“God Always Remembers Us” by Chaplain Larry Limbaugh

Do you think for a moment that God will forget us?

No, He won’t forget us even if we get sick, lose our jobs, or die. Isn’t it funny how much we worry about, well everything. As I look back over 59 years, I haven’t lacked? Have you? The Lord would have us wave and shine like the flowers of the field and soar joyfully like the birds of the air. Isn’t it funny that in this land of plenty we worry most about lack? While in many areas of lack, worry is not as pronounced.

We seem to have faith as long as we have money coming in.

Our source is God, not things.

We have come this far. We will make it to the finish line whether or not we don’t have the things that we most worry about losing.

 

“Seeing the Soul” by Larry Limbaugh

They say that you can’t see the soul; they are wrong.

Here is how you can see it with your own eyes.

Take a pen filled with ink, grab paper and find a time when you feel as low as a parasite wedged into the lowest level of garbage dump and start writing. Write and write and then write some more, Scribble for your eyes only. Write about your feelings, your day, your relationships, your flops; stick it all on the page and then when you feel your shoulders begin to cramp and your hand freeze up, expect a spritz of calmness to wash over you. The spritz is a signal to answer this question “What am I like?”

I did it and now here is a sketch of my soul in underlined in bold: I am kind, calm, thoughtful (I love to think) longing to be less a star and more a candle, and funny.

Can we exchange sketches? I would love to see what your soul looks like. Who knows, we might share a family likeness.

Larry Limbaugh, Chaplain
Winter Park Care &
Rehabilitation Center

 

Chaplains Are Like Sun Tea . . .

There is a difference.

I have heard the stories about other facilities. No, I don’t gossip (that often), I just listen “very carefully” to what floats around in the air. And what I hear is that Signature facilies have an aura about them. One traveling, medical professional gave a competitor facility a “F” because of the “backstabbing” going on and she gave us an “A” because she feels peace and calm when she steps through our door.

I feel that the good will and love have increased here during my stay though not necessarily because of it. But I do feel that the Chaplaincy has brought peace, hope and even prosperity to Signature. We are like Sun Tea, it takes a while for the sun to heat the water so that the tea can flood the glass jar, but we have brought goodness and hope to nursing over time. That is just the way I see it after four years of listening to the word on the street.

Chaplains, on our best days, create a loving and forgiving atmosphere which can’t help but blanket the facility in time.

National Day of Prayer 2013 – A True Story

A National Day of Prayer True Story.

I have to tell this story. If I don’t, I will pop open and Snickers Bars and Slim Jims will fly everywhere.

So, at today’s Bible study a resident rolls in and says, “Today I want you to pray for me to stop smoking. I am quitting today. I want this addiction out of my life.” I have known her for four years and she has smoked everyday of those years and to my knowledge has never asked for help to stop smoking.

A minute, another resident whose word is trustworthy eases in and said that her private prayer request was for someone in the smoking break group would quit.

Her request had been placed into the “Outrageous Request Center” box five days ago. The pink prayer slips were anointed with Paul Newman’s extra virgin olive oil. Hands were placed on them and then a fire was lit and they slips were reduced to ashes.

I can’t wait to see what else is coming.

 

Net Entanglement

How does one get hurt and disappointment disentangled from the net of the heart?

I don’t know, but today I will try.

Here is my plan. First, I may to pray a real, uncensored prayer. Next, I might even talk to a trusted someone and then I may well even try to disentangle someone else’s hurt from the net of their heart. To top it off, I will have a few yuks with my stakeholder buds.

That is what we chaplains do every day even if we never fully disentangle our own hearts.

Then. I may motor to the talking Atlantic…watch the waves… strain to see Spain….and eat a fried shrimp of two dozen at Barnacle Bob’s.

 

“Spiritual Teamwork”

Our Admissions coordinator was giving a family tour to a couple recently. Mr. B. was touring to move his sister closer to home. His sister is in the facility in Rockwood, and had also been in our Pigeon Forge facility. I had known her from my banking job for many years.

As they completed the tour, I was able to be introduced to them. Their first response was their thankfulness for chaplains and loving staff in the buildings. Their love for my team-partner Chaplain Brian at Rockwood was evident. They were appreciative of his compassionate heart, his love, and his patience. We shared several stories together about her stay.

