Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cheers to a year of mistakes and shortcomings!

Here's to mistakes. Small ones, big ones, bold ones. Mistakes that throw you off the path you thought you should follow and onto the path you were MEANT to follow, even if it means you must walk it alone. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Season of Perpetual Hope

I was walking through downtown Des Moines yesterday and there was man,who appeared to be homeless,  sitting on the sidewalk and frantically rustling through a dirty knapsack. I imagined that the knapsack may contain all of his Earthly possessions and I found myself watching him, wondering what he feared he had lost.

As I watched, I saw his face light up as he found what he was looking for. Out of that dirty knapsack came an equally dirty red santa hat, the white at the bottom of the hat now a dingy yellow with bits of leaves stuck in the fluff. The man placed that dirty hat carefully on his head and stood up, his posture now proud. He said a cheerful "Merry Christmas!" to those he passed as he walked proudly down the street with his knapsack now slung across his back and even those who I imagine may have ignored him at another time of year happily smiled and replied back to him with a jovial "Merry Christmas!"

I could not help from wondering why if this man, a man deeply down on his luck, could wear his Christmas spirit proudly in the form of a dirty, battered Santa hat, there were any reason why the rest of us could not rustle up a bit of hope and joy to spread to those around us.

love winter snow bird

Merry Christmas, Dear Ones. May hope fill your heart, no matter your circumstances.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Gratitude is found in the most unusual of places.

There was an elderly man buzzing about in a wheelchair in  the parking lot of an apartment complex I was at today. He approached me and we chatted about the weather and the day. I noticed that he appeared to have been the recipient of a fairly recent double, above-knee amputation.

 We spoke for a few minutes, with him doing the vast majority of the talking as he happily puffed away on the dissolving bud of a cigar. He seemed absolutely delighted to have a few minutes of company.

We parted ways as we said our goodbyes and as I walked away he hollered after me, saying "enjoy those legs, young lady!" as he buzzed away with a grin.

I will, Sir.
Today, I will not lament the width of thighs or bemoan my hot, swollen feet at the end of my shift.

Today, my feet will kiss the ground with gratitude for each step that I take. And, for that, kind Sir- I thank you.

Shine on, Dear Ones, shine on.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bloom Where You Are Planted

I was driving home from a long day at work this week. As a visiting nurse, I serve primarily those living in poverty and have become someone accustomed to driving through bleak areas of town. That afternoon as I drove, I was crying a bit and wishing that I had been able to help a client in a desperate situation more than I had. You could say that I was having a one person pity-party.

I was driving on streets riddled with pot holes, surrounded by small, dilapidated homes that I knew often housed multiple families inside their drafty, bleak interiors. Then, I spotted a glorious sight. There were two children holding hands as they walked along the battered sidewalk. Their winter coats were thread-bare and dirty and I'm certain the mittens full of holes were not providing them with much warmth against the brutal winter wind.

Yet, they seemed oblivious to the biting cold and the poverty which surrounded them. They clasped hands and spun in circles until they would fall dizzy and delirious onto the dead, winter grass. If I allowed my tears to blur my vision so that their clothing and the houses behind them were unclear, they could have been two children living anywhere.

Just a boy and girl.

Brother and Sister.

Choosing to live in joy, despite terrible circumstances.

Choosing to be in the moment with someone they love.

We hope to instill life lessons into the children around us, but isn't it often those same children who teach us how to live?

Bloom where you are planted, Dear Ones. Choose joy. Choose love.

Shine On.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

All roads lead to home.

Shine on, Dear ones! Never be afraid to take the road less traveled. In the end, all roads will lead you home.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Present Living

Do you ever look at the holiday aisles stuffed with the accoutrements of Christmas in August(Yes, August- I haven't even lost my summer tan yet!) and shake your head?

Me, too.

However, I think it is more than just a symptom of the endless marketing, consumerism and commercialism of the holidays. I feel that it is indicative of our inability to be in the present.

Aren't we endlessly planning ahead?

Counting the days to vacation? To retirement? To the next holiday? Sacking money away for our children's education, our own retirement?Making to-do lists for tomorrow?

And aren't we also endlessly lost in the past?

Constantly purusing social media for updates on what our friends and acquaintances have done on Facebook? Seeing pictures of what they've seen on Instagram?

We are bombarded by news every time we log into a computer or phone as if we really need to be kept up to date minute by minute of the happenings of every half-rate celebrity, or the latest terrorist attack, or school shooting.

My God. Its exhausting, isn't is? To keep up with the past and the future at every moment.

Let's try something different today.

Let's just be in the present. The PRESENT. Have you met her? She is the moment you are in right now and she is FABULOUS.

So, take a deep breath, Dear Ones. Meet the present where she is. Have a dance with her under the fall foliage. Find gratitude in this moment before searching for joy in a past or future moment.

All we have is what is here now. This second. This moment.

And, isn't that enough?

Shine on, In this moment and in the next.

For the Mamas

Do  not take in the big picture. 

Forget the unloaded laundry that's been laying in the basket for days.

Look past your sleep deprived and swollen eyes in the mirror.

The dishes will be done tomorrow, disregard the sink.

Instead, gaze upon your sleeping child, your screaming child, your playing child.

Those cheeks will soon lose their cushion, those tiny hands their dimples.

