Crabby Old Woman, Not Really

Angry Old Couple in Livingroom


This past week I was fortunate enough to receive an early copy of John C. Maxwell’s newest book, Intentional Living – Choosing a Life That Matters. As I performed a quick skim of the content, I rediscovered a poem Crabby Old Woman that has made its rounds several times since first published in the 1960s. As a healthcare facility manager it is familiar from use in patient satisfaction initiatives over the years. Not being a front line care giver, it is more important for me to be reminded to slow down and become aware of the story of those we serve in our nursing homes or assisted living facilities.


“Crabby Old Woman”

What do you see, nurse, what do you see?

What are you thinking, when you look at me-

A crabby old woman, not very wise,

Uncertain of habit, with far-away eyes,

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply

When you say in a loud voice, I do wish you’d try.

Who seems not to notice the things that you do

And forever is losing a stocking or shoe.

Who, unresisting or not; lets you do as you will

With bathing and feeding the long day is fill. I

s that what you’re thinking, Is that what you see?

Then open your eyes, nurse, you’re looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still!

As I rise at your bidding, as I eat at your will.

I’m a small child of 10 with a father and mother,

Brothers and sisters, who loved one another-

A young girl of 16 with wings on her feet,

Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet,

A bride soon at 20 – my heart gives a leap,

Recalling the vows that I promised to keep.

At 25 now I have young of my own

Who need me to build a secure happy home;

A woman of 30, my young now grow fast,

Bound to each other with ties that should last;

At 40, my young sons have grown and are gone,

But my man is beside me to see I don’t mourn;

At 50 once more babies play around my knee,

Again we know children, my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead,

I look at the future, I shudder with dread,

For my young are all rearing young ones of their own.

And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known;

I’m an old woman now and nature is cruel-

Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body is crumbled, grace and vigor depart,

There is now a stone where I once had a heart,

But inside this old carcass, a young girl still dwells,

And now and again my battered heart swells,

I remember the joy, I remember the pain,

And I’m loving and living life over again.

I think of the years all too few- gone too fast.

And accept the stark fact that nothing can last-

So open your eyes, nurse, open and see,

Not a crabby old woman, look closer-

See Me.


By: Phyllis McCormack


As I noted earlier, I was reacquainted with “Crabby Old Lady” in John C. Maxwell’s new book where he uses it to make that we must value others. As a pastor visiting people in nursing homes over the years there were always those that never received visitors. He would ask the questions, “Does anybody ever know they’re here?” And “Does anyone even care?”

For me, it is a reminder to slow down as I travel the hallways. Hopefully I take the time to know something about the faces I pass. Each time I have taken that time, I have not been disappointed. What can you do to give a few minutes to show an elderly person they have value to others? As John says, “To add value to others I must value others.” Add some value this week.

Intentional Living - Choosing a Life That Matters
John C. Maxwell
Center Street

Making a Difference

Morris man fills a hole by giving to others

Below is an article written about Frank Keller, a friend who is totally committed to making a difference. It was written by Lorraine Ash and appeared in the Daily Record. Any time I am ready to give an excuse for not doing something for others I think of Frank and realize it is the least I can do.


Morris man fills a hole by giving to others

When the white Howard’s Mission van parked on Mercer Street in Dover Wednesday, dozens of homeless people, all clutching shopping bags, gathered around.

Volunteers from the seven-year-old mission, which started making a monthly stop at Trinity Lutheran Church in July, jumped from the van and into a well-oiled routine.

Want men’s shirts or brand new cargo shorts? Go to the side door. Hoodies? Sweatshirts? Sneakers? Water? Go to the park benches.

“Anybody need socks? I got socks!” yelled out Rick Hey of Parsippany, who became the mission’s only employee after retiring from the insurance industry. Men gathered around him.

A woman approached a volunteer with a box of sweatshirts.

“Can I take that gray one?” she asked in a soft voice. She smiled.

“You got it,” he said.

David DeFazio, who lives around Dover, held his new blue hoodie at arm’s length, admiring it.

“I need some hoodies and warm clothes,” he said, “because the seasons will be changing. People need sneakers. They got sneakers here today.”

Blankets were popular items, too, despite the heat, since people sleep on top of them in summertime. They help smooth out the hardness of a concrete or forest floor.

