Category Archives: Parish Nurse

From The Parish Nurse . . . Pandemic Marathon Tips

A well-known saying among marathoners is that “There are two halves to every marathon—the first 20 miles and the last 6.2.” While not mathematically accurate, this saying is correct in that it takes as much effort to complete the first 20 miles as it does the last 6.2. <!–split–>

I have been fortunate to complete a few marathons over the years, so I know how difficult the final miles can be. Actually, it’s miles 20-25 that are the most difficult because once you get to mile 25, you get a psychological lift that the finish line is not far away. At mile 20, though, you are exhausted. The runners are no longer talking to each other (a complete change from earlier in the race) as they are conserving every ounce of energy they have in order to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

The people cheering them on also disappear around mile 20 because spectators need to hurry to the end themselves to watch their friend or family member cross the finish line. Those last miles are lonely, and your mind plays tricks on you, raising doubts about whether you will be able to finish.

This all came back to me when I realized how exhausted I am feeling by this pandemic marathon we all are running right now. None of us signed up for this marathon. And none of us could have prepared for it because we had no idea it was coming. We have no way of knowing if we are now halfway through this race because no one can say for sure how much farther it will be to the finish line. Even if we are metaphorically at mile 20, the remaining miles will likely be more challenging than we can imagine.

I went online and researched some tips for first-time marathoners, looking for specific recommendations for the “second half” of a marathon. I share these tips with you here because I think they are timely for our current situation.

  • Hydrate and refuel often. Runners all have their favorite drinks, gels, and energy bars. They know from experience what boosts their energy best. We, too, know what boosts our spiritual, emotional, and physical energy and need to intentionally consume as much of that as possible right now.
  • Stop at every aid station, and get medical attention if needed. Marathon organizers add extra aid stations in the final miles, spacing them closer together. Medical tents are also available if needed. aid stations in a pandemic can be a phone or Zoom call with a friend or loved one, a walk around the block, meditation/prayer, or participating in an online offering that boosts our spiritual and emotional well-being. Unlike a marathon race, we may need to create our own aid stations, being proactive, and spacing them more closely together. And if you do need to visit the medical tent because you are in pain, know that it is a sign of wisdom and strength to reach out for support from someone trained to help, such as a therapist, clergy person, or medical professional.
  • Slow down and walk when necessary. Listen to what your body, heart, and soul are telling you. Feeling exhausted? Slow down. Take a break. Learn to rest, not quit.
  • Focus on short-term goals, rather than just the finish line. Some runners make it their goal to just make it to the next aid station or mile marker. Others focus on running for two minutes and then walking for 2 minutes. This week, I talked with someone who said their goal right now during COVID was to take a shower and get dressed every day. I applauded that goal. We are thrilled to read the good news about vaccines, and we so very much want the finish line to be just around the next corner. Right now, though, we need to focus on shorter-term goals and merely putting one foot in front of the other because letting our guard down now could risk not making it to the finish line or preventing others from not getting there.
  • If you see another runner struggling, stop, and offer support. Everyone has a story of why they run a marathon, and except for the few elite runners that are competing to win, everyone is cheering for and helping each other along the way. I will never forget once when I was walking and struggling to finish a race, and several people stopped and walked with me for a moment as they offered an encouraging word. It made all the difference.

This pandemic is an endurance event like no other we have experienced. We don’t know exactly how much longer we have to go, and the second “half” is likely to be every bit as challenging as the first. So let’s remember these marathon tips and do all we can to help each other get across the finish line, arm in arm, together.

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

–Used with permission by Living Compass

FROM THE PARISH NURSE . . . Prayer for Putting on a Face Mask

Creator God, as I prepare to go into the world, help me to see the sacramental nature of wearing of this cloth. Let it be a tangible and visible way of living love for my neighbors, as I love myself.

Christ Jesus, since my lips will be covered, uncover my heart, that people would see my smile in the crinkles around my eyes. Since my voice may be muffled, help me to speak clearly, not only with my words, but with my actions.

Holy Spirit, as the elastic touches my ears, remind me to listen carefully and caringly to all those I meet. May this simple piece of cloth be shield and banner, and may each breath that it holds, be filled with Your love. In Your name and in that love, I pray.   AMEN. (Rev.  Richard Bott, Moderator of the United Church of Canada)  <!–split–>

Expressing Thanks May Be One Of The Simplest Ways To Feel Better.

The holidays have begun, so perhaps December is a good time to review the mental health benefits of gratitude — and to consider some advice about how to cultivate this state of mind.

