Isn't life just a 'U-pick" flower garden?

Isn't life just a 'U-pick" flower garden?

Friday, March 28, 2014

What makes you lucky?


As I arrived to take care of a patient, "Dolly" the goat wouldn't let me in the gate.  I had to wait until her owner came out if the house.

Yesterday and the day before...

My son waiting on a pitch.  I spent the last four days watching teenage boys play baseball, play basketball and eat large quantities of food.  

The week...

While I am basking in the sun,  my husband, daughter and middle son were building a home in Juarez.  So proud of them!

A  week or two ago...

The view from my kitchen with a pristine spring snow.

One of the ways I let off steam...

Trying to walk these three knuckleheads.

These two are waiting for me every day when I come home to listen to me talk...

I am lucky.  I have an amazing family and a job that I love.  I have animals that will listen to me talk until I am done.  I've been struggling with seeing how lucky I am and needed to take inventory.  There is so much more than this, but I can only say...thanks for listening.

What are you not seeing in your days that make you lucky?
An interesting question, eh?

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,

Monday, March 10, 2014

The right thing...

Tonight I am home sitting on the couch while I listen to music and my cat's loud purring behind me.  The phone is close as I have a patient that is waiting for the angels.  I am thinking I will be awakened in the middle of the night with the call...

The family is ready.  They have cared for her for about 6 months and she has had her good days and her bad days.  She, too, is ready to leave this earth because she is tired.  She has fought the good fight, raised kids, buried a spouse, dealt with illness and acquired some dementia.  She forgets things that she did earlier in the day or if she was having pain or if she ate breakfast.  She needs her family to remind her of things and it is clear that she doesn't appreciate that.  She is done.  The gift of caring for her is that she is old, in her late 80's and lived a very full life.  So, while her family doesn't want to lose her, they have come to a place of acceptance...

Last week, it was not that way.  My patient was leaving us and the family, including myself, was not quite ready.  He was younger and had good years ahead of him, or so we all thought.  But, it wasn't to be.  He became ill and lived full on until he could no longer and then he gently went into the night.  No pain, no suffering...just a lovely sleep and a last breath with his family by his side.  

I notice when I help families and patients at the end, I pray for peace and comfort.  I pray for simple sleep and a last breath that almost goes unnoticed as the family sits quietly holding their hand.  I pray for quiet and connection that is peaceful, comfortable and as it is supposed to be.

My outlook on things is skewed.  My husband reminds me of that all the time.  Because I deal with death and sometimes suffering, life becomes very clear.  It is important to figure out what the right thing is and do it.  As hard as it is sometimes, the right thing is the right thing.  I watch families make that choice every day.  They have a situation where they would rather do anything than care for their loved one.  Not because they don't love them but because they are exhausted, it is hard and sometimes downright icky.  But they get up every morning and do it knowing it's what you do for the ones you love.  Then, when they watch their loved one take that last peaceful breath at home with everyone sitting around, they understand what doing the right thing is, and how hard doing the right thing was and how doing the right thing is very rewarding.

Caring for each other in the good and the bad is the right thing.  Some days, I wake up and think...I can't do this today, I can't watch one more family grieve and I can't go one more night without sleep.  But then I think of these families that are counting on me to support them as they do what they consider the right thing and I pull up my granny panties and get going.  Sure we all get tired and we have to take breaks but honestly, it is not that complicated.  It is actually very simple...we just need to do the right thing.

I have a missionary friend that lost his mother today.  She had a brain tumor and lived far from him.  He took is new baby and wife, moved to where his mother was and cared for her until she left.  He put his life on hold and did the right thing.  I know tonight, his heart is broken and he will grieve and miss her for the rest of his days but I also know that he will look back in time and take comfort that he did the right thing.  Looking in from the outside, it looked hard to do what he did and I am sure it was...but he shined as a son and as a person and as a husband and father as he did the right thing.

It's never easy, it do the right thing.  It seems like in every aspect of life, the right thing is the harder path.  But as I get older and I watch my families make choices, I am in awe of what folks can do for their loved ones.  They do the right thing and while they may wonder at the time about their the end, they take comfort in doing the right thing.

That's my chant prayer these days..."God, help me do the right thing" because if it was up to me alone,  I am taking the easy way out!!!

Good to be back and hope you are all well,
We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Burn out...or compassion fatigue?

I really have to say...after all those weeks of intense caring for families and patients, it came to an abrupt end.  Being a hospice nurse is like that.  

