Life hands you lemons!

Many times in life we get handed things we are not sure we want.  The first time I tasted lemons I thought the same thing.  I have grown to love the taste of them and the value to health that they provide as time has gone by.  This being said, life circumstances are a lot like this story of lemons.  I have taken on jobs at first that I thought were nothing but sour lemons. It amazes me that every one of these lemons that I have embraced have turned out to become a blessing.  Much like these lemons from the Amafali Coast in Italy where there are groves of Lemons, they learned to make Lemoncella an excellent wine from this bright fruit that to some seemed to not be worth much.  I for one can attest that this is a fruit worth so much more.

I have recently found myself comparing my current project to these bright gems.  I have taken a  project on to promote a telephone triage department and mold it into the newest century by making changes that would meet the guides of the Affordable Care Act.  This law is exasperating at best but the truth is that with the increasing baby boomer population and the decline in the number of providers available to care for this aging population, this act leaves people wondering if anyone can help.  It it taking the same kind of creativity road that the lemons took.  It is a gamble to reach out and get grants to help make changes that might help.  It is a gamble to push forward with only small goals in mind only to find that the changes are beginning to show some worth.  Learning to work smarter with what we have and setting small goals have proven to bring greater rewards than I ever thought.

I am sure the gambles of the lemon in Italy was not an easy road to success and neither is anything we find ourselves doing that is out of our comfort zone.  Having the faith of a seed that can grow into beautiful things will falter from time to time.  Learning to not give up on your ideas too early is the real challenge.  Knowing it is alright to make some mistakes along the way but use those mistakes to improve processes, is all part of the bigger plan that we must not lose sight to see.  After all if a lemon can make it big then so can we all.  Enjoy the lemonade and the lemoncella, as life is sweet when you reach your goals.

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Innocence

Oh to be young and looking at the world with wonder. It takes courage to explore your world and trust that the adults have knowledge about what is going on around them.  The innocence of a child  trusting that all is right with their world and there is nothing to worry about.  Thinking if there is something amiss if I hide from it things will get better.

This reminds me of the American public not knowing or trying to understand the laws that are being passed by our government.  I have seen many changes in my career but feel that the Affordable Care Act is not so affordable.  I believe that everyone deserves safe affordable care but at whose expense?  Do we close our eyes and tell ourselves it will get better or do we take a step into the unknown and see where things are leading?

If I choose to hide I am at the mercy of those who compose/pass laws with a blindfold across their eyes.  Have they looked at how these laws will be carried out or who the end person is going to be holding the bag?  I agree that health care needs to be fixed however I do not have the trust of a child in big government that my father did.  Because of the increasing Baby Boomers and the fear that we had an unsustainable process we now must jump through hoops in short periods of time, as we attempt to meet the goals of some bean counter.  All the while the middle class is paying out more and more in other areas to pay for those who won’t or can’t work.

Many do not want the help that is offered and continue to hide or ignore the attempts to offer them health care, health advice and acceptance that we need change.  Many children will go without insurance and care because they are at the mercy of the adult who is not participating in services that are being provided.  Fear or lack of education, reading skills all affect how each of us faces the world.  Because of their fear that someone will find out, they hide.

Innocence will not save us from the tsunami to come.  There will be a larger gap in care givers to patients as the Boomers age.  Even if you can’t/won’t work, volunteer somewhere to help each other.  Step up and lay down your electronic devices and learn to give of yourself to others.  The rewards are many and the sick,elderly and children are so grateful.  We should not have to entrust big government to do the things we learned as a child are important.  Caring, sharing and helping are the foundations that our great country was built on.  Even a child can see that when these are employed, they come out of the shadows into the light.

Graceful Aging

It is with love that I get to help my Mother grow old gracefully.  I used to wonder what that meant as I was growing up but I also got to see my mother model the role with my grandmother.  She always found time to help her or hold her up in her not so good times.  All my life my best role model is the Mother that God gave to me.  Her laughter is contagious, her smile lights up a room and she is the best listener I know.  She offers her words of wisdom whether I ask for it or not but many times even when I am not asking for it, her words make me think before I jump in and make a mistake.  Her compassion for everyone is amazing.

Her spirit, honesty, values and stories continue to amaze me.  She does her best to continue to fight even though she realizes that her body is growing weak.  To me that makes her fearless as she sees her mortality as not an end but a beginning.  I know she longs to be with my father who has long gone before her but her job to help form us and the next generation was not complete.  She takes that duty very seriously and her smile is always eager to visit as she witnesses the newest generations growing up before her.

