#00013: On Earning Love; Running Water Runs Deep

Handwritten on Saturday, January 7, 2017

I am 35 years old and born in 1981. I started out in a home that had running water; except in the second house when the pipes froze during a dozen or so wind-whipped winter days in the double-wide manufactured home my parents mortgaged in 1990.

My mother is 70 years old in two weeks and four days. We’re 35 years apart. She grew up in a house without running water. In her fifth year she and her older brother gained indoor plumbing, the next year a television, and the year after that their youngest sister, along with an upstairs so they no longer had to share the living room couch overnight.

My dad grew up in the Carlson Century Farm House, a big farm house that had running water and a creek running through the basement to cool down the milk cans from The Carlson Creamery business back in the day. He’s 30 years older than I, with an older and younger brother, and truly never thought he’d live so long as to be 60. Until five years ago he did.

I assume my sister definitely had running water from the time she was born because she started out more or less in foster homes. My parents started the adoption process before I was around, and adopted Nikki when she was three and I was four. Sight unseen and during the process, I told my parents that I’d be getting a sister with brown hair and brown eyes just like me. To this day, they attribute that spot-on prediction to their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I attribute it to eavesdropping on the Lutheran Social Services coordinator and my desire to earn love by being remarkable.

Sound familiar to anyone? Trying to earn love in some way, shape or form? Sometimes we grow up not realizing that love is a gift. Gifts, by definition, are not earned. Gifts are given and gifts are received. Freely. Unconditionally. Without any expectations.




And so it is with love.




A bit of a paradigm shift for some of us.




Am I right?

Mom, Nikki (front), me (back), Dad — Carlson Family Church Directory Picture

Saturday, January 7, 2017’s original blog post draft


#00009: These People Are Doing Something About Genocide

I’ve tried for two days to come up with a way to write this post.

United to End Genocide is dedicated to preventing and ending genocide and mass atrocities worldwide by building a powerful, lasting movement of community activists, faith leaders, students, artists, investors and genocide survivors, and all those who believe we must fulfill the promise the world made following the Holocaust: “Never Again!”

My words are insufficient.

Genocide is happening around the world.


Right now.

Let this post be what it is – a wake up call on deep human suffering of enormous magnitude that is happening right now during your lifetime.

Learn more.

#00005: Meet The Carlsons a.k.a. My Childhood Family

I’ve been told I should write books – as in more than one – about my experiences with these folks.

Hefty Wedding - Carlson Family - July 28 2007

One day I imagine I will; they’re interesting and surprising.

You’ll see.

For now though we will do what I’ve been advised to do in the book Crucial Conversations, which is when emotions run high, start with the facts and present yourself from there.

Introductions then. From left to right we have my sister, Nikki, myself, my Dad (Mark) and my Mom (Jane).

Photography: [ V ] IMAGERY + DESIGN

Location: Lake Wissota Golf & Events

Flowers: Brent Douglas Flowers

Dresses: David’s Bridal

Hair: Estilo Salon

Date: July 28, 2007.

Sara Hefty, Age 25.

#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:


#00003: The Truly Truest True Version of You

Meet Sara Hefty of Get More

Venice Beach, 2012.

Photograph by Wendy K. Yalom.

Inspiration from Carey Peters.

Styled by … I have forgotten her name but not her influence… or how I won her over… but that is a story for another time… like a time when I make the time to track down her name.

Dress, earrings and bangle borrowed from Spotlight Sister D.

Hair and makeup were done professionally by an amazing team out of a repurposed warehouse on the boardwalk.

Sara Hefty, age 31.

Carey once told me that she had a vision of me. This was during one of our coaching calls – she the coach, me the client. It was a phone session during a group coaching. And what she said to me is that she had a vision of waves washing over me and washing away all of the things that…

… I’m having a hard time recalling her exact words…


… washing away all of the junk and baggage around me… yet, I stood strong, firm, grounded and deeply-rooted to my truth, to my history, to myself.

In that vision, after the waves rolled out, I was standing strong, as myself.

Without baggage.

And that’s what this picture represents. Me. Becoming Myself.

Meet Sara Hefty of Get More

True, the clothes, the accessories, the lashes are not mine; however, it was my voice that day which brought us into the water. For that experience. For that real-life representation of a coach’s mind’s eye vision.

And that’s why this picture was taken. So I would have something to refer back to and consider and remember: That the possibility is always there to become myself. To be myself. In real life. In my daily life. Every day.

And it is for you as well.

Just sit with that for awhile.

The possibility is always there for you to become yourself.

The possibility IS always there for you to become yourself.

My coach could see something ahead for me that I could not see for myself.

And even though others had to style and provide for me. (The best clothes I brought to the shoot were pilling, dog-haired, threadbare. Representations of my baggage, if you will.) Others could see me as myself. And they wanted me to try to do the same. Not only did they want me to try to see me as myself… they supported me through every part of the “see-yourself-as-yourself” process. Photography and people can be magical like that. Or as damaging as they come. So choose your people – and your photographer – carefully.

That said, when you take someone whose been playing small in order to be accepted by others her entire life and then put her into an environment of unlimited support with encouragement of self-expression with no risk of loss of love, all of the sudden life becomes a very safe space. A space where you can be yourself. And be loved, and be seen and be empowered as the truly truest true version of you.

To the possibility of yourself.