Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

I saw a good facebook status from a friend from Indiana - now "we" have a White Christmas - how about now we go for Peace on Earth! Today would be the only day that I miss the snow. My nephew and his mom and dad went sledding last night - sounded like fun. Although the older I get, the more I like to go down the hill and the less I like to go up.

I feel a bit like I witnessed a Chrismas miracle this week. There has been a 48 year old mom with two daughters, 9 and 11,who is dying of ovarian cancer. The girls' one item on their Christmas list was to have mom home on Christmas. On Thursday, she was so sick and mostly unresponsive. The family was called in - I spent most of the day with them, and then...she got a little better. She actually went home yesterday late, was with the girls last night and came back to hospice today. What an amazing story - truly a miracle. I think miracles can come in lots of ways and sometimes they are not what we are looking for, but this time, a family saw the miracle of Christmas up close and personal.

I got home from work today and I heard the ice cream truck! That is a sound you would not hear on Christmas day in Indiana. It seemed strange to say the least. Experiencing Christmas in Florida for the first time has been....unique. Experiencing my birthday for the first time here has been a little sad. So I am very thankful for the phone calls to sing and the many, many wishes on Facebook. That has been fun to read the comments all day long.

So from Florida - Merry Christmas to all of you! May you know God's love this day and see the presence of the Divine all around you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December 15

When you live in Florida, there is a whole new meaning to some of the Christmas songs. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and Frosty the Snowman and White Christmas don't make as much sense here. So it's December 15 and it does not look like Christmas.

Hospice work has been really busy. I worked this past weekend and we had 10 deaths in 2 days. Wow. That is alot of death. I met a family that were missionaries and felt very strongly that they did not need chaplains. They were kind and enjoyed conversation but no talk of spirituality. However, as their mother died, they let me in as I offered a blessing. They asked for a copy of the blessing to send to other family members. You just never know.

I met a patient last Thursday and we laughed and talked and connected. We were planning on watching something together on my laptop on Saturday. I went in Saturday to find that death was imminent. It has been difficult to work with her family as I had planned on working with her. Two daughters often want me by their side which I am happy to do. The spouse has been making baby steps to prepare. He was still hoping for a miracle. There may be a miracle but it is probably not going to be recovery of health. I hope he gets a miracle in some way though.

I did a memorial service today - actually I have been doing them regularly lately. Today, the friends and family told so many stories of their loved one that it was very endearing. The service was for someone that loved to play the piano and loved music. Today, at the hospice house, we had a volunteer that was playing the harp in our hearth room so as the guests for the service were gathering, we could hear the harp. Felt a bit like angels making music.

The CEO of our hospice sent a note today that included a quote from Elizabeth Edwards facebook page just before she died..."The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful." Amen sista!

I am ready for a 3 day weekend with some time to do some preparations for Christmas. I need to get presents in the mail - and just in case you are wondering if I am sending you one, well, I am sending to Trent and Rowan. Maybe next year.

I finally pulled out some Christmas music - maybe the music will help me feel more like it is Christmas. But I think of my grandma's (mom's mom) favorite song that was Little Drummer Boy. That made my mom not really like hearing that particular song. My own mom's favorite was Silent Night - you know I don't really like hearing that one. My favorite is usually O Holy Night but this year, it feels more like my favorite will be, I'll be home for Christmas. I may not actually be there, but in my dreams, I think I will be.

Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6

My oh my, it's been quite a while since I posted something here. I still love the hospice world. This week seems to be the week for memorial services - many families of people that die at the hospice house really appreciate the space and the warmth of the surroundings. On some kind of level, it feels like home and families like to have services for their loved one on the grounds where they died. The first service I did here was for a 25 year old - that one will always be etched on my heart.

More recently, a woman came in that had just learned of her cancer spreading to all organs. As you can imagine she was on quite a ride through grief. She would take pictures all around the grounds of the plants as she wanted them planted in her own yard for her family when she was gone. She is such a dear - she left the hospice house late last week to go home. We are all hopeful that she can live her dream a little live fully every day. And I also know that very soon, I will see her again.

