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What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger

December 28, 2009
Looking out at the winter wonderland as the sun sets, thinking about the many new people I have met recently who are considering investing in a new home or remodeling their existing home, I have become reflective. I am thankful and blessed. I cannot help but feel optimistic and determined to come through this long walk in the woods to see the sunset. “What doesn't kill you will make you stronger,” and it sure makes you appreciate the journey. The following story by Steve Goodier is inspirational to me and I hope that it provides some strength for your journey as well. Strengthened by Our Wounds by Steve Goodier Po Bronson, in his book WHY DO I LOVE THESE PEOPLE? (Random House, 2005), tells a true story about a magnificent elm tree. The tree was planted in the first half of the 20th Century on a farm near Beulah, Michigan (USA). It grew to be a magnificent tree. In the 1950s, the family that owned the farm kept a bull chained to the elm. The bull paced around the tree, dragging a heavy iron chain with him, which scraped a trench in the bark about three feet off ground. The trench deepened over the years, though for whatever reason, did not kill the tree.After some years, the family sold the farm and took their bull. They cut the chain, leaving the loop around the tree and one link hanging down. Over the years, bark slowly covered the rusting chain. Then one year, agricultural catastrophe struck Michigan in the form of Dutch Elm Disease. It left a path of death across vast areas. All of the elms lining the road leading to the farm became infected and died. Everyone figured that old, stately elm would be next. There was no way the tree could last, between the encroaching fungus and its chain belt strangling its trunk. The farm's owners considered doing the safe thing: pulling it out and chopping it up into firewood before it died and blew over onto the barn in a windstorm. But they simply could not bring themselves to do it. It was as if the old tree had become a family friend. So they decided to let nature take its course. Amazingly, the tree did not die. Year after year it thrived. Nobody could understand why it was the only elm still standing in the county! Plant pathologists from Michigan State University came out to observe the tree. They observed the scar left by the iron chain, now almost completely covered by bark and badly corroded. The plant experts decided that it was the chain that saved the elm's life. They reasoned that the tree must have absorbed so much iron from the rusting chain, that it became immune to the fungus.   It's said that what doesn't kill you will make you stronger. Or, as Ernest Hemingway put it, "Life breaks us all, but afterwards, many of us are strongest at the broken places." The next time you're in Beulah, Michigan, look for that beautiful elm. It spans 60 feet across its lush, green crown. The trunk is about 12 feet in circumference.

While Bob and I have worked with CL Design Build, the experience has been positive, professional, and one we would pursue again. Our dream home was creatively designed balancing practicality and cost. Cheryl’s attention to detail will make our home a focal point of the neighborhood. Thanks to all at CL Design Build!

~ Bob and Ann Elwood

We enjoyed working with CL Design Build to build our 100% custom dream home. Starting with a blank piece of paper, we were able to build our home from bottom to top using our own ideas and concepts. We are really enjoying our home today.

~ Doug and Cinda Coyne

That teamwork between Brad and Cheryl ensured that we received the best that is available. There is a trust and bond between CL Design-Build and their clients that gave us peace of mind. The numerous compliments that we receive on our beautiful home are tremendous!

~ Richard and Kristine Christie