711

I noticed that today is July 11th, or 7-11. I also noticed that I have seven hundred and eleven followers. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to thank each and every one of you 711 followers for your support. I hope my words have helped you in some way no matter how small. Your friendship and support has helped sustain me. Thank you.

To continue in the spirit of imparting wisdom, please allow me to share an experience with you. One of my coping mechanisms is being involved in the performing arts. Whether it’s acting, writing, or assisting in some other part of a production, being part of something bigger than myself helps me forget about my troubles.

Recently, I had the pleasure of participating in an epic undertaking by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It’s been reported to be a five-year project and we’re two years into it. The project is the creation of videos based on events described in the Book of Mormon. I had the honor of portraying an ancient Israelite last year and this year an ancient inhabitant of South America.

I would like to share with you three lessons I learned while filming over the past two years. I learned what it means to be courageous. I’ve understood better the concept of friendship and unity. Most importantly, I saw the importance of communication practiced to the uttermost degree.

Let’s talk about courage. What does it mean to have courage or to courageous? It’s not always about strength and overcoming physical obstacles. I witnessed the most courageous and tender moment while filming a scene from 2 Nephi. Let me paint the scene for you.

We sat on steps in front of an ancient temple listening to the words of the prophet Jacob. We represented his extended family and he desired to impart wisdom and testimony. As he spoke he became teary-eyed and choked up. As Jacob wept, a young boy no older than 4 years crawled up the stairs and wrapped his arms around Jacob’s neck. As far as I could tell, it was not rehearsed. The moment was so touching that the director incorporated it into the shot.

That young child had the courage to comfort a stranger in a crowd of strangers. The woman sitting with him acting as his mother wasn’t his real mother, yet in that moment he didn’t think about his uncomfortable situation. His thoughts turned toward somebody else who appeared to need comforting. That act was a testimony to me of childlike charity and Christlike love and courage.

Camaraderie was another characteristic displayed on set. Hundreds of people were called to take part in this epic event. We were gathered in a large covered arena and directed here and there. First to costume and then to makeup and hair. Then we were instructed to hurry up and wait. (A phrase you’ll hear often on any film set.)

The thing I liked most about waiting was making new friends. Although, we had never met before it felt like we had a lot in common. There was a sense of unity on set. We all worked under the same director with a common purpose. In this case, we were all sharing our testimony of Jesus Christ by portraying characters and scenes from the Book of Mormon. However, I’ve been on other sets where that same sense of unity was also present.

It takes both a good director who adequately shares his vision for the project and a good actor who actively listens and adopts that vision. I learned that there can be no lone wolf on set if the film has any chance of being successful. Everyone must work together in order to create something worth producing.

In conjunction with unity on set, communication was vital. I never had to wonder what the director wanted or needed because a team of assistants very effectively relayed that information throughout the set. When the director spoke, his message was repeated many times all over the set to ensure that everybody received the same message at the same time.

My favorite part about being on set aside from being in front of the camera was to witness the coordination of cast and crew. It was all done with effective communication. Being on set of a movie production has given me a greater appreciation for the word “production” when used to describe the making of something magnificent. Everybody had a job and continually performed that job without fail and without stepping on toes.

What a wonderful world we could live in if everybody adopted that ethic.

Remember to have courage. Sometimes that means having the courage to make the right choice. Go out and make new friends. Have the courage to comfort a stranger. You just might meet a new best friend. Always practice effective communication. As human beings, we have yet to conquer the ability to read minds. Don’t fall into the mindtrap of assuming what somebody else is thinking. Ask questions and be honest with your responses. You’ll be happier when you do.

I love you all. I hope your 7-11 is a wonderful one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Coping Strategist

It’s that time of year again where I’m without my wife for a week. My children see their mother in the morning when she gets them ready for school and that’s the last time unless I take them to the Sandy Expo Center to see her. Though, it’s all for an unsurpassed, charitable cause.

My wife spends of over 12 hours a day along with many more honorable women who serve on the board and other committees for the Festival of Trees. My readers know that the Festival of Trees is the organization responsible for generating millions of dollars each year for medical care at Primary Children’s Hospital.

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Trees are decorated and donated to the Festival to be displayed at a gala and sold throughout the week. Everything is donated, including time, and 100% of the proceeds are given to the hospital for the care and treatment of children.

It has become a tradition in our family and we just accept the fact that we are without a wife and mother for this one week out of the year. The cause is noble and we do what we can to help. Even if that means ceasing to complain.