I say this just about every time but it becomes such a force that I cannot forget - live abundantly - life is short. I learn alot of things about patients and illness and grief and family dynamics and the end of life, but the one thing that I know for sure - all people die, some people live.

The holidays feel strange this year. It is hard to get in the Christmas spirit when the sun is shining and people are wearing shorts. The dinky apartment feels too small for decorations - and too hard to get to the boxes with the decorations so perhaps we will just look at the lights on the neighbor's tree. I am working on Christmas day which I have never done before. We were talking with my cousin who lives near Tampa about what to do to celebrate this year. We need a new if anyone has a cool tradition that could be done in FL, let me know! But one thing I don't mind - no snow for Christmas. I think that works out well.

Enjoy the season of glad tidings. Enjoy the season of preparation and waiting...what are you preparing for?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

November 14

I am reminded over and over why I love working in hospice. The absolute best part are the many people I meet from all walks of life. Today, I share a couple of stories of some of the patients and families I meet.

An elderly man came in last week as he was experiencing pain. He was also very confused and frustrated that he did not know where he was or how he got there. We talked for awhile and then he said, "I just don't know how I am going to earn my keep here. I used to be an electrician - do you think there is any electrical work that needs to be done?" I assured him that he could just rest while he was there but he was disappointed that he couldn't help out. He died just a day later.

A "young" woman, in her 60's, has been mostly unresponsive and has been declining. Her family was gathering, flying from all around the US to get there and yesterday, they were all there. "Mom" opened her eyes and talked with them for 20 minutes about how she was ready to let go and she was glad to see them all. She returned to her nonresponsive state of health and later died. But what a gift for the family as they all gathered to honor her.

Life is somewhat simple here in FL. I don't have meetings, or work I take home, or actually very many responsibilities. Work doesn't feel like work, I live in 990 sf apartment, I spend time encouraging the people I work a chaplain, I get to accept people wherever they are, in whatever they believe, and just be with them as they review their life and get ready to say goodbye.

So life is good, but I truly miss friends and family. My 8 yr old nephew, Trent, won a basketball shootout yesterday - I wish I could have seen him in his winning.
I miss face-to-face conversations and some of my favorite watering holes and shopping experiences. But what's there not to like about the beautiful weather and magnificent sunsets in FL in November? love to all.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It has been awhile since my last post. I talk all day so by the time I get home, I do not have so many words. But certainly, much happens. A few hospice stories, recently I had a patient that was with us for a couple of weeks. She was such fun to talk with as she had a great sense of humor. Each time I would visit, she would want me to pray with her and so I would. One morning I went to her room and she had really declined so I just thought I would say a prayer. As I began, her eyes opened and she said, "Did I die?" She did die the next day but what a gift she was.

Another patient kept shaking hands with the dead. She was very imminent but was still really verbal. She told me that she could see the light and that she needed sunglasses. And she mentioned that the people on her right, she knew, and the people on her left - well, she did not know any of them! Her niece was there watching this with me and fortunately, the niece was very comfortable with what she called, her explanation of the afterlife. Of course, I do not know how that works any more than anyone else, but it is amazing to see these kinds of things over and over. You really cannot work in hospice without believing that there is something sacred at the end of our earthly life.

I got a couple of letters recently from a friend that I adore. He is trying to bring back the art of letter writing - I thought that was a good idea. The ease of the internet makes notes and blogs and facebook seem like the best way to communicate, but I think letter writing is a great old tradition. Perhaps I'll start writing letters. Well, perhaps I'll start to think that it would be a fun idea.

We do Thoughts for the Day each day at the hospice house for the staff. They cover a broad range of thoughts but today's was from my favorite Disney character, Winnie the Pooh.
"If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”
A more scholarly version of that message might be from an Ancient Greek Philosopher,
"be kind, for everyone is fighting a difficult battle."
Either way, it is a message to remember.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October 12

A couple of stories for you...