I went to a couple of funerals, cried my eyes out with the families, sent notes to tell them what a great job they did caring for their loved ones and I went home.  I was drained and feeling exhausted.  

Life is funny like think you can't do one more thing or tolerate any more sadness and then the sun comes up again another day and I find myself on another couch, explaining life and death and feeling energized again.  

So it goes...I have a few more patients that are making the most of their days, families that are doing a great job and me, in the background cheering them on.

Compassion fatigue...I was thinking I had that.  In my sadness,  I had decided that I care too much, do too much and I have to create better boundaries when it comes to my job.  I even told Jim that...I am not going to give people my phone number, blah...blah..blah.  

Then I rested and my special folks passed away and I missed them and missed the caring for them and their families.  I enjoy caring for people and about people and I also enjoy doing things to make someones life easier.  I decided that is what my life is about.  I loved caring for my kids (when I wasn't ready to kill them) and I love to help my patients.

So yeah, I guess I get "compassion fatigue" at times, but doesn't anyone who cares for someone?  In the old days, I think they called it "burn out" and Lord knows, I have been "burnt out" at times too. 

In my time to process the last 6 weeks, I figured out a few things.  It's my job to care too much and I get paid for it.   How many of us have the opportunity to care so much for a family at such a difficult time in life and make a difference?  Sure, it's natural to get too tired, too sad and want to sadness to end.  I also realized that life is short for us who don't see the end coming, but really short if you do.  What better to do then to connect on a deeper level at that time.  There is nothing better.

I have had so many people ask me, "how do you do that?" and  "isn't so hard"...and to them I say yes but then I say no.  I am the cheerleader, the supporter, the idea lady...I get to help while they go through the most difficult time in their lives.  I ask myself, "How do these families do this" and make sure that I honor how hard it is. 

So yeah, I get burnt out, I get compassion fatigue after I lose a patient...but I also get a feeling of love, and deep respect for the families that see it through.  I also get such love and respect from families as they treat me like their own, and that settles the feelings of fatigue and lets me know it is what I am called to do.

What are you supposed to do?  Is it hard?  Is it worth it?  I know the exhaustion and sadness that I endure at times is...and to fall in love with each family is worth it as well.  

I just hope the families get as much love and respect from me that I get from them because in the end, and I mean the end...isn't that what life is about?  

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The definition of exceptional...

You gotta read this.  It is an amazing article about differences in opinion and how we can all think differently and thank God we do!

Whoa Nelly...this is some kind of writing, huh?

As you all know, I am a mother of 3.  They are almost grown and I can say, that besides being a hospice nurse, raising them is my most prized accomplishment.  To be able to experience the love and exhaustion of shepherding another human being, let alone 3, as they learn, grow, make mistakes while becoming who they are meant to be...that is what I was put on this earth to do.

But being a mother...caring for little human beings is not what every female is meant to do and that's just fine.  

The writer of this article states:
"Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself? There’s no way those two things are the same. It’s hard for me to believe it’s not just verbally placating these people so they don’t get in trouble with the mommy bloggers.
Having kids and getting married are considered life milestones. We have baby showers and wedding parties as if it’s a huge accomplishment and cause for celebration to be able to get knocked up or find someone to walk down the aisle with. These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them. They are the most common thing, ever, in the history of the world. They are, by definition, average. And here’s the thing, why on earth are we settling for average?"
I guess I respectfully beg to differ on what she calls "super easy tasks".  Finding and staying together with my husband for 25 years has been anything but easy.  Negotiating raising three kids and finding common moral ground in this crazy world isn't "super easy" either.  It has been amazing, trying, scary and boring but I would never say, that it has been "super easy".

