New Year’s Recognition

I don’t get too caught up in the hoopla–it is just another day, January 1st. But there is significance. There’s significance because a year is a tried and true measurement of time. As such, we’re used to having it mean something. We use it for grades through school, seasons for sports and television, and for…
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A New Plateaus Christmas: )

Let’s go back to my year in China for a moment. In fact, let’s turn it back exactly one year. I was walking into my adult English class with my $.45 Santa hat on that I bought at nearby stationary store. It was the kind of store in China that doesn’t have a cash register—it’ll…
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Book Alert! (and New, Old Article)

Some of you have been awesome and followed me around China for as long as I’ve been blogging here on Area Voices. Others of you are also awesome and enjoying some of my older pieces in black and white in the Sunday editions of The Pioneer. I’m excited to say that I’m taking all 70…
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Children From All Over The World

The restaurant I work at recently hosted an annual get-together for an area adoption agency. What followed was an evening that really affected me… Now typically my first thought when I hear “adoption agency” is of a white, middle-class couple who can’t conceive. That’s commonly the case, and growing up I can remember my pastor,…
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The Elders Among Us

Speak to the elders in your life. Last week I wrote about two conversations I had with each of my Granddads. Both men live vivid and classic lives exemplifying American/Minnesotan culture. It was awesome how telling their lives are for the “American” in all of us. It revealed to me the importance of culture as…
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Stomping-Ground Culture 2: Our Grandparents

While I was still “up north” as we say, visiting my family in Blackduck, I decided to stop out at each of the grandparents’ places. Some may consider this dull, but it was enlightening. Here’s why: As if the Fates of blogging were looking down upon me, my time with my old granddads offered fresh…
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Stomping Ground Culture, Part 1

If you’d asked me before about the culture of northern Minnesota, or America even, I’d have suggested it better described as a lack of culture. Growing up, we never had our version of a pow wow or exotic clothing—nothing drawing back to the days of ancient ancestors. Removed from lederhosen and the German language (though…
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Home Sweet Home: China In Minnesota

All the pictures and words and emotions regarding China came to an end, folks. This post is about my arrival back and experiences being re-introduced to Minnesota. I left Zhuhai on an unusually clear, beautiful, warm, sunny day. The car ride to the airport featured lush green palm trees and bright blue skies that lit…
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The Faces I Lived Amongst

Home: where routines are made, and the places and people are familiar. It’s a location that let’s you get into your groove of life and feel comfortable. The hunter-gatherer peoples of pre-civilized humanity had a “home” of sorts: it was the people they kept close. Then when farming, domestication, and cities sprouted, humans came to…
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Feminine Power

Greetings Readers, An article of mine about China was featured on the website: The Good Men Project. I want to share it with you. 🙂 I will say, though, that it’s a bit different than the travelogueing you are used to. In the spirit of “reaching new plateaus”, I sometimes delve into deeper themes of…
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