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By SMH Webmaster on 12/27/2016 10:50 AM
As the Director of the Lee Ann Britain Infant Development Center (Britain IDC) on the Shawnee Mission Medical Center (SMMC) campus, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know hundreds of families who have walked through our doors seeking assistance for their children. Although each child’s situation is different, families come to us for one common reason – to learn the best way to support their children with special needs now and into the future. 

The Britain IDC is a unique place offering individualized programs for children from birth to six years and their families from a team of specialists including physical, occupational and music therapists, speech language pathologists, early childhood special education teachers, behavior analysts, social workers and paraprofessionals. We have about 30 families consistently on the waiting list, which is a testament not only to the quality of care provided but also to the great need for our services within the Kansas City community.
By SMH Webmaster on 12/5/2016 11:08 AM
As a clinical psychologist at Shawnee Mission Health (SMH), I feel deeply embedded within our hospital community. For 15 years, I have had the privilege of knowing many wonderful people on our Medical Staff, which offers me a front row seat to the career pressures physicians face on a daily basis. 

Many people are aware of the personal rewards doctors experience, but it may be surprising to know that some physicians experience more overall risk than reward, and actually have a greater chance of burnout, divorce, depression and even suicide than the general population. 
By SMH Webmaster on 5/9/2016 10:05 AM
Strangulation, sexual assault, physical abuse, human bite injuries - these are the horrific crimes that lead female and male victims to seek help from Shawnee Mission Health’s (SMH) Forensic Assessment Consultation and Treatment (FACT) program.

In the past seven years, more than 2,300 victims of assault have been treated in an exam room with an unmarked door at Shawnee Mission Medical Center. As an advanced forensic nurse practitioner and founder of Kansas City’s FACT program, I have not only heard first-hand the stories of these patients but have played an important role in their quest for healing and justice.
By SMH Webmaster on 12/13/2013 2:44 PM
Although those odds may seem a bit dreary, there are ways you can rise above most other resolutioners and make realistic weight—loss goals. Here are 5 tips you can follow to make sure your weight—loss efforts are successful for the upcoming year

1. Be as realistic as possible Exercising, eating healthy, and cutting out your favorite foods may sound easy in theory, but in reality, you probably won’t make it a week without craving your favorite treats or needing a break from the gym. Recognize your weaknesses when it comes to weight loss, and conquer them as best as possible without being too over—the—top.

For example, don’t overdo it at the gym, or you could become easily burned out, or worse — badly injured. Exercise for 15 to 20 minutes at a time until you are ready to advance to the next level. Also, don’t cut out desserts from your diet completely. Limit yourself to smaller serving sizes, or limit dessert to just 1 or 2 days per week.

2. Make exercise and nutrition a priority When asked...
By SMH Webmaster on 4/11/2011 8:47 AM
We often have moments that are begging for the right thing to be said. Sometimes that takes courage, other times it takes wisdom, but it always takes compassion to say whatever it is in the right spirit.I am thankful for those who speak a fitting word at the right time and in the right place.As Americans when we say the Pledge of Allegiance we remind ourselves and others of our values and beliefs as a nation; that we are “one nation under God with liberty and justice for all.” What a humbling responsibility to live out these values each day in our lives.The words “under God” were inserted into the pledge because of a thoughtful pastor who, in 1952, called for these words to be included, as he spoke from Washington’s New York Avenue Presbyterian church. Nothing happened until 1954 when President Dwight Eisenhower was attending services there and Pastor George Docherty again encouraged that the phrase, “under God” to be included. Months later the President signed it into law!Pastor Docherty died Thanksgiving Day...
By SMH Webmaster on 4/5/2011 9:16 AM
Is that the best way to live out your day? Rushing hither and yon? Carl Jung said: “Busyness is not of the devil. It is the devil himself.” Keeping you so focused on what is the NEXT thing to do, that you are not able to consider, what is the IMPORTANT thing you to do. Considering the important thing too often happens too late in the game.

One of my favorite quotes comes from a sociologist by the name of Gordon Dahl. He summed up his view of our indiscriminate busyness this way:Most middle class Americans worship their work, work at their play and play at their worship. The result is that their lives and relationships fall apart faster that they can be repaired and their lives resemble a cast of Hollywood characters seeking a plot that they can act out their days.

Think about this in your life; your clinic, your department, your home. Undirected busyness can be like rust, eating away from the inside out.

The good news is that you can address this by being intentional and focused in all you do,...
By SMH Webmaster on 3/28/2011 7:06 AM
One of the struggles with “stuff” is that we have or make available sufficient space for everything to fit. In Kansas that was called a basement. I have learned that people in Tampa call basements…Swimming pools! There simply is not enough room for all the stuff! Cathy and I have worked diligently, donating books and clothing, tools and furniture because we really don’t need it and we hope that others who do will be blessed with the gift.

How about you? Your home, garage, closet crammed to overflowing? How about your life…busy beyond recognition? Not enough time for you, your spouse, or kids, let alone friends? How about projects or hobbies?

Often our physical lives are metaphors of our personal lives. If we are filled with “stuff” how can we have room for what really matters?

It is officially spring, one week old to be exact. With spring comes the theme of renewal, awakening and new life. Perhaps part of this might be dealing with the excess baggage, the extra stuff and making room in your house,...
By SMH Webmaster on 3/21/2011 10:07 AM
One of the unspoken but critically important roles for a parent to fill is that of fixing things…making them new again. Dolls, bikes, jump ropes, furniture…and fix them we do!Happily we take the broken and making it useable again, drying tears of desperation with a little glue here, some wire there and a hug always. I began to think I could fix anything.But then the day came when our older daughter Sarah, then 7, was really sick and in pain. Her ears were troubling her. In the middle of the night...always happens then doesn’t it…she looked at me her eyes pleading and cried...”Daddy make it stop, make it better!” And I couldn’t. I couldn’t stop the hurt. Glue and wire, screwdrivers and hammers were all I could offer. I couldn’t fix an ear. So I did what I could and held her till we got through the treatments at the hospital.Then the day years later when I came home and it was quiet. Not the kind of quiet you have when everyone is reading but the quiet that comes when people are sad. Through tear stained eyes I...
By SMH Webmaster on 3/14/2011 8:47 AM
When the earth shakes, we take note. When people are killed, injured, or in trouble we take action. A search and rescue team from Virginia was leaving for Japan and one volunteer was interviewed: “We served with the team from Japan last year in Haiti at Port au Prince; of course we are going to help them, that is what Americans do!”

The people of Japan have been devastated first by the earthquake, then the tsunami and then the nuclear reactor breach. What is next?· Since the year 684, Japan has experienced 40 earthquakes registering 6.5 mag or greater in size. Some recent tragedies:o 1703 Edo 8.0 mag, 108,000 liveso 1896 Sanriku, 8.5 mag, 27,000 liveso 1923 Toyko, 8.3 mag, 140,000 lives.o 1995 Kobe, 6.8 mag, 6,434 lives.· With so much loss the Japanese have taken their danger seriously and have become the most prepared nation on earth to deal with emergencies:o In 1952 Japan set up the tsunami warning system.o Since 1960, the country marks the anniversary of the Tokyo quake with...
By SMH Webmaster on 3/7/2011 10:49 AM
We took our Canadian brother and sister—in—law to see the Montreal Canadiens play the Lightning at the St Pete Forum. There were about 18,000 fans, a lot of them travelers from Canada. A gathering of friendly strangers that was transformed by the “Fan Cam” into what felt like a family reunion!

The little kid with the hockey helmet, The guy in the funny wig, The lady caught singing along with the music, The family wearing the same team shirts, The couple who danced…all on a jumbo screen for the family to enjoy! Each of us experiences the fundamental need to be recognized in some fashion, to share in an experience of belonging, to be able to enjoy the affirmation of connecting. While you may not have a crowd of 18,000 or a “Fan Cam” with you each day, you have something far superior.You have your eyes, your smile, your voice and the unique gifts of personality and spirit that is you! Much better than any “Fan Cam”, you have the ability to help nervous kids, anxious families, worried adults find belonging...
By SMH Webmaster on 2/28/2011 8:05 AM
When I think if those who are worthy of recognition, my mind goes to faithfulness, not heroics. Faithfulness, not stardom. Faithfulness, not popularity. Faithfulness, not power or position or glamour or wealth.

Faithfulness trumps everything in my book.It seems that at this time each year my friends at Shawnee Mission hold the annual Associate Award dinner. I know we hold them here at University Community and our friends at Hugely, Metroplex and CTCM also hold them during the year. Each event testifies to the same thing…FAITHFULNESS.Consider those who for 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 or 35 years have been faithfully bringing their best to work every day, every night, every weekend. Bringing blessings where there is struggle, hope where there is challenge, trust where there is worry, and shaping community that binds us together.Think of the folk who faithfully go about their appointed work, doing it in such a way that your work and that of others is easier, more enjoyable, even more effective or more productive. Think...
By SMH Webmaster on 2/21/2011 9:58 AM
I don’t know about you, but I find that having another set of trusted eyes is most helpful. The other set of eyes help me to see not only what is but what can be!Socrates said that “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Pretty serious words from a pretty reputable source. If you don’t take time to reflect, to examine or assess, Socrates would say you don’t appreciate what life is or can be.

St. Irenaeus of Lyons said it a bit differently when he said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” To be completely and freely you as God created and gifted you to be, to embrace and express that life faithfully and live—fully to God’s glory.

This past week at University Community Hospital we had some trusted eyes from a team of site visitors with the Joint Commission Hospital Accreditation. They carefully and thoroughly looked, listened, reviewed, assessed and engaged with us in “examining” ourselves. All aspects of the hospital and Home Health Care received their undivided attention for four days. They affirmed...
By SMH Webmaster on 2/7/2011 9:30 AM
But you know what happens every Monday morning after the “Super Bowl”…life and service, work and family schedules. If you were to ask me, the real “Super” stars are not those on the grid iron, but each person faithfully and humbly serving those whom God has placed in their lives. Moms, dads, teachers, nurses, doctors, mail carriers, snow plough drivers or pool staff…you get the drift.

I looked in the electronic concordance that lists every word in scripture and searched on the word “super”. It does not appear in the NIV, or the KJV, or the NKJV, or the RSV, or the NRSV.

I wonder why “super” isn’t part of the Biblical writing? Might it have something to do with passages such as:

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 1 Peter 3:8—9 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Eph 4:2 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and...
By SMH Webmaster on 1/31/2011 11:45 AM
Major events that catch us are often long remembered.

Think about:

M L King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963…”I have a dream” JF Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963 Ronald Reagan’s “Tear down this wall speech in Berlin in 1987 The Berlin Wall is torn down in 1989 New Years Eve 1999 and the Y2K fears World Trade center attack September 2001 Space shuttle Columbia disaster February 2003 Indian/Indonesian Ocean Tsunami December 2004 Financial crisis on Wall Street from 2007 to today While you may have experienced each of these events alone, more likely you were with others. Do you remember how you felt? You will probably never forget!

Every day people experience their own personal events that will never be forgotten right here at the hospital. Whether routine or typical for you or me, it is life challenging and changing for them. It is their personal “Marker in time” that will be with them throughout their lives.

