Monday, October 12, 2009

The Barter System

My son, David, lives with his wife, Sydneyann, in Los Angeles. They are very active in their local community of Silver Lake, leading out in an effort to connect with their neighbors and the local businesses. Not too long ago David called and told me that he had decided to talk to the local hair salon and see if he could barter for a hair cut. I laughed out loud, but David was serious! It's not cheap to live in southern California, so he thought this would be a good way to save some money. He would offer them something he had in exchange for a haircut.

So, David emailed the local salon and offered to write them a poem in exchange for a hair cut. They could keep the poem and display it on their wall, and he told them that one day when he was a famous poet it would be worth something. Much to my surprise, the owner of the hair salon liked the idea of the barter and agreed. David got his hair cut for free, and he is now the Poet Laureate of The Hive hair salon in Silver Lake! This was the beginning of a great relationship between David, Sydneyann, the owners of the Hive, and many of the people in their neighborhood. The barter system, alive and well in Silver Lake!

I am finding that the barter system is alive and well in Houston as well. My cancer treatment has seemed something like a barter system to me:

"Give us six weeks of radiation and we'll give you diarrhea."
"Give us ten inches of your rectum and colon and we'll give you an ileostomy."
"Give us six months of your life and we'll give you six years."

Somehow something went wrong with my barter system! Maybe I should be writing poems!

But then I remember the real trades that have been made in the last four months:

"Give me your trust and I will walk with you daily."
"Give me your fears and I will give you My peace."
"Give up control and I will write your story."
"Give me your life and I will give you Mine."

I got a good deal!

Tuesday morning I go back to the doctor's office to begin my second round of chemo. Hopefully they will be able to administer it this time. Please continue to pray for my body to produce new blood cells!


  1. Just wanted you to know I love you Laura Shookem! and I am praying today and thank you for who you are to me:) Love you and your sweet family!

  2. Isn't it great that when you sit in that chair for your treatment, you'll be sitting in the lap of God!

  3. I love your blog! I'm bartering too. I'm a member of It's fun and I saved a lot of money!

  4. You seem to have been guarenteed 6 year? I am not guarenteed any years. Nor do you and I want any guarentee, except the one Jesus bought for us "eternal life". I know we are satisfied and very, very blesses. I sat with my godchild for those 8 hours one day, I would count it a priveledge if you wanted me to sit with you. I love you sweet friend. Marilyn Lewis

  5. Individual discouragement and personal enlargement

    Moses went unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens. Exodus 2:11.
    Moses saw the oppression of his people and felt certain that he was the one to deliver them, and in the righteous indignation of his own spirit he started to right their wrongs. After the first strike for God and for the right, God allowed Moses to be driven into blank discouragement, He sent him into the desert to feed sheep for forty years. At the end of that time, God appeared and told Moses to go and bring forth His people, and Moses said—‘Who am I, that I should go?’ In the beginning Moses realized that he was the man to deliver the people, but he had to be trained and disciplined by God first. He was right in the individual aspect, but he was not the man for the work until he had learned communion with God.
    We may have the vision of God and a very clear understanding of what God wants, and we start to do the thing; then comes something equivalent to the forty years in the wilderness, as if God had ignored the whole thing, and when we are thoroughly discouraged God comes back and revives the call, and we get the quaver in and say—‘Oh, who am I!’ We have to learn the first great stride of God—“I AM THAT I AM hath sent thee.” We have to learn that our individual effort for God is an impertinence; our individuality is to be rendered incandescent by a personal relationship to God (see Matthew iii. 11). We fix on the individual aspect of things; we have the vision—‘This is what God wants me to do’; but we have not got into God’s stride. If you are going through a time of discouragement, there is a big personal enlargement ahead. "My Utmost for His Highest"

  6. Call Peggy Jones. Her husband is on staff at HFBC-He is the longest living pancreatic survivor-17 years now.713-683-1500

  7. Hi Laura, went to sleep last night praying for you, that this time there will be no nausea, no extreme fatigue, NO side effects at all. Thank you for sharing with us, you are an inspiration. God Bless!
    Vickie D