Returning to Fargo, the place I found kindness
At this very moment, if all has gone well, I am on an airplane with my three children heading back to Fargo.
It was the kindness of an event planner who first gave the idea wings, and the kindness of many other community members who made it take flight.
Saul and I lived in Fargo for 10 years before moving to Ohio, where he now leads the Ohio University Men's Basketball team. Saul has gotten to make a return visit, but the kids and I haven't been back since we moved away three years ago. Boy are we all excited to see our favorite people, places and things!
Those 10 years in Fargo saw us first as a young couple trying to figure out day by day how to juggle parenting and professions, him as an assistant basketball coach, me as a stay-at-home mom, student and teacher at NDSU and then as a TV anchor before again returning to be a stay-at-home mom.
Transformation happened for both of us in Fargo. For Saul it happened professionally; for me, it was personal.
Fargo is where I found kindness when I needed it most.
I had everything I had ever wanted. I was married to an awesome guy. I had three sweet small children. I had just been offered the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to write about anything I wanted for the launch of a new women's section in the newspaper.
So why wasn't I happy? Why did life feel so passionless and pointless?
I was at the edge of what anyone would call an alcoholic. I found my joy, my release from the mundane: in alcohol, food and sleep.
And then, on a rare hot summer day at the Fargo North High School swimming pool, a girl in a gold bikini taught me a secret that changed my life.
That's the story I get to tell when I come back to Fargo. It's a story of redemption, reconciliation and of course, kindness.
I wanted to share my schedule with you in hopes that you'll be able to join me at one of my events. They are not all open to the public and some may be sold out, so please call the venue before you arrive. I sure hope I get to meet you. I'd love to be able to thank you for your kindness.
• April 22: 11 a.m. at Sts. Anne and Joachim Catholic Church, Holy Family Social Hall, 5202 25th St. S., Fargo.
• April 23: 2 p.m. a the Plummer House, Hillsboro, N.D. (hosted by Our Savior's Lutheran Church)
• April 24: 9:15 a.m. on "North Dakota Today," live interview, KVLY.
• April 24: Oak Grove Lutheran School, Fargo
• April 24: Longfellow Elementary, Fargo
• April 25: noon on "Midday Live with Sandy Buttweiler," 970 WDAY
• April 25: 3:30 p.m. at Women Connect, FMWF Chamber, Sanctuary Events Center, 670 4th Ave. N., Fargo.
• April 26: 8:30 a.m. on Life 97.9, live interview.
• April 26: 7 p.m. at Comstock-Hoff Lutheran Parish, Comstock, Minn.
• April 27: 11 to 1 p.m., book signing at Red River Coffee Co., 2600 52nd Ave. S. Fargo.
• April 27: 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, Village Green, 2801 Village Green Blvd., Moorhead.
• April 28: 7 p.m. at Hope Lutheran Church, 3636 25th St. S. Fargo.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University's men's head basketball coach Saul Phillips. Her column runs every Friday. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.