Category Archives: Writings

“Deliberate Good: Our CNAs – A Reflection On Service Day” by Dianne Timmering

Day of Service . . . a rejuvenating encounter for many of us as we have heard from the home office army of givers during the last 12 days. It is an experience, one of identity, the power of stop, hold, look, see step into another’s world, into the gray of deep eyes, gleaming or dull with wonder as to why this person is bending down or over into their wheel-chaired space of time.

I am a stranger to Ms. Margaret and she wonders if I am a new CNA on the floor and will be taking care of her today, tomorrow, the next one. Curious links of thought emit illuminating her cautious eyes which are vulnerable, considering, lost, tired, tender, frail, yet fruitful like a juicy berry of expectation. Hope fills with nectar. Because I see her; and she sees me. And we connect through a thousand peals in the pierce of a second and trust comes, because it must, because today I am her caregiver.

In truth, I am only assisting her primary care giver, Karen, a dedicated CNA filled with such patience and integrity of skill and deliberate intent of good, that I wonder if I do my day to day job as well as she commits to the quality of purpose she gives whether she is making a bed to perfection, offering dining assistance, or helping a resident ambulate to the toilet. Karen is a seven year veteran, and I am inspired by all that she is; I am inspired by the way God made her. I watch her and I try to be like her.

She instructs me and I do exactly what she is tells me—to help feed Ms. Margaret, a 1950s local Ms. County beauty queen whose fingers won’t do what she is telling them to do; mine can help. I gently unfold her slender hand and tuck her weak fingers round the enlarged handle and she takes a bite of peas—one bite and then those tendrils close again. The spoon falls. Applesauce I notice styles the corner of her thin lips; we dab at her mouth with the open napkin, and she smiles.

I am struck by her confidence in me, that I will try hard, that I will know what to do. What a burden on the both of us.

But we try together and we communicate and trust builds with the best intent and patience of mind even when there is also something do at the next bedside, next door, in the next room. We engage and I ask her a question about the picture on her night stand—it is her son who she loves. He lives in another state. She misses him. I tell her I am sorry. She wets a tear; we share the compassion of need tender at the intersection of colliding hearts.

A renewed pulse of energy strikes me like the unwearied sun on that first spring morning and I realize what we are doing and why we are doing it—radical change to the essence of aging; what better mission on any corporal plain. Suffering loneliness, chronic pain, body abandonment, sorrowful days, heavy sickness that some of our people are forced to wear and yet still they smile when we step into their presence of time. It is beyond a feeling, it is a knowing of purpose for both of us. To live. To really live.

Signature HealthCARE—a movement in the defiance of suffering.

Love to all.

Dianne H. Timmering, MBA, MFA, CNA
Vice President of Spirituality
Signature Consulting Services, LLC

#shcspirituality

“77” by Dianne Timmering

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

Today is my mother’s 77th birthday or it would be if she were still with us. Two “7”s. The blessings of the number 7– the power of the promise of restoration-sevenfold. But what does it mean?

The number 7 is predominant throughout the bible and is symbolic for Completion, Perfection, Restoration, Fullness. So I have spent the morning contemplating the truths of these numbers and the deliberate intent of the message. I miss her so and in fact when I was cooking turkey last Thursday she was sitting with me on the metal red stool and telling me what to do with such clarity that I even got the salt pinches right. She is active and well in heaven because on earth in her Parkinson’s laden body she was imprisoned like a “walking dead.”

She shows up again today and it is good to be with her and she is telling me something again and that to share with each of you to fully occupy your time and space; do something in it, and with it. Don’t waste a breath or a moment of fear on not doing something or not saying something. Step into your divine call and say what you need to say to whom you need to say it. Rest in your divine passion of restless dreams and stir filtered hopes so that the fullness of the prayer, want, and desire of heart can be. Step into your own world of life so that on the seventh day there is rest and no time wasted and fullness of being. Shimmy the lock off the bonds of complacency, self-restraints, idleness, and rage.

Two “7s” . . . double the restoration. Yield to the possible; complete yourself. Be full.

Dianne Timmering, MBA, MFA, CNA Vice President of Spirituality Signature Consulting Services, LLC

#diannetimmering

“A Tribute: Annette and Pam” by Dianne Timmering

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” Psalm 31: 24

On Tuesday, we attended two celebrations of life for two of our CEO Administrators who passed within 24 hours of each other. They were special. They brought excellence to the job in the care of the resident and excellent in their work in the management, leadership and love of their teams. They both met the challenge of death with bravery and yet hope was ever present as the prayer team, family members and so many fought for their healing, and a peace in their core–the kind that only God can give.

