“Gimme, gimme, gimme!!”   little Billy’s voice got more strident with every syllable. 


“I want, I want, I want…I need, I need, I need..”  from the mouth of Bill Murray’s character of Bob Wiley in the movie What About Bob.



Sure, we have needs and wants.  As we exit from the deadness of winter into the richness of spring, we want to focus on Provision.  “God provides” we say.  “He meets our needs” we echo.  Does he?  We usually ask for money or relationship, but God always has something different up his sleeve.  Deeper things.  Things we did not realize we needed.


Hear from Margaret Lang. 



Provisions of Oil


It took every feeble ounce of strength I had to blow up the imaginary balloons and swirl the streamer.  I puffed up the yellow balloon of “sorrow,” next I inflated green “regret.”  As a single mom of ten years, I had cried, fretted and grumbled but never before pampered myself with an all out pity-party – until now.  With satisfaction, I wrapped the garish streamer of “sympathy” all around myself. 

            I sat slumped at the kitchen table, chin cupped in my hands, and privately enjoyed the tawdry mess in my soul.

            “Good-bye Mom!”  My daughter flew past, a whirl of white ruffles and blue ribbons.  “I’ll phone you after the prom.”

            I watched her climb into the limo.  The other girls in black, my daughter stood out in her Anne of Green Gables dress, left over from last year’s junior prom.  At that time, we had shopped to find the perfect ribbon with baby’s breath for her hair and a delicate necklace to complete the look for her boyfriend.  This year for her blind date, she threw on her clothes and forgot her make-up.

            Left alone, my miserable soul tooted its loudest party horn.  “Exhaustion.”  Doesn’t the work ever stop?  I moped.  The moment I get home, I take off the father’s hat to earn the bread and put on the mother’s hat to go bake it.  I’m worn out.

            Through the tinted glass of self-pity, I looked back into the window of my single-parent experience.

            Alone with my young son and daughter in our circa-1733 farmhouse, there had been no money to pay my mortgage.  I felt like the widow with two children in the Book of Second Kings, who thought she had nothing at all in her house with which God could do a miracle – except a little oil.

            As I had stared at my deserted barns, paddocks, cottage and pool, I wondered, Are they my provision of oil?

            It must have been Providence that guided me, step by step, to fill my barn stalls with neighbor’s horses, the split rail paddocks with a horseback riding school, my cottage with a young couple and the enclosed pool with a club of townsfolk.  Relieved and grateful, I gathered up the rent checks and paid the mortgage.

            But soon after, I saw flames shooting up in the woods behind the barns.


            Afraid for the horses’ lives, I raced top speed to the house on my polio leg, only to collapse on the threshold.  I crawled to the phone and made two calls, one to the fire department and another to my doctor.

            The fire was extinguished, the horses were unhurt, but my heart had taken a beating – literally.  More fatigue.

            Not many days later, I heart the unmistakable sound of dripping.  Now the roof leaked!

            Thankfully, years before, I’d put the farmhouse on the National Register of Historic Places.  In exchange for more paperwork, the grant money soon turned the drip, drip, drip of rain into the tap, tap, tap of hammers.  Like a cape thrown over its shoulders, the rambling saltbox house became cloaked in a new wooden-shingled roof.

            Now we were dry, but with no money in the budget for heating oil, the nights grew colder.  That’s when the flaming autumn foliage directed me to the answer. Logs!

            A state forester marked our trees, a sharecropper cut and split the wood and we carried in the logs.  Wood stove heat soon filled the kitchen, drifting up to the children’s bedrooms through a hole I cut in the ceiling.

            For more products, gratis, I labored hard to tap maple sap, pick blackberries, pluck Concord grapes, dig carrots, hang herbs, gather apples and collect goat’s milk.

            As a physical therapist, I spent weekdays away from the farm, trudging in rain and snow to the front doors of the elderly.  Limping on my bum leg, sometimes I thought I, not they, should be the patient.  Each workday climaxed with an amusement park ride along twisting country roads in order to be home by 3:30 and greet the kids back from school.

            The phone jangled me back to the present.  It was my daughter. 