How you treat them will have a profound impact for...
By SMH Webmaster on 1/25/2011 9:23 AM
We were exhausted. Spent... knackered... as our English friends say... done in, but we had to push on to meet the truck in Tampa Monday morning... this!

We arrived Friday evening in Paducah Kentucky, in a salt encrusted car hoping for a pet friendly hotel. Thankfully our operations base in Kansas...”Kemske Komand” had found a Holiday Inn Express for us.

I walked to the registration desk not expecting much and hoping for less as I just wanted to get the trailer unloaded, the dogs walked, fed and a hot shower.

I had no idea what change the desk clerk would make with a little comment; “Dr Bath, I am delighted to meet the man who is married to the “Wife of Bath”. Few people know the Tale of the Wife of Bath by Chaucer in the noted Canterbury Tales, but with our last name we find some unique aspects of family history.

We engaged in a 10 minute conversation about Chaucer, Wales, and the studies he had done abroad. It transformed the salt encrusted car in to a warm cocoon,...
By SMH Webmaster on 1/10/2011 11:47 AM
I was talking with a friend the other day, commiserating about the challenges of selling a home in this depressed market. I told him I would keep him in my prayers and that he was “on the fridge.” “On the what?” he asked. “On the fridge” I said, “that’s where I keep my prayer list.”

Do you ever find yourself forgetting to do what you wanted to do? Do you ever find that the busyness of the day crowds out even your best intentions?

Put them on the fridge! You can’t miss!!

Cathy and I put Christmas cards on the fridge…one a week until they are all “prayed” for. We enjoy them during the holidays then put them in a basket and draw one each week. On the fridge they go and we remember the friends during the week…sometimes 42 times a day!!!

Today you need to remember what is important in your world. Where do you put it so you won’t forget???

Much more than medicine indeed!


Peter Bath, D.Min.Regional VP MissionFlorida Hospital/University Community HealthTampa

More Musings...
By SMH Webmaster on 1/3/2011 10:08 AM

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year,
"Give me light that I may tread safely into the unknown."
And he replied,
"Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than the light and safer than the known way!"
So I went forth and finding the hand of God
Trod gladly into the night.

Every day you have the challenge and privilege of helping people find hope in the midst of their challenging moments. Share this story; invite them to find the hand of God!

Much more than medicine indeed!


Peter Bath, D.Min
Regional VP Mission
Florida Hospital—University Community Health
More musings at:—wellness

By SMH Webmaster on 12/26/2010 6:00 PM
They missed the wondrous thing that happened right under their noses. Sleep was their companion, not awe and wonder.While this is almost exactly what the people did that Christmas eve so long ago, the interesting thing is that this happened just last week!

The eclipse of the full moon happened on the night of the Winter Solstice. The last time this happened was in 1638...not many of us were around then!Between 1:30 and 4:00 am the earth’s shadow transformed the brilliant moon into an amber ‘reddish’ hue, muted but still visible as the ‘umbra’ transited the lunar terrain.

Some got up to experience this amazing event. Others decided to see history on the news the next morning and probably had better pictures than the night watchers. But the night watchers were there. They were experiencing the present moment, feeling the cold of the night air and its dewey dampness, and being part of a lifetime event. They were being present to what was right under their noses.

Every day you and I have the opportunity...
By SMH Webmaster on 12/20/2010 3:31 PM
Every time angels speak they start with the assuring words, the comforting words that allay the fears of their listeners. In doing so they teach us an important lesson: Before you can really hear, you need to deal with the fear. Dealing with fear increases the capacity to hear…not just with ears but perhaps more importantly, with the heart!

It is a pretty amazing experience when God interrupts your life with a message. It may not be a message of words as much a message of experience, like health; physically, financially, relationally, or spiritually. Whatever it may be the message that finds you in the midst of life. Whether bored like the shepherds, or worried like Joseph, or overwhelmed like Mary, or discouraged like Zechariah, the message finds you. Wherever you are, the message always starts with:”Fear not…don’t be afraid, don’t be frightened!”

You have the sacred ministry of meeting people in the midst of their lives as they struggle with the messages of their health or lack thereof. They...
By SMH Webmaster on 12/13/2010 9:49 AM
Here are some reflections on some highlights as we sit in by the departure gate at the airport:

I asked a 5th grade class what the best part of them was…”My smile” said a little girl. This in a place where a new pencil is divided into as many sections as there are kids in the family because they cost so much. LM Morning worship with Sister Margaret, committing to God, ourselves, and the many that would come. SS The gratitude of Principal Ortega whose 120 students were crammed into 3 classrooms and now have 6! SG/LN—P/KS Learning to make window shutters from scratch and use a power saw. MW Finishing the school; windows, doors, power, tile and... all are safe! RS The jungle clinic at Challa Creek. 52 people came a long way for help. As we closed, a young lady asked for help as she had been feeling poorly for 2 weeks. Michelle saw her ad found a BP of 177/117. With medication this lady was very grateful. PW/PM Organizing the small lab; calibrating equipment and doing tests I hadn’t done in many years. SS Sharing...
By SMH Webmaster on 12/6/2010 9:44 AM
The adventure is about learning, sharing, trusting, trying things for the first time, doing what can be done to make a difference, their way in their world.

The adventure is about meeting a new culture, new people, new ways and in the midst of all that is new meeting ourselves in a new way, maybe for the first time.

The adventure includes anticipation and some degree of anxiety with the unknown but a commitment to being open to what new things God may invite us to see, hear, think or do.

Saturday 9:30 pm San Ignacio Belize and thus far we have:

Worshiped with Sister Margaret who started her small clinic in the jungle at the age of 23 and has run it for the last 43 years. Cared for many patients, children and expectant mothers. Faith, humility, love, compassion, competence, gratitude and calling speak to us. Started work at the small school in Bullet tree. Students, for whom a new pencil is a gift, smile, as they are both curious and thankful for what we are doing. The teachers are thrilled...
By SMH Webmaster on 11/22/2010 9:12 AM
Moving away from win—loose, success—failure, quicker—slower, newer—older, gives a different basis for thankfulness. One that reflects every bit as much quality and achievement, but goes deeper to the core of our values and calling as humans created in God’s image.Let me tell you as story: Mother Teresa started her ministry to the dying of Calcutta with three pennies in her pocket, a conviction in her heart, determination and prayer in her will. As you know the ministry grew as other people were moved to support with their time, talents and treasures. Years later, Mother Teresa was being interviewed by a reporter from the United States following her recognition with the Nobel Peace prize. “Mother Teresa, how did you become so successful? Starting with so little, to what do you attribute your success?” Mother Terse tells it pretty straight. “My child, my Lord does not call me to success, only faithfulness. Success is the measure of man, faithfulness if the character of God. I have only sought to be faithful to what...
By SMH Webmaster on 11/7/2010 6:00 PM
Unfortunately, war has not ended, but continues to this very day. Thankfully so have the brave and the faithful who have joined themselves to their country’s call to service.

Thursday is a day to remember the terrible price of war for the living and the dead.Thursday is a day to remember those serving in active duty.Thursday is a day to remember those service family members here State side praying for their loved one’s safe return.Thursday is a day to remember and act: if you desire peace you should be working for justice for all people.Thursday is a day to remember and act: take time to say thank you to a vet, take time to find a loved one of a service person overseas and give them a hug, say a prayer for their loved one and a word of encouragement. Kathy’s son, Amy’s husband, Bill’s daughter and so many more…Thursday is a day to remember and to act, lest we forget...

In a few moments you will be meeting people who are casualties of their battle with health. Weary and worried they look to you to find...
By SMH Webmaster on 11/2/2010 10:50 AM
At sea level, standing in a boat, you can only see 2.7 miles. That is how far it is from you to the horizon.

Climb a good sized hill and from 330 feet up you can now see 22 miles to the horizon!

Go to the top of the CN Tower in Toronto Canada and from 1,122 feet, you can see 96 miles! Clear across Lake Ontario to Niagara Falls.

Up here at 35,000 feet on a clear day you can see 230 miles!

Altitude makes a difference in your perspective. Expanding your field of vision it helps you see beyond the detail to the bigger picture.

Altitude also makes a difference in your attitude – at least it does for me.

It can be dark and miserable on the ground with rain and wind, even hail…the kind of stuff that can leave you feeling pretty bleak. But with altitude that feeling doesn’t last very long. Soon after taking off, going through the clouds and turbulence…just like life…you break through into the clear blue yonder. The sun is shining, the sky is clear and you look out in wonder. How can...
By SMH Webmaster on 10/27/2010 9:41 AM
Recognizing, respecting and honoring the people in your presence is one of the joys of caring...the work of love. Every time you recognize each person in your presence you demonstrate and they experience a fundamental human longing and desire to belong.How easy is it to forget this most basic of human desires and to deny it to the very people you are trying to help? Forgetting this most basic act of human kindness and respect is more common that you might acknowledge.Think about the busy schedule you keep; the rushed consults, the phone calls, e—mails, pages and call lights. All of these can get in the way of basic kindness and effective communication. Dealing with only the urgent, most pressing items often causes you to miss the important...just like it did for me this past weekend.Meeting our “new” hospital associates at the annual picnic was fun. I was focused on names, places of work and making connections. “Hello, my name is Peter, one of the new folk joining you in the merger.” I met Teresa who chairs...
By SMH Webmaster on 10/18/2010 12:52 PM
Imagine the moment! They sounded horns, and beat on the rock to help signal their location. The first drill to break through was met with shouts of joy and a spray can. Painting the bit red and jamming into it a note in bold red capital letters that read: "ALL 33 OF US ARE WELL IN SIDE THE SHELTER." When the drill was brought back to the surface shouts of joy and tears of gladness erupted as the red drill bit was seen and the note was read.

What does hope sound like? The voice of a spouse, daughter or son on the crude but oh so wonderful phone that helped the miners talk with family they thought they would never see again.

The sound of hope came in the prayers that were shared with them, the counsel from the surface on how to stay healthy while waiting for rescue. The most precious counsel came in the form of faith and T—shirts that the miners were given to wear. One of the Chilean papers noted: Another surprise was the shirts that most of them wore on top of the special suit they used when they emerged to the surface. The shirts, which have a large white star on a blue square and red on the chest, have written the phrase "¡Gracias Señor! Thank you Lord.” “On the back it reads another sentence that says: “In his hand are the depths of the earth and the mountain peaks belong to Him… For Him is the honor and glory", which corresponds to verse 4 of Psalm 95. Pastor Carlos Parra, of the Seventh—Day Adventist Church in the Atacama Region, told Terra TV that the message of the T—shirts is "precious" and that while he knew his church had sent them, the miners kept them as a surprise and wore them.

By SMH Webmaster on 10/5/2010 9:00 AM
I decided to stretch and walked the aisle to the back of the plane and chat with the flight attendants.

On my way back to my seat I was surprised to hear out of the dark;”Good evening Dr Bath!” Turning around I saw the smiling faces to two friends, Jim and Rita who I knew years ago in Ohio, and who are now living in Texas but were flying to Tampa connecting through Kansas.

Go figure!

Wow…you are not alone!

As David the psalmist said; there is no place we can go and not be found of God. Not the heavens at 35,000 ft, or the depths of the sea, not in the clinic or hallways, the surgery suite or ED.

