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Five years of trash transformed into art

Posted on 01 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Artist Sean Connaughty (at left) worked with Healing Place Collaborative and several dedicated community members and organizations to create a comprehensive exhibit of Lake Hiawatha, a critical habitat for diverse wildlife and deeply impaired by stormwater pollution originating from South Minneapolis, during an exhibit at the White Page Gallery, on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. The exhibit included the artist’s massive trash collection found in Lake Hiawatha – a part of the 6,820 pounds of trash removed from the lake since 2015. The exhibit includes drawings, documents and data collected over the five years of Sean Connaughty’s volunteer stewardship of Lake Hiawatha. The exhibit also explored the history of Indigenous peoples on this land, which is the sacred homeland of the Dakota people.

A Forage Walk + Talk with Timothy Clemens and Ironwood Foraging on Nov. 17 began at Lake Hiawatha Recreation Center and ended at the White Page Gallery to take in the exhibit and talk about the possibility of a community-based food forest at Lake Hiawatha.(Photos submitted by Ryan Seibold)

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In Our Community Events December 2019

Posted on 01 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Anxiety Support Group
NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) sponsors free support groups for persons with anxiety disorders. An Open Door Anxiety and Panic support group meets in St. Paul from 6:30 to 8 p.m., on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 Snelling Ave. S., in Room 108. For information call Les at 612-229-1863 or NAMI at 651-645-2948.

Hook Holiday Market
Check out the the Hook & Ladder Holiday Market on Saturday, Nov. 30. Featuring 20+ local artists with hand-made books, fine art, prints, greeting cards, jewelry, stickers, glass, magnets, rock posters and more! From 12-6 p.m., there will be food, family/kids actives, music and more.

Annual tree lighting
Santa will be at Oxendale’s Market from 4-6 p.m. to kick off the Christmas season with the annual tree lighting ceremony on Nov. 30, Small Business Saturday.

SENA winter market crawl Dec. 1
West of the Rail Business Association and Standish Ericsson Neighborhood Association are pulling out the stops and holding a progressive holiday market in the neighborhood. Shopping this event supports over 60 small business, artisans, artist, makers, authors and entrepreneurs. Pick up a passport at any host location and get it stamped by vendors for a chance to win one of two gift baskets of goodies from each participating business. Drawing at Venn Brewing, 4:30 p.m.

Toys for Tats
Bring in and donate a new toy worth $30 or more with a reciept and you get a tattoo from a sheet of pre-drawn tattoo designs at Nokomis Tattoo on Dec. 3. Five tattoo artists participating.

Winter makers market Dec. 8
Venn Brewing and West of the Rail Business Association (a program of SENA) are co-hosting a winter makers market on Sunday Dec. 8 from noon to 4 p.m. at Venn. Interested makers please email asap as space if filling up quickly.

‘Life and Adventures of Santa Claus’
Classics Lost ‘n’ Found Theater Company is pleased to announce its 2019 holiday production, “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus” by L. Frank Baum. Adapted and directed by Steven LaVigne, the production will be performed Dec. 6, 7, 13 and 14 at 7 p.m., with a matinee on Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. The performances will be at Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church on 17th Ave. and 46th St. in South Minneapolis, two blocks off Bloomington Ave.

LBA Holiday Luncheon
Attend the Longfellow Business Assocation Holiday Luncheon on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is being hosted by Michael and Donna Meyer at Squirrel Haus Arts (3450 Snelling Ave.) and lunch will be catered by Habernero Tacos. A short program will include 2019 year-end highlights and a look forward into 2020.

‘The Devil & Daniel Johnston’ film viewing
Sound Unseen is proud to present a special screening of the 2005 award winning documentary, “The Devil & Daniel Johnston” on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Trylon Cinema, 2820 E. 33rd St. Daniel Johnston was an American singer-songwriter and visual artist regarded as a significant figure in outsider, lo-fi, and alternative music scenes.

Peace Posada set
The community is invited to join the We Come Bearing Peace Posada – the journey of Mary and Joseph seeking shelter – in a bilingual, multi-sensory procession of prayer and solidarity organized by a consortium of churches and neighborhood groups. The procession takes place on Sunday, Dec. 15. Beginning at 3 p.m., participants will gather at Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis (3400 15 Ave. S.) and will leave the Park Center at 4 p.m., traveling one mile to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, located at 2742 15th Ave. S. At the church, the journey ends with a bonfire, food, music, and a living Nativity.

Holiday celebration for seniors Dec. 17
Join Longfellow/Seward Healthy Seniors and Minneapolis Community Education for our annual Holiday Celebration for Seniors on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 2730 E. 31st Street, Minneapolis. Enjoy live music, lunch and door prizes! The event will be held in the basement gymnasium and doors will open around 10 a.m. The event will last till noon or later. All seniors/elders who live in the greater Longfellow and Seward neighborhoods are welcome to attend this free event. (However, a suggested donation of $2 is appreciated.) Pre-registration is not required. Call Longfellow/Seward Healthy Seniors at 612-729-5799 for more information.

