Surfside, We’re With You

There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow. Grison Swett Marden, MD

We have spent time this past week empathizing with families of the victims of the high rise building collapse in Florida. We watch as they hold out hope that their loved ones will be found alive. 

As Dr. Marden says, hope is a powerful medicine. But as the days turn into weeks, then what? How do we handle life when hope is gone? How do we learn how to live with our loss? 

We grieve, we take care of ourselves, we preform small daily tasks, we share stories with others who have similar losses, we seek help when we need it, we find creative outlets for our memories and our sadness.

In these next days, when hope in Surfside wanes, I pray that loved ones will find comfort as they celebrate the lives of those who were lost. I hope they know that people the world over are sharing in their sadness as we recall our own losses.

Affirmation: I share the grief of others.  

Coaching questions: How do you handle life when hope is gone? In the past, what helped you in your grief?

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash 

Hug Hope To Your Chest

By showing up with hope to help others, I’m guaranteed that hope is present. Then my own hope increases. By creating hope for others, I end up awash in the stuff. Anne Lamott, author

When our world looks bleak and we feel like we’re drowning in fear, grief, pain, or anger sometimes we must rely on hope and faith to get us through. Tightly hugging hope to our chest is a way to stay on top of what is happening in our world. 

Like a life preserver works in the water, hope can keep our heads above the surface as we tread towards the shore. Hope comes from friends, family, faith, or even your pet. 

Affirmation: I’m hopeful.

Coaching questions: How do you remain hopeful in these difficult times?  Where do you find hope and inspiration?


Photo by Ron Smith on Unsplash

Quoting Gandhi on Easter

A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act. Mahatma Gandhi, Indian activist

You might think it strange that, as a practicing Christian, I’d quote Gandhi, a Hindu, on Easter Sunday. Gandhi, the father of Indian independence, had a goal of religious pluralism. His vision was for people with different religious beliefs to co-exist with mutual understanding. In his quote above, he is championing Jesus and describing his crucifixion as a “perfect act.” What Christian could say it better? 

Today is the pinnacle of the year for Christians. The day this man who “offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others” rose from the dead after being crucified. For Christians, Jesus’ resurrection is personal. I hope that for all Easter is a symbol of hope, renewal and new life. 

Affirmation: Hallelujah! Christ is risen.

Coaching questions: If you’re a Christian, what does Easter mean to you? How has Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection changed your life? If you’re not a Christian, how might you embrace the Easter message of renewal in your life? To whom do you turn in times of grief, pain, or great joy?


Hope–Life’s Best Medicine

Hope is the thing with feathers;  That perches in the soul; 

And sings the tune without the words;  And never stops at all. 

Emily Dickinson, poet

As we struggle with the physical and emotional pains of life, hope is our best medicine. Hope gives us the sense that things will work out. I hold this belief in the value of hope based on my own life experiences and the stories of others.

Dr. Jerome Groopman, who holds a chair in medicine at Harvard, writes in his book, The Anatomy of Hope, “Hope gives us the courage to confront our circumstances and the capacity to surmount them. For all my patients, hope, true hope, has proved as important as any medication I might prescribe or any procedure I might perform.” If your hope is waning, search for “the thing with feathers,” as Dickinson so eloquently writes. Chase hope down, then hold it fast. Never give up hope.

Affirmation: I am filled with hope.

Coaching questions: How has having hope served you in the past? How can it serve you now? If you’re feeling low on hope, where can you get a recharge? What can you read, to whom can you speak or pray? 


Photo by Ron Smith on Unsplash

What’s Your Word?

I do believe in starting the new year with new resolve, but instead of adopting a resolution, I choose a word of the year—a word that encapsulates my aspirations for the twelve months ahead. Melinda Gates, philanthropist 

For the last two years Melinda Gates has chosen the word “grace” and she thinks it is making a difference. She tells a story of the heart break she experiences when she visits children who are dying from preventable disease. Then she says, “A broken heart gives me urgency. A moment of grace gives me hope. That’s the power of a well-chosen word of the year. It makes the year better—and it helps me be better too.”

I think Gates is on to something. I’m choosing “impact” for my word of the year. I want to make an impact in the world—with my blog, my column, and, eventually, my book. I also want to impact others by caring about them, being a good friend, and fighting for policies to help our country thrive. 

