann Day. It’s Grandma’s birthday, and there is no bigger hero in my life. It’s about time I let her know.

I think a big part of what makes someone a hero is the things they practice and what in their being is something you want to be. Probably no one outside her family or friends thinks of Grandma as a hero, but for those of us with her in our life, it’s no question. She’s one of those subtle, solid and grounded heroes. She’s a rock. I love you so much.

She Said it Without Words

Be quiet courage and strength, day after day after day.
Care for their messes of all kind,
prepare the food that gathers them,
lead by being love, not loud. 

Deepen faith, in god and each other.
Make it your constant practice.
And question it all with power and grace,
stand up to find real meaning in ideas and relationships. 

Live concrete in values,
and open yourself to what is different.
Seek out the meek and ragged,
hold them like they are yours. 

Be the glue for those you love,
and the conscience in the room.
Give selflessly so they may find joy or peace,
Make music of your sorrows.

Find pride in humility,
and rugged work.
Know the impossible isn't,
and the worst lives somewhere else.

Make these prayers of contentment and gratitude:
the dishes, the clothesline, the muddy floor.
Enjoy the art of staying put,
and believe in letting go.

Watch over the land and lives,
as a trusted steward and gardener.
Know that what nourishes is scarce,
what's beautiful is temporary,
and all is becoming something else.

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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in activism, Celebrations, Family, Peace, poetry, Raves


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Water for My Birthday and the Truth About Legacy

I turn 34 years old on Tuesday. Normally my birthday is no big deal, but this year, in honor of Rod Arnod‘s talk at OTA Sessions, I’m giving up my birthday in an effort to give clean drinking water to 34 people. Can you give $34 to charity:water for my birthday? Come on, help me hit my goal of $680!

Just click here to give, and to see all kinds of details about where your donation will go:


The story of charity: water

I spent the day Friday at a remarkable conference called The OTA Sessions, put on by my friend Hugh Weber. Lindsey and I had fun helping 24 OTA-goers to turn a passionate idea they showed up with into a real project to launch. Also met all kinds of new friends from across the OTA states and the country. Just so happy to have had the opportunity to plug in the way we did. Thanks Hugh!

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One of the awesome speakers was Rod Arnold, a Watertown, South Dakota native who is the COO for charity:water in NYC. (The great news is Rod announced he and his family are moving back home to South Dakota soon!) He told and showed us in vivid pictures and video about the 1 billion people who drink dirty water because that’s all they’ve got. We’re talking muddy, bacteria and feces filled stuff here.

Even more powerfully though, Rod told us the tear-jerking, inspirational story of his two brothers Ryan and Chad. Chad needed a new liver, fast. And Ryan selflessly offered to donate 60% of his healthy liver to his brother. While at their family cabin in the Black Hills, Ryan and Chad got word that Ryan was a match, and they scheduled the surgery. Here is their story, as told by a Denver news channel:

Rod emotionally shared with us Friday many of the life lessons his brother Ryan gave to him. The most powerful of those for me: a legacy is not something you leave, it’s something you live. Thanks, Rod, for the best closing talk we could have asked for. And welcome home.


Posted by on April 2, 2011 in Celebrations, Raves


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Friendly Exhibit: Ghost Bike, Park(ing) Day, Printerns and More

My friends are awesome. Besides putting up with plenty of b.s. from me, they make and do amazing things. I’m so blown away by their talent and courage. Lucky me.

See what I mean?..

Ghost Bike: Michael Christensen

Mike and I sip coffee at Coffea every so often. He usually wears tight pants and a helmet. He’s the author of The Minus Car Project, a blog about his mission to minimize the use of his car. That means biking it is his normal mode–even in January. This seems awesome enough in itself. But he recently did something that might just be the coolest project I’ve seen yet. He and his bike-shop buddy came up with Ghost Bike, an artful tribute to a fallen bicyclist in Sioux Falls. Read about it on MinusCar and Argus Leader and watch it on Keloland and KDLT.

photo by Flickr user Bill J

Park(ing) Day: Whitney Parks

I learned how awesome Whitney is when I watched her almost single-handedly make Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on September 13, 2010 in activism, Raves


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Black Hills Adoration

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I’ve loved the Rockies of Colorado since forever. Feel so at home in the Northwoods of Minnesota. I’ve seen the amazing Yellowstone, and unbelievable stuff in Montana’s Rockies. Even explored the majestic Tetons in Jackson Hole. All breath taking awe.

