The snowy “weather bomb” of October 27th shut down school in our town.  I was miles away in Victoria, celebrating my birthday, walking the beach with a friend and my hubby. We learned about the severe weather index , a measure of how tough a place is to live : Victoria’s score is 13 compared to Winnipeg’s 51. No surprises there.

This morning I discovered 2 inches of water in my basement storage room, and started the water vacuum procedure again. A friend called to report she had 6 inches in her basement, and insurance proceedings dictated a major renovation of drywall gutting and flooring removal. Her perspective of the stress of rural families for 2010 was “some folks are just trying to stay above the waterline.” She also mentioned a fellow who had 80,000 gallons of water in his basement…due to a recent house fire !

“It’s only stuff, and really highlights what is important” was his response.

According to Dr. Nikki Gerrard’s research of farm stress , our ability to bounce back  from stress is called “resiliency” . How are you doing this fall ?

I would encourage readers to seek out an emotional support group : folks who are willing to listen, connect with you on  a regular basis and offer you unconditional love and support.

Do you have just 3 close friends beyond your family circle?

Prairies North magazine had a delightful article about the “Delisle Pickle” a special gathering spot in Delisle Saskatchewan where tea and visiting was the main menu.

In Boissevain we now have the “Sawmill Tea and Coffee Company” which I tell folks is our version of  “Starbucks”.  The effect on the community has been amazing. You can drop in for lunch, just grab a fancy coffee or tea, and visit with other folks hanging out. The teens play pool, eat gelato, the seniors sip drinks by the window, and many enjoy the leather cub chairs and couches to have animated conversations until 11 at night !

My writing was just interrupted by a phone call from life long friend who is trying to book time to visit us at the farm. I feel honoured and excited when folks take time to visit.

Don’t under estimate the power of connection via the phone, and now Skype. If you have high speed internet, connections on Skype also allow you to have video of the person you are talking to. If the video line is poor, you can also chat by texting in the chat box. I have a friend in New Zealand who is also a farm coach, and we really appreciate the time on Skype to encourage each other.

Stock up on cards, stamps and mail the letter to your friend, even if she lives in the same town. Remember how much fun it is to open a card instead of the pile of bills facing you. Financial strain this winter is going to be brutal. When I flew over Saskatchewan this week it looked like muskeg to me…really sad to see so much water and so many flooded out dreams.

Perhaps it is time to join a book club and get lost in a book, and then share your ideas with other women. Bible studies are another way to share the power of the written word, and then spend time praying for each other. If you are in need of prayer, it is a wonderful thing to have close friends that you can ask to pray for you.

It’s also great to praise God for the good things in your life, and not just come to conversations with the Creator about all your woes, which of course He knows about.

Pop the popcorn with girlfriends ( or your willing hubby) and watch a really funny chick flick. The first time I watched Mamma Mia I was so tired from the harvest, I really had a tearful good laugh and it felt great. The “Dancing Queen” songs brought back many high school memories of fun, and I think it was a good thing to be reminded to seek out fun. Dorothy Whetter , formerly of Dand, created a delightful piano CD in her eighties, and I use her music to life my spirits when I am organizing .

Sharing music with friends is a great way to feel more buoyant in tough times.

If movies and music aren’t your thing, maybe you just need to share the fun of creating something.  Our town has a “Guilty Quilters” club,  who are guilty of not feeding husbands when they are overtaken by the desire to quilt together. Is it time to quilt, scrapbook, crop photos or find your watercolours again?

Our brains are weary from worry, lots of activity and we need to use a different set of neurons to create things and find some relief. In Victoria I did two  watercolour postcards of the amazing fall colours and mountain landscape. It felt good to celebrate the arrival of a printer’s press at my friend’s art studio and help her associates make rags for art projects. When was the last time you fed your creative side?

Men at risk for depression due to sustained stress need to find  ways to keep above the waterline, too. Oprah’s viewer “Larry” had a man cave in his garage where he watched Oprah in the privacy of his garage ! We had hunters here this fall from Wisconsin who just wanted to sit in the dark and wait for geese, and then tell stories at supper. Many farmers I coach relay to me that they have forgotten how to have fun. The work on the farm is always going to be there, but the relationships may fade away if we don’t intentionally connect on a regular basis.

If the floodwaters were rising quickly , what precious things would you want in your boat ?

The most important things in life are not things. We all want to love and be loved. We all need respect and connection. The families that bounce back from the blasts of unfortunate weather and financial  stresses are the ones that see hope in communication, connection and celebration of community.

Don’t wallow in your worries. Connect to someone who cares about you. If you are the strong one at the moment, offer a listening ear, and a praying heart.

Offer hope to those who feel they are sinking and remember that
“hope deferred makes a heart sick.”  Choose to connect to your emotional support group and be buoyant.

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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