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

Fallen Countenance

Things were fine until something harsh was said. It made you feel little. It made you feel less than. It hurt. Your countenance has fallen.

Life is not without its challenges and it’s already hard enough without the word assassination. A destruction of character if you will that shames and insults.

Countenance is a French word used to describe facial expressions. You can have a positive or negative countenance. This word is even used in scripture to describe Cain’s facial expression when he did not receive the same response his brother Abel received from God in Genesis 4.

Sadly it seems the people who harm you the worst are the ones closest to you. Words can sometimes cut like a knife, hit like a baseball bat and sting like a bee. It can be polarizing and if someone else hears it, the effect doubles.

Here are ways to recover from a fallen countenance:

1) Determine if the person responsible is a friend or foe. If you can’t decide then at the moment they are a foe. You have to make the decision as to whether or not they belong in your life.

2) Put in prospective what has been said. Even though it was probably said wrong or without a filter, you have to be honest about the truth of the statement. Taking it out of the concept of a filter less comment, is there something that was said that can benefit you? Presented in a better way, would this be good or helpful information for you? Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

3) You must be ready to forgive. I know it hurts but whenever something like this happens you have to immediately begin the forgiveness journey. The reason is so when they finally come around to apologize you can receive it. I’m not saying this is easy especially when the statements slam us into our feelings, but remember you have hurt people before and the right thing is to accept apologies when they are given.

4) Examine why whatever was said hurt so bad. This will normally reveal much more about your relationship with this person. Once you find out why it hurt so bad, revisit No. 1 again and make a decision!

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!

Posted in Uncategorized

Bridges or walls?

City of Bridges

One of the beautiful things about Pittsburgh, other than loyal sports fans, is that not only have they cornered the market on the steel industry, but the city has more bridges than any other place in the world. Pittsburgh has 446 bridges earning it the name “City of bridges”.

I’ve been through one section of town where I was able to see about 38 of them. With a claim to fame such as this, Pittsburgh ought to be one of the friendliest places to visit.

You see, building bridges is considered a good thing where as burning bridges is the great evil. Some people prefer to build walls. Walls are meant to keep things hidden or private. A wall makes the statement that you are not welcomed.

Bridges tell a different tale. Bridges say it’s safe to come over. It protects you from troubled waters and it serves as a great connector.

So in your life do you build bridges or walls? Are there people that you want completely out of your life? Are there people that you feel are beneath you or so less than that you just prefer not to be around them? Do you have so many secrets in your life that walls are needed to keep them secret? Are you just such a private individual that walls are necessary in your life?

With every relationship I have, I try to make my bridges joint efforts. If we are truly friends then we built a bridge together and we travel back and forth on that bridge as it is the cornerstone of the relationship. If one of us is short of money, the other crosses the bridge to supply it. If one is in trouble the other comes running across the bridge to help.

Imagine having a bridge like that as friends and then one day as you are crossing the bridge you saw a wall — built right on the bridge. Without warning this wall appears and hinders the bridge relationship. What do you do?

Kill the bridge builder? Realize that your relationship is over and building the bridge was a waste. Accept the betrayal of the so-called friend and blow down the damn bridge?

The materials wasted on one bridge will help build another. Some bridges have to be destroyed.

Posted in Uncategorized

Do you know the help you need?

So many questions…

When going through the trials of life, how do you know the type of help you need?

I mean, is it spiritual, mental, emotional or physical? A person could need $200 because they either mismanaged their money or don’t make enough. What type of help is that because financial is not on the list. Physical you say? That does not solve the real problem. Emotional? Sure support is needed but that won’t eliminate the problem.

Spiritual?? Well, the bible gives several truths regarding finances but none of them will give you $200 today.

The truth is if you need $200 then you probably could use $1000 and if someone gave you that today, you would be back to square one in a month. Money is not the solution to your problems.

Your problem starts mentally. If you talk to the church about it you will get a spiritual principle that very few are trying to practice — which is why the benevolent committee (if they even had one) didn’t help.

Your friends can give you emotional support but they have their own financial woes — meaning they can only ride to the poor house with you because they live on the same street.

You see the problems you face today are related to the issues of your past. There were things that happened decades ago that still effect you. And it just doesn’t show up in your memory, but in how you see certain situations, how you approach trouble, how you spend your money — even why you hang around the people you do.

If we don’t manage our past, we will be uncomfortable in our present.

So mentally, your finances could be better, but so could your job. Are you in your dream job? Is this the career you talked about in third grade? What derailed your plan? Ok. Nevermind that, tell me this: Have you been settling? Settling for everything: Relationships, jobs, pay, decisions. Are you living YOUR life or someone else’s life?

Would your last 10 decision prove the love you have for yourself? Or would it show the sacrifices you made for other people who don’t really understand or appreciate it?

We are headed into the fall of 2018. This year is about to be over. Was it all you thought it would be? Wasn’t this supposed to be your year??

Ok. Enough of that. I think you get the picture. Today I just want you to be honest with yourself and if you can’t describe yourself as “winning” then you need to make changes. If you don’t take care of yourself then you won’t be able to do anything for anyone else.

Change happens slowly.

Make a list of 40 things you need to change — yes 40. Big things, small things, it doesn’t matter, write them down. Then prioritize them from 1 being the biggest priority to 40 being the least. Then start making the changes and drawing a line through your victories. Did you hear what I called them? And when you get to your 7th thing — contact me!