The author goes on:
If women can do anything, why are we still content with applauding them for doing nothing?
I want to have a shower for a woman when she backpacks on her own through Asia, gets a promotion, or lands a dream job not when she stays inside the box and does the house and kids thing which is the path of least resistance. The dominate cultural voice will tell you these are things you can do with a husband and kids, but as I’ve written before, that’s a lie. It’s just not reality."
The funny thing about this opinion is, she is right on.  If you were one of my buddies, I would applaud you if you backpacked through Asia, got a raise, promotion or made it through the day without screaming at one of your teenagers.  I would applaud you for doing what you do, whatever it is.  I guess it's because I am a celebrator and think we should celebrate all of our accomplishments as humans, whatever they are! 
You see, we all have our strengths and we all have our weaknesses and to call another woman average because she chooses to take a different path than you choose to take is unfortunate.  As far as taking the "path of least resistance", only we know what that is and  is our own call to take and how we choose to live our lives.  We are all "wonderfully made" with gifts for all different things!
The article goes on:
"You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.
I learned from a wise 2nd grade teacher this quote..."you can do everything you want to but you just can't do it at the same time."  For me that rang true.  I was not able to raise three kids, run a house...even an average one...and work full time.  I did a lousy job at all three.  So I chose to pick the one that made my heart sing, hoping when that time was through I could find something else.  And I did.  I would say, without being humble at all, I mothered the best I could at the time and felt exceptional and now that I am a hospice nurse, I do that and feel exceptional.  But, I still have a husband and kids.  If exceptional means rich with money...forget it.  I guess I am not.  But if exceptional means that I have gone above and beyond to raise kids and to care for my dying patients...yes, I am exceptional.
Finally, the writer says:
"I hear women talk about how “hard” it is to raise kids and manage a household all the time. I never hear men talk about this. It’s because women secretly like to talk about how hard managing a household is so they don’t have to explain their lack of real accomplishments. Men don’t care to “manage a household.” They aren’t conditioned to think stupid things like that are “important.”
"Women will be equal with men when we stop demanding that it be considered equally important to do housework and real work. They are not equal. Doing laundry will never be as important as being a doctor or an engineer or building a business. This word play is holding us back."
Is it the word play holding us back or just the back biting?  I mean, who cares if I stay home and you build a multimillion dollar company if we get our souls fed and make the world a better place?  I think we all need to figure out what us and to the world.  That is what will differentiate men and woman between average and exceptional.  Whatever you choose, do it well and go above and it a stay at home mom/dad, a president of a company or both and let's honor each other always choosing to hold each other up and not push each other down.  Don't you think life is hard enough?

That's just my  two cents...
We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,

Saturday, January 18, 2014

No low T here...

Yesterday, I met the gang at school.  There are 5 to start, four  of them 17 and  one of them sixteen...all handsome boys.  Today, there are five more to show up...four more who are 17 and my oldest son who is 19.  

They loaded the back of the truck with skis, snowboards and gear they needed to spend the weekend on the slopes.  They joked and jabbed at each other while loading, but it was an easy banter and I could tell they are pretty good buddies.

As I drove the truck full of young men for an hour to the ski area, the snacks came out, one had a bloody nose and all of them laughed pretty hard at some of the stuff said.  It was a sweet time to remember back to a time when life was ahead of you and you didn't have to be a grown up.

We found our condo, unloaded all the gear and they were to get a few runs in at night before the place closed.  Two of the boys stayed  back to catch up on homework...calculus and literature.  They were quiet and thoughtful as we sat peacefully in the condo doing our own thing.  So nice...

I lead with that story because up until 3pm yesterday, life has been very intense.  I have been taking care of families and patients that cannot believe that there isn't something to do to help their loved one stay on this earth longer.  They cannot accept comfort without treatment and that soon their hearts will be broken in half from pain.  No way, no how...

While all that intensity is noble, when a patient has fought so hard and is so tired and makes the decision to spend every last minute at home being comfortable, it is a negative thing.  The patient feels like they are letting the family down or that they they want to leave them even though they are just tired.  When a person chooses comfort care neither is true...they are letting no one down and they do not want to leave...they just want relief.

Listen, I am all for treatment and for doing whatever you need to do to get well.  I am, really.  When my collegues and I walk into the home of someone who is still fighting, we honor that and do whatever we can to help.  We don't talk end of life and we pray we don't see them again.  And sometimes we do see them again and sometimes we don't.

Families are so random, so different in how they love each other, communicate with each other and handle crisis.  For a group of humans so invested in each other, there is no right way...there is only the way that family does it.  So while I describe the time as intense, I guess a better way is "intense with feelings."  The feelings are all over the place and they change from minute to minute.  The family and I could be counting our blessings that they are at home in bed comfortable and then guilty because there must be something else they could do...from contentment to guilt to fear to love and peace and back again.  

For most of my families, we wanted to have a nice Christmas or nice holidays with the kids home, grandkids home and friends over. We were very successful and the time was described as "wonderful".  Each visit after the holidays were spent rejoicing in the time spent with family, saying what needed to be said and making the most of it.  Now, three weeks later, my patients are tired and slowly shutting down.  Their race is coming to an end and although we all knew it was coming, it is just so difficult.  

