Tag Archives: life well lived

Monday Morning Moment – Prairie Doc Rick Holm – A Life Well-lived

Photo Credit: Prairie Doc, Facebook

Today an old friend has been on my mind…Rick Holm. He died yesterday, March 22, 2020, of pancreatic cancer. He died at a very young 71.

[Yesterday was also the 5th anniversary of the death of Kara Tippetts…also so young when she died…also a life well-lived. Never met her yet she had a huge impact on me, writing about her here.]

The news of Rick’s death hit me hard. With our whole world dealing with the impact of the Coronavirus, we know we may be facing our own contracting of the illness or, worse, the death of people we know and love. That was the overlay of this news for me.

It’s been almost 40 years since Rick and I shared the same space. That’s Rick with the pipe and red suspenders in the image below.

I was the cancer nurse specialist at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Rick was a resident in the internal medicine program of Emory Medical School. Then he went on faculty at the same med school. We saw each other almost every day, not only because of working in close proximity, but because we were also across-the-hall neighbors of an old apartment building on the bus line between Emory and Grady. He gave me the great gift of his friendship.

Rick called South Dakota home. He introduced us to a culture new to us in Atlanta, resorting to his quasi-Swedish accent to tweak a conversation that went too serious. He had such a gift for putting people at east. I think it was because he genuinely cared for people. He found them truly interesting and celebrated them. His smile was as warm and generous as his heart.

As “hall-mates”, we would often join forces on parties and suppers together with friends. Those were sweet days of growing in our professions and sorting out all kinds of world dilemmas. The image above was taken after one of our many Saturday mornings spent at breakfast at Horton’s 5 and Dime near Emory University. We would linger, over coffee and the newspaper, doctors and nurses, and talk about work, politics, and relationships. We had great times together.

Once we were both working together on an obesity task force as so many of our patients at Grady were at risk for obesity-related diseases. We were a group of young doctors, nurses, nutritionists and researchers. Rick was our muse – keeping us both on task and, at the same time, entertained. I think we all gained weight, working over pizza and pasta.

After so many years at Emory/Grady, Rick was one of the grand eligible bachelors. Then he met Joanie…and it was all over.Photo Credit: Facebook, May 2019

It was 1981 when Rick and Joanie left Atlanta for South Dakota. Rick felt moved to finally enter practice outside of academia, and he wanted to give back to the state that gave him his start in life and medicine. I would leave Atlanta a few months later for a teaching job in Connecticut. It didn’t seem we would ever see each other again, and sadly, we didn’t.

As Facebook does sometimes, a post about Prairie Doc popped up “randomly” on my home page. There was that familiar smiling face of Dr. Rick Holm. Prairie Doc® Media is a project of the Healing Words Foundation which endeavors to enhance health and diminish suffering by communicating useful information, based on honest science, provided in a respectful and compassionate manner. The Foundation engages a variety of media outlets to provide science-based medical information to the greater South Dakota region.” This mission statement or vision sounded just like its founder.

I messaged Prairie Doc to reach out to Rick, and in a few days, he answered back. Below is an excerpt on his life – “Joanie, South Dakota, happy, pancreatic cancer, chance of a cure and wonderful kids”.

There is tons more to say about this ordinary extraordinary man Rick Holm, but I’m going to leave it now..with his website (for his TV and radio offerings, his blog, and his book).

Photo Credit: Facebook, Prairie Doc, December 2019

His book is like having Rick across the table from you…with a cup of coffee and, seemingly, all the time in the world.

You will be missed, Rick. Thanks for leaving so much behind for us in the wake of your journey.

Life’s Final Season: A Guide for Aging and Dying with Grace – Richard Powell Holm

TEDx Brookings – The Danger of Fearing Death – Richard Holm – 12 minutes of video of Rick telling his stories and teaching us how to live well.

Video Tribute of Dr. Rick Holm – Prairie Doc Facebook Page

Obituary – Dr. Richard Powell Holm

5 Friday Faves – Scholarships, Dr. Seuss, Mt. Airy, the Last Words of Joey Feek, and Spring

Blog - Friday Faves

Friday Faves posted on Saturday this week – that’s how fast the week flew by. So here they are – would love to hear about your favorite finds or passings of time…

1) Scholarships – Christopher Gray has a success story which he wants to make possible for all students who want a college education. Growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, he had no money to pursue education past high school. He then began the tedious, tiresome work of applying for every possible scholarship that he might be a qualified recipient. He ended up with over $1 million in gifts. He obviously was able then to complete his college education. Blog - Scholly - Christopher GrayPhoto Credit: My Scholly

While still in school, Gray developed an app he called Scholly to make a scholarship search much easier for other students. Learn more from Christopher Gray through his website and Twitter pages (@cgray91 and @myscholly). Also take a look at the Youtube video produced by Cadillac in its #DaringGreatly series.

2) Dr. Seuss – March 4 is the birthdate of  Theodor Seuss Geisel, or Dr. Seuss, as we know him. He wrote so many great children’s books that we adult readers love as well. My favorite is Oh, the Places You’ll Go! What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book? Chris Martin wrote a 10-favorite-quotes blog commemorating this special day. Of his favorites, mine is: “I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”

Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss!Blog - Dr. Seuss - foxnewsPhoto Credit: Millennial Evangelical

Blog - Dr. Seuss

3) Mt. Airy, North Carolina – There’s this tiny town in North Carolina close to the Virginia stateline. It’s renowned as the inspiration for the town of Mayberry from The Andy Griffith Show of the 1960’s. I loved that old TV show and had the privilege of visiting Mt. Airy recently. It was so lovely. 2016 Feb March - Blog, Sadie, Birthdays, Mt. Airy, Family 234

From the townspeople (we met two elderly sisters who manage their late father’s novelty shop “now onto 65 years”) – to the window displays of quilts and other crafts, to reminders of that old TV show, to bakeshops.

