Sunday, September 29, 2013


Recently some friends of ours initiated a collection for another friend who is in need of a particular surgery- an operation that has become more and more pressing as time passes. Some of you know who I'm talking about! Emails went around and the funds were raised in a pretty short period of time.

This same miracle occurred on our behalf in February 2012. Friends, neighbors and people I don't even know collected funds and delivered them to us so we could travel to attend Charlie's and Braden's funeral in Washington state. There were actually 2 different groups, completely independent of each other, who participated in fund raisers. It’s inspiring and humbling to me to see a community come together like that!

It reminds me of …barn raising. Now bear with me a minute.

In Seven Habit for Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey teaches us what it means to be interdependent. This is the ability to work effectively with other people to accomplish more than you would on your own. So- 1 person might produce (x) in 1 day. 3 people might produce (x3). But 3 people working together effectively might produce (x10) or more per day.

In the days of Little House on the Prairie (I love both the show and the book series) people didn’t have television, the internet, or personal electronic devices to entertain them. They had to invent their own fun and it often involved getting together with other people. Spring dances, church going, and simple dinner parties were just a few fun people activities. They also helped each other bring in crops and raise barns. They learned to work well together and have fun doing it. And boy did those barns go up quick!

Anybody need to raise a barn?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How to Make Stress Your Friend link to video

I watched this video segment a couple of days ago. I thought of a few things as I watched.

First reaching out to other people during the last few years as my family and I went through major trauma was key in saving my life- my physical life.

Just a few months before Susan disappeared, I started mentoring a class called Shakespeare Conquest with another wonderful lady- on a completely voluntary basis. Things were going very well. The class was a lot of fun and I was learning at least as much as the students if not more.

We had just ended the 1st semester when this situation with Susan came up. We passed through the holiday season and it was hard. But I had committed to doing this class and so even though I was really no help at all- their was no sharing of the responsibilities for class prep- I went back in January and attended and did what I could to be helpful in class. I couldn't have made a better choice.

This drew me out of my pain and gave me something else to think about besides me, my missing sister-in-law and my scum of a brother. I was serving others (including my two oldest children who were in the class). And I was surrounded by good people. The parents of the youth in that class are still among my dearest friends. Turning to them and continuing to serve (albeit in a limited capacity) I think, after watching this video, physically saved my heart.

The second thing that dawned on me was that I still had a paradigm shift to complete. The stress of the situation did affect my health in other negative ways. I am still on the slow path to recovery, but I'm on it and that's better than a few years ago.

However, I've continued in a mindset that someday life is going to let up a little. I'll find a virtually stress free place in life. I've come to realize that place doesn't exist. We have to make that stress free place from the building blocks of our everyday lives. Our stressful lives. There will always be  obstacles to negotiate, challenges to meet and hurdles to overcome.

So how do we handle life gracefully- and physically survive the experience? I think this video on stress gives great insight. Turn to family and friends during crises, or even for minor stresses. It's just good to have a friend. Also, think about stress differently. It's only a killer if we see it as a killer. In addition to those I would add- turn to Heavenly Father. He is the ultimate friend and will always listen, even when no one else will. I have spilled my heart out to Him many times when I didn't feel I could burden my friends with any more or didn't feel it appropriate to share something with others even if they would have been willing to hear. It's good to have a Friend.