In Memory of Melanie Collins
I learned this week of the death of a dear colleague, Melanie Collins, RN, BSN. In December 2016 I wrote a Blog about Melanie that is also in my book Creating A Culture of Care: Inspiration and Insights from a Hospice Leader.
To honor Melanie I'd like to share excerpts of that story here today.
In hospice, we don’t have anything to sell other than the services we provide. We don’t make a product; we don’t offer goods or trade. What we offer is love and care to people who are dying, and to their loved ones. Generally, the first order of hospice business is relieving someone’s physical suffering. It can be more challenging to relieve someone’s spiritual and emotional suffering who ask the unanswerable question, “Why me?”. It’s our calling to ease this human sufferingby caring for our fellow beings and empowering them to live their lives fully until...
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you
because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.”
Happy New Year my friends! Here we are in another January, hopeful and committed to making this year better than ever!
My mother always told me, “If you smile real big, no one will notice your shoes”. While that is somewhat true, there are exceptions. Like for instance, when a candidate I had recruited for a prestigious hospice CEO job went for the interview. I asked the search committee chairwoman how the interview went she replied, “her shoes were scuffed”. That candidate did not make the cut, clearly her smile did not detract from her shoes.
I’ve shopped for shoes from New York City to San Diego and all parts in between. I love beautiful shoes, likely because they were not within my budget...
Here we are, it’s Christmas Eve, and the 7th day of Hanukkah and 1 week until the New Year. This time of the year is filled with so much beauty, so much love, so much joy. And yes even, so much exhaustion, and crankiness and stress.
We plan for the “perfect” holiday where everyone is healthy and happy and gets along. Yet, you know what they say about perfection…it is the enemy of the good.
My prayer for you today is that you pause, take a breath, and really feel the wonder of this time of year. Who matters most to you? What matters most to you? Giving the “perfect” gift to a loved one or sharing the love in your heart? Sometimes you get to do both, and sometimes the “perfect” gift is simply a note of appreciation, a hug, a smile, or telling someone you care about that you love them.
Love is such a small word that represents an immeasurable range of feelings. I love my husband and family and...
Someday I Will…
How many times in your life have you said those words, “someday I will…”? When I was young, I dreamed that someday I would see the world, someday I’ll make a difference, someday I’ll have a job I love serving others, and someday I’ll find the love of my life…someday.
As time passed, I stepped into one “someday” after another. When I’d stop long enough to realize I had achieved a goal or had a dream realized, I would have a sense of satisfaction that would last a fleeting moment. Then I would continue to set new dreams, always seeking and stretching to the next “someday I will...”.
The critical difference in this phrase is the declaration of “I WILL…”. It’s not “I want to,” “I hope to,” or “I wish to.” No, it is a firm statement of certainty. The margarita master Jimmy Buffett wrote a song that has...
How Old is Old?!
My grandfather was born in 1900. To be born at the turn of a new century was fascinating to me. I would ask him what it was like to live in the “olden days” assuming there was some big remarkable change from one century to the next. He would chuckle and say, “no, we just were trying to get by day by day” and no more.
Grandpa would sit on his front porch and watch the squirrels and the neighbors and talk about the weather. He often commented about that “old” man across the street who annoyed him because he didn’t bring his garbage cans in on time. One day I saw this “old” man neighbor, and I said, “grandpa, you are 85, and your neighbor looks about 60!”. He grinned and said, “yes, but he acts older than me!”.
And there you have it. How old is “old”? I have found myself saying this year, “I’m too old to pull an all-nighter” or “no,...
What do you stand for?
You know that feeling when you meet someone and within the first few minutes you just "click"? You share the same values and outlook on life, and you can't help but be drawn to them? Well, that's what authentic relationships are all about. When your core values are in alignment with those of the people around you, it creates a powerful connection.
Recently I conducted a strategic planning retreat with a board of directors for hospice. Working with community members who serve on a board is an insightful and meaningful experience. With this group, I knew from the start that we “clicked” thanks to our shared values.
My style is to always begin any engagement with a touchstone of mission and values. Being reminded of why your organization exists and the core values that lead the organization is crucial to every strategy and decision.
When you take a pause and ask, “what do we stand for?”, “what are our core...
Closing out our summer camping adventure, we were to be in Charleston SC eating at nationally acclaimed restaurants and playing tourist. Instead, we spent 6 nights in Rocky Mount, NC following an unfortunate experience. Driving 65 mph on I-95 we had a wheel of our Airstream camper trailer fly off, sailing into the median.
Thank goodness there were no injuries. We hobbled to a nearby hotel, parked the truck/trailer, and checked in. The next day was spent looking for a tow truck and researching how this could have happened. For two days we were promised a tow but alas none ever appeared. Finally, Steve contacted a local big rig repair company and an angel appeared. Dale Womble of Mangum’s repair came to our rescue trying to help, but by 5pm on Friday, no parts were available anywhere.
Steve then called a random Drexel parts dealer in Denver (2 hours earlier than us, how clever!) and they shipped everything we needed to Dale’s...
Lately it feels as if the turmoil and chaos around the world is too much. The latest Covid variant is spiking, wildfires in California, horrific floods in Kentucky, and heat, hot weather making everyone edgy. Then the song pops in…From a Distance:
From a distance the world looks blue and green,
and the snow-capped mountains white.
From a distance the ocean meets the stream,
and the eagle takes to flight.
Watching the news often increases my stress level. Then I’m reminded: the sun came up this morning! Gravity is still working! I am still breathing, and my heart is beating without doing anything! We are on a planet that has been around for 4 ½ billion years and it’s still spinning in space with us attached! And very importantly…my...