            In a depressed monotone I said, “I can’t believe the prom is over already.  Did you have a good time?”

            “Yes, Mom, but…”

            “If I sound a bit down, it’s because I’m feeling tired.”

            “Sorry, but Mom!”

            “Some days are just like that, you know.”

            “Yes, but Mom!”

            “Yes, dear?”

            “I was chosen prom queen tonight!”


            “It’s true!  I couldn’t believe it when they called out my name.  I’m not one of the popular girls, you know.  As the master of ceremonies placed the crown on my head, I lifted my chin and thought, “Well if this is the way it’s supposed to be for me, I’ll be the best queen I know how.”

            Bang, bang popped the balloons of sorrow and regret, goodbye waved the streamer of sympathy, and even the party horn of exhaustion went silent.  My self-pity dissolved in the effervescence of my daughter’s joy.

            Through a clear window of blessing, my single-parent life looked brighter.

            I realized how fun it had been to haul the Christmas tree from the woods and decorate it with red berries, silver cones and gilded nuts.  How exciting it was to watch the children scamper to find chocolate Easter eggs hidden in the crevices of the Early American stone walls, the winner given the chocolate bunny in the hollow of the old apple tree.  I loved the shrieks of young voices buried in the heaped piles of autumn leaves and the whoosh of the horse-drawn sleigh packed with bundled kids in the falling snow.

            Mustaches of cream and berries on little mouths made me laugh.  Soft yellow candles aglow on young faces warmed my heart.  Story time in the oak-beamed sitting room, nestled by the spacious fireplace, left me peaceful.

            I saw, like the widow, a faithful God who had turned my little oil into much.  I knew He, not the selection committee, had actually chosen my daughter for prom queen to help pop my pity party and inflate my faith – to go forward.


-Margaret Lang




Thank you Margaret…for your provision of perspective on what God has given us.   



“Provision of Oil” From the book Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul 2 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and LeAnn Thieman. Copyright 2012 by Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC. Published by Backlist, LLC, a unit of Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC. Chicken Soup for the Soul is a registered trademark of Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Gratitude Unlocks The Soul

John* felt all bound up inside.  "I feel sort of…well, something is missing.  Like I am locked up in a prison cell in my soul and something is slowly dying inside me."  John knew he appeared successful on the outside, like the type of guy who had everything together.  He was a highly paid professional educator teaching at a Top 20 university, admired and respected by students and faculty alike. However, it was a different story on the inside.  


John gave himself about 6 months to "figure things out." He didn’t know what he would do, but he knew it would be something drastic.


One day, in the faculty lounge, he heard another professor utter a phrase that brought a glimmer of hope to his increasingly constricted heart:


“Gratitude seems to unlock things in your soul.”


"How so?” John almost blurted out before he realized that may be awkward. He didn’t want anyone to know what his feelings inside were, and besides; he had no clue who this professor was.  John noted the professor who was speaking and made a mental note to track this guy down and ask the question that was nagging him.


The meeting with the other professor came later and the answers John got surprised him.  First, gratitude usually involves hearing from a source above yourself.  Gratitude acknowledges the fact that someone gave you something.  If you are the ultimate source of all things, it is hard to have gratitude, but if someone greater than you gave you something, you experience gratitude.


Once you realize you are somehow dependent on a source greater than yourself, and this greater thing has given you something can be grateful for, and you 'bend the knee' and thank them, something dislodges inside you.  Usually what gushes out is first respect, then emotion, then utter joy.


There is a very similar story about a man named Nehemiah from ancient Israel.  The people in ancient Jerusalem were on their own with no connection to God.  It had been a long time since they factored God into their lives and they lived in a bleak and discouraging rut.  Suddenly a copy their Scriptures showed up.  They actually got to hear God's word for the first time in decades.  This was the 'someone who was greater than they were' part.  And, as the story unfolds, this 'someone greater' had given them some seriously great gifts.


Their reaction?  They stood up, then they bowed in worship, then they started weeping.  Gratitude had unlocked a reservoir inside them and all sorts of things were released.  The end of the story is that a great party erupted…and this party is still celebrated in Israel to this day.


