Earlier this week, I began reading an advent season devotional with my family each evening. Advent is the Christian season of waiting, anticipation, and eager expectation of the coming of Christ.
The season of Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. In our fast-paced modern world, Advent is often forgotten due to the ever-increasing emphasis on Christmas Day. Now I'm not suggesting that Christmas Day is any less important than it has ever been. After all, Christmas Day is the day that we celebrate one of the most significant events in human history, namely, that God incarnate was born, and his name is Jesus.
Now I realize that, traditionally, the Christmas season has begun the day after Thanksgiving with the infamous Black Friday shopping day. But historically, this is inaccurate. Throughout church history, the Christmas season—Advent—didn’t start until Christmas Day and the days leading up to Christmas, and explicitly beginning four Sundays before Christmas (you should Google “Advent” for more of the historical foundation of this wonderful season).
Now back to my Advent reading. The theme of one of our devotions this week was willingness. The devotion was centered on the willingness of Jesus, God the Son, to come and be born in human flesh, to live a righteous life fully as a man, and to give his life sacrificially for the redemption of sinners. Although in fewer words, this was essentially the message of the angel Gabriel to Joseph, Jesus' earthly father, regarding the purpose of the Christ-child in Matthew 1:21. Jesus was born to die and to die “willingly." Let that sink in. The author of the devotional, Pastor Paul Tripp, simply asks this question throughout the reading: "Am I characterized by willingness?"
I haven't been able to lay this question down. I've mulled over it now for 48 hours, as of the time of this writing, and I must say that I'm surprised by how unwilling I can be at times. Sometimes my unwillingness shows up in a lack of patience with my children or a friend or a coworker. I can be unwilling to be mildly inconvenienced for someone or unwilling to be interrupted. Unwilling to serve, unwilling to. . . well, I could go on and on.
But let me share with you how I intend to celebrate the Advent season this year. I want to be willing, and I mean to take steps to do it. Since I read that Advent devotion, I have set in my heart and mind by praying for God's help to be aware of any opportunity I have to demonstrate a willing spirit. In doing this, I have found seemingly endless possibilities to bless others by allowing the willing Spirit of Christ, which is in me, to do what he always seeks to do. And what is that He seeks? It is to help me live like Jesus, even if it should mean laying down my life for others.
So how's it going for these last 48-plus hours, you ask? It's both wonderful and challenging. I've had to slow down and think anew about my holiday celebrations and how they ought to point me to Jesus. I've had to think about gift-giving in terms of giving gifts out of my love for someone versus because I drew their name. And may I say that name drawing is a wonderful way to decide to buy a gift for someone? It’s much like praying, "Lord, I want to bless someone with a special gift. Would you choose who I need to show some special love to?"
Remember, it is better to give than to receive. And I think it's better because being a good giver of gifts is demonstrating a willingness that finds its root in the greatest gift that has ever been bestowed on mankind. That is the gift of God coming in human form to live with us and willingly die for us.
May our Advent and Christmas seasons be filled with the love, joy, and peace that has been secured for us in Jesus Christ.
Yours, joyfully in Christ,
Chaplain James Chavis
Whether you love it or hate it, you probably see the word “exercise” at least once a week in the news or on social media. It feels like we’re constantly bombarded with photos of young, impossibly buff people lifting giant weights at the gym, and articles about how we’re all going to die in the next ten years unless we suck it up and hit the treadmill.
Let’s take a step back and reexamine some of the common narratives that surround exercise in the news media. Because, despite what some social media influencers may tell you, you don’t have to spend hours in the gym every day to be fit.
Myth #1: If you want to be healthy and active, you have to start going to the gym … No matter how much you hate it there.
There are literally hundreds of different ways to meet your exercise goals, and the vast majority of them don’t even require a gym. The best way to start an exercise program that will be sustainable and successful is to ask yourself, what kind of exercise do I like to do? Maybe it’s playing light tennis with your spouse on the weekends, or pushing your grandchild around the park in a stroller. If you’d rather knock it out by walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes or completing an at-home workout video, more power to you. The main idea is to choose something that you would enjoy doing even if you didn’t have to do it for the sake of your health. A lot of people find enjoyment in aerobic dance classes such as Zumba and Jazzercise. These classes are fun and uplifting, and you can almost always participate at your own pace, based on your individual physical capacity.