Iglesia Piedra Viva’s La Posada Dec. 21
Epworth UMC is the host location for La Posada on Saturday, Dec. 21. Las Posadas commemorate the journey that Mary and Joseph made from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a safe refuge where Mary could give birth to the baby Jesus. Iglesia Piedra Viva (Living Stone Church) is a Spanish-speaking UMC church plant pastored by Rev. Jesus Pruiasca Ruiz. On Dec. 22, watch “Behind the Pageant” 10:30 a.m. Hear the Christmas story told in a new way by children and adults of Epworth in a humorous play about what happens backstage at a Christmas pageant rehearsal. Epworth United Methodist Church is located at 3207 37th Ave. S.

Elder Voices meets
Elder Voices (Telling Our Stories) will meet the fourth Friday of December (12/27) at Turtle Bread Company, 4205-34th St. from 10-11:30 a.m. There will time for people to tell or update their elder stories, the challenges and joys of elderhood. There will be an ongoing report from the Social Security Forum featuring Nancy Altman as well as people’s Medicare Open Enrollment experiences.

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Virtual Passport Programs opens doors for people unable to travel

Posted on 01 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Chris Mangold said, “Remember the old View Master, where you could see the world at the push of a button? This program is similar, but uses new technology.” (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Longfellow resident Christine Mangold is a seasoned traveler. Some of her favorite destinations have been Paris, London, Rome, and Venice. When she worked as the Lifelong Learning Director at the Minneapolis Ebenezer Senior Living Campus, she started thinking about virtual reality travel as an option for people living in that community. A virtual travel club could be a way to give them the joy of travelling to new places easily and at no cost.
Because of successful results from a pilot study at the Minneapolis Campus, Mangold started the Virtual Passport Programs (VPP) in 2019, and now brings her Virtual Travel Club to half a dozen senior living communities in the Twin Cities each month. The one-hour sessions are a chance for people who are unable to travel (for a variety of reasons) to view 360 degree videos from far-away places. Participants are issued a passport, provided with a tour guide, and off they go.
Participants fill out a travel profile when they join VPP. They answer questions about what they would like to see in the U.S., Mexico, South America, Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, or Antarctica. Mangold said, “The focus of VPP is educational, but it also brings out memories of past travels – as well as longings to see places that were not fulfilled. In each session we offer five destinations to choose from, and they are destinations the group has expressed interest in seeing.”

Virtual Passport Programs Creator and CEO Chris Mangold (left) helped an Ebenezer resident put travel stamps in her virtual travel passport. Mangold encourages people considering senior living options to look at those with enthusiasm for new technologies, as well as traditional activities. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

She continued, “Remember watching the Seven Wonders of the World on a View Master? When you pushed the lever and the circle of tiny slides advanced? This is similar, but with new, advanced technology. Now people can experience an African safari, the Northern lights in Minnesota, or the Castle of Versailles. By turning in their seats or wheelchairs, they can change the view of what they’re seeing.”
Mangold’s goal is to bring the world to people who are living within four walls because of financial limitations, mobility or cognitive issues.
She said, “My sweet spot is that I’ve worked with seniors, and I’m able to follow the thread of their interests. I choose videos from the internet that won’t cause dizziness, and that are audience appropriate. Some have narration, and some don’t. In the middle of winter, it can be nice just to look at and listen to what’s happening on a Mediterranean beach.”
After viewing the video content through headsets, participants discuss what they’ve seen and compare travel notes. Mangold brings along a stack of maps and books about the pre-chosen destinations. Acting as tour guide, she uses her resources to stimulate conversation and to help people connect.
She said, “I arrived as creator/owner of VPP after walking many paths. Over the years, I’ve been a daughter to a mom who was in a care center for stroke-induced aphasia; a volunteer to children, women, and seniors; an art director for an ad agency focused on health and wellness; and a lifelong learning program director for a senior community. These experiences sparked the idea of using virtual reality technology to enrich seniors’ lives. I believe that anything is possible if you’re open to new paths.”
For more information, visit

“I’ve been fortunate to travel to faraway places. But I am just as awed by the beauty of the BWCA or the Lake Harriet Rose Garden, the simplicity of a Minnesota farm scene or a sunset. These are the sensory experiences of life that we all yearn for and we all deserve. Virtual Passport Programs brings these experiences to people who are unable to see them in person because of accessibility issues. They can be traveling, seeing, or doing anything that they dream of.” ~ Chris Mangold, Virtual Passport Programs owner

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In Our Community Events November 2019

Posted on 01 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Lake Street Bash
Ccelebrate Lake Street’s business community with drinks, food, and fun on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, 5-8 p.m. at the FIVE Event Center (2917 Bryant Ave. S.) Enjoy a variety of local beer, wine, aguas frescas, a silent auction, games, and good company with other corridor stakeholders.The Lake Street Council engages, serves, and advocates for the Lake Street business community in Minneapolis to ensure the vitality and prosperity of the commercial corridor. The funds raised at this event help the council continue its work supporting and advocating for Lake Street businesses. Tickets are $25.

