Advance Directives On-Line

One of the most important components of what the late Rev. Charles Meyer refers to as The Good Death is to get our medical and legal affairs in order long before end-of-life is near.  Such a pro-active plan allows us to have our collective faculties around us when making decisions like what kind of medical care we prefer, who we want making decisions for us if we are incapable, where we want to die, etc.  Making such decisions is vitally important, yet seldom at the forefront of our minds.

In order to help us with this endeavor, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Caring Connections, a leading provider of advance care planning information, and Google Health™ have joined together in a goal of increasing the access to and availability of advance care planning information and resources on line.  As J. Donald Shumacher, President and CEO of NHPCO, stated: “How can medical professionals honor your health care wishes and preferences if they don’t know what they are?  Advance directives are useless unless they are available during emergency health care situations.  Google Health will make these documents accessible on line and will eliminate a huge barrier of access during times of need.” 

Through this partnership, users of Google Health can access and download a free, state-specific advance directive and then store the scanned documents securely on line.  For more information on accessing this important resource, go to and create a count for yourself.  Then download and print the advance directive form for your particular state at

Best wishes on your planning.  Melody

Barb’s Daily Dose Features Journey Mention …

Check out this week’s posting from Nurse Barb’s Daily Dose, an on-line resource site that offers “smart, straight-forward advice from a nurse who understands what you are going through”.  This week I was privileged to be a guest author on the site, and I hope you enjoy the posting.  Perhaps this excellent site will be a good resource for you and yours.

Best wishes, Melody

The Survivors Club – Another Resource

In keeping with the resources theme of my most recent blog, another excellent website I’ve become aware of is called the Survivors Club.  The mission of the Survivors Club is to serve as a resourse site for thriving and surviving.  It is another excellent website for individuals needing help, resources and direction for getting through tough times, whether they be end-of-life times; relationship changes; job losses or crises; health care needs; or any type of difficult situations.  Perhaps this site will be of help to you, and good luck on all your challenges!  As former Beatle John Lennon once said: “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”.  Hang in there, Melody

Healthcare Resources – MSNBC

This week MSNBC has been running an extremely informative series on cancer via the Today show.  The resources and information contained in the series have been extremely helpful, relevant and enlightening.  Perhaps you would like to take a look at the website for the series, and gain some personal wisdom in case you have been unable to catch the television segments.  Best wishes always, Melody

Pat’s Place Blog

One of my early morning (6 am – whew!) workout friends has her own blog called Pat’s Place.  Pat is a retired educator, writer and grandmother who enjoys travelling and experiencing new places.  Just recently Pat kindly agreed to mention the Journey’s book on her blog, so I would encourage you to check out Pat’s Place.  Pat is a wonderful person, and I think you will benefit from her perspectives.  Enjoy!  Melody

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

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

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

Resources and Help …

In my opinion, one of the greatest resource organizations involved in end-of-life care is hospice.  One of those groups is Hospice Austin located in my hometown.  For many years I have had the privilege of volunteering with Hospice Austin.  Sitting with patients and clients and their loved ones is a true blessing for me.  In the hectic days, weeks and months of the year, among the most valuable and sacred parts of my day are when I can spend a little bit of time with someone who is facing a serious illness.  After such an experience, my day oftentimes becomes completely transformed in a positive, illuminating and grace-filled way. 

While working with Hospice Austin, I have been reminded of the many resources that exist, usually at no cost, which many people never know are avaible.  Some of the Hospice Austin resources I’ve come across in the past few weeks are:

Hard Choices for Loving People by Hank Dunn

Gone From My Sight: The Dying Experience by Barbara Karnes

A Good Death by Rev. Charles Meyer

Perhaps some of these resources would be of interest to you and yours.  If you cannot find these books for some reason, let me know.  Melody