Myth #2: I want to make a commitment to my fitness, so I have to devote at least an hour each day to hard exercise.
Both the American Heart Association and the Department of Health and Human Services recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week; that’s just over 20 minutes per day, or 30 minutes, 5 days per week. An alternative is 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or some combination of the two. No matter which way you add it up, it translates to a relatively small time commitment. Most people have 20 minutes to spare in a given day, or at the very least, could probably wake up 20 minutes earlier. If you’re particularly pressed for time, at-home workouts are a great way to eliminate the added hassle of travel times.
Myth #3: I can’t exercise because I have a wheelchair/walker/area of physical weakness.
People of any and all physical abilities can take measures to improve their aerobic health, even if it means a simple form of exercise that only strains a select few areas of the body. For example, many people requiring wheelchairs enjoy the physical strength that comes over time with wheelchair yoga and wheelchair-specific workouts. Hundreds of people have even made a career out of this by becoming professional bodybuilders!
It’s all about finding the perfect workout for your body. Bad knees? Try the elliptical, an effective, but extremely low-impact way of doing cardio. Swimming is also low-impact, but still challenging, with the potential to significantly improve your cardiovascular health. A quick internet search will yield plenty of inspiration from people with similar physical capabilities who have created workouts and workout plans tailored for people like you.
Myth #4: All exercise is boring. And terrible.
Just to drive home how wrong this common misconception is, let’s look at some of the most interesting ways that people have chosen to reach their 150 minutes per week.
Having shared both funky and practical ways to incorporate exercise into your life, we hope you’ll give one of them a try. If you do, drop us a line on social media! You can find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook at @HealthKeeperz.
Have you ever used the phrase, “trying to make it through,” to describe your living out of a day?
For example, a co-worker greets you around mid-afternoon with a polite “How’s it going?” Then you find yourself replying, “Just trying to make it through the day.” It sounds as if we are ships navigating through uncharted waters, or we’re on an obstacle course trying to avoid bumping into things on our way to the finish line. Whatever the illustration we use, we are indeed on a journey, and each day is a new stretch of that journey.
Now along the way, we are likely to bump into some objects and/or people. And real problems are created when two people, going in opposite directions, bump into each other. When the two come to an impasse, someone is out of their lane, right? Well, maybe not. Perhaps they are both in the correct lane, but someone is going the wrong way. That someone should turn around, assuming that they have the same destination as the other.
But even with people who have the same goal, are traveling in the same direction, and doing so at relatively the same speed, there can be some lane creep. On the actual interstate, when this happens, we blow our horns to alert the creeping driver. Although horns can be annoyingly loud and seem rude at times, in this instance, it’s precisely the right action to take. You’re saving yourself and that person from a potential catastrophe. But in life, in our relationships with people, should we be so quick to blow the rude and annoyingly loud horn when there’s “lane creep” by our family, friends, or associates?
Now my illustration may begin to break down if we press it too far, but my point is this:
We are going to bump into one another and have a little lane creep, even when we have the same goal and destination and are traveling the same direction. But our knee jerk reaction shouldn’t be, “Hey! Move over!” Or “Get back in your lane!” The truth is, I just might be a little tired because the journey feels long sometimes, and the last thing I need is a blasting horn that startles and disorients me. If I am tired, I probably need your shoulder to lean on for a bit while we travel. And while I’m leaning on you, you can remind me that, together, we can make it.
At HealthKeeperz, we share a common goal that is communicated in our mission statement. We want to see God glorified through our caring for one another and the people we serve. To someone outside, that may sound simple enough, right?! But, to those of us who know of all the moving parts that are simultaneously working to bring about that care, it’s not simple at all. And we all bump into each other regularly! That likely will not change, for such is life. But what can change is how I respond to a little lane creep or when things get bumpy. We are indeed in this together, and we are certainly better together.
May God strengthen us all at HealthKeeperz to be humble, selfless, encouraging, and caring pilgrims. May He make us like Barnabas, who was simply like Jesus.
Yours in Christ,
Chaplain James Chavis
We’re excited to announce the launch of the official HealthKeeperz Instagram account! This page will focus on recruiting individuals to join our home health care team, in addition to sharing company news, announcements, and local events.
Following us on social media, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or now Instagram, is a great way to stay in the know about what’s happening at HealthKeeperz and in your local community.
