From the Editor

This summer, my family and I went on a number of car trips. Packed safely in our trusty SUV, classier than a minivan yet big enough for the kids to sit comfortably without crossing the invisible lines between them, we headed off first to Michigan. We stopped overnight at my sister's cabin on the Menominee River and waded at our favorite Lake Michigan beach before arriving at our destination: another sister's house just over the Mackinac Bridge. The kids knew the way and anticipated every stop: the river, the lake, the bridge, their cousin's house.

On the way home, we explored new territory: the Lake Superior side of the Upper Peninsula. Between lighthouse visits, stops at glorious new beaches and dips in the breathlessly vast expanse of cold Lake Superior, the lack of predictability started to take its toll. "Where are we going to eat?" someone would ask nervously.

"We don't know," we'd reply. "We'll see when we get to the next town."

"Where will we sleep?"

"We don't know," we'd say. "We'll see how far we get and what's available."

"Will there be a pool?"

We explained that we were exploring, that this was an adventure, that it was fun! The act of moving forward, meandering toward a destination with plenty of discovery along the way, was the whole point of our travels.

The tables were turned in August when, after stopping in the Zone of Totality to view the eclipse before camping in Wyoming, our trusty SUV suffered catastrophic engine failure somewhere in the Nebraska sandhills. There was no predictability in the hours that followed. We waited long past dark for a tow truck and made a late-night search in the nearest small town for a motel not booked with eclipse viewers. The next day was a panic of locating a rental vehicle, receiving a very bad diagnosis, test-driving possible new cars and moving to a better hotel. My husband and I were beyond nervous. We were miserable.

But the kids were having a great time. They loved the brand-new pickup we got to drive for a day. Our new hotel had a pool. They played in a park with new friends while their dad and I sorted our options and, when we finally decided to drive home and come back for the SUV, they were over the moon to discover our next rental vehicle was a minivan. "This is once in a lifetime," my daughter whispered.

My life-and perhaps yours, too-has gone something like these trips. There are times when my destination is clear and I can afford to pause and play along the way, not knowing what each stop will bring but trusting it will be great and enjoying the ride. There are times when I feel utterly lost, without a destination at all, when trusting the journey seems foolish. There are also times in between, when I muddle around, wanting to move forward but just not being able to.

That's exactly the topic this issue of Coulee Region Women tackles: moving forward. We'll show you how by the example of local women-like cover woman Carolyn Colleen Bostrack, motorcyclist Leah Misch and others-who have moved themselves out of difficult or stagnant situations and moved on to something great. Whether leaving abusive relationships, changing careers, starting new businesses, facing a life change or moving past a stuck mindset, these women have identified and taken steps to make change and move forward-and you can, too.

I thought I was teaching my kids something about being adventuresome this summer. It turns out, they taught me even more-about finding joy in the journey, moving forward with hope and, ultimately, trusting that what comes next will be great.

Betty Christiansen



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What is inside this month's issue:

FIERCE: Five Minutes at a Time
Carolyn Colleen Bostrack shares her plan for moving through hard times.

Personal & Professional
Winona Health's Rachelle Schultz connects with the community.

Building Badger Corrugating
A great-great-granddaughter brings a longtime La Crosse company into the 21st century.

Healthy Living
Catching Cancer Early
The  STRIVE Study-and local women-may help nip cancer in the bud.

Women in the Region
A Vehicle for Moving Forward
Leah Misch has ridden out of adversity to personal freedom and adventure-and so can you.

A Family Farmhouse
A ranch remodel creates the perfect place for a family on the move.

What's Holding You Back?
Here's how to move past it and move forward.

In Pursuit of a Timeless Mission
Ruthann Schultz celebrates a career of moving the YWCA forward.

Success in a Shared Space
The Food Enterprise Center of Viroqua helps entrepreneurs thrive.

Retail Therapy
Move Your Fashion Forward
Bring runway fashion to your closet with top trends for fall.

Arts & Entertainment
The Jewel of Main Street
The historic Temple Theatre still sparkles in downtown Viroqua.

10 Tips for Emptying the Nest
Practical advice helps parents launch young adults into independence.

"We're Fine, Mom!"
Two sisters take on the world, with Mom a click away.


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