July 2013 Bush Report – Diane Davies

July 15, 2013 Bush Report – Diane Davies

The CDR Assessment not only focused on our risk factors for leadership but also on our drivers and rewards.  Through the discussions and activities in our leadership seminars, we did spend quite a bit of time on our risk factors in an effort to counteract their affect.  I thought it might be interesting to visit another section of that assessment and take a look at my drivers and rewards.

The Drivers and Rewards Report is described as a verbal portrait of your personal motivational profile – another words it describes what does and does not call you to action – what does and does not work for you – what provides or does not provide you with satisfaction in your life.  This to me is one of the keys to finding happiness, satisfaction and reward in what I do.  The roles, tasks and projects I choose need to match my personal drivers and motivators for a number of reasons:

  1. Doing work I enjoy is highly rewarding
  2. “Fit” matters to my performance
  3. Powerful information for my team members
  4. Knowing this information regarding my team helps me support my team
  5. Useful for career planning for commitment, loyalty and long-term success

My three highest scores were humanitarian efforts (94%), companionship & affiliation (93%) and fame and feedback (91%).  So what does that mean for me?  First of all it says that I am interested in social justice, making a difference and helping others.  Secondly that I have a need for friendship, camaraderie, and social interaction.  Lastly being recognized for a job well done and making a mark as a credit to my profession is important to me.

My three lowest scores were business and finance (11%), scientific reasoning (12%) and safety and security (36%).  Accordingly this shows that I’m more comfortable when someone else takes care of the business issues so I can focus on other goals.  I prefer to make decisions based on past experience and practice.  Change is stimulating for me.

How well do I feel the assessment described me is the important issue here.  Finance and scientific reasoning have never been high on my list.  I do not enjoy tasks involving business acumen.  Why I ever thought I’d be happy running a non-profit is beyond me and now is happily behind me.  Change I do find invigorating.  That is why I taught two different grade levels in four different buildings during my teaching career.  I was refreshed by the change and was therefore more productive and revitalized.  I do find working directly hands on with people enjoyable.  Mentoring/coaching/teaching has always been my calling.  I’m now using those same skills in new ways working with breast cancer patients and making a difference in their lives and their cancer journey.  I am a people person, which works well for me in cancer advocacy.  I do relish a sincere thank you for a job well done.  That type of recognition is important to me and goes a long way in motivating me to do more.  I guess the assessment pretty much nailed me!

 Project Updates:

  1. The creation of a study guide for Voices of Hope: Family and Friends is coming along now that we are using technology to our advantage and have stopped trying to meet in person with such busy schedules.  The guide will offer questions for individual reflection and/or small group discussion as well as activities to offer alternatives to change things up a bit and add interest.  It will hopefully be available this fall.
  2. The Cancer Patient Education Network will be meeting in conference in Seattle in September.  Voices of Hope will have a table in their resource center.
  3. The Breast Cancer Awareness Association has its annual seminar October 12 in Minneapolis where we will also have a resource table.  Work goes on creating a table top display for these two venues.
  4. The Support Group Finder is now on the website (www.voicesofhopebc.com).  Members of our group are busy validating support groups by telephone to add to the finder.  The tool needs some tweeking to allow groups to enter their information and request validation.
  5. My husband and I leave on July 16th for our bucket list Alaskan Cruise.  We return on July 28, 2013.
July 2013 Bush Report – Diane Davies

What Calls You to Action?

Acts 5: 38 – 39

“38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

In last week’s sermon at Cottage Grove United Church of Christ, Pastor Bryan talked about what it is that calls him to action.  If you will remember his passion had to do with feeding the hungry especially feeding the starving children.  After church Bryan invited me to answer that same question in regards to my life here today with you.  What gets me up off the couch and into action?  Theologian Frederick Buechner has written that vocation is where our greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.  So perhaps the question is, what is my vocation?  What is my calling?  Where do I have the ability to do the greatest good?

Since my breast cancer journey in 2004, my vocation has been to reach out to women and men newly diagnosed with this disease in an effort to calm their fears and provide them with understanding and hope for their own journey.

Some of you will remember that my Mom, Eileen Lindemann, journeyed through breast cancer in 1971.  At that time she told me that she felt like half a woman as a result of her surgery and radiation.  My advice to her was to get out and talk with other women going through breast cancer.  By offering and helping others you find that you have also been helped.

What goes around comes around so in 2004 my own advice to my Mom came back to me.  If I thought that was a good plan for my mother to do, why didn’t I take my own advice and get out there and do it?   And so it all began.  I made my first call to the American Cancer Society and volunteered to be a part of their Reach to Recovery program making visits and phone calls to patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer.  Today, 9 years later, I’m still reaching out within the breast cancer community and have discovered for myself that this is where my passion reaches a need in our world.  God’s hand has helped me along the way through generous donations from family and friends, individual survivors, several corporations, the Bush Foundation and most recently the Minnesota Lynx Women’s Basketball team.  The work is accomplished through the Hastings Breast Cancer Support Group a nonprofit grassroots organization in Hastings, MN under the name of Voices of Hope.  The support group is made up of approximately 20 breast cancer survivors including myself.

Voices of Hope has become the outreach project of The Hastings Breast Cancer Support Group. Its inspiration stems from the recognition that a powerful and neglected source of breast cancer expertise is the peer group – women who have experienced the challenges of this disease firsthand.