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. They can apply it to the past (retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings), the present (not taking good fortune for granted as it comes), and the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude). Regardless of the inherent or current level of someone’s gratitude, it’s a quality that individuals can successfully cultivate further.

Research On Gratitude

Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.

One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

Another leading researcher in this field, Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, tested the impact of various positive psychology interventions on 411 people, each compared with a control assignment of writing about early memories. When their week’s assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores. This impact was greater than that from any other intervention, with benefits lasting for a month.

Of course, studies such as this one cannot prove cause and effect. But most of the studies published on this topic support an association between gratitude and an individual’s well-being.

 Ways To Cultivate Gratitude

Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier, or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.

Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis.

Write a thank-you note. You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person’s impact on your life. Send it, or better yet, deliver and read it in person if possible. Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month. Once in a while, write one to your-self.

Thank someone mentally. No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank the individual.

Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down or share with a loved one thoughts about the gifts you’ve received each day.

Count your blessings. . Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings — reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. Sometimes it helps to pick a number — such as three to five things — that you will identify each week. As you write, be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.

Pray. People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.

Meditate. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as “peace”), it is also possible to focus on what you’re grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.).

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

—-Harvard Health Publishing


FROM THE PARISH NURSE . . . Why Eating Enough Protein Is Key to Healthy Aging

We know that protein is such an important part of our diets. It helps us recover after workouts, protects our bones, and even gives us energy. Brigitte Zeitlin, RD, registered dietitian and founder of BZ Nutrition, explains that getting enough protein now can also help you out as you age. “As we age our muscles gradually get weaker and our bones become frail leading to muscle wasting, fractures, drastically decreasing your quality of life,” says Zeitlin. “Maintaining a good amount of protein in your diets much earlier on, starting in your 20s, helps to prevent all that weakening and de-compensating from happening.” While eating protein can’t stop aging in its tracks, Zeitlin says it can help with “repair” as things start breaking down. <!–split–>

“The older we get, the more ‘repair’ we need, and protein is our body’s main tool in performing repairs—that is true for inside and outside,” says Zeitlin. “Even our hair, skin, and nails need more of an assist through the years. [Women, especially] experience a lot of shifts in our hormones through our lives and protein remains an essential part of keeping them in balance and healthy.” Andrea Mathis, RDN, an Alabama-based dietitian, says that people should also eat more protein as they age. “As we age, the recommended protein intake increases to help prevent our muscles from deteriorating and to help our bodies recover from injuries properly,” she says. While getting enough protein is important, you should also consider the type of protein you’re eating.

“Most people think of our animal-based proteins first—looking at you, chicken,” says Zeitlin. “But when it comes to longevity and healthy aging, plant-based proteins play a key role thanks to their better-for-you fats and antioxidants.” Pistachio nuts and hemp hearts are some of her favorite options. “One serving of this plant-based protein offers up 6 grams of protein. Plus their colors of green and red-purple come from those antioxidants,” says Zeitlin. She keeps the Wonderful Pistachios No Shells ($17) on hand to throw into salads and stir-fries. “Another great plant-based protein are Hemp Hearts, 1 serving provides 10 grams of protein and they are a good source of B vitamins that will help to keep your energy levels up throughout the days and years! Add them to your morning oats and smoothies.”

When it comes to animal proteins, Zeitlin says eggs are an excellent choice. “Just one egg provides 6 grams of high-quality protein and is an excellent source of choline, a nutrient that works to support cognition, keeping our brain sharp through the years,” she says. “Another bonus of eggs is that they have carotenoids, too, which promote healthy eyes as we age. Scramble them with spinach for breakfast, go hard-boiled for a snack, and for dinner, mix them with your cauliflower rice and other veggies for a protein-rich ‘fried rice.’” Seafood is another great choice because of its serious omega-3 fatty acid content. “Omega-3 fatty acids [help decrease] inflammation throughout the body, working to fight against premature effects of aging,” says Zeitlin. “Add some lox to your bagel, shrimp to your stir-fry, tuna to your salad, and pair broiled salmon with your favorite veg for dinner.” By Kara Jillian Brown


