The Chapel, by Randal Fath – 2016

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“A childlike adult is not one whose development is arrested; on the contrary, he is an adult who has given himself a chance of continuing to develop long after most people have muffled themselves into a cocoon of middle age habit and convention.”  Aldous Huxley 

If you are in the latter half of life or the caretaker of a loved one,

this website is designed for you.

As a medical doctor and medical educator, we have heard the stories of persons dwindling into an unremarkable old age, settling for a purposeless drift to the end of their lives.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

You can find fresh joy and purpose in life. We want to provide the inspiration and motivation to experience life to its fullest and to help you prepare for a meaningful end of life. Living joyfully and dying well hold in common the need for change from purposeless drifting to being intentional and proactive. That’s what we, Glen and Jep, want to look forward to in our future and that’s  what we want for you.

To find out more about us, click here:   About Glen  About Jep

The following two excerpts introduce you to our areas of interest.

From Glen: “So, were you dead?” Not a common way to start a conversation with a stranger. The question came to me from a young news photographer. We had just finished a news conference called by the South Bend Fire Department to encourage people to learn to do CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation). As a survivor of a cardiac arrest six weeks earlier, I was exhibit A for a successful resuscitation. The photographer heard how my heart had stopped and I was no longer breathing. Common sense told him I must have died. But obviously I wasn’t dead. All the right people were present when my heart stopped and did CPR that kept me alive until the EMT squad arrived to give me the electrical shock that re-started my heart. After five days in the hospital, I gradually returned to my normal activity.That was more than three years ago. Having survived against the odds, I became serious about planning for my own end of life and to find ways for whatever time I have left to be joy-filled and constructive.

This website in one way I plan to do that. Planning can make a world of difference between a good death and a bad death. The plan for my good death is in my book, Living Thoughtfully, Dying Well  You may want to check out the “seven outcomes”.  Seven outcomes of planning for end-of-life care. 

Jep’s Welcome. Why is it that some people laugh easily and well and others simply are laughter challenged? What does humor have to do with well-being? Why do some folks seem to “age well” while others tend not to do such a good job? What causes the most anxiety for those of us who are in the upper age brackets? Is independence the same as control? When our aging bodies change, our eyesight changes, and our understanding of the world is being questioned on every side, is there a way to manage all this frustration? Is joy really an adequate construct for looking at well-being? What is well-being anyway? It would be great if I could give us all the answers to these questions. It would be impossible for one person to be able to cover all these topics in a weekly blog. What I can do is share ideas of what I have learned over the years, I can point you to excellent resources, and I can listen to your stories of wonder, balance, and living joyfully. These will be the journeys we take together with future blogs. WELCOME ABOARD      

About Glen                 About Jep       

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34 thoughts on “Welcome!”

  1. Good morning, Glen & Jep! I was excited to hear about your excursion into the blogging world! I started my blog, In Momopause, just over a year ago. I’ve learned a lot and connected with many interesting individuals.

    I began my blog as a creative outlet and a way to process this new-ish stage of my life. Recently I’ve taken up the practice of weekly gratitude with a group of other bloggers.

    Am looking forward to reading more of what you both have to share!


    1. Thank you kindly for your positive comments. We are finding our way, and finding it great fun to work
      with each other I will check out your blog as well.
      Jep (for Jep and GLen)

  2. Your website’s title is intriguing, and I, for one, will be looking forward to more tips on Living Thoughtfully and Dying Well. Thanks for a place to find joy and peace as we age, and look forward to being prepared for our journey in life until God calls us Home. I would be interested in ways to handle a parent whose dementia often turns him/her into a very angry person and the aging children and caretakers become targets of that anger. Any suggestions?

    1. Dee, Thanks for your comment. Dementia is such a tragedy, such a hollow existence for the sufferers. I have no answers to what turns one person into a sweet loving person and another into an angry paranoid person. There are no easy answers. glen

      1. May I offer a comment for Dee? It is vital for a caregiver of not only a person with dementia but with any long term ailment, to monitor oneself carefully. If you feel yourself resenting, being irritated by or even angry with your loved one, See this is a memo to self: Take a break! Remind yourself that your loved one can’t help him or herself. He or she is at the mercy of his or her declining personal resources. …but that You can and must help yourself, for bothof your sakes…in any way possible …to regain your ability to cope effectively. If the situation is confrontative, if at all possible, walk away, take a deep breath and take as long as you need to calm down. Have a cup of tea, do whatever it takes. If needed, hire someone effective to come and and relieve you, if even for a few hours a day or every few days…then use that time to do something loving for yourself. I know these words sound like trite advice, but sometimes in life, even a little self care goes a long way to brighten one’s spirit.

  3. Blessings on the two of you. What you have started with is so pertinent.
    I will look forward to this, and will “try” to make the changes that are
    needed in my own life to match your enthusiasm for living.
    It is humorous within itself. One person who has “died” or come close
    to it three times, and one person who is a humorist. What a pair !!!
    I hope I don’t “die laughing”.

  4. Glen & Jep,

    I find that being on the other side of 50 has become quite a life changer. I went from mother of four, hip and cool, feeling young and vibrant to grandmother of two and partially deaf and blind. Just like that. However, from your blog I’m getting rejuvenated that yes, I am changing and yes, I may not look and feel as young as I did at 40, but, hey, there’s a lot more livin’ to be had and I need to buck up and get with the program. As a friend of mine commented, “we are too old to be young and too young to be old”. This mid-life is something you hear about when you are 30, but, when you hit it, it becomes this “no mans land” and who do you talk to about it. Women need women to talk to, but, not many women want to give anything up . . . like there’s this big dark secret that they need to keep. Men, on the other hand, have no clue what women are experiencing. And, they, too, are going through their own series of changes and adjustments. Thanks for breaking open the discussion. I look forward to your blogs and insights.

