The Future Is Bright!

The Future Is Bright!

"The Future is Bright!"

The phrase, “The Future Is Bright” was emblazoned in bold letters across a bulletin board in my son’s bedroom while he completed his pre-dental courses in college.  I watched Jake’s determination and sometimes sheer grit as he strived to do well in his classes and seemingly endless labs required for his chosen field of study.  But just like so many others trying to achieve their goals in life, my son recognized that his success would be determined, in large part, by his ability to take responsibility for his own personal accountability!  Most often, doing this requires hard work and putting forth our best efforts in order to help make our futures bright!

Considering the latest tragedy and senseless loss of lives in Washington, DC, as well as the devastation of the Colorado floods, it seems that sometimes, despite our best efforts to be considerate, hard-working human beings, we can’t help but feel somewhat vulnerable to the disparities of mankind and the unpredictability of mother nature!  In these situations, hope and trust can most certainly elude our personal convictions!

As a maternity nurse, I’m fortunate to be able to witness, almost on a daily basis, the hopeful, yet protective gazes of loving parents as they welcome their new babies into the world, practically willing, if they could, a perfect future for them!  I also see the innocent looks of anticipation in the eyes of my granddaughters, and other sweet children, as they eagerly approach so many new experiences in their young lives that will surely add up to creating the brightest of futures for them!

Assuring A Bright Future!

This classic poem by Shel Silverstein, in the book “Where The Sidewalk Ends” used to be tacked to a bulletin board in our playroom when my three children were younger.

"Hug O' War" by Shel Silverstein

The message is very simplistic, but it also serves to preserve my hope for the future–which is in sore need of a supportive gesture now!  It also gives me better faith that there truly are great things ahead for future generations…including those of my children and grandchildren!

My daughter had an early morning meeting at work yesterday, so I had the opportunity to take my oldest granddaughter to kindergarten.  What a fun experience to witness the energy and happiness of all the children on the playground!

"Hug O' War" bu Shel Silverstein

My granddaughters exchanged hugs before we left to take Makena to school!  

"The Future is Bright"!

The delightful faces of these children lined up for kindergarten on a beautiful morning, reaffirmed in my mind, the need for us to always try and work better together to assure that their futures are bright!

What I’m learning now is…

When my parents moved to the city from our small hometown in the country, so that my father could be closer to the college campus where he taught, one of the things my dad loved most about our new home was that it was across the street from an elementary school–he often said that listening to the children playing at recess was one of the things that kept him so young at heart!  What I’m learning now is that in spite of tragedy and things beyond our control, we still need to believe that we can make a difference and work together to maintain the strength and integrity of our core values so that the future of our posterity will be nothing but bright!   

"The Future Is Bright!"

The look of anticipation on my sweet granddaughter’s face as she waited for her school to start, truly touched my heart and renewed my firm desire to always try and do the things that would assure a bright future for her and other children!

Jesus Is Forever!

This is a picture of a picture that my son sent me when he lived in upstate New York.  Although the quality isn’t the best, the message is clear and seems all too appropriate for such times as these, while we once again try to buoy ourselves up and remember what’s really most important in looking forward to bright futures!

What inspires you to look to a bright future?


Advice This Maternity Nurse Tells New Parents…And Grandparents!

Advice This Maternity Nurse Tells New Parents…And Grandparents!

Baby rattleThe birth of the royal baby has obviously been the highlight of the news this week.  (The stars must have aligned perfectly on July 22, 2013, because coincidentally, it was a very busy delivery day at the hospital where I work too!)  As I’ve watched the media scrutiny and press coverage that has taken place while this birth has been anticipated, it made me appreciate even more the calm demeanor and lovely graciousness exhibited by the new royal parents!  Can you imagine having millions of onlookers as you maneuvered your newborn’s car seat into place for the first time!  I’ve also been amazed at the volume of parental advice already being offered up by these same news sources!  I would imagine that like many couples I see as they plan to welcome their new babies into the world, Prince William and Kate Middleton consulted their obstetrician and prepared themselves as best they could for the birth of their son.

Prince Willaim and Kate Middleton and their new baby.

Along with showing their child the abundant love that seems to come inherently to help guide the decisions and actions of new parents, I trust that the royal couple will rely mostly on the examples shown them by their caring parents and good friends.  As public figures, more than likely what Prince William and Kate, along with their sweet baby, would appreciate most from those who are so fascinated with their lives and more than eager to share their vast knowledge about child rearing, is what most new parents want, that of being shown common courtesy and genuine regard from everyone as they try and navigate what is best for their family! Advice from a nurse!

  • If ever there was a time for team effort, parenthood would be it!  Sharing ideas and making plans together as you welcome a new baby into your life makes it so that no one feels left out or too overwhelmed.  I always cringe a little when I see a new mom or dad (or for that matter, a grandma or grandpa) feeling inclined to criticize how the other is caring for their new little baby.  Believe me, there are many ways to do the same task when it comes to caring for a newborn, so unless you don’t want much help with the job at hand when raising a child, it’s best to kindly acknowledge the efforts of others and work together!
  • As mentioned in my about me introduction, the social media age we live in has created an onslaught of information out there for parents-to-be!  It’s wise then to become well-informed about the expectations and trends you’ll encounter with a new baby, but it’s also smart to trust your own good instincts when it comes to knowing what’s best for your new little one!  Babies are much more resilient than we fully recognize at times, but extreme measures are usually never in the best interest of either the baby or the parents.  (I also think as grandparents that we need to trust in the job we did raising our children; they’ll usually ask if they want our advice!  Our own good instincts will also guide us to know when to lovingly offer help.)
  • No matter how much you study and prepare as you embark on the journey of parenthood, the learning curve will most likely be wide and varied –especially since the disposition of each child is so different!  It seems cliché, but just like the words uttered at an amusement park ride–hang on, hold tight and enjoy the ride!