Spoken Spirit
Stop by MIGIZI (3017 27th Ave. S.) Fridays from Nov. 1 to Dec. 13 to be engaged in musical and artistic career pathways. Jamela Pettiford and James G. Everest will be leading attendees with their years of expertise and wisdom in spoken word, music, dance and performance from 4-6 p.m.

ReUSE conference
ReUSE Minnesota is hosting the first ever regional reuse conference, ReUSEMN19, on Monday, Nov. 4, 2019 at the Humphrey School Conference Center at the University of Minnesota. Featuring local experts, business owners and community members in the reuse, repair and rental sector the conference attendees will learn ways to integrate reuse, rental and repair into their business, life and community. Register online at

Events at Epworth
Epworth’s Cabin Fever returns on Nov. 6 and continues every Wednesday, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Free space for toddlers to pre-school to play with other kids. Toys, crafts, and snacks provided. Coffee and conversation for adults. Epworth UMC will hold its annual Holiday Shopping Boutique on Friday, Nov. 22 from noon-3 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 23 from 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at 3207 37th Ave. S. Decorations, handmade gifts, and baked goods will help you get started for the holiday season. And don’t forget to check out Grandma’s Attic for some unique items from times past. Epworth’s Annual Advent Workshop on Dec. 1, 2019 offers a free lunch at 12:30 p.m., workshop at 1 p.m. Have fun making holiday gifts and decorations for family and friends. The cost is a donation of non-perishable food items for the Minnehaha Food Shelf or donations of hats, gloves, mittens, or scarves for the Epworth Mitten Tree. The Mitten Tree benefits the children at local schools. Epworth UMC is located at 3207 37th Ave S. Contact us at 612-722-0232or for more info.
I35 bus study sessions
To inform bus service planning in the I-35W corridor, Metro Transit asks for community input on how to best serve the region. When the METRO Orange Line opens in 2021, it will provide fast, frequent, and all-day service to connect Minneapolis, Richfield, Bloomington, and Burnsville. It will also connect and impact other transit lines in nearby cities like Edina. Routes in this study include: 4, 515, 558, and 18. When the Orange Line opens, it will replace Route 535. Upcoming sessions include: Wednesday, Nov. 6, 4-6 p.m. Woodlake Nature Center (6710 Lake Shore Dr. S., Richfield), served by Routes 4, 515, 558; and Thursday, Nov. 7, 4-6 p.m., MLK Recreation Center (4055 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis), served by Route 18.

‘Peer Gynt’ at Roosevelt High
See Roosevelt HIgh School (4029 28th Ave. S.) Theatre presentation of “Peer Gynt” on Thursday, Nov. 14, Friday, Nov. 15 andSaturday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. The play, directed by Ryan Underbakke in the dynamic theater style, chronicles Peer’s journey to discover the meaning of his life. On the way, he encounters exciting and enigmatic characters, becoming a prophet, a goblin king and a businessman as he makes his way through forests, deserts and shipwrecked oceans and into his own sanity. Donations accepted at the door; all are welcome.

Lake Hiawatha art
The Lake Hiawatha Project will have an opening reception on Nov. 15 from 6 to 9 p.m. at The White Page, 3400 Cedar Ave S. Everyone is welcome. There will be additional events from Nov 16-23.

Pancake breakfast
Treat yourself to a Pancake Breakfast Sunday, Nov. 17, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the Fellowship Hall. Pancakes, organic homemade blueberry sauce and pork sausage link, real maple syrup and good coffee. Gluten-free options. A fundraising event for Scout Troop 1. Really good food for a really good cause. Minnehaha United Methodist Church, 3701 East 50th St, Minneapolis.

Open mic night
Attend community open mic night on Nov. 20, 6:30-8 p.m. at Community Healing Hub @ MCLC (4101 37th Ave. S.). It is free and open to the public. The event is family friendly, so please be aware of this while selecting material. Doors will open and signup will begin at 6:30 p.m. Show starts at 7 p.m. There are 12 spots available that allows for 8 minutes of performance for each act. First come, first served for the sign up. Donations will be collected for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services. For more information, email

Crafternoon Nov. 23
Do you want to make some personalized greetings to share with family and friends? Attend Crafternoon to focus on paper crafts and card making Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Community Healing Hub @ MCLC (4101 37th Ave. S.. There will be a break for a soup and salad lunch that will be provided. Bring a topping to contribute to the salad bar. There is no charge or fee to come attend, but please do register so there are enough supplies for everyone. For more information, email

Sing-a-long with “The Sound of Music” at the Riverview Theater Nov. 29-Dec. 1 and Dec. 7-8, 3 p.m. General admission is $12, $7.50 for children and seniors. Advance tickets online at

Winter makers market Dec. 8
Venn Brewing and West of the Rail Business Association (a program of SENA) are co-hosting a winter makers market on Sunday Dec. 8 from noon to 4 p.m. at Venn. Interested makers please email asap as space if filling up quickly.

