Tag Archives: love

The Love Not Fear Movement


“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” — Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann was a German political scientist who developed a mass communication theory called the Spiral of Silence.  The Spiral of Silence is a term meant to refer to the tendency of people to remain silent when they feel that their views are in opposition to the majority view on a subject.  People who feel they are in the minority, sense isolation, fear or exclusion  and tend to remain silent instead of voicing opinions.  Often used in a political or media content,  Noelle-Neumann’s Spiral of Silence mass communication theory explains the growth and spread of public opinion.

It’s time to break our silence and exchange fear for love. 

People, like myself, who have lived in fear for a variety of reasons, often tend to stay silent until they experience that “Ah-Ha” moment and come to realize that fear is useless.th (2)As a young man, my fear always centered around my sexual orientation.  As I have grown older, my fear has shifted to fearing success. What a quagmire; life is a process...I am letting go of my fears.

In today’s society,  there seems to be a cultural bias that leans towards fear? Cable news tends to report more negative aspects of life and politics: Are things really bad as they appear (political climate) or is our current climate permeated by a lack of leadership, poor communication skills or…fear?   Where has open, honest and respectable dialogue gone from our leaders?   The Spiral of Silence is alive in our own fears.

One of the ways of letting go of fear is to embrace communication from the standpoint of love.  That is what the Love Not Fear Movement is all about.  I think all of us recognize from our diversity, we are not always going to agree,  nor am I am suggesting that we live in acalmPollyanna world.  However, when we focus our communication to others with love, we tear down walls, not build them. We lift people up, not criticize them. We disagree with respect, and learn from our differences.   We then break the Spiral of Silence

How do we build a community that surrounds us with the lovenotfearlogomessage of love?  Listen in and learn how Jeff Johnson is eliminating fear (and the Spiral of Silence) through the Love Not Fear Movement!   Because in the end…Love Is The Winner! 

Chris MacLellan is the author of “What’s The Deal with Caregiving? and the Executive Producer and Host of Healing Ties Radio. 

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If She Had Lived to 100


Be happy. It’s one way of being wise. Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

Today, my Mother would have turned 100, unfortunately, she missed being a centenarian by just under 31 years!  Born in 1915 in New Orléans, my Mother was a women before her time.  Obtaining two college degree’s in the late 1930’s, she was talented and always seemed to be the “bell of the ball.”  Yet she passed away in 1984, just before her 69th birthday with seemingly, many unfulfilled dreams.

The MacLellan Six: Merrille, Mary, JoAnn, Jim, Gerri and Chris

The MacLellan Six: Merrille, Mary, JoAnn, Jim, Gerri and Chris

While “Gramma Bell”  got to know all of her 25 grandchildren, she missed out on getting to know all of her great-grandchildren which now reach past the number 40.  She missed out seeing the success of her six children, four of which have lived longer than her.  How medicine has changed over the years. But most of all later in life, she missed out on being happy, which is the saddest of them all.

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Family Reunion 2013

I’m sure raising kids in the 40’s and 50’s was challenging, just as it is today.  Yet it is important to note that she loved being a mother, but being a mother kept her from fulfilling some of her dreams.  There are so many things in life we give up when we care for someone else, albeit a parent or a caregiver.

I’ve never been a parent, but I do know what it is like to be a Caregiver.  I sense there is quite a bet of similar traits in these two roles, most notably the ability to love and care for someone else.  Sure, I realize that some parents do not have the ability to love and care for their children, just as I realize that there are IMG_2082many Caregivers who are out there who do not love their Caree: I call those folks, “Caregivers By Default.”  But when you get right down to it, we all have the innate ability to care, it just  has to be nurtured.  I’m thankful for that I received the care gene from my Mom, I am mindful that life moves on, and it is better to move on in happiness, than in worrying about the past.

Happy 100th birthday “Gramma Bell,” we are all just doing fine!

Chris MacLellan is a radio show host and Author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving”

Available on Amazon by clicking here

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Forever, My Valentine


Love comes in all shapes, styles and forms.   NEVER let love pass you by!