Your Parish Nurse, Kara

FROM THE PARISH NURSE . . . 10 Ways to Avoid Falls

  1. Get Moving   Regular exercise is a great way to improve your balance and flexibility. It also helps your bones get stronger and denser. That will lower the chance that you’ll fall and break one. Choose gentle activities like yoga or Tai chi and swimming and easy stretches are good, too. Lift weights to help with your strength.  <!–split–>
  2. Turn on the Lights   Make sure your home is well-lit so you don’t trip  in the dark. Put in ceiling lights or add switches so lamps can be turned on as you walk into the room. Double-check that your path from the bedroom to the bathroom has enough light, and use night lights throughout your house.
  3.  Wear the Right Shoes   Get ones that give you good support to help keep you on your feet. Choose low heels with rubber soles, not leather. Wear them even when you’re home. Don’t walk around in socks, backless shoes, or loose slippers – – especially on bare floors.
  4. Do a Bathroom Makeover   Install grab bars next to toilets, tubs, and showers. Attach non-skid strips to tile floors to make them less slick. Water makes things slippery, so put a non-skid bathmat on your tub or shower floor. For extra security, use a chair when you’re in the shower. Get a toilet safety frame or raised seat to make it easier to get back on your feet.
  5. Make Your Steps Safer   Be sure stairways in your home are well-lit. Install handrails on both sides so you’ve always got one in reach. If your stairs are slippery, add non-skid tread.
  6. Keep Rugs From Sliding   Replace them with non-skid ones, or add non-slip tape or pads under them. Make sure your wall-to-wall carpets are securely tacked to the floor, especially on steps.
  7. Clear the Clutter  The less stuff you’ve got lying around, the safer it is to get around your house. Keep cords and phone lines tucked out of the way, especially where you walk. Use wireless devices when you can. Also, don’t put magazines, plants, or other items in the middle of the room.
  8. Be Smart With Storage   Keep items you use a lot where they’re easy to reach. Don’t stash them on shelves that are too high or too low. If something is out of your reach, though, you can use a “grabbing” tool to help you get it.
  9. Watch Where You Sit and Sleep  Use higher chairs that are easier to sit down on and get out of. Or add a cushion to a lower one. Make sure they have armrests, which give you support when you stand up. If your bed is very high or low, swap the mattress with one that’s a better height.
  10. Get Your Hearing and Eyes Checked   If you don’t hear or see well, it can throw off your balance. Use hearing aids if you need them. And make sure your glasses or contacts are up to date. Try not to wear bifocals when you go up and down stairs, because it can make you feel dizzy.

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Hot Weather!

Elderly people (that is, people aged 65 years and older) are more prone to heat stress than younger people for several reasons: Elderly people do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature. They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat. They are more likely to take prescription medicines that impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibit perspiration. <!–split–>

Heat Stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the body loses its ability to sweat, and it is unable to cool down. Body temperatures rise to 106F or higher within 10-15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

What YOU Can Do To Protect Yourself – You can follow these prevention tips to protect yourself from heat-related stress:

  • Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages. (If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink when the weather is hot. Also, avoid extremely cold liquids because they can cause cramps.)
  • Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath. If possible, seek an air-conditioned environment. (If you don’t have air conditioning, consider visiting an air-conditioned shopping mall or public library, with social distancing, to cool off).
  • Wear lightweight clothing.
  • If possible, remain indoors in the heat of the day.
  • Do not engage in strenuous activities.

Kids Corner: Heat stroke is among the leading causes of death in young adults and teens. This is largely due to heat strokes occurring during practices and sporting events outdoors. Most cases of heat stroke can be prevented in this age group.

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

COVID-19: Self-Care as a Form of Mental Health PPE

As we address the COVID-19 pandemic, we have adopted practices that support our safety and help reduce the potential for contracting the infection. While we have made our physical health a priority, it is equally important that we attend to our emotional health and wellness. With an influx of information about COVID-19 shared through multiple media outlets, coupled with drastic changes to our daily living, our worry and anxiety can be heightened. The American Psychological Association suggests several activities that help promote positive mental health during extremely stressful times. Please consider the following information as Mental Health PPE that can help prevent acute stressors from becoming long-term, chronic problems. <!–split–>

 Strategies to Help Manage Stress and CENTER Yourself During the COVID-19 Pandemic

C – CONNECT: While face-to-face contact is limited, staying connected with family and friends through phone calls and video chat can help promote emotional support and resilience during times of stress.

E – EXERCISE: Take time to integrate exercise into your routine. In-home workouts or going outside to walk or run can be beneficial. Moderate aerobic activity has shown to help improve mood and reduce stress.

N – NOTICE: Monitor yourself to notice any signs of growing fatigue or stress. Prolonged changes in mood and behavior can be a sign that we need to seek additional help.

T – TAKE BREAKS: Taking mini breaks to go for a walk, perform mindful breathing, or meditation can help improve energy and renew focus.