Me La Amargates Tú
Mount Olive Music and Fine Arts presents a concert combining and contrasting Sephardic Romances with Spanish Romances by one of the leading Sephardic music ensembles in the world, Me La Amargates Tú. The event takes place at 4 p.m., on Sunday, Nov. 17, at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, 3045 Chicago Avenue S., Minneapolis. This event is free and open to the public; a free-will offering may be received to support the Music and Fine Arts program. More at

Cajun Dance Party fundraiser Nov. 2
The 10th Annual Cajun Dance Party for the John Hugelen Cajun Music Scholarship is happening on Saturday, Nov. 2. The evening features a bargain-filled silent auction, social hour and an acoustic Cajun jam at 6 p.m. Admission is a suggested donation of $20, with a free gumbo dinner. All proceeds go towards scholarships at music camps offering intensive Cajun music learning experiences with the best Cajun and Creole musicians alive. Event is at the Eagles Club #34, 2507 E. 25th St. in Minneapolis, Nov. 2, 2019, 6-11 p.m.

‘Risking Light’ at Riverview
See Risking Light, a thought-provoking documentary that explores resilience, and the painful process of moving from grief to compassion and forgiveness., at the Riverview Theater on Saturday, Nov. 19, 7-9 p.m. Pre-show will be a restorative justice resource fair in the lobby Post-show will be remarks by Mary Johnson, from Minneapolis, whose story of meeting and forgiving the man who murdered her son is featured in the film. The event is hosted by Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice with support from Birchwood. Risking Light won Best of Fest at 2018 Mpls St. Paul International Film Fest.

‘Life and Adventures of Santa Claus’
Classics Lost ‘n’ Found Theater Company is pleased to announce its 2019 holiday production, “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus” by L. Frank Baum. Adapted and directed by Steven LaVigne, the production will be performed Dec. 6, 7, 13 and 14 at 7 p.m., with a matinee on Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. The performances will be at Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church on 17th Ave. and 46th St. in South Minneapolis, two blocks off Bloomington Ave. (Unfortunately, this space is not handicapped accessible). It’s in the south Minneapolis Nokomis neighborhood. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus is unlike any story of Santa Claus ever presented. In the Forest of Burzee, Ak, the Woodman to the World and Queen Zurline welcome an abandoned child, to be raised by a Necile, a Nymph. He’s named Claus, and as he grows older he learns to respect nature as he learns how to honor the children of the world, so the legend begins. The play examines such traditions as the Christmas tree, the story of the reindeer, stocking hung by the chimney and much more.

Events at Faith Church
Faith Lutheran, 3430 East 51st Street, will host its 34th Annual Christkindlmarkt (Holiday Bazaar), on Saturday, Nov. 9, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The Blind Ministry Outreach will meet on Saturday, Nov. 16 from 12-2 p.m. Lunch is served at 12 pm followed by devotions and fellowship. Faith Lutheran hosts two NA Groups – Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. and Fridays at 7 p.m. Nokomis Healthy Seniors sponsors an exercise class for Seniors every Monday morning at 10 a.m. Becky Beeskow is the instructor. A book club meets the first Saturday of every month at 10 a.m. Worship at Faith Lutheran, on Thanksgiving Eve at 7 p.m. All are welcome.

Aebleskive Breakfast
Every year St. Peder’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (4600 E 42nd St.) cooks up little balls of delight, called Aebleskives. for the masses. Dine on these delicious Danish donuts served with homemade strawberry sauce on Nov. 10. Free will offering, all are welcome. One seating at 10 am.

Submit your news
If you are an organization located in the Longfellow Nokomis Messenger delivery area, you can submit your event, special program, or noteworthy news to us for consideration by email to

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Briefs November 2019

Posted on 01 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Northern Lights to take year off
Northern is announcing a strategic, one year hiatus from its flagship program, Northern Spark, while the organization undergoes a leadership transition in 2020. Since 2011, the free annual late-night public art festival has captured the hearts of tens of thousands of festival attendees in a dozen neighborhoods throughout the Twin Cities, showcasing the innovative art of more than 2,300 artists. In order to reflect on the previous nine years of dynamic and ever-changing Northern Spark festivals and plan for the festival’s long-term sustainability and equity, Northern Lights will take a year off from producing Northern Spark in 2020, returning with a renewed vision for the festival in 2021.

