Returning Home to Look Up – Trempealeau, Wisconsin


Trempealeau_Wisconsin_View_photo_credit_Heidi_SIefkasOn a recent trip to my hometown of Trempealeau, Wisconsin, I was reminded why it is so important to Look Up and share it with others.

Country Childhood

I grew up on a hobby farm in rural Wisconsin outside of a small river town called Trempealeau. I was given the name Heidi after the book because of our flock of sheep. Yes, I know in the book it was goats and not sheep, but potato patahto. As a young girl with braids, I lived next to my bus driver. My other neighbors were milk, corn, or soybean farmers as well as apple growers. The tight-knit community had one small grocery store with a medium-sized mall nearly thirty miles away. I didn’t have cable growing up, nor a cell phone. We actually made plans ahead of time via a landline. For those of you wondering, my high school graduating class was ninety-five students. As a high schooler, all I could do was dream of leaving, going to college, and becoming a bilingual doctor. Nearly twenty-five years ago, I moved away in search of new challenges, exotic places, and perhaps a man that would sweep me off my feet on the dance floor.

Press Fast-Forward 15 Years to When All Balls Drop

By the time, I was in my mid-thirties, I had certainly explored and lived in exotic places. I had earned two degrees, a Bachelor’s from UW-Madison while I was studying in Madrid, Spain and my Master’s while I was teaching in Boston, Massachusetts. I took the plunge and got married, purchased a home, and kept neck and neck with the Joneses in South Florida. However, with my iPhone glued to my hand and jet-setting around the globe with a corporate job, it took getting struck in the head and a painful injury to force me to stop. During my forced pause and recovery, I realized that being in the moment is the secret sauce to make life easier, better, happier, and fulfilled.

Creation of Look Up

My severe bump in the road forced me to take the time to pause. I knew that I, not unlike many others before me and after me, would revert to old and bad habits. I needed to create a reminder and share that reminder with others. We don’t need to wait for the next ball to drop, a divorce, or job loss to be forced to take a break. We all should be doing this more frequently to check-in with ourselves, so that life doesn’t pass us by.

Almost nine years ago, I created Look Up to remind us all to:

  • Be in the moment, appreciating the beauty around you as well as hazards.
  • Find the upside in any situation. All hiccups, hurdles, and wounds turn into wisdom.

All I Needed to Know I Learned in Trempealeau

Trempealeau_Clock_and_Cloudy_RIver_photo_by_Heidi_SiefkasAlthough I created the Look Up mantra many years after leaving my hometown, at its core Look Up stems from what I knew as a kid playing in the pasture, canoeing the Black River, or hiking Brady’s Bluff at Perrot State Park.

Sometimes Even the Wise Need a Reminder to Look Up

Although I learned the lesson the hard way (a bonk on the head with a thousand-pound tree limb), I sometimes backpedal and forget the essentials of Look Up. So Trempealeau came to my rescue once again. On my recent visit, the lack of service from the local cell towers made me disconnect. The tweets, texts, and Facebook messages went dark or at least until I arrived at a Wi-Fi hotspot. It was once again my hometown that reminded me to:

  • Be in the moment and pay attention to NOW.
  • Find the upside in any situation.
  • Share Look Up with others.


If you aren’t in a real pickle now and need to find the upside of your particular situation, help someone that is experiencing a challenging time. We are all going through something.

Happy Look Up Day all!

Remember Look Up is a life tool you can carry with you anywhere. It’s lightweight with no batteries required.

Here’s to looking up!


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