Monthly Archives: September 2020

Reflection for 9/30/20

I woke up this morning to the sound of dishes clinking and clanking in the kitchen and the knowledge that my wife was still sleeping so it was my 4 yr old helping himself to… something. I went into the kitchen and found that he had an apple in one hand and a food chopper in the other, standing on his step ladder at the kitchen table over a bowl. I took a breath and calmly and curiously asked, “what are you making?” to which he clearly and seriously replied that he was making “Apple Cider Cherry Tomato Pie.” I suggested that instead of putting the entire apple into the chopper, he let me slice the apple up before we (I) chopped it. And then he wanted to add the juice of a clementine. So I peeled a clementine and he put all his strength and energy into squeezing the juice into his bowl of chopped up apples as I finished making my morning coffee.

As far as I know that bowl of chopped up apples sprinkled with clementine juice is still sitting on the counter and will not be turned into the imagined “Apple Cider Cherry Tomato Pie,” but it was burst of creative expression that brought me joy this morning. And it started a conversation with my son about making apple cider – and how much I love making apple cider and how eleven years ago his mother and I made a video of making apple cider when we first started becoming enthusiastic after moving to New Hampshire eleven years ago.

I like making apple cider for many reasons. I love to drink apple cider (I bought some fresh cider this past weekend that I’ve been enjoying at the end of the day this week). I also love the process of making cider on a crisp autumn day, gathering the apples from the trees into the bushel baskets, putting them into the hopper, and watching the reddish brown juice flow out as you turn the handle and lower the press on to the apples.

It anchors me in the land, in the season, in the abundance that is always around us this time of year. And this is one way that we can stay grounded in the midst of anxious and uncertain political and social times. Connect yourself to the life and goodness that resides in the trees and ground, in the cornucopian early fall harvest that reminds us that there’s always more than we could need, and that grace can rise up in gratitude in our hearts for our daily bread. Or… our daily apple cider cherry tomato pie, as it were.

And we can experience the wisdom of Brother David Steindl-Rast who wrote:

“The root of joy is gratefulness…It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

May you find ways to connect to the gifts of the land, the glorious colors and tastes of this season, in your own creative way this week.

– Rev. Joel Eaton

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… I like making apple cider for many reasons. I love to drink apple cider (I bought some fresh cider this past weekend that I’ve been enjoying at the end of the day this week). I also love the process of making cider on a crisp autumn day, gathering the apples from the trees into the bushel baskets, putting them into the hopper, and watching the reddish brown juice flow out as you turn the handle and lower the press on to the apples. It anchors me in the land, in the season, in the abundance that is always around us this time of year. And this is one way that we can stay grounded in the midst of anxious and uncertain political and social times. Connect yourself to the life and goodness that resides in the trees and ground, in the cornucopian early fall harvest that reminds us that there’s always more than we could need, and that grace can rise up in gratitude in our hearts for our daily bread. Or… our daily apple cider cherry tomato pie, as it were. And we can experience the wisdom of Brother David Steindl-Rast who wrote: “The root of joy is gratefulness…It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” May you find ways to connect to the gifts of the land, the glorious colors and tastes of this season, in your own creative way this week. – Rev. Joel Eaton Read full reflection on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/108336447514382/posts/215638396784186/?extid=YJANkFVsatobdNrn&d=n

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Reflection for 9/28/20

Last week was a challenging week for me. I like to have all my “ducks in a row” and all “my boxes checked”. I like to have things predicable and I like to have things under control (my control if I’m honest 🙂). Last week I could not function and figure out strategy and plans on my own. I HAD to rely on teamwork, on my team members to help.

I like helping and I am less natural at receiving help. Last week folks from nursing, HR, housing, home health, and administration leaped in to help with the start of the CPE program. Everything is different and I needed to lean on the expertise of others. It was good for me. I felt respected, held and supported. I think they were glad to help and I so appreciated it. You would have had a crazy, flustered chaplain walking around otherwise.

So my offering today is that you let others help you today.
Open to their generosity of expertise and spirit.
For me it was a balm last week and I for one feel different this week, more held this week in my work than before. It was a good lesson.

And for those who were great team members to me (and you know who you are) … Thank you. Thank you.

Adapted Morning Prayer before Work

As the sun rises this day, May love rise in my heart.
A love that dispels tiredness
A love that overcomes difficulty.
A love that builds relationship.
A love that inspires diligence.
A love that delivers excellence.
A love that develops trust.
A love that produces gratitude.
Help me to live in the light of love today.
Not just for myself but for those I work with in love.
Amen.

Be the inspiration that you hope for the world today.