My collegues and I spend a lot of time encouraging these folks and telling them how they are doing such a great job taking care of their loved ones, but that isn't enough, and it isn't enough that they are home and comfortable either.  They want all of this to be a bad dream that they want to wake up as soon as possible.  While I can try every trick in the book to make this time better and easier, it is a bad dream and also a hard time that is real.  

Believe it or not, I totally understand.  I have lived a lot of this as a family member and it feels unreal.  And, honestly, if I want to be truthful, nothing anyone said made it better.  The only thing that made it less painful was time and the fact that I felt comfort from caring for my mother as she died in a hospital bed in her livingroom.  It took years for the pain to stop stabbing and turn into an ache at the thought but then remembering how she was with us and she was comfortable helps.

So....when I got in the truck and got on the highway, the thoughts in my brain turned to living, to teenage boys, to thinking about how to feed them all and turned away from dying.  Yes, we are all going to die and yes, I believe we should have the choice to fight until our last breath or give in and find relief any way we can.  I also know that even families that meet me at the door with the family problems love and adore each other in their own way.  Yes, they do.  My job is to help in any way I can to make this transition easier for the patient and for the people the patient loves.  Then, when I do that, I have to let it go.  I have to turn my thoughts to the living, to my family, my husband and daughter and boys and the time enjoying and raising them.  Because some day, hopefully in a long time...they will care for me.

Around 8:30, the cell phone rang and the boys let my know they were on their way back and "we are starving."  I put the 4 frozen pizzas in the oven along with the 50 mozzerella sticks and set the timer.  15 minutes later, the condo door opened, snow pants, ski boots and coats were shed on the floor and they loaded their plates with junk food.  The banter started again as I sat in the corned looking at the fireplace and putting the week behind me.  I said a small prayer in my head for the families of my sweet folks for peace and good time and threw in the same for me.

This morning, I could feel the testosterone pulsing as they woke up, started getting dressed and raiding the kitchen.  My almost 50 year old body's estrogen can't even compete a little for balance but really, who cares?  The day is sunny, the snow is perfect and hopefully those boys don't have a care in the it should be when you are a teenager with your whole life ahead of you.

Enjoy time now and every chance you get it...and today, I will do the same, as I hold a little spot of tenderness for my families loving and caring for their loved ones this weekend.

We'll tawk tomorrow,

I love you all,


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

25 years ago...

25 years ago on January 1st, I woke up a married woman.  On New Years Eve 1988,  Jim and I stood at the altar at Prince of Peace Lutheran church and promised we would take care of each other, love each other and keep our promises to each other.

At the time, it seemed like it was gonna be easy.  I loved him, he loved me, we both had jobs, we loved animals and we loved to do fun things outside. Isn't that all you need to make a marriage work? 

Our first year was hard and intense.  There were boundaries to be established and personalities to figure out, goals to set and agree on and a puppy to train.  Let's just say that because you don't fight when you are dating, doesn't mean you don't when you are married.
We learned this the hard way...

In the years to follow, we settled into being parents and trying to be the best ones we could be.  I appreciated that in him and I am sure he appreciated that in me.  We made tons of mistakes but we never wavered on our priorities...our kids and this family.

Then they started to leave and go to college.  My Queen left in 2010 and hasn't looked back.  She will graduate next year from CU with an engineering degree.  We are so proud of her.  She is her father's daughter, quiet and smart, brave and kind.  Then in 2012, my middle son left for college.  He too, is doing well and we are so proud of him.  He is more like me, quick to open his mouth, to get a laugh out of you but no less gifted than his sister.  We have one left and he is a junior in high school.  This guy is quiet, smart and determined to get away from his two old parents and make something of himself.  Finishing strong is our goal as parents, remembering that even though the others did well, it doesn't mean we need to pay attention to him because he's got it.

It's interesting though how things work out.  After 25 years, of course things change and soon it will be back to Jim and I.  It was him and I for 2 years and then we became Mom and Dad...

He and I were never very good at taking time for ourselves.  I would hear my friends talk about "date night" and getting a sitter every week and envy their devotion to their marriage.  Or when they went on vacation and left the kids with grandma and just devoted time to each other.  I'm not sure we ever did that or wanted to...

