It’s November and Thanksgiving is but a blink away. This is my favorite holiday because it’s focused on generosity, gathering with people we love, and eating food from recipes handed down by generations. "We Gather Together" the Christian hymn of Dutch origin is my go-to Thanksgiving song.
My early memories of Thanksgiving are of the smells coming from my grandmother’s kitchen. Turkey roasting in the oven next to the homemade Icebox rolls, mashed potatoes, and gravy, and the oyster dressing she made just for my dad. And it wouldn’t have been Thanksgiving without my grandpa’s “Best Yet” cranberry salad. My great grandmother Mayme (grandpa’s mother) would always exclaim, “Elmer, that cranberry salad is the best yet!” And hence the name stuck! I have grandpa’s original recipe card in his own handwriting, and now Tori, his great-granddaughter has a copy.
My mom and Tori with the...
The Power of Thank You
Summer of 2020 is behind us, loneliness still abounds, and I continue to miss our friends and family in spite of technology that is meant to keep us connected. Today I was reading a story of volunteers who write letters to people living in nursing homes isolated from their loved ones and to doctors and nurses on the front lines. Their simple acts of kindness made me feel encouraged and hopeful.
That story took me back to the home of my friend and mentor Laura Carmichael. Her desk was always filled with note cards, rolls of stamps and a sharp set of sheers, a City Directory (this is an old-timey book of names and addresses of everyone who lived in the city), a telephone book (another old-timey artifact that had phone numbers and addresses), and her coveted address book. For more than 60 years Mrs. Carmichael would clip pictures of the brides from the Sunday paper (remember those?!) and mail the copy with a congratulatory note to the bride and her...
Image Above: Laure Carmichael at her 100th birthday party at Haven Hospice
Leland Kaiser said it well: “Great compassion and unconditional love can change the world; they are the only things that can”. I’d like to share with you the stories of two people whose donations of time, influence and money, along with great compassion and unconditional love, changed our community and left a legacy.
Retired bank teller Laura Carmichael had no children; widowed at 65, she was know for her legendary thank you notes, she clipped out the photos of brides in the newspaper and mailed them to the newlyweds, she drove the same Buick for nearly 20 years, and sent a crisp $1 dollar bill to every child chosen as “Student of the Month” at the local elementary schools. Generosity was in her bones.
Laura lived near the local hospital where she volunteered and was on their board of directors and on the hospice board where I was Executive Director. When we began...
Image Above: Patti Moore leading a morning discussion for Hospice participants
Last week I had the opportunity to attend and participate in the 2016 Kaiser Philanthropy Innovation Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. A select group of representatives from not for profit healthcare systems, hospitals and hospice’s from across the country participated in the three day event where the healing power of Generosity was the lead topic of discussion. I’m very interested in refocusing on the impact philanthropy has to help hospices and palliative care organizations balance providing extraordinary care and innovations at the end of life with the steadily decreasing payments from the Medicare/Medicaid Hospice Benefit.
This year’s opening speaker was Sara Konrath, Director, Interdisciplinary Program for Empathy and Altruism Research at Indiana University a research lab with a primary focus on motivations, traits, and behaviors relevant to philanthropic giving,...