Women’s Business Summit #WBS15


I love a lot of things.

I love Jesus.

I love my awesome family.

I love my job.

And, I love helping other women succeed. I honestly think that there is a place at the table for every woman to succeed in business.

Some will prefer to be entrepreneurial, some want to work for or run a large corporation. Some, like me, find their niche in the non-profit sector. Some excel as CEO of their household.

I’m excited to be presenting “The Power of Story” and “To Tweet or Not to Tweet” at the 2015 Women’s Business Summit!

I hope you can join me for this outstanding personal and professional development opportunity –

November 8-9, Bismarck!

The Women’s Business Summit includes the always popular Breakfast with Entrepreneurs Panel,
fabulous keynote speaker Melissa West, 18 amazing breakout sessions (including mine!), 1-on-1
business advising, and an opening night Wine, Women & Chocolate reception for great networking!

This is your chance to invest in yourself and join the movement of women across our state that are
stepping up to do MORE! More for themselves, more for their businesses, more for their families
and communities. By pulling women together from across North Dakota and the region this Summit creates a diverse network for those who want to grow both personally and professionally.

By leveraging women’s talents and resources we strengthen the individual as well as the collective
and I encourage you to join me for this unique opportunity!

Pre-registration is required. For more information visit http://ndwomensbusinesssummit.com
Hope to see you there!

Joy on a Monday

twins photographing each other
USB hub photos...this kept them busy for a whole 15 minutes!

If you’ve been reading here for a while (and I hope you have) you may have noticed that last week, I may have been a bit frustrated. As a matter of fact, I was. Dakotapastor even came home and told the girls, “you’ve done it now…you pushed your mom to complain about you all over the internet.” Which kind of made me laugh, just a little.

There is always a Dakotapastor response to my blog posts. Sometimes you see them in the comments section, but often I just hear them. Let’s just leave it at just because we are best friends does not always mean we see the world the same way!

Today is Monday. For stay at home moms, Mondays are not so rough. School aged kids often go back to school (or home schooled kids get back to their tasks), husbands go back to work (except some of these silly pastor types who take Mondays off to confuse things), and generally, the household falls back to a “normal” rhythm. So, really, other than the getting up early, I don’t hate Monday.

Also, Monday morning is the morning set aside for our moms’ Bible study at church. We are very slowly working through God Is in the Laundry Room . This has been a great study for all of us. Currently we are in our third session of Chapter 6: “Stocking Up on the Fruit of the Spirit”. Today we discussed Joy. (Not quite my friend, Joy, though she did come up in the discussion). What I was reminded of this that joy is different from a giddy, happy feeling. Joy does not depend on our circumstances. The Bible verses we studied really brought that to light.

Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. John 16:20-22

That word picture that Jesus paints, of a woman in labor and her sorrow turned to joy after the baby is born. . .that, my friends, is something I can relate to. Our salvation is what brings us true joy.

We’ve all seen it. People devastated in the face of grim reality, and yet, they rejoice in the blessings and promises of God. This, my friends, is true joy.

Of course, through our Bible study that was punctuated by the noises of children (mostly happy), we could see that often there is joy, hidden even in the most frustrating days of motherhood. Like this morning, when I checked Dakotatween’s grades on the computer, for the first time in his entire school career, he has all As and Bs.  Or like this afternoon when two little girls pulled their pillows out to me to let me know that they were ready for a nap…instead of forcing me to chase them around the house. Little joys can peek through our frustration and drudgery.

I have a picture of three of my friends taken last summer. They nicknamed each other the “Soggy Sisters” as all three were fighting to save their homes from the Missouri River flooding. Through all of the work and the worry and the frustration, they took a bit of time to help each other and I have a picture of the three of them, smiling< with arms around each other. In the midst of uncertainty, they had joy. Through it all, they knew that God is bigger than a flood.

So friends, take some time to find a wee bit of joy in your day. And don’t forget to share your joy with others.

How to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder

January can be a tough month.

December is full of family and celebrating and travel and yummy food and presents wrapped in bows.

And then comes January.

The reality of a white Christmas(most years) sets in as winter appears to be an endless stream of grey.

Perky resolutions remind us of our too tight pants, and lack of motivation.

The kids are sick of school. The toddlers are already tired of their new toys. The house is a mess.

January is a tough time for many moms.

Dreaming of sunny days? Me too.

So, What Can We Do?

The first step in fighting off the winter blues is acknowledging that they are there. Are you feeling funky? Irritable? Maybe even depressed? You are not alone.

It is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but I prefer to call it January Blues.

Seasonal Affective Disorder has a natural source. Our shorter days and lack of sunlight deplete our already thin stores of Vitamin D. Have you been taking a supplement? Maybe it is time to start. Some people swear by some good broad spectrum UV lights. I don’t have the budget or the space for them, so I make do without. I leave the windows bare though and let as much light into my house as I can.

I don’t often feel like being very active in the winter. I love to hike and take long walks, but in the sub-zero North Dakota weather, I don’t often get to do this. And once I start to feel lazy it becomes a habit. However, when I do get moving, my mood and energy level improves. In the winter I take advantage of the boys’ Wii system and the fact that they are gone all day and can’t laugh at me. A few minutes with Wii Fit or Let’s Dance and I can feel my blood pumping and my mood lift.

I use January as a time to take up a new hobby or learn a new skill. This winter I am participating in a 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge with the SITS Girls. I need to bring my blogging and writing to a new level, and this group has been just what my burnt out January brain needed.