In a few moments you might be caring for some weary travelers, associates, patients, or physician partners who find themselves alone in the darkness of their worry or fear.

Take a moment, call them by name, smile and help them know they are not alone!

Much more than medicine indeed!


Peter Bath, D.Min.Regional VP for MissionAdventist Health System TampaMore Musings...
By SMH Webmaster on 9/28/2010 8:51 AM
Are we there yet? When they were young, our daughters would ask this question moments after we set off to drive to northern Ontario from Ohio to visit family; a "brief" 12 hour trip in the car. To help them understand the time frame, instead of using hours and minutes as the measure, we described the journey in terms of the number of Bible Story Hour tapes they could listen to; about 24! That was met with sounds of joy, but even after 14 tapes, the questions still arose. They became: “How many more of these tapes do we have to listen to?”

No mater how you measure the distance from where you are to where you are going, it will seem to be longer and more difficult than you first imagined.

It seems that in our desire to get "there” the journey gets lost in the goal. Often we forget to tend to each other, or even to ourselves in the midst of the journey, allowing celebration only when we are "there”.

Are you “there” yet? Have you finished your to—do list, met your goals for the day, week, month?...
By SMH Webmaster on 9/14/2010 12:58 PM
Remember when you moved to a new city? In the old city you were competent, capable, and able to help others get around; even give directions, you were assured and confident. But the very next day, you were in a foreign city and you were no longer capable, competent, or confident! In fact you began to doubt your abilities and sometimes you found yourself standing on the edge of a meltdown. I know…I have been there several times. The good news is you don’t need to stay there! You can move forward through change in the four phases each of us experience:

Introduction of the idea of change Disorientation as change begins to roll out Reorientation as you become a bit more familiar with the new landmarks New normal, confidence, competence and capabilities fully in place. Think about these four phases and consider how they apply: to work, to a patients encounter with a new diagnosis or illness, to how these roll out in your family life.

The first phase…Introduction is tricky. Hearing about change, then thinking...
By SMH Webmaster on 9/7/2010 8:38 AM
Every day you care for folk whose world is totally different from what they had imagined or hoped for. They don’t know where to go or even how to get there and they need you.

When the whirlwinds come, and your world changes there are three things that make a difference. For Dorothy it was finding Courage in the Lion, Compassion in the Tin man and Confidence in the Scarecrow. Something really important happens when people experience Courage, Compassion and Confidence. They link arms together, encourage each other and make their way together on the new, different and at times scary journey. Dorothy and her three friends sang, skipped and encouraged each other along their way and together they overcame the scary monkeys, the Wicked Witch and all the troubles she caused.

Courage, Compassion and Confidence synonyms for other words we speak about: Trust, Belonging and Hope.

It is your privilege to create this every day with fellow associates, physicians, and particularly patients and their families.

By SMH Webmaster on 8/24/2010 12:55 PM
Ever needed to start over again? Ever had a day that went from sunny and bright to migraine dark before lunch and you knew you needed to change something? Crtl—Alt—Del!

Seneca, an ancient Roman Philosopher and statesman said “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.” The wise person recognizes the new and lets go of the old, forgetting what is past and pressing on.

For some the transition of moving from what was to what needs to be can be quite difficult. For others it seems easy and many envy them!

Starting over is different from beginning anew in this regard: starting over says you will do the same thing the same way and hope for different results. Beginning anew says you will go back to the beginning and look for a different way, a new route to your desired outcome. Einstein says the former is the definition of insanity, the latter holds the promise for discovery and growth.

Danny Tangredi in an interesting article describes the challenges faced by the Sign and Graphics...
By SMH Webmaster on 8/18/2010 10:29 AM
Whether in your personal world or clinical world, time not only flees but flies. Projects to be started get replaced with by other more ‘urgent’ things. Often the urgent things could have been delegated to another or rescheduled, but too frequently, you assume you have to do get it done yourself. And then find yourself asking the question: “Where did the time go?”

How you use your time is your choice. Referees call it, prisoners keep it, musicians mark it, historians record it, loafers kill it, statisticians keep it, daydreamers waste it, procrastinators need more of it: busy people run out of it!

TIME! Time is one of the few things you have as much of as Bill Gates or Warren Buffet or any other ‘gazilionaire’. The big difference is how you choose to spend your time.

To help students find out where their time goes Virginia Tech has a neat calculator for students to determine how much study time they could have each week. You can replace study time with whatever kind of time if important to you...
By SMH Webmaster on 8/9/2010 11:16 AM
Here is how the word is defined in Webster:Main Entry: 2honorFunction: transitive verb Date: 13th century1 a : to regard or treat with honor or respect b : to confer honor on2 a : to live up to or fulfill the terms of honor a commitmentHonor means to: treat others with respect, to recognize accomplishment, to express in your life the life commitment you have declared and embraced.Honoring is more about attitude than it is ceremony or plaques or photo ops. It is about how you express in your daily life the respect, appreciation, and gratitude for others.The writer of Romans calls us to: “Honor one another above yourselves.” Rom 12:10 Elsewhere he reminds us to take on the form of a servant, as Jesus did, thereby honoring those we serve. It is in your daily living that honoring happens. In the midst of routine day to day life honor appears through what you do and how you do it!The prayer of St Francis of Assisi gives a clear picture of what this looks like.Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.Where there...
By SMH Webmaster on 7/27/2010 8:44 AM
The first summer was really hot and while I could see the sprinkler heads on the left side of the lawn, the other half, on the right side of the drive way, seemed barren of sprinkler heads and green grass. So I bought a long hose and nice lawn sprinkler and diligently got up early to let it do its work, all the while thinking this is stupid to have only half a system. I asked the neighbors if they knew about the ‘other half’ and most were also new to the neighborhood so had never seen it in action.

I watered the lawn by hand for two long seasons. I enjoyed the glimpses of nature, the spider webs, baby snakes, hooting of the owls but I was ticked with ‘the person’ who installed only ‘half a system’.

Then a friend showed me the ‘switch’. A little switch that controlled the zones which when activated, not only sprinkled the right side of the lawn, but the side gardens and the back gardens. It was amazingly wonderful to behold!

Ever find yourself upset, frustrated with life, people or yourself, only...
By SMH Webmaster on 7/18/2010 2:52 PM
With the complexity of your world, all the visual, audio, and tactile stimuli, you might well feel as if you are a walking target for BSO. So how do you avoid getting distracted from daily tasks or work by something else that looks more interesting, important, even more fun and definitely shinier? You probably start your day off with the finest of intentions to accomplish what is important, mission essential and key to your patient’s wellbeing, even your own well being. As you do your best you find a BSO attack that somehow derails those intentions and leaves you gasping in wonderment…where did the day go…what did I get done?? Read some BSO confessions:

“…lately I've been suffering with a little ADD. My big thing is noise. I'm very sensitive to noise around me and it's the most common thing to distract me when I'm focused. Also — email. That little pop—up box that lets you know there's a new message is pure evil. It catches my eye and I'm instantly distracted.” “My "BSO Syndrome" always hits...
By SMH Webmaster on 7/12/2010 1:18 PM
The trail was developed by William Becknell in 1821 and became the major commerce and military route for the development of the new lands in the southwest. Taking 44 days to transit on foot, the Santa Fe Trail gave way in 1880 to the railroad, and if you are lucky enough, you can watch it go by every day at Johnson and I—35!

Hundreds of thousands of people still walk the “Santa Fe Trail” as they make their way to the hospital for procedures, tests, or to visit loved ones. You can see the architects’ recognition of the trail in the large sidewalk leading from the southwest to the ED entrance.Just like the pioneers, they too walk through with worry and fear as their constant companions. With hope in their hearts they come to the Cath lab, the Emergency department, or the Doctor’s office, they make their way to the surgery center or main OR, they look to find their loved one’s room.Who will comfort them as they walk through the valley of the shadow of their fears...
By SMH Webmaster on 7/6/2010 9:45 AM
Dependence is that place in life where direction is needed for everything. As a child it involved food, hand washing, safety, activities and procedures. As adults, it can involve pretty much the same stuff.

Independence is that place in life where you need not rely on others for permission, instruction, shelter, food, or resources. You think it happened when you got your drivers license, but soon learn that independence is more elusive than real.

I like the way Wikipedia defines interdependence as a dynamic of being mutually and physically responsible to, and sharing a common set of principles with others. This concept differs distinctly from "dependence" in that an interdependent relationship implies that all participants are emotionally, economically, ecologically and or morally "interdependent."…the interconnectedness and the reliance on one another socially, economically, environmentally and politically” A (western) child is born dependent and grows toward independence, the point when they can...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/29/2010 10:04 AM
Ever ask, “Lord, can You bless me too?”

Let me tell you about Bruce. He works at SMMC in our Nutrition services. In addition to his other duties Bruce slogs a hundred plus meals each day to the Child Care Center. Over a hundred meals means over a hundred kids…do the math! I saw Bruce one day, with his train of carts headed over to the Center. “So what is it like each day?” I asked. “Man, this is the best part of my day! I look forward to going over and taking the kids their meals. They know when I’m coming, and when I get there they cheer!” “What’s the best part of the experience for you?” I asked. “They call my name every day. They cheer for Bruce! They are so glad that Bruce is here! They let me know every day that they like me and that I am part of their family! I am blessed every day!”

Blessed every day. Not occasionally, but EVERY DAY!

According to some Bible scholars, blessings happen in four ways: 1) God’s blessing of life and His presence to all humankind…something He makes happen, 2)...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/21/2010 9:54 AM
My naive venture taught me a good lesson, born out through many years with Dad. The lesson is this: I could run away, be physically distant, even emotionally distant but nothing would ever take me out of his heart or his love.Max Lucado said it this way about our heavenly Father…you can remove your name from the family mail box, but you can never remove your name from the Father’s heart. You can stay away from the dinner table, but there will always be a place set just for you.Lots of people are running away from something or someone. Fear, hurt, pain, worry. You name it, they carry it deep inside. We see them every day….we work side by side, helping others who are also looking for hope and assurance, longing to be cared for and to know that nothing can separate them from your care or His love.

Much more than medicine indeed!PeterPeter Bath, D.Min.V.P Spiritual Wellness & Human DevelopmentShawnee Mission Medical CenterMore Musings at:—wellness/

By SMH Webmaster on 6/14/2010 11:31 AM
Knock downs happen…they are part of life, what you do with them is part of you. So what do you do when you experience a “knock down”? There was a catchy tune called “Tubthumping”, that has the line; “I get knocked down But I get up again You're never going to keep me down!” The determination to keep on trying is what helps us to gather ourselves and “get up again”.

So where does the determination come from? There are many reasons to be determined but only one main source…you. It is your choice to get up again or not, it is your choice to ask for help or to be “dead in the water”. Moving beyond the present, responding to and focusing on the call that God has given your life…that’s what helps you choose to get up again. The apostle Paul did it as have countless others. You do it too. But it certainly helps when you are encouraged and supported in your choice and in the struggle to get back up!

This past weekend, England and the USA met in an early round of the FIFA Soccer World Cup. The English goalie...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/7/2010 3:09 PM
“Got wisdom?” asks the same thing about life.

This time of year in particular is filled with celebrations. Transitions in life that, while exciting and joyful, need also to be reminded of that extra “dimension” to be “balanced and nutritious” for the long haul.