I guess we thought pulling the band trailer and feeding the band was devoting time to each other or changing the oil in the car and taking out the garbage without being that was  a sign of deep and abiding love.  Or, coaching the boys baseball teams, watching every soccer game, or even when the kids and I would come home with another animal, (even though he begged me not to) would hurry up and figure out the cage it was to live in.  That's what I figured love and devotion to a spouse was and is.

But...soon, it is going to have to look like something else, I guess.  There is another couple of high school baseball seasons, helping with kid things and then as fast as it began, it is done.  Jim and I will be home at night...just him and me.  Wow...

Last night, the phone rang from Acuna, Mexico and on the other end was the team he and my boys were building with.  He and the boys headed out Friday after Christmas to lead a group and give a family without a home, a place to be.  They yelled "Happy Anniversary, Honey" all at once and then Jim got on and said it again.  I started to cry a little but I didn't know why.  Maybe because I wished he was home with me, or because I am so proud of the father and example he is.  Probably a little of both.  

When he got asked to lead this build over our anniversary, part of me wanted him to stay want to stay home with me.  The dreamy part of me wanted him to sit on the couch and have him tell me all the things he loved about me, us and our life together over 25 years and then we would look romantically into each others eyes and share a kiss.  One of those kisses like in the beginning when it was all you could think about.  

Then I remembered who he is and who we are together and told him he should go and take his boys.   Leading builds in Mexico is the action that brings him closer to his God and makes his heart sing...anyone who has seen him on a build knows that.

I guess it's the part of the deal when we promised to take care of each other and love each other.  Over the last 25 years, we have done that part again and again.  Not in the romantic, flashy way but in the head down, plow through way that attracted me to him 26 years ago.  He was quiet and kind and thoughtful, smart and capable...all the things I wanted in the father of my children.  He has been that and more...

So the question we change what we've done for the last 25 years or do we just keep going?  If he was here and I asked him, he would say, "Well, what do you think honey?" and I would launch into some romantic notions about trips and new hobbies and more animals to which he would respond...."We could do that if you really want to."  A little later after I thought about it, I would go find him in the garage  and ask him if he wanted to sit on the couch and have a beer while I have a glass of wine and he would say yes.  After sitting for a few minutes,  he would methodically fold up the newspaper to the Soduko, find a pencil and start figuring out the numbers.  I would open my computer and we would sit in quiet comfort, every so often bringing up something to talk about but mostly just being quiet and peaceful...being comfortable.  

I guess that's not so bad for the next 25 it?

So, Jim, I know you are finishing the house today and are probably smiling from ear to ear as you do it...Happy 25th Anniversary and happy new year.  Here's to those promises we made a very long time ago and to trying to keep them again for another 25!

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Christmas Post...

Last night we went to church.  We got dressed up and took pictures in front of the tree all dressed up.  

We got to church and found our usual seats.  The place was full.  It was full of folks that come to church every Sunday and of folks that want to come to church on Christmas Eve.  I love going to church on Christmas Eve because I see a bunch of folks that I don't normally see at church.  Not that I really care, but I love to see the crowd and feel the energy of church.

As the crowd quieted down and the service started, I looked around.   To my left was the usual Sunday morning crew...they sit the same place every Sunday and so do we.  

I looked farther down the row and I saw a young woman wiping tears.  She was a beautiful girl and I didn't recognize her but it looked as if she was alone and she was hurting.  The service went on and I tried not to stare but I couldn't take my eyes off of her. The tears were being held in, and as they snuck out of the corner of her eyes,  wiped as fast as they were coming out...she was in pain and it was hard not to see.

Christmas eve is a festive time for most folks and to see someone in pain is difficult and to say the least, uncomfortable.  For some reason, I could not take my eyes off of her.  As the service went on, I thought about why such a pretty girl could hurt so much...why she was alone and what could possible be so sad.  I sang the songs, recited the prayers, and watched her.  She continued to cry through the service and I continued to watch her.

All at once, during the collection, she jumped up and headed out of the church.  I handed my son my bulletin and followed her.  I couldn't let her leave my place where I go to worship God without connecting with a hurting person.  What kind of person would I be if I didn't offer a kind word and a human connection?  I thought about how I would feel if my daughter was the one in the church crying and no one stopped to give her comfort...