Medical professionals with an interest in making a career of true service will find more information about open positions on our social media pages. We are always seeking caring and skilled home healthcare professionals to join our team. HealthKeeperz lives by the principle, “Caring for all people for the glory of God.”
Find us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at @HealthKeeperz. And please, feel free to say hello on social media! We like staying in touch with our extended HealthKeeperz family.
HealthKeeperz was honored to be the premier sponsor for last weekend's Boots & BBQ event, an annual fundraiser that benefits the Southeastern Regional Medical Center Foundation. The SRMC Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that seeks to expand quality healthcare at Southeastern Health. With help from the generous contributions of its donors, SRMC provides financial assistance to grow medical services offered in the area. SRMC has worked tirelessly since 1983 to meet the healthcare needs of the communities where they serve.
The 9th annual Boots & BBQ was a super fun and casual event with over 400 attendees and their guests. We enjoyed excellent refreshments courtesy of Fuller’s BBQ, and a wonderful performance from Kasey Tyndall and her band.
HealthKeeperz is always happy to support a cause that advances and enhances the health and wellness of our community; however, the BBQ and music certainly made it extra special! Thank you to the SRMC for letting us be a partner in this event. We’re humbled to help with their mission, which resonates deeply with our own. Please visit http://www.srmc.org/foundation/ to learn more.
Change is not always easy, and often it's unavoidable. And some of the best change is the hardest change.
On September 16, many of us at HealthKeeperz began the process of change together as we started converting to a new electronic medical record system (commonly known as EMR). Jokingly, I recently said to our president, Tim Brooks, that I have never had more prayer requests in a day and week in all my five years at HealthKeeperz!
But it's actually true. And since then, the requests have continued, and I think that I have found a common thread either expressed or communicated in body language. It has to do with coping with the frustrations with learning a new system, working out of two systems in the interim, and encountering the expected and often unexpected mishaps. I've summed up the common prayer request this way: ”Lord, if I become frustrated, help me not to say anything or act in some way hurtful to others, regretful to myself, and dishonoring to you."
First, I must say that I am so excited to have coworkers who think this way and are humble enough to ask God to help them with their human weaknesses. I know from my own personal experience that the temptation has been present to say or do what I ought not. Praise God for His help!
Second, I am grateful that at HealthKeeperz, there is an undercurrent that is moving us along that flows out our mission statement, “Caring for all people for the glory of God.” That undercurrent is our culture of encouragement, the Barnabas Culture. Simply stated, it's a way of life in the workplace, where being caring, selfless, and humble, as well as encouraging people lifts us all and helps each of us flourish.
I couldn't help but think of a few Proverbs from the Bible that will help us not only glorify God but will also help us support one another in the coming weeks and months as we seek to excel in the EMR transition phase. Listen to three of them and notice how powerful a kind word of encouragement is.
Proverbs 16:24 (ESV)
24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
Proverbs 15:4 (ESV)
4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
Proverbs 12:25 (ESV)
25 Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down,
but a good word makes him glad.
Don't you love the pure beauty of God's wisdom in His word? A gracious, gentle, good word is so accessible to us. We need only speak it and watch it heal and rejuvenate a weary soul, bear life giving fruit, or dispel anxiety from a heavy heart. I think this is how we will make it, and not only during this transition, but every day. With so many negative or discouraging words out there, what do you say we commit ourselves to gracious, gentle, and good words for the glory of God and the good our neighbor!
Yours in Christ,
Chaplain James Chavis
Pros and Cons: Alternatives to Nursing Home Placement
Assisted living facilities and retirement homes provide a source of care, joy, and community for many older folks. But for some, they’re just not the right setting, feeling “too clinical” or “cold.” This article is dedicated to those who might feel the latter emotions. We’re going to take a look at several viable alternatives to nursing home placement, focusing specifically on the pros and cons of each.
Moving in With Family
When it becomes too much to care for oneself, many people turn to their children or other able-bodied relatives to help out. Provided that everyone in the family gets along, this can be a wonderful option. After all, who wouldn’t want to spend their retirement days surrounded by grandchildren? This option is also highly cost-effective. There’s no need to pay for a room, and in many cases for medical care, so long as the type of help you need is minor enough that family members can cover it.
