Monday, August 29, 2011


As I have driven around Pinellas County seeing hospice patients today, I continue to listen to NPR-national radio. I am joined with remember 9/11/2001. And the question that I continue to hear and to get - where were you?

I was in Salt Lake City at a conference. I heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing patriotic songs in a concert that night and felt the horror in a hotel, so many miles from home. If I had to choose a place to get delayed, it would not be Salt Lake City, Utah...but...I was one among many all over the world that were trying to comprehend and to find a way to get home! I remember so vividly the flight to Cincinnati OH and when we landed, people clapped...clapped with vigor. Cincy was as close as we could get that day so 2 dear and committed people came from Fort Wayne IN to pick us up.

This blog is a place that I try to write about the journey of my life and the way hospice work is life-giving to me. I don't want it to be a place to talk politics or world events. But today, I remember, with all of you the way our lives changed 10 years ago. I hope that I do not take the small things for granted as much, that I live a life that is rich and full, and that I will do whatever I can to bring peace and love to my corner of the world.

Mattie Stepanek had important words to say on 9/11/2001 when he was only 11 years old and I want to write them here today.

We need to stop.
Just stop.
Stop for a moment.
Before anybody
Says or does anything
That may hurt anyone else.
We need to be silent.
Just silent.
Silent for a moment.
Before we forever lose
The blessing of songs
that grow in our hearts.
We need to notice
Just notice.
Notice for a moment
Before the future slips away
Into ashes and dust of humility.
Stop, be silent, and notice.
In so many ways, we are the same.
Our differences are unique treasures.
We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts.
To nurture, to offer, to accept.
We need to be.
Just be.
Be for a moment.
Kind and gentle, innocent and trusting.
Like children and lambs,
never judging or vengeful.
And now, let us pray,
Differently, yet together.
Before there is not earth, no life,
no chance for peace.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

August 19

Greetings to all!

I am always surprised that is has been so long since my last post - time flies. I was reminded today that it is time for an update. :)

The residency program came to a close last Friday. It was bittersweet moment as I have loved so much of what I have done and yet, the journey has been intense. I love the clinical work and I feel very blessed to work with some of the very best medical staff. Obviously, there is great importance for the medical staff yet they are gracious and know the importance of spiritual health. I always felt included in the care of all of our patients.

It was most interesting that I feel like I had bookends of deaths that started the year and one that ended the year. When I first arrived, I had a patient that was 25 years old and he touched my heart from the very start. When I would ask him how he was, he always said - even in the final days, fantastic! And the very cool thing was, he meant it. That was my first death. One of my last deaths will mark the end for me. A patient was 94, his spouse was also a patient and 96 years old. They had been married 72 years. As he died, her heart broke. The only thing that I had to say was that there hearts had been connected for 72 years and they would continue to be connected as they parted. Whew - Those two deaths will stay with me forever.

As time goes on, I will continue to do chaplain work in Florida. I will travel around the county and visit in homes, nursing homes, and hospitals so the work will be a little different but I am sure just as rewarding. The downside of it is that I will work on the weekends. Working every weekend wasn't my plan, but for now, that is what is available. I will work during the week as needed.

The days are hot here with rain that comes randomly. I am planning a trip back to IN in October for my niece's wedding so I am hopeful that the leaves will be colorful as that is my favorite time of year. A new life in Florida has been exciting, challenging, lonely at times, fulfilling, life-giving, draining, difficult, fun, an answer to a calling, a question to my comfort, and just plain hard sometimes. For now, I plan to stay...winter is coming so it is really nice here in the winter - who's coming to visit?

A blessing for you - May you have food in the bowl, to feed what is basic, and nourishment in the heart, to feed hungers more wild. (Jan Richardson)