Saturday, July 16, 2011

slow it down hold it cherish it

The boys are growing up just fine
and more and more my time is mine
although i want to slow it down
there is an impulse to do the town

i wonder who i used to be
before these boys created me
i was a person then it's true
when all the world seemed bright and new

and who will i be when mom is over
and they are wandering far from Dover
who will appear when it.s just I
someone who wants to touch the sky

sorry... just a little urge to babble there.... Had a lovely walk this morning w my 16 y/o son. we were in the country by 6 am and walked, with the 2 lovely golden retrievers, 4.5 miles.
We walked up the hill and down the dale. we strolled past the house where we lived until he was ten. we talked and we reminisced, and i would imagine that there is not another lucker mom in the world. I have a lovely son who wants to walk with me, who carries on a conversation, who is light, easy and in whom laughter bubbles up easily. i have an older son who has found his way in this world, is stepping up, taking on more responsibility, planning to get his self back into school at Kent, while maintaining his full time job and who sat on the porch swing with me unitl the lights when down and chatted away.

the years have gone so fast. sometimes i want to stop them, to hold them, to treasure them, to scream that i have not gotten the chance to experience every wonderful minute of every day.

i don't want to go through life asleep at the wheel. to often i have let that happen.

i atteneded a baby shower this afternoon and I wanted to cry out, to stop time for her, to tell her to hold onto and cherish every blessed wonderul minute there is, becasue it all goes to fast.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011


if you could go back.... even for a moment.... to the place where you felt totally loved and totally safe.... would you?

I spent a part of today roaming the hills of my grandparents farm. It has become a bit of a ritual - each year during the last week of March, I travel a few short miles and enter another lifetime. I go to honor my dad- who passed away when I was five and who's birthday was in the last week of March. I go because it is, for me, a thin place, a place where I feel connected to God and connected to those people who loved me unconditionally. I go to appreciate the wonderful silence that can only be felt in the country. I go because I can.

Not many people have a place like that to return to. I realize how blessed I am. When I was small I thought the words "over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go" had been written just for me. I have only to drive across that bridge and up a wooded hill to begin to feel the connection. When I turn the corner onto the country road I feel whole.

I took my sixteen year old son with me today. It was good to walk the field and the path with him by my side. Good to tell him stories, to try and help him know this piece of myself, this piece of our family. I want nothing more than for my sons to know this part of their history, to understand in some small way the love, the faith and the values of the people who lived on this hill.

If you have a place you can return to - then you are blessed. Go there. Remember- savor and thank God for it. If you don't have a place to go to, close your eyes right now and remember. Let memory and imagination take you back, just for a moment, to that place where your were loved beyond measure. Let the feelings wash over you. Thank God for it.

It will be worth the trip....

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

break free

There is pamphlet hanging on our church bulletin board. A sister church is going on a mission trip to Africa. They are looking for volunteers.
It suddenly occured to me that this is within the realm of possibility- not this year I imagine, but within a couple years.
My youngest will graduate from high school
There will be some time before the grandparenting years begin
A window of opportunity?
A chance to change the way I walk in this world.
I've played it pretty safe up until now
Can I break free and make some changes?
Seems like there is a whole lot of world to see before I leave it....
Maybe it's a midlife crisis, maybe it's all the things we have been through in the past couple years... but the world is starting to feel new and unexplored.... I feel like breaking free and kicking up my heels...

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

hospice vs technolgy.

I wonder how we remember the why in medicine while changing the how?

I wonder if there is anything that will keep us connected to our calling, to remember the reason we chose this profession at all

"I'm just a robot" my primary doc complained, the last time I was in his office.... and I would have to agree. We are all becoming a slave to the computers or hand held devices that are running the world these days. Difficult to make eye contact when there is a screen between you and the person you are talking to. Difficult to stop and really hear what that person is saying

Medicine is an art, as well as a science.... how do we keep the art without becoming a slave to the technology?

Computers invaded the world of hospice some years ago. Neat little laptops that we can carry into each person's home to find and record all necessary information. Pretty neat trick, if you can do it. I think that all of us -everywhere- were resistant to the idea. People who are drawn to the world of hospice are generally more tuned in to people's emotions, able to hear the heart cry. It is nearly impossible to teach a person who is drowning in grief or rage about the proper medication and treatments without first reaching out a hand into the pit of despair. Most of us have found ways around it..... sitting in homes listening with a pen and paper to jot on, then charting in driveways or on street corners- or at home on our own time in the evenings.

I don't think that anyone wants me sitting in their living room or at their kitchen table (usually covered with piles of bills and boxes of medicine, with food stuffs jammed to the side-evidence of life interrupted) diligently creating and recording plans of care and listing goals and interventions.

Yet, I want to be sure that the goals I am recording are Their goals... Is it more important to them to be pain free or to get to another soccer game?

I've spent the last month learning about our new computer system. Our latest upgrade. Sitting round a table with others, making sure that there is a way to document that will satisfy every regulatory body, will be complete and thorough, will address individualized needs, and will make sure every bodily process and medication has complete and thorough documentation.
The screens are bright and flashy. Different colors mean different things. So many little boxes to fill in and drop downs to check off. More things to pull my eyes from that patient and their family and onto a screen.

Hospice..... the word that originally meant rest and respite. Hospice..... where, if anywhere, one should/could practice the art of presence. Hospice..... where the sum of a person's life is often being recalled Hospice.... where a family is making decisions that will determine how they will go on, how they will honor, how they will mourn, how they will triumph, how they will remember..

Hospice.... and technology.....
I just don't know....

