You Are The New Owner

[T]odd Chobotar.  Owner.  Florida Hospital.

Five simple words.  They kind of have a nice ring to them, don’t they?  Especially when you see them printed as I did on the envelope of an official looking letter.  The letter arrived on my desk one morning and caught me by surprise.  For several years I had worked at Florida Hospital and held a couple of low level positions.  I was happy in my job and hadn’t been thinking about getting a promotion anytime soon.  Then the letter arrived with its tempting title.

Florida Hospital Orlando

Florida Hospital Orlando

The letter looked very official.  It was prominently addressed to:

Todd Chobotar
Owner
Florida Hospital
601 E. Rollins Street
Orlando, FL  32803

The letter looked important.  Maybe the hospital president was writing to announce his decision to give me the hospital.  Or perhaps the letter came from the board of directors informing me that, in a surprise vote, I had been named the new owner.  Could it be the letter was from AHS–our parent corporation–offering to give me the whole hospital as a reward for my good work?  Yes, that was probably it.  The hospital executives must be so overwhelmingly grateful for the way I filed years of paperwork that they decided to make me the new owner.

From a Rock

[T]he throng presses forward.  Grumbling.  Complaining.  Demanding.  Forming an angry mob they surround the tent of one man.  Their leader.  They want answers or they want his life.

Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

Glancing through the crowd you see grim resolution etched on each face.  But there’s something else etched there as well.  Fear.  Fear of the future.  The murderous mob leaders know if something isn’t done soon their families will perish.  A slow, abysmal death.  Death by dehydration.  For in the barren, rocky desert through which they pass, no water can be found.  In desperation they accost their leader and demand that he provide water.

Thirsty for Something More

[W]e don’t know her name, but many of us feel her pain.  Her life story?  One failed relationship after another.

She certainly had no trouble attracting men.  Keeping them was another matter.  Five husbands had come and gone.  Each one loved her and left her.  Now she felt numb.  What was the use of trying anymore?  Too many vows spoken then broken.  Too many dreams expected then rejected.

Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

She hadn’t even bothered to marry the latest man in her life.  Just let him move in to see if he could fill a little of the empty space in her home and her heart.

Everyone in town knew her.  She had grown from child-to-girl, girl-to-woman right before their eyes.  At one time she reigned as the town beauty.  But with every failed relationship a little of the luster left her eyes.  Now life was lived moment-by-moment.  Whatever it took just to get by.

But one day, things changed. The day she met another man.

The Best Christmas Gift is…

[I]t was not a typical Christmas morning.  At least, not for me.  In my family, Christmas morning usually means smiling faces gathered around a present packed pine tree.  But a few years ago I spent Christmas morning in the concrete block basement of a Methodist church in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.  For three hours forty-two people of different faiths, churches and creeds came together to make Christmas dinner for the homeless, shut-ins and the needy.  Though spending Christmas morning without presents was a new experience for me, one thing remained the same.  I was still surrounded by smiling faces.  In fact, the smiles were contagious.

Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

Harry, a retired salesman from New York, smiled as he rolled eating utensils in napkins.  Janet, a property manager from Vail, passed the smile along as she served up roast Turkey.  Pat, a housewife, beamed and scooped mashed potatoes while Maddie, a pediatrician, ladled the gravy.  Chris, a physical therapist, laughed as he dished out vegetables.  Bill, a university professor, buttered thick slices of bread with a twinkle in his eye.  Mary, a high school student, snuck a grin while cutting up pies—apple, pumpkin and pecan!  Taryn, a six-year-old visiting from Michigan, packed an orange and a bit of sunshine into each meal.  Ken, an irrigation contractor, bagged and tagged the dinners for delivery.  And Tom, a construction worker, hummed a merry tune while he delivered the meals in his truck.

Every Breath, Every Heartbeat

[L]ove this quote from one of our Florida Hospital Publishing authors Linda Hambleton.  Linda’s life story is amazing because of her capacity to find the positive in each moment of life despite the many challenges she (and all of us) face.

Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day

During this busy holiday season–and for the year ahead–I want to remember to embrace every breath, every heartbeat, and every day with the enthusiasm of a child on Christmas morning.

