#00008: PTSD Has Been Brought Up In My Life On More Than One Occasion

From everything I’ve read about Soldier’s Best Friend, it is a terrific organization. 

Here’s their mission:

Soldier’s Best Friend provides U.S. military veterans living with combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) with Service or Therapeutic Companion Dogs, most of which are rescued from local shelters. The veteran and dog train together to build a trusting relationship that saves two lives at once and inspires countless others.

We are devoted to helping our veterans living with combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). We also want to help the pet overpopulation problem.

One of my biggest dreams is to become financially sophisticated enough to consistently donate a yet-to-be-determined percentage of my revenues to five awesome non-profits. This will be one of those non-profits.

While both of our pups (Raja and Loki) are and were rescues from the local humane society, I cannot honestly say I have any sort of military background. Growing up in a small town of less than 2,500, a number of people from my area served and two of the best died – one in 2012 and another in 2017.

The primary reason I want to support this organization though – aside from the always obvious supporting of the troops and saving dogs – is that PTSD has been brought up in my personal life on more than one occasion.

Now, it never crossed my own mind that I had ever experienced any sort of event that would result in the phrase PTSD being used to describe my state. I’m the one in my childhood family who is always “fine” and “okay”.

However, I did once have a boyfriend intimidate the hell out of me with a hunting rifle (I believe it was a hunting rifle – I still don’t know what I should about guns).

And, I did, as a child, watch my maternal grandmother (Grandma Hill) battle, to the death, with breast cancer. I legit wrote a book about this in the fifth grade. The book was titled “Sisu: Strong-Willed One”.

Apparently these experiences left some diagnosable damages. Or at least one of them did, according to a psychologist I saw several times. Surprised the daylights out of me — I didn’t know PTSD existed outside of war and other “stereotypical” PTSD-causing hideousness.

Maybe I read too much into my conversation with said psychologist. I’ve never seen our official session notes. But she did say that my breaking down in crocodile tears and being too choked up to talk in her office 20+ years following my Grandma Hill’s death was not a “normal reaction”. And, “Had I heard of PTSD?”

Yes, of course I had heard of PTSD. But wasn’t it normal to deeply mourn a person for the rest of your life when someone you love dies tragically?

Turns out, it’s not Dad.

And then she wanted to rewire my brain using noninvasive electrical stimulation. And then I tried to keep an open mind, read through some flyers and online sites, managed two more talk-only sessions, and then stopped seeing her because I couldn’t shake the idea that what she was suggesting was old school shock therapy via modern technology. To be honest, I don’t even like taking headache medicine. So this proposed course of treatment was just way too much and way too fast for me.

So, between that whole haunting bag to unpack and then me turning into a totally different and shut-down person anytime I perceived any male even remotely behaving aggressively towards me… I knew I had some inner work to do.

And that is really one of the main reasons I find value in working on the front-lines (a.k.a. directly with customers) at a bank. Most days, I’ll talk to at least 35 customers, of all ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic status from everywhere around the United States. And because I now no longer have any type of aggressive males in my life, the only place I encounter that type of personality is over the phone at work. Which is where I first became conscious of my own behavior – because all of those calls are recorded – and some of those calls get listened to in coaching sessions with one’s manager – and sometimes you get to listen to yourself become a totally different person – and then you spend a good several nights figuring out and obsessing over WHAT in the WORLD is the root cause of MY weirdo behavior. My Dad was never aggressive towards us, my husband has never been in a physical fight or shown any signs of aggression, I don’t have any brothers and my brothers-in-law and cousins are harmless. So who in the WORLD was the aggressive guy in my life?

And then it dawned on me.

That day on the back porch.

And then so many other experiences in my life started making so much more sense.






And then…

… gratitude.


… sweet forgiveness.

And finally:


Sara Hefty, Ages 10 – 36

#00007: Thank You Bolton Refuge For Becoming Stronger


Here’s my comment on Bolton Refuge House: They need more funding.

Once upon a time, at least several years ago by now, I attempted to reach out to this organization, twice.

The first time was after I learned someone near and dear to me was being physically abused by her then-boyfriend. I was looking for a safe place for her to stay, even though she did not live in the area. I was also looking to find resources to educate myself on how I could actually be of help to her during this time. I had one conversation with what I assume was an intern and learned that at this time no resources were currently available for either myself or my near and dear one.

The second time I reached out to them was to learn how I could do a fundraiser for them. Multiple messages were left, yet no response. I assume the lack of response was due to the limited resources of the organization at the time and the need to prioritize service to the women coming through the door.

I am pleased to learn that since my attempts to reach out all those years ago, the organization has added a donations button in the upper right corner of its new website, has become more inclusive, and has organized support groups.

Perhaps they always had these things. Either way they’ve made it much easier to participate and find support. I’m relieved to know that no one else will have to have the same experience I did and that we all now have a stronger ally in compassion and unconditional acceptance.

Thank you for becoming stronger Bolton Refuge. Your important work makes all the difference. xoxo

Learn more about Bolton Refuge.

#00006: Forgiving The Family’s Shadow (with audio!)

A few things to have ready before you listen to this audio recording: pen, paper, Kleenex

Once you hit the play button, close your eyes and just LISTEN. Soak it in. Trust that I’ll cue you when to use the pen and paper. You’ll have time. Kleenex as you wish.

Lastly, before we have a listen, you’ll note that this recording sat quiet for 4.5 years and is now the sixth blog post item on Get More rather than the first.

Okay, now you’re ready.

Go for play.

Sara Hefty, Age 32.

Our Facebook Group is here.

#00004: Two Quick Definitions of Sisu

Here I just wanted to introduce you to the idea of sisu.

Pronounced see-so or sis-oo, it’s tattooed there on my arm. In my maternal grandma’s handwriting. It’s the only tattoo I have – the artist said it would be like a 10-minute cat scratch. He was right. Leviticus Tattoo in Minneapolis, if you’re curious.

Sisu is a Finnish word that doesn’t have a direct translation in English.

I think of it as “strong willed one” and “strength of will, determination, perseverance against all odds” namely because those were the first written down definitions of it I ever saw.

Recently and wonderfully it’s become studied by positive psychology researchers and so the definition has expanded.

Regardless, my 100% Finnish Grandpa always said my 100% Polish Grandma had lots of sisu. Much more on that later. But for now, enjoy this new addition to your vocabulary.

Sara Hefty, Age 31.

Photography by Molly Marie Photography.

And here’s my non-professional real-life freshly-inked selfie from March 30, 2012:


#00002: Everything Ends And That’s Okay

Like my obsession with gold sequins and The Roaring 1920s…

… everything ends and that’s okay.

Just let that sink in:

Everything ends AND that’s okay.

It’s really useful, primarily because it’s soooooooo relieving to know and be told that it’s okay – as opposed to completely devastating and soul-crushing – for things to end.

Relationships, jobs, gold sequin and The Roaring 1920s obsessions, family expectations…

… everything ends

… and that’s okay.

Especially when the thing that’s ending is our excuses for not being where we want to be at in life.