Small business loans
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Minnesota District helped the state’s small businesses access more than $682 million in capital via its various loan programs in fiscal year 2019, which ended on Sept. 30, 2019. Across the nation, the federal agency backed more than $28 billion in loans to entrepreneurs who, without the SBA, would otherwise be unable to access loans at reasonable rates. To learn more, visit

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Trail detour will last 2 years

Posted on 01 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Beginning the week of Sept. 23, 2019, crews will be working in the Minnehaha Park area to prepare the site for construction and construction staging. Work will include:
• Tree protection and tree removal. MCES has worked closely with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) regarding tree removal and tree protection. MPRB has been compensated for tree removals and tree replanting is at their discretion.
• Security fencing
• Erosion control installation
• Preparing for the aboveground temporary wastewater conveyance system pipes and pumps.
Temporary conveyance pipes and pumps were installed starting in October. Residents, businesses and park-users can anticipate the following:
• A section of the Hiawatha Bicycle Trail between the Minnehaha Creek Trail and Minnehaha Parkway will be closed until fall 2021. Bicycle detour signage will be posted along the trail (see trail detour map above). Parking will not be permitted on E. Minnehaha Parkway during this time.
There will be approximately 2-3 day closures on Minnehaha Ave. just north of the traffic circle and on 50th St. near Hiawatha Ave. when crews bury temporary conveyance pipes beneath the roadway. Traffic warning signs will be posted prior to these closures with as much advance notice as possible.
The National Park Service will monitor water flows to Coldwater Spring Monday-Friday during construction even though no dewatering is expected. The National Park Service will regularly post the results of their monitoring on their website. More at

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Local rap artist releases album

Posted on 01 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

MaLLy is known for exhibiting a strong artistic duality in his music; he owns both a commanding, fiery delivery of rhymes detailing his ambition with an introspective tone of a man striving for improvement of self and the world around him. MaLLy’s appeals to a broad spectrum of listeners. (Photos submitted)

To many, this is the age youth dies. To some, the age you stop caring about looking happy and start caring about *being* happy. This is where MaLLy is at, and he raps with urgency and honesty about growing up, situationships, racism and more while smiling through it all.
“The Journey To A Smile” is a jazzy, soulful record with a mean jab.Sometimes you’re floating with MaLLy through piano-driven prayer (“Praying Since 22”), other times you’re marching in triumph to mystical boom-bap (“Black Moses”).
One of Minneapolis’ finest is back and harder than ever with his first full album in five years. The album includes 13 tracks, all produced by PC, with one feature from Aby Wolf, the amazing singer, songwriter and frequent tour mate of Doomtree’s Dessa.
Each song serves as an ode to life, self empowerment, embracing one’s true identity, and the redefinition of spirituality and masculinity.
“The Journey To A Smile” was released on Sept. 24, and is now available on all streaming platforms including SoundCloud, Spotify, YouTube, CD and MP3. It is also avaialble to purchase online and at select retailers.
Malik Watkins, better known by his stage name MaLLy, is an independent hip-hop artist from Minneapolis, Minn. Active since 2009, MaLLy has cemented his place in the Twin Cities music scene with a strong discography boasting three critically acclaimed albums – “The Passion,” The Last Great…, “and “The Colors of Black” – along with two well-received EPs including “Free on the 15th” and “Strange Rhythm.” In 2012, he was voted the Twin Cities’ best hip-hop artist by the City Pages.
MaLLy has toured nationwide with Atmosphere on their “Welcome to Minnesota” tour in 2012, with Brother Ali on his “Home Away From Home” tour in 2014, and with Webster X and Kweku Collins on the Orbit Series Tour in 2015. Additionally, he’s made two appearances – one as a performer (2011) and one as co-host with Brother Ali (2012) – at Soundset, the largest Hip-Hop festival in Minnesota.
He continues to perform, serve as a teaching artist and collaborate with community-oriented organizations dedicated to the arts and social justice such as Common Ground Meditation Center, TruArtSpeaks, COMPAS, Kulture Klub Collaborative and KRSM Radio. In 2018, MaLLy was awarded the McKnight Foundation Fellowship for musicians.

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Jennifer’s ex tried to convince her, others she was crazy

Posted on 08 November 2019 by Tesha Christensen

She finally left, but the abuse continues through court system

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness month, the Messenger is launching a new series that seeks to puts a face on domestic abuse and intimate partner violence.

Jennifer* grew up in a loving, two-parent household in the suburbs. She didn’t think she was in an abusive marriage but she knew that after five years and two kids, she had to get out. On the day he started screaming at her in front of her mom, she decided she’d had enough. She kicked him out.
It was only later that someone gave her a label for what she had experienced: domestic violence or intimate partner terrorism.
“I was so naïve,” admitted Jennifer, age 41. “I am an example of someone who is educated and grew up in a loving home, but had no idea that emotional, financial, or psychological abuse existed – or what it was.”
A business and French major, Jennifer had gone back to earn her master’s from Carlson in business management. She dated Dave* for two years and they got married in 2011. Their son was born in 2013, and their daughter was an infant in 2016 when they split up.