Inspired by the stories of these brave women, our organization saw an opportunity to spread this wisdom beyond the boundaries of our local support group. In 2010, the original Voices of Hope DVD was created to provide a virtual breast cancer support group that would help other breast cancer patients navigate the early weeks of breast cancer treatment, from diagnosis to first plans of action. A diverse group of women and stories are reflected within the video, helping to empower recently diagnosed breast cancer patients with hope, inspiration, and highly useful breast cancer information. The positive responses to this video have been overwhelming, with thousands of copies now circulating throughout the United States and Canada.



Based on feedback we received from friends and family members of breast cancer patients who viewed Voices of Hope, we created a second documentary, Voices of Hope: Family and Friends. Loved ones of breast cancer patients often have no idea how to help, what to say, and how to calm their own fears. Voices of Hope: Family and Friends focuses on the healing power of relationships and features breast cancer patients and their family and friends who reflect on their journey, creating a positive mindset for each viewer that leads to better medical outcomes and a stronger social network.  Both newly diagnosed breast cancer patients and friends and family members of breast cancer patients have found this new DVD to be an invaluable source of comfort and education.




The dollars from my Bush Fellowship provided our group with the means to produce this second DVD and to create a website for distributions of the DVD series.  You can visit this website at www.voicesofhopebc.com .  Please take a look at the site as you might just recognize a face or two. 

God continues to work in mysterious ways.  I’d like to share a few examples with you:

1.  I meet a young man selling cars at Inver Grove Ford a couple of years ago when we were buying my present car.  Tim Braun was doing fine in his own media business until the down turn in the economy when he lost his own company.  To support his family, he was selling cars.  We had a few conversations with him telling me about his history and I telling him about mine and my dreams for Voices of Hope.  He became an instant friend and advocate for Voices of Hope.  He is now back in the media business and has been my contact for getting connected with Aimedia and the many things that have come my way because of that.

 2.     Aimedia Solution is the company that built the website for us.  I received a call from their design team a few weeks back.  After about a half hour discussion of what I’d like to see in a tool called a support group finder, they said they were providing the new tool for the website free of charge.

The Minnesota Lynx are providing the dollars to get the DVD series into the hands of newly diagnosed patients in northwestern and north central Minnesota and Hennepin County Medical Center.

A new product called a Wbit, which is a water bottle identification system – colored plastic caps to put on your water bottle so you know which one belongs to you, will be coming to Bed, Bath and Beyond in a couple of weeks.  The inventor’s sister passed of breast cancer and he will be generously donating a percentage of the sales to Voices of Hope.

Mark Bersinger, from Aimedia volunteered to do the SEO for the website – again as a donation.  SEO has to do with the placement of the website in the search engine. 

These are truly God-Things that happen in God’s time and I feel so blessed to be a part of it.  Because this is my passion, the hours I put into it are a joy and the feedback received is all the payment needed.  For example from a Mayo Clinic patient talking about the DVD series:

“Actually seeing and hearing from those who have gone through surgery and or reconstruction brought reality close and very personal. The bravery of those woman exposing their feelings and bodies for those of us who were traveling a similar road was amazing. It gave me a sense of sadness, awareness, hope, and future.”

And from Carolyn of Hastings:

“Voices of Hope was a Godsend.  It helped me better understand what I was in for in a way no doctor could convey.”

So there you have it.  Now you know what calls me to action.  As the body of Christ, we have all been given different talents with different jobs to do.  I never dreamed that in my retirement years this is what I’d be doing.  I always planned on eating bons bons and reading novels.  But God had a different idea and I’m glad that I heard His call.

We all have our special roles that God calls upon us to do for our family, our church family, our community and our world.  Thanks to all of you for doing what you do.

Now it is your turn to think about this question.  What is it that calls you to action?  Where does your passion meet a need in our community?  When you hear the call, respond with a yes.  You won’t be sorry.

What Calls You to Action?

How Do You Find Refuge in Change?

Interesting question isn’t it?  How do you find sanctuary, protection, a sheltering place in change?  How do you find refuge in transformation, modifications or transitions?

In her book, Refuge An Unnatural History of Family and Place, Terry Tempest Williams raises this question to her family upon learning that her mother is dying of cancer.  At the same time the waters of the Great Salt Lake rise to record heights threatening the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge with it’s herons, owls, and snowy egrets that Williams had come to gauge her life by.  As these two events unfold simultaneously, the author finds answers and strengths interweaving in the narratives of dying and accommodation.  She witnesses again the power of nature over the lives of humans pointing out that nature is too powerful to be contained by technology.  The birds at the sanctuary accommodated the change where the humans became immobilized by it.   Refuge transforms tragedy into a document of renewal and spiritual grace. 

I believe you find refuge in change by learning to adapt to it.  Fighting change is useless and leads to frustration, heartache, and burnout. Refuge is found within yourself and your own capacity to adapt as the world is adapting around you.  Williams reminds us that we find new configuration, new alignments and new structure born out of change.  Times in my life when I’ve made the biggest amount of growth have coincided with times of biggest change in my world.

Volumes have been written on the subject of change.  I found these quotes to be telling and entertaining.

Benjamin Disraeli, British statesman, novelist and Prime Minister, tell us “Change is inevitable in a progressive country.  Change is constant.”

“All you know of it for certain is that it’s bound to change.”  Bret Harte, American poet.