I was called to an imminent death recently of a 97 year old. His brother is 94 and is also in hospice care. Their wives died 5 years ago, 2 months apart. I had met this man just a week before and he told me some wonderful stories of living like a hobo when he was a teenager. He and others would jump on trains and ride around the country, sleep in barns, work a day here and there. He was a business owner most of his life and shortly before he died, he had tried his hand at flower arranging. And he was a day trader! He lived his life abundantly. His family knew when he died that he had given life all that he could. That made letting him go a little easier for them.

I met with a patient that was mostly Buddhist, but loves much about other eastern religions. I read her Rumi poetry and imagined with her what it will be like when she dies. I remember as a kid, sitting out on the street curb, under a light pole with a friend and talking about what heaven might be like. It seemed so distant then. I don't remember exactly but I am sure we imagined lots of beauty - flowers and colors and people that looked just like us. I would imagine that I have always thought heaven would have books and ice cream. My mom would have thought that it could only be heaven if it included sewing machines and lots and lots of fabric. I still don't know what heaven will look like but I can only imagine that it will be filled with children of God. And many, that do not look like me, act like me, believe like me, but love others like me.

I heard a great fable today - short version...a kid loved to draw and kept drawing people in the horizontal position, then people with broken body parts, and people that were bleeding. The parents were worried and took the young boy to a counselor. During therapy, the counselor had the boy draw more pictures and he drew the same kind of pictures. The counselor asked him what was he thinking about when he drew these pictures. The boy said, about what I am going to do when I grow up. Be a doctor and how I can help people. Sometimes, what we see is not part of the story.

And by the way, I am missing the autumn in Indiana. My favorite season! October in Florida is not quite the same but the humidity is low and the temperatures are dropping a little. So life is good!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I recently wrote a paper about chemotherapy and what it can teach us about caregiving. I cut and pasted some so it may sound a bit choppy but if you know someone that is going through Chemo, this may give you a new insight.

There are odds usually associated with success rates of chemotherapy, but they are only odds. They are not sure outcomes. No matter what the odds, someone that has cancer probably does not feel that lucky.

Throughout chemotherapy, one lives in conflict. On the one hand, there must be some kind of medial hope or the procedures and drugs would not be an option. On the other hand, the loved ones and the medical staff that rely simply on the numbers forget about the reality for the patient. Those that are healthy understand hope in a different way. It is easier to hope for something that is like a cherry on top. I hope I get a promotion; I hope this cold goes away by the weekend; I hope my kids have fun at the beach. For a patient going through chemo, hope is not just a nice thing to have. Hope is what you hang on to when you are so sick that life does not matter much.

Patients should know the truth of their illness and be able to feel all the emotions that legitimately come with vomit, losing hair, suppositories, pain and exhaustion. When a patient can see the truth and path before them, they can know that they will be afraid and it is okay; and the journey ahead will be difficult. As pastoral caregivers, we need to be able to sit with patients in the fear and anger and sadness without trying to move them beyond that point. Perhaps the patient and the pastoral caregiver need to remember Psalm 46. “Be still, and know that I am God.” In the fear, God is there. In the anger, God is there, and in the sadness, God is there. Let us just sit with that.

There is always fear that sickness will disrupt chemotherapy schedules. Wow. There is conflict in that statement. Chemotherapy makes a patient sick, but the sickness of it lets the patient hang on to a little bit of hope. Being sick in a way that you cannot continue the treatments would make one afraid that the hope is leaving. It seems like on the other end of the spectrum, when the chemotherapy is over, a patient would find fear waiting for him or her.

Hospitals separate physical treatment from emotional care. That is the space that pastoral caregivers need to fill. Feelings and loved ones can be treated as outsiders. The patient and everyone else receive the message that it is all about the illness. The patient is diminished to cancer. Relationships with loved ones keep each of us going. We build our lives around our love for others. When a loved one suffers, we all suffer. Healthcare personnel should acknowledge this, but as pastoral caregivers, this connection is essential. We are not dealing with an illness. We are dealing with lives that are changing because someone is ill.