Is your heart overflowing with gratitude?  Or are you feeling a bit trapped on the inside as you face the new year?  Try Nehemiah’s approach.  Then watch what your soul does--what things that are unlocked that have been jammed up for a long time, decades even.  John did.  And his story in gratitude is just beginning.


AKOTA has the joy of serving families at the start of the new year.  This year is a year of making great memories.  If your family has a need for care of a loved one, but the burden of the care is draining you dry, please let us serve you.  We would be forever grateful and you can make 2019 into a year of great memories!




*real name not given

Childlike Joy, Mindful Peace

Ella giggled and squirmed in her chair as she waited for Santa to call her name. Adorable with her candy cane headband and cat glasses, she clapped her hands excitedly as names were called one by one.


“Nathan! Is Nathan here?” Santa joyfully bellowed. Nathan jumped up and ran up to Santa. Santa gave a hearty, “Ho Ho Ho” as Nathan jumped into his lap and gave Santa a huge hug. The room was filled with appreciative laughter.


Every year, the Broadmoor Rotary Club celebrates Christmas with children who have special needs. Some are brought up hand in hand with their caregivers. Some visit Santa from their wheel chairs. Other, like Ella, wait impatiently for Santa to recognize them.


“Ella? Where is Ella?”


Ella jumps up, “Here I am!” the joy on her face is exquisite, her bright eyes magnified by those pretty, but hefty cat glasses.


Each child receives a toy especially picked out for him or her. While they smile with glee at their new present, the happiness of the gift is dwarfed by the joy the children show as Santa recognizes them by name.


Can you imagine the child who was chastised that morning for not doing as they were told? Or the child who was too loud, or too chatty?  What added joy they must have when Santa recognizes them despite their transgressions! This is the joy we feel at Christmas time. That, despite our worst selves, we are loved by a God who happily gives us the gift of daily life.


The third Sunday of Advent is a celebration of JOY, as we anticipate the birth of Christ. The first reading from the Prophet Zephaniah starts:


                        Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel!

                        Be glad and exult with all your heart.  The Lord has

                        removed the judgment against you…The Lord is in

                        your midst, you have no further misfortune to fear. (Zep 3:14-15)


What the children learn from Santa is what Christ wants us to know about life: we are loved regardless of whether we squirm in our chair, or shout out the answer before we are called on. Our joy comes from the recognition we are loved no matter what.


Last month, my dear friend Ruth suggested I read Frank Ostaseski’s book, “The Five Invitations”. Frank was an integral part of the Zen Hospice Project in Northern California. His book speaks about the lessons learned while working for hospice.  One thing he says, is that joy is found when we lower our defenses, and allow ourselves to experience the fragility of life and the inevitability of death.  The children’s presence at the Broadmoor Rotary brought out the joy of Christmas in all of us, as we dropped the mantle of adulthood, to see the world from the vulnerability of children with cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, or autism. Ostaseski writes:


            We may imagine that the tension and holding we have used to forge the

            armor around our hearts will keep out the pain, making us invulnerable.

            Instead, our armor cuts us off from love, dulling our sensitivity, steeling us

            to our experience, and locking out the tenderness, comfort, mercy, and joy

            that we need.*


Seeing joy at a Santa party is relatively easy, but experiencing joy or even peace at the end of life takes mindfulness. For peace and joy not only exist in the pleasant times of life, they also can be found in times of trouble, grief, or sadness. Joy and peace are brought forth from the calm places within the heart; they are not gifts received from others, or missing from times of struggle.  Joy and peace are felt when the Spirit of Love is allowed to break through from the depths of our souls.  Ostaseski says,


            When we take care of someone we love and do it with great integrity

            and impeccability, when we feel that we have given ourselves fully and

            completely to our grief and didn’t hold anything back, then we will surely

            feel great sorrow. But also we will feel gratitude and the possibility of

            opening to a reservoir of joy and love that we may have never known

            before. I call this undying love.*


As we approach Christmas, let us feel the joy and peace that our spiritual lives bring.  If you are a caregiver, remember the words of St Paul to the Philippians:


            Rejoice in the Lord always. Your kindness should be known to all.

            The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer

            and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.

            Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard

            your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:4-7)


AKOTA Home Care wishes you childlike joy, a peaceful night of caregiving, and all the blessings of Christmas.





*Excerpt From: Frank Ostaseski. “The Five Invitations.” iBooks.

Consistent Love

October 15th was a big day for all of us at AKOTA. Jim and Leslie welcomed their first grandchild; a beautiful baby girl!  Maeve is an angel who is starting a new generation of creative and courageous Lindsay’s. Eighty years before Maeve entered the world, my mother Jane was born in San Francisco.  Over eight decades, mom has survived fire, earthquakes, three teenagers, and two amiable and loving husbands.  As I told Jim and Leslie, October 15th is the day that strong women are born.


In some hospitals, the birth of a new baby is greeted with the playing of Brahm’s lullaby over the hospital intercom system. Nurses in the ICU, doctors in the ER, patients in palliative care all pause and listen. Slowly, gentle smiles spread across the faces of patients on the Med/Surg Unit, and those in the Chemotherapy Infusion Clinic. It is a wonderful reminder that although life can end in a hospital, life also often begins there as well.


Whether at home or in the hospital, caregiving can seem like the first verses in Sunday’s Gospel reading:


In those days after that tribulation

the sun will be darkened,

and the moon will not give its light,

and the stars will be falling from the sky,

and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

(MK 13: 24-25)


Babies teethe, toddlers get the flu, children have nightmares, teenagers stay out past curfew. On the other end of life, illness can leave us agitated, sleepless and miserable as well. Some nights it does seem like the stars have fallen from the sky.


But life is mostly made up of the good stuff. Our Gospel also tells us to:


Learn a lesson from the fig tree.

When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves,

you know that summer is near.

In the same way, when you see these things happening,

know that he is near, at the gates.

(MK 13:28-29)


Whether the excitement of a newborn baby, witnessing the first bloom of Spring, greeting the support of loving friends, or living through the harrowing concern for a dying loved one we know that our Creator is near, constantly and continually creating the earth, and our hearts.


Those of us in the caregiving world know that God’s most precious creations, our family and friends, require consistent care.  Jesse and Alyssa are learning that Maeve can be up several times at night requiring feeding, changing, cuddling, and consoling.  Parents of small children know no end to the necessary hugs and help needed to bring up well raised children. Young married people need the support of families, middle aged people need the support of spouses, friends, and adult children. In fact, all of us need consistent love and caring throughout our life times.


But what does consistent care look like? To answer this question, I did what many smart people do: I googled it and pulled up Wiki-how:


1.     Consistent people have specific and realistic plans and goals.

2.     They create lists and schedules that they stick to.

3.     They make promises only if they can keep them.

4.     They hold themselves accountable and persevere even if they make a mistake.

5.     They find time each and every day to recharge, and reflect.


At AKOTA Home Care, we know that families rely on us to be consistent. This is why we have Care Team Leaders who are on call 24/7 to answer your questions.  This is why we hire caregivers who stick around: Willie Mae and Cynthia have been with us for 22 years!


Our Gospel reading ends,


But of that day or hour, no one knows,

neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

(MK 13:32)


Jesse and Alyssa didn’t know that Maeve would arrive 10 days early, nor did my mom know I would arrive 30 days late! None of us know the day, or hour that you may need home care. When a baby is born, offers to help come quickly and last a long time.  This is often not the case at the other end of life.  Family caregivers don’t have the support of loving grandparents or eager aunts and uncles, and often find themselves feeling alone and isolated.  Please know that if you ever need someone to help you out, AKOTA is there to be the consistent shoulder on which you can lean.



*Want to be more consistent? There are a bunch more suggestions at Wikihow:


Love in Action

It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing.

                                    ~ Mother Teresa, Saint of Calcutta


“Hello? This is Debbie Christopher, and I’m calling to see if you can help me care for my mom.”


Those were some of the hardest words Debbie had ever uttered.  Since her dad died 6 months ago, Debbie had taken over caring for her mom, Beverly. 


