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Traditionally, states like South Dakota, Kansas, Missouri and Minnesota are overlooked by the news media when it comes to innovations and ideas on food, culture, entrepreneurship, fashion, industry – and just about anything.

Our Midwestern states have developed a low-self esteem after years of being deemed by outsiders as “flat, empty fly over states.” Decades of watching the “best and brightest” leave our rural communities for jobs in larger cities have reinforced the problem.

In her book Dakota, Kathleen Norris writes about the self-esteem issues in the Midwest, “We laugh when Bismarck, South Dakota is mentioned on the national news. We shrug when North and South Dakota are routinely omitted from magazine advertisements for national stores and services.”

Norris says, we laugh but in the end we come to believe that our states and small towns are somehow sub-par. Even if we don’t say it, small town residents have learned to think of their own community members as second class. We think, “If they were any good they’d be working in a bigger place.”

Yet, these attitudes are changing. Her book was written in 2001. Oftentimes, the problem for rural areas is a lack venue for ideas, innovations and thoughts. Blogging can be that venue.

Blogging experienced two decades of change and maturation; today it is an established form of media. Traditional magazines (based in big cities, of course) try to mimic the informal, personal nature of blogs.

Blogging is good for the Midwest; it puts our “fly over states” back on the map. Each blog can be written, designed, hosted and published in the Midwest. No need for a contract with a publishing company or a move to a bigger city.

Of course, I am not suggesting that each person in the Midwest should start their own blog! For heavens sake, we don’t all enjoy writing. However, any Midwestern resident can read blogs written by people in their region.

The whole idea is that we should be proud of the Midwest. This isn’t fly over country, it is a beautiful land! Stop looking down at your shoes, start looking for the great things going on in the Midwest.

What are your favorite blogs from Midwestern states?



  1. Janet

    I think we like being overlooked. We like our wide open spaces and helpful people. We live in the best and most beautiful part of the USA. We don’t want to lose that.

    • Sierra Shea

      I do love the wide open places! It is so different from all the trees where I grew up in Missouri!

  2. Laurel Wilson

    I think that the middle of the middle is the best place to be. We have strong community values, interesting 🙂 weather, hard-working people, and some wonderful bloggers like Pioneer Woman and you.

    • Sierra Shea

      Thanks Laurel – I love how you describe the weather as “interesting.” I sure agree with you there. Today the wind is blowing about 20 miles per hour here!


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Hey, I’m Sierra Shea! I am so glad you are here. 

Where do I start with writing to introduce this blog? At the beginning, I suppose: I’ve been writing on various platforms online since 2013. I started blogging shortly after moving to South Dakota.

I am a mother and a maker at heart. I’m so grateful to be married to John and mother of three: Joslyn, J.D. and Jesse.

I am a self-taught decorator and designer. I am a brand new shepherdess and a Spiritual Director.

I love living in South Dakota, even though the winters & the wind can be a near-daily struggle.

Blogging is a grounding force in my life and it helps get me out of my head, unstuck and moving in the directions I always hoped I’d be going!