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Valentines Day 2014

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February 14, 2015 · 8:51 am

Pulitzer Prize Nomination: A Posthumous Birthday Gift


Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. Oscar Wilde

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Photo Credit: Carline Jean Photographer for the Sun-Sentinel

Today, January 24, would have been Richard’s eighty-fourth birthday. Last year we celebrated with a small group of friends at one of our favorite stopping grounds, D’Angelo’s, in Fort Lauderdale; it was a fun-filled evening that everyone will always remember.  One of my favorite photos from our story, ‘In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey was snapped at D’Angelo’s last year.  Anticipating those delicious Petit Fours, you see us both peering into the box, as if we are playing a game of peek-a-boo.  While I forget how many Petit Fours were in the box, I do remember that by the next morning, the box was empty!

This week comes the word that our story, ‘In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey’ has been nominated by the Sun-Sentinel for Pulitzer Prize consideration.  I think it is fitting that I share this information with you today on what would have been Richard’s eighty-fourth birthday.  Both modest, yet very accomplished, Sun-Sentinel journalist Diane Lade and photojournalist Carline Jean told our story in a very loving way that has touched over 400,000 people worldwide.  I am thankful because the story has provided me with a very special memory that will last a lifetime.

Those who knew Richard knew him to be a private person.  For him to agree to do the story was his gift of love, care, and commitment to me.  I return it two-fold.  I am reminded of some sage advice that I have received along the way since Richard’s life transition: ‘The feeling of missing him will get softer, but the love you shared will always be strong.’  I think of these words of wisdom quite often, especially today on his birthday with this special news, reminds me how strong love can be in one’s life.

My faith tells me that I will see him again; my mind tells me that he is forever pain-free; my heart tells me that he is right next to me.

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Superstars: Diane Lade and Carline Jean

I thank Diane Lade and Carline Jean for telling our story through the lens of love, care and commitment as that was the true story of our life together.  In my book, they have already won; they also won Richard’s heart along the way, too.  For without their demonstration of professionalism, along with the love, care, and commitment they showed to us on this journey, Richard never would have felt comfortable, especially over the last few months,  to continue with the story as the cancer took over his body.

Richard said to me just a few weeks before he made his life transition, “Diane and Carline are going to have quite an end to their story.”  That Sunday afternoon on March 9, 2014 when Richard made his life transition, he waited for Diane and Carline to arrive in order to say his goodbye to two people who he allowed into his heart.  Richard let very few people into his life, and in his way, by this very deserving nomination, Richard’s love, care, and commitment, continues to give back to the people he loved, cared and trusted the most.

Congratulations to Diane, Carline and the entire Sun-Sentinel Staff who worked on this project.

Diane Lade and Carline Jean will always have a special place in my heart.

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Letting Go, Together As One


We loved with a love that is more than love ~ Edgar Allan Poe

As I pulled up to the boat dock on Tuesday, I was amazed at what a beautiful,  clear and sunny day it was in South Florida. At this time of year, especially in the height of hurricane season, one never knows what the weather might bring us. The boat caption’s words last week after I booked the reservation–“we will sail at 9:30 am, weather permitting–reminded me that even when we put our best plans in place, there are things beyond our control.   BoatWaves

Sure, we all know that we cannot control the weather, we can only work with it.  Yet for me, the plans to sail on Tuesday, September 9th was significant because Tuesday, September 9th was the six month anniversary of Richard’s life transition and it was time for us to let go, so that we could be together again as one.   I’ve never experienced a burial at sea, so I had no personal experience to go by, but I did know that what was important for both Richard and I, was to be set free from the perils of death and be free, free so that we can be together  again as one.

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On this beautiful sunny Tuesday morning, it was a small gathering of friends as we motored out into the Atlantic ocean.  Making the decision to bury Richard’s ashes at sea was something that we had both talked about, and something that I knew he approved of since he buried his first partner, Herman at sea in 1999.  The biodegradable boxes were a work of art; one blue with the (last) remains of Herman and one white with the  remains of Richard.  Yet even in those conversations about burial at sea,  you really don’t know if you can ‘do it’ until you get right to the point or rather, the day of ‘doing it.’