The really unique part of the story is that even though his sister’s conditons have changed, and her locations have changed, her care and love has not been disrupted. She has been loved and accepted by our staff in Pigeon Forge, the city where she hoped to retire in an RV village. She then moved to Rockwood due to her medical conditions worsening. There too she was loved and cared for. Now she is coming home, to the hills where she once called home to be loved again in her community. It is times like this when we can really see that what we do makes a difference. I know that we have always yearned for our Signature name to be branded. I truly believe we are there.

It is so evident that we are succeeding in changing LTC, when you see a lady come home, that in her mind, she really never left. Home has been Rogersville, Pigeon Forge, Rockwood and now Rogersville again. All because of giving with compassion and love. That’s spirituality, not religion. The true inter-peace that we get to be a part of. Thank you for our sister facilities that love and care. This moved my heart today. Thank you Pigeon Forge and Rockwood for making a difference in someone’s life. The bar is set high for us to match….but I know we will suceed together. Praises to God for true spiritual teamwork.

The very familiar scripture comes to mind when I think of this dear lady and the locations of each facility:

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.” Psalm 121:1(KJV)

Thank you God for your help and your love, and for those who show it daily!

Steve McKinney, Director of Spirituality
Signature Healthcare of Rogersville

 

We Have Two Natures

We have two natures as Christians.

One is serious; the other is carefree and fun.

They are both of God. I pray and I dance. I notice the quirky in life and I pour my heart out to God in dire need like a desert monk down to his last crust of bread. Sometimes, we think that the serious is the only way and that often turns us into drudges and H2O saturated blankets.

At this morning’s leadership meeting, we laughed and laughed and would not stop chortling, and guffawing and it was wonderful. Most productive morning congress ever!

We are both serious and silly and both are sanctioned by the Spirit.

 

“Circles” by Chaplain Larry Limbaugh

My life is a circle.

Sometimes I laugh, but then I am sad, but then I laugh again.

Sometimes I am too religious, and then I am not, and then I am again.

Once and a while I am harsh, mostly not for a long while, and then unsympathetic redux.

Once and a while I feel found, then lost, then found again.

God is close, then absent, and then my BFF again. And so it goes.

I am Larry. You are Alice, Tom, Malik, or Shanese and this is the story of our lives whether we live in Sarasota or Swaziland, and I think that we should graciously flow with the movement of the circle and not take ourselves too seriously at any of its segments.

Our lives are like a circle and I am glad that I know it.

 

Going Together Like . . .

Activities Directors and Chaplains go together like Starbucks and coffee, Barak and Michelle, and Bar-b-q and napkins.

We are a team. We do the same kind of work in that we bring joy to the soul and in turn we know that a happy soul fuels healing.

Spiritual Directors bring spirituality and joy to Activities and Activities brings fun and spontaneity to what could be a very boring, dry as a desert spirituality.

Because Spirituality and Activities know that God’s work involves Bible study and Proms, prayer along with bingo, bedside counseling plus indoor-horse racing, piety as well as play, bedside visits plus trips out to dig into a bright plate of Cajun Food, healing touch and dancing with local firemen on Valentine’s Day.

Actually, Activities and Spirituality do the same job which is the increase in joy in our residents. A joy that many residents may not have ever have know until they come to live with us where they find a Chaplain and Activities Director on the same team, wearing the same jersey, running plays out of the same play book, working in tandem for the wholeness of the resident, cheering them on toward joy.

 

“No Mirror, No Dust”

Warning!

Do not limit the voice of God. It is everywhere.

So I am driving to work this morning and fuming over a certain someone at work who had really frosted my English muffin. I set my mind to work on a solution. I talk out loud in the car. I fret. I growl. Nothing.

I turn on the radio and grump.

Then I glance at the passenger seat; pick up the top book of a pile, open it to a story about an ancient Zen Buddhist poetry contest in China and the first poem scans:

”The mind is like a mirror. It collects dust. The problem is to remove the dust.”

The second shorter entry read,

”Where is the mirror and where is the dust?”

Most of my worrying about my antagonist this morning was so much glaring at dust on a mirror and then molding into a mountain.

Today I heard God say, “Larry there is no mirror, no dust.”