    1. Elisa,
      How kind of you to write. You have opened a very large subject regarding the need to have peers who are willing to delve into the matters surrounding aging. Richard Rohr’s wonderful book Falling Upward really does a nice job of outlining possibilities for the first and second “halves” of life. I recommend it highly. So good to hear from you as I have fond memories of Collegeville and our four months at the Institute. I’m sure Glen will write his own response as well.

    1. Dr. Dan,
      Thanks for taking a look at our blog. O.K., Glen may be old enough but I am still a youngster by comparison. Still, we both agree that it is never too early to talk about end-of-life matters, because they do matter.

  5. Living each day with purpose and joy is very important to me. This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. I am thankful!

    1. Mary Lu,
      So good to hear you are a joyful, and joy-filled person. Your attitude of gratitude, and your steadfast understanding of what it means when we say, “It is what it is.” Thanks for sharing.

  6. Thank you for coming into our home each week. Rheta Mae and I are both 86, in good health and love to know your thoughts for people in our stage in life. Glen, I am also reading your book: “Living Thoughtfully, Dying Well.” Everence says my MRT will last till I am 99, so presumably I have some time to put into practice your great advise. We feel challenged by our mission options and just being wholesome and supportive grandparents. Keep up the good work, we will all keep reading your notes of wisdom.-Peter

    1. Glen and I are having a great time working together. We do appreciate feedback so we can begin to work toward attending to our audience questions and concerns. Thanks for the encouragement.

  7. Catching up on both of you, the last several blogs, I find they are indeed complementary. Jep’s “Gratitude” and Glen’s “Sour or Sweet” for example, raised a question for me: when interacting with friends who are viewing life on the sour side, how do I graciously inject a note of serene gratitude without seeming to be hopelessly Pollyanna? Thanks you “old guys,” keep up the good work/words.

    1. A recent scientific study indicates that men particularly, tend to begin to turn more grumpy at about age 70. If your friend is over 70 and tends to look on the dark side all the time, there are no easy fixes. Consider what things make your friend smile, if anything? Grandchildren’s notes, cartoons, etc. I know smiling is not gratitude but if we can help our friends smile or laugh a little, we can quickly comment on the gift of laughter and how grateful YOU are that humans can participate. You can at the very least, be a good example.

    2. Alice, Your question is a good one. I marked it for further thought. If you have further insights on this let us know and we will schedule you for a guest blog. I plan to review what Jean Chivingtom has to say about it. glen

  8. I have a suggestion for the two of you. I have been to 2 or 3 funerals in the past couple of years that were not particularly helpful. I know that neither of you are pastors, and that might be a good thing. I was at one (not in Goshen) where I am sure (?) that the pastor did not know the person who had died (my brother). His meditation sounded like pages 46-50 of the funeral manual for pastors.
    Have you given any thought to what goes into a good funeral meditation? How do we link the life of the person with the sadness we have that this life is no longer with us? How do we help pastors who wind up feeling they have to say things at funerals that neither we, nor they, believe—mostly because it is the stuff that has always been said at a funeral. Any good counsel?

    1. Your questions reminds me of the time when I was asked to give the eulogy at the memorial service of a person whose approach to life and belief was as an agnostic. I decided that my goals would be to support the family and to be authentic in what I said. I said that I appreciated his many admirable qualities including his warn caring nature, his unstinting honesty and sense of humor. I read a poem by Khilil Gibron on death and the life hereafter. I felt no need to judge his theology. That is a task I felt was not mine to do. Glen

  9. “In Christ we will all be made alive…” Death occurs on a hundred percent scale. Our link to Adam is inviolable. Death is unyielding, but it is not the end. With Christ we pass through death to the resurrection. When we see Jesus face to face, we will dance, whether we were crippled, or athletic, Christ’s power will transform us. With this hope and true promise we can “live joyfully and dye peacefully.”

  10. Just a comment to Don regarding the funeral he attended that was less than helpful. My own experience planning a funeral for my late husband was so enhanced by the things he had already put down on paper regarding his wishes. “No somber songs and readings but please celebrate. ” He even injected some humor into those last lines and we as a family had something to run with as we remembered him and celebrated. It made it easy to have his favorite band playing and include some of the church choirs renditions of Moses Hogan spirituals. We also shook things up with an ice cream bar to make your own sundae rather than the usual “funeral food” as he always called it.
    It has a lot to do with what we as people are willing to talk about NOW with our families. Do some of the hard stuff, face the emotional pain and go through it. It makes it a lot easier for those left behind and opens all kinds of doors for creative celebration.

    Thanks Glen and Jep for opening up this subject and encouraging a more wholesome, healthy and well-rounded way of living and at some time, dying.

    1. Thanks Ella for your account of your husband’s preparation for his funeral. One of the things I emphasize in my book is that our time of dying needs to reflect who we are. Your husband clearly seized the chance to do just that including his sense of humor. Thanks for sharing. Glen

  11. Just wondering, Jep, if you’ve taught anyone else yet, to do the “Tearing down the Newspaper” trick – to perform at your funeral?? 😉 (My video of you doing this at MMA does NOT give away your secrets, as you accurately predicted)

  12. Glen and Marilyn, congratulations on your 60th wedding anniversary. What a blessing . . . the family trip together to celebrate your life and love together sounds fabulous. What a gift to you and your children. Making each moment count and not taking for granted the joy we have right in front of our eyes is not always obvious. Thanks for the reminders that we make our lives worth living. God bless you all!

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