Beverly and her husband Ed loved getting out each morning to walked their dog, Frankie. On their way, Ed would joke with the kids waiting for the school bus and Beverly would chit chat with the young mothers pushing their strollers.  Often they stopped in at Mary and George’s to have a cup of coffee and catch up on the latest news.  They always got back in time to catch Debbie’s morning phone call before they went off to volunteer at the library.


Now that Ed was gone, Beverly no longer volunteered at the library. She lost her desire to walk Frankie, and so she didn’t see the young mothers at the bus stop anymore.  And with Halloween coming around again, Debbie noticed her mom hadn't put out the pumpkins they bought together last week. In fact, Mom hadn’t even touched the rotisserie chicken in the fridge. 


Debbie knew that Mary and George tried to stop by, but they often found the door closed and the house dark. More than once they called Debbie out of work to check on her mom. With her own family to care for, Debbie thought it might be a good idea for Beverly to move into her home, but Beverly wouldn’t hear of it. She was determined to stay at home with the memories of her husband around her.


At her wits end, Debbie made that call to AKOTA.  After our nurse made a home visit, we sent Amie to care for Beverly.  Amie found Beverly wandering the halls of her home, wringing her hands and unable to settle down.  Tearful, and shockingly thin, Amie walked with Beverly, picking up a little as they went. Gently talking with her, Amie coaxed Beverly to take Frankie outside for a little stroll, followed by a home cooked meal.  Beverly ate a little bit, and Amie was able to get her settled down for a nap.  When she woke, Amie told Beverly that she would see her tomorrow.


PLEASE DON’T LEAVE” Beverly moaned, as she dissolved into sobs. “I just can’t stand another night alone!” 


Amie’s heart broke. I will not leave you alone, Miss Beverly. Let me call your daughter.”


Debbie agreed that Amie should stay the night with her mom, and called us to arrange the change. Amie cancelled her plans for the weekend, so she could stay with Beverly until her Monday morning doctor’s appointment.  During that weekend, Beverly and Amie cleaned together, opening the windows to bring fresh air in Beverly’s home.


With more and more Seniors electing to stay at home, a big concern for gerontologists is depression triggered by loneliness and isolation.

Depression in older folks is often under diagnosed as families often think  depression symptoms are a part of getting older.  The truth is that the majority of Seniors who are active in the community are not depressed. But Seniors who are struggling with major life changes: sickness, loss of a loved one, or a move to a new location may find themselves needing a little help.  Beverly was one of those people.


With her doctor’s help, Beverly and Debbie came up with a treatment plan to get Beverly going again. Amie drove Beverly to the bereavement group at her church, and they worked side by side volunteering at the library like Beverly and Ed used to do.  As she felt better and better, Amie showed Beverly how to use the Senior Bus to get around so she could get to the library and church on her own. She even introduced Beverly to the local Senior Center and she started playing Bridge again. 


For a month or so, Amie cooked dinner and spent each night at Beverly’s house. But soon, Beverly began to feel more comfortable home alone, and Amie only needed to come a few times a week to check in.  With Amie’s patient, compassionate care, Beverly grew stronger physically, emotionally and spiritually.


At AKOTA Home Care our goal is to love and serve our clients as Jesus taught us.  One of the pillars of our company is Mark 10:45:


For the Son of Man did not come to be served

but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.


We educate our Care Team to love and serve all who call us for help and we empower them with the tools to bring the fullness of life to our clients. 


Where would any of us be without a heart geared toward service?

September Enthusiasm

“MOM!!!!!!” Joey shouted. “Mom MoM MOM MOM!!!  Guess WHAT!!”


“Oh my goodness, Joey, what is it! You are so excited!”


OH, MOM! I was chosen for safety patrol! I get to be in charge of ALL the kids on the bus. AND I get to go to safety camp!”


“Hey GRANDPA!!!” Joey shouted as he ran into the den.




“I just heard, Joey!” Laughed Grandpa.


“Congratulations! You will be a great safety patrol, your school is lucky to have you! When I was in school, the big fun was to be chosen to clap the chalkboard erasers outside! We would get out of class a few minutes early, go outside and bang the erasers together creating a big cloud of chalk. Sometimes we would chase each other around the school yard and try to get the chalk dust on each other’s backs!” Grandpa wistfully chuckled. “So much fun back then.” Grandpa hugged Joey and said, “I’m so glad I live here so I can enjoy all these new experiences with you!”