Washington Irving, American writer in Tales of a Traveler informs us “There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse . . . it is often a comfort to shift one’s position and be bruised in a new place.”

“Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better.”  Samual Johnson, English poet

“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.”  Author Unknown

”It is not necessary to change.  Survival is not mandatory.”  W. Edwards Deming 

“When you are through changing, you are through.”  Bruce Barton

My Bush project continues to grow and change. That is a good sign that as of yet I’m not through.  By the time you are reading this, the new website for Voices of Hope should be up and running.  You can find it at www.voicesofhopebc.com .  I hope you will stop by and take a look.  I am extremely pleased with the beautiful results achieved by the design team from AIMedia Solutions (www.AIMediaSolutions.com).  Cindy Hoffman of MacMcGoon Portrait Design Studio (www.macmcgoonstudio.com) donated her time and talent as a photographer to produce five of the incredible images for the website.  Putting it altogether the new website for Voices of Hope should be an outstanding tool for getting the word out regarding the breast cancer DVDs.

The breast cancer support group finder will be included on the website as part of phase two.  The design team from AIMedia Solutions called me last week with this question;  “If you were king/queen of the world, what would you want this support group finder to do?”  My dream has been to have an online tool where someone newly diagnosed with breast cancer could enter in their zip code and up would pop all of the breast cancer support groups in their area – within a twenty five mile radius.  After discussing a few more details, they informed me that they would be building such a tool and donating it to the website.  Words failed me and if you know me you know that doesn’t happen very often.  Work has started on the tool.  It will take time to gather the information for the database.  My plan is to start with the Minnesota support groups and move outward from there.  The tool itself will have an area where support group data may be entered for submission to the site.

One final little story I’d like to share with you.  For several weeks, I have been having trouble hearing out of my right year due to a blocked Eustachian tube left over from a sinus infection earlier this winter.  I was feeling rather down and disgruntled and a whole lot frustrated with the entire thing.  As a volunteer for the American Cancer Society in the Reach to Recovery program, I’m called upon from time to time to respond to someone newly diagnosed with breast cancer.  Generally it is a phone call to help them answer any questions they may have.  These are not medical questions but rather more emotional kind of things.  “I’m so afraid.  How will I ever get through all of this? Does it really hurt?”  Being of help to someone else is a sure cure for my own blue feelings so I decided to accept the referral and make the call.  I visited with Sue for about an hour in which she explained that she was blind, lived alone, had lost a sister to breast cancer twenty years ago, had a borderline personality disorder, and that her remaining sister told her that she got used to living without eyes now do the same with breasts.

Her surgery was scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and she was afraid that her surgeon would be hungry and/or sleep deprived and would make a mistake.  Very quickly into the conversation I realized how very fortunate I was for circumstances in my life in spite of my plugged ear!  I began to pray for Sue to experience some calm, reassurance and peace.  I still cannot hear out of my right ear but I received some of that calm, reassurance and peace as well.  I’m so glad that I was here to respond to Sue’s call.

How Do You Find Refuge in Change?

Final Bush Fellow Retreat for My Fellowship

This week on Monday and Tuesday I attended my final Bush Retreat for my Fellowship (my Fellowship continues through August 2013).  Each of as were asked to make a final presentation regarding our “work”.  I’d like to share that with you:

I cannot believe how quickly these two years have flown by.  The final day of our final seminar can you believe?   It seems like not that long ago we met here in this very room for first time.  Remember the angst, the tenseness; the “what have I gotten myself into now” feelings you felt walking up the sidewalk and then down the hallway following the arrow that said Bush Fellowship Seminar?  Well you know what,  I DON’T remember that!  I’m pretty sure it was that very apprehension, might I even call it stress, mixed with my dormant chickenpox virus that had me tied up at home with the “shingles”!  (Get the vaccine by the way when you can.  The shingles were more painful than my double mastectomy by far.)  I know I’ve come a long way since that day and I see much evidence that shows that we all have!

Leadership lesson:

My greatest risk factors for derailment of my leadership skills are my tendency toward being a false advocate and an eccentric.  (For those of you reading this let me define for you what is meant by these terms according to the CDR Assessment Group:  False Advocate behaviors are failure to openly communicate but rather reacting to perceived mistreatment in quiet secret ways, tending not to be candid and direct, staying silent in the present and then sending messages of disagreements later.   Eccentric behaviors include being innovative, expressing a high volume of ideas, bringing character and style to the workplace, intellectual daydreaming that may lead to breakdowns in communication, attempts at diplomacy suffer due to misreading audience’s appreciation for ideas.) Throughout my fellowship, I have been working with these tendencies in an effort to neutralize their influence on my leadership abilities.

As a member of the Book Bags Book Club, I am reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed this month.  Written as a memoir, the author at twenty-two in the wake of her mother’s death thought she had lost everything.  I almost put the book down at this point thinking that at my age I really didn’t want to read another coming of age novel.  But I pushed ahead anyway in an effort not to let the book club down.  Cheryl, with no experience or training, driven only by blind will, hikes more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail —and she does it alone.  Her story powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of this young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.  I didn’t face Cheryl’s rattlesnakes, coyotes, inhospitable men or the rigors of weather on my Bush Fellowship journey but I did in a sense come of age in my leadership skills.

