From the Editor

This time of year, emphasis is heavy on giving. With holidays looming, our focus is drilled onto finding the perfect gifts, making the right foods and ensuring that everyone on our list is covered, equally and fairly. I think we can all agree that this process can be stressful and not always filled with joy.

Combine this with the complications that can arise when family members, friends and colleagues gather in various settings, each bringing their own unique set of viewpoints, memories, resentments and hurts. This, too, can bring more stress than joy.

It was in this spirit that we chose our theme, Giving and Forgiving, for this particular issue of Coulee Region Women. With it, we hope to bring back a sense of joy to the act of giving, and also bring a sense of peace and generosity to our encounters with fellow humans through the process of forgiving.

I'll be the first to say it's easier to give than forgive. As a working mother, I feel I give all day long. I pour my energy into my career; then, at day's end, I am greeted by a whole host of people who need even more from me: my children, my husband, my 4-H and knitting club kids, the writers I teach and more. Yet in the end, it's not all those people I feel resentment toward and need to forgive-it's me, for not having been able to give them just a little bit more. It's me, for putting my own needs and dreams last, yet again.

Our writer Shari Hegland, who penned the story on forgiveness on page 19, mentions in her bio that, for her, the most difficult act of forgiveness is forgiving herself. I think many of you, our readers, may agree. We women set our expectations of ourselves-of what we can give-so high that it's inevitable we'll feel we fall short. And the one person we need to give most to-ourselves-is not covered, equally and fairly.

So let's begin there, with ourselves. Let's begin by recognizing and really honoring the many ways we give-to our families, our workplaces, our communities. To help you in doing so, we've featured several women in this issue whose stories illustrate ways women give. We feature givers like Jamie Schloegel of the La Crosse Community Foundation, Sandra Littlejohn of Gundersen Health System, and Kelley Waddell of YWCA La Crosse. We celebrate the irrepressible Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration as they focus their energy on a Revolution of Goodness, and on Courtney Lokken, who seeks to serve the La Crosse community through a Downtown Neighborhood Association.

Then, we learn to forgive. Two excellent stories-one on teaching forgiveness and one on learning to let go-give specific and grounded advice from local experts on how to work our way through hurts, resentments and emotional pain, with the end goal of releasing these burdens through forgiveness-of others and ourselves.

We hope you find much in this issue to nourish your soul as the holidays near, the days darken and the year ends. We hope to help you recognize yourself as the amazing giver you are and help you realize that everything you do, is enough.

Betty Christiansen



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What is inside this month's issue:

A Culture of Giving
Jamie Schloegel leads the La Crosse Community Foundation in making a difference.

Custom Care
Sandra Littlejohn's focus on diversity ensures Gundersen patients get respectful care.

Power of Forgiveness
Teaching children to forgive begins by encouraging empathy.

Healthy Living
Stayin' Alive
In an emergency, use CPR to give the gift of life.

Just the Way She Likes It
Paige Forde's home reflects millennial minimalism.

Gifts Good Enough to Eat
Consumables are the perfect gift for the person who has everything.

A Livable Downtown
A new neighborhood association serves downtown La Crosse.

Women in the Region
Finding the Good Within Us
The FSPA wages a Revolution of Goodness.

A Passion to Serve
Under Kelley Waddell, the YWCA La Crosse continues a mission of giving.

Retail Therapy
Holiday Gift Guide
Find the perfect gifts for those special to you this season.

How to Let Go
Resetting your thinking is the key to moving on from being hurt.


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