A look back at 2015

This is the view from the dining room window overlooking Lake Wisconsin in rural Poynette. This was taken during our first few days in the new place.

View from my dining room window overlooking Lake Wisconsin, north of Madison, taken in late February.


A lot has happened since I made my last blog post in March.

The moving van arrived in early March from Louisiana.

The moving van arrived in early March from Louisiana.

My husband Roberto and I moved back to my home state of Wisconsin in late February to be closer to family and my Ho-Chunk people and culture. Not long after the previous blog post, I was named editor of Madison Magazine, a monthly city-regional publication that serves the capital city of Wisconsin and surrounding communities. It’s been a transformative year, one that makes me ponder the awesome power of God.

Among the noteworthy happenings of my life in 2015 were:

December 2015 issue of Madison Magazine. It's the first time a Native American has graced the cover this prominently in its 37-year history.

December 2015 issue. It’s the first time a Native American has graced the cover so prominently in the mag’s 37-year history.

A house blessing in April. Family members gathered to say prayers for our home. I had been praying for the Creator to lead us where He wanted us to be. Suddenly, I found myself in a gorgeous setting in the traditional homelands of my Ho-Chunk people, with a job as the top editor of an award-winning magazine that covers one of my favorite cities on the planet.

Roberto and I felt it was important to stop and give thanks to our Heavenly Father for all He does for us and our loved ones. So we invited our relatives to come to our house blessing, led by Darwin DeCamp. (Truman Williams Jr. is leading the song in the video below.)

Attended family get-togethers. I appreciate and love my family and relatives. It’s great to be within a day’s drive of them. There were so many nice gatherings, but am sharing pics of only a few.


Some of my co-workers and my boss Mike, second from left, pose after CRMA awards ceremony.

Madison Magazine colleagues (and my boss, second from left): Emily Lawless, Mike Kornemann, Tim Burton and Katie Vaughn.

Not only did I land a great job, I work with excellent people. It’s wonderful to work with talented professionals who enjoy their jobs. We share a lot of laughs (and snacks).

As part of my job, I attended the City Regional Magazine Association conference in Dallas. Many magazine editors are former newspaper editors, like me. Was glad to hear them say that it took them at least nine months to a year to make the adjustment. I’m closing in on nine months and I feel like I’m finally adjusting to the monthly production cycle.

Outside The Dallas Morning News.

Outside The Dallas Morning News.

While I was in Dallas, I had just enough time to snap a photo in front of my old newspaper, The Dallas Morning News. Next time I’m in Dallas, I’d like to visit the newsroom. Was glad I got to see one of my former colleagues and a great journalist, Olive Talley.

Got to cheIMG_2779ck in more often with the staff of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. I am vice president of the WCIJ board, and this year I am on a fundraising committee that meets monthly. Feels good to contribute to an outstanding organization that does great investigative journalism.


News meeting with students.

Worked with the Native American Journalists Association’s student projects for the second year in a row. It’s so gratifying to help aspiring reporters get some hands-on training in this profession that I love so much. I mentored a Northern Paiute student who goes to school at the University of Nevada-Reno. She did a great job on her assignments. (She is seated at the head of the table in the photo to the left.)

Latino mural arts at Dane Arts event.

Latino mural artists at Dane Arts event.


Attended community events and tried to seek out more diverse communities and voices. I love this part of my job. I will be doing more of it in the coming year.



Celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary with Roberto. Of all the blessings in my life, I count him first. We’ve been through a lot together and his unwavering love is what helps spur me on every day to do my best and follow God’s will.

Mike Kornemann, my boss, treating us to ice cream.

Mike Kornemann (on the left), my boss, treating us to ice cream.

Worked for the first time for a family-owned company and it’s great. The workplace actually feels like a family atmosphere. I am so lucky to have a boss who not only knows his stuff, but also is kind, generous, caring, respectful and great to work with. He took a quick trip out west and brought back a gift for me from the Crazy Horse Monument in South Dakota. It was a wall hanging that had a quote from Crazy Horse that pertains to leadership. He’s also given me other nice gifts and shared tickets to games, such as the Milwaukee Brewers and Wisconsin Badgers basketball and hockey. What a boss.

It’s great to be home. Looking forward to what the next year brings.

Follow me on Twitter @karenmichel.