As Cheryl treks along the trail physically, her mind journeys over the derailers  she has met in her life thus far.  Walking alone for a thousand miles would certainly give you plenty of time to think – wouldn’t it?  Cheryl says, “The father’s job is to teach his children how to be warriors, to give them the confidence to get on the horse to ride into battle when it’s necessary to do so.  If you don’t get that from your father, you have to teach yourself.”  This was an aha moment for me – if you don’t get that confidence, you’ve got to teach yourself, and if you don’t teach yourself, you can never win a battle.  That’s why, into my fifties and sixties, I was still having trouble with confrontation, because I was never taught that.  My parents were good people and did many good things for our family and our community but I cannot think of a time when I saw them role model for my brothers and myself how to navigate through differences of opinion – how to do battle.  So I learned how to avoid confrontation, how to placate and satisfy no matter what the cost to me. 

With the help of these Fellowship seminars, the individuals in this cohort, my leadership coach, friends and my own desire to do the tough work that it takes to grow, I came to realize the importance of being authentic and straightforward with myself.  When I do that, the false advocacy and eccentricity are relegated to lesser influence, my leadership becomes more authentic and straightforward, and “doing the opinion battle” becomes less intense.   

What I see differently or more clearly as a result of my fellowship:

I asked a couple of close friends to share with me what growth they have seen in me as a result of this fellowship.  One replied that I have always been a leader.  That people were drawn to me and whatever cause I was championing because of my leadership and organizational skills and because they saw me as someone who made good choices, had high principles, essential core beliefs and was a joy to be around.  All that before Bush!!!!!  Now she sees me as a visionary.  Someone who takes action and makes important things happen because I’m willing to take a risk in order to help others.

My other friend commented on my much-improved level of resiliency and strength of character that is able to sense when I need help and reach out openly to ask for it.Thinking about their comments and all of my experiences through this fellowship, I do see myself differently now and more clearly.  I’ve found more confidence in the power of Diane Davies as a leader. Somewhere around January of 2012 after sharing with the cohort my lack of guts to make a change that I knew I needed to make, and while working with my coach, I came to the realization that it was and is me.  I can and do make a difference in the lives of many around me especially the breast cancer survivor community.

Difficult situation/conversation/dilemma and how you found your way through:

This dilemma that is responsible for my biggest steps forward as a leader was the very dilemma that was almost responsible for causing me to throw in the towel.  That dilemma was my decision to dissolve my connection with the nonprofit, Circle in the Field: Peer Support for Breast Cancer, which I had so recently created.  It forced me into confrontations with my strong-willed and experienced mentor and friend.   At the time of my diagnosis with breast cancer, I would have given anything to be able to find an escape route that would enable me to bypass what lay ahead.  I felt the same way once again in this instance.  I knew I had to face into the storm and cross that mountain.  I also knew that I had to do it for myself and by myself.  Brutal honesty, harsh criticism, tears of anguish and despair pushed me forward.  At the end of the long night comes the peacefulness of the new day.  With lessons learned regarding unclear expectations and unclear agendas, I’ve clarified my mission, cut the ties that needed to be cut before I lost all of my self-confidence and moved ahead towards accomplishing movement forward on my mission.  My energy is positive and my work satisfying and meaningful and I am making a difference for those newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

Summary of Fellowship work:

As you know, my work deals with lightening the load of the newly diagnosed breast cancer patient through the power of peer support offering emotional encouragement and providing hope.

Successful production of the 2nd DVD – Voices of Hope: Family and Friends

Creation of the new website for Voices of Hope at www.voicesofhopebc.com  including new logo, packaging the 2 DVDs together and a new marketing strategy         

Creation of a Support Group Finder for the website

Creation of the system for fulfillment of orders

Continuing search financial support to keep it all going

              Wbits/ Sean Hernan

              Minnesota Lynx connection ?

It will happen and much more.  Thanks to all you and the Bush Foundation.

Final Bush Fellow Retreat for My Fellowship

Miracles Do Happen

April 2013 Diane Davies Bush Report 

My friend Karen sat across from her doctor in May of 2012 and heard the words “you have pancreatic cancer!”  Nine months later on March 14, 2013 she wrote this message on her CaringBridge Site;

“We Did It!!!!  And I do mean “we”.  I am CANCER FREE and it only happened with the support I have received from literally hundreds of friends.  I did everything the doctors asked and tried my very best, because of you.  It paid off “big time” and I am trying to comprehend this day.  The doctor actually said, “This is fantastic!”  Stay tuned and rejoice and be glad with me!!!  Luv you all, Karen”

The “I did everything the doctors asked” included nine treatments of chemo where she lost all of her hair and spent a few days hospitalized, followed by surgery known as the Whipple Procedure in early October of 2012, another round of chemo, then six weeks of radiation with a fanny pack of chemo injected 24/7 and yet another nine chemo treatments which will end in May 2013.  At the same time, Karen continued running her one-woman business, singing in the church choir, playing clarinet in the community band of which she is the founding mother, and enjoying her participation in living life with her three adult children, their significant others and one granddaughter Sophia. Through all of this, she rarely lost her smile and never wavered in her determination or in her belief that she could beat this cancer diagnosis.

How is this possible?  Well I do have a couple of ideas.

Karen has a very deep and abiding faith.   From the beginning of her journey, she relied of Psalm 46:10; Be still, and know that I am God.  Experiencing her God and placing her trust in His love and strength gave her not only physical power but emotional resilience.  The first verse of that same Psalm says; God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Karen puts her confidence in that help and finds comfort there.