So where do we “get” wisdom? Does it lie in the accumulation of credit hours; degrees, years, experience?

Perhaps wisdom lies in “knowing what we do not know” as much as it does in knowing what we know we know. Francis Bacon suggests that: “A prudent question is one half of wisdom.” Being able to marvel at what is “known” and also be inquisitively humble in the presence of what is not brings energy and awe to our lives.

Scripture reminds us that: Humility and reverence for the Lord will make you both wise and honored. Prov 15:33

A daily prayer is for wisdom to inform our steps and guide our ways. We have a sacred trust that we experience intensely each day as we look into the eyes of those seeking help, looking for hope and...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/1/2010 9:31 AM
In May of 1868, on the heels of the Civil War, with hundreds of thousands of lives destroyed the nation was reminded to make a memory, not just once, but each year so you and I would never forget what had happened, or what sacrifice was made for freedom.

The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church—yard in the land. If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us… Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring—time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/24/2010 11:04 AM
A cheerful heart is like a good medicine the Bible says. Scientists are getting the idea as studies are finding that: “After controlling for initial health conditions, we find that happiness extends life expectancy. 10 percent increase in happiness decreases probability of death by four percent, and this effect is more pronounced for men and younger people. Happiness plays a more important role for chronically ill people in decreasing mortality than for those who are not chronically ill. The positive influence of happiness on mortality can offset the negative impact of chronic illness. Marriage decreases mortality and this effect appears to work through increased happiness.” Source: “Why is the world getting older? The influence of happiness on mortality” from Deakin University, Economic Series.—happiness—increase—life—expectancy

Often when you think of making hearts well, you think of interventions,...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/17/2010 1:54 PM
Here are a few statistics and lessons from Mr. and Mrs. 49RL:

The 49RLs mate for life and will stay with each other faithfully. Migratory geese fly up to 3,000 miles to nest in Canada, so our friends are Resident geese, flying up to 200 miles locally for water and food. While they can fly long distances the 49RLs have never “learned” the way, so stay in sunny Shawnee Mission where they reach a weight of 20—25 lbs and generate about 80 lbs of waste each year which over their 20 year life span adds up! Flying in the “V” formation is the most efficient manner of travel increasing the range of the flock by 71% more than what they could do individually. They stay in formation because of the “drafting” effect and quickly return if they fall out. Everyone is a leader! They take turns leading the “V”. When one tires another takes its place. Team work really pays and they “honk” to remind each other of their journey and their need for each other! If one goose is wounded or hurt, two others will drop out of formation...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/10/2010 12:58 PM
When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

Let "it" be…don’t fret, don’t worry, don’t do anything rash, don’t jump the gun, don’t stew…just let "it" be. Let "it" be transformed by the presence of another who cares for you, loves you, and desires only your best. One who infuses confidence in the midst of worry, who with a few words, a hug or a touch transforms this moment of crisis into a sanctuary of peace. Let "it" be different just for the moment to regain focus on what really matters…the perspective of wisdom, the never abandoning of each other.

Every day you encounter folk in times of trouble seeking comfort, help, understanding, and strength. Trouble that, from your perspective, is likely manageable and survivable but for them; it is the end of...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/4/2010 9:16 AM
Here is the news flash: YOU are publishing a book…it is called “MY LIFE!”

How much “white space” do you have on the pages of your life?

This was one of the themes of the second Jeffers Lecture on Spirituality in Health presented by Dr Richard Swenson last Thursday evening. “How much room do you leave for yourself, he asked? “You leave space between cars when you drive on the freeway, why don't you leave space for yourself in the midst of the many different things you do each day?”

Trying to be effective and efficient in all you do, too often you rush to put more and more on the page until every last spot is covered, every minute filled! You are exhausted. Think about the following items just related to healthcare alone:· Physicians Desk Reference: 3,500 pgs in 2006, 300 pgs in 1948· Between 2,000—4,000 articles are added to MEDLINE each day· More than 900 million MEDLINE searches in 2006· Read 2 healthcare articles a day and you are 1,000 years behind.· You...
By SMH Webmaster on 4/26/2010 8:45 AM
What’s luck got to do with life? For some it is the “out” that excuses bad choices, bad planning or bad execution. For others it is a way of saying…”It’s not my fault” Indeed life is full of events, random to some, ordered to others, that we deal with every day. Disease, phone calls, tornados, earthquakes, accidents, lotteries all seem to challenge understanding, particularly if you are in the middle of them. Are some people more lucky than others? English psychologist Richard Wiseman conducted a longitudinal study of “luck”. Over a ten—year period, Wiseman kept track of 400 men and women volunteers. These people, of all ages, who "considered themselves especially lucky or unlucky," kept diaries, submitted to interviews, completed questionnaires, took tests, and participated in experiments. The results? Lucky people get that way "via some basic principles." His results dovetailed with the "Positive Mental Attitude" espoused by a long line of self—help gurus from Norman Vincent Peale to Anthony Robbins....
By SMH Webmaster on 4/20/2010 3:06 PM
I have tried speaking French, even “Bark—talk” but have not found any more compliance. My wife loves to explain to them what she is doing…peeling vegetables, sweeping the floor or washing the clothes. At once the explanations seem to comfort and amuse them. They seem to provide both recognition and an apparent invitation to retrieve socks from the hamper, chase and chew the vacuum or try to eat vegetable peels, but they still don’t get it.What is clear to me is that it is not clear to them!One morning, at 3 am as I took them out for their relief run, I found myself coming to a realization that could have only been fostered by the sub zero temperature and the brilliant moon above. I realized who had the problem with communication…ME!I realized that I was not consistent in my verbal instructions, adding too much, saying too little, or not saying the same thing each time. I was inconsistent in my patterns of behavior, sometimes asking them to sit at others just letting them romp. I had found the problem and it was...
By SMH Webmaster on 4/12/2010 10:15 AM
Night after night I would take them out at 2 or 3 am and ponder the question…”Why it is that tugging at the end of the leash is always the most interesting place for a dog?” “Why is it that the most interesting thing is just one good sniff out of reach?” “What’s wrong with the six feet of stuff they romped past to get to the end of the leash?”You may have trained puppies or had a pet who strained at the end of their leash. Did you ever wonder why?Did you ever think about your own life and wonder about the “end of your leash” and the things beyond it for which you long? I certainly have asked those questions! At times all you can see is what is just out of reach and you miss all that is around you. Job prayed: Teach me to see what I still don't see. Teach me to see, to understand and experience the goodness and beauty that is all around me. Teach me to find peace in the “now”, instead of longing for the “not yet”.

“Help me to see what I still don’t see” is an invitation to be aware of what too often you...
By SMH Webmaster on 4/5/2010 8:26 AM
Do you recall hearing these well intended words and feeling that they didn’t quite reach your hurt, or pain? No matter how hard you tried to turn that frown upside down, it just wasn’t working.I recall being dumped by a girl I really liked and hearing Dad say, “Don’t worry, there are more fish in the sea!” I can still hear my reply, “I know that but I don’t want any fish, I want that one!” With time indeed my hurt subsided with hopeful thoughts, but did not go away until it was transformed by a new experience.Transformation is what you seek each day for those in your life and in your care. Transformation that comes through a new reality, either experienced in the moment or experienced in a different, new way of thinking and seeing life.Easter is the time of transformation. Not only do you see it in nature with greening of the grass, budding trees and blossoming flowers, you can also see it spiritually. The journey to the Cross has been transformed in Resurrection. The dark night has been shattered by the lightning...
By SMH Webmaster on 3/29/2010 8:44 AM
Lord make me…who I need to be, who I can be through Your grace. So often our minds turn to being who I want to be; or, being who others want me to be, when in reality the Lord may have called us to be and to do something entirely different.

Every day you need to be at your best for patients and families who are experiencing life sometimes at its worst. Every day, you need to be present to patients, associates, physicians and family; everyone you encounter on the units, in the clinic or in homes as you care. Every day you need to be present to your family, spouse, friends. There are lots of demands on you!

Lord make me…

This week you will be receiving a daily e—mail inviting you to reflect on this prayer through a five (5) minute video presentation. You can take five at work or send it home and take five there. Each day is different but the invitation is the same…Lord make me…!

The Peace Prayer of St. Francisby an anonymous Norman c. 1915 A.D. Peace PrayerLord, make me an instrument of your...
By SMH Webmaster on 3/22/2010 12:16 PM
Doing right, being faithful, trying your best in a “vacuum” is hard to do! No interaction with others, or if there is it may well be negative, at times it seems the only one listening to you is you! When that happens for me, I find I have to dig deep to make sure I hear what I need to hear, not just what I want to hear.

I find it helpful to remind myself that the Bible says every good deed; every faithful act will be rewarded, no matter how insignificant and regardless of whether anybody else on earth sees it.

Every encouragement you give to other people, every kind word you share with your children, every time you do a thoughtful act for your spouse, friend or family, every time you pick up around the hospital or clinic when it's not your job, every time you tidy up that patient’s room, every act of courtesy, every time you refuse to gossip, every time you choose to be positive instead of negative —— God sees it all, no matter how small.

You really are not living your life in a vacuum. A friend...
By SMH Webmaster on 3/15/2010 9:39 AM
Where did you go as a young kid when the storms of frustration, disappointment even despair overwhelmed you? We each had a place where we went…some rode their bikes; others climbed in the dog house with their pet or up on the roof of their house, and others went for walks in the forest. I always went to the shore of Lake Ontario, just a quarter mile from my home. I would sit on the huge rocks and watch the real storm on the lake, or the night sky speckled with starts, or yell into the wind my feelings and thoughts, because no one could hear me.

What happened for you in the place where you sought refuge? Quiet, peace, solitude, a bigger perspective, a sense of calm?

God offers to us in our lives the opportunity to find refuge, shelter in the midst of our storms. Seems like we sought this naturally as kids, so what do you do now that you are grown up?

Where do you go in the midst of the whirlwinds of emotion? Do you have a place, a person, a prayer that helps you find shelter? Where to you go...
By SMH Webmaster on 3/7/2010 6:00 PM
While this is the first hive I have lost, it is doubly sad as on either side of the frame upon which the bees had clustered, there was tons of honey! They perished with help being one honeycomb cell away to the left or the right.

You see, one of the challenges with bees is that they tend to move in one main direction… “up”. Looking at the frames of honey, you could easily identify their migration... “up”, as they had consumed all the honey in their path. But they never varied to the left or right. They went the same way they have always gone and perished even though they were surrounded by food!

Do you ever find yourself doing the same thing, thinking the same way, reacting the same way, only to get stuck? Running out of what you need relationally or spiritually; as a leader, healer, friend, parent or spouse?

Just like the bees, you and I are surrounded with options and resources, support and help. We just need to look around and ask!

Every day you help patients, associates and friends,...
By SMH Webmaster on 2/28/2010 6:00 PM
The only trouble is I don’t just play the game with the kitchen trash. Sometimes I play it with my feelings. Just stuff them down inside, deep so they will never trouble me or anyone else. Sometimes I play the game with my hopes, just stuffing them down so no one notices and no one is disappointed when things don’t materialize. Sometimes I play the game with my schedule, trying to stuff one more meeting in between two back to back meetings, forgetting that I am human and actually need to walk from one gathering place to the other.

