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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Stress Score

(Note: My husband approved the following post...)

A couple of nights ago Kyle casually mentioned he’d taken a “life events stress assessment.” Just out of curiosity, I guess. Turns out he scored in the “unhealthy” category.

And—it turns out—stress can come in a variety of flavors…

Within the year:

  • Major personal injury or illness—check (The new hip is working great, by the way.)

  • Major change in health of a family member—check (sadly, of late, his Dad*)

  • Gaining a new family member—check (bonus points for hosting the wedding in your own backyard?)

  • Major business readjustment—check (happening as we speak)

  • Son or daughter leaving home—(I questioned this one. Until he reminded me of the number of times he’s helped our son in South America navigate seriously dangerous situations in recent months; also his role as advisor to a son, nearly married, on his first-time house purchase; and the son he’ll be helping with his upcoming move to NYC. I relented, and gave him the points.) check

  • Outstanding personal achievement—(he asks me if building a house counts?) check

  • Spouse beginning or ceasing work outside the home—(eye-roll) check

  • Changes in residence—check

  • Change in church activity—check

  • Changes in social activities—(does a pandemic count?) check. check. check.

Add ‘em all up, and yessiree, Bob. (Sorry, Bob.) 80% chance of a stress-related health breakdown.

Good gravy.

Fortunately for my husband, he gave up stress for Lent a couple of years back, and he meant it.


Sometimes a wakeup call can be just what the doctor ordered, and we are, indeed, paying attention. Even when life, overall, seems amazing… (Nils and Brina, if you’re reading this, we CAN’T WAIT to host your upcoming wedding!) Still, it is good to remember we are humans, with actual limitations.

I ask on a regular basis if there’s anything I can do to help. I sneak a peek at the post-it he keeps on his desk. Last week, noticing something about a wedding arbor he planned to build. Surely there’s got to be something out there already constructed. Why reinvent the wheel? I started by contacting the place where we’re renting our tables. I scrolled through Craig’s List. Sent a text to a young lady who recently married.

Nada. Nothing.

That night, before bedtime, he’d built one himself.

This, he will admit, is part of the issue. He likes DIY so very much. “I could do it better” is sort of his mantra. (Keep reading.)

Last night our Minnesota offspring joined us for a campfire cookout and a bit of relaxing out on the lake. The water was glass, and the temperatures perfect, for a sunset boat ride, and some low-key fishing. Our only mistake was bringing the dog.

Who ate a fishhook. Not entirely, though. Fortunately, instead of lodging in her throat, the hook embedded itself firmly in her fleshy lip. (Scroll up to the picture heading this post.) Good news for Maple—Kyle is also a DIY vet. (Why would we want to pay for that?!) A solid hour of effort, a couple of YouTube videos, (you can seriously search “how to” on every imaginable topic) a bit of string rigged up like a tooth-pulling contraption, and VOILA! No more fishhook, and not even a yelp.

We’re in this together. I do remind him. Your heart-attack is my stress score, if you know what I mean.

For better, for worse

For richer, for poorer,

In sickness and in health

To love and to cherish

Till death do us part

(*On a serious note. We do ask for prayers for Kyle’s Dad, whose Alzheimers has recently taken a turn for the worse.)

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