From the Author

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Many of life's challenges revolve around our reaction to fear.  We are afraid of death, pain, separation, prejudice, fear of what others think of us, afraid to succeed or fail, illness, losing independence or of becoming independent, fear of having or not having significant relationships, fear of being alone or with many people, wars, unknown, the dark, fire, freezing cold, hunger, loss of job, home or faith, fear of facing bullies or relative safety in going along with the crowd, fear of not passing the tests in life.  We make life decisions based on avoiding or facing fear.  It is our constant companion that is unrelenting and burdensome.  Fear determines whether we have courage or cowardice.  When fear rules our lives, we are the losers because we are avoiding or reacting to fear rather than standing up to it with courage and faith.  Sometimes we are losing the battle with fear because we look the other way, ignore situations because we want to be safe for the moment.  We lose our compassion because the person we are not helping will someday be ourselves.  Hitler was able to control his part of the world because of the fear he generated.  He did not succeed because of the courage of those who put themselves in jeopardy to rise up against injustice with courage and faith.  Life is filled with those little moments of panic because we are called to stand up to bullies, cruelty, hatred, injustice, and evil.  Every day we need to pray for the faith to do the right thing and "pay it forward."  It is difficult but necessary for our self-esteem as we keep our world safe and secure for our next generations. If we have courage in the small decisions we will definitely have the ability to face the larger issues.  I personally am sorry for all of the times I have been a coward, especially when I did not act but stood by as an observer.  I pray I will do better in the future.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I recently had an experience with black ice.  I was driving along about 10 miles under the speed limit due to icy roads when I hit the patch of black ice.  I was spun around and slid down an embankment into a field.  I remember looking ahead as I plunged down the side of the road.  I could see the ground coming up and I wondered if my air bags would deploy.  I had my seatbelt on but still felt very vulnerable.  When something like this happens, I wonder first if this is my time to die.  I remembered to pray as I felt afraid.  It happened in seconds but it seemed like it unfolded very slowly. Things in life can change in an instant.  It is important that we are prepared.  Sometimes these incidents help us to review what is truly the center of our lives.  Is it God, work, accumulation of money, family, gambling?  When you feel you might die, or someone we love dies, we are often forced to think about our own lives.  When hurricanes, tornadoes, or other disasters occur, the survivors look around for family, friends and neighbors.  They often celebrate because their families are safe. The house, furnishings, things accumulated take a backseat to the preservation of life.  I celebrated because I was alive with no injuries. I thanked God for the blessings I receive every day.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Courageous people

I think truly courageous people have gut wrenching  fear but act out of a belief in something bigger than themselves.  They have a tremendous amount to lose personally but their faith in doing the right thing gives them the incentive to make sacrifices.  It is much easier to "go along with the crowd" and hide in the shadows.  I want to thank the many people in our past who tried to create a better world for all of us.  Also to thank people today who rise above prejudice, senseless killing and hatred to show us how to live with dignity. Individuals can make a difference to influence society to include and respect all faiths, races, sexual orientation, etc. Maybe the world someday will allow countries and their people to co-exist with collaboration and peace.  It takes courage to face obstacles and overcome them one at a time.  It takes courage to follow your conscience.  I pray that all of us can identify these moments and find our courage when we need it! We  have had wonderful examples in the civil rights movement.  Thank you!

Monday, January 13, 2014


I read somewhere that Ohio has the reputation of having the worst, disgusting, language in the US.  What a distinction!  I know that individuals want to shock their listeners and get their attention.  I personally dislike hearing cuss words, yelling, and anger used in a disrespectful manner to the target of their attention and others who just happen to be in the vicinity.  I hope that Ohioans begin to understand that they can get more attention with manners and definitely more respect with kindness and consideration.  We are the examples that our friends, siblings, children and grandchildren try to emulate.  How many teachers would write recommendation letters for students who show no respect?  How many employers want to hire someone who does not know how to smile, to deal with conflict in a positive way, to be on time, to dress neatly and who has disgusting personal hygiene?  Would I hire someone who wears pants down to their thighs and have their underwear and other skin showing?  Children need to be taught that they are not the center of the universe and that it is imperative for them to learn manners, to say please and thank you, to wait while someone else is speaking and to respect the opinions of others.  These are tools that can be used in their lives to hep them fulfill their dreams. I am sad that ridicule, cussing, anger, fighting verbally and physically, name calling, bullying and negative behaviors are shown in the media as humor and the norm. I hope that families can begin to see that allowing children/teens/young adults to use these behaviors is not doing them a favor and are setting them up for failure. I know that there are many parents who are doing a wonderful job raising their families.  Sometimes they help others who come to visit because they also have to follow the rules while they are in a more structured environment.  I have respect for all individuals/communities who take the hardest road by taking time to teach the newer generations about love, hope and faith and provide a structure of consistent, fair rules to live by.  I believe in the power of love!  Pat

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Who is your hero?