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Season 2010

This year has passed in a blazing blur, and the frenzied activity of the holiday season serves as a symbol of what the entire year has been.
Working full time in the world of hospice is challenging enough, but at the end of the year, in the midst of the holiday season, the mysterious "they" have chosen to launch our new computer system. Long hours of sitting in an office, trying to learn the system and foresee any future bugs have conspired to make this feel like the holiday that never was.
I came home tonight to a house full of boys and the sounds of "bye bye miss american pie" blaring. The younger was sitting at the dining room table with 5 other testosterone laden lads, while the older was ensconced in front of the TV with his favorite girl. The evening was filled with music and TVs and teenage voices. Oh, how I wish I did not have to rise early this morning and go back to the world of hospice..... how I wish I could just be here and soak up every millisecond of that .

I feel it every year... this yearning for peace and simplicity. Every year it grows stronger, and as I age I wonder if I have missed out on truly living. I longed to stay awake last night, to view the lunar eclipse that was a once in a lifetime opportunity. "The heavens declare the glory of God" but while God was speaking, I was sleeping.... in order to get up early and get back to the urgent.

I felt the pull and woke last night, in the middle of the night, slipping to the window, but all I could see were the street lights shining.

I left the computer session yesterday at lunch time, running out to see a patient who's sister had called me in tears earlier that morning. There, the house was quiet... filled with grief to be sure, but filled with love. Sitting at the kitchen table in that quiet house, nothing else really mattered. The new charting system certainly did not matter. Checking all the boxes, dotting the i and crossing the t so to speak, were irrelevant. Nothing mattered there but the quiet glow on the lights of the tree and the person sitting on the edge of the bed.

I suppose that is why I cannot bring myself to leave the world of hospice. It is one of the few places in the world where what is important supercedes the urgent. I could not rush into that house and back out again. In that house, I was forced to slow down, to quiet my spirit, to enter in, to feel the love and the pain. To be a part, however small, to be for a few moments part of something so much bigger than myself.

I know that we must, when we leave here, go on to something else. My patients show me that all the time. Their eyes take on the thousand mile stare, they talk to people that we cannot see. They are attended to by someone who has chosen to set their own life aside and care for them, showing me a purity of love that is not visible in the day to day. Their journey demonstrates love.

We see it when a baby enters the world, and everything stops for a bit to revolve around new life. We see it when someone exits this life and moves to the next, and our whole world stops for a moment. Perhaps it was glimpsed in the heavens last night.

Paul said what I'm trying to say so much better than I... " And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have the power, together with the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God"
Ephesians 3:18

That pretty much sums up what my wandering mind has been trying to get to.... so my prayer for each of us in this Christmas season is that we can slow down enough to glimpse, even for a moment how wide and long and high and deep is the love of God for us...

Blessed Christmas to each of you.....

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

peanut brittle

I'm learning to pick and choose this season... actually a lesson I have been working on for many years and will need to continue to work on for many more.
I an learning to slow down, to sit in the silence, to close my eyes and try to empty my mind before the day begins. I hope to be relaxed this season, to actually enjoy the things that we do as a family, to find some time to enjoy silent nights -plural- to find in the midst of the frantic holiday the peace that seems so elusive, not only this time of year, but all through the year
My boys are older, we are past the time of Santa I miss the wide eyed wonder and the pjs with feet. I miss those days and I confess freely to mourning them. Sometimes when I look at the men who surround me (noisily) at the dinner table I allow my mind to go back to the days of "hey mom look at this" - the newness, the freshness of life. i look forward to the days when little sticky fingers will occupy our dinners, when big eyes will once again stand awed by the trees... but right now, in this season of life, i am grateful to be able to treasure the silence..... to savor it.
The tree glows brightly in my living room right now.
The lights are out otherwise..
The aroma of peanut brittle hangs in the air, and I am filled with satisfaction, knowing that if nothing else gets done for the remainder of the year, our family and friends will have evidence that we love them and our thinking of them with our simple gift of peanut brittle.

It is so easy to make... I think I will share the recipe with you. Let's see if I know it by heart

get a glass measuring cup the kind that holds 4 cups.
put in it 1/2 cup of kayro syrup, a dash of salt, 1 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 cup raw peanuts
microwave for 7-9 minutes
throw in a t of vanilla and a T of butter
microwave again for 3 minutes
put in 1 t of baking soda and watch in amazement as your beautiful peanut brittle turns a peuky green. Do not despair. Pour out onto parchment paper to cool for 15 minutes before breaking into pieces. Use caution when licking the spoon for the candy will be hot

Package in attractive tins or plain ole baggies and pass it out to anyone who might need a little Christmas cheer.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Elizabeth Berg and Jane Hamilton. A pleasure to meet you.

Just returned from hearing authors Elizabeth Berg and Jane Hamilton speak.
The event was a fundraiser for the library in the tiny community of Newcomerstown Ohio- and both generously donated their time.

They breezed in very late- so it was fortunate that the food, wine and company at the Raven Glen Winery was so delicious.

They breezed in without apology for their lateness, and were filled with humerous antedotes of their travails with the GPS. I must say that no apology was needed. Their laughter filled the room. Their generous spirit and warm hearts filled our souls. Their lighthearted admiration and love for each other inspired.

I came home feeling renewed by the experience. I have never read Jane Hamilton (but I will be soon) Her writing was described to me as "dark"..... so it fascinates me to know that she is filled with such humor and wit....
I love the books of Elizabeth Berg. She seems to see the inside- the extrordinary in the ordinary.

All in all... it was a lovely evening. I wish I could thank these ladies in person

They traveled many miles to help a small town save it's library. The ladies of that library are obviously passionate about their mission. It was an honor and a joy to have a small part in helping them meet their goal....

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