– Rev. Michelle DeCoste

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Last week was a challenging week for me. I like to have all my “ducks in a row” and all “my boxes checked”. I like to have things predicable and I like to have things under control (my control if I’m honest J). Last week I could not function and figure out strategy and plans on my own. I HAD to rely on teamwork, on my team members to help. I like helping and I am less natural at receiving help. Last week folks from nursing, HR, housing, home health, and administration leaped in to help with the start of the CPE program. Everything is different and I needed to lean on the expertise of others. It was good for me. I felt respected, held and supported. I think they were glad to help and I so appreciated it. You would have had a crazy, flustered chaplain walking around otherwise. So my offering today is that you let others help you today. Open to their generosity of expertise and spirit. For me it was a balm last week and I for one feel different this week, more held this week in my work than before. It was a good lesson. And for those who were great team members to me (and you know who you are) … Thank you. Thank you. Adapted Morning Prayer before Work As the sun rises this day, May love rise in my heart. A love that dispels tiredness A love that overcomes difficulty. A love that builds relationship. A love that inspires diligence. A love that delivers excellence. A love that develops trust. A love that produces gratitude. Help me to live in the light of love today. Not just for myself but for those I work with in love. Amen. Be the inspiration that you hope for the world today. – Rev. Michelle DeCoste

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Reflection for 9/26/20

In one of the funnier book I have read (and reread many times) the central characters are English witches. They are not the typical witches of North America, scary and haunting but practical in the midwife/caretaker/medicinal ways that wise women used to hold before the fear of evil set our imaginations alight.

In the old ways, the stories have apprenticeship and guides from elders, those that had more experience. One dialoged between two of the elders goes like this:

“Did she help people?” Miss Level added.
“She made them help one another, she said. “She made them help themselves.”
Miss Level sighed. “Not many of us are that good,” she said.”

Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

In chaplaincy our ministry is to help people reconnect to ways they have used to help themselves and those they love, it is not a quick fix but an awaking of knowledge the heart already holds. And while we do many other things like rituals, worship, prayer: this is the heart of our learning/teaching. To remind those in our care that the wisdom to heal and sustain is already present in their hearts and minds. So today let us tap into our own hearts for the wisdom we already possess (even if it is buried in busyness) and share it with each other and those in our care.

We have within our caring community the means to make life rich and rewarding.

– Rev. Kimberly Wootan

Welcome, New CPE Interns!

This Sunday Rev. Michelle DeCoste welcomed our six new CPE interns. They helped in putting together a Commissioning Service that played on Channel 919 for our community. This was a service of celebration for the new interns joining us and for all of us that they might be a blessing to us all. If you would like to see a recording, please contact us.

Reflection for 9-25-20

Back in June, Marlo shared this inspiring music video dedicated to everyone “making a positive contribution towards the fight against COVID-19.” The video shows people in the many front lines of caring for our communities, from first responders to nurses in PPE to lab technicians.

Today we are doing our umpteenth round of surveillance testing and the room that I would pass and see the beautiful circle of residents raising their legs and arms with Jon and Sara in armchair exercises is once again staffed by diligent nurses and staff who are leading us through the proper protocols of this process of testing that has become so routine for us by now.

Like the song sings, many of us feel “broken down and tired / Of living life on a merry go round,” and some days, perhaps especially by the end of our work week, we “can’t find the fighter.” We feel defeated.

It is an exhausting struggle we are engaging in and longer than any of us hoped for or anticipated – we long for an end to this pandemic and all that it’s taken from us and those we love. And until that day, we rise up. Together. Supporting one another, bearing one another’s burdens, even as we also find times of laughing and joy that continue to surprise and give us a burst of strength again.

This being human is being resilient. This is something we can learn from many of our residents who have been through so much. And yet, we are all together in this new and different collective trauma of pandemic. All the more reason for us to look around and look beyond our walls to all that are working together to continue rising up, showing up, and caring day after day, week after week. We gonna walk it out, sustained by a power in and beyond our togetherness – for love.

You’re broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry go round
And you can’t find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains

And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up
High like the waves
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you

And we’ll rise up
Rise like the waves
We’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
We’ll rise up
And we’ll do it a thousand times again

“Rise Up,” sung by Brigitte Wickens

May you be well and supported today and may the blessing of God or all that sustains you, keep you safe, grant you peace and fill you with all that you need, just for today. Amen.

– Rev. Joel Eaton

Reflection for 9-24-20

This afternoon I offer you a little bit of grace courtesy of the HHH Tootlers.

They recorded this as a tribute to their friend and fellow Tootler, Bev Almgren, back in August.
May the beauty of this song and of our residents’ playing remind you of the grace that sustains us.