People, I got an email that seriously made my day…
(Don’t miss the video at the bottom!)
The message came from a woman named Kristen who wrote:
My name is Kristen Lloyd, and I currently live in Midway Ut. I know I’m a complete stranger, but I felt it was time that I reach out to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for writing the Jackrabbit Factor. I don’t know if I can begin to express how deeply this book has impacted my life.
I want to apologize in advance for the length of this message, but I hope you can see it as the symbol of my gratitude for taking the time to assemble such a meaningful and life changing book. I see it as the catalyst I needed to get where I am now.
There is too much to share as far as how your book specifically changed my life, but I will do my best to quickly summarize the two key moments so as not to take up too much of your time.
I was in my early 20’s and pretty stuck in my life. I was still living with my grandparents (working as their herdsman on their 150 cow dairy farm) and felt trapped and unsupported in pursuing my own life as an illustrator and a musician. I felt that if I left, I would be abandoning my family, the cows, and the only thing I thought gave me value (being a farm hand).
A dear friend strongly recommended your Jackrabbit Factor book. She even warned me to make sure I was ready to accept the change and blessings that God would create in my life if I put it to use (that is what happened to her). Boy was she right!
There are two key memories I treasure now that I want to share as a result of your book. How I met my actual Jackrabbit (still hard to believe, and I was there lol) and two, how finding the courage to follow what the book said actually did turn my life around.
The first memory is my favorite to tell. I had just finished your book three days before when I was asked to swath some hay in one of our fields. I was swathing away while my brain was buzzing about the figurative “jackrabbits” I wanted to “catch” (moving out, becoming an animator, releasing my own music albums, actually having a LIFE etc.). I hadn’t felt so much excitement, hope or passion for my OWN dreams in a long time.
At that moment, I saw something moving in the corner of my eye towards my swather. It was none other than a freakin’ jackrabbit!!! It jumped about 50 feet ahead of my swather and hunkered down in the uncut alfalfa. I shot an amused/sarcastic look upwards and thought “haha, very funny. You didn’t have to take me so literally.”
Of course I couldn’t “swath” through my jackrabbit (God had been too kind to send him), so I stopped my swather, climbed out, and decided to “shoo” the jackrabbit away. I was sure it had probably jumped away while I was distracted trying to park the swather (that was only my second time running the thing) but sure enough, there he was, Hunkered down in the uncut alfalfa sitting as still as possible (probably hoping I wouldn’t see him).
At that point I couldn’t help but admire him and acknowledge how well you had described jackrabbit physical features in your book. I thought, “Huh, their nose and ear details really do look like that . . . Cool!”
At that point I got an idea. . . I wonder if I could touch my Jackrabbit? Like in the book? The cynical part of my brain immediately scoffed like “yeah, a semi domestic cow won’t let you come near her back home. What is the chance you’ll even get CLOSE to that wild-as-hell jackrabbit?”
The faith in believing that it might be possible because “miracles!” won out. I pulled off my glove, and reached out.
I kid you not. I STROKED THAT RABBIT’S BACK.
Granted, the second I touched him I felt every muscle in his back explode out from under my hand. He jumped about thirty feet away and stopped to stare at me (I like to think he had to stop and swear. “did you do what I think you just did?! How dare you!!!)
I know this story might seem far fetched, but I promise it’s true. That moment gave me the courage to believe that God might be trying to make a point. The point that learning to connect with him and his plan for me was worth paying attention to. So much so that he was willing to send me a living breathing Jackrabbit to get that point across. It gave me hope that I might be able to find a way out of the difficult situation I was in.
This is where the second memory and experience with your book’s message comes in.
The winter months after I touched my jackrabbit became the most traumatic and trying experience I would face in my life. So much so that I lost sight of the inspiring experience entirely. Our farm was going bankrupt. We had the hardest winter we have ever had (maybe you remember all the flooding in Utah/Wyoming/Idaho in 2011?). As the herdsman, I felt an extreme responsibility to keep animals alive, keep the peace in a dysfunctional family business, and sacrifice everything I had. We lost many animals. The equipment started failing. My grandma had a stroke from the financial stress.
The pressure broke me.
It was around January of 2011 that my Jackrabbit experience, your book, and my friend’s advice, came to my mind: “If you really want your life to change, give God permission to make a mess. Just make sure you’re ready to let go, because he has to make a MESS before he can clean it up right.”
Until that moment, as badly as I wanted to have my own life outside of the farm, I wasn’t ready to let go of my dysfunctional-but-familiar surroundings. However, I had finally hit my lowest point. I consciously decided, “It’s time to say that gratitude prayer. Things can’t get messier than this.”
I said my prayer silently as I fed the cows that night. I didn’t feel I could pause and give a prayer on my knees (I had so much work to do and didn’t want to draw attention to myself). I don’t think I ever gave a more heartfelt prayer. I asked God to do his will in my life. To make a mess so that something better might bloom from it.
What more can I say than HE MADE A BEAUTIFUL MESS. Within two months, the cows were sold, my grandparents were out of debt, my grandma miraculously overcame her stroke symptoms (the day the cows left ironically) and my sisters and I (who had been trapped on the farm with no freedom, no social life, and no education after 5th grade) were suddenly in Utah with the chance to actually experience a normal life.
So much happened after that, but the happy ending to my story is that those two moments: meeting my “messenger” Jackrabbit, and finding the courage to turn my life over to God and his will, set a foundation for me to make crucial positive choices in my new life. That lead to what can only be explained as my “happily ever after Miracle”.
I was able to marry an incredible man who not only brought me back to the gospel, but also encouraged me to get my GED, go to Weber State University, and ultimately apply to BYU. I just graduated there with a bachelor’s degree in commercial music last December. I definitely didn’t see that coming as a farm girl in 2011.
Again, I deeply apologize for the super long message, but my experiences with your book played such a key role in the blessings I have now that I felt it was time to officially thank you. Thank you for writing it. Thank you for making it free online so I could access it. I doubt I would have been able to read it otherwise. THANK YOU for your generosity in making such an impactful (and likely time consuming) work available to those who need it. I’m sure I’m not the only one you’ve helped with it. You at least helped this crazy farm girl.
If you can’t tell already, your work has inspired me. I’m now hoping to use my music, my art, and my recent experience as an entertainer to help others “Find Their Brave” and overcome fear/anxiety. I’ve still got a long way to go with building my new business “Found My Brave LLC” to make an impact, but I couldn’t be more excited to try. I hope I can help others with my work the way that you helped me. Again, thank you so much.
Kristen now shares her story in this inspiring video, with her own original music and artwork. It was even shared during BYU Convocation at her graduation:
In her message to me, she continued:
As a comical side note, I’m a bit jealous that the Jackrabbit mascot is already taken (it works so well for you!). Lol It turns out that one of my cows became another impactful animal in my life, so I’m having fun sharing her as my “mascot”.
If it isn’t too much to ask, I would absolutely love your feedback on what I’m working on. It’s still a work in progress, but we have to start somewhere, right? Lol
My website is www.FoundMyBrave.com
Thanks again Leslie! You’re amazing! And thank you for reading to the end of my message. Your stamina is formidable.
P.S. You might find it amusing that the darn jackrabbit showed up again two years later. This time to play Cupid. He appeared on the side of the road when a clear prompting flowed through my mind saying, “Devin (a co-worker) is going to play a very important role in your life.”
I married Devin three months later. Lol
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