In an article in Psychology Today, Michael Formica noted:“We live in a state of constant distraction and hyper—stimulation. Because we are so over—stimulated, we have become desensitized to our world. When is the last time you actually tasted your food? Or listened to the road noise of your car as you've driven on the highway? When is the last time you lay in bed in the morning and tried to separate out the different voices of the songbirds, instead of lumping them into "birds...
By SMH Webmaster on 2/22/2010 12:17 PM
I was flying back from Baltimore and the flights schedule was all messed up with weather delays. Standing in the boarding area, I passed the time doing what I sometimes find most intriguing.observing people; their demeanor, and deportment. One elderly gentleman in a worn leather jacket stood out. He smiled a lot, and looked around making me wonder if he was sure of what was going on. Later I learned he was more than aware! Eventually a seat became open near him so I sat down and started to chat. He had a red cap on, that said Tuskegee, a name I had some understanding of, but wanted to explore with him. Turns out my seat mate was Lt. Col. Gray who flew with distinction in the squadron known as the Tuskegee Airmen in WW II. It was the only squadron made up entirely of African Americans. Shunned at the beginning of the war, their reputation for providing support and "getting the boys back to base" was such that squadrons would request "Tuskegee air support" because they knew they had a better chance of getting home."In...
By SMH Webmaster on 2/8/2010 4:25 PM
Whether your initial meeting is face—to—face, over the phone or via the Internet, you do not have time to waste. It helps to understand how people make their first judgment and what you can do to influence the results.

LEARN WHAT PEOPLE USE TO FORM THEIR FIRST OPINION.When you meet someone face—to—face, 93% of how you are judged is based on non—verbal data — your appearance, smile, eye contact, tone of voice and body language. The other 7% is influenced by the words that you speak. When your initial encounter is over the phone, 70% of how you are perceived is based on your tone of voice and 30% on your words. Clearly, it's not only what you say — it's the way you say it. CHOOSE YOUR FIRST TWELVE WORDS CAREFULLY.Although research shows that your words make up a mere 7% of what people think of you in a one—on—one encounter, don't leave them to chance. Express some form of thank you when you meet the patient, visitor or assocaite. Perhaps, it is "Thank you for trusting us with your care today" or "Thank you...
By SMH Webmaster on 1/31/2010 6:00 PM
Friday evening a remarkable story was shared by Dr. Loren Humphrey and Mr. Tom Olofson. Seeking help some 30 years ago for the aggressive cancer growing in his neck Tom had heard the words, “Impossible,” “Never done,” “No hope.” But through a dogged determination to find hope wherever it might be, and eventually through a neighbor’s suggestion, Tom met Dr. Humphrey. What makes the story even more remarkable is that Dr. Humphrey did not serve at the “big name centers” like Mayo or MD Anderson, rather he gladly served at SMMC, where the nursing staff is second to none, the quality of care is excellent, and a spirit of trust and faith pervaded his practice. He was not afraid of the “impossible. “Nothing is impossible for God,” Dr. Humphrey said, as he told the story of this surgery 30 years ago, Mr. Olofoson is living proof.

Dr. Humphrey mentioned four things which in his opinion are really important in finding healing: 1) The patient’s spirit, determination and faith, 2) The family support allowing for a healing...
By SMH Webmaster on 1/24/2010 6:00 PM
You are busy! Let me say it again, you do not lack for things to do, here at the hospital, home, school, family, church, friends, projects or PTA!! You are busy!!! But you know what? Eric Hoffer said: “The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is on the contrary born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else— we are the busiest people in the world.” The question is: What are we busy about?”

What are you busy about? Have you clearly thought about what it is that is important and why, what your objective is and when? Too often we rush into the day ready to be busy doing three things at once only to be tired and a bit frustrated when we don’t get it all done.

Tests performed by the American Psychological Association in Washington D.C. conclude:

Each time you switch your attention, you will lose ground. A half second delay can kill you – i.e. texting while...
By SMH Webmaster on 1/18/2010 10:49 AM
The world has responded in remarkable fashion, despite the challenges we all face, when trouble strikes others, our woes, and our problems take a back seat to their critical needs. We gladly set self aside to support those struggling with such travesty.When the earth shakes, we take note. When people are killed, injured or in trouble we take action.Haiti has suffered untold challenges and sorrows:· 2008 four separate hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike, claimed more than 800 lives.· In 2007 the deadliest maritime accident in Haiti's history took place. 160 people packed on a 25—foot sloop in stormy weather were tossed into shark infested waters off the Turks and Caicos.· In 2004 Tropical storm Jeanne deluged the tiny Caribbean country with flooding and landslides. When the skies had cleared, the bodies of 2,500 people lay beneath the rubble. Thousands more were homeless.· 1998 Hurricane George and Hurricane Gordon 1994 killed 1400 Haitians,· 1963 Flora was the 6th most deadly...
By SMH Webmaster on 1/10/2010 6:00 PM
Here we were all together, having traveled great distances, trying to get our own stuff done in our electronically separated worlds. That’s when I sensed again the challenge of our culture’s growing dependence on things electronic, things purporting efficiency. We can’t seem to get it all done and the harder we try it seems the more we miss what really matters. I wonder if God ever intended for us to make staying electronically connected the sole purpose of our lives. Sometimes we act as if He does.

The truth is there are far too many things we think we need to do that really are not that important. You won’t simplify your life by getting an electronic organizer. You probably won’t find meaning in frantic texting, or trying to out organize the lady on HGTV’s the Mission Organization show! Nor will you necessarily find life and meaning in the myriad of activities and projects that you think you need to engage in.

Life is found not so much in the complex, but in the simple, it is found not so much in...
By SMH Webmaster on 1/4/2010 11:07 AM
The sentiment is pretty much the same no matter the language spoken; we hope that 2010 will be a good year. At times we say: “I hope 2010 is good to you/me/us!” with the same ease with which we say, “Hope you have a nice day!” It’s a cordial wish, even a blessing that we offer to each other.

Wishing and hoping are wonderful experiences, but they are not a plan of action! How often have you found yourself wishing for something different, better, safer, more stable, happier, newer, smaller,…well you get the idea. Wishing is not a strategic plan, it’s only the beginning step on your journey to "Make" it a good year, a nice day, a happier family, a more productive practice, a healthier you.

The text speaks clearly to the dilemma many of us face, placing our future, our “success” in the hands of fate, chance, even circumstance, when God simply asks us to claim what already has been given.

To go beyond wishing and take the steps necessary to help the dream become true requires that you be an on purpose...
By SMH Webmaster on 12/27/2009 6:00 PM
This story comes for a friend who thought the message timely for this season. It is reported to be written by a Metro Denver Hospice Physician:

I was driving home from a meeting this evening about 5, stuck in traffic on Colorado Blvd., and the car started to choke and splutter and die — I barely managed to coast, cursing, into a gas station. Before I could go for help, I saw a woman walking out of the quickie mart building, and she slipped on some ice and fell into the gas pump, so I got out to see if she was okay.

When I got to her, she was overcome by sobs. She was a young woman who looked really haggard with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up. I picked it up to give it to her. It was a nickel.

I saw her ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with 3 kids in the back (1 in a car seat), and the gas pump reading $4.95. The dropped nickel told me something bigger was going on. I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept saying 'I don't...
By SMH Webmaster on 12/22/2009 3:55 PM
When you wait it seems that everyone around you could have the answer so you look to them hopefully…for a while.

My wife Cathy and I attended the dedication Saturday morning for one of the Habitat for Humanity homes that SMMC associates helped build this year. We met the new owner, Meghan and her family, and lots of other helpers who crowded into the living room. Annabeth Surbaugh, County Commission Chair, was there and spoke about the power of a community focused on helping and making a difference. She didn’t have to say much as the smiles and hugs spoke louder than you could imagine!

How do you wait for a home? The impossible dream for a family challenged by the circumstances of life, like a broken marriage, single income? Meghan prayed about a home and spoke with the folk from Habitat to see if one might be available in Olathe. “We haven’t built in Olathe for years, doubt it will happen but we will put you on the list.”

Meghan prayed each day for her family’s home to be not just a dream but...
By SMH Webmaster on 12/14/2009 4:16 PM

I received this article from a friend who received it from a friend. She was impressed with its thoughtful message. I am too.

A mother and daughter saying "Goodbye" to each other at the airport were overheard as they hugged. The mother said, 'I love you, and I pray you enough.' The daughter replied, 'Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I pray you enough, too, Mom.'

They kissed, and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there, I sensed that she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy, but she welcomed me in by asking, 'Did you ever say good—bye to someone knowing it would be forever?'

"Yes, I have," I replied. "Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good—bye?"

"Well...I'm not as young as I once was, she lives so far away & has her own busy life. I have some challenges ahead, and the reality is — her next trip back will be for my funeral," she said.

By SMH Webmaster on 12/7/2009 9:46 AM
I stood in line and waited and waited for the people in front to find their ID and tickets (what were they doing for 20 minutes in line?). Finally my turn. I saw the lady in front of me drop a penny so I picked it up and offered it to the TSA agent as a good luck piece. She said, ”We can’t take anything, but thanks” Why don’t you keep it, you are the one flying today!” We chuckled and all of a sudden a smile broke out in the midst of a weary line of travelers.

I knew I was going to cause a delay as every time I fly I get a TSA “backrub” as my artificial knee, the “TJR” version, sets off the alarm. Once again, I add stress to an already frantic day with lots of people rushing. “Please step into the holding cell, we will be with you shortly.” I waited and watched my stuff as people streamed by. The gentleman who came to wand me and pat me down was obviously busy but he warmed up when I acknowledged how challenging weekends must be and particularly this time of year.

We chatted a bit and I told him that...
By SMH Webmaster on 11/22/2009 6:00 PM
What about you and me? The regular folk who will probably never perform surgery, or be a political leader, or hit a home run at the “K”.

If success and accomplishments are the only measures, many of us won’t measure up…won’t qualify, particularly in our own minds.

Mother Teresa was asked by a reporter for a major paper, what she considered to be the most successful part of her mission in India. Without missing a beat, Mother Teresa looked the reporter in the eyes and said, “My dear, the Lord did not call me to success but to faithfulness. I pray not for success but for faithfulness.”

If you consider faithfulness instead of success as your criteria, then all of a sudden you have lots to be thankful for:

Faithful fire departments waiting till you need them…they are there.

Faithful mail carriers…every day, rain or shine, wind or snow, they are always working.

Faithful school crossing guards…if you ever drive 75th through Quivera intersection, you know about them…every school...
By SMH Webmaster on 11/16/2009 9:31 AM
This past week marked two events of note in the movement of freedom…getting out of jail. Monday marked the 20th anniversary of the falling of the Berlin wall that had held millions captive. Incarcerated by tyranny, power, fear, poverty and hunger by the Communist regime, people sought freedom at the risk of death. Wednesday was Veterans Day or Remembrance Day, marking the armistice signed 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Each year on this day most of the free world pauses to remember those who gave and continue to give their lives for the causes of freedom.

Heroic deeds come to mind as we recall. The Tuskegee Airmen, the only African American fighter squadron and they never lost a plane of the thousands they escorted. MacArthur in the Philippines, Churchill, “Never has so much been owed by so many to so few.” You might imagine, what can an individual person do in such a struggle for freedom?