So look beyond the mess, the fatigue, the stress. For but a moment.

Today you have the sweet moments with your children that you will long for when they are grown.

Do not forget that these are the halcyon days-

the days that you will dream about,
yearn for,
lose yourself in years from now.

They are here today.

Live today.

Embrace the perfection within the imperfection today.

Love yourself today. 

Shine On, Dear Mamas(and Papas)! You are the brightest of lights to those little souls that you are ministering to everyday. May you be blessed in your giving.

Friday, October 24, 2014


I met with one of my homeless clients today.

 As I pulled up to the shelter I noticed her eyeing my car with appreciation. After greeting me, she said that she bet I had a nice house, too and how lucky I was.

And pride, that bitter lady, rose in my throat as I became defensive, wanting to assuage my guilt about having nice things by explaining myself. I wanted to tell her that luck had no part in it, that I'd worked hard for everything I had. 

However, one look at the lines in her face and her sore, gnarled hands told me that she'd worked every bit as hard as me in this life, though perhaps without the advantages I've had.

So I took a grateful breath and simply replied "Indeed. I am so very lucky".

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Truth Keeper

Every day, every hour, every minute, there are signs-some subtle, some glaring.

These signs whisper to me, scream at me, measure up the unworthiness of my work, of my mothering,  of my housekeeping, of my appearance...of my very existence.

Day after day, the heaviness accumulates. 

Dust falls on my shoulder, makes me shrink unto myself.

I am simply a vesicle to fill with the waste  of this exclusive and unreachable sorority.

It weighs heavier on my being, shutting out the voice of my electric soul until it is but the tiniest of whispers.

But no.

Not today.

Not today.

Today I will shake off this impossible, excruciating weight.

I will gather my pure, glittering truth and tattoo it unto my heart, where it shall never be forgotten.

Shine on, Dear Ones, Shine on.

Shine On, Dear Ones

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Find Comfort in the Quirks

I've been thinking of my favorite stories from childhood.

They are not pages of tales regaling me of stories of the perfectly put together family, living in a perfectly tidy suburban home, all the characters constantly cheerful and with no problems in sight. Sounds boring, right?

No, They are full of characters from quirky homes and nontraditional situations.

 It comforts me to know that the best stories do not come from homes that are perfectly kept, with always put together parents and ever ready stacks of cash. The real, the true, the interesting stories-the fascinating, kind, incredible children-come most often from the homes with more love than money, more discussion than cleaning, more laughter than primping in a mirror.

Let us stop the constant comparisons and the "I'm not good enough"s. It's time to rock our perfectly imperfect life and live a life worthy of being written about.

Shine on, Dear Ones, Shine on.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It's all about Perspective

This morning there was an older man, slightly stooped over by age, walking slowly down the street pushing a baby stroller. He seemed very protective of the stroller, angling his body defensively from those passing, and I found myself thinking about how sweetly protective of the child(a Grandchild, I was thinking) inside he must be.

 As he came closer I was surprised to see, not a child as I had first suspected, but all of his worldly belongings inside the stroller. When passing me, his wild eyes and disheveled appearance spoke of mental illness and exhaustion. I felt deeply saddened and wondered about his story and how, instead of being a charming Grandfather, he became a frightened homeless man. How easy it is, from far away, to see someone and assume that all is well when, in truth, they are hanging on by a thread.

Smile at a stranger today, Friends. Hold a door from a mother with her hands full. Give a homeless person a dollar. It really is that simple to change the world.

Shine on, Dear Ones, shine on.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Blue eyed boy

I met a little boy with Down syndrome today. I gazed upon his sweet face and told his parents how adorable he was. 

The parents froze.

There was a pregnant pause.

It was a pause that I've experienced many times in my career working with special needs children. A complete cessation of breath as parents freeze and take a moment in which to weigh the compliment-to measure the heft of it and decide if the giver was being truthful or if the words were just a cover for that awkward moment when they realized that the child wasn't what they had first expected.

And then....


 that blissful moment when they see the purity in the truth of my words.

The sigh of relief.

The lowering of shoulders that had been prepared for defensiveness. The gratitude for such a simple thing as having someone else see their child for who they are, not who society thinks they should be.

So we smiled and grinned at the little boy in tandem, taking in his singular beauty.

 His smile lit up the room and my entire day.

Let us shine brightly as this little boy with the bright blue almond-shaped eyes, Friends. If it is at all possible.

Shine on, Dear Ones, Shine on.

Monday, March 17, 2014


I have wrestled for months(years?) with the idea of a blog where I could share my journey with depression/anxiety/compassion fatigue. A place for stories, sharing of ideas, etc.

As a pediatric nurse, mother of three and someone who generally just seems to feel the pain of the world, this struggle has been lifelong for me. I have found some things that help me and some things that don't.

We are all individuals and I do not imagine that everything that has helped me would help everyone. It would be outrageous to think so! So take what you need, Dear Ones, and discard the rest.

Feel free to comment and share your journey with me. I cannot think of anything that would bring me more joy.

Warning: I love to swear, especially  the f-word(what a versatile word it is!!). So, I may drop them here and there and that may turn some people off. It's more than okay if this page isn't for you-I hope you find somewhere that you feel more at home.

Well, what are we waiting for? The journey begins now!

Shine on, Dear Ones, shine on.