And, I still can’t think of any place I’d rather explore right now more than the Black Hills of South Dakota. The mountains are smaller scale, but no less majestic and beautiful. There’s something more than natural beauty going on there. Something that holds your spirit and gives your soul breath. Even with all the gimmicky tourist stuff, it still touches your being like any sacred place.

The shots above were all taken on recent hikes in and near Custer State Park. Paha Sapa, I love and honor you.

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Posted by on June 28, 2010 in Love, Raves



Wilderness Always

A friend showed me this beautifully wild idea today that I hope you’ll support (thanks Chas). It’s a plan to designate three areas of the Buffalo Gap National Grassland as the nation’s first Grassland Wilderness. According to the site, here’s what you can do in a Wilderness:

Allowed in Wilderness Areas

  • Hunting and fishing
  • Hiking, backpacking, camping
  • Horseback riding
  • Birdwatching
  • Rock collecting for personal use
  • Livestock grazing and access, where already established
  • Mining on pre-existing patented claims
  • Rafting, canoeing, and kayaking
  • Outfitting and guiding
  • Wheelchairs (including certain motorized wheelchairs)
  • Control of wildfires, insects, and disease outbreaks
  • Access to private inholdings

Prohibited in Wilderness Areas

  • Road building
  • Logging
  • Oil and gas drilling
  • New mining claims
  • New reservoirs, power lines and pipelines
  • Motorized or mechanized vehicles like ATVs and mountain bikes

So, if you’re a South Dakotan, or if you’d like to visit the grasslands of South Dakota, please visit to learn about the plan, and then click on Get Involved for info on contacting our congress men and woman to show your support.

Sounds like a great spot for my next wilderness solo… 🙂

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Posted by on June 24, 2009 in Raves


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Fractal Zoom

A friend out there sent a link to this. It’s a fractal zoom on a mandelbrot set, finishing on a dendrite area. I don’t know what that means, but it sure is beautiful. (Thanks Toke.)

It gives me new ideas and understanding of how this network of life might really be organized. Makes me think of the infinite networks and connections that are unfolding always.

You can learn more about the mathematical discovery called the “Mandelbrot Set,” which creates the kind of fractal zoom images shown in the above video, by watching this one below. It is 9 minutes, and only part 1 of 6, so dig in if you’re really interested…

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Posted by on June 24, 2009 in etc., Raves, universe


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Coupon Ninja Mommy (and Team Wonderbike)


My, wife the newly christened coupon clipper. We’ve been careful with our moola for a while now. Some might even say frugal. Or cheap. I like to think of it as thrifty and wise.We’re knocking out our stupid debt, you know. (On the FINAL debt in the snowball now! )

But, beleive it or not, we’ve never been couponers. Until now. Blame Jaim’s new-found coupon craze on Oprah, SiouxFallsMoms, or something. So, in honor of our next coupon sorting, cloth bag hauling, organic buying trip to the grocery, Jaimie’s giving you a coupon for a free 100% recycled roll of aluminum foil. Wrap something delicious, and recycle it again. Or, better than that, skip the foil and just make something great and eat it without having to throw anything away…


New Belgium is coming! To Sioux Falls, May 11. New Belgium Brewing is a great, wind powered brewery in Fort Collins, CO. They make Fat Tire Ale, and other such wonders. Have fun with this bike, and join Team Wonderbike

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Posted by on April 24, 2009 in going green, money, Raves, reduce reuse recycle


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