Max Lucado shared a remarkable story about what one person can do. During World War...
By SMH Webmaster on 11/9/2009 5:13 PM
“Hunger erodes the body and mind and wears away at our community. Children struggle to concentrate in school. Parents make desperate choices to put food on the table. Seniors compromise their already fragile health.” Harvesters is our community response to hunger in the greater Kansas City area and it is significant, both in need and action.

Each month, the Harvesters’ network of over 24 counties and 500 partner agencies distribute: 2,344,782 pounds of food providing 1,803,678 meals for over 240,000 individuals.

Who are the hungry? They are our neighbors and fellow citizens. This year alone there has been a 44% increase of first time requests for help, from families losing a job and not being able to make it on the other income…the economy and foreclosures are creating a new reality for many. Here are some sobering statistics:

48% of the households helped have at least one employed adult 69% have incomes below the federal poverty level 48% are children under 18...
By SMH Webmaster on 11/2/2009 12:57 PM
What do you do when the brakes don’t work? When life throws you a curve? You see how folk handle the curves of bad health every day as they face a life changing diagnosis, or they walk to the Clinic, or Emergency department. Some respond with great calm and courage, others panic or resign to the inevitable, still others respond with a hopeful determination.

Life doesn’t always happen the way you might wish or plan for it to happen. It is then that you discover what lies inside your heart and soul. Thankfully there is often a chance to consult with colleagues, family or friends.

As the scripture says, muscling your way through difficulty doesn’t work as well as being wise. Success doesn’t come as much from strength and power as it does from planning and counsel.

How thankful you can be for the open sharing that can occur if you take time to seek counsel, to know that you are not alone with your crisis and that others are willing to help, to guide, or support. Not by might nor by...
By SMH Webmaster on 10/26/2009 9:39 AM
It can be as simple as a missed alarm that causes the rush at home, forgetting to hug the kids, or kiss your spouse as you go out the door. It can be as complex as a staffing need that takes your plans for the day and shelves them, putting you in the clinic or on the floor. A phone call, an e—mail, a pager or a vendor is all it takes to create an urgent need that has the power to trump all the important things you really need to do.

So what is important, what is urgent? You have to face that question each moment of each day and weigh the issue. Not all things need to be done “NOW”. Some can wait a bit like some e—mail or phone calls, others obviously need attention NOW.

Unfortunately it is all too easy to let the urgent things of the day crowd out the important things. What is important you ask; you are! Your relationships with family, God, your peers and associates, your time to think and plan, to reflect and pray; these are the matters of life so often relegated to the back burners of life.

By SMH Webmaster on 10/19/2009 11:56 AM
Thankfully this has not only been challenged, but proven as a less than effective way to teach or lead. Partnering, mutual learning and teaching are much more effective, both in engagement and long term impact.

It isn’t always easy to be a teacher—student or a student—teacher, as it calls for a new model; one of respect, trust, humility, openness and safety to really experience. Sometimes having the “power” of knowledge or the “power” of position seems a more efficient way to teach or lead. It isn’t. The ability to teach and lead is directly related to our openness, attitude towards each other and life. Our willingness to find lessons wherever they might be and from whomever might be the teacher, however old or young, however “senior” or “junior” creates a safe place of openness, creativity and joy.

I learned a great lesson years ago while playing football with the 8th grade boys of the Sligo Adventist School in Washington DC. Let me tell you about it.

I spent a day with this class allowing their...
By SMH Webmaster on 10/11/2009 6:00 PM
Socrates said,”The unexamined life is not worth living." (Apology 38a <—bin/ptext?lookup=plat.+apol.+38a> ). Noted for his commitment to knowledge and truth more than simply winning an argument, Socrates taught and challenged through questions, causing one to think and express reasoning and value behind behavior. For this he was placed on trial because he challenged the status quo once too often.

The life that simply runs on auto pilot without purpose, meaning or mission is empty. The same can be said of marriage, work, faith or religion. If it is of value, it is worthy of examination and constant growth and development, giving expression to the fullness of God’s purpose and blessing.

This past week SMMC hosted visitors from our sister hospitals in Chicago and Florida who came to “examine” the Mission fulfillment expressed by the associates, physicians, volunteers and leaders of SMMC....
By SMH Webmaster on 10/5/2009 8:50 AM
A lesson from the hive: Honey bees communicate all the time and direct their hive and activities largely through fragrance or smell. Pheromones to be exact. Chemical fragrances given off to direct behavior, or even change physiology. Amazing, that through a releaser—pheromone scent, behavior changes in foraging, swarming, egg laying, stinging or through a primer—pheromone scent physiology is changed to prevent worker bees from laying eggs, or to slow the aging of nursery bees. Primer pheromones change the physiology of the recipient. Releaser pheromones change the behavior of the recipient. Releaser pheromones have a short term effect and they trigger an almost immediate behavioral response from the receiving bee.

Bees are always giving each other messages, whether foraging for nectar or stinging the bee keeper, pheromones...
By SMH Webmaster on 10/1/2009 8:32 AM
I was home one Sunday afternoon getting ready for a BBQ when I heard things dropping on the porch. Persistent plunks that finally got me to go take a look. Acorns were everywhere, so I swept the porch. An hour later, plunk, plunk and acorns were everywhere again! I swept two more times now to the amused chatter of the squirrels in the oak trees above.

They were bugging me. Acorns on the deck, bouncing off the roof, filling the I decided to take a deeper look. Instead of yelling at them or banging a pot, I decided to understand what was going on.

Did you know that squirrels store over 50 lbs of acorns for the winter months? They clean each of their shell and mark the nut with their scent so they can find it when the winds are cold and temperatures below freezing. They had my respect. Suddenly they were a bit less annoying!

Ever held a piece of paper in your hand only to misplace it seconds later and not be able to find it? I am getting really good at that. Frustrated, berating myself...
By SMH Webmaster on 9/21/2009 2:22 PM
Reminders that help us gain perspective again when things seem confusing or troubling or old habits of fretting take over.

Worry robs you of the present, focusing your mind and energy on something else, at times pushing your buttons to the point where you aren’t yourself. Sorry robs you of the past and present by piling on top of worry, Worry and sorry rob you of your future with burdens that at times get overwhelming. So what do you do when you worry? So often looking around to see if there is a way to resolve, solve or remove the worry is what we do first. You might be inclined to look around for help, but what if you think you are stuck? No one to help… you’ll have to face this one alone.

Worry moves to sorry. Sorry can take so many forms, from feeling like a victim and being helpless, to beating yourself up with the old tapes that recite “I’m not really good at this,” or “I always seem to mess things up!” Either way, sorry paralyzes as the regrets of the past seem to flood over the present moment.

By SMH Webmaster on 9/8/2009 10:33 AM
What would happen if the have to's turned into get to's?  It is interesting that most folk consider what they do to be pai as being work. Yet what you do as; Mum, Dad, friend, church member, community volunteer, while challenging and demanding, somehow isn't considered the same as work. How you see your role makes all the difference and can change a have to into a get to!

Now you and I both realize how fatigue can factor into attitude. Taking a re—creative rest each week is a blessing. The Good Book tells us to work for six days and rest on the seventh. Dan Coughlin wrote an interesting article about the value of vacations:

Refreshed or not, attitude still drives outcomes and behavior.

Do you have to work, or do you get to work. Is it a burden or a privilege, a necessary economic evil or an avenue of service and blessing for which you also receive pay?

Brother Lawrence, noted for his profound writing  Practicing the Presence of God  reflects...
By SMH Webmaster on 9/3/2009 7:23 AM
One of the challenges of life is making our way when things aren’t quite clear. Sometimes it is downright dark yet we have to move forward. It is at times like this that we need to look “in” and look “up.” Inside to see, and hear the tugging of our mind and look up to gain a deeper perspective and trust for what we are facing and remember Who we face it with.

Father John Kavanaugh was facing a time of discernment in his life; “What does God want me to do, where does He want me to serve?”

He went to spend a month in Calcutta serving with Mother Teresa, tending to the street people who were dying, providing the grace of human caring as they took their last breath.

One day Mother Teresa asked what she might do to help Kavanaugh. He asked her to pray for him. Now many of us would have simply replied, “Of course.” Not Mother Teresa. She asked, “What do you want me to pray for?” Kavanaugh replied, “Clarity; to know the next step I should take in serving the Lord.” Mother Teresa surprised him when she...
By SMH Webmaster on 8/27/2009 3:49 PM
Take a closer look. Not just at what is around you but how it all fits together.

This past week we had just such a privilege at SMMC as five very helpful and encouraging visitors from the Joint Commission took a very close look at how you and your team make SMMC function.

A closer look that identified some things we had assumed and some we had overlooked. But these had to do with record keeping, dating and timing entries for example. While important, these were five findings in a very complex system of care that need to be addressed. Wow! As one visitor said, "You have a very fine hospital, one where your mission and caring lives each day, not just when we show up!"

The visitors affirmed the open and engaged way that you and your associates went about their work. They even commented on how calm and friendly you were when they stopped to talk; Environmental, Central services, Nursing, Pain Clinic, Wound Care, Radiology, Facility, PT, Rehab, Home Health Care, ED, Surgery, PACU, the list goes on...
By SMH Webmaster on 8/19/2009 11:02 AM
It happens to all of us far more often than we might like to admit. Wanting to thank someone for something they did or said, and then finding the busyness of life crowding out a simple but important act and replacing it with lists of things to do, people to see and work to be done.

I remember a time while running the college in Ohio being very busy, so much so that I placed a note on the back of my door, the last thing I’d see as I left the office, “Remember to say thank you !” I needed to remind myself in the busyness of my day to do the courteous and caring thing of recognizing the difference others have made in their work.

I’m glad I did because I learned an important truth; everyone likes to know that they have made a difference, and they have been recognized for their part however big or small. I also learned that busyness is not an excuse for being indifferent or unaware of the effort that others put forth. A simple “thanks” says a lot. It says you noticed, you appreciate and you took time, even...
By SMH Webmaster on 8/13/2009 3:47 PM
Good examples are precious gifts, calling forth the “better me” encouraging integrity, compassion, and excellence. They inspire without saying a word, the memory of what they did or said speaks throughout time. Their examples call to us to rise up to a higher standard, a more excellent way.

Think about the people who are the good examples in your life. Their memory brings a sense of hope, encouragement, even a sense of peace! I hope you have a number of folk who fit this category!

Each year under the able direction of Julie Jenks, and the Associate recognition committee, SMMC invites nominations for outstanding associates. These are reviewed by a trusted panel of previous Associates of the Year and then, just like Ed McMahon and the Publishers Clearing House Cash Caravan, these individuals are surprised and recognized in their departments among the cheers and joy of their peers.

