It’s not me, it’s Who I represent.

Posted in Uncategorized on November 30th, 2009 by Jim Hughes – 1 Comment
An invitation to sit and visit

An invitation to sit and visit

The first week I went to visit this patient, he thanked me for coming by, but made it clear that he didn’t want to visit that day.

When I walked in the second week, he asked me to sit down, and he and his wife talked to me about a tragic event that had happened at their home the previous week while they were here in the hospital. At the end of the visit, I offered to pray with them, but they politely declined.

Today, I received a message that they wanted me to come see them. He had been released from the hospital last week, but was back with an infection and in ICU. This time as I entered the room, prayer was their main agenda.

It’s a reminder that my role is to just show up — to be a representative of God and His people. How individuals react to my presence any given week depends on their circumstances and their needs. The polite rejection I received the first week was no more about me than the request today that I come and pray.

But it is a reminder that it’s all about Him, the God who offers hope and comfort when we need it most.

Chances Are Your Organization is Not Focused on It’s Mission

Posted in Uncategorized on March 24th, 2009 by Jim Hughes – Comments Off

What's your target? Photo credit: Jake Vance (Flickr)

If your organization is focused on laying off people and cost cutting, then it’s not focused on your mission.  And neither are the people who work in your organization.  They’re focused on whether they will have a job or not.

Times such as we are in now seem to be consumed with organizations laying people off and focusing on cost cutting — you know, the serious expenses like coffee for employees and visitors, pens and pencils, paper, printer cartridges.  It’s crisis management.  And anyone who’s ever been there knows that when crisis management rears its ugly head, the organization and all of its members totally lose their focus on the mission of the organization.

Leaders seem to actually love crisis management.  It makes what they do seem so important — they’re “saving the organization” to fight another day.  But what happens in reality, is that on another day, the organization will not have the critical mass of talented people to continue to fight, to continue to do the mission.  And slowly but surely the organization will begin to decline, as it finds itself thrown back into crisis management again and again.

Organizations need to stay focused on their mission in times like this.  Providing healing care for people in their hospitals.  Providing reliable financial services to other businesses and to individuals.  Providing for reliable flows of materials and products.  If they don’t, someone else will rise and and do it in their place.

And organizations need to take care of their people, because their people are the ones who carry out their mission.  If they’re constantly worried about losing their jobs, the mission will suffer.  If they don’t have confidence that the organization’s leadership can lead the organization through the “crisis,” the mission will suffer.

When will we remember that our organizations exist to perform the mission, not merely to survive as an organization?

Caregiving: What Can I Expect?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 18th, 2009 by Jim Hughes – Comments Off

One of the biggest fear issues when a caregiving situation begins, or when a major change occurs, is fear of the unknown.

What can I expect?  What’s going to happen?  Can I handle it?  What can I do to prepare?  And a thousand other questions.

While none of us can predict precisely what the future will hold, there are some things we can do to get a better handle on the possibilities and probabilities.  And when we understand the possibilities and probabilities, we can do something very important:  prepare and plan.

So how do we determine the possibilities and probabilities?

  • Google can be your best friend.  Just be sure to go to trusted sites, and stay away from non-authoritative sites.  For medical issues, the NIH sites and organizations like Mayo and other big healthcare organizations are most reliable.  You’ll also find good information on sites from organizations dedicated to major diseases.
  • Ask your medical providers.  Also ask them for material or organizations they would recommend to help you.  Ask them who can help you navigate what might be ahead.
  • Consider joining a support group of caregivers dealing with issues similar to yours.  You’ll find people who have already dealt with many of the possibilities and probabilities you are facing.

The better handle you have on what you can expect, the better job you can do in preparing to deal with what may happen.  If it’s possible that home healthcare may be needed, for example, you can do some investigating on services available in your area and get some feedback on how satisfied others who have used their service are.  If it’s probable that at some point a facility specializing in caring for those with dementia will be required, you can become familiar with those in your area, get some feedback on them, and maybe even get to know the management so you are prepared when the time comes.

Why do this learning and preparation that you might not have to use?  Because being prepared helps you deal with your caregiving responsibilities more confidently.  Because being prepared adds a measure of peace to your caregiving.  And because there will be enough unexpected turns in caregiving to keep the adrenalin flowing.  You just don’t need any extra that you could have prepared for.

Some Things I’ve Read This Week

Posted in Uncategorized on March 7th, 2009 by Jim Hughes – Comments Off

Here is a good post on dealing with our current economic troubles.  While you’re on Jon Swanson’s 300 Words a Day site, you might want to look at some of the other excellent stuff posted this week!

Next is a post by Amy VanHuisen that talks about 3 Reasons Not to Panic When Listening to the Daily Economic News.  Amy’s writing is always thoughtful, and thought-provoking.

Here’s a post from my folksy friend Robert Hrusek that talks about what it feels like to be looking for a job.  Thankfully, Robert found a new job this week.

If you’re prefer a book, Mary DeMuth has a new one coming out, and here’s the trailer for it.  After you watch the trailer, you can also read the first chapter free online.

Finally, Kindle for iPhone came out this week. So I downloaded unChristian, which I’ve been planning to read for some time.  The reading experience is great, and it helps me get stuff read by being able to read anytime I have a few minutes since it’s on my phone.  (By the way, I recently read that 10% of Amazon’s book sales last year were for the Kindle.)

So what have you been reading that you’d recommend to me?

A New Look

Posted in Uncategorized on February 13th, 2009 by Jim Hughes – Comments Off

I’ve been wanting to change the appearance of the Difficult Seasons blog for some time, so today I installed a new theme.  There are still several things I want to fine tune, so you can expect to see additional changes over the coming days.

Those of you reading by email may want to click on the title which will take you to the blog so you can see what it looks like.

Let me know what you think.