To the friends and family of Doug Cloward

Saturday, April 26, Doug was admitted to the hospital for a severe case of pneumonia. Later he was diagnosed with mantel cell lymphoma leukemia.

We have been receiving many emails and phone calls expressing love and prayers in behalf of Doug. We have set up this blog for updates on Doug's progress. Thank you all for your overwhelming support and care!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

When Heaven and Earth Come Togehter

The distance between the earth and the heavens has always fascinated me. As a boy I could look at the night stars and marvel at their brightness and the distance between me and them. As a fan of Flash Gordon and Superman I often tried to imagine what it was like out there and if there were people, creatures, beings like or unlike me who were looking out from their world through the same stars I was look at wondering similarly if someone else was out there. Somehow I was certain that there was intelligent life beyond the stars. I was certain that someday I too would visit the heavens.

Even now on a clear night on the mountain I love to gaze at the myriads of tiny lights that create the cloud-like haze of the milky way. The frequent interruption of my gaze by a passing jet reminds me even more of how very far they are away. Then I look at the images of Hubble's view of the universe and even though I know it can only see a small fraction in width and depth of what is "out there," I marvel even more at the beauty, the immensity and the majesty of the heavens. What one of us, who in a moment of disconnection from the single dimensional plane of our own existence on the earth, hasn't felt the awe of gazing into the heavens. But, there were some whose heaven gaze on a star-filled night witnessed Earth and Heaven coming together.

That night and those hillside gazers' view would forever put real perspective into the closeness of the heavens and the nearest of its non-fictional residents. As those shepherds witnessed the heavens come to life with the view and voices of that heavenly choir, they understood more about the reality of intelligent life in the heavens than even those who have created and gaze through Hubble. That night, the heavens and the earth came together and their residents marveled together beneath a single shining star at that heavenly traveler who made it possible for each of us to become residents of His heaven if we would, but learn the simple lesson He brought of how to bring heaven to earth.

Now we gather again with families and loved ones across the planet to celebrate and commemorate that most celestial event of over two thousand years ago. And although the commemoration may be lost in the tinsel and the rush, I hope that you and I will find a moment or two to once again gaze into the heavens and remember that He who came is coming again to bring His heaven to earth - soon.

May you and yours have a most blessed week of celebration of His birth, life and love. May each gift that you give and receive be a reminder of those that He has given. And may your view of the new year be filled with thoughts of what gifts you may bring Him in your service, love and labors in His behalf. May you as the shepherds find joy and choirs of heaven in your heart as you feed and care for His sheep.

We have come far. We have far to go. Let us ever enjoy the journey and seek to bring heaven and earth a little closer with the heritage of our eternal family.

Onward and upward

Love Doug

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wasn't It Just Yesterday?

I sat on the couch near the fireplace with the tiny bundle in my arms. As I peered down into the waking eyes of my newest grandson, Douglas Frederick Cloward I was struck with an overwhelming sense of dejavu. Wasn't it just yesterday that it was Brytt M Cloward's tiny face I was looking down into? Could it possibly be that "just yesterday" was, in reality, nearly 30 years ago.

Then, as families were preparing to leave after a fabulous Thanksgiving gathering and feast, I held a little larger bundle with arms wrapped around my neck as Brynnlee napped snuggled to my chest and again the feeling washed over me, "wasn't it just yesterday" that I held my own firstborn in a similar secure and heart warming sleepy embrace nearly 35 years ago?

It was a wonderful gathering. When Clowards meet they work, cook, eat, laugh and play and work some more. The first work project was to fill the wood bunker so we could keep the firs going and the cabin warm during the cold and windy days of Thanksgiving ahead. And as I watched Kaiden, the oldest grandson orchestrate the the line of grandchildren for the hand-to-hand wood transfer from the outside woodpile, I marveled at his young, yet strong encouragement of the children who struggled under the weight of the fire logs as they passed them along to the the next sibling. And I marveled, "wasn't it just yesterday" that I was at the hospital newborn room window looking in on this tiny first grandson and wondering what would lay ahead for him in years to come - years that seemed then so far off for such a tiny little baby boy.