It was the best we could do–pray, and hope the seeping of God’s solace would infiltrate so that fears would allay without hover in such journeys of the unknown. I close my eyes and see them–Pam a secret angel, a gifting of encouragement when needed most, unexpected in the moment. She was joyful, ever so, and as tender as the soil of new sand along the beach of morning softness.

Annette was tough and generous. She did not give away “I love yous” freely–they were never a waste and when you got one, it was the soil of truth embedded in a root that could grow up and out in a thousand directions of touch and impact; she had the grace to lead and the desire to master what was put before her.

The soil of kindness and the root of grace: both whisper, “Never give up.”

We honor you both and we will miss you, but your eye is upon God now and we are your distant shore and your light is the portal to newness of every wonderful thing. Your legacies are now our memories, and you are free.

Dianne Timmering, MBA, MFA, CNA Vice President of Spirituality Signature Consulting Services, LLC

#shcspirituality

“Paint” by Dianne Timmering

“Moreover, you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet yarns; you shall make them with cherubim skillfully worked into them.” Exodus 26: 1

I took an all day oil painting class on Saturday. I am a beginner for sure and Preston’s Art Studio was kind to let me join as others already had experience in the medium and understood the variations in oil which was like listening with ears clogged to the rush of water. The teacher and students spoke a language I didn’t know and asked questions that I didn’t fully understand. It was complicated–how to hold the paint brush, how to actually paint, how it dries, how to mix colors, how to observe, how to paint light. Did you know that the naked eye can pick up 1,000 color variations and you can train yourself to see thousands more?

And I loved it. It was a retreat within a reflective day. A new learning moment, a stepping into something I feared but something I desperately wanted to try. Painting on canvas I thought must be similar to painting with words. Well, it wasn’t exactly like that but I understood that besides it being a gift, painting could be a skill, and one I could learn. With some patience and diligence and desire I could keep trying.

That day, I decided to wear jeans and an old sweater of my mothers. In the early afternoon I could smell her on my sleeves. She was my arms and we were painting together. I could feel her and I knew that she was happy to try along with me. “Be who you are,” she whispered in the sweet swoosh of the brush.

Her visits from heaven have grown shorter and her eye is always on the prize of light at her back, her own portal to the way back home. But she was with me that day and her arms painted with mine and her hands were my own. And I love to paint.

Try, push forth, be. In the secret desires of the heart, we will find Him there.

Love to all. Dianne

Dianne Timmering, MBA, MFA, CNA Vice President of Spirituality Signature Consulting Services, LLC

#shcspirituality

“Peace To The Soul Of Imperfection” by Dianne Timmering

“My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.” Proverbs 3:1-2

Obedience is an interesting word, frightening perhaps inside the sensory of restraint. Is obedience possible without an element of discernment? How are they intertwined?

Perhaps obedience means praying and listening for God’s direction, for guidance when you just don’t know the answer. Perhaps it is a call to wait, to hear Him, to “intuit” or “discern” that which you feel is the right direction to go. Obedience perhaps is beautiful to God simply because it means dialoguing with Him, asking Him, being with Him, seeking Him, relying upon Him, following Him. Perhaps obedience means getting tangled up in His heart where there is no fear. Perhaps obedience offers fierce protection, purpose to our path, and peace to our soul of imperfection. Perhaps obedience is knowing Him.

Love to all. Dianne

Dianne Timmering, MBA, MFA, CNA
Vice President of Spirituality

 

“The Green Sponge Roller” by Dianne Timmering

“He will yet fill

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your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting.” Job 8: 21

Earlier this week, I was able to join the prayer circle which meets every day in front of the home office. They are steadfast in their seeking of the Lord for the secret desires of the heart. You can’t imagine the impact of a circle of 10 to 25 people on a daily basis and seeing them with bowed heads, dedicated to the power and impact of prayer; of asking, of being, of silencing the time around them–stacking time in a linear process of peace. Simply, they are beautiful.