Don’t you just love the enthusiasm of September?  January may have New Year’s Day, but September has a special place in all our hearts. Remember your excitement when you found out your best friend was in your homeroom class? Or that Mom bought a new box of crayons for  your backpack? I remember the silly dilemma over a Partridge Family lunch box?  Maybe the cool kids would have a Brady Bunch lunch box…Which to choose? 


Ah, the wonders of September, when the temperatures cool (well, maybe not this year) and new school day routines are established. Right now, my Facebook page is full of shiny eyed kids holding up signs: “Look who’s in 3rd Grade!” or “I started Kindergarten Today!”




Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success.

When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole

soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality Be active, be

energetic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object.

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

                                                ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Indeed, to do anything well, we must show a committed vitality for our pursuit.  At AKOTA our hiring process is designed to find enthusiastic caregivers.  We want caregivers who can think with joyful creativity for their work.  We hire caregivers who are prompt, courteous, and engaging.  Professional caregiving is not a job, it is a vocation: the ability to convey joy, empathy, and compassion should be equal to professional competence.


In a way, this is just like our faith. When I was at seminary, I said to my professor, “I know Christians are called to perform good works. But I know many non Christians who also do good works. What is the difference?” My wise professor said, “Anyone can do good. But those who are not motivated by a higher power will soon tire of their good work, and burn out. Active faith helps you engage the world, even in the toughest circumstances, and maintain your enthusiasm far longer than those without faith.” 


The Apostle Paul said something similar a few millennia ago:


What good is it, my brothers and sisters,

if someone says he has faith but does not have works?

Can that faith save him?

If a brother or sister has nothing to wear

and has no food for the day,

and one of you says to them,

"Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well, "

but you do not give them the necessities of the body,

what good is it?

So also faith of itself,

if it does not have works, is dead.

Indeed someone might say,

"You have faith and I have works."

Demonstrate your faith to me without works,

and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.

(2 JAS 2:14-18)


Faith provides the enthusiasm for works. Let us all cheer for the caregivers who combine their faith and works to provide the best possible care for their clients.


To learn more, contact us at



College Bound

Sophie brushed a loose bit of hair aside, as she called upstairs, “Max, do you have your dorm supply list?”  Max reluctantly came downstairs with a pleading look on his face, “Do we have to do this today? Josh and the guys are getting together for our last night together at the pool!”


Sophie exhaled slowly. “Max, we have to do this sooner, rather than later, or the stores will run out and we will be left scrambling. I know you don’t like shopping, but don’t you want a say in what your dorm room looks like?” “Yeah, Mom” Max smirked, “you probably will buy me a My Little Pony comforter.” They both laughed, as they got in the car and drove to Bed, Bath and Beyond to join the others preparing for college dorm life.


Getting ready for life changes like college means more than putting away the swim suits and beach towels. It means preparation for new freedoms, new responsibilities, and…well…new everything.  As exciting as it is, it can also be overwhelming as both parents, and children prepare for a new stage of life.


Later that night, as Sophie re-read the Preparing for College brochure, she reminisced about their visit home this summer.  Her mom, Anne, was so excited for their visit, and stocked the fridge with all of Max’s guilty pleasures. They went to the lake, and enjoyed mother/daughter morning walks in the pine scented trails behind her childhood home.  She remembered her mother commenting on how good she felt, and how blessed she was to still be able to hike the mountains at her age.


“Remember Betty?” Anne asked. “She fell last month while hiking this same trail. Joe and Emma aren’t so sure she can live on her own anymore and are looking at nursing homes.” Her emphasis on the term nursing home dripped with disdain.   “I hate to think of Betty not living next door to me, and it scares me even more to think that she, or I would have to go to a place like that!”


“Mom, I am so sorry about Betty, but maybe this is an opportunity for us to research what choices are available before something like that happens to you! I hear there are all kinds of options now, and they’re not all that bad! Maybe if we spend a little time researching, we can also help Betty and her family make the best decision for her as well.  Perhaps, with some extra help at home she can come back to the neighborhood, but we’ll never know until we do some digging!”