No, she didn’t see any signs
“The number one question I get is ‘Did I see any signs?’” Jennifer pointed out.
“No I didn’t. That question isn’t helpful. People think I went to Vegas and married a douchebag. When we first started dating, he came across as very alluring.” He was well-groomed, took care of himself and was attractive. “He didn’t fit the mold of what I thought an abuser would be,” she said.
Now, Jennifer knows she’s the typical victim. “We’re all helpers,” she observed. “We’re all pleasers.”
When they were dating, Dave might mention that his back hurt. She was quick to call the chiropractor for him to schedule an appointment. She’d feel good that he felt better. “Five years later, you’re exhausted from doing everything for him and not helping yourself,” Jennifer said.
He always came across as a victim, even from the start – something she knows now should have been a red flag. His family life was horrible. He believed everyone was mean to him at his job. When he took a class, he leaned on Jennifer to do the work. All of his past relationships failed because of the women he was with. Things were never his fault.
Jennifer used to think that being abused in a marriage meant black eyes and physical beatings. But Dave never hit her.
He engaged in gaslighting behavior, telling her she was misremembering what he’d said and pretending that other things never happened. When they moved into their newly-built dream house in the suburbs, a fixture in their master bathroom didn’t work, so Jennifer had to use a bathroom down the hall to blow dry her hair. It was a bit of a hassle. One morning, tired from a night awake with her baby, Jennifer absent-mindedly plugged the blow dryer into the outlet – and it worked. She excitedly told her husband about it, and asked when he had fixed it. “It always worked,” he responded. “What are you talking about?”
Jennifer remarked, “He tried to make me feel crazy.”
During an argument, he would go on and on, and keep her up late. Other nights, he’d wake her up every two hours. She was exhausted. When she’d finally leave the room for a break, and then come back ready to talk anew about the 3.5-hour-long conversation they’d just had, he’d look at her and deny it occurred. At other times, he’d refuse to talk about something unless she could remember word for word exactly what he’d said previously – down to the right pronoun.
Everything was always Jennifer’s fault.
He’d hide her computer mouse or her keys. After she looked through the entire house, she’d find the item in the room where she had started, the room where he was.
He spent all their money and racked up credit card bills, buying things for himself but not Jennifer or the kids. “It was always about him,” said Jennifer. He was arrogant and entitled. At one time when they were strapped for cash, Jennifer agreed to give up a hobby for the month and let him take the $200 to attend a family event without her. He blew that and more at a casino – and never said thanks. He earned thousands in cash at side jobs, telling her he made less than he actually did. He quit a well-paying job and relied on her to cover their living expenses.
Every house they ever lived in had holes in the walls. He’d punch the walls or throw items at the walls. “He would hit other thing that hit me,” said Jennifer, even when she was pregnant. In fact, she’s learned that abusers often intensify when a woman is pregnant or they have a child because the attention isn’t focused on them anymore. When she was pregnant with their son, she shut a door and he kicked it open, hitting her so hard she fell down. When she’d tried to leave a room, he’d stand in the doorway and block her exit.
Sometimes she’d call Dave’s mom to come help. She found out later that his mom had helped remove the guns in every house he had ever lived in. That’s the kind of information she wishes someone would have told her before they got serious.
Dave said a lot of put-downs, Jennifer recalled. When she called him out on the mean things he had said, he’d retort, “Kidding, just kidding! You need to learn how to take a joke.” He tried to isolate her from family members and friends. He bullied and manipulated and lied, while showing her just enough affection here and there to give her hope.
These incidences didn’t happen every day. “This type of abuser will play the victim and then seem ‘normal’ for awhile before another incident,” observed Jennifer. “Each time I would make excuses for his behavior and there would be many days in between the next incident. The longer I was with him, the shorter the time in between incidents became. In the beginning it was maybe only monthly, if that. By the time I left, it was probably every other day.”

Significant incident
On the day Jennifer had finally had enough, it wasn’t that it was worse than it had ever been, but that the thousands of straws piled together finally broke the camel’s back. They had an infant, and he wouldn’t her sleep. So her mom came over so that she could get more than 45 minutes every three hours. Jennifer laid down and Dave came in to change the garbage can in their room, upset that she wasn’t cleaning their house. Then Dave insisted they run errands. Jennifer gave in, got up, and left with Dave. When they finally got back home, she was beyond exhausted. He started yelling at her in front of her mom.
“Because my ex showed his behavior to my close family member, it become real and I something I had to get out of,” said Jennifer.