Meanwhile, at the back of the van, Frank Keller, a trustee of Howard’s Mission and a friend of the late Howard Gellman, its namesake, gave out other types of clothing as well as underwear, knapsacks, and toiletry kits.

“We get rushed as soon as we park,” said Keller, of Morris Township, a tall, thin man with a ready smile.

That’s why the team fans out—to instantly dilute and organize the crowd.

‘Controlled chaos’

“It’s what we called controlled chaos, but that’s the way we like it,” Keller said. “It’s messier. It’s crazier. There are some organizations that will set up tables and have the volunteers on one side. So it winds up the haves are on one side and the have-nots are on the other. We don’t want to do that.”

The system was developed over years of making weekly runs to New York City, which is where Howard’s Mission began. The late Gellman, who lived in Gillette, used to deliver the Daily Racing Form in and around New York City. As he made his way around the streets, he saw how people were struggling.

He was moved to personally help them, however he could, till his death in 2006 at age 60. On his deathbed, Gellman asked Keller, his buddy, to take care of his elder sister, Gloria. Keller kept that promise, carrying through on Gloria Gellman’s wish to formalize her late brother’s good works.

In 2008, the legal wheels started turning to create the nonprofit. Gloria Gellman died three years ago, but Keller, president of CARPET, et cetera, based in Cedar Knolls, has kept the mission alive, housing it under the same roof as his business.

“Two days ahead of time, we’ll text out to our volunteers, our street friends, in New York that we’re going to be at such-and-such a stop,” Keller said, explaining how Thursday night runs to the other side of the Hudson River are organized. “They get the word out to the people who really need us.”

The van goes to Penn Station, Grand Central, 40 th and 10th, The Bowery Mission, Tompkins Square Park, South Ferry Terminal in Battery Park, and Times Square Church. Recently, because it wants to reach new people, in addition to its customary expectant beneficiaries, Howard’s Mission has been doing so-called “pop-up runs” to New York.

“On those runs,” Keller explained, “we won’t divulge where we’re going.”

Personal and direct

What distinguishes Howard’s Mission—and is a point of pride among its five trustees—is its personal touch. The nonprofit’s motto is “From our hands to theirs.”

“I like the intimacy of the runs. I like the direct contact,” Keller said. “Something about the process resonates with people. One woman needed hand cream one night. No one had any. On the next run, she got a ton of hand cream. These are the little connections we make.”

Extraordinary effort even goes into the making of the toiletry kits that are distributed. Since Howard’s Mission began, they have been a labor of love for Keller’s mother-in-law, Florence Colarusso, 88, of New Vernon. She makes sure every kit contains a bar of soap, hair products, dental products, and a hand sanitizer.

Then come what Colarusso calls the goodies—bras and panties for women, washcloths, tweezers, nail files, safety pins, band-aids, sunglasses, pads and pencils, a cap, a visor, a wallet, anything she can get.

“My lady friends at The Woman’s Club of Morristown have been so kind,” she said. “They donate what they have, empty their vanity and junk drawers, bring me all the goodies they get at hotels when they go on vacation, shop at Walmart. They are wonderful.

“When I’m making these bags,” she said, “I wonder if the people who receive them get as excited about opening the bags as I do about closing them. I think so.”

The direct delivery to the homeless heartens more than the recipients, according to Keller. Individual donors, who leave clothing in a bin outside the CARPET, et cetera building on East Frederick Place in Cedar Knolls, like it, too. So do those who run drives for Howard’s Mission, including St. Kateri Church in Sparta.

“When people drop off boxes of clothing someplace, they really don’t know where it goes or even if their donation is being handed out to the poor,” Keller said. “But people who donate to us know that what they give goes from their hands to our hands to the hands of the homeless.”

Expanding to Morris

The recent decision to expand and serve sites in the Morris County area was a natural, Keller said. For one thing, many of the people who run Howard’s Mission are from New Jersey. But there’s another factor, too.

“Because we are here, people who give to us like to know that we’re giving to people in our communities,” said Debbie Campesi of Whippany, an accountant and another Howard’s Mission trustee. “They really like to hand me a shirt, knowing that shirt will go to somebody in Morristown or Dover.”

Howard’s Mission reaches 50 to 100 people each week. Ultimately, it will never be a large operation, according to Campesi. Its trustees, each of whom head up one aspect of the operation, all have jobs and families.

