Every day, I encounter a new challenge to the idea that things can and should be open and real.

Be it social, political, or personal, serious or trivial -- every time, I ponder the implications.

I hope you'll join me in the conversation!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Engage with Grace

Thanks to my friend Bob Coffield at The Health Care Blog who is encouraging this important coversation in families. Asking you to take a moment this weekend to discuss your desires for how to live the end of your life as meaningfully as possible--If you want to reproduce this post on your blog (or anywhere) you can download a ready-made html version hereMatthew Holt

Last Thanksgiving weekend, many of us bloggers participated in the first documented �blog rally� to promote Engage With Grace � a movement aimed at having all of us understand and communicate our end-of-life wishes.
It was a great success, with over 100 bloggers in the healthcare space and beyond participating and spreading the word. Plus, it was timed to coincide with a weekend when most of us are with the very people with whom we should be having these tough conversations � our closest friends and family.
Our original mission � to get more and more people talking about their end of life wishes � hasn�t changed. But it�s been quite a year � so we thought this holiday, we�d try something different.

A bit of levity.

At the heart of Engage With Grace are five questions designed to get the conversation started. We�ve included them at the end of this post. They�re not easy questions, but they are important.
To help ease us into these tough questions, and in the spirit of the season, we thought we�d start with five parallel questions that ARE pretty easy to answer:

Silly? Maybe. But it underscores how having a template like this � just five questions in plain, simple language � can deflate some of the complexity, formality and even misnomers that have sometimes surrounded the end-of-life discussion.
So with that, we�ve included the five questions from Engage With Grace below. Think about them, document them, share them.

Over the past year there�s been a lot of discussion around end of life. And we�ve been fortunate to hear a lot of the more uplifting stories, as folks have used these five questions to initiate the conversation.

One man shared how surprised he was to learn that his wife�s preferences were not what he expected. Befitting this holiday, The One Slide now stands sentry on their fridge.

Wishing you and yours a holiday that�s fulfilling in all the right ways.

(To learn more please go to www.engagewithgrace.org. This post was written by Alexandra Drane and the Engage With Grace team. )

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Why He's Leaving West Virginia....and Why You Should Care

Sometimes the most helpful thing I feel like I can do with this blog is to use it to highlight the words of others.

Scott Finn, award-winning investigative reporter, is moving his family to Florida. This loss for our state resonates in many places for me. The most painful part is that it removes all plausible deniability that our state legislature "gets it" at all. Things connect, they are not isolated issues. What is in the best long-term interest of the state of West Virginia is what is in the best interest of children and families.

"......the purpose of this essay is to get you to realize what a serious problem autism is for thousands of families in West Virginia - and to get you to do something about it."

I hope you'll give five minutes to this well-written op-ed on a subject that, if it has not touched you yet, will:


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Storm Brewing

Sometimes in the middle of a beautiful sunny day, there is a terrible secret.

Sometimes when our eyes are full of delight and our hearts are full of love, we can be blind to the actual climate of a situation, and those clouds can come roiling up out of nowhere and, well.....you just wished you'd checked The Weather Channel.

I had a tough experience this weekend watching a dear friend verbally attack someone else that I love, and it all happened at what was supposed to be a nice event. After a little reconnaissance I figured out what happened, but that didn't really make it any better. It got me thinking about the difference between how a person feels and how they act.

I don't really want to argue about the feelings. You can't tell people their feelings are wrong. (You can, but it makes things worse.) But I might want to have a conversation about the actions. I'm debating this because I was not directly involved and it may alienate me from the person who said some inappropriate things. He's in a very stressful emotional state to begin with, and I don't want to upset him more. But I have not been able to stop thinking about how unkind the words were and how far out of kilter they were with the actual situation.

I did call the person who received the aggression, and extended my regrets that it happened. That might be enough.

It might not.

Photo credit Zevotron, http://www.flickr.com/photos/randomurl/842016056/