She had gone to the bathroom to wipe her tears and gather herself.  I opened the door and stared at her for a few seconds.  Finally, I got the courage to say something..."I've been watching you and you are so sad"...before I could say anymore, I gathered her in my arms and told her that I was glad she was with us and did she want to come home with us. She just sobbed for a few seconds, gathered herself, told me she was so glad she was here too.  I told her I was usually at church on Sundays and she should come back.  She hugged me again and  walked back in to church.

Made me think of a Christmas even in 1992, when I was 7 months pregnant with my first child.  This story was the Christmas eve sermon.  I hope you enjoy it...

The Story of the Christmas Guest by Helen Steiner Rice
It happened one day at December's endSome neighbors called on an old-time friend.
And they found his shop so meager and mean,
Made gay with a thousand boughs of green.
And old Conrad was sitting with face ashine.
When he suddenly stopped as he stitched the twine.
And he said "My friends at dawn today,
When the cock was crowing the night away,
The Lord appeared in a dream to me.
And He said, 'I'm coming your guest to be"
So I've been busy with feet astir,
Strewing my shop with branches of fir.
The table is spread and the kettle is shined,
And over the rafters the holly is twined.
And now I'll wait for my Lord to appear;
And listen closely so I will hear,
His steps as he nears my humble place.
And I'll open the door and I'll look on his face."
Then his friends went home and left Conrad alone,
For this was the happiest day he had known.
For long since his family had passed away.
And Conrad had spent many a sad Christmas Day.
But he knew with the Lord as his Christmas guest,
This Christmas would be the dearest and best.
So he listened with only joy in his heart,
And with every sound he would rise with a start,
And looked for the Lord to be at his door.
Like the vision that he had had a few hours before.
So he ran to the window after hearing a sound,
But all he could see on the snow covered ground
Was a shabby beggar whose shoes were torn.
And all his clothes were ragged and worn.
But old Conrad was touched and he went to the door
And he said, "Your feet must be cold and sore.
I have some shoes in my shop for you.
And I have a coat to keep you warmer, too."
So with grateful heart the man went away.
But Conrad notice the time of day
And he wondered what made the dear Lord so late,
And how much longer he'd have to wait.
Then he heard another knock, and he ran to the door,
But it was only a stranger once more.
A bent old lady with a shawl of black,
And a bundle of kindling piled on her back.
But she asked only for a place to rest,
a place that was reserved, for Conrad's great guest.
But her voice seemed to plead, "Don't send me away,
Let me rest for awhile this Christmas Day."
So Conrad brewed her a steaming cup
And told her to sit at the table and sup.
After she had left, he was filled with dismay
For he saw that the hours were slipping away
The Lord had not come as He said He would
And Conrad felt sure he had misunderstood.
When out of the stillness he heard a cry.
"Please help, me and tell me - Where am I?"
So again he opened his friendly door.
And stood disappointed as twice before.
It was a child who had wandered away,
And was lost from her family on Christmas Day.
Again Conrad's heart was heavy and sad,
But he knew he could make this little girl glad.
So he called her in and he wiped her tears,
And he quieted all her childish fears.
Then he led her back to her home once more.
Then as he entered his own darkened door,
He knew that the Lord was not coming today,
For the hours of Christmas, had all passed away.
So he went to his room, and he knelt down to pray.
He said, "Lord, why did you delay?
What kept You from coming to call on me?
I wanted so much Your face to see."
Then softly, in the silence, a voice he heard.
"Lift up your head - I have kept My word.
Three times my shadow crossed your floor.
Three times I came to your lowly door.
I was the beggar with bruised cold feet;
I was the woman you gave something to eat;
I was the child on the homeless street.
Three times I knocked, three times I came in,
And each time I found the warmth of a friend.
Of all the gifts, love is the best.
I was honored to be your Christmas guest.

I didn't see her again after the service.  I was busy wishing all my friends Merry christmas and enjoying lovely energy of the night.  But I thought of her and her blue eyes filled with tears as I went to bed last night.  I also thought of how uncomfortable I was when I stopped her and how she clung to me and laid her head on my shoulder. It may not have been an answer to her problems but I hope it was a human connection, a feeling that one person  on earth noticed that she was hurting and that they care.  

Because we all do...I know we care about each other and sometimes it's just too uncomfortable to stop, look someone in the eye and let them know it.  I can say that I was shaking in my ballet shoes...but, I continued to hear that little voice that told me to go and I'm so glad I did.

So tonight, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy holidays and a happy New Year.  I also wish you strength to care for the hurting, strength to accept the love of someone caring for you...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, 
We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,