E – EDUCATE: Rely on trusted sources of information to educate yourself and others about COVID-19. Place time limits on your media intake as it can increase stress and anxiety.

R – ROUTINE: Many of us have experienced a disruption to our daily living. Establishing a consistent routine is important for our overall wellness. It’s important to maintain a regular sleep schedule, maximize healthy eating, and limit alcohol consumption.

When to Seek Help – Know the Warning Signs

Not all people respond to stress in the same way. Some common signs to watch for include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Lack of appetite
  • Unable to stop thinking about the COVID-19 virus
  • Unable to stop think-ing about patients
  • Feeling more anxious than usual
  • Feeling more depressed than usual
  • Feeling more irritable than usual
  • Feeling more angry than usual
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating more than usual
  • Memory difficulties more than usual
  • Difficulty relaxing more than usual
How and Where to Seek Help:
  • UnityPoint Health – Robert Young Center. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms listed above, there is help out there. Please ask about our video and telephone care options by calling (309) 779-3000.
  • UnityPoint Health – Robert Young Center Crisis Hotline If you believe you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call the 24/7 crisis hotline at (309) 779-2999.
  • NAMI Iowa is offering a free and confidential mental health resource line for children and adults. The NAMI Iowa non-crisis resource line is available by calling (515) 254-0417.
  • Additional Resources:


Your Parish Nurse,   Kara


What is Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes the Coronavirus is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.  <!–split–>


How does the Coronavirus spread? The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. The virus spreads by droplets made when people with the Coronavirus cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby or be inhaled into their lungs. It may be possible that a person can get the Coronavirus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

For confirmed Coronavirus disease cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death.

Symptoms can include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

CDC believes at this time that symptoms of the Coronavirus may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of Coronavirus.

  • Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., diculty breathing). Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you may have, or are being evaluated for, the Coronavirus. Put on a facemask before you enter the facility. Ask your healthcare provider to call the local or state health department.
  • Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate.
  • Patients with confirmed Coronavirus should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low. The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.


  • Avoid close contact: Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, keep your distance from others.
  • Stay home when you are sick: Stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick to prevent spreading your illness to others.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth: Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing to prevent those around you from getting sick.
  • Clean your hands: Washing your hands often for 20 seconds will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand rub with at least 60% Ethyl Alcohol.
  • Practice other good health habits: Use regular household cleaning spray or wipe to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces at home, work or school.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask: CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of the Coronavirus to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.


Your Parish Nurse,   Kara

Prevention is the New Healthcare

The phrase that seems to be everywhere these days: 60 is the new 40, 70 is the new 50, and so on. But what does that really mean? Well, from my perspective, it means more people are choosing to age in healthy ways, by being more active both physically and mentally. I remember that when I was small people looked and acted older than they do now. My paternal grandparents died at ages 50- and 65-years-old. They were ill and had many health issues.

What has changed? Lifestyle choices!  <!–split–>

In this current youth-obsessed culture, the individual concept of aging has changed. And in response to this concept, the focus of healthcare has changed from treating illness to preventing illness.

According to, “Preventive health care refers to actions and lifestyle choices that serve to prevent future health complications or reduce the likelihood of serious illness and disease”…”…saving a great deal of time and money by reducing the need for expensive treatment.”

Preventive health care is in each individual’s hands. Just the practice of regularly washing your hands and decreasing exposure to people who show signs of obvious illness can reduce illness. Other choices, such as healthy eating, incorporating more exercise into each day, and having regular screenings and checkups, greatly reduce the role illness plays in our lives.

While living a healthy lifestyle may seem time-consuming, it actually provides great savings in time and money. This statement says so much and bears repeating!

If you do not make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness!

How often have you heard someone say that they don’t have time to be sick? I think most of us have said something like this at one time or another. If there were a magic formula for preventing illness as well as promoting a vibrant aging process, wouldn’t you like to know more about it?

You already have that formula! Preventive health, while taking many different forms, has one basic goal: prevent disease and illness before they occur, rather than fighting to effectively treat illness after it has negatively impacted your health and lifestyle.

Healthy lifestyle changes will not completely prevent illness and disease, but by making good choices, you can decrease the risks of poor health. Here are 10 basic preventive health care steps:

* Frequent Hand Washing

* Cover Your Face with Your Elbow when You Cough/Sneeze

* Eat a Healthy Diet: avoid sugar and processed foods

* Exercise Daily

* Get Restorative Amounts of Sleep

* Stimulate Your Brain

* Avoid Alcohol

* Avoid Tobacco Use/Vaping

* See Your Doctor Regularly

* Strengthen Your Relationships with God, Family, and Friends

I can’t think of a single person who desires illness or disease. The power is in your hands. We can change our habits into healthy lifestyles. And you don’t have to do it alone. As your parish nurse, I am happy to talk with you and help you live a healthy, vibrant life in 2020 and beyond!

