“Rhythm” by Dianne H. Timmering

“Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6: 9

Recently I had an encounter with God where He held my face and I clasped my hands upon the back of His so that He was holding my cheeks in the palms of both hands. Our fingers tangled like the worry that is in my head and He whispers “shhhhh” within the funnel of my ear; His echo inside my noisy brain calms the tender pain of a thought-filled heart. And I am afraid no longer and the world spins back into order as I rest against His cheek and hear the rhythm of His smooth skin into the curve of my ear. I listen to the world inside of Him as if my ear is pressed to the ground of soil, the earth firm and humming to its own rhythm of budding seeds which grow underneath, for spring is nigh.

God hums like perfect machines inside a perfect factory of brilliant silk and sliding down the tendrils of lighted gloss are the words . . . nothing is wrong, nothing broken, no pain, heaven on earth, all is well . . . words hard to hear in the heat of sorrow or the cave of hopeless dreams.

We are together and I forget what I was worried about and the loneliness of the moment. And we dance and He smiles, a crystal gleam to His eyes of which there is no color because they are bright like the sun.

Perfect step, perfect rhythm, Third Heaven on earth . . . Ask Him for a dance.

Love to all, Dianne

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

“At The Ballet” by Dianne H. Timmering

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6: 9-10

Last night, I took  my sister, Linda, my niece, Robyn and my great niece, Lola to the Nutcracker here in Louisville. I was late to the theatre and when I got there I saw Lola waiting (I had the tickets) and I shouted her name. She came running, and shouted back with tremendous joy, “Hi Di, I’ve missed you so much.” I picked her up and twirled her around in her beautiful glittery copper shoes and shining sequined dress. She couldn’t wait to go in, or for it to start, taking her own ballet classes herself where they live in Los Angeles.

We got her a booster chair so she was a real girl, in a real dress, watching a real show. She watched the ballet in its entirety, giving erudite and interesting assessments throughout the performance, wondering if the towering mice were bad, for example, who tried to steal the nutcracker mid-way through the show.

When the ballet ended we stood in union for the dancing artists who had performed with such eloquence and my sister, niece, and I turned around and not far behind us was the handicapped section. There they were in sophisticated wheelchairs, two beautiful young women with velvet dresses and warm covers. They could not move, abandoned by the utility of their arms and legs. I prayed so hard for an instant miracle, for them to know what it was like to stand and to twirl like the dancers on the stage. We prayed so hard that that could happen. Could deliberate prayer truly heal even the most forgotten? Just then, just at that moment?

And then I noticed their glowing smiles and effervescent skin, accented by young make-up, for they were burgeoning women after all. They gleamed with such beauty under the warmth of their fancy dresses; and they were happy. Their smile was their own stand of applause.

We live in a broken world, an often unjust and unfair one as well, but where joy comes still and can even live. Let us pray for these beautiful young girls to have lives beyond the chair, and for all those who suffer, to twirl beyond the constrictions of their illness and the strangles of pain. Let us pray for quantum hope and colliding miracles. Let us transform faith into the strength of standing, one for another, linked, because we believe, because heaven can live on earth. Let us twirl.

Love you all. Dianne

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

“In Defiance Of Suffering: A CNA Reflection” by Dianne H. Timmering

“This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.’” So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.” Isaiah 38:7-8

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 strange 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 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; 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 whom 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

“77” by Dianne H. 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

“A Tribute: Annette and Pam” by Dianne H. 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 H. Timmering, MBA, MFA, CAN

“The Deconstruction of Suffering: The New Elixir in the Care Continuum” by Dianne H. Timmering

Joe and I recently attended the September 12, 2013 Healthcare Enterprises Network event, “A Path Forward for Providers in the Era of Health Care Reform: Lessons from Massachusetts,” by Thomas H. Lee, MD who was a part of the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act passed in April 2006.

Dr. Lee started with how the MA Health Reform Act unfolded, discussing contentious issues like employer penalties, funding concerns, the state budget crisis, shared risk, payer models, etc.

“We learned a lot,” he said, and then built a relational discussion about care redesign based on what was learned, which involved access to care, design of care and its measurement. He considered what was important to the patient, the power of value-based care as a proactive resurgence to quality and cost minimization. After all, it wasn’t rocket science, or even necessarily revolutionary; just practical solutions to shield against the finite healthcare pool and the well-meaning care givers and circuitous systems through which we find ourselves navigating. There were no “magic bullets,” he said.

But Joe and I were suddenly struck with the unexpected next which seeped into the second level of consciousness like the smell of hot chili in a hallway—Take the emotion out of healthcare. Now Dr. Lee wasn’t personally advocating this, only stating it as a hypothetical physician rule, an old school directive, a survival of choice in the surrounds of stacked up sickness. Not that physicians were wrong to choose such a stance when delivering the care they knew best, when surviving the best of what they could give was offering the knowledge of medicine from the distance of the heart.

But patients are afraid, Dr. Lee said, with clarity of realness, his moderate frame filled with the giant of his ideas, the metamorphoses of strategic simplicity: “Improve value for patients; improve the outcomes that matter to patients versus the costs required to deliver those services,” he said with emphatic pause. “Reduce suffering and do it as efficiently as possible.”

And then the patient value will come. Cost savings to follow?

But what’s in the design of de-“sufferization”? How to deconstruct the fear, the anxiety, the deleterious sounds of the symptoms of suffering from the honesty of bad news, the slather of hopelessness, an unstoppable mind pinging loud with the bell which tolls that sickness is near?

Deliberate intent to deconstruct the hurt was his most avid point, at least to me. And we were listening, compelled to be there by the pull of an unknown tug, looking for knowledge, always seeking answers to the convulsing healthcare landscape that shakes daily around us. And there was a solution, right in our own back yard.

We realized we were nearer to this concept of defiance because within our walls was a calibrated melody of the spiritual as an intervention of healing. Even early on as we created and built our spiritual model, we saw residents finishing their prescribed therapy because they were encouraged by a spiritual quality, an essence of empowerment that reached into their state of loneliness and sorrow of condition, and belief in the resurgence of faith that wellness mattered and change of condition was possible. Depression around circumstance, we found, could circumvent healing. Remembrance and reminders of why they mattered, prayer in the ethereal of the tangible of faith’s presence began to infuse the possible into the physical of the outcome.

Our model: Spiritual inputs for optimized outcome, offering the support of prayer, the hope in the Divine, the power of comfort in the belief and practice traditions of a particular faith, and integrating that with the prescription of our care. Our brave new world idea was suddenly a practical one.

And Dr. Lee knew this, and when Joe and I went up to meet him after the speech, he knew us. And we were amazed that the outside world of quality and measures was looking at us, peering inside at our own attempt to defy the anguish of fear and unleash the Dunamis power of reconstructed hope.

Dianne Timmering, Vice President of Spirituality, Signature HealthCARE

“The only true measures of quality are the outcomes that matter to patients.” Harvard Business Review, The Strategy That Will Fix Health Care, by Michael E. Porter and Thomas H. Lee

“Paint” by Dianne H. 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

 

“Peace To The Soul Of Imperfection” by Dianne H. 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 H. Timmering

“He will yet fill 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

“An Honest Heart” by Dianne H. Timmering

“A good person out of the store 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