When the patient was healthy, it was easy to see them filled with gifts. When the illness comes, gifts do not go away. As chaplains, we should shine a light on their gifts and the value of their life. Stories we tell ourselves about what is happening to us are dangerous because they are powerful. So, as a chaplain, what story can I help someone create for themselves?

I am reminded of a boxer who goes into the ring to fight for a title or to be a champion. At that moment, the only thing that is important is the fight. Patients do not want to let illness be about one thing. If someone has cancer, they cannot neatly tie it with a bow and put it on the shelf when they are tired or angry or sad. Cancer is a part of their life and needs to be incorporated into life. Cancer may be disruptive but it does not define someone. They can only take what happens to them and continue to look for possibilities of how to live. There is a stigma of cancer, but it is often summed up well when it seems that the patient never stops thinking that cancer says something about their worth.

I want to always look for the light of God, and when I see it, let me announce it with joy and with a mirror in my hand, so all can see. It’s important for all people to tell their stories. As we actively listen to stories, we are recognizing the importance of the storyteller. Let us help people hear what gives their life meaning and to claim it and find ways to live it.

Although I don’t know the author, I love a quote I’ve heard before, “What do we live for if not to make the world less difficult for each other?” Sometimes the only thing that makes life easier is to know that we are not alone.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pictures and such

Still no picture of Preston the greyhound...but here are some pictures of the grounds and rooms around the hospice house. Everyday, fresh baked cookies!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11

Today, we are all remembering where we were 9 years ago. I was in Salt Lake City, soon to be stuck in Salt Lake City. We were scheduled to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir that day and the show went on with a tribute to the United States. It was amazing. So I remember today what changed that day.

I'm been trying to figure out how to get a certain photograph here and I need help! So for now, I'll write the description. I wanted to introduce you to Preston, a retired greyhound racer who is now a volunteer at the hospice house. He is beautiful and patients and families love when he is in the house! I love when he is in the house! How can you not smile when you see the eyes of a loving dog?

We have lots of pet volunteers that come each week to say hello to families and patients. Actually, we have 160 volunteers that come for a lot of reasons. The volunteers offer reike treatments, massage, music, reading to the patients, video taping of patients telling stories, writing letters from dictation for patients, baking cookies, painting with kids, you name it....someone can do it.

This week I met with a family that had come from all around the country to be with mom. Mom is delightful but is very ill. The family members are all leaving on Sunday as they need to get back to their own homes and their own jobs. So we talked about how to say goodbye. Through lots of tears, they have decided that tonight they will all gather together, sing a couple of songs, one of the sons will sing a favorite hymn, each person will tell mom what she has meant to them and how she will be remembered. They wanted it to be like Thanksgiving when they would say something they were thankful for but this time, it is to honor and be grateful for mom. I am sure by now, the tears are coming again but what a special time for them.

I still say, we should have celebration of life ceremonies while people live. Why do we leave the best things we say about someone for when they die.

I watched some football today with Notre Dame and Michigan. Awww, football in the midwest! Of course, I fell asleep during the game - naps are universal I guess. I am making a mental note of the things I want to do when I go back to IN. "See friends" is top on the list. I miss our friends and time together. I miss the tincaps games, the beginning of fall, knowing how to get from point a to point b without a GPS and oh, so many things. But we are also enjoying the things of Florida - the views, the sunshine, our work, and we are getting used to our dinky apartment. You can't beat that.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The goodbyes

My heart is a bit heavy today as the 25 year young man died over the weekend. I will facilitate a celebration of life ceremony on Saturday which I am honored to do. I had hoped that my first memorial service would have been for an elderly person that was surrounded by family and memories. Instead, we will celebrate the life of a 25 year old that loved life and could find richness and meaning in every today. We should all learn that lesson.

There is no such thing as an insignificant or accidental relationship. Every encounter, no matter how brief or profound, is meaningful. So for this young man, he taught others to laugh, to smile, and that most things are not worth fighting about. He wanted to use his energy to reach out to others. And he will be remembered for that. I will always remember the way he would say, "I feel fantastic."

