Aunt Baby and Alvin Wesley

Aunt Baby and Alvin Wesley
Reasons I Smile...

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Can I do something? 
Do you feel like a fifth wheel?
What will make it right?
To listen is key.
Silence is a great response.
A hug is a help.
Keep tissues on hand.
Be just a phone call away.
You'll know what to do.

Otis Redding:  Try A Little Tenderness
Being there for those I care about has always come very easily for me.
Being attentive to my patients and students is a natural part of my approach. 
As a nurse, I am immediately ready for the unexpected and usually feel as though I am capable of developing a ready solution.
One of the cardinal rules of a therapeutic, healthy relationship is to help others discover (and develop) their own answers (or solutions).
Most of the time being present and offering a comforting ear of support is precisely all that is needed.
Our time and loving attention may be the greatest act of giving we can do for one another.
"Our strength is often composed of the weakness we're damned if we 're going to show.  (Mignon McLaughlin)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


In this busy life,
If only we understand,
What it truly means.
When someone listens,
Truly takes the time to care,
Above their own needs.
Loyal, true and kind,
A mother hen of a friend,
Is my perception.
The Pretenders:  I'll Stand By You
When I was young, I collected friends like charms on a bracelet.  Now when I look at my yearbooks, I'm fairly sure we won't be keeping in touch.
Today, the true friends I have are wonders in my world.  To me, with a friend, one can pick up a conversation as if no time has passed, with no judgments or excuses needed.
To have good friends, one needs to be one in return.  Whether to listen, support or defend, this is a role I take very seriously.
"She became for me an island of fun, light, wisdom, where I could run with my discoveries and torments and hopes at any time of day and find welcome."  (Mary Sarton)  

Monday, April 1, 2013


A farewell is sad,
Reminding me of the night,
I feel so all alone.
Tomorrow creeps in
Not all the same, still sunlight
Persists, and I smile.
Memory of you,
Hope for what is yet to be,
Goodbyes make me grow.
Vera Lynn:  We'll Meet Again
These days I attend more funerals and retirement parties than weddings and baby showers.
Goodbyes never seem to get easier, whether planned or sudden.
My Mom died three days before Mother's Day in 2010.  I remember my last words to her were: "I love you, Mom.  I'm proud of you.  See you this weekend."  
Almost three years later,  I still look up and expect to see her.  I can hear her words of wisdom in my thoughts in all kinds of situations. I find myself using her endearing phrases, still feeling as though she is but a phone call away.
If life is a tapestry, then Mom had a rich and colorful pattern, filled with the unique and beautiful stitchery of her four children, their children,  and even some of their children. 
Endings are as inevitable as beginnings. 
From my beginnings, Mom showed me how to make a difference by her example.  In the end, may our lives be filled with love and pride for the legacy we leave behind. 

"If  I had a flower for every time I thought of you ...I could walk through my garden forever."  (Alfred Tennyson)  

Friday, March 22, 2013


I am in this race,
Never thought I'd end up here,
I can see the end.
Like a cotton ball,
Getting strong as iron,
I amaze myself.
Never say never.
You can do it, if you try.
If I can, you can.
Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush:  Don't Give Up
In my younger days, my focus seemed more singular and driven.  I knew what I wanted on a personal and professional level and acted with confidence, whether I felt it or not.

Then life happened, not at all turning out as planned, due to circumstances that were beyond my control.

My will to rebound and survive has made me very determined and grateful. I don't give up easily on the people and things I care about. 

I firmly believe that we are all so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for.  We rarely know our own strength until tested.
"Life is a succession of moments.  To live each one is to succeed."  (Corita Kent)

Thursday, March 21, 2013


I taste your sadness,
Burns my tongue like salt water,
My eyes cry for you.
I do not know all,
I try to walk in your shoes,
I will not judge you.
This is how I feel,
A nurse cares in so many ways,
Even to say no.

Simon & Garfunkel:  Bridge Over Troubled Waters
At the end of the day, we can be thoroughly exhausted from doing everything for everybody in our lives. 
Often there is little left for ourselves in the way of time, energy or even interest at the end of that same day.
Because we are naturally compassionate and caring, we want to be there when someone we love is down. 
Being there does not mean fixing something in most situations, as much as we would like to.  This is a wish and not a reality.
I have found myself in very dire situations saying: "I truly wish that I could make this better for you and I am so sorry that this has happened.  Can I listen for awhile? What are your thoughts?"
Time after time, when I cross the boundary of doing for instead of with someone, the end result is codependency and not compassion. 
"Mature love and healthy compassion are not dependent, but interdependent, born out of a deep respect for ourselves as well as others."  (Jack Kornfield)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I am beautiful,
And so are you, my dear friend,
Inside and outside.
A smile we can share,
Family, friends and nature,
Common ties we have.
To learn and respect
Our differences, we can
Even more beauty make.
Christine Aguilera:  Beautiful
Today I received a student paper from a nurse who is a single Mother of a sweet little three year old girl. The paper is beautiful, written from the heart and just a little late.  Considering all this woman juggles, that is no big deal.
I got the following note, along with her paper:
Hi Maria,
I cannot explain how many tears I have had taking this class. It made me notice I have to focus on me and it made me realize how much resentment I have towards myself.  Forgiving myself is one of the hardest things I have to do...thank you for helping me realize that.  This was an AHA moment.
Thanks for everything. _____
We are all so beautiful in our fragility, our vulnerability and our possibility.  I am grateful that I was able to remind this beautiful and strong young woman of her worth.
True beauty is natural, authentic and honorable.  True beauty does the right thing, no matter what.  True beauty radiates strength from within.
"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty."  (Maya Angelou)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Awe Inspired

Awe Inspired
Standing on the beach
Feeling insignificant
I am so tiny.
I know I matter.
Yet I look up at the sky,
I am but a speck.
I will do my best. 
Perfection is all around me,
 Even in the sand.
Depeche Mode:  Enjoy the Silence
I just lit a candle that is scented like the beach.  I am instantly calmer.  
As I am taking slow, deep breaths...the first I have in days, I am imagining that I am walking on a secluded sandy beach, barefoot, alone with my thoughts and feeling a connection with myself.
Life can seem to be such a race and I need to ask myself why?  I hear myself telling others to slow down and enjoy the ride, yet seem to have the hardest time of all following my own good counsel.
Perfection all around me
This perfection is not me...! That is perfectly OK...! It actually feels like a great sense of relief.
This perfection is all around for me to enjoy.  I need only to keep my eyes open and I will see countless examples in the beauty and majesty of nature.
"Don't try to be such a perfect girl, darling. Do the best you can without too much anxiety or strain."  (Jesse Barnard)