Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Grilling and growing independence

Lewis Hopkins is an associate director of program development - residential. Today he shares with us some things he noticed as he drove past a home where he knew staff supported people – and how one small change influenced bigger change.

Sometimes it is easier to see things that may need to change, from the outside, and I had the opportunity to look into the window. I noticed that when I drove by, it was always staff members who were outside grilling, not the people who lived there. It seemed like an easy fix toward giving ownership back to the folks who lived there.  I have to be honest. I did not know that it was going to lead to everything that came after that.

It took a year or so and a lot of work from everyone involved – including nurses, the quality assistance department, support from my supervisors, dietitians, staff, families and the individuals.  In the beginning there was a lot of push back maybe due to fear or just change, or maybe both, but with each hurdle we got over, the confidence grew with all involved and it began to open more doors for everyone. Before you knew it people where doing more and more on their own and it became a challenge among each other. The families saw the happiness that independence could bring to someone and they started looking at things differently.

It was great to be part of a movement like this and to see the hard work and dedication pay off.  But, at the end of the day, the most important thing that came out of this was to see voices being heard and people taking ownership of their own lives. And to think it all came from a grill.  

If someone had asked me what I was going to focus on, and the answer had been the grill, some people may have looked at me like I was crazy. So the next time someone asks you what your plan is, it does not have to be this huge mind-blowing idea, it can be something small that turns out to be much more than just a grill.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Share Gratitude

By Marisa Geitner, president and C.E.O
"In daily life we must see that it is not happiness the makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy."- Brother David Steindl-Rast

One of the daily disciplines we have at Heritage Christian Services is to say "Thank You" with sincere gratitude.  It spreads happiness and provides encouragement to ourselves and others. It shapes the way we see our day. 

Far too often our attention is drawn to what didn't go as planned.  What fell short and why?  Why didn't others respond in the way in which we'd hoped.  Exercising a grateful heart has a way of bringing everything into perspective, we see the good along with the bad and that makes it easier to move through disappointment.

Gratitude also helps us appreciate what is right in front of us instead of focusing on what we want in the future. Tackling our goals with graciousness allows us to focus on experiences that provide a strong foothold for the climb ahead.

Most importantly, gratitude strengthens relationships.  Not only does that improve our ability to thrive with others but it also makes us healthier. Grateful people have been shown to carry less stress and benefit more from the release of chemicals within our body that help us feel better and stay healthier.

Spend time today seeking the things that you are grateful for in each experience.  Rest your head on your pillow tonight and remind yourself of how you shared gratitude with others. As we develop our sense of gratitude it becomes natural for us to share it with others in diverse and sincere ways.

What are you most grateful for today?