The Stephen Ministry Gift

Last week I had the privilege of giving a talk about the Journeys book to a group of Stephen Ministers from the Wellspring United Methodist Church in Georgetown, Texas.  The members of the group were incredibly nice and helpful, and I was reminded of the power and value of resources and caring people during tough times such as represented by the Stephen Ministry program.  If you are interested in learning more about this important resource, visit the Stephen Ministry website.  The organization also has tremendous grief resources such as Dr. Kenneth Haugk’s Journeys Through Grief.  Best wishes, always, especially during rough times – Melody

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DKG Recognition

One of the many great international organizations with which I’ve been privileged to work is The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International (DKG) which promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education.   This week I received notice that Journeys of Heartache and Grace was named a 2009 Book of Interest, and will be among several books highlighted during the DKG regional conferences over the summer.  The journey continues!  Many thanks to the members of the DKG Educator’s Award Committee and its leaders and members alike for this honor.  Melody

A Personal Appeal …

One of the great things about blogs is their abilities to connect people and help people get answers and resources.  This posting on the Journeys blog is designed with just that purpose in mind.  For years I’ve been blessed in friendship with a family, the youngest member of which is battling significant illness as I write this message.  Below are some informational needs from the family.  If you have thoughts/ideas/comments, I would welcome them.  With thanks and hopes for all those battling life-threatening or altering illnesses, Melody

Informational needs:

  • “hemorrhagic stroke” — medical references and research
  • stroke recovery — the best centers (anywhere) for speech, comprehension, and right side motor skill rehab;  top clinicians we should contact for other opinions and options
  • alternative and additional treatments to consider:  homeopathy, acupuncture, nutrition, others

Never Give Up on Dreaming

In the Journeys book, I talk about how nearly all the young people I interviewed had dreams they were trying hard to fulfill.  One of the favorite stories is called The Hooters Guy, and it is aptly named for a young high school student who wanted to graduate from high school and go to Hooters.  Even though he unfortunately died before he graduated, he definitely made it to Hooters, along with his mother, younger brother, hospice chaplain and nurse.  As I say in the last line of his story, indeed, the Hooters Guy had graduated.

Whether healthy, wrestling with life-threatening illnesses, caring for others, or dying ourselves, let us never give up on our goals or our dreams.  One of the ways we all can benefit from dreams is to start a dream journal.  Consider purchasing an inexpensive writing notebook or look for some recycled paper around your desk area.  Place it on your nightstand, and see what happens.  Good luck and Happy Dreaming, Melody

A Journal Perspective

Not long ago, University United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas where I worship, recently posted the attached article in the Church’s Quarterly Journal about Journeys of Heartche and Grace: Conversations and Life Lessons from Young People With Serious Illnesses, which I thought might be of interest to you. 

UUMC Quarterly Journal Feb March 2009

Some definitions …

In talking with people across the country about end-of-life care issues, oftentimes I am asked about definitions of some of the most widely-used terms in this arena of health care, including palliative care and hospice.  ‘What’s the difference?’, people ask.

Here’s a brief reflection:  The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO)(www.nhpco.org) defines palliative care as: “treatment that enhances comfort and improves the quality of an individual’s life during the last phase of life.”  One of the key distinctions between palliative care and hospice is that a standard hospice benefit under Medicare applies when a patient’s physician and the hospice medical director certify that a patient has a life expectancy of six (6) months or less, based on the ‘normal’ progression of the disease.  As representatives of Hospice Austin describe, while all hospice care is considered a part of palliative care, not all palliative care is hospice care. 

…Just some definitional food for thought which might be helpful as we think about end-of-life care times we all face.