While I attended the Festival today as a guest, I met up with a very dear friend. Although we hadn’t seen each other for 20 years, our visit was natural and rewarding. His sweet wife mentioned to me that she had downloaded my book, Life After Suicide, and was halfway through reading it.

After our visit, I pondered on this chance meeting with a dear old friend and his wife whom I’d only just met. I considered others that I’ve ran into who have mentioned that they had read my book. I was humbled yet honored to think about the distance my influence was reaching. It made me consider carefully my next decision.

I decided that if I’m going to call myself, “The Coping Strategist,” then I’d better provide my readers a more prescriptive tool for coping. I’m referring to the “jump kit” that I described in Chapter 3 of Life After Suicide. I wanted to provide you with the tools necessary for navigating life’s complicated twists and turns.

All this thinking helped me remember something that had happened to me about a year ago. I was driving home from work and passed a billboard that caught my attention. It spoke to one of my job descriptions as a program manager for the Department of Health which is to plan and prepare for eminent disasters in Utah such as earthquakes and floods. The message went something like this, “Hoping for the best is not an effective emergency plan.”

In my opinion, the same message should apply to eminent disasters in your life. They may not be as devastating as a flood. Your troubles may only measure a 1 on the Richter scale, but it’s imperative that you are prepared for whatever life throws at you.

It’s my job as “The Coping Strategist” to help you plan and prepare for disasters that might shake your foundation to the core. I will show you how to build your armor link by link so that the metaphorical chainmail might spare your anguish in the wake of tragedy.

My next book will be a guide to the seven C’s of coping that I described in Life After Suicide. Watch for it to be released by Easter 2017.

Follow my author page on Amazon in order to be kept up to date on all new releases.

 

 

 

Free Music CD

Hello Friends,

In case you’re wondering how to keep up with all my updates and promotions, I’ve created a fun contest to help you. All you need to do is follow my author page on Amazon.com to get updates on promotions and future books written by your’s truly. As a token of my gratitude, I’ve included a prize to be awarded to lucky number 13.

No purchase necessary. All you need to do is click on this link and follow me on Amazon.

My author page is updated whenever I post on this site or on Amazon.com. You’ll be the first to know of book sales and promotions as well as new books from me.

If you’ve read my book already, then you’ll appreciate the meaning behind choosing to award Paul Cardall’s CD, New Life, which contains the song, “Gracie’s Theme.”

Simply follow my author page by clicking this link and if you’re the lucky 13th person to follow me, then you’ll receive a free CD. It’s that easy.

Good luck!

Cheers,

Brandon

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Signs of Life

I am honored to introduce to you my dear friend, Julia. She is a talented, independent author who has graciously agreed to guest post on Links Of Courage. Please welcome this wonderful lady and open your hearts to her poignant words of wisdom.

Signs of Life by Julia M.L. Whitehead

Harrison Ford was ingenious when running from the law in The Fugitive. He disguised himself believably, and subjected himself to discomfort when necessary, to stay ahead of the detectives who sought his capture.

There is a nerve-racking point in the movie, however, when the team of detectives gets excited, knowing they have located his dwelling place. What tips them off? Orange peels and paper scraps. Signs of life.

Archaeologists have similar excitement when they come across signs of life. They painstakingly preserve even a porcelain fragment so museum onlookers may admire the story it tells.

As it turns out, coming across smelly food scraps and scattered dishes just doesn’t have the same appeal to a mother as it does to a detective or an archaeologist.

Just yesterday as I arrived home, a whiff of burnt toast told me my daughter had fixed herself a snack while I was gone. The crumbs and drippy butter left on the counter gave further evidence of her doings.

Additional “signs of life” surrounded me with each advance further into my home. I eyed shoes piled next to the bare storage rack. A damp towel lay heaped on the bedroom floor.

Suffocation was setting in.

My tired mind was awakened when I recalled a recent conversation with a friend. Her words gave me the fresh air needed to forge ahead through those hazardous hallways.

After complaining to her about how much running around and cleaning up I had to do she had replied with a refreshing reality check.

“Life would be pretty boring without my kids.”

Negativity stopped in its tracks, as I remembered her recent loss of a family member, which was sure to have contributed to her current perspective.

I suddenly saw those messy signs of life through new eyes. The crumbs on the counter came from energy-giving bread that filled the belly of my self-sufficient daughter. A towel on the floor meant my adolescent son’s regard for personal hygiene was getting there! Shoes were tossed about because of our continuous involvements in active, meaningful pursuits.