Sweet baby, Makena!

Little Marli!

My sweet granddaughters, Makena and Marli as newborns!

What I’m learning now is…

As a grandparent, the one thing I know for sure is that before you know it, your children are grown and raising families of their own!  The best advice I got as a young parent was from my mom one day when my children were little.  I had anxiously exclaimed that I would be glad when they were old enough to take on more of their physical needs.  My mom wisely cautioned me when she said, “Oh Mary, you’ll find that each stage of your children’s lives is busy–it’s just a different kind of busy!  You’ll worry and care about them just as much, if not more, when they get older!”  So true!  What I’m learning now is that being a parent of older, married children still has its hard challenges and sacrifices, along with its joyous blessings!  But just like when our children are young, it’s all so worth it as we get the privilege to watch them work hard to accomplish their goals and live their dreams!  We should always cherish the opportunity to share in our children’s challenges and heartaches, as well as their successes and triumphs!  (I also know that Princess Diana would have loved being a grandma!) 

What are some things you’ve learned on your parenting journey, or as grandparents?


Just Three Words!

Can You Describe Your Day, A Special Moment, Your Life in…

Just three words!

Good Morning America does a three word campaign every so often that I absolutely love!  (They’re sort of like shortened versions of Hallmark card advertisements–but with no less tears!)  It’s always so amazing to me how the use of just three words to describe a particular day, time period, or highlight in someone’s life can have such a powerful impact.  The insights and emotions behind the three words other people use can’t help but inspire you to think of some you’d choose to define your own life!  At the very least, I’ve learned that abbreviating the perspective on some of these critical times in our lives can give the outcome a more positive emphasis, I’ve needed that lately…

Have you ever had those times where all the aspects of your life seem to collide and generate real concern on all fronts?   During the previous few months, that’s where I’ve been–ugh!  Then I saw one of these “three word” segments on a recent weekend version of Good Morning America, and it gave me an idea–and the kick in the pants, so to speak, that I needed at the time!

Trying “Just Three Words” Approach To Journaling!

A few years ago for my oldest daughter’s birthday, we got together and tried out a new bread recipe.  Her new little baby cooed and slept in her infant seat by us as we made fresh loaves of bread and gooey cinnamon rolls!  It was simply one of those prized mother/daughter days that are so rare when your children grow up and have busy lives of their own!  A few days later, I had another neat mom “payday”,  when Malia gave me a wonderful note she’d written, accompanied by this Curly Girl notebook journal.

"Curly Girl" journal!

Obviously, I was touched by Malia’s thoughtfulness and started to use the booklet to record some favorite quotes I’d come across. 

Along with my usual notes written on my calendar, I decided I would also try and tackle my new-found desire to take inventory of my frenzied state of mind, by using this cute journal and take the “just three words” approach as I recorded my thoughts each day.  My hope was that by doing so I might reign in my worries a bit, and know better which ones were of valid concern and which ones I needed to just let go!

Here’s a sampling of a few things I recorded:

May 15, 2013:  “Helping Malia move!”  It was hard to see Malia and her cute family pack-up and leave their darling home that held so many memories for all of us!  The good news though, is she is moving closer to my husband and I, but they are temporarily displaced while they build their new home.

May 22, 2013: “Jake’s going to Oklahoma!”  Okay, so I used four words here–this was the day of the tornados in Oklahoma!  My son, Jake will be doing his year of extended dental studies in Lawton, Oklahoma–it is located down more by the Texas border, but still considered part of “tornado alley”!  There are some things you just can’t do too much about, so I had to focus on the fact that “Jake got accepted” to the study program that he wanted so badly and worked hard to get!

June 27, 2013:  “Mom died 8 yrs. ago!”  Again, an extra word or two, that’s why I abbreviated!  You just never get over not having those times, when as a daughter, you just want to pick up the phone or go see your mom and have a good “heart to heart” visit!  I also wrote “Married 4 years!”  Lucky for me, my youngest daughter, Mandi, and her neat husband, Cole, were married on this day four years ago.  It was an amazing, picture-perfect day of happiness and celebration–just the kind my mother would have wanted for such a special occasion! 

Mandi and Cole's wedding

I can honestly say that this little journal experiment has proven to be very valuable in helping me settle my brain vibes onto a much smoother course.  It’s been a good way to balance the best parts of keeping a “gratitude journal” with doses of reality–which is how I think journals should be written.

This “One Good Deed” journal, by Chronicle books, is another neat little journal I picked up recently at our local farmer’s market/craft fair.  I have always tried to figure in doing something nice for others in my daily life, but the suggestions given in this booklet help you “consciously appreciate yourself” better, and remind you to not be afraid to share with others “small actions that will have great impact!”   One Good Deed a Day journal!

Here are a few of the suggestions given in this journal:

“Be genuinely happy for someone!”

“Tell your colleague he/she is brilliant!” Since I’ve recently experienced some big changes to the “care paradigm” (who thinks up these phrases?) at the hospital where I work, this one hit me as particularly significant!

“Leave a favorite book on a bus!”

What I’m learning now is…

Life will always have it’s fair share of challenges, I need to be better at discerning which ones are worth losing some sleep over.  What I’m learning now is to let go of some of the worries and concerns that I can’t really do anything about!  "Let it Go" quote.

Please share the three words that you’d use to describe an event or special experience in your life lately; or perhaps you’ve been the giver/recipient of an unexpected good deed recently–I’d love to hear about any of them.  If you’re so kind as to comment, you might find yourself a lucky recipient of one of these fun, small journals!