Affirmation: I will make an impact this year.

Coaching questions: If you decided to choose a word, what would it be? Why? What difference can you envision it making? 


A Sign of Hope

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. Martin Luther King, American Baptist minister and leader in the civil right movement. 

Last night we went to an ecumenical Thanksgiving service. Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish clergy led the service. It was held at the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island. Yesterday I blogged about hope, then I felt it at this service. People of diverse faiths worshipping together, enjoying each other’s company, like-minded in their love of God and country. In addition to songs of thanksgiving, we sang God Bless America. 

This assemblage was hope personified. Hope that we can embrace the different, come together to give thanks, and show love and appreciation for our country and the world-at-large. I’m thankful for this sign of hope! 

Affirmation: My hope is forever renewed.

Coaching questions: Where have you recently experienced hope? In what ways do you demonstrate hope to others? 

Grab A Life Preserver

By showing up with hope to help others, I’m guaranteed that hope is present. Then my own hope increases. By creating hope for others, I end up awash in the stuff. Anne Lamott, American novelist and non-fiction writer.

When our world looks bleak and we feel like we’re drowning in grief, pain, regret, or anger, sometimes we must rely on hope to get us through. Tightly hugging hope to your chest is a way to stay on top of what has/is happening in your world. 

Like a life preserver works in the water, hope can keep your head above the surface as you tread or gradually swim towards the shore of recovery. Hope can come from friends, family, faith, or even your pet. 

Affirmation: I’m always hopeful.

Coaching questions: What do you need to be hopeful about? Where do you find hope?


On Being Hopeful

By showing up with hope to help others, I’m guaranteed that hope is present. Then my own hope increases. By creating hope for others, I end up awash in the stuff. Anne Lamott, author, quote taken from National Geographic magazine, October 2018

With all that’s going on in the world and under my nose, it is harder than ever to be filled with hope. And yet, I remain hopeful most of the time—-I hope this is true for you also. I’ve interviewed over fifty daughters who have lost mothers as children, been abandoned, their mothers murdered or lost to Alzheimer’s, yet each one spoke to me with the hope that their tearful story will make a difference in the life of another. If they had not yet recovered from their trauma or grief, they were all hopeful that eventually they would be joy-filled again.

We remain hopeful because even though most of us have been through devastating times before, we know our friends, family, faith, and the healing properties of time helped us to move forward. And, as Lamott says, “By showing up with hope to help others, hope is present.” As we reach out, hope flows in. 

Affirmation: I am hopeful.

Coaching question: If you’re feeling hopeless, what’s one thing you can do to regain your hopefulness? (visit an elderly neighbor, volunteer at a school or hospital, help register voters, write a thank you note to someone who has been kind, walk in nature)

The Rock

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. Corrie Ten Boom, Dutch watchmaker who helped Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust and was imprisoned.

In a time of grief or despair, trusting in God can give us hope and a positive sense of expectancy. 

When my late husband died suddenly from a heart attack ten months after we were married, I affirmed out loud to a couple of hundred people that God was my rock and I would be ok…and I was/am. I didn’t feel ok at the time but faith isn’t based on how we feel. We have choices….hope or despair. 

If you’ve lost or given up on your faith, I encourage you to take another look. Inner peace follows the choice of hope and faith.

Affirmation: I have faith in God.

Coaching questions: What/who is the rock in your life? If this is a time of despair and hopelessness for you, what’s one step you can take to regain a sense of inner peace? 

Looking For Peace

What we focus on expands. The more were complain, the worse things get. It’s a universal law. OprahWinfrey

Remember the last time you considered buying a red sedan and everywhere you looked there were red sedans? The same is true of negative thinking, negative social media, negative cable news…more, more, more and the worse things seem to us.

Even in our personal lives, the more we focus on the negative and complain, the worse things seem to get. My step mother, Sylvia, used to say, “This too shall pass.” And sure enough it did/does. Yesterday some friends and I were remembering Hurricane Irma and how it brought out the best in so many people…the compassion, the caring. It renewed in us the sense that the world is mostly filled with good, caring people who want to take care of their friends, neighbors, and even total strangers. Focusing on the positive brought each one of us a sense of peace and hope for the world.

Affirmation: I choose the positive.

Coaching questions: What outside sources are feeding you? What have you done lately that shows your compassion to another? On what are you focusing?