Coffee with Emily

Checking out Minneapolis.

“Emily, will you play dollhouse with me?” I looked up at my best friend with my bottom lip puckered slightly, hoping for an innocent puppy face.

My 13-year-old sister didn’t hesitate. “Of course!”

“Emily, can I interview you for my blog?” I asked (sans puppy dog face).

My 25-year-old sister didn’t hesitate. “Of course!”

So here we are, seated in Emily’s happy place: my parents’ kitchen by the sliding glass door. We woke up early and traveled across the snow-covered highway to pick up interview sustenance: Tyndall Bakery rolls.


Coffee and homemade Tyndall Bakery rolls


Beyond dollhouse and blogs, I depend on Emily. No matter when I call or what I rant about, Emily listens before offering me a combination of wisdom and wit.

Her responses are evidence of empathetic listening that comes naturally.

Emily’s inherent empathy allows her to understand where someone is coming from and why. This understanding provides the ability to build, support and maintain strong relationships.

Emily’s empathy is evident in her excellent writing, ranging from feature stories for the University of South Dakota magazine to content writing for Click Rain, where she began working in November 2016. Emily crafts successful online pieces by using empathy to enter her audience’s mindset.

In addition to empathy being her strongest core strength, Emily states that her role model reinforced this trait. Our father, Lorney, is the most influential person in Emily’s life because of his dedication to hard work, empathy and perpetual optimism.

“He’s always made time for everybody else above himself,” Emily said.

And she does the same.

In June 2017, Emily traveled to Nicaragua on a 10-day mission trip. Although the trip included outdoor labor, the primary focus was emotional support.

“We don’t go there to build buildings because that’s essentially taking away jobs from them,” Emily said. “It’s more to support them, relate to what’s happening and help them not be discouraged about the work that they’re doing.”

After returning from her first trip outside the country, Emily blogged about the trip for Click Rain and decided to return to Nicaragua this June. She looks forward to returning and building more relationships with the locals.

The constant employment of empathy is exhausting, Emily said. She needs alone time – usually in the form of running or hour-long showers – to reenergize herself.

“I’m finding that it’s super important to balance out how often you’re around others with how often you’re alone, which has been a recent discovery,” Emily said. “It’s not selfish to do that, either; I used to feel like it was.”

Emily is incapable of selfishness, which is the main reason her personality matches our dad’s.

Following his example, Emily dedicates herself to being empathetic and shining a positive light in people’s lives.

“If a situation sucks, then be the part that doesn’t suck,” Emily said.

Thank you, Emily, for being the part of life that I can depend on to not suck.



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P.S. If you’re looking for a road trip with a delicious destination, go to the Tyndall Bakery.



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Journalism, communication and media studies major at Augustana University (S.D.). Coffee lover and feature writer.

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