We are humbled by the heartwarming stories about why our employees chose to join our ministry at Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS). Some share stories about their grandparents inspiring them to serve from a young age; others were drawn in by a desire to have purpose-driven work. Whatever the reason, we are blessed by every compassionate heart that serves within PHS.
Housing Administrator Lori Morris from Norris Square in Cottage Grove, MN, was a middle school teacher for many years before making the shift into healthcare administration. She shares that her choice to make this career change is hard to put into words, so she uses pictures in her office as a daily reminder of her “why.”
“We all have a reason we get out of bed each morning to work in the positions we do. I was a teacher for 19 years and truly loved that career as God worked through me to make a difference in the lives of middle school students and their families each and every day.
God changed my career path in 2016.
Although I loved teaching and loved working with middle school students and families, it was on my heart to change careers. God actually gave me a dream on February 4, 2016 that I was to go into Healthcare Administration. I had no idea what this was, so I did some research. As it happens, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire was only two miles from my home and has one of the best healthcare administration programs in the country. God’s timing is so perfect! I completed the program and graduated in May 2018.
Why did God call me into healthcare administration? It is a hard concept to put into words, so I use pictures in my office to remind me daily of “My Why.”
There are nine canvas photographs of my relatives in my office, at various stages of life, circling the words, “My Why.” The first photo is my grandma, Dekla, as a child with her brother and sisters surrounding her in 1905. Then there are several other photos of my parents and grandparents. All of the photos remind me that each of the people we serve was someone’s baby, possibly someone’s brother/sister, wife/husband, and so on. They have experienced both celebration and loss. They grew up in a different time and have so many stories to tell and knowledge to impart.
My mom shared both the good and the not-so-good stories about growing up while living with her grandma. It was those experiences that helped create who my mom is today: a kind, compassionate and giving woman. It is a reminder that all of our lives impact one another.
My grandma Dekla had Alzheimer’s disease and eventually lived in a nursing home. In those days, they weren’t quite sure how to deal with the disease so she didn’t have the greatest experience. She was even tied to her wheelchair at times. I can’t help but wonder if anyone actually took the time to know who she was. What if someone had given her some yarn and knitting needles? Or if someone had known she loved to play the organ and accordion, maybe her last days would have been very different. This translates to “My Why.”
How can we really get to know the people we serve?
How can we learn what makes them happy?
Do we know their stories?
Each time I leave my office, I look at my wall as a reminder to see the person behind whomever I come in contact with.
My personal mission statement that is posted at my desk and I read every morning boils down to an acronym:
J - Just for today, let me be a blessing with
E - eyes and ears ready to
S - see other’s needs and hearts as I
U - uplift your name while serving and living by
S - simply allowing others to see you alive in my life.
“My Why” ultimately boils down to the fact that God gave me a dream to fulfill His vision and mission to minister to older adults.”
A leap of faith
Even though Lori had a successful career in teaching, when she felt called to serve older adults, she took a leap of faith. Lori’s family inspires her to serve others with compassion and genuine concern, treating the people she serves as if they were her own family members.
If you feel called to serve older adults, explore a career with PHS and find an opportunity that fits you on our careers page.