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Goat’s milk changed Shann Nix Jones’ life.

OK, it started way before the goats arrived. Let’s back up a little.

In the July series, Practicing the Student Creed, we’re exploring principles from Tae Kwon Do. In Tae Kwon Do, perseverance takes on a world view. Students vow “to use our strengths to positively affect the world we live in.” Wow – lofty goal. Are you up to the challenge? Shann Nix Jones was.

Shann was thriving as a radio talk show host in ultra-urban San Francisco. After following her heart to the U.K., her romance went south. A major reinvention was in order. She found herself in a small cottage in Wales with her two children. There was an upside to the turmoil, however. Several years later she met her husband, Rich, and began to manage his seaside farm. The future looked bright.

Her son’s respiratory issues began to take center stage. Asthma developed into full-blown, persistent bronchial infections. Instead of turning to heavy pharmaceuticals, Rich suggested trying a natural route. They could always explore prescription drugs if Benji’s diet change didn’t work. But it did. And that’s where the goat’s milk came in.

Encouraged by Benji’s progress, Shann began to use the goat’s milk to make kefir, a probiotic. She incorporated the kefir into the family diet, and also began developing soaps and skin creams. More success – Benji’s eczema also disappeared.

There was one more mountain to climb. Rich contracted MRSA, a contagious, life-threatening bacterial infection. While antibiotics normally cure bacterial infections, some strains (coined “superbugs”) are oddly immune. Again, Shann turned to kefir and other natural remedies to treat Rich’s superbug. Their hero’s journey is detailed in “Secrets from Chuckling Goat: How a Herd of Goats Saved My Family and Started a Business that Became a Natural Health Phenomenon.”

After all these achievements, you would think that the Chuckling Goat farm would be sold to a large corporation. Why wouldn’t Shann and her family want to kick back, recreating the luxuries she enjoyed in San Francisco like regular maid service – right? Think again.

The long hours in the Welsh countryside, some in triumph, others in tears, have permanently changed her perspective. The effort isn’t something to be avoided; it’s something to be cherished. Shann gently says, “The doing is the contentment. Making the jam. Creating the dinner. There’s more than having a total life of leisure.”

It’s time to practice the student creed by putting your inner and outer strengths to work. If you are too overwhelmed by the idea of taking on the whole world, follow Shann Nix Jones’ example and start at home. Are you the wise woman in your circle, where your friends and their daughters seek out your advice? Could you spend a few hours this weekend cleaning up the yard of an ailing neighbor?

Perseverance can display in endless forms. Following through with tenderness is just as powerful as a day filled with sweat equity. Show up in a way that makes your heart sing. Every action, no matter how small, counts.