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A “Super Senior” Decision Led to Her Dream Job

By Jean Storlie / May 2, 2015 /

Something about my daughter’s text, “When are you getting home?” alarmed me as I was getting off the plane on a beautiful summer evening in late August 2013. I suppressed my “mother instinct” to worry as I drove home and joined my husband on our patio. About 20 minutes later, Abby came out and asked…

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Sewing Zippers in a Factory Ignited My Career Passion

By Jean Storlie / April 1, 2015 /

Sewing machines buzzed around me, as I quickly loaded another zipper and started to sew. My co-worker at the next station was sewing like a whirling dervish; her hands flying forward and backward, up and down, as she installed zippers on sleeping bags at a rate of 90-100/hour. She screamed at the handlers, who were…

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Shrinking the Monster Named Fear

By Jean Storlie / March 3, 2015 /

“Mom, are you coming?” Jackson called from the next plateau. I was sitting on a rock ledge trying to overcome the vertigo triggered by my fear of heights. Next to me sat a woman who’d confessed that she did not have the fitness to proceed. Observing her contented defeat, I knew I didn’t want to…

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What I Learned from Skating on Thin Ice

By Jean Storlie / January 5, 2015 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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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