Newsletters

What I Learned from Skating on Thin Ice

By Jean Storlie / January 5, 2015 / 4 Comments

On a sunny winter day when I was about 10 years old, my two sisters and I begged to go ice skating at a city rink in a back slew of the Mississippi River. Our mom drove us across town, helped us into our skates, and left us to entertain ourselves. There was a big…

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He Learned the Hard Way that Holiday Humor Has a Dark Side

By Jean Storlie / December 1, 2014 / 1 Comment

After one of my storytelling workshops, a participant handed me his business card and invited me to call him because he wanted me to share his story. Anonymity is important to him, so let’s call him Mike.  Sixteen years ago, Mike was a rising star as a design engineer. He was being groomed for advancement…

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Don’t Let Other People’s Inhibitions Stifle Your Creativity

By Jean Storlie / October 31, 2014 / 5 Comments

I’ve always been an enthusiastic Halloween Mom, decorating the house for parties, sewing elaborate costumes, hosting my kids’ friends for pizza before trick-or-treating, and inviting all the “spirited souls” (young and old) to join the fun. Sometimes, I even go over-the-top! Halloween Night when my son was 11 years old, he was the last of…

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What My Ford Galaxy Taught Me about Mentoring

By Jean Storlie / October 2, 2014 / 2 Comments

As a freshman in college, I had to live with my parents, which was not what I wanted to be doing. Feeling stifled and cut off from my peers, I came up with the idea that buying a car would give me (some of) the freedom I craved. When I broached the topic with my…

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Manny Opens Our Eyes to the Reality of Child Hunger

By Jean Storlie / September 1, 2014 / 0 Comments

It was 1984 and school breakfast programs were just starting in Iowa. As a new dietitian with the Midwest Dairy Council, I was sent out to experience a school breakfast program in Muscatine, Iowa. Taking my assignment seriously, I showed up at 7:00 a.m., dressed in my best business suit. When I walked into the…

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“Stationwagon Trouble”: Stories to Convey Rather Than Convince

By Jean Storlie / August 1, 2014 / 2 Comments

My dad loaded the last pieces of luggage into the back of the station wagon. While spreading sleeping bags on top of the cooler and suitcases, he told my sister and me how “comfy” we would be riding in our “cozy bed.” At first, we thought it was fun, cuddled together, whispering and giggling. But…

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Life on a North Dakota Ranch Shows Us How Farmers Care

By Jean Storlie / July 3, 2014 / 5 Comments

On a cold, snowy night in late March on the North Dakota plains, I was 4 years old, and knew this was a special time of the year on the ranch. As my mom tucked me into bed, I asked, “Where’s Daddy?” Gently settling my covers, she answered, “He’s outside checking on the cattle to…

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What “Say Yes to the Dress” Teaches Us about Creativity

By Jean Storlie / June 2, 2014 / 2 Comments

  When my daughter, Jayme, was 12-years-old, one of her favorite shows was “Say Yes to the Dress.” My first reaction was total dismay that they actually made an entire TV series about shopping for wedding dresses. But once she started recording the episodes on our DVR, I figured rather than dismiss it, I should…

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How Will the Animals Read? Watch Out for Communication Blind Spots

By Jean Storlie / May 1, 2014 / 1 Comment

One day, when my daughter was about 6 years old, my husband was helping her get ready for a Brownie Field Trip to the Humane Society. After signing the Permission Slip, he was ticking through the checklist of gear she needed, including old newspapers for animal bedding. I was upstairs on the landing supervising our…

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Don’t Rake in a Blizzard: Problem Solving through Social Networks

By Jean Storlie / March 3, 2014 / 1 Comment

One afternoon in early January, my daughters wanted to bake cookies and discovered that our cookie sheets were missing from the drawer where we store them. We searched high and low in all the spaces where cookie sheets could possibly fit. We wracked our brains and had many conversations about what could have happened to…

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