Love of family is a high priority in Karen’s life.  As a mother she has made every effort to be a positive role model for her family.  In this cancer trial, she again chose that same path of open honest communication and love.  Her family responded in kind supporting her with their strength and love.

Friendship is not taken lightly by Karen.  She credits friends for being there for her in her time of need and once again giving her the strength to face the challenge.  I know that it was of utmost importance to her to not let any of her friends down.  Her determination to be successful in ridding her body of cancer came from this belief.

Willpower, resolve, fortitude, strength of mind all defines determination.  Karen exemplifies determination in her positive attitude toward life especially in facing her cancer diagnosis.  Yes, she had down times as anyone would in her situation but she was able to harness the resources at hand to help herself up and out.  She found it easier to smile and forge ahead than to bemoan her lot in life and let the pity party continue. 

Last weekend I took part in the River Falls, WI Relay for Life.  Relay is a program of the American Cancer Society to raise money for cancer research.  Participants raise dollars by asking sponsors to pay them for walking through the night.  Cancer survivors are always honored in many different ways at these events. Most generally the first lap of the relay is for survivors only for this purpose.  Applause, cheering, high fives, hugs and a few tears accompany the survivors on that lap.  The organizers of this particular event gave each survivor a paper chain to carry with each loop of the chain representing a year of survivorship.  I’ve been a survivor for nine years so my chain had nine loops.  Eighty-seven survivors made that first lap in River Falls representing eight hundred and seventy eight years of survivorship when all of the chains were attached together.  As I walked that lap, my mind kept returning to Karen and her amazing story even more amazing because of the type of cancer she had.  My guess is that every one of the eighty-seven walkers making that lap would have to agree that faith, family, friends and a positive attitude played an important role in their own cancer story.  I would even go so far as to say that those whose memory we honored, those who journey did not end in survivorship, would also tell us the importance of faith, family, friends and a positive attitude in their stories and their journeys as well.

As survivors, our last chapters have not been written yet. So as Karen invited us let us stay tuned and rejoice and be glad in today.  Let us celebrate with her and the eighty-seven survivors from the Wisconsin relay.   And let us always remember the importance of faith, family, friends and a positive attitude in whatever journeys we are called upon to travel.

Quick Update on my project:  This is the new and updated logo for the Voices of Hope project.

We continue to work on the website pages which I’m so excited to show you soon.  When up and running the site will be at www.voicesofhopebc.com .   The next step will be the marketing package. 

I’m also submitting a grant proposal to the Minnesota Lynx Foundation for dollars to help distribute the Voices of Hope Series to hospitals and breast clinics in the North West and North Central regions of Minnesota and to the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.  The Red Lake Indian Hospital in Red Lake, MN has already sent us a request. Poverty and/or sparse population should not deprive breast cancer patients and their caregivers from the emotional support needed for the breast cancer journey.  Getting these proven educational and reassuring DVDs into the hands of patients free of charge at their time of need is of utmost importance to equal healthcare opportunities throughout our state for those facing breast cancer.  As with any grant opportunity, waiting for the results is always the hardest.

That’s about it for this month’s report.  Looking forward to seeing you all at our upcoming Fellowship Seminar. 


Miracles Do Happen

Fearless Courage or Courageous Leadership

March 2013 Bush Report – Davies 

What kind of bravery, nerve, daring, mettle, guts or audacity did it take for a party known as the Lewis and Clark Expedition to set off in May of 1804 to chart a vast wilderness never before seen by white men? President Thomas Jefferson sanctioned this journey to explore the new wilderness area known as the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.  Meriwether Lewis and William Clark accompanied by a band of skilled hunters, woodsmen and soldiers, all experienced and well equipped for life in the wilderness, set sail from St. Louis up the Missouri River heading for the vast Pacific Ocean.   For the next two years this team including an Indian maiden, Sacagawea, and her new born son along with Seaman, a one hundred and fifty pound Newfoundland dog battled insect and snake infested waters, crossed scorching plains, climbed frigid mountain passes, fought hostile Indians and faced near starvation all while charting a vast wilderness.  As they proceeded they made friends and traded with the Indians through whose land they passed.  They took notes, gathered scientific specimens and drew maps allowing others to follow.  They reached the Pacific Ocean in early November of 1805.  After spending four winter months at Fort Clatsop, they returned cross-continent to St. Louis in September of 1806 ending an eight thousand mile trip and one of the most difficult experiences of exploration ever undertaken.  Without the help of the friendly Indians along the way, the expedition may have certainly met with failure.

Where did this come from and what does it have to do with my Bush Fellowship?  The first two weeks in March 2013 my husband and I spent traveling up the west coast visiting friends and relatives along the way!  Our first introduction on our trip to Lewis and Clark came at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon where we watched an Imax production featuring the expedition.  As we continued north, we became more and more intrigued by this famous trek of these explorers. We spent a rainy afternoon wandering through Fort Clatsop at the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon where the Lewis and Clark party spent four months passing the winter of 1805-06.  The group arrived sick and exhausted at this spot and only had six days of sunshine out of the one hundred and six days they were there.  Our cold and rainy afternoon seemed only fitting.  Captivated, we viewed DVDs in the Visitor’s Center depicting the epic journey as well as hearing the story from the Indian point of view before finally moving on.  I’m not sure where I was the day we covered this expedition in school but I now found myself gaining an understanding of the leadership challenges and trials this group faced. 