Blessings, Kara Ade, RN – Parish Nurse

Never Too Late

If there was just one word that would frighten any person, I think that word would be “Dementia”. Many of us have witnessed family members or friends afflicted by dementia in one of its many forms, including Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, recent research is showing that adopting healthy lifestyle habits can reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. <!–split–>

It is now recommended that DAILY:

  • Break a Sweat: Daily exercise that raises the heart rate increases blood flow to the brain and body.
  • Hit the Books: Daily work at learning new things. It keeps your brain active.
  • Butt Out: Smoking increases risk of dementia. By quitting, the risk for dementia decreases to levels of non -smokers.
  • Follow Your Heart: Risk factors for heart disease and stroke, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes increase the risk of dementia. Be proactive in caring for your heart and body.
  • Heads Up: Brain injury can raise your risk of dementia. Protect yourself, wear your seat belt, use a helmet for sports and cycling, and take steps to prevent falls.
  • Fuel Up Right: Eat a healthy balanced diet, with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit to reduce the risk of dementia.
  • Catch Some Zzzzzz’s: Poor sleep, such as sleep apnea, insomnia, or just not having a regular sleep schedule can result in problems with thinking and memory.
  • Take Care of Your Mental Health: Depression is linked to dementia. If you are anxious, depressed or overwhelmed by stress, seek medical attention.
  • Buddy Up: Staying socially connected supports brain health. Become a volunteer, participate in social activities, attend church functions (as well as worship), call your friends, and spend time with your family.
  • Stump Yourself: Challenge your brain by trying a new hobby, assembling furniture or children’s toys, do a jigsaw puzzle, create art, do word puzzles, and play games such as bridge and trivia. Keeping your brain active has short- and long-term benefits for cognitive health.

Today and every day, start (or continue) adopting these healthy habits for your brain and body.

Your Parish Nurse, Kara Ade

Little Drummer Boy: A Precious Gift Of Inspiration

[By Barry Bittman, MD   Permission granted for use of article by author]

I played my drum for him, pa rum pum pum pum

I played my best for him, pa rum pum pum pum,

Rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then he smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum

Me and my drum.

We know the melody, we know the story, we know the song. Yet do we remember the message?

The little drummer boy apologized, “I am a poor boy too …I have no gift to bring …that’s fit to give a king. Shall I play for you …on my drum?”

When the time comes, what will you bring? Will it be your prized possessions, the things you’ve accumulated over the years?

I think not. For these are not worthy. The car you drive, the riches you’ve accumulated and the money you’ve saved are insignificant in the overall scheme of things.

Will you bring your accomplishments, your awards, your trophies? I think not. For these are not worthy either. They are a testimony to a time long gone, mere memories of prior triumphs and successes.  <!–split–>

So what’s left of value you’re asking yourself? The answer is simple. Deep within the essence of who you are there’s a sound, a vibration, an emanation that expresses life from every cell. It resonates in harmony with all living creatures, an inner voice ready to emerge as a vital heartbeat that inscribes a personal signature. The rhythm of life is a symphony, the expression of your soul revealed by the Conductor within.

With humility the Little Drummer Boy simply allowed his greatest gift to emerge. For his drumming, the rhythmic expression of his soul brought a smile to the face of the child in the manger. He set an example for all of us, revealing that one’s greatest offering is the wondrous connection that’s possible when we share the music of our hearts and the rhythms of our soul. It is the courage to stand before God in reverence knowing that what’s inside is our most sacred gift.

So as you ponder this holiday season, why not decide what you would bring? Ye don’t save it for the day of reckoning. Your gift is to be shared now with those you love. It is your soul revealed through your personal expression, a unique and extraordinary rhythm that enables the gift of healing and inspires others to do the same. For when you share that which is deeply heart-felt, the Light within you glows brighter and your drumming resounds throughout the universe reverberating the true and ecstatic message revealed by the Little Drummer Boy.

As Mark Twain once said, “An ecstasy is a thing that will not go into words; it feels like music.” It’s time to let your unique rhythm and your precious melody emerge as an everlasting celebration of the Conductor within. Then He will smile at you too, pa rum pum pum pum – Mind Over Matter!

Your Parish Nurse, Kara Ade