In a sense, I knew that placing Richard’s ashes at sea WAS my last act of Caregiving for him.   Sure, I had the option of the funeral home ‘doing it’ for me, but I knew deep inside my heart that this was my sole responsibility and something I wanted, and needed to do.  Then the conversation started on the boat.  “I understand that we have to be more than three miles from shore before the boxes can be placed in the ocean,” I said.  Then in unison, two of my friends said…”You’re going to just place his box in the ocean, he wants to be set free, just like you, let the ashes out of the box and set both of you free!”  “Hummm,” I thought…”Another Caregiving decision to make, and how I thought those decision were behind me!”

As the boat slowed down and then anchored, I knew that we had approached our destination and it was my turn to act.  I had no special words to say, yet I shared pictures of Herman and Richard and talked about their 43 years together as I placed Herman’s beautiful blue box in the ocean. Ocean 2 As I reached for Richard’s beautiful white box, I was still unsure of what I was going to do, then the box slightly opened, I could hear him speaking to me, “let me be free!”  After a few words, I took Richard’s box, and spread his ashes in the ocean and then watched as a beautiful array of colors gleamed at the top of the ocean as his ashes floated away on his eternal cruise.  As difficult as this was, as I watched his ashes float away, there was a sense of peace that came upon me that is difficult to explain.

As the box emptied of Richard’s ashes and then dropped into the ocean, the caption circled Richard’s starting point of his life-long cruise, where everyone placed  roses in the water,  and I thought about how happy he was because he was free.  It was at this point when I realized that I was free, too.

My last act of Caregiving for the one I continue to love, was to set him free, so that we both could be free.  BRScar2

You see, I did not mind being Richard’s caregiver, in fact I believe it is an honor to be a Caregiver, but for now and forever, I can go back to just being his partner, which is what I miss the most.  My faith tells me that I will see him again; my mind tells me that he is now forever free; my heart tells me that he 20120407-002416.jpgis right next to me.

For now, he is just a port ahead of me on his life-long cruise, catching up with family and friends, while speaking to me in different ways, because  I know that one day, I will arrive at his port and catch up with him on that life long cruise.  I’m sure he’ll have reserved a good cabin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tributes to Those We Love


I am simply honored that Linda asked me to be part of her blog tour!   Linda’s new book, ‘A Long and Winding Road: A Caregivers Tale of Life, Love and Chaos’ is simply splendid and  now available through Amazon by clicking here

I’ve followed Linda’s blog for quite some time, and so should you! To visit and follow Linda’s blog ‘Life After Caregiving,’ simply click here

Caregivers have this innate ability to understand each other, even when our ‘long and winding’ caregiving roads are different.  Linda’s guest post, ‘Tributes To Those We Love’  comes at a perfect time for me as I continue to go through the grieving process. Thanks Linda for sharing your wisdom with ‘The Purple Jacket!’ Your guest post touches my heart!

Tributes to Those We Love

Guest Post by Linda Brendle

Recently, I attended an unusual funeral. To be sure, there were some tears and some evidence of sadness, but mostly it was a joyful celebration of a life well lived and a loving tribute to a man who was well loved. One of the first things I noticed was a large floral arrangement that depicted a man on an orange riding lawn mower. Next, I noticed that when the extended family filed into the sanctuary, most of them had on something red.

The daughter of the departed read the eulogy. She began with the traditional statistics—dates of birth, marriage, death, and also the names of survivors. From there, she went on to tell her father’s life story. She told of his spiritual journey from a rough-edged man of the world to a devoted follower of Jesus. Assisted by her daughters and nieces, she told stories that were both funny and touching—and she explained the flower arrangement and the color choices. As his health declined and walking became difficult, her father used his riding mower to keep tabs on his beloved homestead. His orange four-wheeler, as he called the mower, became a personal trademark along with the color red. Red was his favorite color because he said it reminded him of the blood of Jesus.

