As we finished writing the April issue, while self-quarantining, I was reminded of how much I love my family, and love(d) my freedom. It is our job to work on a whim, running to and from shoots, driving all over the region, engaging with new people and getting to experience how others live. I'm fondly remembering the days when people would welcome you into their home, offer a warm hug, and not even consider your level of disinfection.
While the first half of March was fairly normal for our team...the last two weeks were anything but. If there's one thing that's taught us the value of loving the space you live in, it's a pandemic. Although I saw introverts thrive and celebrate their cleared schedule, I also noticed many people struggling with the idea of seeing nothing but the inside of their homes. I've said it before, but in light of recent global events, I feel like it's worth repeating - environments matter. A safe (and clean) space that inspires, comforts, or connects you to the people and places you love, has the ability to keep one sane in the most chaotic of times.
When you finally re-emerge and find yourself seeking serenity, just ask - we happen to know a few experts. A comfortable home doesn't have to be picture-perfect, but it should be a place you wouldn't mind be quarantined to. If you're lucky to have more than you need, find a family to help, or donate to an organization like the YWCA, Down Home, Churches United or Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity. As painful as it is to lose our freedom and be confined to our homes, it's devastating to the families who don't have a proper place to call home.
Although we are trying to stay upbeat within our pages, I feel the need to end on a sobering note. These are unpredictable times that have brought immense hardship to so many local businesses and their families. We ask that you please ban together and show those in need as much love as you can in the coming months. Our small businesses are the heart of this community and we cannot afford to lose them. We'd also like to sincerely thank our region's leaders, along with our education and medical professionals for the many sacrifices they've made to keep our community safe. With possibly months of uncertainty ahead, there is only one thing I am sure of; the Midwest will do what we do best - extend unwavering love and kindness to our neighbors in need.
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