Barbara Houston Rasmussen

female and male runners on a marathon
Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU on

“Close friends are truly life’s treasures. Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves.” – Vincent Van Gogh –

I will never forget Barbara. She was the kind of friend who could see what was inside and challenge you to be your best. She would encourage me to go beyond my limits and be there to support me if I fail.

Barbara Houston Rasmussen

I met Barbara in Glendale, CA, when we were both selected for training in a new Sacramento position.

Barbara was a character. She loved cooking and trying new foods. We were in training for a week, and for the first three days, we went to lunch. I ordered traditional American fare, and she always had something I was not familiar with.

The first time we went to lunch, she asked me questions while we ate. I was a slow eater, and trying to answer her questions slowed me even more.

So after ordering dessert and more coffee, she finished that, looked at me, and said, “Honey, you eat too slow. I’ll see you back at the office. She then got up and left me in a strange restaurant in a strange city to finish my lunch alone.

The fourth time we went to lunch, she said, “If you don’t order something you have never eaten before, I’m leaving.”

I learned to try foods I could not cook myself. I discovered many foods I enjoyed that were not American dishes and some delicacies prepared American foods I very much enjoyed.

She used to get me to run five miles once a month with a group that sponsored the run. My son would go with us because he liked to run, and I suspect he liked the food and juice they provided at the end of the run. I have no idea how she talked me into doing that once-a-month run, but she did, and I loved the sense of accomplishment I felt even though I was among the last to struggle to the finish line.

I have never forgotten one lesson she taught me—never give my power to someone else. You would be surprised at the many ways we do that without realizing we have done just that. One way is to let something someone else says to get you upset, and you spend your time worrying about it while the other individual goes about their business having a good time without another thought about what they said or did to upset you.

Thank you, Barbara, for challenging me and the other things you taught me about myself and life. I miss your presence, but know you are in a better place and no longer in pain.

I have one last share for tomorrow. Until then, stay safe, and keep the faith.

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