“That’s a grand idea, Soph! When did you get to be so wise?”


“Well mom,” smiled Sophie, as she nudged her mom, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”







We don’t always get the option to prepare for the future. Life isn’t always as clear cut as Max’s entry into University: preschool, elementary school, middle school and high school is a fairly predictable journey in their neighborhood.  But preparing to age, and preparing to care for our parents often comes unexpectedly leaving us scrambling for options that are available, but not always our first choice. Proverbs 9 echoes Sophie’s wise admonishment of Max, and encouragement of Anne:


                        “Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven columns;

                        she has dressed her meat, mixed her wine, yes, she has spread

                        her table…Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the

                        way of understanding.” (Pr 9-1-2, 6)


During their stay at the lake, Sophie did some Internet sleuthing to find solutions her mother might find appealing.  There was a new Assisted Living facility being built near their home. “Hey Mom” Sophie called, “What about this place?”


“Why I could never leave this neighborhood, all my friends live here, and church is right down the street!  By the way…have you seen the price tag on that place?”  Sophie shook her head. “Well, Mom…doesn’t cost anything to check it out. But, if you want to stay near the lake, what about having a caregiver come in to check in from time to time?”


“Well, I’m not ready for that either, but that appeals to me more.”


“Let me look around a bit, and see if I can find a company we can call when the time is right.”


“And make sure you call Betty’s family and tell them too!” Anne said.


Preparing to Care


Not only did Sophie look at options for her Mom, she looked up ideas to help her care for her mom at this new stage of life. Just as colleges send out, Preparing for Dorm Life booklets, AARP has published a wonderful resource, Prepare to Care. If you would like a copy, contact us through our website:



Whether you are preparing for college, preparing for Senior living options, or preparing for both at the same time (Bless you!) please know that AKOTA is happy to share the wisdom of our 25 years caring for Seniors in their homes. We look forward to talking to you sooner….before you need us later.

You are Invited...

You are Invited...


You Are Invited…


When Grace opened her front door she was greeted with a steamy wave of heat. “Oh Boy”, she thought, “I’ll be damp as my dish towel by the time I get to that mailbox!” As she braved the heat, Grace collected the usual barrage of circulars, realtor postcards, and insurance statements.  One calligraphic envelope fell to her feet:

Walking by Faith

I met Grace at the hospital on a beautiful spring day. She was looking out the window of her Oncology unit room; wisps of hair peaking out of a colorful paisley scarf. Her eyes were brightly frosted with tears as she looked out over the roses and wisteria blooming from the garden below.  A nurse was putting on a new wristband to go with Grace’s hospital ID bracelet.


“What’s with the new jewelry?” I asked.


“Oh”, she said quietly, “that is my Do Not Resuscitate order. I have decided to stop chemo, and let nature take its course.”


I paused and said, “Wow. That took a lot of courage.”


Grace replied, “I read once that courage is about doing what is right, even if you are afraid to do it. It is the courage to act, rather than react.  Cancer and chemo have been a long, hard road, and the treatment for me will never be curative.  Today,  I decided to live the rest of my life with the courage to let go, and say goodbye.”


I had brought her the first gardenia bloom from the garden.  She held it to her nose, inhaling deeply. “My favorite scent,” she sighed. “You know, it is nearly impossible to replicate the scent of a gardenia? Only the Creator knows the formula.”




We often think of courage as physical courage: the courage to climb the tallest mountain, or enter a burning building. While these indeed take strength in the face of fear, courage more commonly is strength in the face of pain or grief.

Sometimes it is the courage to soldier on, sometimes it is the courage to call it quits, but always it takes courage to enter into the struggle of what to do next when someone you love is dying.


Courage is strength in the face of struggle, but it is also the humility to allow tears to fall, the vulnerability to let others know about painful life decisions, and to accept help from those most available to provide it.


In 2 Corinthians St. Paul writes that we are all called to be courageous in the face of uncertainty, and walk by faith, not by sight (2Cor5:7).  We know that if we follow our own ego — that part of us that says we are always right and know best — we block out the helpful support that the Spirit sends our way.