This past week SMMC named 12 associates who were nominated by their peers to receive the title, “Outstanding Associates”....
By SMH Webmaster on 8/3/2009 4:40 PM
Leslie Mackey had he wonderful idea of women building homes with the Habitat for Humanity group. An idea that really took off when she shared it with both Habitat and SMMC's leadership, but soared when the women started signing up!Habitat for Humanity is a ministry dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness worldwide and to making adequate, affordable shelter a matter of conscience and action. Their ministry was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, decent place to live in dignity and safety.Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat speaks about loving your neighbor this way: "The Bible teaches that God is the God of the whole crowd. God's love leaves nobody out, and my love should not either. This understanding drives the ‘theology of the hammer’ around the world, steadily building more and more houses in more and more countries." Demonstrating God's love with a hammer, this is what he is saying. 300,000 homes later, people all over the world are experiencing...
By SMH Webmaster on 7/27/2009 3:59 PM
Now, I can lament the end of vacation, or celebrate the opportunity to join the team of remarkable associates and physicians at Shawnee Mission Medical Center and make a difference in someone’s life today! I have a choice.

Just like putting on my socks, I have the choice of “putting on” an attitude a way of looking at life, work, or people, that can transform my world and be a blessing to all. What I wear on my heart and my attitude is far more important than socks, but equally dependant on my choice. Both must be intentional acts of the will, not just habits that lose their meaning over time.

Take a few moments right now and think about your socks, think about your choices of how you will bless others this day. It is up to each one of us to choose how we will respond to the opportunities of this day! (Below is a neat story that further illustrates the choices we can make.)

Now, put on your “socks” of compassion and love and go about your day!

Much more than medicine indeed!

By SMH Webmaster on 7/22/2009 12:01 PM
How many calls have you wanted to make or to just drop by to say thanks but somehow life got in the way?

It happens to all of us, more often than we might like to admit. I certainly have more notes intended, than notes sent. Not something of which I am proud as I know the power and value of a note received.

I’ll let you in on a secret. I keep notes sent to me. I read them and re—read them, and then some time later read them again. I keep special notes of encouragement, counsel or thanks received over the years. A while ago I did this every time I got a note from my friend Cathy, who as my wife has shared 32 years of wonderful life with me. I still have every letter she sent to me and I read them from time to time just to remember, (and at times tease her)!

There is power in the written word. Memory sometimes is a fickle thing, remembering what it wants, forgetting what it doesn’t like. The written word never changes.

No wonder you and I like to hang onto notes of encouragement or thanks...
By SMH Webmaster on 7/19/2009 6:00 PM
I remember the day very well; I was picking up trash at a ritzy private summer camp to make some cash during our family vacation. I was 17 and recall being ticked off at the rich kids and parents who tossed their trash for me to fetch, being just a hired hand for the parents’ weekend. Then the announcement…”They have just landed on the moon!” Everything changed. People cheered, they chatted excitedly, and they even became more considerate and picked up their own trash. I got back to the cabin that evening and with my family we hiked through a corn field to a small log cabin where friends had a black and white TV. I was the antennae with coat hangers and aluminum foil. But we saw it, and heard it. We were there!

Wherever you were you held your breath with the rest of the listening world ‘til hours later Neil Armstrong climbed down a ladder and set foot on the moon. "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." He was joined by Buz Aldrin who had quietly celebrated communion prior to exiting...
By SMH Webmaster on 7/6/2009 8:38 AM
Wow, in the midst of it all one can become overwhelmed or even lost in the sea of information. Knowing how to understand, critically discern and then effectively apply is the mark of the educated and experienced. Tens of thousands count on you and your associates to bring them hope and healing.To give you an encouraging word the rate of increase in information is astounding: It is projected that just four years from now, the world’s information base will be doubling in size every 11 hours. So rapid is the growth in the global stock of digital data that the very vocabulary used to indicate quantities has had to expand to keep pace. A decade or two ago, professional computer users and managers worked in kilobytes and megabytes. Now schoolchildren have access to laptops with tens of gigabytes of storage, and network managers have to think in terms of the terabyte (1,000 gigabytes) and the petabyte (1,000 terabytes). Beyond those lie the exabyte, zettabyte and yottabyte, each a thousand times bigger than the last....
By SMH Webmaster on 7/1/2009 10:21 AM
I grew up in Canada and almost two years ago had, with my wife, the honour of becoming American citizens. In reflecting on the upcoming 4th of July celebrations we recalled the trials of our country as we saw them from north of the boarder in the early 70’s. Times then were challenging: wars, economic struggles, an energy crisis, all kinds of challenges faced theses United States then as they do today.I remember hearing the broadcast in 1973 by Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian radio journalist entitled simply The Americans. I have copied it and noted it below as the past was indeed prologue in many instances. Equally, the hope and the character of the people of this land is prologue to the way in which we will meet the challenges of this day. The words of this brief commentary went across the nation! President Ronald Reagan had this to say: "I know I speak for all Americans in saying the radio editorial Gordon wrote in 1973 praising the accomplishments of the United States was a wonderful inspiration. It was not only...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/24/2009 8:36 AM
I enjoy being able to fix things up and make them better, every dad does! The girls and I got pretty good at fixing things and teaching how it was done.

I was the fix—it dad until one day Sarah presented me with a broken heart, and I could not fix it. I could only hold her in my arms and listen. That seemed to help. But what was of greater blessing was being able to remind her about placing her heart in God’s hands. Then in 2001 when my father suddenly died, there was little I could do to “fix” the pain or heartache except once again we held each other and placed our hearts in God’s hands.

Healing and hope come in the form of relationships of trust, often symbolized by the hands that do so much. We have been singing or hearing songs about this since we were young: “He’s got the whole world in His hands,” “In my Fathers hands,” “Hand in hand we stand,” “If you are happy and you know it clap your hands,” “Precious Lord take my hand.”

One of the most beautiful images of faith is found in David’s...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/16/2009 11:25 AM
One thing I have learned well in life is the value of asking for counsel or help! I used to think I had to have all the answers, but wisdom knows when to ask for advice or help. I am reminded of this in the counsel from the Bible: Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success. Prov 15:22

The joy of asking for advice or help is that you find the blessing of developing a “go—to—person,” one with whom you connect, trust and communicate well and with whom you find both courage and counsel. In fact you can probably list a couple of names right now if I asked you.

So I’m going to ask you to write down a name or two of your “go—to—people.”

An article about “go—to—people” from my business school in Canada caught my eye:

“Every organization has these so called go—to people. Surprisingly, they are not necessarily the people who hold the highest positions or are in the most powerful departments. They are the individuals who, through their own professional roles combined with their...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/9/2009 4:28 PM
Courageous? You better believe it!

I am so very grateful to serve in a hospital that not only speaks about being much more than medicine, but also tries every day to put that into practice. Medicine fundamentally is about healing and restoring, but often we think only of bone or muscle, organs or systems. While these are critically important to life, we sometimes miss the person who has the bone or muscle, organs or systems. Healing and restoration involves so much in life and even more in the presence of death. Healing does not stop when life ends.

Chaplains Mike Jacob, Hylton Turner, Kate Zon and David Ross invited folk to reflect on their sorrow, but in the midst of that sorrow to share a memory of their loved one, realizing that indeed healing and life continue forward. The reflections shared were moving, some were funny, all were significant and we left that time in the Meditation Garden uplifted and renewed. For some this was a small step in healing, for others it was huge, but the really neat...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/31/2009 6:00 PM
Saturday morning over a thousand folk gathered for the Heart Walk by the Nelson Museum. Hundreds of SMMC associates were there. It was a beautiful day for a walk and we had a great time visiting.Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association today is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. These diseases, America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers, claim more than 910,000 lives a year. The walk was to raise community awareness and funds for research.As we started out I wondered what difference this event would make in the big picture? I mean 950,000 people die each year from Heart disease or stroke so I know it is important. Walking by the Nelson, I was reminded of the words spoken by Dr. Monica Reed at our Mission: Excellence retreat last Wednesday: “It used to be that the people of the western culture died because of diseases or events that swept the land, that happened to them and they died from the outside in. Now...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/25/2009 6:00 PM
Silent, yet they speak continuously. Massive, yet inviting. The monuments of Washington DC are to be experienced. Having lived there and just returned from a visit with our daughters and son—in—law, we were once again deeply moved by the experience of Memorial Day in Washington.

WWII, Korea, Vietnam memorials. Vets standing looking for the name of their comrades, family members leaving a tribute to their loved one.

What do these stones mean?

Korea, an almost holographic experience of faces and more than life sized statues of soldiers doing what their country asked of them.

What do these stones mean?

The Lincoln memorial, massive, inspiring, larger than life, yet all were hushed as they read the statements of liberty and justice carved into stone.

What do these stones mean?

Then we heard the rumble, getting louder and louder as the Rolling Thunder motorcycle ride of vets came into the Mall.

What do these stones mean? They mean nothing unless they live in your heart...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/18/2009 1:43 PM

But it can be much more than all the above. Much more and it only takes a moment. How, you ask?

Take time to remember. Remember what the weekend invites us to experience: honoring through memories and reflection, those we have loved or known, those who have died as they served our country.

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day because it was a time set aside to honor the nation's Civil War dead by decorating their graves. It was first observed to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, by proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, on May 5, 1868. It was at one time observed on the 30th of May each year, but in 1967 became officially known as Memorial Day and in 1971 officially celebrated on the last Monday of May.

Part of the challenge of maintaining a sense of awe and respect for the freedoms we and the free world enjoy has to do with how we remember, not just in time of crisis but in times of peace.

It is said that those who...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/13/2009 4:19 PM
We each reflect on the unique relationship we hold with the one who carried us, nurtured us and comforts us, perhaps yet this day.

My mum had/s the ability to quell the beast of discouragement and despair by calling for the “better me” to come forth. Somehow she is able to help me believe that there is a better me within, a more capable, hopeful me, that could arise! At times the better me is summoned by a bit of guilt as in: “You can do better” or “You should not have done that.” But more often than not, Mum would remind me that if I took a deep breath and relaxed a bit, I would find that things were not as bad as I might have thought, and indeed, that I was still her boy, and she believed in me without question. It is perhaps her unwavering encouragement and belief in me that motivates the “better me” to come forth.

As I reflect on the journey of life, I realize that too often the better me, is lost in the busyness of momentary challenges and overshadowed by the larger struggles we often face. The...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/7/2009 5:02 PM
Most people run from them, my wife and I like to spend time with all 55,000 of them…our honey bees. Our friends Joyce and Andy are learning how to keep bees and one of the first lessons is “bee talk.” Yes, I speak to the bees and explain to them everything I am doing. Do they understand? At a certain level…yes! It has been proven that bees recognize and are comforted by the presence and sound of their keeper. Normally a large being is a threat, usually a predator and the bees respond sharp end first! Experienced bee keepers often tend their hives with bare hands!

Lesson #1: Bee present. Let them know that you are coming well before you get there, let them know when you arrive, remind them it is you, then tell them what you are doing…it helps keep it clear when thousands of them are flying around and everything is happening at once.

Lesson #2: Bee gentle and deliberate. No fast or sudden moves, even when they are troubled or upset, you have to keep your cool because that helps them settle down. You...
By SMH Webmaster on 4/27/2009 8:16 AM
The show, Britain’s got Talent, upon which the American show is based, invites all who might seek to be recognized for their talent to audition and go before a panel of judges. I invite you to take a look at two remarkable video clips of the show. They illustrate clearly the challenge of “first impression—itis” with a wonderful demonstration of grace and talent.Paul PottsSusan Boyle

I struggle at times, as do you, with keeping an open mind and giving folk every opportunity. Doing so is not simply an act of justice or fairness although one could suggest that be the case. Rather, for me I have had to grow to regard others with more compassion. No matter who they might be, how they dress, or how they might present themselves in frustration or pain, I have grown to regard them as brothers or sisters who seek to be honored, recognized and appreciated if even for a moment.

