What would you like made for breakfast tomorrow”, was what the woman asked while working in the kitchen at the Woodshed Gathering Place, located inside Zuber’s Homestead Hotel. We chatted for a few minutes about the breakfast choices and feeling so grateful for her kindness and labors in the kitchen.
Last week, I experienced that type of gratitude often during a trip to the Amana Colonies in Iowa.  It was the kind of trip where saying thank you hardly seemed adequate enough in expressing gratitude.
I imagine that most people, including myself at one time, take having breakfast lightly. However, for someone involved with chronic or rare disease, having a hot, healthy breakfast is somewhat similar to a buried treasure. Considering most days are spent in a hospital where what or even when you are having breakfast (any meal actually) isn’t high on the priority list. Let’s be honest, most often it’s the leftovers of a hospital tray, which makes having a hot breakfast, especially one made for you in a beautiful, cozy spot, something I try not to take for granted anymore.
My husband and I share a treasured friendship with a couple who were married three weeks prior to us. It’s a relationship that began by two girls who became friends while working together and grew into a supportive bond between two couples that has spanned over twenty five years.  As our silver wedding anniversaries approached, our husband’s decided to plan a special anniversary trip for us, which would involve a surprise destination.  The mystery location was finally disclosed en-route last Monday, including the fact that mini surprises would be embedded into each day of the week.
From that moment on, each place we visited and every person we talked to, my girlfriend and I shared our surprise 25th anniversary celebration story.  While shopping and touring the sights, we got acquainted with some of the locals. It was apparent that close knit relationships exist in this small community, sealed by valued partnerships. Our husbands became celebrities as people heard about their surprise anniversary vacation ideas and saw how happy they made their wives because of it. Everyday, I felt overwhelming gratitude, especially in the opportunities we had to share our story.
Grateful for:
~The comfort of a beautiful hotel
~Waking up to the smell of breakfast being made
~The sights and sounds of my childhood
~The beauty of farms and majestic wineries
~Picnic lunch at 1:00 in the afternoon during the week
~Laughing from morning until night
~Friendships that last forever
~A marriage still full of surprises
Even during vacation, I had the privilege to experience what Be the Change believes and represents. In sharing our story and some of our various experiences, new thoughts and ideas were sparked in the minds of those we talked with. Gratitude, born out of acts of love, was demonstrated not just in words, but in action. It became its own unique form of influence, which impacted others, including us. By it, we were all changed, creating an unplanned surprise.
The same is true with our health care experiences that become our medical story. When we share them, we give a voice to the patient and family perspective, putting a new value to the human experience surrounding the medical one. Hope becomes more than just a word because of new ideas that are formed and put into action. Our stories, experiences and insights are the missing link in health care today. Patients and family members serving as consultants, rooted in gratitude, is one of the ways we can act fiscally responsible in health care. Together, in a valued partnership, we will be a community who desires the same things and will provide the best possible outcome for all.
I’m sincerely grateful for more things than I could list on paper. I’m reminded over and over again of the great value in sharing our stories, both difficult and joyful ones. They will Be the Change.

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