God had true wisdom when he gave us mothers and gave women the strength to give back to their families tirelessly.    As I helped her do basic things this weekend she kept thanking me and telling me that God knew she needed girls and was so blessed to have three that she is so proud of.  She told me she didn’t feel she was aging gracefully but no longer had enough fight to care.  To me she will always be gracious and graceful as she never stops sharing her heart and her love……even if it is only her words or a smile.  Thanks Mom.

Memories

Flashback to a simpler time in life to the year 1965….50 years ago when life had much less complication and stress.  My family unit consisted of six and the potential in the faces of the children was only matched by our innocence.  We began a journey that led us through the country following our parents as we moved with Dad’s military career.  None of us knew what the years would bring and for one moment frozen in time a photographer helped us to capture life in the 1960’s when we knew we were loved.  Little did we know where our paths would lead and the strength we would find along the way.  This last week my mother turned 81 and I see the light in her eyes begin to fade.  She dreams of my father who has long gone before her.  Even thought she continues to guide us and be there for us, time has changed her outlook on what is left of life.  Her words of wisdom ring in my ears and I spend as much time as possible with her to share her stories again and again.  I want to store each memory of her to freeze it in my brain like the picture.  It makes me smile when my mother tells it like she sees it.

Now I see my own children in a picture just like the one from 1965 but with their own families.  I think about what trials they must live through.  The family time is such an important time in life yet I see the wisdom my parents shared being passed down through generations.  The love, encouragement, joy and hard work continue but in a far different world.  Simpler time?  Not really, and until we can put others needs before our own like the ones a mother does for her children, we will not solve the true needs of the world. Hate will continue to multiply and grow like wildfire.  Don’t be afraid to hug your children, elderly, loved ones and friends.  It is only through sharing your faith and love that we can help our children change the world.   Our choices do matter and make a difference.  Choose to be a role model, share your values, talk to your children, hug your family tight.  Love them to the moon and back for love will conquer over hate if we dare to share the memories we all hold so dear.

Motherhood

An all inclusive word, motherhood, meant to involve years of hard work, caring, cajoling and encouraging our young to grow up not as we do but as we say.  One must definitely lead by example to obtain the best results.  I was reminded of this as I watched the ducks over this last summer at a pond where I met one of my friends just to walk.  There is nothing more uncertain or stressful as being a Mother.  When my mother used to tell me that having children was the easy part it took me until I had my own children to realize that the years I would spend teaching them as they grew up would mean the most and be the most challenging.  Learning to speak a language that my children heard and observing their responses to see the results of my words.

Our house was always full of our girls, their friends and teammates.  I enjoyed watching my two beautiful daughters turn into women and begin to raise their own children.  I have many times been very proud of how they show their love and tough love to mold my grandchildren.  I have been privileged to see five generations together and the values and morals that built a strong family unit who cares about each and everyone in that unit as if they were a child of their own.

As I sail into the sunset and watch my mother I see her still connect with the great grandchildren and treat each one as the special individual they truly are.  Her strength and courage to realize she still makes a big impact keeps her moving on as she knows the goals God has set for her.  I love you Mom, as you continue to guide me, love me and encourage me each time we speak.  Just like the ducks in the pond, life regenerates itself and we not only learn what we live, we pass it on to the next generation.

Friends from the heart.

Friends make us laugh until we cry and can raise our spirits like a kite on a windy day.  Two such friends come to mind that have done this for me.  I began this journey when I met a woman who shared her story with me about her life.  She was very genuine and honest in what she saw was a life in limbo.  Fast forward to years later and her life did change and turn around and she blossomed like a flower when she got back to her roots and closed a circle she had left undone years before.  This circle gave her light to her eyes and a smile on her heart.  It was of course and old flame from her school years who took her heart to new heights.

It is such fun to enjoy chatting, sharing and caring how things are going and before you know it, life keeps you so busy you drift from what fun there was.  Only to bring you back with a slap.  Not only is my friend sad again but that terrible sentence that health reasons for her and the love of her life are not good.  I went back to reconnect and find that life has beaten them both down.  Oh, they smile and make conversation but are fearful of letting any feelings in their hearts.  My heart breaks watching them struggle since the sunshine that once surrounded their souls is gone.  The grieving has begun in anticipation that one day it will be gone is coming too fast.

I have seen this all before in the patient’s I have cared for yet this time I question my faith.  I ask God “Why is this happening?”  They are such great people, friends, advocates of others and hard working.  How can things end like this by taking away all that was good, true and full of life.  I find myself closing off a room in my heart to keep memories dear.  Am I closing off that part to God because I don’t understand what journey he has for my friends?  Am I just angry that he is taking them so soon.  And now the guilt of why them and not others who don’t try to do his work.  My bible tells me to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your path.”  I have to lean on you now God to comfort me…help me as I walk to the end with my friends.  Help me keep a clear head and heart so I can enjoy what time is left.