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Doorways to the Soul: Accepting What Is

Several months before my father died everything began to go wrong with his body. First one thing and then another. Even though, at that point in my life, I had spent some time as a chaplain intern for a large trauma center and had been around people as they were dying, I was too close to my own situation to be able to see what was actually happening.

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Doorways to the Soul: The Present Moment

It was a thing of beauty; aquamarine and silver with white streamers on the handlebars. My very first bike. I was six years old and had watched with longing for several years as my two older brothers tore around the neighborhood on their big red bicycles. Now was my time. I could feel it.

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Hospice Austin Volunteers: A Brilliant Tapestry of Love

Last week at a Hospice Austin Volunteer Forum (an educational event held quarterly for our volunteers), about 20 of us were having a wonderful conversation with one of our doctors about the physician’s role on the Hospice Austin team when a visitor to the group raised her hand.  “So, what do Hospice Austin volunteers do?” […]

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Repairing the World

If last week had been a fish, I would have thrown it back.  It seemed that we couldn’t turn around without encountering another heartbreaking story or situation.  The Boston Marathon bombing; the devastating explosion in West, Texas; a destructive earthquake in China; a dear friend admitted to hospice care; another friend just diagnosed with cancer.  […]

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Woven Together

"Excuse me," the nurse said politely. I looked up from my paperwork. "The patient in room five is actively dying, and the family is requesting the chaplain." I put down my pen, pushed my chair away from the desk in the cozy office I shared with the Social Worker at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House, and made my way to room five. Pausing at the door to quiet myself, I knocked softly, then entered.

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Our Greatest Power

We have no power! my son, Patrick, yelled to me from the back door. It was a little after seven and my two teenage boys and I had just arrived at our home tucked back into the woods of our small farm in Bastrop County. The wind was whipping wildly and the moon was impossibly full, casting a silvery light as we unloaded backpacks and groceries from the car. Always looking for an excuse to light matches, my older son, Cassady, had two candles glowing by the time I got into the house.

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Hearts and Ashes

It’s six o’clock on Monday morning Feb. 11th and I’m just shuffling off to the shower when I hear my phone receive a text message. It is from a teacher at my son’s former elementary school. Apparently, one of her fourth graders hadn’t come to school on Friday so she sent a text to the […]

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Valentine Bear Hugs

Every February when people all over the country are preparing to celebrate Valentine’s Day by buying candy or flowers, giving gifts or taking a loved one to dinner – all in the name of St. Valentine – my thoughts turn to leading an outreach drive to collect teddy bears to donate to Hospice Austin’s Christopher […]

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Transformations

There is a beautiful milkweed bush in the garden outside of room 4 at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House. It’s in full bloom right now, full of red and yellow flowers. Recently, Joyce,* the loved one of Hospice Austin patient Bob* in Room 4, was sitting on the patio and noticed a caterpillar struggling to form […]

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Finding Steve

Just so you won’t worry, this story has a happy ending. It starts off sad, because Curtis, a 50-year-old Hospice Austin patient, had lost his cat, Steve, and normally lost cat stories don’t end well.  You may remember Curtis from a previous Season of Caring Campaign in the Austin-American Statesman. He was sponsored by Hospice Austin […]

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