On that day, I was driving into the office at the top of the hour just before nine o’clock, when they meet, and was able to join the hallowed ground of Moses and the burning bush of petition. Upon leaving the circle, a kind stakeholder came up to me and whispered, “You still have a green sponge roller in your hair.” Now my hair is wild with curls depending on the day and the humidity in the air and the green 10¢ sponge roller has been my dedicated inexpensive “friend” on bad hair days.

We all laughed as I untangled it from my hair, expanding the circle of time and space when we were with God and He was with us. And it struck me that God is giddy in the moment with a sense of humor about our imperfections and saved me, along with my kind colleague, from walking into a panel discussion with a big curler in my hair!

Laugh out loud; He’s got you. He’s got whatever it is that frightens you. When you laugh, envision the prayer of need plunging down to circulate at His feet. Leave it there, and get the day in the palm of the real, for you cannot get the day back. Joy! amidst the noise of the world and the fatigue of routine. Joy in the simplicity of the unexpected laugh. Love to all.

Dianne Timmering, MBA, MFA, CNA
Vice President of Spirituality
Signature Consulting Services, LLC

2013 Senior Olympics Opening Prayer

Drawing a  crowd of more than 300, Signature HealthCARE’s third annual Central Kentucky Senior Olympics, held September 25, 2013 at Signature’s Louisville home office.

A total of 55 athlete-residents from 11 Signature homes competed in the games, with more residents in attendance to cheer on their facility teams. The following is the both the text and the audio recording of the Opening Prayer for the day by Signature HealthCARE’s Vice President of Spirituality Dianne Timmering:

Today we rejoice in God’s love for us, His joy in this moment of energy. For God is giddy, alongside us, holding each hand for He is a joyful God; a God of hopeful expectation; a fierce God, and therefore a protective and competitive God. He rejoices in this Olympian day.

This day of strength, of courage, of fighting through the quibbles of nerves for the empowerment of athletic spirit which never leaves us, only gets batted down when life seems delayed and hurting, but life never decays because breath is always in us. And with breath, a seed of faith practice and perseverance and that desire to pursue individual greatness and team achievement; we strive to win. To sit on the edge of our peak of what was, of what is, and of what can be still.

For purpose never leaves and competitive hope is healing in the continual pursuit of being. So let us be unencumbered; let us be; let us strive to have joy, competitiveness, be comrades-in-arms, in team and team spirit.

We pray for safety and an overflow of all good things. Let the games begin, Amen!

 

 

 

“An Honest Heart” by Dianne Timmering

“A good person out of the store

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of goodness in his heart produces good, for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

Loving with an honest heart is hard to do sometimes. It is easier perhaps to nestle into anger, resentment, bitterness. Sometimes it feels even “right” to feel this way because of the slight, or the perceived unkindness. Much harder is it instead to discern, think through or reflect upon and try to see the perspective of the other.

But taking it to God and putting it out onto His doorstep relieves you of this burden. There is a freedom and peace in all that. And then you feel lighter having laid the toil at His feet; you can walk with an honest heart, burdened with a searing hurt no longer, and it feels good and right and real. Anger subsides and love rekindles. Bitterness peels away and hope for the other restores. Blessings abound.

Just love, because it just is. I suppose that’s what we mean when we talk about “unconditional love.”

Keep going, be encouraged and love to you all. Dianne

Dianne Timmering
Vice President of Spirituality
Signature Consulting Services, LLC

Howard Dean: Keynote Speaker CXO Healthcare Meeting July 2013

Howard Dean:  MD, initial frontrunner for 2004 election, former Democratic National Committee Chairman, former governor of Vermont, currently serves on board of Extendicare and considering run in 2016.

My first and earliest impressions of him…perhaps not good and lacking positivity, which I was able to share directly with him. He was generous with his conversation and willing to accept my impression, for I willingly shared it with him regardless of whether he wanted to hear it.

But transparency, for the most part, serves me well. And when someone identifies a shortcoming – and a long-ago press moment (the Dean Scream gaffe)  – one has no choice but to nod, to accept and own it. Which he did, and for which he was gracious.

I spent 20 years in Washington: 10 years living there, and another 10 years commuting as a fundraising expert and public relations consultant for not-for-profits, and political candidates; organizations hanging on a precipice of time when Washington was flush with money and time was supplementary, and one could control it by stepping on it and giving it pause. Fundraising was plentiful and time was everywhere; wasting a day meant no harm because you could get it back in the next one.

