Posted in Uncategorized

We are the champions?

I hope that this does not come across as a rant. I keep seeing our country on a number of areas settle for less, accept mediocrity and celebrate being average. It just seems that when I was coming up it was a different time.

I played little league baseball and I was a pretty good athlete when I was younger. I remember very vividly winning the world series. It was the same year I won the MVP of the all-star game going 5 for 5 with 2 homeruns and 7 RBIs. I received a trophy and was celebrated (alone) as the best player that day. Our world series win was the same. None of the other 13 teams in the league were celebrated. And you know, it was good. The teams that lost had a chance to try harder next year and we wanted to get better and do it again. We lost in the world series the next year and you know what? We got nothing for coming in second. The only thing we got to do was shake the winning teams’ hands to congratulate them and then scurry off the field because this was their moment not ours.

When did we get so soft? I mean that loss bothered me because it was my last year playing little league and I wanted to go out with a bang. I was angry with my teammates, coaches and even myself — and I wouldn’t change those feelings for anything. I needed to know what losing felt like. I needed to be uncomfortable with it. I needed to go home empty handed. When teams won back then they used to sing the song We Are The Champions by Queen. I hated to hear other teams sing that song.

Competition is much needed in our lives. No one needs to be spared of the agony of defeat. It truly builds character. Not only did we want to win, but we wanted to win fair and square — no cheats. And the feeling of winning feels so good that you will crave it again and again. Take it away and what do we have left?

In the late 70s someone decided that everyone needed to get a trophy for just participating. If you showed up with a good attitude and tried, you got a trophy. Then another person thought that girls and boys at a certain age could play co-ed. Little girls began to infiltrate little leagues everywhere and the level of play suffered.

The next thing I know, we started having graduation ceremonies for Kindergartners and they stopped people from celebrating touch downs, homeruns and slam dunks. We could not dance, high five, shout or anything. The reason: You don’t want anyone to feel bad.

This logic crossed over from sports to the working class. Unions began to standardize raises so nevermind that you out work everyone at your job, you are going to get the same wage as everyone else. It is not based on work performance anymore. It’s based on whether or not you came to work and worked. Time on the job is what pay is based on so in the course of a year, your raises are already factored in and all you have to do is show up. Sadly, you may only get over the course of the year a $1.00 raise incrementally broken up in two or three parts. On my own, I may have out worked everyone and gotten a $5 increase. But don’t penalize everyone, just me for working so hard.

Thirty plus years of that brings us to today where minimum wage needs to be increased. But in my day no one wanted minimum wage so you went to school, learned a trade or joined the military so you could avoid minimum wage. When I was in high school, fast food jobs were for kids. As were most retail sales reps and movie theater gigs, these jobs were earmarked for teens and now adults do them as first, second or third jobs. When did our country decide to take shortcuts to success? There are none. Contrary to popular belief, hard work, character and integrity were virtues that were taught on every level and the individuals who were learning wanted to succeed. I don’t believe this to be the case anymore. People today do more direct marketing and attempt to profit off their friend’s money.

Today we lie, steal and cheat. We reach success by any means necessary, but that ain’t success! We live in a time where the dark clouds which hover over our government (which should be made up of the best people our country has to offer) is now full of indictments, selfish greedy individuals and they are spearheaded by a fool.

We settle and celebrate mediocrity which makes us weak.

This dumbed-down version of America will be remembered when it is too late. What I mean is that all of the historical signs are there. Our mediocre country is divided and the two sides will clash for the same reason they did during the Civil War. Slavery? Nope, I know that’s what they finally admitted to us but that’s not it. That war and the coming war will be due to IGNORANCE.

Right now, we are too ignorant to make new gun laws and follow the way of more civilized nations like Japan and Germany — the most horrific thing you can have in those countries are mass stabbings. We are too ignorant and greedy to use our resources for the masses. Power in America rests in the 1 percent. Corporations manipulate our government so bad that even the most honest of politicians have a very difficult time representing their constituency.