A celebratory memorial service can be a wonderful tribute, but there are also other ways of expressing love and appreciation to those we value. For centuries artists have paid tribute to people of value through sculpture, painting, and other art forms. Modern technology now allows us to immortalize each other through photography and other visual imagery. In addition to artistic tributes, we can honor those we love with written tributes and what I like to call lifestyle tributes.

My first close encounter with written tributes was several years ago when I was involved in a caregiver support group. At one point, we devoted several meetings to the topic, and I was surprised to discover that written tributes can sometimes be more important to the writer than to the honoree. Since many of our loved ones were afflicted by some sort of dementia, reading or presenting a letter or framed document to them would have been confusing. However, the writing process helped the caregiver focus on the more positive aspects of her loved one. Remembering who the person was before age, infirmity, and dementia turned them into an angry, messy, uncooperative patient sometimes brought a kind of closure and a sense of relief. Often, comfort and healing came with the preparation of a tribute and by sharing it with the group.

Lifestyle tributes can help restore a sense of control that is taken away after years of dealing with uncontrollable situations. Some caregivers have become advocates, either against the disease that took their loved one or, like my host Chris, for causes that were important to them. I’m not much of an activist, but my writing has become, in part, a lifestyle tribute to Mom and Dad. When something I write encourages caregivers and others who are in difficult situations, it seems to give some meaning to the otherwise meaningless struggle that defined the last years of Mom and Dad’s lives.

Tributes can take many forms. Regardless of which form you choose, finding a way to show honor and respect to one you love is an important part of letting go and saying good-bye.

 

 

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Love Is The Winner


❤ ❤ LOVE IS THE WINNER ❤ ❤
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❤ I LOVE YOU ❤

By Mary MacLellan-Stough

Three magical words that make a heart flutter.
Will make someone’s heart melt like butter
Just hearing those words uttered.
Life is full of ups and downs
And at times the see-saw seems weighed down.
Then someone comes along and touches your heart and soul
and takes your breath away.
When you wish upon a star
Your loved one isn’t very far.
They are closer to us than you will ever know-
Tossing pennies from a far
Letting us know how loved we are.
The hugs we feel when no one else is near
The dimes, the parking places we find
Remind us we are not alone as we fear.
Those hugs we feel, they are real,
The soft whispers in our ear
Next thing we know we shed a tear.
The world keeps moving-life goes on
But we keep trying to be strong.
The signs are there, we just need to be still,
Then there is a yellow butterfly, which gives you a chill.
They come when we least expect them, but need them the most.
The timing is never right when a loved one departs
But their physical journey here is over, time to start a-new
In a place that is all brand new.
No pain, no suffering-all sorrow is gone
Replaced with happiness and a glow
That one day we all will know.
Imagine the reception when we arrive
Our loved one(s) will be there to greet us home.
We are never alone on this journey here on earth.
Richard is up there watching over you Chris.
“Put in a good word, tell everyone hello.”
Until we meet again TLO ❤ ❤ ❤
With Love to you from me
Your younger sister I will always be…Meo

Mary

Mary MacLellan-Stough

 

This poem was beautifully written by my sister, Mary MacLellan-Stough and will appear on the back folder of our  Celebration of Bernard Richard Schiffer life in both Fort Lauderdale and St. Louis

 

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Cancer: That Unwelcomed Guest Has Returned


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Love Is Composed Of A Single Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies:  Aristotle 

Saturday’s revelation that ‘The Little Ones’ cancer has metastases to his spine was devastating.  Two years past his radiation and chemotherapy treatment for esophageal cancer, we are back facing this vicious disease.  ‘It’s’ been knocking on the door the last few weeks; it is difficult to acknowledge this unwelcome guest has returned with new vigor and new strength.

I am not sure I can accurately describe our emotions at this time.

Concerned for the past few weeks that the tumor was active again, Friday’s MRI and CT scan proved our suspicions true.  While the news is unwelcome, we are thankful that at least we know the source the pain and discomfort which will allow us to act accordingly.  Palliative radiation is a new term that I learned on Saturday; TLO will immediately start palliative radiation treatments to help relieve the serve pain that suddenly came upon him Thursday night.