Washington… I went there because I was starry eyed, probably less about making change, but I liked the power and the adrenaline, the impact a politician could have with (or without) conviction. I went there because it had meaning, or I had meaning, inside the cupcake of the beltway where power collides with do-gooders. Where do-gooders can be considered progressives–outsiders who eventfully are swallowed into the funnel of the polarizing city and leak out the bottom. Mostly, a do-gooder doesn’t survive in Washington because they do not last.

Howard Dean, I would not tag as a do-gooder or any type of crusader. And, as we all do, we evolve into the maturity of regret over things we’ve said or done. But Dean was sharp, and crisp, and edgy at the recent CXO (healthcare) Summit where healthcare leaders come from across the country to understand the blight of an industry that goes ever-changing before us without warning, and when time runs over you if you haven’t budgeted the cuts or strategically figured how to overcome the demise of an industry which seems to have forgotten the baby boomers heading steam-engine right for us. And the sick get sicker, and the world gets smaller, and the need is often hard to fit into a DRG, an MCO or a care continuum because sickness is personal. And who takes care of the accompanying fear of the consumer-patient who does not control his or her destiny? The provider does, and the doctor tells them what to do and what they need. The question is, ultimately, who has control.

So Howard Dean is a doctor, a physician, and what he did at the conference was give us a critical insight into the interiors of a broken Washington. A Washington that doesn’t know it’s broken, with 65 percent thinking the overall climate is good while that number on the outside of the cupcake is a meager 35 percent.

I know. I lived there. I remember being on top of the world, and I recall the intellectual encounters where we knew what ‘should be’ and had all the answers if only this bill had this many votes, or that bill could just simply get out of committee, or that organization could impact global trade. And it’s not that things don’t happen over time – albeit too much time and with too much leniency of real issue discussion, or watered-down approval, so the collaborative process can take place. What’s so great about the collaborative process if it doesn’t amount to anything?

So Dean gave examples of a broken city and Obama Care with its thousand holes. He was funny and interesting, and even riveting, with an honesty for which I had grown skeptical in the political world I had fled so long ago because impact was slow and impossible.

But perhaps I was wrong because honesty in politics can happen. Relevancy can elicit change, and maybe it’s time for ardor and rigor again in the realm of standing up for what is not happening. Maybe it’s time for the emphasis of control to shift away from where CMS is king and we are trying to pick up its robe, and there are too many corners, and it drags across a continent with self-imposed rule. Maybe it’s time for a few great leaders, and a vision, and strategy. And then, collaborative people will follow.

So now, as a Signature HealthCARE change agent, I am/we are back in the game. A game we will return to because it’s time. And revolution is a fight for good. Not in an altruistic sense, or even a progressive sense, but in the realm of what is best for the person, intersected with the corporate sector as its care giver, trying to create care where care is supposed to be value driven, but where care may paradoxically wane because even the government isn’t willing to pay for the lost and old, or their legacy.

Last thought…

So I had judged Howard Dean with the satisfaction of knowing him as he was depicted long ago in the press and for his stint as governor of Vermont. For I believe in the industry and corporate side of socialization, for the creativity of idea operationalized into a business, and the power of a profit. I am for this, for job creation, and the employment of hope which is edifying to the man or woman who works while seeking purpose within.

But Howard Dean had much to add to the conversation regardless of my impeded judgments. So we clipped them off and Joe and I spoke to him, and we learned from him, and chose to listen – and it felt like the Washington I went to, not the one I had left. And I became relevant again, and got back in the game.

A revolution of thought and of actions, for without both, there is no visionary change.

See Joe Steier’s blog post about this event >>

“God Speaks” by Dianne Timmering

The beautiful sky this morning was pillowed with purples and grays and

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sunlight cascaded into the realm of earth winking God’s divine presence into the wealth of the world–all that is good, and all that can be. When I was a little girl and the Divine light would funnel through a broken cloud, I just knew God was speaking; so this is what He says, dear team, this crisp pleasant morning:

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever–the Spirit of truth. . . . you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you . . . (John 14:16-18)

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine . . . (John 15:1-4)

He is the vine, we are his branches. The vine wraps around us and He speaks; and we are protected, and we can walk in fearlessness of purposeful stride.

Love to all. Dianne

Dianne Timmering, MBA, MFA, CNA
Vice President of Spirituality