Abuse affects kids, too
To help resolve disputes after their divorce, they were assigned to a parenting consultant (PC) with the understanding that they would split the fees equally. They did an intake together, and then meet separately with the PC, who immediately referred Jennifer to the Domestic Abuse Project (DAP) in Minneapolis after seeing the interactions between the two of them. “When he said that to me, I was so confused. Because he’s so mean to me verbally in the things he says?” Jennifer recalls asking. “I didn’t quite get it.”
But she did start a 16-week support group at DAP in late 2016, and it was life-changing. When she heard the stories that the other women in her support group told, she couldn’t help but cry. “They all said something that was just like my life,” said Jennifer. “It was freaky.” One in three women have been in an abusive relationship, which means that Jennifer is far from being alone in her experiences.
She admits, “I feel ashamed and stupid that I should have known better, but also so glad and strong for getting out. It also was important to hear that these men, more than likely, will not change. I stuck around for a long time hoping he would change… that never will happen.”
In her support group, Jennifer learned that abuse isn’t just physical and verbal. It’s also psychological, sexual, financial, and emotional. And it doesn’t just affect the mom when a dad engages in intimate partner terrorism. It negatively affects the kids, too, and those issues continue after the divorce.
“When I left my abuser my kids were tiny (newborn and 3-years-old). My son had already started having issues with anxiety,” said Jennifer. “During our separation and long process to divorce, my son developed emotional trauma/PTSD. He has issues learning and issues with memory. He has regressed and speaks in ‘baby talk,’ and gets frustrated easily. Overall, both kids are extremely attached to me – and have to sleep with me at night.”
Both have a lot of emotional issues compared to their peers and have trouble focusing.
One of the things that Jennifer learned during her support group really sticks with her: “If you help a mom, you help the kids.”

No justice in family court
Jennifer has not found justice in the court system. Instead, Dave has continued to abuse her, changing some of his tactics but not the controlling behavior and disrespect that drive his actions. “He can be as abusive to me as he wants and there are no repercussions,” Jennifer said.
When it came time to sell their dream house after the divorce, he moved back in and refused to cooperate with a real estate agent in order to put the house on the market. He wouldn’t respond to emails about the sale. Jennifer didn’t have enough money to pay the bills due to the financial abuse and had to move back in with her parents. The high cost of continuing legal bills means that she’s still living with her parents.
Mediation didn’t work. “It didn’t matter what I said, he said no. He was that entitled,” said Jennifer.
When it was time to exchange the kids, he would give her an address in Blaine. Then he would tell her they were actually in Chanhassen And then he’d say they were in Woodbury. If she responded that he could drop them off at her house, he’d refuse and insist that she come to him. A PC advised her to do that anyway, and then go home and wait. But she struggled with her kids’ needs, to eat and go to bed and not be pawns in a game of power and control, and how to balance those things. Today, she’s protected somewhat by an order to exchange the kids at a local police station, thanks to a PC ruling.
There isn’t much she has to say that’s positive about the court system she’s now been involved in for three and a half years.
Jennifer has been shocked that the court system recognizes that Dave is abusive and has mental health issues, but has still granted him overnights with the children. “When people hear just a portion of my story they assume I have full custody,” she observed. “People outside of divorce have no idea that custody equals three things: physical, legal, and parenting time.”
Jennifer and Dave have shared joint physical and legal custody since their divorce, which means they have to reach decisions together on things like education and health. “He always wants more parenting time because if he gets it, he pays me less child support,” said Jennifer. Dave currently has their 6 and 4-year-old for two overnights once a week, 24 hours at a time. Jennifer is concerned about her kids during that time as their dad doesn’t always feed them, refuses to take them to a doctor when they have a fever, “forgets” about occupational therapy appointments, leaves them sitting in poopy pants, and ignores safety issues.
“I picked up my son one day and he had a Cascade dishwasher pod in his mouth,” recalled Jennifer. When she said something about the dangerous poison to Dave, he yelled at her. “Don’t tell me what to do on my parenting time!”
When she asked the PC about it, she was told, “Something needs to happen for something to happen.” In other words, the child needs to be hospitalized, require surgery, or die for the court system to restrict his parenting time. “The slogan should be ‘Reactive not proactive,’” said Jennifer, who wishes that the courts would put the well-being of children first and enforce the statues that limit parenting time and custody in cases of domestic violence.
“It’s sad because the system is so reactionary. Instead, when abuse is proven, all custody should be given to the non-abusive parent, and the abusive parent should need to earn their way back,” said Jennifer. “Sadly, I do not see the system changing.”
It doesn’t take long for Dave to get mad and fire a PC, leaving Jennifer to pay the bills. It takes about three months or longer to get another one, and things are pretty difficult during that time as he refuses to follow any previous agreements.

