a life-threatening illness gave me a new perspective, I traded
in my career in rush-mode for a B&B with a mission.
to 2003, I was best known as Professor Johns, who had spent almost
thirty years building a distinguished career in health information
systems. My professional journey had started at Seattle
University where I received by bachelor’s degree in health
information systems in 1973 and began working in management
capacities in hospitals. Later I earned more degrees and
established myself as an academic, becoming a tenured faculty
member at The Ohio State University and later at The University of
Alabama at Birmingham. In 1999 I joined the faculty in the
School of Business at Loyola University Chicago and became
director of the School’s Master of Science Program in
Information Systems Management.
February 2003, while at a health informatics conference in San
Diego, I landed in the Emergency Room of a local hospital with
acute abdominal pain. The doctors there diagnosed food
poisoning, but my symptoms continued. When I returned home
to Chicago, I continued to be symptomatic. I saw more
doctors, had more tests, but there was no definitive diagnosis.
Seven weeks after the onset of my illness, I felt like I was
dying. In desperation I went to see my doctor yet another
time and told him I wasn’t leaving until he had a plan. I
was immediately admitted to the hospital, where after four days of
tests, I was scheduled for surgery.
surgery, I had asked to see the hospital chaplain. The
chaplain on duty the night before my surgery was Rabbi Mike.
I had never spoken to a Rabbi before, but Rabbi Mike and I
immediately connected! He asked me about myself, my life,
and my work. I told him that I had done just about everything I
had wanted to do, except one thing which was to own and operate a
bed and breakfast. “So why haven’t you done that?” he
asked. I gave him the usual reasons and when I was done he
looked at me and said, “Those aren’t good enough.”
had first learned about bed and breakfasts in 1982 when I was
arranging accommodations for a group of career women who were
enrolled in an intensive summer program at The Ohio State
University. I had discovered a lovely Victorian bed and
breakfast located a few blocks from the campus that made the ideal
residence for our group of professional women. For the next
ten years we housed students for our intensive program at this
charming bed and breakfast. I knew that at some point I
would own and operate a B&B and that it would serve as an
avenue more than a business……but under what circumstances this
would occur I didn’t know.
my operation, the surgeons found that the cause of my illness was
a ruptured appendix that had occurred seven weeks earlier and
subsequently developed into widespread and serious infection.
I knew from my medical background that I was fortunate to be alive
and that Rabbi Mike was correct…..my reasons for not pursuing my
dream were “not good enough.”
I recuperated sufficiently from my surgery, my husband and I began
the search for a bed and breakfast. But the search wasn’t
long. We had once stayed at The Bundling Board Inn in 1999
on our way to a Boxer Rescue organization to adopt our two boxers,
Max and Casey Maybelline. We liked the bed and breakfast and
its location in the charming town of Woodstock, IL , located just
50 miles from Chicago. To our surprise the Bundling Board
Inn was up for sale! So we sold our home in the
Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago and on August 28th,
five months to the day after my surgery, we closed on the Inn.
bed and breakfast has been more than I ever would have expected.
Moving away from the intense academic and business worlds has
given me a different perspective and the gift of time for
reflection, writing, and renewal. It has also given me the
opportunity to engage in community volunteer activities and to
work with small business owners who are the spirit and the
foundation of a community.
always felt that the bed and breakfast would be more than a
business…….. and I delight in devoting my energy to helping
others in incorporating holism and simplification into their every
day lives through my work as an innkeeper, author, and