Don’t Wait Too Long

[A] few years back I had a tooth filling fall out.  It didn’t hurt really—it just popped out.  The exposed tooth was a bit sensitive, but not too bad. I decided I didn’t have the time to get it fixed right then. Besides, I dislike going to dentists. I had a negative experience with a dentist during childhood and they’ve scared me ever since.

Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

Next week, I thought.  I’ll get it taken care of then.  But next week came and went–as did many more.  Every few weeks my tooth would become a bit more sensitive to hot/cold stuff.  But I continued to procrastinate citing a lack of time (plus that nagging fear of dentists didn’t help).

Light a Friendly Wild Fire

[T]he bus dropped us off just in time to set up camp for the night.  Tents sprouted, campfires blazed and cooking commenced in a flurry of activity before the sun set.  The next morning our group of 26 mostly inexperienced hikers would begin a one-week backpacking trip through the Appalachian Mountains.  Since the next seven days would consist mainly of trail mix, dehydrated food, and powdered drinks, my partner Steve and I were looking forward to our last solid meal before hitting the trail.  This included one precious liter of fresh squeezed orange juice too weighty to pack into the mountains.

Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

Nearby stood rookie backpacker George.  His shoulders drooped as he surveyed his pitiful campfire struggling to stay alive.  Suddenly he had a bright idea.  Maybe if he poured a little lighter fluid onto the feeble flames it might give them a boost.  Picking up the metal canister containing the highly flammable fluid, George stood over the campfire and let a small stream trickle down to the embers. In a flash the smoldering fire roared to life.  Before George knew what was happening a tongue of flame shot up the stream of lighter fluid and into the canister in his hand.  Fearing an explosion George dropped it.

4 Steps to a Better Marriage Through… Tandem Biking?

[N]ow I’m not a marriage counselor or anything,” Duane said, “But your marriage will either be better off or worse off after this experience.”

While vacationing on Lopez Island off the Northwest coast of Washington state my wife and I did something we never had before. We rented a tandem bicycle. Since both Jeannine and I enjoy riding bikes at home, we expected the experience to be similar when we mounted a bicycle built for two.  But it wasn’t.  Riding a bicycle together is quite different than riding solo.  Fortunately Duane was there to give us some tips.  Duane owned the bicycle shop we rented from.  Despite his warning that our marriage may be worse off after the experience we decided to give it a try.  With a nod and a grin he handed us helmets and explained the basics to us.

Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

According to Duane, there were two essential elements to riding tandem:  communication and cooperation.  Since both riders have very different perspectives, it’s important to stay in constant communication.  The front rider should warn the other before making any changes such as breaking, coasting, turning, peddling faster or shifting gears. This is important, we were told, because what affects one rider inevitably affects the other. As Duane pointed out, accidents often occur when riders fail to communicate.

Cooperation was the second vital element.  “You have to do everything together,” Duane said.  “Don’t try to pedal or stop independently.  Get into a comfortable rhythm of working together.  Then the ride will be smooth and enjoyable.”

Enjoy the Little Things

[T]his week I stopped by my dentists office for a cleaning and checkup.  I saw this on the wall and had to snap a picture of it.

How True

How True

Couldn’t agree more!

Question: Are there any “little things” from the past that you now look back on and realize they were really big things?  (Share your thoughts in the comments)

An Army, An Ailment, and An Ax

[Y]ou’ll have to hunt for them a bit.  But the finding is worth the seeking.  They’re tucked away in the Old Testament book of Second Kings.  Three stories with one message.  God cares for those who trust Him.

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Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

Chapter five begins the trio with the story of a powerful heathen military commander.  Naaman is a valiant Syrian general.  Loved by his family, adored by his nation, respected by his king.  Yet, at the height of his power, tragedy strikes.  Naaman contracts a deadly bacterial disease called leprosy.  At the suggestion of a Hebrew servant girl he seeks out a prophet from the enemy nation of Israel.  The prophet Elisha instructs him to bathe seven times in the dirty river Jordan.  Miraculously Naaman is healed.  Seeing the power of Elisha’s God, Naaman vows to worship Jehovah forever.

The tale is legendary.  A drama well-suited for a paperback best seller.