back: Sarah B, Cat, Jill, Dawn Marie, Sue; middle: Christine, Lupe, Lisa, Pamela, Sarah J; front: Cindy

Inspiring thoughts, ideas and information provided by women business owners.

The purpose of Keystone Women's Circle is to unite, support and promote women business owners. A keystone is the stone in an arch that binds all others in place. In a circle of stones, every stone is a keystone. We believe that together we can create a foundation, not of brick and mortar, but of relationships and mutual support, enabling all of us to prosper.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mahatma Gandhi once said, "I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one."

Have a safe and happy 4th of July Weekend!
Lisa Fahey

Friday, June 25, 2010

Define your success

Success can be defined many ways.  To some it's being the best parent possible, or owning a big expensive house.  Working endless hours to "make money," or scoring for a big win.  However success is defined is up to each of us, in our own terms.  This meaning is personal and constantly changing.  Success is not easy.  It takes hard work and dedication to achieving what is truly most important in your life.  Define your success.  Pamela

What a week!

First, congratulations Sarah Jaeger on the huge turnout for your yoga open houses! Your intuition that this was needed in Belle Plaine was obviously right on target! If any of you readers missed these events, but are looking for a place to take yoga, check it out. The teachers are top notch, the owner is the best, and the paint work isn't too shabby, either.

I've spent my last two weeks 20-30 feet in the air, spiffing up paint, to help get St. John-Assumption Church ready for it's annual festival. If you're in the area and hungry around lunchtime on Sunday, it's classic hog roast! Just take 25 across the bridge and up the hill, then watch for the St. J's sign, just after the county 14 intersection.

If you want to compare barbecue, head to Jordan on Saturday (or Sunday) for the Jordan Art Festival,, which is held in conjunction with Pork in the Park. I'm not participating this year, but many friends of the Keystone gals are involved, like Cathy Isles, who owns Bridging the Universe,, a unique line of disease-specific greeting cards. You'll find Maureen Carlson,, involved both as story teller and polymer clay artist. Talk to her about her center, and it's healing arts focus. If you time it right on Saturday, and I'm sorry but I haven't yet heard what time this is, you can catch Cindy Heimerl on stage as story teller Ruby LeFey...she is sooo funny!

Weed the garden and scrape the peeling porch paint if you must this weekend, but don't forget to take time to stop and smell the...shredded pork!

Dawn-Marie, Artist in Wonderland at

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I do not have any great advice to share today, so I will share a story that is a small reminder that we all need to BELIEVE.
My husband and I bought a new (to us, it's a 1967) boat. We took it out for the first time on a Friday evening on a little, never crowded, lake in Norwood as we knew it had been in storage for a LONG time and may take a while to get going. We tried for about 20 minutes to start the bigger motor and it was just not wanting to wake up from its years of rest. After I started to get a bit frustrated (funny how I was frustrated and all I did basically was watch) I reached for my purse and started to dig for my Tiger Eye Stone (purchased at Mystic Journey :) My husband saw me grab my purse, and said, "Don't you dare get out your stupid rocks!" Tiger eye Aids Confidence, Enhances Concentration, Brings Prosperity and Luck and at this point I figured we needed a bit of luck! I ignored him and began to hold the stone over the motor rubbing it's smooth surface and sending positive energy and thoughts toward the motor. Well, you can imagine what happened within a minute! Yep! The motor began to sound just like it should and we were off! After making my husband thank the rock, (boy he was sick of me at this point) I put it back safely in my purse, ready for the next time I need it. (If he tells this story by the way, he will say that he cracked open a Linneys beer just before the motor started)
Now, I can not prove that the motor started because of my stone and positive energy, but I BELIEVE in the connection in the Universe and our Spirit. I BELIEVE in karma, destiny, and Santa Clause. I BELIEVE in world peace and that hopefully I will be alive to see it. I BELIEVE in love.
It does not matter what you BELIEVE in. Just find something that you are passionate about and at the very least BELIEVE in YOURSELF!

Lisa Fahey

Sarah - thanks for the reminder! I too have been so busy being a mom, a cleaning lady, a cook, an Insurance Agent, a volunteer, that I forget to stop and laugh. I will make it a point to laugh everyday! Sarah J - is there a rock for laughter????

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Laughter is the best medicine

My husband and I were talking the other night and feeling stressed about all the things that need to get done, and just life in general. We realized that we were just focusing on the negatives and have lost a lot of the joy in life. What do we look forward to, what are our goals, what makes us happy? We had lost track of fun. It got me thinking about all the benefits of laughter and I did a little research and this is what I found.

Laughter is good for your health

Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.

Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

The Benefits of Laughter

Physical Health Benefits:
Boosts immunity
Lowers stress hormones
Decreases pain
Relaxes your muscles
Prevents heart disease

Mental Health Benefits:
Adds joy and zest to life
Eases anxiety and fear
Relieves stress
Improves mood
Enhances resilience

Social Benefits:
Strengthens relationships
Attracts others to us
Enhances teamwork
Helps defuse conflict
Promotes group bonding

Watch a funny movie tonight, read some comics, go to a comedy club. A new show on tv that is hilarious "last comic standing". So do yourself and your loved ones a favor and Laugh!

Sarah Bran de León

Friday, June 18, 2010

The road to wellness isn't straight, clear, or predictable. Its a path you forge yourself. Pamela

Thursday, June 17, 2010

You never know...until someone tells you

I had a visit from a newly single friend the other day, and was reminded of one of my favorite lessons: You never know how you touch the lives of others, so live to your fullest potential every chance you get. In my work, I strive to create physically, emotionally, and aesthetically functional living spaces for my clients, and I tend to go around thinking of myself and my place in the world as "artist", "decorator", and general joker.

Is this why she stopped to see me? No. She stopped to tell me that she'd had a flat tire, and now that there is no husband to call, when she couldn't find the jack or the tool to release the spare, her next thought was "What would Dawn-Marie do?" Wow. So, now I know, and on those days when every color I choose is wrong on the client's wall, or I get the message from someone that I'm not girly-girl enough, those are the words I'll remember.

Did someone inspire you today? If so, let them never know how you might touch their life!

Dawn-Marie, Artist in Wonderland, tire changer, bat catcher, soup maker and general joker at...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Key to weightloss

I am very excited! It all started with "Biggest loser". I am a fan of the show and have enjoyed it seems the progression of focus from just diet and exercise to helping the contestants deal with their emotional issues. That seems to be a new trend, where people are starting to realize that when you deal with your limiting beliefs and your emotional baggage, the weight comes of easier and the best part is.... it stays off!

Now there is a new show that has just started with the same trainer from biggest loser named Jillian Michaels. Her new show is called "losing it with Jillian". She goes to live with a family for 1 week and teaches them how to change their life. But the beauty is that from what I've seen so far, it's as much helping them deal with their emotions as it is diet and exercise. People are starting to realize the secret ingredient to losing weight and keeping it off... Emotions!

If your so inclined, check it out. "losing it with Jillian" is on Tuesdays 7:00 on channel 11
Hope everyone has a great day!!!!

Sarah Bran de León

Friday, June 11, 2010

Go vegan; save the planet

Before I start with all my interesting facts on how reducing the meat, poultry, and fish we eat can positively effect our planet, I want to say I love these foods as much as most Americans. But these changes are something each of us can do easily (easier than reducing how much we drive) to change our greenhouse gas emissions, and have a larger impact.

There is a movement called "Meatless Monday," "an initiative in association with the Bloomberg Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, that states if all Americans skipped their daily eight ounces of meat one day per week, we could save more emissions over the course of a year than if we gave up traveling by cars, trains, planes, and ships combined."

20% of man made greenhouse gases emitted each year comes from raising livestock for food, one of the largest contributors.
Going vegan saves 1 1/2 tons of Co2 eq, compared to the average American diet.
16 times more fossil fuels are needed to create one steak than to produce a plate of broccoli, eggplant, cauliflower, and rice.
Cows expel methane, a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more potent than Co2.
98 pound of beef, 67 pounds of pork, and 102 pounds of chicken are produced for each American annually
77% of U.S. soybeans and 46% of U.S. corn feed farm animals.

There are many food sources for protein, we should eat daily about 1/2 gram per pound of body weight; yogurt, eggs, cheese, legumes, beans, nuts, soy, grains, fruits and veggies are all great sources of protein. For more information, recipes, protein count, or to find books on the subject visit ."How to be a Healthy Vegetarian," Body & Soul Magazine.

Have a Great Weekend! Pamela

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Says who, exactly?

Last week, I ran through the grocery store at the end of a work day in my usual glamorous work attire, a paint spattered t-shirt and paint encrusted pants, so of course the clerk asked what I paint. I explained I mostly do faux and murals, and she said, "Oh, I did too, but it's too much work once you hit 40, and so hard to find customers these days. Too hard working for yourself." She didn't exactly look thrilled to be scanning my oats and yogurt, either. I wanted to shake her awake, to somehow inspire her, but pointing out that I'm a good bit over 40 didn't seem the way to start, and everything else that came to mind just seemed sure to depress her further.

A couple of days later, I had to deal with someone over the phone whose job it is to listen to stressed out unhappy customers. He said it wasn't that bad, and he was just lucky to have a job. Was this the job he dreamed of as a kid, I asked, and got a long silence, followed by something like, "We all gotta grow up..." I suggested he might want to investigate the veracity of this a little further.