Preparing and heading into the great unknown, putting your reputation and even your life on the line for a cause or passion is the stuff of courageous leaders now and throughout history and well into the future of our society.  The job of the courageous leader is never complete without the help of the courageous followers and even the courageous bystanders along the way.  Lewis and Clark would not have accomplished the opening of the vast western wilderness without their party of expert woodsmen and soldiers armed with brut strength and determination. They would not have been successful without the aid of the tribes of Indians they encountered that provided food and shelter, as well as information and advice regarding how to proceed forward to the great Pacific Ocean.

The parallels between Lewis & Clark and the Davies Expedition into the community of breast cancer survivors or any other Bush Fellow into their own defined community where change is sought are many.  It still takes leaders, followers, and bystanders who are open to new ideas, new views, and new systems of operations to move the elephant forward into the wilderness of change resulting in progress.  It takes the bravery of someone willing to say, “Hey, I’m wrong.  Let’s step back and try again, what do you think?”  As I have learned over and over throughout my life, it is truly through my mistakes that I learn, grow and move forward.  The undaunted leader takes into consideration all of the information at hand from multiple sources, makes an informed decision and then moves ahead bringing along the followers and the bystanders with their permission.  It is not an expedition of one but of many moving forward relying on the gifts of each individual whatever they may be to move the party forward. Any of this sound familiar? 

Fearless Courage or Courageous Leadership

My Bucket List

The Bucket List is a 2007 American dramedy film directed by Rob Reiner, written by Justin Zackham, and starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. The main plot follows two terminally ill men (portrayed by Nicholson and Freeman) on their road trip with a wish list of things to do before they “kick the bucket“.

Since the premiere of this movie in 2007, bucket list has become the common term for the things you wish to accomplish before leaving this earth.  I just Googled it and found 71,500,000 responses!  I’d say that makes it pretty common terminology!

Butch, my husband, and I have now both reached the magical age of qualifying for Medicare.  Is that cause for celebration or lamentation?  Mourning feels like a constant companion these days lurking behind every shadow and dark rain cloud.  We have lost all of our parents, most of the aunts and uncles, a sibling, and this year for the first time several very close friends our same age as well as some much younger.  When the phone rings, no one rushes to answer for fear that once again we have a funeral to attend.  In fact earlier this week, Butch suggested going shopping!  (For those of you who know Butch, you can only imagine how shocked I was to hear him say that.)  He needed some new “funeral clothes”!  So off we went into the strange world of sport coats, dress shirts and dress pants finding the store where you buy 1 and get 1 free on everything including ties.  Two hours and $1500 later (we saved $971) he has his new funeral wardrobe including a wool topcoat would you believe?  That my friend is only the tip of the iceberg. 

Facing your own impermanence here on earth takes a while to become a reality.  You never know what it might be that happens in your life that finally makes you stop and truly believe that your life is not going to go on forever.  It may be a diagnosis, the death of a close friend, death of a parent, a stroke, death of a sibling or even a child.  Whatever does it, when it happens all of sudden the bucket list comes into play.  How much time do I have left?  What do I want to do or experience while my health and life last?  Where do I want to go? What kind of impact/difference to I want to have or make?  And the list goes on . . .  

As a couple, we do not have formal documentation of a bucket list.  But as the weeks and months go by there is evidence building that between us there is a quiet understanding of a “list” out there somewhere.  Perhaps we are writing it as we check off the items accomplished.  There seems to be a “his” list, a “her” list and of course an “ours” list all of which we agree upon.  Here are a few examples of what I mean: 

 In January Butch’s name was drawn as the winner of a Seven Day All Expenses Paid Caribbean Cruise for two.  I entered his name in an honor a caregiver contest never believing that in a million years he would win!  Well he did!  His response was, “Have them draw again and give the trip to someone else.  I really don’t want to go.”  The new winner is a 32-year-old breast cancer survivor single mom with two boys.  She and her caregiver, who is her mother, will be taking the trip.  We both agreed that we would rather do something we would both enjoy.  So it was not on the list.  See how this works?  We are doing a fourteen-day Alaska and Inside Passage Cruise in July that came up after we passed on the Caribbean.  Only difference is that is something both of us want to do and our own pocketbook will be paying the bill. This was on the “ours” list.

Shortly we are leaving on a two-week trip to the west coast not to see the sights but rather to enjoy the company of friends and family that we have not seen for a while.  Time waits for no one.  We’ll enjoy the sights with those we love as we go.  What can be better?

Butch is a recreational pilot.  Another words he does it because he loves to fly.  Airplanes have been a part of our life as long as I can remember and as long as I can remember the plans have always included owning a Dehavilland Beaver.  As of last week, we do!

My dream was to write a book.  It is written and published.

As a result of surviving breast cancer, I began to support other patients on their own emotional journeys with the help of Hastings Breast Cancer Support Group (www.hastingsbreastcancer.com) by the creation of the Voices of Hope DVD series for patients and their caregivers.  We are making a difference in the lives of many women and men.  Without Butch’s support and understanding, I would not have the time to do this.  He knows the importance it has for me.

We never know what tomorrow will bring so we’ve decided to live our lives for the living and  have gratitude for each day that we are given.  There was a story once about living your life to the fullest and sliding into your grave exhausted, satisfied with your accomplishments and happily saying, “Wow God, what a great ride” rather than “I wish I would have. . . . . . . . . “.