I like to clean things in January. I’m not a normal person who spring cleans. Things are too fresh and pretty in spring to take time to clean. However, in January, when I am in my house ALL DAY LONG, I can see the spots that need improvement. I’ve recently whipped the living room into shape, and the little boys have a nice shiny room. I think the kitchen may be next. I’ve gotten a lot of encouragement lately from Nony at A Slob Comes Clean. Mostly because, well, I’m a slob.

I also tend to take on new projects in January. I figure boredom leads to despair, so I try not to be bored. I’m currently working on two different eBooks, and I’m working on an agenda for a hands-on class for beginning bloggers. And honestly, who can be bored when chasing a pair of two-year olds. Frustrated, yes. Bored? Not a chance.

Chime in! How do you deal with the January blues? What keeps you from curling up in your hoodie and yoga pants and sleeping until April? You know I’d love to hear from you.


When I Grow Up. . .

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be many different things when I grew up. I wanted to be Miss America (Who wouldn’t? Right?), I wanted to be a teacher, Katie Couric, a mom, a famous actress.

I did not want to become a blogger.

Duh. I’m old. When I was growing up there were no bloggers. There were news columnists…which were close to blogging. But I did not want to be one of those. Columnists have to write. I wanted to talk. I hated writing. I loved to talk (my poor mom).

I still love to talk (my poor friends). And since many of my friends live so far away and they screen their phone calls so well, I’ve turned to blogging.

I’ve grown to love writing. That happened sometime between my Freshman and Senior year in college.

Blogging has allowed me to learn things that I never would have learned otherwise. Things like HTML, public relations, harnessing social media, and ahem, a modicum of organization.

Blogging has introduced me to some fabulous people, both local and across the country. Blogging has served as my virtual back fence.

But blogging still catches me off guard. A few months ago I got a Twitter message from young filmmaker, Matt Fern. He told me that he was doing a series of 2-3 minute profiles of North Dakotans and he would like to profile me and my blog. At first I thought that sounded so silly. After all, I’m just a little mom blogger.

But that is silly talk. Everyone has a story to tell. Even mom bloggers.

So I agreed to let Matt step into my life and film me and my family for a bit. Let me tell you, he does some awesome work! My profile was featured today on the Daily Dakotan You Tube Channel. From the reaction of my friends and readers, I am learning that I am achieving one of the goals that I have set for this blog. I am an encouragement for mothers. And I let moms know that it is ok to be less than perfect.

As a result, I’ve been thrust into some great company. . .several of whom are living my childhood dreams!

Like Miss North Dakota, Ariana Walker!

Make sure that you watch all the way to the end and find out how you can help Ariana make it to the top 15 in the Miss America Pageant coming up!

And then there is one of my other childhood dreams. . .

Television News Reporter! Isn’t Kate’s story awesome?

Another one of my fellow bloggers has been featured as well.

My new goal for when I grow up is to take photos half as well as Clint does!

So, what do you think? Don’t I have some of the coolest neighbors ever? I’m very thankful for this fun experience, thankful for the gifts God has given me to share, and thankful for you too. . .the reason I bother to write at all!


First Snow Chili


Fist Snow Chili


We have a tradition in our house.

Apparently, it is an unwritten, and unspoken tradition.

The other day we had snow flurries. Just flurries. Nothing stuck. The boys came home from school and asked where the chili was.

“What Chili?”, I replied.

“Mom, you always make chili on the first day it snows.”

And so I do. But, truth be told, I make chili on first snow days because I am lazy, and a terrible procrastinator. I am such a procrastinator that it takes actual snow flakes to fall from the sky to get me to organize our winter gear. This would be a perfectly acceptable practice if we lived in, say, Georgia. However, as my moniker alludes to, Dakota Pam lives in North Dakota. In case you are not sure where our little state is, look to the middle of Canada, then look slightly south. There we are! We get no hurricanes (yay!), but we are guaranteed winter weather. North Dakotans cannot escape winter. And yet, it takes snowflakes to get to to match up last years gloves and figure out if we have enough snow pants and boots.


So, usually, after a day of panicked matching, sorting, and inevitably shopping, I’m pooped. Too pooped to cook. And I’ve usually forgotten to plan ahead, so I have no real dinner options. Except Chili.

My “First Snow Chili” is no gourmet creation. The hardest thing for me  to do is opening all of the cans (thanks to the tendonitis brought on by hauling twin carseats for 18 months I now have an electric can opener. Yay me!).  I’m not going to win any chili cook-offs with this chili, and I doubt you will either. . .but if you do, slip me an email, my ego would LOVE that!

No, my friends, the best part of First Snow Chili, is that it takes about 10 minutes to whip up and only requires one pot.

I declared today our first snow day. It shouldn’t count, we have no measurable snowfall (yay), only flurries. BUT, I’m signed  up to bring dinner for the elementary school teachers today so they can snatch a bite between parent/teacher conferences. Plus, the boys have been BEGGING for chili and declaring every flurry a snowfall.

So, my friends, here is my lazy, snowy day gift to you.

First Snow Chili

This chili may not be fancy, but it is easy and tasty!

  • 1.5 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) chili beans
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) dark red kidney beans
  • 1 small can RoTel tomatoes

Brown the ground beef. Drain off grease.

Open all of the cans. Rinse and drain the kidney beans. Dump everything into your pot. Stir. Simmer for as long as you need.

Chime in! Do you have any First Snow Day traditions? What is YOUR go-to lazy mom meal? You know I’d love to hear from you!