As difficult as it was for Grace and her health care team, she was preparing to go home to hospice care, and eventual death. Her faith enabled her to be courageous enough to leave the body and go home to the Lordas we aspire to please him, whether we are at home or away. (2Cor 5:8-9)


Whether called to persevere in illness, or called to let treatment go, we have the humble courage to believe that Christ is with us in the midst of these difficult struggles.


Everyday, AKOTA works with people who have the courage to make hard choices, and the humility to accept help in the midst of their suffering. The nature of our work means that we often augment the services of hospice, providing compassionate, experienced caregivers who provide extra support to our clients and their families. Our caregivers are intuitively humble and compassionate, encouraging our client’s in their struggles, and using their creative talents, to build trust with the families they serve.


If you are currently a family caregiver, humble courage gives you the strength to ask for help.  In our society, this is one of the most difficult things to do. Asking for help takes courage…and just a little bit of walking by faith, not sight.

Trusting Summer

When our kids were young, they spent each summer day outside. Our neighborhood was full of kids, and the nearby community swimming pool was the epicenter of summer activities. As soon as Memorial Day hit, the kids rode their bikes down to the pool to swim, dive, and trade Pokemon cards. The older kids would order pizza, and the entire summer was overseen by lifeguards just a little bit older than the kids themselves. This was idyllic childhood freedom. How in the world did we allow it?


Just one word: Trust.


If you look it up, Trust is confident expectation.


We had confidence the neighborhood to keep our kids safe. We had an expectation that the drivers to venture out slowly. And we had a confident expectation that the teenage lifeguards would watch our precious children.


Trust is a willingness to take risks. We parents were willing to risk that the neighborhood parents would watch out for all the kids. That the cars would drive safely. The lifeguards would be more interested in our children’s safety than they were in the cute guy/girl in the chaise longue by the deep end. But why were we willing to be vulnerable to these risks? James Davis, a professor of strategic management at Utah State University says:


Trust relies on three qualities:


         1. Ability: Does this person have the skills to perform as we expect them to perform? Did the lifeguards go through a training program? Do they look the part (red bathing suit, floatation device on their laps, an intense stare at little kids in the water?)


         2.Benevolence: Do they care about my kids? Our life guards came from the very neighborhood they served. We knew these kids growing up, and we knew their parents. We knew they loved our kids, because our neighborhood had a history of mutual benevolence.


         3. Integrity: Having a set of values that you live by and others agree with. Again, because we knew our lifeguards, and knew their families, we could trust their integrity. We knew their values, we saw them live their values, and so we could trust them.*


While the story of Pentecost does not involve a summer swimming pool, it is a story of trust coming into fulfillment. Imagine the disciples locked behind closed doors, too frightened to venture out for fear of reprisal.  Jesus appears to them, and appeals to their sense of trust: Did the Risen Christ have the abilities He promised? His resurrection, and post resurrection appearances assured them. Did He show benevolence? His ‘Peace be with You’ assures them again.  Does He have integrity? Well, his teachings speak for themselves. But with all of this, are the disciples really ready to risk exposure to a dark and deadly world?


Not until Jesus shares His Spirit with them.


It is the Spirit of Christ that binds the disciples into a courageous community. It is the Spirit that encourages them to go beyond what they know and venture into the great unknown trusting that what they say, and who they represent is true.


Trust demands risk, just as faith demands risk.


So often we see people who need help, who are hunkering down in their small rooms, or circling the wagons only trusting family and close friends with the difficulties of illness, injury and disability.  Just like the disciples, it is sometimes excruciating to open the doors and allow our community of caregivers to help.  How can you trust a complete unknown with the care of your parent, or your beloved spouse?


At AKOTA, we follow Christ’s answer at Pentecost: “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you”. When we arrive, I have faith that you will find we have the ability, the benevolence and the integrity you can trust.


The disciples opened the door to risk, and were rewarded with the Spirit.

What do you risk when you open your door to a caregiver for your loved one?



*This blog relies heavily on the work of Prof. James Davis of Utah State University. To check out Prof. Davis’ TEDtalk go to: