I hear the geese flying overhead on their way back to the wildlife sanctuary, just four miles west of our yard. I see birds perched on a stray self-planted sunflower near the birdfeeder. I ponder the words on my lap in my journal as I sit in silence in my morning ritual of the “quiet chair” tucked in the north-west corner of my kitchen.

It was a quiet morning before eight, after two poached eggs, and the quick news update on the radio that I noticed the ad for a new book “Just One More Day” by Beverlee Buller Keck in  the Rejoice devotional.  This wonderful book is a 40 day journey of meditations for those who struggle with anxiety and depression.

Know anyone in your circle who battles with negative thoughts, worry, and a deep sense of hopelessness? I bet you do.

In late October and early November I will be speaking at the Eden Health Centre fundraisers in Steinbach and Winkler to raise funds for a centre that was crucial in my healing from a very serious post-partum depression. I lost most of l984 to psych wards in Winnipeg and later at Eden in Winkler, where I experienced a very gracious patient staff, and concern for my complete healing journey.

This magazine is called “Hearts of the Country” and is geared to rural women. Women typically are the Chief Emotional Officers  (CEO’S) of their families, wanting to nurture, encourage, and balance the family’s emotional bank account harmoniously.

When I am getting ready to speak, I look for clues from my life stories that will support the theme of my key message. Depression is a huge part of my family story in my family of origin, and in my husband’s family. The genetic code combination of our marriage birthed the possibility that our children would also be affected by depression and anxiety, and yes, that did happen.

The ritual of spending time every morning in my quiet chair continues to help me find a place to reflect, read Scripture, pray, and ponder the people’s names who pop into my head, along with the grocery list and other distractions that are duly noted on post-it notes before going back to the main thing I’m thinking about.

I keep a prayer journal, and am surprised that sometime 10 days have passed since the last entry. Was I in the chair? Yes, but the phone may have rung, I might have been called to jockey someone to a field, or I may have been on the road. I don’t beat my self up for not making entries. I pay attention to what the entries are telling me about the journey of life. The real learning is reading entries from the previous year, same season. Did I learn to trust more? Am I seeing answers to healing prayers for friends and family? What has my friend’s death taught me to value?

Some of you don’t find solace or comfort in reading the Word of God, yet you are searching for some answers to having a peace of mind. Perhaps your reading pile is different than mine, but our common yearning is to find wisdom in handling the bumps of life.  You might use a meditation class and play music to create calm in the home.

The quiet chair routine brings people to mind whom you may need to connect with. Keck’s book has many examples of how we as women who care can be bearers of the “covered dish” to bring meals to those folks who are depressed and need practical help and encouragement. Who needs to taste your homemade casserole and relish in the visit that follows  ?

After 2010’s  tough season of crop failures that many farmers and rural businesses will feel the ripple effects of, the financial strain  may be causing “circumstantial” depression. When bad things happen to good people, they sometimes cannot take the chronic stress and strain. Perhaps you’ll book an appointment to get confirmation from a doctor that depression is a real threat to your well-being, or you may take a leap of faith to see a counselor for some issues that have surfaced.

I’ve been in group therapy, and reflected on tough questions in private counseling.

Some women just need a good cup of tea with a confidant to feel like “they’ve been heard” and their emotional well is renewed and refreshed. After you‘ve  spent time in your quiet chair, pick up the phone and invite a friend for a chat, either long-distance, on Skype, or across your kitchen table. Do you think you need some professional counseling to help you find relief from your anxious thinking?

News came again this week that another women in our circle is dealing with breast cancer. We talk openly about supporting her, yet sometimes the women who are struggling with the bleak days of depression don’t think they can share “their secret”.

It’s time to stop hiding behind the stigma of depression. Please do not call it at “nervous breakdown”. Call it depression, it may be one of seven types, but it is an illness that needs to be listened to, and journeyed with. Who in your circle of influence needs you to go for long walks   to listen ? Who needs a letter from you in their mailbox  ?

Give yourself the gift of time in your quiet chair. Have a journal, pen, Bible, devotional book, post-it notes, and cards handy. Words are powerful when they sooth the soul and bring hope. I kept the stack of l984 cards for over 20 years, and I can still recall the faces of the faithful women who sent words of life and encouragement.

I suspect that we are going to hear many stories of woe on the prairies this winter. Will you hunt out opportunities to be intentional about listening to the tales of possible depression around you at the hall, the store, or your kitchen?

I choose to speak life into those who feel that all hope is gone. Depression is a treatable illness with various ways to find healing. Every family knows somebody who is dealing with sadness and anxiety. Please don’t ignore the pleas for help. Offer a non-judgmental ear or a practical help like a home-cooked meal.

Are you ready to draw strength from your time reflecting? Find the women around you that need to know there is hope for them  .

Live intentionally. Embrace the lessons of the quiet chair.

Fixing Your Time Stress Mess

60 minutes

Workaholics will discover helpful strategies for managing their time stress. Gain understanding for the tensions of your age and stage on the farm. Learn why some problems are not solvable, but just need to be managed as polarities. Self-renewing people are joyful and productive producers.


Rave reviews

“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario
“Elaine helped me allocate $1 Million of assets the night I listened to her. Elaine’s presentation brings value to the use of my services in my office.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
“I recently joined in and listened to your Healthy Farmer Agriwebinar for FMC. I truly enjoyed hearing your perspective and even went and grabbed my Mom, away from her work, to come and listen in on some of your main points as well! One area that really stood out for me, both personally with our own succession plans and with our clients, was your discussion involving "Instant Influence" and how ready are you to change? I loved this concept!”
Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
“Helped me develop my framework to start having constructive and meaningful conversations around the farm.”
Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
“Elaine gives me excellent tools that help me work with my clients!”
Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

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