Yet, starting this summer, Howard’s Mission opened its own space, adjacent to the carpet business. That works well since CARPET, et cetera employees are encouraged to spend an hour, here and there, sorting clothing, bagging lunches, or making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to supplement the two dozen donated weekly by Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament parish in Roseland.

“We can make 60 to 70 PB&Js in an hour,” Keller said.

The goal, Campesi said, is for Howard’s Mission to be just a little bigger.

“So far the funding is private, but we are starting to look for donations,” she explained. “We have this new space. We’re going to start soliciting for more donations, especially more donations of clothing, so we can grow and give more.

“Now, we’re giving out a significant number of items a week,” she added, “but you’re talking a dozen shirts, a dozen pairs of shoes—not 50. We’re doing the best we can.”

Existential issues

Keller, the energetic 64-year-old who coordinates all the runs, has a very busy life. Married with two grown daughters, he runs CARPET et cetera, pursues a doctorate at Fordham University, and sits on the social justice committee of the Health Care Facilities Management Society of New Jersey.

Yet he always has time for Howard’s Mission.

“We are the sum of our experiences,” Keller said. “I grew up in the lower middle class. My mom was very ill. She suffered from schizophrenia and nobody spoke about it. It was ignored. I saw that, early on. I never went to school. I’ve been on my own since I graduated high school.

“I started the carpet business in 1975 and became relatively successful,” he went on. “Around the mid-nineties, as I got into my 40s, existential issues started to come into play. I decided I wanted to go to school.”

So he attended the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, first earning a certificate in pastoral ministry, then a bachelor’s degree in theology and philosophy, and then a master’s degree in theology. His background, and all that studying, led to lots of soul searching for Keller and to a resolve to help people.

“You come to realize that we are what we give away,” he said. “We’re all born with this hole in the soul and we try to fill it using an outside dynamic — food, drugs, sex, alcohol, material things. It doesn’t work. What works is the in-out dynamic. When you give of yourself, you fill that hole.”

Never enough

He stays humble, he said, in the face of the gigantic need that he sees all around him. It appears to him that there are now more homeless people in New York City than there have been in several years. Though he may drive into Manhattan with a truck loaded to the hilt with clothing, supplies, toiletry kits, and food, it’s always empty when he comes back and there are always more people in need.

Statistics released by the Coalition for the Homeless bear him out: the number of homeless New Yorkers sleeping in municipal shelters nightly is now 72 percent higher than it was 10 years ago.

In Morris County, there were 273 households found to be homeless this past Jan. 27, according to an official point-in-time count — a drop of 9 percent from 300 in January 2014. But talk of federal funding cutbacks, due to sequestration, could reverse that change virtually overnight, advocates say.

At the Dover stop Wednesday, Howard’s Mission emptied every bag, box, bin, and plastic container it had brought in 20 minutes. At the end, one lone man, who arrived late, tapped Keller on the shoulder.

“Could I bother you for some toiletries?” he asked.

“I’m sorry,” Keller said. “We’re out of everything.”

“Don’t worry about it,” the man said. “That’s OK.”

Hey told the man Howard’s Mission would be back at Trinity Lutheran Sept. 16, the third Wednesday of the month.

“We may need to double our route here,” Hey said. “I’m hearing that people are working on summer gardening jobs now. When the weather gets cooler, this crowd could double in size.”

Keller made a mental note to bring more goods for women next time. Usually, he said, about 15 percent of the people who show up at Howard’s Mission stops are women. In Dover, the number was much higher. He closed up the van and looked at the people, laden with shopping bags, smiling big smiles, ambling away, to wherever.

“You go home tonight. You take a shower and get into your nice clean bed,” he said, his gaze looking heavenward, “and you just say, Thank you.”

August 23, 2015

Lorraine Ash: 973-428-6660;

Learn more

  • Want to donate money, clothing, supplies, or time to Howard’s Mission? Contact the organization at or 973-605-8787.

Jim Rohn’s 10 Foundations for Success Revealed

This afternoon I participated in one of the best webinars I have in a long time. Success Magazine put together a tribute to Jim Rohm, the master who so many of today’s masters studied. Hosted by Darren Hardy the following present day masters introduced Jim Rohn’s Ten Principles of Success. Each was then presented by film clips of Jim’s teachings over the years.

