Here is my story, it started here!
How I decided to take up the Battle to feed and fund families from the kitchen and my journey to eFoods Global!
From a Deep winter freeze to finding life’s purpose in a spring morning.
I sat out in morning sun for an half an hour before I even heard the chatter of the birds. Since my Dad died it seems I had been noticing things. Sitting here on one of the first spring days we’d had and already in June it seems the birds were voicing the complaints of all of us . . . spring had waited so long to sprung that it was too late to roll kindly into its pleasant pleasure. The birds were anxious, almost irritated to make up for the two extra months of winter that had kept them frozen, immobile and silent. Frozen, immobile and silent describes me since my father had passed in a traumatic death which me and my family, from brothers and sisters to my own husband and children, all witnessed in exquisite detail.
I sit now with my toes in the sun and feel the warmth we’d been expecting but not felt over the last long lingering months of winter/spring. The heat feels good which I take as a sign I might be thawing just a little from my frozen, immobile silent state. I have not wanted to touch my laptop keyboard for months, not wanted to write or work or think even, and I suppose writing this another sign that I am melting my icey shell.
I sit on a deck looking over a valley that is beginning to shine with the green of new leaves. It marvels me that it did not take long from the first of the snow melt and brown muddy earth for green to appear. In the rocky mountains and as far as my heart can get from my fatherland of Ireland, a few weeks of post snow melt spring always produce shades of green that look and scent of the emerald isles. Thousands of shades of new green will eventually lose their bloom in the hot dessert sun which assaults spring here and within weeks will turn into the five shades of summer brown mixed with the leftover faded green leaves.
Summer, fall and even winter bring their own beauty to the earth but compared to the glorious colors of spring it’s a wonder the trees and flowers feel it is worth it every year to produce such luxurious color only to have it faded by the rays of the sun. Don’t they ever catch on that the sun which feels friendly enough to coax out their colors in the spring is also the tyrant force that carries their bloom through to withered colorless state of summer and after a colorful moment in autumn to a dismal death to welcome the overwhelming winter again? Wow, I am negative. Death and destruction even if its not to the level seen on a multi-media movie screen will do that to you I guess.
Despite all I am ever the optimist and I remind myself that dwelling on what I know will happen to this lovely spring will make me miss the freshness and hopefulness that is present now. The birds anxiously chatter on and I hear the disparate hums of the humming bird and the yellow jacket overhead. I see the trees filling their branches with unfurled leaves and the last of the bulb bursting forth in flower. The iris flowers which usually come in April or May are now brave enough to display themselves here with us in June. The sky is blue and that in itself is powerful to me. Spring skies and spring bloom have the power to give hopelessly squashed but eternally optimistic hearts like mine an infusion.
I came out to promise of spring this morning to offer a prayer to God. It is almost two months since my father died and I need to move forward by necessity. Death does not often come at convenient times and the world does not hold off it demands to those that mourn. My father ill to a degree for years, battled for a solid month before his dramatic 18 hour ascent at the end. My mother, younger at heart and full of good health, sat lovingly and a to be honest a little resentfully by his side each day, watching as his life choices extracted their toll from my usually powerful father. My mother expected his release from the hospital any day to be one of wheelchair assistance rather than that of a hearse. Death it seems is always surprising to some degree. Still while we hoped she sat, and I as a working mother came to sit and help but still had to continue with my expected life. Women it seems are great balancers and I just added the extra demands of my father’s illness into a life that was already beyond juggling, spiraled out of control and flailing to flatness.
The ability to keep my life balanced did not begin with my father in the hospital or even with his illness, it had started in 2006 with clients failing to pay and the path to what we all know now euphemistically as the new economy. We had spent years trying to recapture the magic of abundance based on hopeful efforts and then we lost it all in a heart wrenching fell swoop. From there with no pieces to pick up we had struggled to even exist.Heat, electricity and food were our focus when charitable powers stepped in and allowed us to live and eat indoors. After no regular work for over 28 months, the end of 2009 finally brought my husband and I low paying jobs, beneath our college and entrepreneurial educated status and barely within the periphery of our experience. But oh how we thanked God and were grateful for them. We had to borrow cars to get to work but we put our lives back together piece by piece over that long year that was filled with challenges only those who have recuperated from such a plunge into poverty can understand. Like a poorly stored puzzle we found when we could finally stand on our own, pay our own way, we were not only not the same people we didn’t recognize our new selves. The puzzle pieces we were missing were crucial holes to our understood existence. Yet unlike a packaged puzzle there were new pieces that did not fit the open spots in our puzzle. The new pieces were learned lessons about pure love, service, loss of hope, sheer will and charity. We realized that we could never ever complete our original ideal picture and we honestly did not want to go back and try. Our family was resurfaced, humbled and restored. We kept what was worth keeping from our old lives – our marketable talents and intrinsic skills and hearts filled with a tremendous connection to God – and decided to just be glad we were moving forward and away from the depths.