A short time later I attended the memorial service for a young friend. The experience did even more to help me see that I am blessed through the mess. Displayed in his memory were various items indicating how he enjoyed spending his time. A Rubik’s cube, some comic book volumes, and an unfinished chain mail craft project all sat on display- never to be enjoyed by this precious boy again. Images still flash through my solemn mind of his family having to gather these relics from his silent, empty bedroom.

My new understanding prompts me to look beyond the clutter on my own son’s dresser top and floor. Like a detective, I start to wonder what structures he envisions will come of those Lego piles. And I marvel that he can solve all nine of those dusty Rubik’s cubes.

Make no mistake; I do consider it my job to train all members of my household to pick up after themselves. Any parent on the planet can attest, however, that this is a challenge not quickly completed.

At times I have found myself admiring the museum-like homes of retired women who decorate with exquisite vases and see the sunrise through fingerprint-free bay windows. But museums are for halted history, and my life is in vibrant living color. The signs are everywhere, splashed across the canvas of the home where we L-I-V-E.

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About the author
 Julia M.L. Whitehead has used writing as life’s therapy ever since she popped her first pimple and didn’t make cuts for the junior high cheer squad. She joined Journalism instead! High School English from a poetry pusher helped sprout a hobby that still sees the occasional blossom. With college came a degree in Elementary Education and a love for Children’s Lit., which has broadened and deepened over fourteen years of raising five kids on weekly story time. Besides the local library, she enjoys light mountain biking, fresh salsa, and foot rubs from her husband.

Free Book Offer Officially Ended…

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Hello Friends!

The free book promotion through Amazon officially ended Halloween night at midnight, but that doesn’t mean a treat isn’t in store.

Kindle Direct Publishing requires a 30 day enrollment period before I can run another promotion. That means on November 27 I should be able to discount my book again.

Don’t worry, I’ll remind you when it gets close.

I want my message to be far reaching, so I’m doing everything I can to make that possible. I don’t want cost to be a stumbling block for those searching for peace.

In the meantime, tell all your friends who are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited that they can still read my book for free. I’ve made it free through Kindle Unlimited. (There has been over a hundred downloads of my book per day through Kindle Unlimited.)

Again, I want to thank you all for the support you’ve given me and my first book. I’ve been so impressed that it has inspired me to write another one. If you have any requests, please reply to this blog post with ideas. I’ll do my best to write something compelling based on your requests.

MY plan for another book includes a guide book or “road map” to Life After Suicide. I’ve received questions from several readers to which I’d like to answer in depth. Watch for my next book that will be more prescriptive and dive deeper into the seven coping strategies discussed in Life After Suicide: The Impact of Suicide on the Ones Left Behind.

I look forward to hearing your ideas.

Best Regards,

Brandon

 

 

Best Treat Ever

Happy Halloween, Friends!

I received the best treat ever today when I discovered that my book reached #1 in both categories. This was all thanks to you.

I’ve received several requests for various versions of my book including printed copies. If I receive even more interest in other versions, I would be inclined to release my book in the most popular format requested.

As a matter of fact, I’m working with friends in order to produce printed copies of my book including an audio version. Watch for those to launch in the Spring.

Don’t worry, as time grows closer, I’ll remind you. In fact, I plan on hosting a much bigger launch event and I want you all to join me.

I can’t thank you enough for all your support in helping me reach my goals. Below I’ve given you the latest statistics including a screen shot of my book in the #1 slot for both categories.

**769 total downloads**

#1 in both Counseling & Psychology and Parenting & Relationships

#1,150 overall in the free Kindle Store

6 total customer reviews with a 5 out of 5 star rating!!!

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The Power of Friends

Curious what the combined POWER of friends is capable of?

After seeing the success of my new book over the past few days. I’ll never wonder again.

Because of the amazing generosity and support from you all, my launch into the authoring world was a HUGE success!

The free promotion is winding down and will be over in less than 8 hours and here are the current stats:

#2 in General Counseling & Psychology

#2 in Mental Health/Mental Illness

#2,564 overall in the Kindle Free Store

And…

***538 total downloads!!!***

What!?

This has been an incredible learning experience and I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to spread my message to this many people.

Thank you again for all that you’ve done for me this week and throughout my life.

It’s hard to express just how much I appreciate the love you showed me this week.

After this week, I’ll never again wonder what the power of friends can do!

Now let’s see if we can make #1 and break 1000 total downloads by tomorrow.

Share this link with everyone you know.

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