There are 160 volunteers that provide services to the hospice house. They bring pets, bake cookies, feed patients, sit with patients, read to them, clean carpets, hammer nails, sing, make crafts, and just about anything you can think of. And they all do whatever they do with a smile...people love helping others. Sometimes in the outside world and the fast pace of life, we forget kindness. But in hospice care, time slows down, sometimes it even stops, and then you can see the goodness and compassion of so many.

On an easier note, I found Whole Foods in Tampa over the weekend which was great fun. On Sunday, longtime friends from Venice, FL came to visit. Have I mentioned that I love visitors? So Florida is hot and rainy but "fantastic."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August 24

I'm learning systems and software, how to complete timesheets, the process to get Catholic priests, and personalities of the staff. I am learning some of the arts that are available for the patients such as music, massage, reike, drawing, and volunteers that can do just about anything. However, in the midst of the learning, it is hard to be spontaneous. I am thinking too hard!

I have been meeting with a 25 year young man who has brain cancer. He has the most beautiful smile and is so sweet. He has had many physical challenges in his life but his spirit radiates joy. Here is a 25 year old with brain cancer and in hospice and when I go to see him and ask him how he feels, his response with a huge smile on his face always is, "I feel fabulous."

Another patient that I see regularly is a 50 year old woman who is on a trach and unresponsive. Her husband glows when he tells me how they met and how he loves her. He tells me about meeting on the dance floor. I think that they are still dancing together in some way. I know it is hard for him in many ways, but he hangs on to the words that she said so many times to him. She loves him. Those words keep him going.

So don't forget to let people know that you love them!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day one

Thanks to all the well-wishes. It was a good day...actually a great day. And that is all in the perspective I imagine.

First thing this morning, I listened to a wife tell of her husband's life. It is such an honor to hear and be in such intimate places with someone. The wife wanted to be strong and made excuses for the kids that were not there because they had already said their goodbyes. My guess is that the wife would have liked the kids there for her but chaplains, nurses, social workers can all step in and stand with the loved ones left behind. And so we did.

I met with a spanish speaking family, some that had very limited and broken English. I immediately thought, I need to learn a little spanish. So one of the goals will be to find a way to learn a bit of conversational spanish. I don't need to be fluent but I do hope that I learn enough to not say something really silly that has no relevance.

I met a Greek Orthodox priest who came to give communion to a dying Greek woman. Communion liturgy was done in Greek, so I couldn't understand the language but you could see the comfort in the eyes of the patient. The words of God's love seems to be universal.

I was invited to come into a patient's room to see some acupuncture being done. A new experience. I found out from the doctor that the ear is like the foot in reflexology. The whole body can be associated with spots on your foot or your hand. And today's is true of the ear as well. The patient had pain in his back and the doctor placed 10 acupuncture needles in the gentleman's ear. The patient didn't feel a thing! And it helped relieve the pain in his back. Amazing.

And so for those that were wondering how I survived the day, I did. And it was all good.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Time to start working!

Yesterday was a day of fun...went to see Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts. It was a book that I loved and a story that I can relate to as I have moved to FL. Had lunch had a place called Bahama Breeze that is on the causeway so the view is spectacular and the food excellent.

I start my job at the hospice home tomorrow. I oriented all last week and feel ready to start something new. I know what to do if there is a hurricane - something that a girl from IN would not generally know. I have a phone that can be a walkie talkie but also I can text. That seems to bridge time from the past to now. What would life be without cell phones and texting?

My 35th high school reunion was last night and I missed it! I haven't been to a reunion in all these years and always felt that was okay. Who knew that in 2010, 35 years later, I would have reconnected a little with high school friends on something called facebook. "Listening" to their lives online made me want to see them and laugh with them and remember with them. So for all you high school friends, I missed you last night!

As I thought about the reunion I was missing, I also thought about life since 1975. I don't get another life like the one I had as a 18 year old. And I don't get another life like I have now. I never will play the same role and experience my life in quite the same way ever again. I will never have the same set of friends again. I wil never experience the earth and the world with all its wonders in this time again. So don't wait for one last look at the ocean, the sky, the stars, an old friend, or a loved one. Go look now.