 Have you started accomplishing your bucket list?


My Bucket List

Just What Does Oyster Stew Have to Do With Me?

February 15 Bush Report – Diane Davies

Just What Does Oyster Stew Have To Do With Me?

After visiting with Atum and Akhmiri at the Cultural Wellness Center in Minneapolis in January, I’d like to start my report by sharing this story.

It’s Christmas Eve 1955 and my family, Mom and brothers David and Dan, ages 10 and 1 respectively and myself age 6 are waiting outside in the cold Ford for Dad.  The car is running and we wait impatiently to get on our way to the Sunday School Pageant at our church a whole mile away at the other end of our town.  David will be one of the three kings, and I’ll be an angel, and Danny will be just what he is a baby too young for Sunday School and a part in the play.  I ask, “What’s taking Dad so long?  We’re going to be late.”  Mom turns around in her seat and says, “Just be patient.  Dad forgot something and he’ll be right along.”  David has a funny smirk on his face like he knows something that I don’t.  You see we’re anxious to get the church part over so we can get home and open the presents from Santa that he will leave while we are gone.
This little car scene was played Christmas after Christmas.  I’m sure by 1958 it was Dan asking for the whereabouts of Dad and I joined David with the knowing little smirk.  After church and few pictures we’d race to the car not even feeling the cold any longer as the anticipation of the gifts under the tree kept us warm.  We probably could have raced the whole mile without our coats and still not have been cold when reaching home and that pile of gifts.   The grandparents were not far behind and then the bedlam would begin.  The Lindemann grandparents gave each of us a crisp new two-dollar bill and the Niemann side came through will a bright shiney silver dollar.  We all came home from church with an apple, an orange and a few nuts along with the hard candy that never failed to cut my mouth.  Of course Santa left us with the usual array of toys, new shoes and a sweater and pajamas. 
It was definitely Christmas when Mom carried the huge kettle of oyster stew to the table.  She had worked her magic with cream, milk and butter and that huge container of ugly slimy oysters that Dad had brought home earlier in the day fresh from our little market down the street.  My uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents all joined in with the oooos and ahhhhs as the hot bowls were passed around the table and the feasting began. My favorite was the hot buttery milk with the little oyster crackers floating in it and just a hint of fish.  I’ve never in my life eaten an oyster.
So why oysters on Christmas Eve?  My friends that lived on either side of us had sloppy joes on the left and ham on the right on Christmas Eve.  We all had turkey on Christmas Day.  The ham family went to the German church in town with us.  Their last name was Kuehn.  And the sloppy joes, with the last name of Beedle, went to English church right across the street from ours.  So the church was not the answer.  I promised Atum and Akhhmiri that I would do some research regarding the oysters. 
As the oldest living member of my family, I had no parents or grandparents, aunts or uncles to turn to so I went to the internet and discovered that the Irish immigrants that came during the potato famine brought this tradition to the new world.   No Irish in our family.  Searching further, however, it began to make sense to me that in the early 1900’s the only “good” time in the Midwest to enjoy fresh seafood would be the dead of winter when it could be packed and transported in ice by the railroad.  Oysters could not travel that far without refrigeration any other time of year and arrive safe to eat.  The cost of all this made the shellfish quite expensive so it was eaten as a special treat.  Christmas became the perfect time.  I do remember Mom and Dad discussing the price of oysters each year.  I don’t remember the price but I do remember how it went up year after year.  Well that may not be the real reason our family had oyster stew on Christmas Eve – who knows.  But it sure brought back lots of good memories of times passed. (Thanks ladies for that treat.) The real answer may be as silly as the women in one particular family always cutting the ends off of the ham at Easter.  When they began asking questions as to why this was done, they discovered that that was the only size pan great great grandma had so she had to cut off the ends to make it fit.  I could also be wondering why Santa came to our house on Christmas Eve but didn’t make it to the neighbors until the next morning?  Go figure.
I always find the dead of winter a good time to get things done.  For example, it never ceased to amaze me how when I was teaching first grade, the amount of learning that happened between coming back from Christmas vacation and leaving again for spring break.  That uninterrupted space of time, at least here in the Midwest, where you are usually not bothered by staying inside and doing something productive like learning to read!  This month has felt that way for me and my work in the breast survivor community.
Voices of Hope: Family and Friends marketing – We have the logo finished for Voices of Hope and now have the color scheme and site map for the website.  That building should be underway.
 I’m in to the third week of the six weeks of facilitating “Cancer: Surviving and Thriving.   We have an awesome group of about 20 survivors that are really doing a great job of responding to each other’s needs.  This class is a great resource for any of you or your family members going through a cancer journey.  It is sponsored by the American Cancer Society and the National Council on Aging.  Either website would have the information on upcoming groups.
Opportunities in the near future for showing the Family and Friends DVD in the community.  
               April 6, 2013 – Relay for Life in River Falls, Wisconsin
               October 12, 2013 – United Methodist Church, Hastings, MN
I completed HIPAA Privacy & Security Training for Business Associates needed to facilitate the cancer workshop.
Cultivating a partnership with Sean Hernandez, owner of Wbits World, water bottle identification tags new business start-up.  His sister and former business partner and co-creator of Wbits lost her battle with breast cancer.   He intends to donate a percentage of the sales in her memory to Voices of Hope.  Exciting.
My developer of the support group finder has dropped out of sight once again.  I owe him money so I’m sure he will reappear one of these days.  I also know he is going to school full time.
Does it really matter in Minnesota if the groundhog saw his shadow or not?  I think we will have at least 6 more weeks of winter no matter what.  Enjoy the rest of the winter however long it may be. 



