The Plum Tree – Resiliency Update

My original blog post called “I am the tree. The Tree is me.” was published on June 15, 2023. That is eleven months ago. One of the key concepts in that blog post was mental resiliency.

You can find that post here:

In short, my new little plum tree almost died during a vicious wind storm and I woke up one morning to find her bent over nearly touching the ground.

I was crushed and started balling because this was just another adverse situation to add to my current load and I felt I was maxed. My resiliency was tapped out.

I have been thinking about my tree a ton lately. Would my poor little tree survive our harsh and dry winter? Would I be buying a new tree and starting over this year?

She looked awfully small and sparse all winter. Like…Charlie Brown Christmas Tree sparse.

Frankly, I am not sure that I could have handled her dying this spring. 

It has been a fairly rough spring for me. I have been sick since the beginning of April. My life has been on hold. I am mentally beaten.

I have been sick since April 3. Six long weeks. I’ve been on 2 different meds. I can’t sleep. It is hard to stay focus on tasks. I can’t work out.
My social calendar is empty. I fell behind at work. I missed personal deadlines for writing and editing. And I missed 6 weeks of marathon training.
It’s no wonder that I’m struggling mentally. My life has been put on hold. Everything I love to do to keep me healthy has been cancelled.

The little tree that could!

I came out to the front yard over the weekend to take out the trash.

And there she was, blooming and flourishing. She has more resiliency than I give her credit for.

I came running back into the house, giddy, like the revived Scrooge on Christmas Day after being visited by three ghosts.

Paula…come now! I was in tears! My little plum tree survived. Look at how beautiful she is!

Quick, show me how you take the good pictures when she is in focus with a blurry background! My excitement was uncontrollable! I imagine I was talking so fast my wife could barely comprehend me.

I am looking forward to seeing her grow this year. She will build more resiliency to the wind and the weather. She will spread her branches and soak up the sun and the rain! I am so excited for her.


Why does it matter?

The plum tree has become a bit of an origins story for me. I write about my beloved plum tree and her incident in my new book. It might become a bit of a calling card story for me. It is a story about resiliency in adverse conditions and a story about self awareness and recognizing the signs of needing more self-care.

I have already developed a postcard template for Dennis on the Run with a plum tree image.

I can see writing future content with the plum tree in mind. No doubt, she will become a focus for my speeches and keynotes in the future.

If she had died, perhaps my message about resiliency dies with her. I would need to adjust my story.

But she did not!

She is alive! And thriving. She is ready for whatever the universe throws at her this year. And she knows that I will be there to support her.

Update on my book.

As I mentioned in my last blog, the first draft of Dennis on the Run is complete. And I included a teaser from the book.

You can find that blog here:

I find myself with a little bit of free time. It feels weird because I have been so focused on finishing my editing, I have hardly had time for anything else.

Of course, I was also very sick, and updated my website last month. So my ability to take on anything else was limited.

I hope you love the new website. Let me know in the comments. This is just the beginning, there is still more to come!

If you are thinking about writing a book, or want to talk to an expert about some options, I highly recommend Larissa Soehn and her team!

Book cover update

This weekend, I started working on my book cover. My wife, Paula, is helping because she is very talented with a background in graphic design.

So, we started with some concepts that I had. I hacked some mock covers together in Canva, my tool of choice. I already use it for t-shirts and all of my images I use online for social media. It is a very user friendly tool.

But I am pretty basic at it. To do anything complicated or fancy, I need to look up YouTube videos to figure it out.

Here one of the 16 covers that I worked on over the weekend. There is probably too much white space. And the picture is just one I grabbed from a recent photoshoot. I seem to be “obsessed” with this picture of me leaning up against the edge of the book! Haha!

Let me know what you think in the comments!


At the end of the weekend, we had a couple of working book covers that I would be happy with. Now it is time to add some graphic design magic to go from happy to ecstatic about it!

I am also working on concepts for a notebook and a journal. 

Let me know if there is anything you look for in a journal in the comments. I have a pretty good idea of what I want to put together, but there is still time for your input!

Free downloads coming!

I am starting to work on additional content for you! My first free download should be ready to go in June if not sooner.

I am working on a Dennis on the Run version of the mood meter. I will call mine a mood map (tentatively).

It will be a printable PDF with 64 squares of moods for you to select. Actually, it will have 65 squares. See above…because I added AWESOME at the top of my mood map for those special days that you want to remember! I definitely would like more AWESOME days this summer!

In my upcoming book, I encourage you to journal and use a mood map to describe how you feel because this gives you insight into your inner emotions. And it helps your self awareness.

For example, after creating my mood map, I took a look and marked tired and frustrated which are in the blue quadrant. These represent uncomfortable or unpleasant moods and low energy.

Why do I feel like that?

I am tired of being sick and I am frustrated that the minute I started feeling better, severe smoke moved into my city. I had to hide in the house the whole weekend!

That was good to know. I thought my mood was a little better since my infection seems to be winding down. My resiliency is pretty low right now.

But despite feeling better from my infection, I feel the same or worse because of the smoke coming form forest fires. I really hope that the summer is filled with safer air. Last year was very smoky!

Wrap up.

I am starting to recover from this terrible cold and I am feeling better. I am not sure that I showed much resiliency while sick. It was terrible and I felt pretty helpless! 

I finally feel like a real person again. Is this how Pinocchio felt?

But, yesterday, I went for a run on my treadmill for the first time since the beginning of April. 

It felt so amazing! I took it easy. A short 5.9 KM run, approximately 45 minutes. I was dripping in sweat because I am out of shape.

I loved it! It felt so great to finally get in a workout. I am looking forward to getting back into my morning workout ritual and back to training for my marathon.

Yes, I am going to try to run the Calgary Marathon at the end of the month, despite missing weeks of training.

I figure I was almost at the end of my training for it. My body will not forget everything. I might have to take it slow. I might have to walk.

But, gosh, darn it, I am going to run. It is time to put the Run back into Dennis on the Run!!!

See you at the finish line!

And remember to subscribe below to make sure you are always notified when my latest blog is released. I have also added postcard Friday to give you a snippet of wisdom each and every Friday!

2 Responses

  1. Nice blog Dennis!
    Enjoy reading them.
    Insightful, emotional, but uplifting too.
    So glad you are starting to feel better.
    Sunshine and blue skies on the horizon.

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