Be grateful for the past, be satified with today, be hopeful for the future.

Monday, August 9, 2010

First day of orientation

My last day in the office for my last job was 5/27. I have enjoyed the freedom of the days since then, but today felt like a new beginning. I listened to overviews of hospice work and some details about programs. I was reminded all over again how much I believe that this is where I am supposed to be.

The Credo on my name badge reads: Our life's work is not just a job - it's a calling. We are ordinary people called to do extraordinary work; to comfort - to heal - to love.

We value the sacredness of each human encounter, and seek to make a difference, one life at a time.

We honor our history and tradition as healers and embrace the knowledge that care of the body means little without ease of the soul. We believe the Hospice experience transforms lives, ours and those whom we serve.

As I found out when I did the internship at a hospice near Chicago, I was blessed in so many ways and I received so much more than I ever could give. For me, hospice is life-giving. To die well, you surely must live well. And sometimes, you just need someone with a unobstructed view to show you the way.

Early on in the decision to move to FL, I had to ask a question, "if I walk down this road, where will it lead in the long run - toward or away from the me I want to be?" I may never quite arrive, but I am on a path toward the person I want to be.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

August 4

I always heard that change is the only thing you can count on...I don't think that is really true. You can bank on the fact that Florida is really hot in July.

Each day it always sounds good to play golf or ride my bike but then I step outside and the heat is overwhelming. So I think golf and biking might be winter sports here. Sitting in the air condition is much more of the summer activity.

This week has been filled with anticipation of the work ahead. I have been fingerprinted, got my FL driver's license, got a draft of my schedule for Aug/Sept. So I am getting excited about what lies ahead and tired of preparation.

It feels important to me to find a community of faith that allows me to learn and grow and be encouraged and challenged. I want to be able to help people live well until they die at a hospice home so it feels important for me to find a place to feed my own spirit. But finding a church is not always easy. I used to believe that most Christians spoke the same language, shared a sense of what Christian fellowship was all about and beyond minor differences had a faith in common that could transcend political and social boundaries. It has taken me a while, but I know that just isn't true!

One thing that seems nonnegotiable for me is open communion. I certainly don't get to pick who else is good enough, holy enough, deserving enough, or is in the right church to receive it. It is not a private meal. The bread on the Table has to be shared with everyone - those we love and those we don't want to like ...for it to have true meaning.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I was asked today if I felt like I had moved or if I was just on vacation. And my answer would be, a little of both.

I certainly did not know everyone in Fort Wayne but I knew my way around and knew the layouts of my favorite places. I knew the timing of the stoplights through downtown Fort Wayne and could easily call someone to go to dinner. So here, it feels different and I feel much like a stranger. Everywhere I go, I have to stop and think if I need to go left or right, north or south, if it's beyond the Publix or before the Starbucks. We take that kind of stuff for granted...until you start over.

I don't feel like I am on vacation because during vacation, you don't want to waste a minute. There are shops to find, restaurants to try, beaches to walk, shells to find, or activities to do. Well, now I am wasting time. It is hot, I'm tired of the unpacking, always seem to be lost or checking the GPS. So sometimes, it is easier to just waste time. Vacation is over.

I start orientation on August 9 and then my actual chaplain work on August 16, so until then, I can waste a little time like the locals do. I guess now I am a local.

I love Ann Lamott's writing and I am reading her book, Plan B with a friend from my previous church. We read, we write comments, and it is a fun way to share a book with a friend. Lamott is certainly not a traditional Christian writer but she has a lot of wisdom to share.

She wrote this book during the Bush administration, which she did not like and did not hide that fact. I wasn't a fan of GW either but her humor helped to put it in perspective. She made a statement on how to get through the mess (of Bush, and of life.) Right foot, left foot, right foot, breathe. Isn't that the message for all of us in so many situations? I think at times that has gotten me to FL for what I believe God has called me to do. There have been many times along the way that I have doubted that I heard God right. surely God wouldn't want me to really do this! I've been convinced much of the time that this is my passion but there are times now that I think I made a mistake! So left foot, right foot, left foot, breathe.