Doesn’t seem to have any drawbacks, right? Well … not quite. There are a few important things to keep in mind before making the decision to move in with your children and/or other relatives. First, is the care you require going to be too much for unpaid, non-medical professionals to handle? Many grown-up kids love the idea of taking care of their parents, but soon realize that it’s more than they can handle on top of their own busy lives. It’s smart to have a concrete idea of what exactly care will look like before going into this situation; that will help prevent anyone from biting off more than they can chew. Many people opt to move in with family members and hire a home health care aide to assist with certain duties and ensure a proper standard of care.
Due to the hefty expenses associated with retirement and daily medical care, more and more seniors are choosing to form intentional communities or “communes” where they can live together and pool resources. It’s not only a barrel of fun, but also much more affordable than going at it alone. Some groups choose to hire a single live-in nurse or team of home health professionals, splitting the cost between everyone at the commune. Additionally, the benefits of being around other people all day are huge for both mental and physical health. Studies show that socialization is linked to the prolonged retention of one’s mental and physical faculties, as well as lower rates of depression.
The big “if” with regard to intentional communities is the people. Make sure that you and your loved one make a careful, well-informed decision together about who you will be living with. Can everyone agree on daily chores? Expenses? Medical care? Try and assemble a team of like-minded friends who want the same things out of retirement.
Home Health Care
For many Americans suffering from a condition that requires frequent medical attention, “home health care” are the three magic words. They mean the comfort, security, and convenience of your own home; they mean less disruption to your day-to-day life; they mean no more days spent driving to and from doctor’s appointments. Home health care provides immense relief from the stress associated with medical care.
There aren’t any real cons to home health care. With advances in medical technology, it’s now possible to receive the same quality of care at home as you would receive in a facility without paying a fortune. One important thing to note is that having everything you need at home can sometimes lead to social isolation, especially in seniors. If you do go the home health care route, make sure that your loved one is still getting plenty of social enrichment. While HealthKeeperz’ medical professionals are extremely warm and friendly, they can’t meet all your needs for fun and socialization. So, make sure to visit with friends and family and get outside when you can, to get up and get going.
Interested in receiving home health care services for yourself or a loved one? Please contact HealthKeeperz at 800-309-3784 to begin a conversation.
We’re thrilled to announce that the readers of Robeson Living magazine have voted HealthKeeperz number one in home health and medical supplies! This achievement represents a group effort, with our home health care professionals and dedicated office staff working in tandem to make HealthKeeperz the absolute best it can be.
Robeson Living is a quarterly lifestyle magazine that can be found in homes, professional offices, free stands, and NC welcome centers across the county. It surveys the best food, drinks, and services in Robeson County. The only magazine of its kind in Robeson, Robeson Living has a strong readership among locals.
“This means a lot coming from our local community, from the very people we serve,” says Tim Brooks, President of HealthKeeperz. “Robeson County is a special place, and we are humbled to serve its residents each and every day. But to get voted number one in what we do – that’s extra humbling.”
HealthKeeperz provides holistic, community-based home health care services, including skilled nursing, physical therapy, speech therapy, in-home aide care, and cardiac/heart care. Our mission, “Caring for all people for the glory of God,” combines top-notch medical care with warm, compassionate service. In addition, HealthKeeperz’ home medical equipment division offers everything you need to maintain independence and dignity at home. We deliver it all, from incontinence supplies to nutritional supplies to CPAP and BiPAP.
HealthKeeperz, which has been in business for more than 50 years, is firmly rooted in Robeson County and surrounding communities. Ever since Howard Brooks first established the precursor to HealthKeeperz, Pembroke Drug Center, in the 1960s, we have had a larger commitment to serving the community. We believe that rural North Carolinians, whether they be in Lumberton, Robeson, or Bladen County and beyond, deserve the best medical care available.
“I want to thank everyone who voted for HealthKeeperz and ask for your continued support as we continue to grow and expand,” Brooks says. “I also want to thank the hardworking professionals who made this possible. They truly embody our vision of caring for all for the glory of God … Our professionals are out there working for something much bigger than themselves.”
Thank you, Robeson Living readers, for this honor! We’ll continue to serve you with the utmost care and compassion, and hope that our efforts impress enough to clinch that win next year. In the meantime, need to get in touch with HealthKeeperz? Please contact us at 800-309-3784 to begin a conversation.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
The scripture above teaches us to honor our bodies as God’s creation. It’s important to nourish ourselves with foods that uplift us in health and in spirit; you only get one body, after all. But eating healthy can be expensive. Let’s look at a few ways to nourish your mind, body, and soul without going over budget.