Contemporary Masters 

Tony Robbins, Darren Hardy, Denis Waitley, Brian Tracy, John C. Maxwell, Connie Podesta, Les Brown, Tom Hopkins, Mark Victor Hansen,Harvey Mackay, and John Addison

The 10 Foundations for Success:
1. Philosophy—Learn the simple shift that changes everything.
2. Attitude—Master the strategic shifts to live with intensity, passion and purpose.
3. Goals—Create and implement a disciplined action-plan to achieve your dreams.
4. Leadership—Build, inspire and lead your team to get results and drive success.
5. Lifestyle—Craft a life of possibilities, abundance and influence.
6. Communication—Relate to others with accuracy, sincerity, brevity and style.
7. Influence—Learn how to skillfully paint solutions to keep customers happy and drive up profits.
8. Abundance—Build a life of financial independence and freedom.
9. Productivity—Zero in with ultimate focus and work smarter, not harder.
10. Action—On any ONE day you can massively change the direction of your life!

I am not sure of how long this seminar will be available, but I recommend you try to view it. The current link is . Otherwise log on to the Success Magazine, as I would believe it will be there as well. It should be noted that this video is part of a personal development plan offer. It is one that I will have to fit in even if one of my other systems has to be put on hold. Yes it looks that good.

The answer to whether or not you should do the same is found in the following questions Jim himself teaches us to ask.

  1. Why?

  2. Why not?

  3. Why not you?

  4. Why not now?

Close-up picture of a potter works a potter's wheel


“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

The Code of the West

Three cowboys drive herd of horsesThe Code of the West

  1. Live Each Day with Courage
  2. Take Pride in Your Work
  3. Always Finish What You Start
  4. Do What Has to Be Done
  5. Be Tough, But Fair
  6. When You Make a Promise, Keep It
  7. Ride For the Brand
  8. Talk Less and Say More
  9. Remember That Some Things Aren’t For Sale
  10. Know Where to Draw the Line

From Cowboy Ethics – What It Takes to Win at Life, by James P. Owen

Also check Cowboy Values – Recapturing What American Once Stood For.

Cowboy Ethics – What It Takes to Win at Life
Tenth Anniversary Edition
James P. Owen
Skyhorse Publishing, Inc

Eagle Vision

With LTC. Nathan Sassaman at a charity event for the Christian Health Care Center.

With LTC. Nathan Sassaman (Center) at a charity event for the Christian Health Care Center.

Eagle 7:

  1. Always do the right thing.

  2. Respect others. Treat others with respect – everyone matters.

  3. Build teams through shared physical and mental pain and suffering.

  4. Be all you can be – give 110 percent.

  5. Find a way and make it happen.

  6. Never let a fat guy pass you.

  7. Have fun – make your tour memorable.

These seven tenants, form the foundation of LTC. Nathan Sassaman’s Eagle Vision for the 1-8 Infantry during the 2003 – 2004 deployment to Iraq. Sassaman a West Point Graduate and football star quarterback, implemented this vision, turning his battalion into one of the most successful within the theater of operations.

Question: Which of these can you apply to your work or personal life?


Warrior King - The Triumph And Betrayal Of An American Commander In Iran
Lt. Col. (Ret.) Nathan Sassaman with Joe Layden
St. Martin's Press
Hard Cover

Want to be mentally tough? Stop doing these five things.

stop woman driver driving school panic calm

There are a lot of ways to get stronger mentally; here are five things to stop doing.

  1. Stop Off Loading Responsibility – Know what is your responsibility and what is not.

  2. Stop Taking Things Personally – what happens can be the result of other people’s actions which you are not responsible for.

  3. Stop Forecasting – You cannot predict the future.

  4. Let Go Of Illusions – We al love to dream but dreams are not reality.

  5. Stop Holding On To The Past – Wishing things could go back to how they were is not reality.

Becoming mentally tough is hard and does not happen overnight. We have to learn how to adjust our approach to adversity.


– By Claire Dorotik-Nanna, M.A. author of Leverage – The Science of Turning Setbacks into Springboards


Leverage – The Science of Turning Setbacks into Springboards
Claire Dorotik-Nanna, M.A.
Apr 17 2015

How Many Legs Does A Dog Have?

Jack Russell dog sitting down in park

“How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

– Abraham Lincoln



Do you work with those who try to call a tail a leg?

Have you found yourself trying to call a tail a leg?

Do you have the courage to correct this mistake?