I love her statement - peace is joy at rest and joy is peace on its feet. I think right now I am at a place of peace is joy at rest. I need a little time to just "be". I feel peace in one sense but find that I am needing energy to go out in the world. I received strength from worship, relationships, work that gave meaning to my life, so without those anchors at this time, it is harder to find the strength.

I also liked the conversation in the book about the cactus blooming. "...Last week they were ugly...they don't bloom every year so you have to love them while they are here." Isn't that true of so many things?

This blog is not meant to be a place for book reviews but I love to read and try to read some edgy and thought-provoking stuff about God and about life. So, on occasion, you may see what I am reading.

Hope all that read this are enjoying the hot summer days. Blessings to you from Florida.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Here I sit at a Panera Bread near Tarpon Springs, FL, having my favorite whole grain bagel with peanut butter and a hot chai using the free wi-fi. Internet access has been a challenge so far. Monday's goal is to find an internet company so we can have it in the apartment. This post and probably many in the coming days will be about moving and transitions.

Moving from a 2000 sq house that we loved and had built just for us and downsizing to a 990 sq 2nd story apartment is a challenge. We have put a magnet on the refrigerator to live simply. That is the goal. And as my friend, Lynn said, to live the dream. There will be challenges along the way but at the end of the day, we can sit and watch the most beautiful sunsets. We can explore all the beaches and hideaways and trails and the beauty of the water. So that is our live fully and abundantly in this new place. Our motto recently has been, "let's just let it evolve."

We are exhausted from the many steps of this move. We are not quite there yet but the end is in sight. As we unpack, we see all the things that we could do without if we truly want to live simply. But I sure like my stuff and it is quite a learning journey. As I unpacked the Christmas rope lights, I just shook my head and had a few tears. Not that the rope lights are so special but just the recognition that our closets are packed and there really is no place for rope lights. Who knew that I didn't need rope lights?

As each day passes, we are trying to take some time out to have some fun and explore a little. I want to know where things are besides every Walmart. I do not even want to shop at Walmart but we have made several trips there already...waste basket, step stool, shower curtain, and even a small microwave. How can you live simply without a microwave? ha.

The weather is very hot but it sounds like Indiana is as well. So far, the heat is not bothering me but we just left the box that said "coats, hats, scarves" packed.

This week's goals - get internet, finish unpacking, find a chiropractor, and do some exploring. Next Sunday we hope to attend a church in New Port Ritchie. A community of faith will be important for us to find. But for today, we are off to visit my cousin and to have some fun.

So think about your dream...and figure out a way to live it. shalom.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Winds of Change

I start this blog as I am watching the winds of change all around me. I have worked in the Financial industry for 25 years and have lived in Indiana all of my life. I have always enjoyed my work and have appreciated being a Hoosier in many ways. Now, I will move to Florida to be a hospice chaplain. The winds of change are blowing.

I love the book, entitled Breathe the Wind, Drink the Rain by Douglas Wood. It represents a new beginning. So for post #1, I share some of the story of Breathe the Wind, Drink the Rain.

Wake up. Notice how things grow. Don't be afraid to see what you see, hear what you hear, think what you think, or feel what you feel. Attend sunrises. Watch turtles. Spend time with what you love. Waste time with whom you love. Have a favorite chair. Sit under big trees. Smell honeysuckle. Find pussywillows. Pack light. Leave your own tracks. Travel well, but Be Where You Are Now. Thank everything that's thank-able, everyday. Look often at the moon and stars. Know that the News is not the world. Taste what you eat and smell what you breathe. Give away. Don't chase butterflies; be still, they will land on you. Figure out what you hate about life. Figure out how to love it anyway. Make friends with mystery. Unwrap the gift of each day. Do the thing you fear. Get off "Someday I'll" and set sail. For a real island...For a point on the map...For a point in your heart. Remember...There is only one real question. And the answer is Yes.
This blog is about setting sail.