By 2010 we had a rental home found for us by loving friends, a couple of old cars gas in the tanks, plenty of food and the shirts on our back and we were still feeling grateful for everything. If not exactly prosperous, life was better and we began to breathe a little more freely. Then our fragile new lives were tested again. On literally the day we came home from our first vacation in almost 4 years we both lost our jobs, on the same day and within hours. I will never forget the big frightened eyes of my children as we told them, still in shock ourselves. I will never forget my oldest daughter’s remark after we stood up from kneeling in prayer as a family. “Well, we already know how to live with no money, we can do it again!” With great faith we moved forward and it was just a short time and my husband was given the chance to return a job with the sheriff’s department. My husband was thrilled and I had mixed feelings. He was offered a job he had when we’d met 18 years before, a job he had left for better opportunities, more pay and more safety years before. It wasn’t lost on me how God had brought us back full circle and despite my grateful heart for an income It felt cruel. My husband had loved being a cop and I could tell he was thrilled to be welcomed back into the throes of the peace office family he’d originally started with before we were married. As happy as I was to have him have a solid paying job he liked, I knew as all police spouses know that it wasn’t a real solution. My husband’s delight at having this job, a job essential to everyone’s peace, would force me to bear the burden of earning income for our family. His job would keep him busy, away from home for the holidays, put him in the line of fire and age his physical body but it would not keep food on the table. His income would cover the rent on the house we were lovingly lucky to find through friends after we lost our home, but it would not feed us or fulfill it. As hard as my husband would now work to protect the lives of others, the lives of our family would now be exposed to life- long hard ship unless I would work to fill it. Thanks to social economic structure that places less financial value on peace than it should I had no choice but to work. If God wanted my husband to work as a cop, he must want me to work too? If I needed to work full time who was to tend to our children? I had completed my eMedia training, was back in radio, and thankfully I have talents, a degree, and options. What about the other spouses and what about the children at home needing a parent? If I were to work at home like I had with clients and radio would the work be consistent enough to feed my family? I had seen what hard times do to my business before and how could I ever safely or peacefully rely on it? Was the onerous burden of stress to bring in the rest of the income in these times and be home with the kids to fall onto me . . . always?
The years since 2006 had taught me about trusting God and his people and the humility of being poor. I wasn’t willing to return but I wasn’t willing to give my heart to a job that was not in line with my beliefs about the importance of being home with my kids. As my husband accepted his new job with relish, with trepidation I looked for work and opportunities and trusted God had a plan.
2011 dawned without much hope for me. Despite lessons of love learned I had trouble believing the God who had carried me through those years of despondent existence really wanted my husband to go back to the thankless (for me anyway) position of being a cop. During the last year it had been hard to watch my husband dawn his clanking, tool filled uniform each day eagerly hoping to progress through the beginning ranks of court security to finally achieving patrol with his own cop car once again. He was delighted but to me it was like an angst ridden dejavu. Hadn’t we done this before at the beginning of our marriage and then worked very deliberately to remove him. Had years of pilot training and when that failed working together to build our own PR and radio business really resulted in a 18 year circuitous route to the very same career path for him? And for me, just working to fill the gaps of time with him not home and in the budget his paycheck could not fill? Years of successful PR efforts and pioneering of Internet talk radio had led me to write an eMedia training program for industrious business owners, I also had a syndicated talk show that is more of a hobby with hopes for monetization.
It was a new year, after years of hardship and here we were despite our best efforts back to the life we had left behind. My husband liked it but I didn’t. I liked some aspects of my life, my children and husband, but did being forced to work by my husband’s happy career choice mean I could never be happy. If I didn’t want what I had always gotten was their a choice for me?
I fiddled around in the beginning of 2011 with that notion and looking back I was pretty negative. I was doing a two-hour radio show twice a week on a local station and promoting a glamorous client at the Oscar’s while I was juggling the life left by Chad’s new cop job. I was unhappy and knew inside I was heading the wrong direction, had the wrong attitude and life did not feel right.