Scary does not do his pain justice on Thursday night; nor how we feel right now.

Imploring the attending physicians at the hospital to consult with TLO’s primary care physician helped avoid an unnecessary cardiac catheterization procedure which would have been dangerous and certainly unnecessary.  The cardiologist was sure his issues were cardiac, ‘he has the classic symptoms and history of heart disease,” said the cardiologist.  ‘That may be true, but before we make any decisions on doing a cardiac catheterization, it is important that we first find out what is going on with the tumor; we are not doing any invasive procedures until we have the MRI and CT scan’, I suggested. The cardiologist was working out of his area of medicine and we respect that.  

The harsh reality of the news creates an immediate void to an unpredicted 1385583_607513719290066_905165614_n (1)future.  The last twenty-four hours back at the house has found both of us to be just a bit sad and depressed.  We both have to watch those emotions so that they do not permeate our decision-making process. Depression often plays such a strong role in how disease functions in the body.  While we are both cognizant of that, it comes down to mind over matter.  As I’ve said before…”It just ain’t easy!”

A whole set of new and intense emotions intrude on us right now.  Worry, detachment, mortality, anger, fear of abandonment and having to live life alone. These gut wrenching emotions lurk in our minds when faced with a life-and-relationship-altering illness.  Often times, you have to give up things that you lovein order to care for the one you love.

Over the past 24 hours, we have had the chance to talk openly about what lies ahead of us.  As we begin to accept the raw news that was delivered yesterday, TLO is insistent that we continue to advocate for those who have no one to advocate for them.  “What would have happened to me if I had gone ahead with the cardiac producer; what would have happened to me if I had no one to advocate for me,” TLO exclaimed!  We intend to be as open as possible with everyone as we move forward with treatments.

We will push ahead because life’s journeys are not often driven on smooth roads, but we can always hope for a gentle wind at our back. This gentle wind is always fortified by our love, our faith, our friends and our trust.

Thank You for being a part of this journey with us!

You see…we might have cancer, but cancer does not have us! 

TLOCJM

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Caregivers: How Do We Listen at the End of Life?


On Tuesday  we welcomed  Dr. Richard Wagner, M.Div., Ph.D., ACS to our ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ show on Blog Talk Radio.

Dr. Wagner’s book ‘The Amateur’s Guide to Death and Dying: enhancing the wagner._SL110_End of Life.”   provides us with a realistic view of a topic that is often difficult to talk about.  Out of Seattle, WA., Dr. Wagner has worked in the field of end of life issues for over 30 years.

As Caregivers, we often face the issues of death on a daily basis.  Yet as caregivers, we often help facilitate healthy transitions for the person that we care for and love.  “Curiously enough, people who are dying usually have a different priority system at this time in their life…..”   As the caregiver, we are so focused  on the needs of our caree, sometimes we just need to be present and listen.

During my Caregiving experience with Fr. Orlando, I had the privilege to hold him while he made his transition.  I would not have been able to do that without knowing from our conversations that he was at peace with his life and had accepted what was going to happen.  Of course, during those marvelous conversations, we had no idea when the time would come, yet we both knew that it would come. Those last few weeks with him were amazing and filled with raw emotions.  Honest, heartfelt conversations seemed to happen with such ease.  That was his way of preparing me for what was coming down the road.   Sometimes, listening is the best answer.

While death is not a ‘lively’ topic to talk about, I am confident that you will find the conversation with Dr. Wagner upbeat, real and sensitive.

To listen to Tuesday’s episode,  simply click here (I would appreciate your feedback on this episode.)

To learn more about Dr. Wagner, click here.

To purchase Dr. Wagner’s books, click here.

Next Tuesday, January 15th at 1:00pm (est) our guest will be Mandy Harrell from WeareverUSA .  The Wearever brand offers comfortable, quality, affordable and stylish apparel solutions for everyday health and wellness concerns.

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To access all our ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ episodes on blogtalkradiologo

Simply click here

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The Bow-Tie-Guy Tip of the Day:


Amplify the Positive! 

Photo Credit: Free Digital Photos

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