Then, as nearly three- year-old Kensi presented a log at least 1/3 her weight to me with eyes searching for acknowledgment of her contribution to the process, I remembered that it was just last year that she stood aside and watched the wood passing tradition. Now, she was fully part of it. My praise of her help brought a smile bigger than the log she struggled to carry and I remembered "wasn't it just yesterday" that I struggled under the weight of some load to hand to my father and grandfather to step into the tradition and the heritage that I now carry on.

And now I know that, yes, it was just yesterday and that yesterdays are the birthplace and the the continuence of traditions, values and the birth and the enrollement of new members to the heritage of the family. It is in allowing even our youngest members to play a part in our traditions that enrolls them and initiates them to the values of work and the right of play. It encourages them in the art and the service of food preparation and clean up and gives them the right and the voice in the choice of play and laughter. Yes, yesterdays are soon todays. And 'er we blink, yesterday is tomorrow.

Then the phone rang and the oldest granddaughter's voice seemed to be from just the other room instead of from the other side of the country in Kentucky. And it seemed like it had been too many yesterdays since I hugged her and saw the bright sparkle in the eyes of the young lady she has become all too soon.

Douglas stretched and blinked with eyes looking beyond me. Was it his two-week-old eyes unable to focus, or was he focusing on something or someone beyond, above his grandfather? Brynnlee stirred from her nap on my chest and stretched, her eyes reaching mine with a smile of contentment that melted my heart and held the rest of my world at bay. Kaiden asked to use the soldering iron to fix an electronic connection on a game controller that was beyond my comprehension. Nicolas, Luke and Afton joined Ireland in coaxing for a grandpa's bedtime story, which is always followed up by a special grandpa's mint. It was a great story about the Goolagangi and there were exactly the right number of mints left in the tin for each grandchild. As they slid down off the bed (one of those you need a step stool to get onto) they left me with a newfound impression of my greatest blessings - each of them.

That was just yesterday! I will remember it forever.

I hope your Thanksgiving yesterday was unforgettable and that you remember it as if it were just yesterday, tomorrow. Tomorrows are too soon here and gone. Yesterdays are what we have to keep and to remember, but to make them count, we must see them in today - everyday. Heritage is what they remember about what you remembered and when you remembered them. They will remember what you valued enough to make them a part of -- work, play, prayer and planning.

I am so looking forward to Christmas when they will all once again converge on the Cabin together and again I will participate in the traditions of today's new yesterdays' wood transfers, food preparations, feasts, burpings, naps, stories - eyes and smiles - heritage.

You still have time to plan your yesterdays ahead.

Onward and upward.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Newness of Life

Greetings again!

The second breakout of shingles was painful and the itching was compounded by the itch to see my newest grandson and namesake. Douglas Frederick Cloward was born to Brytt and Jinger last week and I had to stay away until the shingles were past the contagious stage. Ohh! Itch and pain! But finally the time and scabs passed and I saw and held him for the first time last night.

There is something wondrous, wonderful, awesome and healing in the touch of new life. Not that I am biased or anything about my grandkids, they are all very bright and I simply can't get enough of them, this one included. All children have energy of life that is contagious and sometimes overwhelming. Oh if I could just find the formula and bottle it! I can see it now -- life, energy and heritage in a bottle! Oh well, back to the books. That is likely as close to capturing the life, love, energy and renewing power of any life - including our own.

I know a little bit about the thoughts and the process of new life, having come back from the brink a time or two in recent months. Perhaps that is, in a very real sense, what we are all reaching for - a new life. We call it progress.

Don't we all want a better life? Not that the one we have isn't good, or even great, but all of us are working, living and striving for a new, better life for ourselves and for our families. And Heritage Makers are actively passing on the tools to help do just that. How and where we search for that progress is an adventure and a challenge with life altering potential. What we take in from our search can lead to triumph or tragedy. So here are a few thoughts on how, where and what to search for to discover and capture the joy of newness of life.

1- Cherish your own breath. Learn to find joy in simply breathing. Close your eyes and breathe four times thinking what a joy it is to breath unlabored. Fill you lungs and your heart with a feeling of gratitude for the breath of life - your life.

2- Savor the moment. They are numbered, few and priceless, but we often let them pass without savoring what they bring - experience, relationships, opportunity to respond, repent and to bless. Be sure that where you sell and use your moments is worthy of the most priceless gift and asset your have. Too soon you too will come to know that time runs out for everyone -- including you.

3- If you have eyes to see and ears to hear - DO IT! Really see, really hear. Seek sights that inspire, calm and make you feel small - you know the smallness that feels good. Listen for the music of the moment, the sounds of the symphony of life that is playing all around you. Turn up the volume by directing your reception toward the performer to fully appreciate the performance. Even silence is an instrument of powerful accent and soothing transition between the din of din of humanity's trumpets of rush. See, hear, smile and say "ahh" to all the performers and artists - especially the Master of both.

4- Make your own voice a healing balm. How? Sing a lullaby to a newborn or a crying child. Speak kind and understanding words to an agitated teen, complement a co-worker or associate and praise a spouse for the countless acts and works of service they give to you and yours. Your tongue has great power. See that is used for good before you say "Amen."

5- Reach out and touch yourself. Marvel at your own hand. Reach up and stroke your own brow to discover the healing, lifting power and gift that is yours to gather and to give. Then gather and give. Gather strength, flowers and messes, write a love note. Give a handshake, a handout and a hand up. Make sure that yours is the hand that puts cookies in the jar of life.

6- Savor the flavor. Peel and eat an orange over twice the normal time it would take. Marvel at the orange structure, beauty, scent, flavor and the gift it is. Taste this bit of life and savor it more. Then add the savoring skill to other morsels and meals.

7- Give gratitude three times a day to three people who aren't expecting it. Gratitude is the mother of virtues and the father of real joy in life. Recognizing the little contributions to your life and assigning and delivering the reward of your praise and thanks is healing and it is also contagious and compounding.

So friends, family and heritage makers, here is wishing you newness of life, love and business and a most happy and grateful holiday.

Onward and upward.

Love, Doug

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Squeeze the Life Out of It

That's right, squeeze the life out of it -- life!

Greetings friends, family, heritage makers and those of you who stumble onto my ramblings. Yes, I am still here, but have not been at the blog for a while. Why? I guess because I have been squeezing a bit of late. Health-wise I have been battling to get my white counts up (very slow progress over the last month - but progress.) The shingles lesions will create greater compassion, empathy and more efficient scratching. The doctors can't tell me when or even if that will go away. I have tried chili pepper ointment, crushed aspirins in lotion, different anti-depressants (not because I am depressed mind you) and anti-seizure meds and a host of other things. Nothing seems to work as well as my sweetheart's TLC (don't tell her that and I won't tell her if the sting and itch goes away).

Anyway, I am loving the extension and the challenge of my life in health, happiness, business, time and faith. I am learning to squeeze more effectively. One of the great lessons I am learning about squeezing life is that it takes less effort, not more. It takes more pause than busyness. It takes more of serving than being served. And it takes vigilant intentionality to avoid being swept away in the rush of everyone else's busyness, urgency, fear, uncertainty, greed and guilt.

Busyness seems to be produced when we rush to be right about things we may have little or no control over, at least that has been so in my experience. Yep, that is a confession. Urgency is usually, not always, but too often, the result of letting things of a lower priority, but higher desire, rob the priority and time of things of a higher, and usually more lasting priority. Fear is simply the absence, avoidance or the abandonment of faith. Faith is the principle and influence that moves us to action to do right rather than to be right. And it comes from an understanding of and a commitment to a higher power that is able to and willing to secure us in making right decisions and doing right things. That is the basis of righteousness - the quantity and the quality of being correct - in all things.

In these times we are all uncertain of the next shoe to drop and crisis to face. All must turn our heads up to dispel fear and the uncertainty of today's challenges and to find assurance of tomorrow's peace. As we do, we bring that peace and light forward into the present -- for ourselves and others.

Greed is the evidence of faithlessness as well as selfishness. It is evidence that a person feels that they must get as much as they can as fast as they can because there is not enough of it (whatever it is) nor enough time to get it and that only they can, by their device, get it because no one else will see that they get their fair share of it. I have discovered that greed is like dehydrated water. It simply never satisfies thirst. Perhaps that is why we are encouraged to hunger and "thirst" after righteousness. Because as we do, we find it most satisfying, healing and enriching.

Guilt is interesting, mine and yours. I am guilty of so many things, most of which have occurred when I was greedy or fearful or just too darn busy. I have been able to unburden myself from some of those things and I am working to uncover and unload as many more as I can in whatever time I have left. I probably will not get through the list, but perhaps I will yet more fully get out from under the load as I more fully discover and use His yoke. When I do, I breathe more easily and I am less greedy, urgent, uncertain and busy. I have found that it is true - His yoke lightens and lightens my load. I recommend it.

May you too find peace in this season of gratefulness by unburdening your hearts and minds and intentionally determining not to contribute to nor be swept away in the drift of busyness.

Happy Heritage Making and Thanksgiving!

Onward and Upward

Love Doug

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Still Here and Loving Every Minute

Yes, it has been too long since my last post. And so many things have occurred. It seems like life is ever changing in challenge, opportunity and priority. So, here is the short of the last five weeks.

Prior to our National Convention, Reunion, in Anaheim, my blood levels were way low and I had to go on daily Nupigen shots to try and boost my white counts up to where I was out of the Neutripenic range (no immunity). As a blessing, the counts came up and I was able to go with Judy and the rest of the HM team to the convention. I was so grateful to see so many of our HM friends there. The meetings and training were great.

When I returned, I went back to the Oncologist. He did a bone marrow biopsy to check for the Lymphoma, assuming that the delay in white cell rebound was due to lingering cancer in the marrow. The results and the PET scan confirmed, at least at that date, that I was in consolidation (clinical remission). Yes, we celebrated, but know that usually the disease revisits within two years or less.

As of Tuesday's check up, the blood levels again had dropped to the bottom, so next week it will be another bone marrow draw and test to see if they can figure anything out. Such is the life of a survivor who is committed to living fully until the job is done. Yep, it's clear to me I need more time, so I will likely be around for a while yet to learn whatever this adventure has to teach me.

We are in the midst of strategic planning for the coming year. It seems we can't finish one event fast enough to start planning and arranging for the next year's (sometimes two years in advance) event.

As for thoughts and insights into life in general, might I just share with each of you how very much I have come to appreciate little things around me and the many acts of interest, concern, love and service of those around me, especially from and with my sweetheart.

Judy has always noticed the sunrises and sunsets and the myriad of God's little gifts of nature and she has tried to get me to take notice. I did, at a glance, but I had not given myself the joy of pausing to savor the sight, gift and moment - with her. That has changed and I hope I can fill the void of so many lost moments of not noticing with noticing more from here out.

Little things like actually sleeping, or sleeping a full night, or a little while without the paining twing of the shingles neuralgia, a glass of water, delivered to me by my loving spouse and daughter are in reality HUGE things. The constant checking on my status, feelings and needs - pampering, makes my life so very sweet and rich. Don't miss the opportunity to give and receive little acts of kindness - they are, in the final analysis of life, are the real jewels we will carry with us, or bemoan our failure to recognize and gather them while we had the chance.

So, where from here? Day-by-day, week-by-week I will strive to recognize the real priorities. Repent and change when errors are called to my attention and pursue with all my vigor and resources the eternal happiness of my family and the success of our business and business associates. It is all a great and grand adventure and I love it all - every bit of it.

So, till next entry or visit I wish you health and happiness.

Onward and upward,

Love Doug

Monday, September 8, 2008

Liberty & Freedom from the Hospital Bed

The room is perhaps 10x6x20 (hallway). There is a window on the side wall that looks out at the mountain and the helipad. On the wall behind my bed view is a poster picture of a cowboy riding along a high mountain stream, with the title FREEDOM. Any of you who have read one of my favorite books, Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning" will appreciate that freedom is a state of mind and that liberty is control of options.

Freedom is the realization that you are free to choose, own and stand accountable for the choices of your mind and whatever actions your liberty, or lack thereof, permit you. Today, my liberty is largely limited to my hospital room again, but the blood counts are looking like tomorrow maybe they will deliver the key with the hard boiled (steamed, nuked, or otherwise lifeless) eggs. Oh what choices are expanded with that soon-to-be re found liberty. Yet, what accountability will come with that new found liberty as well.

So here we have consultants, moms, with a new found liberty of kids back in school and no longer being focused on last minute vacations, soccer and such --- what to do, ummmh? And then we have the president of the company, no longer confined to the bed and the pricks and pokes and pumps and pills and nurses and ----- ummmh, what to do?

Seems we all have some renewed and important choices to make over the next few days because the choices of the next few days seem to set the course and the priorities of those that follow. It seems that moments of choice of change are far more impactful to longer term actions than one might think.

So, what will it be? Let's see -- no movies, TV, Mall hop shopping, novels and restaurants over the past three weeks for me. Maybe I should really celebrate - do those things I haven't been able to do? Or rather, maybe I can run a little faster, speak a little louder and reach a few more ears and hearts with the message and the movement. I guess my choice will rally speak my priority and my priority will speak my passion and my passion will carry my message of priority and purpose and power. I think until the key comes I will seek the freedom and the liberty to speak out to yet another nurse and doctor about what ails their families and the sound cure that is found in heritage. They seem to be honestly interested in my diagnosis and prognosis and several have carried the message beyond the confines of my current liberty. And so shall they (your contacts) carry your message beyond your circle of influence and reach.

I look forward to introducing you to a simple new tool to help you help them to extend the reach of your liberty to inspire, instruct and motivate with your message of heritage. That is coming at Reunion -- a simple tool that will reverberate your message and your liberty, if you will only choose to use it. IT IS COMING.

Onward and Upward


Friday, September 5, 2008

The Movement has begun - And a Little Child Shall Lead Them - and Us

It has been oh so long for me to try to work, communicate and convalesce in the hospital, that is until I meet someone so much worse off and here for so much longer. Dear Lord and friends, forgive my impatience and lack of perspective. But oh, it has felt so long since I hugged the grandkids. But then the massive breakout of shingles across my neck, shoulder, back and head are too contagious for the little ones. It seems so long since I had the chance to give one of the Consultant's kids a sucker or treat at my office, let alone a hug for their moms. Thankfully a few call and visit with news and loves and coordination. Thank you for trying to keep me in the company of the business, if not in the office of the company.

Today I must share a powerful and pressing insight that has distilled upon my sleepless hours. I have come to more fully understand that heritage is children and heritage making is first and foremost about our, yours and their children.

I have had some pretty heavy thinking on that subject the last few days/nights. As I measure and value the things and people of my life, I believe that I have come to glimpse, ever more slightly, into what eternity must be, to be as rewarding and wonderful and the Word and the prophets have indicated. I now understand more why the Lord called the children to Him and counseled his disciples to forbid them not. I understand why He declared. "…for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven" and why we must not offend one of them. And how a millstone would not even begin to reward unkindness to the least of them. I see now why I am so driven by the last two verses of the Old Testament and why 2nd Timothy 3: is so chilling to my bones.

Our lives, His life and purpose is found in children, heritage, even "an heritage of the Lord." Oh that I could find the words to convey to each of you how clear this vision of reality is. How I wish that you could feel as I feel the urgency, the necessity and the opportunity to come to the rescue of the children who must face the voices of deceit and anger and half-truths and selfishness and pride and the rhetoric of special interests, politicians and the media. How I wish you could, as I have, had your heart opened to the view of eternity and the precious love He has for each child. How I wish you could see beyond the story to the eternal realities of their real story. How I wish you could hear the call of the Shepherd of the lambs calling for shepherds of the sheep to gather them to the "folds" of the books and posters and cards - with full explanation of their meaning and power and purpose - for heritage, not just stories.

My friends and family and heritage makers, please find your own moments of silence as I have these last few days and find eyes to see, hearts to feel and ears to hear to know ours is a work of saving the children. Teach them why they are special. Help them discover and cherish the values of the past and the family present. Prepare yourself to carry the message of Heritage through the workshops to thousands of moms and dads who already know the value of their little ones and the challenge they must face in the days ahead. Please, please come to understand what it means to be a maker of Heritage and a Heritage Maker.

Please do not lose the chore of the message in the process. Please rally with me in the creation and coordination of the movement and the cause. Don't get lost in the pages and papers. Rather, get immersed in the lives and voices of the movement. Give the message of heritage, heroes, values and strong resilient children to everyone who will give you the opportunity to share the message of the Heritage Workshop and the passion of a heritage conversation. Please -- join me in the confines of my conviction. Please lead them to their heritage.

Onward and Upward
Love, Doug