‘You need to get along for your kids’
Jennifer has been frustrated when they get a new professional involved in their family as each time they tell her they will be drawing a line in the sand and moving forward, and that the past is in the past. She believes that what has happened before is important to know to understand what they’ve already done and what their situation is, but is told to essentially forget about the past. Move on.
And so it keeps repeating itself.
It’s a situation that’s common enough to have its own term: domestic abuse by proxy or post-separation abuse, as in domestic abuse through the kids after the couple has split up.
The police in her city know them by name because of how often Dave has called complaining that she is withholding the kids from him when they’re sick or when it’s not actually his parenting time. He threatens and yells at Jennifer and her parents regularly at their home. But it is never enough for the police or courts to take action. Recently, their new judge told them he wasn’t going to restrict Dave’s involvement despite his threats and parental negligence because “he loves his kids.”
Jennifer often hears the refrain, “You need to get along for the sake of your kids. You guys need to figure this out for your kids.”
She asks, “How do I?”
Editor’s note: *Names changed for protection.
Contact editor at

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Defining abuse

Posted on 08 November 2019 by Tesha Christensen


Domestic violence (also called intimate partner violence (IPV), domestic abuse or relationship abuse) is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.

Domestic violence does not discriminate. Anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender can be a victim – or perpetrator – of domestic violence. It can happen to people who are married, living together or who are dating. It affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

Domestic violence includes behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. It includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Many of these different forms of domestic violence/abuse can be occurring at any one time within the same intimate relationship.

It’s not always easy to tell at the beginning of a relationship if it will become abusive.

In fact, many abusive partners may seem absolutely perfect in the early stages of a relationship. Possessive and controlling behaviors don’t always appear overnight, but rather emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.

Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. But one thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abusive partner does many different kinds of things to have more power and control over their partner.
~ From

Gaslighting: A form of psychological manipulation in which a person seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Named after a movie called “Gaslight.”

Coercive Control: An act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten victims.

Cornerstone Services ‑
Ongoing groups meet regularly for women, children and men
24-hour helpline: 952-884-0330

Domestic Abuse Project ‑
Sessions offered regularly for women, men and children
612.874.7063 ext.232

Day One MN Emergency Crisis HotLine: call or text 1.866.223.1111
LGBTQ Domestic Violence Hotline
Teen Dating Violence Hotline
Native Domestic Violence Helpline

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Posted on 08 November 2019 by Tesha Christensen

ALLY is a beautiful, independent, charismatic woman who is a single mother and full-time student and paralegal.

However, her life wasn’t always like this.

She spent many years in a very emotionally, mentally and physically abusive relationship, living day-to-day in fear and constant turmoil. The good news is that Ally managed to make the decision that some abuse victims don’t get to make: She left her abuser.

The bad news is that things got worse then. Her abuser’s rage grew, and he began stalking and harassing her on a 24-hour basis. He tried to kill her several times. And then he and his family began an eight-year court battle to take custody of their daughter away from Ally.

And then, finally, some really good news. Ally survived the repeated attempts on her life, and she won the custody battle for her daughter. Today, Ally is thriving, stronger and smarter than ever, relishing a life of freedom and peace after abuse, her daughter at her side.

BEA and dating abuse.

The first day of high school was terrifying for Bea. She couldn’t find her friends, so instead she met a new girl who smoked marijuana and had older guy friends from another town. One of those “older guys” became Bea’s boyfriend. He was 19, she was 14.

In retrospect, the signs of dating abuse were there, but back then, there weren’t words for it, people didn’t know what it was or how dangerous it could be.

Bea’s boyfriend’s behavior was flattering to her at first: He was charming and smooth and jealous, called her all the time, bought her her own phone, asked her to call him from school to “check in.” Their relationship moved fast, too fast, and soon the boyfriend was controlling Bea – what she wore, what she did – and isolating her from family and friends. Eventually, it was just the two of them.

Sometime Bea stayed in her room all day, wearing a pink robe her boyfriend had bought her. She cried a lot and whispered and pleaded with him on the phone. Then he would pick her up to “go to the mall.”

One day, Bea told her family she was pregnant. Her mom drove her to get an abortion. It was the worst day of her mother’s life – and maybe Bea‘s as well.

Things went on for a long time, until Bea was 19. Then, somehow, thankfully, the relationship ended.

Bea is in her forties now. She is a family therapist with a master’s degree, has three children and owns her own home. The experience with dating abuse as a young teenager left Bea with emotional scars that don’t show and physical scars – cigarette burns on her arms and long scars from self-inflicted cuts on her thighs – that do. But she is, finally, happy.

~ Stories courtesy of Domestic Violence Awareness and Action based in Maple Grove at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Community.

Paint the town purple
Citizens are asked to wear purple clothing and to change outdoor lighting and décor at their homes to purple by using purple lights, displaying purple wreaths, or tying purple ribbons to mailboxes, trees or vehicle antenna during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.