Now, I'm not always flush for money, and business surely has more ups and downs in recent years than it used to, but most days, I'm pretty danged happy to go to work. In the past few weeks I've painted big blue flowers and little baby tigers, sculpted hummingbirds and lettered inspiring quotes, taught a 7 year old how to make polymer clay beads, wrote instructions for a dozen decorating and craft projects of my own design, helped a friend pick colors that truly make her heart sing, and took my dog to work most days, on the days I actually had to go anywhere to work. When I was 14, this would have been my idea of goofing off. 30 years later, it's my job. Maybe we gotta grow up, but we don't have to grow old.

Do make it a point to live all the minutes of your life, including those you spend earning a living. All the Keystone women are dedicated to making a living by making your life better, and to the idea that working together we can make each others businesses better. We welcome your questions about our services, and if you are a woman in business we welcome new members to our meetings every Monday at 1:00 at Mystic Journey.

I have come that you might have color, and that you might have it more abundantly! :)
Dawn-Marie, "Artist in Wonderland" at The Art of the Home

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It takes a Village

As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise children. With school out and many kids biking and playing throughout town, I urge everyone to please be aware of all that is going on around you. Be nosey, listen to kids as they play, and if you feel something is not right, take action. Too many times the news reports bullying etc. taking place and observing citizens afraid to step in. So lets all make a promise to our children and the safety of all kids, that we will not stand by and watch!

Throwing a summer party? Be sure you have enough liability on your home owners policy and that it will cover where your event is being held. Accidents do happen and you may find yourself financially responsible! It pays to ask the questions before it is too late.

Farmers Market today from 4-7.
Enjoy the day!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hour of Need

Last weekend I helped raise money for Megan Millmann, a local 16 years old with AML, a form of leukemia. Sheila Lambrecht and I donated seated chair massage during the fundraiser. It went so well, I had a great time, and we were very busy. But unfortunately Megan and her family are in the fight for her life. I cannot fathom this financial and emotional burden placed on this family. That's why I choose to help the best way I knew. No family should be alone in there hour of need. Who knows when that hour will be mine, and I hope there are others to help me. Pamela

If you would like to help Megan and her family Cornerstone State Bank in Belle Plaine is taking cash donations.
Cornerstone State Bank
406 East Commerce Drive
Belle Plaine, MN 56011

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I am feeling great today! Yesterday afternoon, I got to relax for a whole hour as Pamela worked her magic on my neck and shoulders. Sitting at the desk all day maybe does not seem strenuous, but the benefits of massage reward all types of professions. I need to be more regular about going in. It is just one of those things I think we all need to give ourselves. I usually have a hard time relaxing for a whole hour but Pamela made me want to stay for three! I had never had a full body massage and could not believe how great my legs felt when I was done. Thanks Pamela!

Today is the Farmers Market. Stop by Court Square from 4-7 if you can. I have been eating lettuce fresh out of my garden for over a week now and let me tell you, it is wonderful. If you don't grow it, we have vendors picking today so you can enjoy!

Not a famous quote but my favorite from the weekend:

My 6 year old neighbor arrived at a party the same time as us. We all were carrying in our crock pots and plates of food. He too was carrying a large crock pot (what a helper :) and kicking his sweatshirt as he had dropped it and needed to get it to the house. I said "wouldn't it be easier to pick up your sweatshirt and carry it?
He responded "I can't! I am full-handed!"

How cute is that.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Weekend

I hope everyone had a great and safe memorial weekend.
I had the most amazing weekend.
My family and I went to a friends cabin that was about 5 hours up north. The trip wasn't the fun part! The kids were soo excited that I think I was deaf by the time we reached the cabin. At one point I bribed the kids, If they could be completely quiet for 10 minutes they both got a quarter and miracle of miracles they did it!!!!! I started reminicing of family vacations I went on with my family when I was younger and I understand my parents a lot better now. I remember my parent pulling over onto gravel roads and making us all run ( there were 5 of us) when we got tired they would let us back in (or when we promised to be quiet). Or a favorite game of my moms... little red school house 1,2,3..
the object of the game was to see who could stay the quiet the longest:-) I don't think I understood the point of the game at the time. I tried it with my kids on this trip but they thought it was funny to try and make the other one laugh, so it actually made them even louder (if that was possible). But we made it all in one piece and my hearing eventually came back. The rest of the weekend we did a lot of fishing. My daughter caught a snapping turtle!! Hooked the leg with the hook and reeled it in. Of course that had to be thrown back! Son caught a big northern. He didn't like that we ate it for supper, It probably didn't help that they named every fish they caught:-) We all went 4 wheelin and had bonfires and saw all kinds of animals, raccoons and porcupines and tons of deer. There was even a black bear around. It was soo much fun. 3 days of no tv!! And we didn't even miss it. It was great to see the kids be soo active and be able to spend so much quality time together. Of course its always nice to come home again. But will definetly look forward to the next vacation.

Readers....Im curious to hear about some other tricks your parents used to keep you quiet on family vacations. Or if anyone else has something that works for their family, please let me know. I might use it on my next trip.

Sarah Bran de León