We are too ignorant to solve basic needs like clean water, energy and air in our country. We are too ignorant to know when we are being lied to and we are too ignorant to know what to do about it. We are too ignorant to know that nothing positive can come from hate. We are too ignorant in our own conceit to believe that one race is better than another. We are ignorant and because of this single fact, we will crumble. It’s very discouraging to watch it happen, but it is coming. We certainly don’t look like anyones champion.

Posted in Happiness, Uncategorized

Do you remember? September

So for the month of September I am doing themed blogs that will carry the title of a famous recording artist(s) and this month is the group Earth, Wind and Fire. The song and title of this blog is September named after one of my favorite songs by the group.

What I love about this group, other than the feel good music they play, is the energy in this group. This song is energetic and you can feel the energy flowing through the song.

This reminds me of how our bodies react when we have a great idea, doing something we love, feeling real good or when we win at something. Our body and mind are having a concert together and it feels great!

It is interesting how when we make decisions that are contrary to who we are or we participate in something that is not in our best interest, we seem to fall apart, first sub consciously and then all over.

Our body is the first to tell us it’s wrong. Have you ever said the phrase: “This doesn’t feel right”? You must listen to the body’s warning. Life is about decision making and those who do well make consistent decisions that elevate your status. You hang out with go-getters and you surround yourself with people on the move.

If your life has been a series of mishaps — some you cause and some you didn’t. If you have been in trouble more times than you care to remember and have even suffered a loss because of decisions, then you are having a horrible concert inside.

When you see the video below of the group performing this song, you see harmony, organized musicianship and a gorgeous melody.

You need for your body and mind to function this way. This means that some things, ideas, past mistakes and people must go!

Harmonize you life. Give yourself energy and allow for Earth, Wind and Fire to take you there.

Posted in Uncategorized

Good grief

So two earthly giants died recently and their deaths made all the world observe.

They battled in two different arenas but the results were the same: We grieve their loss and things will never be quite the same.

John McCain and Aretha Franklin were huge icons who like us all cannot cheat death. For certain, death does not play favorites. Even though most of us did not know them intimately, their actions touched our lives in a positive way and we will grieve their empty spaces.

What do we do with ourselves now? There are feelings left over that were earmarked for those who have made their transition.

Interestingly enough, there should never be leftover love. Human beings crave this commodity and if we are open, another human will accept the love. We got too attached to the one who died — that’s not a bad thing as long as it doesn’t hinder future love. You cannot spend your life admiring, loving, caring and spending time with someone only for them to die and those who remain to kill all feelings towards them.

We were created to love, care, spend time, and admire. We waste time holding grudges, being angry, hating and keeping records of wrongdoing. This is what makes death difficult.

So with every death we need to multiply our love for the living. So if I am loving everyone 5x as much, if I know 5 folks who have transitioned then I should then love those still here 10x — did you get my math? With every death our love for the living increases. This is how we should be grieving.

Posted in Uncategorized

Can you pick out 16 Aretha Franklin songs in this text?

The leaders who are claiming to make America great again need to think — think about what they’re trying to do to us.

Politicians have always sold us a bunch of “wolf tickets” about what they will do for the masses. However, this see saw of promises are empty and leave us frustrated.

There is a lack of respect for the constituents and ain’t no way we are putting up with this.

To hear them speak you would think they were Dr. Feelgood and we could just let the good times roll. This is not the case.

We are left day dreaming about better days. We need a bridge over troubled waters. We are screaming, “save me!” But no one seems to be listening.

These chain of fools think they have gotten over on us, but times are changing. We can comfortably say don’t play that song because they lie.

So I will say a little prayer and wait for the spirit in the dark to deliver my soul serenade before I drown in my own tears.

Remember, a change is gonna come.

Posted in Uncategorized

Let’s talk hospice

I have been asked to write a blog about hospice care and I am honored to oblige.

I have nearly 12 years of experience with hospice and like most endeavors, I have been successful at growing them. The way hospice care is set up in our country is that Medicare comes with a hospice benefit making admission to hospice very easy on the wallet.

Can you imagine having a full service healthcare organization at your disposal? Nurses, social workers, chaplains, physician oversight, certified nurses aide care, volunteers and bereavement services just a phone call away?

