By Molly Butler

Life sure is hard, isn’t it?

There’s so much to complain about. Stress. Money. The dishes and the muddy paw prints on the kitchen floor. We could complain about headaches and bills and noises that interrupt our sleep. Endless articles about our generation’s woeful financial future, limited opportunities, violence and fear. The market is a mess, the sky won’t rain on our garden and we’ve got a hornet problem buzzing in the yard.

Things can look so bleak when we only stare at the storm clouds. If I wanted to, I could think of nothing but problems all day long. They pile up, and there isn’t enough energy in my body or hours in the day or dollars in the bank to solve them. Sometimes my husband and I look at each other and ask, “Has life always been this hard?”

Let’s try something really annoying. Let’s be thankful for our problems.

Now, when I say that, I don’t mean the “other people have it worse” perspective. Frankly, I find that to be more detrimental than helpful. When I am at a low point, and someone says, “Well, be thankful because someone else has it worse,” all I end up thinking is, “Well, crud. Now I’m sad for myself and someone else. It’s looking pretty bleak everywhere!” So, when I say let’s try being thankful for our problems, I don’t mean in a hard-times-Olympics kind of way. We aren’t comparing struggles.

When you’re being pushed, don’t resent the force shoving you out of your old self; be grateful that the universe knows you’re ready to change.

In The Art of War, Sun Tzu tells us, “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” I see the chaos in my life and have to ask, “What opportunity am I being presented with?” Prepare for an onslaught of cliches (in grad school, we always said cliches are cliches for a reason; they’re so true). You don’t know your weaknesses until the pressure is applied, and you can see where the cracks appear. You don’t know what is truly valuable to you until you risk losing it. You don’t know what you are capable of until you are faced with a challenge and must rise to meet it.

I really do believe that everything happens for a reason. When you’re being pushed, don’t resent the force shoving you out of your old self; be grateful that the universe knows you’re ready to change. Be thankful for the opportunity to evaluate, to choose, to know in your heart what it is you truly care about.

Wishing you great opportunities and a wonderful weekend!

Friday

Shop Friday away! Cork and Key invites you to their Grand Opening Party with an open house! Come by their Mankato location for vendors and samplings of wines, beer and spirits starting at 4 p.m. There will be appetizers and delicious drinks, so don’t miss out! Wild Sparrow Co. on Riverfront Drive in Mankato will have their June Market from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Good Thunder Farmer’s Market will be open Friday from 4-6 p.m. with local farmers, vendors and crafters at the Bell Tower Park on Main Street.

It’s time to celebrate! It’s the 21st Annual Henderson Sauerkraut Days! Live music, parades, and of course, delicious Kraut available for FREE! Watch their event page for details! Or you can head to St. Clair for their annual summer celebration, St. Clair Days! More information on food, activities and fun can be found on their event page.

Let’s play ball! The Moondogs are taking on the Mud Puppies at 6:35 p.m. at Franklin Rogers Park in Mankato. Get your tickets here!

Looking for some theatre? The Mankato Playhouse will perform Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr. This high-spirited musical romp will be great fun, with playtimes through the weekend. Get your tickets here and enjoy the show!

As always, we’ve got the best music in Southern Minnesota! Ben Scruggs will be at Weggys on campus from 5-8 p.m. with original tunes and patio fun! Paul Stewart will have classic and current country and rock at Indian Island Winery in Janesville from 6-8:30 p.m. Ace in the Whole will play American music and original tunes, from bluegrass to jazz to western, from 6-8 p.m. at the Grand Kabaret in New Ulm. Jesse Becker will perform as part of Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery’s Un-WINE-d series, starting at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday

It’s the season for local shopping! The Mankato Farmers’ Market is back at Best Buy in Mankato. Get plants, produce, baked goods, soaps, jewelry and so many other amazing things grown and created by local talent. I’m so excited to check out all the produce and hopefully bring home some baby plants for the garden! Willie’s Roadside shop in Lake Crystal will host a Grand Opening Party this Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be FREE samples of K2 Kreations canned goods, plus FREE Cider Doughnuts from Welsh Heritage Farms. Check out local, hand-crafted, vintage gifts and goods from over 50 vendors! Then swing by the Mankato Vintage Market on Riverfront in Mankato for their Flea Market and Craft Fair, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with vendors and crafters filling the parking lot!

Dave’s River Valley Harley-Davidson will host their 2 Wheels 2 Heal Ride as part of an International Motorcycle Run for Mission 22, joining rides hosted from Alaska, Alabama, and even Tokyo. The run will begin and end at the shop’s Mankato location, with a $20 registration per bike and $10 per passenger. Proceeds will support Mission 22 and its goal of preventing Veteran suicide. Ride for a good cause. Register through their Facebook page to attend.

It’s Free Day at the Museum! The Treaty Site History Center in Saint Peter has reopened after a 15-month hiatus, and they’re celebrating by waiving admission! Learn more on their website.

Autumn Grace Retirement Community in Mankato will host a Family Fun Day Carnival! Gather your loved ones and celebrate the longest day of the year with a dunk tank, prizes, games, a bounce castle and more! Proceeds from this event will support the Alzheimer’s Association.

Sunday

Join Mankato Area Meets and Cruises for Mankato’s biggest car show! The Independence Day Celebration Car Show invites all makes and models, from classic cars to modern cars, semis, motorcycles, trucks, you name it! The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are available online with proceeds benefiting ECHO Food Shelf and BENCHS Humane Society.

Indian Island Winery will have a Paint and Sip event beginning at noon. Enjoy delicious wine while crafting a unique Americana craft. Just call or text Suzanne at 507.339.1770 to register.

Vagabond Village of Mankato will host a FREE drum circle! All are welcome; bring your own drums if you want, and come participate or just sit back and enjoy! The event begins at 1 p.m.

Bonus: Know Your Values

I’m always happy to save readers a trip to the therapist and regurgitate what I have learned from mine. One of the best things my therapist explained to me is that peace of mind is achieved when you do what you love and love what you do, when your actions and values work in tandem. Problems occur when our actions and values are out of sync. For example, if someone says, “I value being a kind and generous person,” but hasn’t done a charitable act in years, they might feel an uneasiness inside.

You don’t need to walk through fire and chaos to learn your values. Sit, think and write about your core values. You can even use this list to help you out. Once you start to identify what it is you care about the most, start brainstorming ideas that emulate your values. When your behavior matches your beliefs, when you do what you love and love what you do, you make your way towards peace.

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Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.

Author


  • is a writer, gardener, and animal lover. She returned to the Mankato area after completing her MFA in Creative Writing at Hamline University.