I knew I had to take a new direction but what was it? I opened my heart and prayed for direction and like with many of God’s most profound answers to his children I did not like the method of delivery for his answers that came in the midst of that winter.
Within a few days of each other, the radio station canceled my local contract, my dad died, and then my third glamor client dropped. I have strong beliefs of the divine yet the sense of complete loss of self- identity of balance of family and career was overwhelming and impossible to describe. How do you lose your father, the rudder of my college and career aspirations and my career choice livelihood and income within one month and survive? After years of hardship, the refining fire of life, was I not listening to such an extent that I needed that kind of major wake up call? Did the message need to be that strong from a God who I was still sure loved me?
During the blur of that time I knew the talents I had were solid, the issue seemed to be how I was using them. I had learned early in 2006 life lesson that had forced me to face this – story here – so now present day my family was living indoors, thanks to the abilities of my husband. What was I to do to keep my family eating?
My husband suggested I read an article in Spring 2011 BYU magazine, the cover decorated with the winter’s highly celebrated basketball Jimmer Fredette, entitled “What is your calling in life?” I did not really want to read it, but I wryly opened the magazine. It was about fulfilling your life’s purpose through talents rather than accomplishments and with sore need for direction I sat down to access mine. I guess I hadn’t liked my life all that much I realized but my talents and abilities were still as golden as Pony Boy’s famous statement. I have great gifts and it wasn’t that I needed to learn new talents I needed to use them with a different purpose.
I thought of a previous guest on my radio show then, he had talked about feeding families and since that is what I needed to do I decided to start there. I talked to him about new business he was spearheading with another friend called eFoods Global. There mission is provividing a solution for families to feed and fund their families by serving, saving and sharing their storable food. My ego wrestled a little with selling the solution of food. I had promoted US Senators, authors, diamond divas and my voice over the radio had introduced tens of thousands of savvy small businesses and non-profits. Was I really supposed to promote food?
Humbly, I realized that like in the article I’d read, my talents were supposed to be used for good, and if you’re a believe God’s good. If my efforts to feed my own family could help someone else feed their family then who was I to question. Perhaps I could find a purpose using my talents – my PR , radio and writing skills – to end up somewhere other than where I had started and eventually unceremoniously dumped from.
My girlfriend, a holistic practitioner with a very successful business once told me the secret to her success. She’d convinced her husband to move their entire family to Hawaii for four years so she could pursue her dream of a PhD. Part way through he efforts she was so discouraged that she discussed quitting with her husband who replied, “We won’t hold it against you if you quit but can you go back and live the life you left behind?” My friend found that going back was worse much worse than the obstacles ahead and one of the foundational motivations for her success today.
Sitting here on the deck, the morning sky has deepened to the edge of crisp freshness that lingers for a moment longer before the heat seeps in and removes it for the height of high noon. The birds are chirping and chattering still and I have swatted away more than one droning bee and even a humming bird since I came out to say my prayer to God. My dogs sit at the base of my chair and the wind blows the new spring tree leaves hopefully amidst the buzz of the birds and bees.
All the years of my time, with father, career, husband and family, have brought me to this present moment. We really have only three actions to change the shift the course of our lives – we can change how we think, how we move and how we eat. I feel through my fibers that I have a choice now to make those changes and better use my talents for divine good to feed my family. I look from my spot on the deck over the trees to a peak of a mountain still in process of shedding its winter mantle of snow. It reminds me that Winter was so full of cold heart breaking pain that I don’t want to go back there, I want to enjoy the spring, I am ready for rebirth.
The Poem says,
“If I stoop into a dark tremendous sea of cloud, It is but for a time; I press God’s lamp close to my breast; its splendour, soon or late, Will pierce the gloom; I shall emerge one day.” Robert Browning
And now it is time for me to re-emerge, both loved and difficult memories stored and learned talents intact to embrace my divine rite to follow the hopeful example of spring into the coming summer of success. I have the answer to my prayer. I see that feeding and funding my family has always been my purpose and now I am going to apply my talents and make it my life purpose to help make it easier for others too. eFoods is going to help.
“Let us do our duty in our shop or kitchen; in the market, the street, the office, the school, the home, just as faithfully as if we stood in the front rank of some great battle, and knew that victory for mankind depended on our bravery, strength, and skill.” Theodore Parker
From where I sit here on the deck, spring looks good and I am looking forward to summer success. I am leaving winter behind to help myself while helping other moms keep their families eating in crisis! I will start in the Power Mom Food Fund from the kitchen and who knows where it will go from there! Power Mom — Kim Power Stilson