Many have the belief that hospice means you are dying soon — like the next day! This is not true in most cases. Think about it this way: When you are dying and in pain, you don’t feel like living. What would happen if the pain and symptoms were managed? I mean managed to the point that your pain level drops from a 9 to a 2 in less than 48 hours.

Your caregiver and family have instant support and anticipatory grief counseling is in play. Hospice care is a wonderful thing and as a leader you have the distinct pleasure of growing the organization. Death is going to happen and about 85 percent of us will die of a terminal disease. There is such a thing as dying well and a good hospice can make this happen.

But to have a good hospice three things need to be present: 1) Low turnover — you cannot grow with variances in your care. You need a consistency to establish the best care so turnover cannot be a part of that equation. 2) Happy employees — as a director you do not control health benefits and pay. Each place has established these two items. You control the work environment. A happy office is always regulatory compliant, financially stable and employees take responsibility for the care or you have employee buy-in.

And 3) The director must get his hands dirty — A good director can rally the troops when he needs to, knows how to encourage and give feedback and is not afraid to “hit the streets” with the team. Whether it is supporting a nurse with a family in distress, helping the social worker deal with nursing home issues, assisting the chaplain with a memorial service, delivering surprise lunches for your CNAs, securing thank you gifts for your volunteers or out in the field marketing with the sales team, the director has the power to create an awesome work experience and allow the hospice team to be well engaged in care, not overworked, and excited about the care they provide.

Hospice is like a marriage: When the partners are working together, it’s a match made in heaven. When there is tension, unresolved issues and no communication, it’s the worst thing ever!

Directors, don’t give up on your team. Listen to them, praise them and work with them as you all are doing sacred work!

Posted in Uncategorized

It’s all in the process

Done in a Jiffy!

Jiffy cornbread mix has been around since the 30s and households all over America have completed many meals with this very handy staple.

I don’t mean to challenge any of you closet chefs. I know you can make homemade cornbread. But my point here is the simplicity of it.

Empty the box, add an egg and about 1/3 cup of milk and blend. You can’t get any simpler than that. Then you toss it in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes and you have a pretty good stand-in for homemade or hot water cornbread.

The magic happens in the process. If you trust the process and follow the instructions, you will do fine. There is no shortcut with Jiffy — it is the shortcut!

Wouldn’t it be lovely if our problems could be solved in a jiffy? How much easier would it be if we could follow these easy steps and our greatest challenges would be fixed.

Most of our problems did not begin in a jiffy so it’s foolish of us to think they can be solved that way.

Follow the process.

No need of complaining. No need to have a pity party. Just follow the process and it will be over — well, in a jiffy!

That was so corny but you get my meaning — patience looks good on everyone going through a process. Don’t fight it. Embrace it! You’ll be done in a — nevermind!

Posted in Uncategorized

Aretha Franklin is gone but will never be forgotten

19 year old Aretha Franklin

On the south side of the 6900 block of Hollywood Boulevard lies the star of Aretha Franklin. That star serves as a great acknowledgment of what every native Detroiter feels in their heart for this women. She was one of our stars and now she is gone.

According to news reports, Franklin, 76, has died surrounded by family and close friends in her home in Detroit.

Her singing and songwriting skills were top notch making her the first African American woman to be inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

Growing up in the same town that Ms. Franklin grew up in made you a part of her family. Her father, the late C. L. Franklin had one of the liveliest churches back in the day and hearing Aretha sing at church, on the radio or around town was pretty common — it was her very distinctive voice that was uncommon.

Her soulful music could change your mood, brighten your day, make you cry or get you through a break up. It earned her the title of Queen of Soul as she was such an R&B innovator!

Released in 1967 by Atlantic Records, this album made Rolling Stones Magazine’s top 500 albums of all time. It is listed as number 83.

All the greats live on through their music and we are thankful for the time we had her here. Her first album with Atlantic records still remains my favorite. And as a true fan of hers, my favorite song is not a common one. Don’t Let Me Lose This Dream is my absolute favorite song by her but I could easily name another 29 that are still hits in my eyes.

I am proud to be from Detroit and one of the many reasons for this pride died today. May her family, friends and fans find peace during this time. Do yourself and your mind some good this week by spending a few hours on YouTube remembering this awesome talent! R.I.P. Aretha Franklin! We love you!