Not unlike each of us, who come to work and desire to make a favorable impression upon fellow associates, patients and family...
By SMH Webmaster on 4/21/2009 10:17 AM
My wife and I well remember the days of too much month at the end of the money. The car repair that had to be put off because we couldn't afford it or having the medical bills go to collection because we were flat broke. That kind of stuff gets you down after a while. We found that instead of becoming discouraged, we decided to be thankful. Thankful for the bill that meant I had received medical care and was better, thankful for the bus I took and all the people I met while saving the money to fix the car.

While the bills did not disappear, our attitude towards them got better. Try being thankful for the phone bill! Can you imagine life without being able to call the kids, text your friends or be in touch any time, anywhere with those you love? Give thanks for that Sprint worker or the Verizon guy!

It doesn't have to be money—related to be wearying, it happens with life and people we encounter; most of whom are great but those who get under our skin seem to stay there for a long time! Try being thankful,...
By SMH Webmaster on 4/13/2009 12:24 PM
It happens more than we might think as with text messaging, cell phones, iPods we can be totally connected with those not present yet miss the very person right in front of us!

In times of crisis and stress our hearts long to have companionship. We long for the meaningful presence of those who truly care for our well being, those in whom we can trust and in whose presence we find peace.

The Bible tells us of the trials that Jesus faced as He struggled with the choice of the cross of salvation or the crown of the crowd’s praise. He asked His friends to go with Him in the garden and pray. How troubling to find them sleeping in the midst of His trial. Then again in Herods’s court or Pilate’s palace He was surrounded by people, some of the disciples were there, but yet He was still alone. Isolated by acts of denial and self interest. Be not far off, is the cry of all who face times of worry, anxiety or crisis. Be not far off, come quickly to help me is the prayer echoed in the 22nd Psalm, one that foreshadowed...
By SMH Webmaster on 4/6/2009 9:03 AM
Our daughters, as they grew up, used to ask us to spray a perfume or cologne on their favorite blanket or scarf, just as a reminder when we were gone from home.

Brut, White Shoulders, Calvin Klein, Code, Obsession …the list is endless.

As we approach this Easter season the story of Mary’s gift of perfume reminds us not only of an act of love and caring, but also a blessing for Jesus that would linger long after the event itself, one that would be present during the trails and crucifixion of our Lord.

Perfume in those days was oil based and powerfully fragrant. It did not evaporate quickly, but lingered for days. Think of the trials Jesus endured: feeling alone and abandoned. Yet in the midst of the scourging, the Via de la Rosa, even the cross, the fragrance of Mary’s gift, the reminder that there was at least one for whom His ministry had made a difference, would waft over Him. Particularly in times of sorrow and suffering the fragrance of hope makes a difference.

Each day you fragrance...
By SMH Webmaster on 3/30/2009 8:41 AM
We don’t dance much these days, and when we do, it is usually at a wedding or some formal event. Many folk look absolutely pained, while others really are having fun! The difference seems to be in where we place our focus: on each other, or on avoiding stepping on toes. I write this knowing that in five days I will have the joy of dancing with my daughter at her wedding. What do we focus on: avoiding the toes? Or is it that of creating a memory and an experience of joy? I don’t want to just get it right, I want it to be right as well. I don’t want to have just an error—free dance, I want to also have the chance to share a moment, to make a memory that will bring smiles, not winces, to mind in years to come!It is said: “What we focus on determines what we miss!”  I don’t want to focus on avoiding missteps and thereby miss the moment.In health care we figuratively “dance” with the feelings and emotions of our patients, family members, fellow associates and physician care givers each day. We are following a lead,...
By SMH Webmaster on 3/22/2009 6:00 PM
Sum up: troubled + anxious + worried and you most likely arrive at fear. The challenge we each face is how to deal with it, whether realized or anticipated. (I don’t know about you but I find that fear anticipated is usually worse than the real thing.) We are not always on the top of our game when we are worried or anxious, yet we need to be as the patients we care for each day are looking to us to provide the extraordinary care they need in the midst of their time of trouble. So…how do you heal fear?

Quint Studer known for great work in Patient Satisfaction defines fear as: Fantasized Experiences Appearing Real. He notes that “far more is happening in people’s minds than is happening in realty. Fantasized things. That is where so much of the pain is coming from.”

Dr. Chris Kuehl, an economist with Armada, remarked that a real issue of this recession is the psychological one, as fear and worry have no “number” or means to address except through trust.

So what do you do…how do you heal fear?Some...
By SMH Webmaster on 3/16/2009 7:28 AM
Operation: Hello has been my modus operandi pretty much all of my life, but I have been paying attention to it recently as I note the levels of busyness and stress that tend to cause us to withdraw into our separate worlds. Anxious thoughts that are found so often in health care settings tend to isolate patients and families from others. Busy care schedules, pagers, calls and schedules tend to isolate associates from one another. It happens and we pass each other as ships in the night. Saying hello becomes one of the last things we do!

When you think about the simple word Hello, it is more than a two syllable expression. It is the recognition and affirmation of another person’s worth as a human being, as one of God’s kids, whether they are two or 82!

Hello is an invitation to refocus on the important relationships of life; the dignity of each other and the value of being together even for a moment.Walking down the hallways at the Medical Center I often greet visitors with a “Hello,” or a “Good Morning.”...
By SMH Webmaster on 3/9/2009 8:48 AM
About the size of your fist, the heart is an amazing muscle responsible for pumping life—sustaining blood via a 60,000—mile—long network of vessels; ceaselessly beating about 100,000 times a day, 40 million times a year—in total clocking up three billion heartbeats over an average lifetime. Moving approximately 2,000 gallons a day the heart will have pumped 50—65 million gallons of blood over a 70—90 year lifespan.

Now I am not allowed to handle anything sharp in the health care world, but I do know the importance of the human heart. As chaplain I have shared many anxious moments with families in the Cath Lab waiting room, which I call the Miracle Room. I know how vital a healthy heart is to wives and husbands, sons and daughters, moms, dads and families. It means life, health, a future and hope!

A cheerful heart is like a good medicine the Bible tells us. Going beyond the functioning miracle in your chest we are reminded that attitude and outlook are also keys to an abundant life, one where hope...
By SMH Webmaster on 3/2/2009 11:20 AM
Now I agree that annual income is probably a big difference as is the amount of fan mail, but perhaps the most significant difference is the stage upon which each of usperform. They have a national stage or a worldwide venue playing to hundreds of thousands... You and I perform on a much smaller stage, an exam room, an admitting cubicle, a tray line or switchboard. We don’t have adoring crowds, instead our audience is typically one or two at a time, and they are not excited, they are worried or anxious.

They are heroes for a moment with their one hit or Oscar or song, you and I get to have the privilege of being helpers every day.Last evening Shawnee Mission Medical Center held the annual Associate Awards dinner, during which outstanding associates were honored for their service and example of our mission—Improving health through Christian service. In all there were over 3,640 years of service represented in the associates who were recognized.

3,640 years of getting up and doing your best every day,...
By SMH Webmaster on 2/23/2009 9:48 AM
The final act in the opening of our new tower was, fittingly, the dedication of the chapel.

This is the unique place where many find comfort and solace during their times of need or worry or their times of gratitude or reflection. It is the place where the SMMC family gathers each week to pray, to share and to listen to Words of hope and encouragement.

Chapels are special places made sacred by the experiences we share with God in the midst!

Looking out on the meditation garden, our chapel helps us reflect on the bigger picture of life and hope, reminding each of us that One greater than all is still in control. To be able to look out and see birds, to be able to look up and see the sky helps us gain a larger, more hopeful perspective.

I was impressed with the number of you who called me, stopped me or e—mailed asking about the dedication and “How was it?” To each I replied, “It was a blessing!” Music, guest clergy, a guest speaker, a full house of associates, physicians and visitors made...
By SMH Webmaster on 2/16/2009 12:39 PM
We have all experienced, at one time or another, being on the outside looking in. Whether at school when class mates chose to draw their circle leaving us out, or moving to a new community or a new job where we didn’t know a soul, and had trouble finding our way around, we knew it felt a bit lonely, a bit awkward. How thankful we were for those who reached out and took us in, helping us feel included!

Being on the outside of the circle doesn’t feel all that good. We don’t always understand what is going on, we often jump to the wrong conclusions, and at times we find ourselves to be anxious because of it all.

The lines of circles are drawn innocently enough by the language we speak, the places where we live or work, the friendships we have. They connect us, and help us build community. The challenge is to recognize that what helps us belong and feel safe can also make others feel left out.

Sometimes we feel like we are on the outside of the circle looking in with friends we have not seen for...
By SMH Webmaster on 2/10/2009 9:39 AM
“I need some fresh eyes here!” We were sailing at night in a huge storm out in the middle of Lake Ontario, big seas were running, and bigger were the winds. My watch mate had been looking for the past hour trying to find the marker lying off of Niagara where we would round up and find safe harbor.

Fresh eyes. Sometimes when we look and look we just see the same thing. The familiar, becomes the assumption, and it gets increasingly difficult to see the new, or the different even in a storm.

Lots of folk find themselves sailing in storms of one kind or another. Maybe not the dead of night in the middle of a lake, but perhaps it is the dead of night and they are rushing to the ED with chest pain. It might even be the break of day when they arrive for the surgery they hope will bring healing. They need fresh eyes.

Eyes that can see hope in the midst of a storm, eyes that can convey peace though the winds of fear pluck at their hearts.

Fresh eyes. You have them, and everyone who comes to you...
By SMH Webmaster on 1/26/2009 11:04 AM
Each of us has dreams and longings for what is good and what is better. Certainly this desire brings Shawnee Mission Medical Center’s associates to the ministry of health care and service. It fuels our desire to keep striving for the best in all we are and all we do.

When the “better” arrives, when the “good” appears do we always recognize it and embrace it as we might hope? Or, sometimes do we find that we are a bit resistant because it is different?

The children of Israel longed for their freedom from captivity and to experience the “Promised Land” for 400 years. When their dream of freedom was realized; however, some of them resisted and complained because everything was different. Some even longed for the “old” ways of captivity.

This week at SMMC we are experiencing the unfolding of a dream that has been talked about for many years but now is a reality. We ask our associates to think about the challenges they might face with things new or different and prepare your heart to be open, learning,...
By SMH Webmaster on 1/19/2009 6:00 PM
This also the day before we as a nation inaugurate the 44th President of these United Sates of America. Regardless of how you may have voted, we can all celebrate the historic installation of our first African—American President. To live in a free nation of unlimited possibility where the son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of leadership is a privilege we must never take for granted!

“Ain’t that America, home of the free!” John Mellencamp

This day is also the day before we at Shawnee Mission Medical Center realize the long awaited opening of the Critical Care addition and the much needed physical compliment to the excellent and compassionate care provided by associates and physicians every day! To open such a facility in the midst of such strident economic times is remarkable.

“Ain’t that America, something to see!” John Mellencamp

I watched the Inaugural celebration held Sunday afternoon in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The crowd was huge, and included two of...
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