Birthday Cake

By Molly Butler

Author E.B. White said, “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.”

No one person has taught me more about balancing acts than my mother.

Mom has always been a work-hard, play-hard person. Her work in social services has always been draining in a million ways, but she still found time, energy and love to run youth groups on weeknights, volunteer on weekends, raise three kids (and sometimes our friends) while sponsoring children abroad, and she still managed to carve out time for a vacation. And let me tell you, you don’t know how to vacation like my mother. Sedona, Vegas, Sanibel, or just a trip to T.J.Maxx, that lady knows how to have a good time.

My mother, like most mothers, is quietly resilient. She is selfless to a fault, always seeking out ways to practice generosity and kindness. My mother taught me it’s always more important to look back and help those who need to get their heads above water rather than waste energy trying to keep up with the Joneses. Her battle with cancer has been dealt with calmly, sometimes humorously, and without fuss, and the moment she is back on her feet, she is back to saving the world. She started her own business because she wanted to know her work would be true to her strong ethics, and she is working at the top of her field nationwide. My mom is compassion and hope and generosity embodied. I know she will be terribly embarrassed to read all of this. Sorry mom, but the world needs to know.

My mother taught me it’s always more important to look back and help those who need to get their heads above water rather than waste energy trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Today is my mother’s birthday. After the year we’ve had, this one feels like a triumph. No one should have to take on all the struggles my mother has this year, but you know what? She’s the one person I know who will never give in. I know because she passed that optimism and hope onto me. So, no matter what yesterday brought, it’s still rise, shine, savor and save the world.

I hope you will join me in celebrating this wonderful person by attempting to embody these values in some small way this weekend. My family, our community, this world, we are all so lucky to have people like her in it.

Happy birthday mom. I love you.


Artists will have an exciting weekend! Stop by the 410 Project for “7.9 and 1,” a dup exhibition by Ben Liebl and Tary Sakry. The gallery will be open from 2-6 p.m. Register here for the Mankato Makerspace Stained Glass class. This weekend, you’ll be able to Make-N-Take a Suncatcher, perfect for these days when we could all use more sun! The class will take place from 3-6 p.m. and is open to all experience levels.

Get in the game! The MSU Track & Field Invitational will be on all day at the Wiecking Center. All ages and skill levels are invited to the North Mankato Police Annex for Chess Night! Register here, and come by from 6-7:30 p.m. to play. Magic the Gathering: Modern Friday Night Magic is on at PULP Comics and Games in Mankato beginning at 7 p.m. Entry is $11 with two packs per win!

Get your live music fix! Crista Bohlmann will be at the Starkeller Brewery in New Ulm from 6-9 p.m. Liz Draper will be performing at the 410 Project at 7 p.m., followed by Friend Dog at 8 p.m. A mask and proof of vaccination are required for entry. Head to the Oleander Saloon in Mankato for B&B Karaoke starting at 8 p.m.


We’ve got a great weekend for readers and writers! New and emerging readers: head to the St. Peter Public Library for Booking with a Buddy! This program was created to encourage reading through fun, interactive experiences for children in grades 1-3 of all reading abilities! Kids will be paired with a junior high, high school or adult volunteer for monthly library visits, where they will not only read together but also participate in early literacy games to inspire reading success and confidence! Adults can head to the Blue Earth County Library from 1-2:30 p.m. for Introduction to Spoken Word with COMPAS Teaching Artist, Frank Sentwali.

Mankato Brewery celebrates its 10 Year Anniversary this weekend! Join the party and enjoy beer, food and live music by The Blue Ringers! Music starts at 7 p.m., and entry to this 21+ event is just $5. Matt & Laurel will be at Busters Sports Bar and Grill from 1-3 p.m., then catch them at the Circle Inn from 6-9 p.m.


Seamstresses and sewers: stop by Little Dresses in New Ulm to pick up kits to make sundresses and shorts for children in 3rd world countries. Sew it at home and return it when finished! Their shop is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 507-359-1326 before arrival to make sure your kits are ready. Warhammer 40k: Crusade is from 5-8 p.m. at The Dork Den! Entry is $20 with drawings for prizes every month! This will also be a lovely weekend to explore our great local parks or hit the slopes at Mount Kato!

Added Value: Kindness Tree

My mother loves trees. If you have a family with kiddos, a cute way to start encouraging an appreciation for kindness and helpfulness is to set up a kindness tree. This could be a free-standing little tree somewhere in your home or a drawing on a large sheet of paper. When someone does something kind, a leaf is added to the tree. You could add an incentive, but a lot of kids may just enjoy watching the tree fill up.


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.