Blog - Mt. Airy - Barney FifeBlog - Mt. Airy - QuiltBlog - Mt. Airy - Miss Angels Heavenly PiesBlog - Mt. Airy - Miss Angels Heavenly Pies - piesAngela Shur‘s pies and other baked goods are a feast for the eyes and the tummy…Blog - Mt. Airy - Miss Angels heavenly Pies - muffins

4) The Last Words of Joey Feek – Hard to put this in a favorite except to honor the passing of this remarkable woman… Joey Feek died yesterday…or better said, she went Home. Joey was half of the Grammy-winning country duo Joey + Rory. She is this beautiful, classy, Godly woman who will break your heart in two with her country-deep voice. I actually hadn’t heard of them until sometime last year when the news of her cancer coming back made it into my newsfeed. Her husband Rory writes a poignant, strong-loving blog about their life and this journey through cancer. His writing helped me know her and I’m so grateful.Blog - Last Words - Joey Martin Feek - daily entertainment newsPhoto Credit: Daily Entertainment News

He writes about her last words: One of the last things Joey said before she drifted into the deep sleep she’s been in for a few days now is, “I have no regrets… I can honestly say, that I have done everything I wanted to do and lived the life I always wanted to live”. At the young age of 40, with this man she loves and her darling 2 y/o daughter to leave behind, that is an amazing testament of a life well-lived. [Scroll to the bottom of Rory’s blog for a slideshow of Joey, to their song In The Time That You Gave Me.]

Joey Feek was one who recognized the extraordinary gift life is and the extraordinary nature of God and His love for us, Sometimes, people like Joey do things that, looking back, seem very much like a premonition or foreshadowing. They see something that others don’t see. Joey Feek’s singing of When I’m Gone came before her cancer diagnosis…but has that feeling of knowing what was ahead…for all of us, in one way or another…

Rory’s Blog the Day Joey Died – So Beautiful with a Video of Joey

5) Spring – Spring is near…as Joey Feek anticipated the blooming of flowers in Tennessee and wanted her husband to be there for them…we can’t do anything but rejoice in this, another, coming of Spring. Thank You, God, for this life…2015 March American Idol & Spring Blog 002Tulips 2Blog - Early morning countryside - Lois MartinPhoto Credit: Country Road by Lois Martin

Worship Wednesday – To Live is Christ; To Die is Gain – Youth Alive

Uncle Bob & Dave at Chance, Maryland

“…according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”Philippians 1:20-21

Don’t we have this idea that some day we’ll retire and gently ease into those sunset years of our lives? Maybe not. We definitely don’t think about dying younger than then…and for sure, we don’t think about dying suddenly. People say, “I want to go in my sleep.” Or “I want to go fast.” Maybe so…but that means living life in such a way you can die at any time. You are ready to die whenever that moment comes.

We have a dear friend who did just that. Mike died suddenly. Breathtakingly fast, his life was finished. We are still reeling.

You see, our friend Mike lived life full to busting every single day. He was a great leader, a faithful mentor of students, and a good friend…a friend who stuck “closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). He was always that reliable “iron sharpening iron” (Proverbs 27:17) person in the room.

When the sparks flew, something amazing happened. Worthy ideas were born. We were drawn out of our comfort and into a conversation that mattered. Whatever the cause at the moment, with Mike in the room, it radically moved forward.

Now he won’t be in the room. The quiet of that reality is … well… impossible to frame words around.

What I can find the words for is a life lived as large as possible for God and His purposes. Mike was still teaching, writing, leading, but more than that he was following a God who gave him the huge life he had. As unimaginable as it is for us that he’s gone, all I can think is that he finished this life…and he finished it well.

We will continue to learn from Mike, remembering his life, our conversations, his writing, and the ventures still ongoing which he helped launch. He was a force for excellence and for pushing forward to take hold of what God would do, if we believed in Him and not just our own meager efforts.

Mike lived in such a way that he could die at any time. He died a man still in the middle of life, having lived, in earnestness and purpose, a longer life than many will ever live. For what? For God…for his family…for all of us whom he touched.

This song, performed by Youth Alive, speaks to his life. We can all live such a life – with courage, boldness, faith, and confidence…like our friend Mike…when “to live is Christ”.

Worship with me.  Pray for his family.

For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.

No matter what price I pay, I choose to give this life away.

I make a vow. My life will always honor You, Christ.

Whether I live or die I belong to Him.

He bore my sin; I owe this life to my saving King.

I make a vow; My life will always honor you, Christ.

Whether I live or die I belong to Him.

He bore my sin; I owe this life to my saving King.

Hallelujah, I am not my own. You are in control; Hallelujah!

For me to live is Christ And to die is gain; No matter what price I pay, I choose to give this life away.

I make a vow; my life will always honor You, Christ.

Whether I live or die I belong to Him.

He bore my sin; I owe this life to my saving King

I make a vow; my life will always honor You, Christ.

Whether I live or die, I belong to Him

He bore my sin; I owe this life to my saving King.

Hallelujah, I am not my own. You are in control, Hallelujah!

For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.

No matter what price I pay, I choose to give this life away (X2)

Only by the cross I am saved.

Hallelujah, I am not my own. You are in control. Hallelujah!

For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.

No matter what price I pay, I choose to give this life away. (X2)

Only by the cross I am saved. (X3)

YouTube Video – To Live is Christ – Youth Alive NSW

Lyrics to Youth Alive’s To Live is Christ

Worship Wednesday – Breathing In Your Grace, Breathing Out Your Praise – Your Grace Finds Me by Matt Redman