Fresh, organic fruits and vegetables are great, but it’s just not practical for many families to buy them every week. Luckily, you can get many of the same health benefits in the frozen food aisle. Frozen fruits and veggies are frozen soon after being picked, when they’re at peak ripeness. That means they retain high amounts of vitamins and nutrients even if they spend weeks in your freezer. In addition to the health benefits, frozen produce is also easier to prepare. Frozen fruits and vegetables come pre-washed and chopped, so it’s as easy as chucking them into the skillet, oven, or blender. Frozen fruits like mangoes and blueberries can be eaten right out of the bag for an on-the-go snack or satisfying dessert.
Many of us have grown accustomed to eating the same fruits and vegetables year-round because of the widespread availability of imported and greenhouse-grown produce. Not only is this an unnatural way of eating, but it’s also an expensive one: Food producers spend a whole lot to grow these crops and export them to faraway grocery stores, and that cost gets passed down to the consumer. Instead, opt to eat with the seasons, which means selecting different fruits and vegetables throughout the year. Seasonal crops are cheaper and often go on special at the grocery store. In North Carolina, for example, strawberries are pretty much on sale all summer long. Here’s a brief produce guide for every season:
Planting a vegetable, fruit, or herb garden takes some time and effort, but it will save you big in the long run. Seeds are extremely cheap and can produce plants that sustain for years and years. North Carolina’s warm, subtropical climate makes it easy for fruit and vegetable plants to thrive. Why not take advantage of it by planting your own? It’ll save you lots of money and trips to the grocery store. Plus, gardening helps keep you active and offers a peaceful, much-needed return to God’s green earth.
HealthKeeperz is dedicated to helping our clients live their best lives through holistic medical care and emotional support. “Caring for all people for the glory of God” is our mission, and we are honored to serve each and every one of our patients. Please contact HealthKeeperz at 800-309-3784 to start the conversation.
As I write this devotion, my family and I are hunkering down in our home, awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Dorian. Most of our offices are closed today to allow our HealthKeeperz families who will be impacted by the storm to finish up preparations.
Like many others, I have been watching or listening to the weather forecasts for the last five to seven days, hoping and praying that this moment would not come. And yet, it has arrived.
Dorian will mark three hurricanes within three years for us here in southeastern North Carolina. For many who have suffered past loss, the thought of another hurricane moving through our region brings no small amount of anxiety.
It is these folks, my own neighbors, I found myself thinking about as of late. As a follower of Christ and a minister of his Good News, my sincere heart's desire is that we all, but especially those who have suffered past loss, are able to find peace of mind and restfulness of heart in God our Father while we endure another storm. There is nothing inside of us that can bring peace and rest amid a hurricane. That is partly because the very nature of such a storm is to create unrest and destruction. It is a sheer force of nature that says there will be no peace, and neither will there be rest.
So, it is at this moment when we are confronted with the reality of another storm that we need the truth of God's word to penetrate our hearts and minds and wash the anxiety, fear, and doubt out into the sea of God’s grace and mercy. So for the rest of this devotion, I will administer the medicine for the soul that I have applied to myself and my family, God’s Word.
Psalms 46 reminds us that “God is our refuge and strength, a very help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear. . .” even when the hurricanes come. Wow! The Psalmist says that the place to run to for protection and shelter in times of trouble is to God, and in this running to God, we will not only be protected, but will ‘in Him’ find the strength that’s needed to weather the storm. This is why the Psalmist can so confidently say, “. . . we will not fear,” even if we are tossed about by forces that are, at least humanly speaking, unrelenting and unstoppable.
Ahh, but winds are not invincible. They must yield to the master from whose nostrils they have been blown. And the gospel of Matthew 8:26 reminds of this: Jesus says. . . “why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” And then the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
What kind of man is He? He is the God-man, and He can calm any storm, whether it be on the Sea of Galilee or in our soul!
I will close with the apostle Paul’s thoughts from Philippians 4:6-7. “. . . do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
My friend, if you are like me, this is not merely good medicine for the hours of riding out hurricanes, but is the needed daily nutrition for hearts that can become anxious and fearful so quickly. May we rest in our, Savior who promises to “bless us and keep us.”
Yours in Christ,
Chaplain James Chavis