Just What Does Oyster Stew Have to Do With Me?

Crock-Pot Cooking or Going Slow to Go Fast Later

Here it is the middle of January 2013.  Can you believe?  Long ago in my youth, thinking about the year 2000 way out there in the future, I never expected to still be here cooking away at something or other.  Now it is thirteen years passed 2000 and I’m still here and I’m still cooking in a number of ways!

I love winter cooking especially the delightful crock-pot meals you throw in before you leave for work in the morning.  The roast beef, potatoes, carrots and of course a small onion or two, salt & pepper and that can of beef broth – all in the same pot to simmer slowly on low all day mingling and collaborating the flavors and aroma making the perfect combination. What a joy later in the day when the sun has set to come in from the cold and catch the enticing whiff of a meal waiting to be savored by the family not far behind in their arrival. 

The slow preparation of the food leading to meeting the immediate or pressing need of hunger.  Taking the deliberate and measured method in order to be ready to move quickly later.  In this way my cookbook becomes my textbook for a learning edge I’m still experiencing in 2013 as I move through my Bush Fellowship.  I continue to be challenged by my own sense of urgency adding to my daily stress level.  Crock-pot cooking has shown me over and over that it is the slow and carefully planned mixing of flavors that produces the excellent stew in the end.  Planting the seed of an idea, allowing time for growth and the stewing to happen and finally being ready when it blossoms to move quickly before losing the bloom.  I know that but I still have to remind myself pretty much daily to put it into practice.

The end of August 2013 is the formal ending of my Fellowship, which means the ending of the monthly funding for my project with the breast cancer survivor community.  That time will be here before I know it. To have an income stream from the marketing of the two Voices of Hope DVDs that will sustain their production and distribution is my plan.  I’ve already thrown it into the crock-pot with a number of possible solutions.  AIMedia, the firm I’ve hired to help with marketing, is aware of this challenge and is also working on it with me. 

It’s a good thing I have a large kitchen as I have a number of other crock-pots going as well.  Here is just a hint of what’s cookin’.

January 28 – March 11 – I will be facilitating an online class for the ACS and NCOA called Cancer: Thriving and Surviving taking my teaching skills in a new direction.

My work with AIMedia Solutions is ongoing.  Our goals are a new logo and website for Voices of Hope, marketing package to target cancer care coordinators and educators.

Support Group Finder web tool is behind schedule but should be delivered soon.  It will then need to be populated.

The creation of the Study Guide for Voices of Hope: Family and Friends with the help breast care professionals from the Mayo Clinic.

I’ve made application to be a part of “The Hive” at TedMed 2013 in April at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.  Only forty applicants will be invited –if I didn’t apply, for sure I would notbe invited!?!?!?  I’m waiting to see what bubbles up in the stew.  www.TedMed.com

Enjoy the winter and happy cooking.  It must be lunch time somewhere.  I’m off to see what’s out there.




Crock-Pot Cooking or Going Slow to Go Fast Later

The Single Greatest Key for Bringing Happiness Into Your Life

Happy New Year!   Really?  In the face of all that’s happening in our world, our country, our community and our own personal lives, how can we even think that 2013 can be a happy new year?  You can start bringing happiness into your life today by doing one very simple thing.  You can practice being grateful for what you have right now.  Focusing on the abundance of the good and positive in life rather than what is lacking helps us to experience fulfillment which is gratitude at work.  The natural outcome of this sense of fulfillment is the desire to share what we have with others by reaching out in love and thanksgiving.  By focusing our energy on what is lacking – money, time, and resources – we will never have enough. So just what is this attitude of gratitude?  How do I get it?  What does it cost?  Mr. Webster defines gratitude as thankful appreciation for favors received.  Synonyms are: thankfulness, appreciation, gratefulness, thanks.  The Bible tells us in1 Thessalonians 5:18, “ In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God … concerning you.”  Melody Beattie, St. Paul, MN self help author, says it this way; “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”    In January of 1999, a group of women from my church and myself began to study together Simple Abundance A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  The author suggested creating a Gratitude Journal by writing down daily five things that we found to be grateful for.  The only rule was that we could not use the same five things over and over.  Each entry needed to be totally new.  There is power in the words.  It could be as simple as “raindrops on the window” or a “smile from a toddler in his mother’s grocery cart”.   We began to look each day for good things happening to write in our journal.   Focusing on the positive, what we do have rather than what we don’t have, made our lives brighter and more fulfilling.  As we continued our study, we began to realize that we were very rich women.  Rich in the sense that we began to “open the eyes of our eyes” and see that our basic needs were being met.  Focusing on abundance rather than the lack in our lives helped us experience gratitude and over time changed our way of thinking about our lives bringing even more happiness. I continued my daily gratitude journal for several years and then for some reason stopped making entries.  For 2013, I bought myself a fresh new journal and have started once again to focus on the good things happening daily to find five things to list in my journal.  Why don’t you join me and together we can practice bringing happiness into 2013 and change our lives in the process.   Happy New Year!          

The Single Greatest Key for Bringing Happiness Into Your Life