Editor’s Note

Stories Have Power

Katie Cantrell is our one- woman powerhouse of an editor. Without her, this magazine couldn’t happen.


W“hen I was a kid and I’d start complaining — probably about how my life was so unfair compared to my friends’ lives, or about how my brother lived a responsibility-free existence while I was forced to spend my days scrubbing the ashes out of the fireplace with my toothbrush — my mom would remind me to focus on the positive. (Advice that I’m sure I immediately took to heart while also thanking her for her wisdom and guidance.)

Well, as with so many other things, it turns out that my mom knew what she was talking about. We each have a choice between letting ourselves be consumed by the negative or taking heart in the positive and — spoiler alert — only one of those responses will make us happier people. Stories have power. They help shape the way we look at the world and how we regard one another.

With that in mind, we present the Bright Side issue. We know that no matter how rose-colored your glasses are, it’s been a rough couple of years in the world, in our country, and even in our valley. But we believe that great things are happening, too, and that we could all use some good news right now to help recalibrate our perspective.

I hope you enjoy these stories of the great people in our valley who remain relentlessly optimistic as they move forward with their good work, people like Sara Boilen, the creative mental health problem solver behind Sweetgrass Psychological Services; Jennifer Lichter, who focuses on the joy in professional trail running; and Gretchen Boyer, the unstoppable food access advocate who runs Land to Hand Montana. I’m especially enamored with the delightful optimism of our Field Notes, where our writers share their can-do spirit for making a life in the Flathead, have a moment of joy in the Costco receipt line, and find human connection in unlikely places, like the bathroom at the Remington Bar.

We’re never going to solve all our problems. But may we remember to find the good along the way.


Katie Cantrell loves camping, non-motorized boats, trail running, and everything about the North Fork. Though nearly every attempt to play outside involves telling her kids to stop complaining and get in the car because this is actually going to be a lot of fun, she still looks forward to every season of adventure. Find more of her stories at katiecantrellwrites.com.


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