From the Editor

One day this week, as deadlines were looming and the final pieces of this issue were fast coming into place, my computer shut down. The evening before, it was functioning fine; in the morning, it refused to wake up. I tapped keys. I tried to reboot. I unplugged it and plugged it in again. It was gone.

Taking deep breaths and reciting affirmations, I texted tech support-i.e., my husband: "My computer won't start up!!! Starting to panic." Then I packed up my dead laptop and drove home, where he was working. My hands shook on the wheel, thoughts of losing work and missing critical deadlines rocking my head.

My husband was on a conference call but already googling the solution. "Stay calm," he whispered. I paced the house while he opened up my laptop and got to work, fielding questions from his own job simultaneously. By the time he was off the phone, it was fixed. Even the documents that were open when the thing went down were still up on the screen, exactly as I'd left them.

"I had to reset your SMC," he said with a sweet smile. "That shouldn't fail again for a while."

I felt such love in that moment.

Perhaps that isn't everyone's ideal expression of love, but consider this: He understood the urgency of the situation and also my emotional state. He made helping me his top priority, no questions asked, and he did it kindly.

As we've planned this issue, "Love & Passion," I've thought a lot about love and how people express it. We think of epic expressions of love happening at marriage proposals, while exchanging vows, at births, at the highest moments that can happen between partners. But I think love is best revealed at times when someone desperately needs it, and someone steps up to give it selflessly.

In the past weeks, I've witnessed a daughter hold vigil at her father's side, reading him the newspaper while he, sedated, awaits lifesaving surgery. I've witnessed a woman move house-in the days before Christmas-to accommodate her husband's health needs. I've seen how beautifully a woman can run a business when she is passionate about her work. I've watched children open their hearts and say or do the exact thing a hurting person needs, almost by intuition, and we all witnessed the passion of a Wisconsin community welcoming home a missing girl.

This, to me, is true love.

But don't just take my word for it. In this issue of Coulee Region Women, you'll read stories of love and passion dedicated to partners, family and community. Vicky Wang Schroeder opens the issue with a swirl of love and joy for her husband and dancing partner, Ben. Amy Schaack puts her passion for music and helping people to work with her business, Life in Harmony. Barb Larsen leverages the love she's received from her dog, Levi, to serve a community. You'll see what happens when love is funneled into a house, baked into pastry and channeled in a love letter. You'll enjoy Valentine-appropriate love stories and gift ideas, and despite the cold and dark this time of year, you'll be tempted further north with a trip to magical Iceland.

I'll spend the holiday setting aside my newly restored laptop-as vital as it may be to me-for my true Valentine, my tech-savvy, sweetly smiling, lifesaving guy.

Betty Christiansen



Download past issues here …

What is inside this month's issue:

It Takes Two to Tango
Vicky and Ben Schroeder take their love story to the dance floor.

Life in Harmony
Music therapy offers healing in a range of ways.

Open Your Door to Love
Adopt a pet and change its life-and yours.

What GOES Around COMES Around
Karma Classes at Root Down Yoga Studio give back to the community.

The road to love isn't straight, but it still leads to a happy ending.

A Well-Loved Home
The Hughes family embraces their log home and all it has to offer.

Healthy Living
Body Confident
Let your doctor help you navigate the sexual health questions you're afraid to ask.

A Passion for Pastry
Opus Bakehouse bakes love into every bite.

How to Write a Love Letter
Handwritten letters offer what no text can: a piece of yourself.

Retail Therapy
Love to Wear, Love to Give
Discover fashion pieces, accessories and gifts in this season's trendiest hue.

A Journey to the Center of the Earth
The mysterious majesty of Iceland can make you believe in magic.


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