I have encountered many heroes who are not recognized by the media, are not financial gurus, are not beautiful physically, are not in sports or film-making, are not viewed as special by the world.  I know a couple who had a daughter who was killed in a horrendous accident.  They still grieve for her and it happened many years ago.  She was under seven years old.  Her parents and her brother chose to shoulder their pain and continue living.  They understood the pain and suffering that accompanies with the death of someone who was greatly loved.  They chose to forgive and have spent their lives caring for others with a generosity of spirit and a sharing of their own resources, financial and otherwise.  I recognize their courage, faith, love, kindness and compassion.  Instead of wallowing in self-pity, they resolved to make their daughter's life count and faced the world with love and tolerance.  They are real heroes--not manufactured media-driven individuals who glorify money, things, drugs, alcohol, sex, cussing, anger, bullying, power. humiliation and control. Their values are greatly needed in this changing world and I thank them for their example.  Pat

Sunday, January 5, 2014

caregiver heroes

I was recently out with a couple who are related to my sister. He is a person who is still battling cancer over a period of many years.  They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  He has gained weight due to the treatments and has great difficulty with walking, sitting, bathing etc.  His wife has been a caregiver for him and a niece who has mental disabilities.  She is kind, caring and does a subtle verbal dancing to try to help him while keeping his dignity intact.  She is a silent hero who does a 24 hour a day job with dignity and patience.  Her husband is not aware of her personal sacrifice to be there for him on a daily basis.  When I told her what I observed and how highly I thought of her, she had tears in her eyes. When I wrote my book, on the last page is a letter of thanks to caregivers. I used to give it to caregivers and it always seemed to make them cry as their job is often thankless.  Caregivers who do their jobs out of love and faith are my heroes.  Please try to recognize a caregiver and plan to give them a break. Perhaps you can take care of the person they are caring for periodically. A break from patient care is probably the best gift you can give a caregiver.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


I was recently diagnosed with an eye condition that requires the daily use of expensive eye drops.  The inexpensive drops cause too much irritation to be comfortable.  I decided to order the drops through my mail order insurance and to use a manufacturer coupon.  It took hours on the phone to get everything required to use the coupon and get the required information to the mail order pharmacy.  It was all completed on Dec 15, 2013.  I waited until after the holidays to call to see the status of the delivery.  I was shocked that the mail order pharmacy was "sorry" but the order was never processed.  My insurance was changed to a new mail order pharmacy on January 2014 and I would have to start the process all over.  The coupon that was activated was no longer in effect.  I told them that I thought this was unethical and unprofessional.  After I requested to speak to a supervisor, none were "available".

After I cried for awhile, I called my sister, who has the same condition.  She is successfully using another older historically used traditional eye drop that is inexpensive.  I will call and ask my physician about that on Monday.  If it works, it will be much better financially long term for me.  The new mail order pharmacy offered to overnight the drops when ordered at their expense.  My long-term friends, who recently acquired a large sum of unexpected funds, offered to help pay for the drops.  What was initially a "catastrophe" to me became a blessing when I was able to pray about it and let God handle it.  I don't know how it will turn out but I know I will be fine.  I have had a wonderful reminder about God's love for me and I know he is looking out for me everyday. He sends his earth angels to help.  I hope I can find opportunities to be an earth angel to others. We can "pay it forward."  Thank you to my earth angels.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Random acts of kindness

During the holidays, I was standing in line at the post office. There were long lines.  A man and his son were attempting to send a holiday package and were short $2.30.  The woman next in line immediately went up and offered to pay the difference to enable them to mail their package. The whole atmosphere changed as people started smiling and were enjoying the look of joy on the faces of the man and his son.  The woman gave a wonderful gift to everyone present.  It wasn't the amount of money as much as the willingness to get involved and make a difference.  Love always overshadows the darkness of anger and selfishness.  We all need to take the opportunity to send out ripples of love in the world.  Thanks go to the many angels in the world who have no wings but have a big heart.  Pat

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Dying Teach Us How To Live blog

I am just beginning my blog journey about my book, "The Dying Teach Us How To Live."  It is a book with short stories from my observations as a social worker for hospice and other health care individuals and families/friends.  These wonderful people became very significant in my life as they taught me about the journey of life and death.  They taught me how to live.  I hope that I can share some of these life lessons with others to help them with fear or worry about their situation in dealing with illness or death.  Please let me know if there is anything I can help you with.  Pat