Monthly Archives: May 2011

Thought For The Day 05/31/11


God is the Ultimate Cartographer

~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~

The physician should look upon the patient as a besieged city and try to rescue
him with every means that art and science place at his command. 

~Alexander of Tralles~

~ ~ ~

When did I become best friends with so many doctors? I think I know them all by first name, I can tell you if they’re married, how many kids they have and their office addresses are on my Christmas card list.

~ ~ ~

Yes, I always had the obligatory Family MD, but since a simpler time when, except for when I gave birth, my visits mostly consisted of well care and a yearly physical with an occasional broken bone thrown in to keep me on my toes, today, my Christmas card list has become the size of Mt. Everest.

~ ~ ~

I have a Family MD, a Orthopedist (that I keep on retainer), a Hematology-Oncologist, an Endocrinologist, a General Surgeon, a Vascular Surgeon, a Plastic Surgeon, a Gastro-enterologist, a Otolaryngologist, a Podiatrist, a Chiropractor, a Dentist, an Oral Surgeon, a (soon to be added) Opthamologist …..and a “Partridge in a Pear Tree”! I actually counted the number of doctors I have on speed dial in my iPhone, and including Dan’s and my dad’s, the number you ask? 18! 18 fathers, mothers and grandparents, who have children now going to Harvard on the Mandy Scholarship!

~ ~ ~

I wish this was one of the challenges in my life that I could hand over and put in God’s hands. I know there are religions where the congregation feels that the Lord is the only healer they need and all their ills are handed off to Him for His intervention. I choose to think about things in a broader view. God saw fit to guide these many gifted people on a path that led them to college, medical (or other specialized) graduate school and into my community to keep the physical being of Mandy on the straight and narrow, though admittedly, with an occasional bend and curve along the way. He knew that these medical challenges would be ahead for me and so, I like to think, that I was one of the reasons these people were put on the path in life they were. God knew I would need all the help I could get.

~ ~ ~

In nothing do men more nearly approach the gods than in giving health to men.

Thought For The Day 05/30/11


Memorial Day

I thought for the longest time about what I might write that would express the love and pride I feel in my heart for every American in the military. I wanted to find words that would do their selfless service justice. Then I discovered the words below. I wish I knew who authored them because he should be acknowledged by name and praised. Unfortunately, the author is unknown but I am choosing to honor him by using his words this Memorial Day as “My Thought For The Day”!  And so, with love for every person who ever served, who serves now, and who will serve in the future, I post this gift to you. And for those who have died so that I might enjoy the freedoms I have…..many, many thanks, from the bottom of my heart!

My nephew, George Murphy, in Iraq


Memorial Day is their day, isn’t it?  It is supposed to be the day a grateful nation pauses to quietly thank the more than one million men
and women who have died in military service to their country since the Revolutionary War.

Or is it the day the beach resorts kick into high gear for the summer season, the day the strand is covered by fish-belly white people basting themselves in coconut oil, the day the off-season rates end and the weekend you can’t get in a seaside seafood restaurant with anything less than a one hour wait.

Or is it one of the biggest shopping center sales days of the year, a day when hunting for a parking space is the prime sport for the holiday stay-at-homers?

Or is it the weekend when more people will kill themselves on the highways than any other weekend and Highway Patrol troopers work overtime picking up the pieces?

I think the men and women who died for us would understand what we do with their day.  I hope they would, because if they wouldn’t, if they
would have insisted that it be a somber, respectful day of remembrance, then we have blown it and dishonored their sacrifice.

I knew some of those who died, and the guys I knew would have understood.

They liked a sunny beach and a cold beer and a hot babe in a black bikini, too. They would have enjoyed packing the kids, the inflatable rafts, the coolers, and the suntan lotion in the car and heading for the lake. They would have enjoyed staying at home and cutting the grass and getting together with some friends and cooking some steaks on the grill, too.

But they didn’t get the chance.  They blew up in the Marine Barracks in Beirut and died in the oily waters of the Persian Gulf.  They
caught theirs at the airstrip in Grenada in the little war everyone laughed at.  They bought the farm in the I Drang Valley and
Heartbreak Ridge, Phu Tai and at Hue.  They froze at the Chosin
Reservoir and were shot at the Pusan Perimeter.  They drowned in the
surf at Omaha Beach or fell in the fetid jungles of Guadalcanal. They died in the ice and snow of the Bulge and the Vosges Mountains.
They were at the Somme and at San Juan  Hill and at Gettysburg and at Cerro Gordo and at Valley Forge.

They couldn’t be here with us this weekend, but I think they would understand that we don’t spend the day in tears and heart-wrenching
memorials.  They wouldn’t want that.  Grief is not why they died. They died so we could go fishing. They died so another father could hold
his laughing little girl over the waves.  They died so another
father could toss a baseball to his son in their backyard while the
charcoal is getting white.  They died so another buddy could drink a beer on his day off.  They died so a family could get in the station wagon
and go shopping and maybe get some ice cream on the way home.

They won’t mind that we have chosen their day to have our first big outdoor party of the year.  But they wouldn’t mind, either, if we took just a second and thought about them.

Some will think of them formally, of course.  Wreaths will be laid in small, sparsely attended ceremonies in military cemeteries and at
monuments at state capitols and in small town’s squares.  Flags will fly over the graves, patriotic words will be spoken and a few people there will probably feel a little anger that no more people showed up.  They’ll think no one else remembers.

But we do remember.  We remember Smitty and Chico, and Davey and the guys who died.  We remember the deal we
made:  If we buy it, we said, drink a beer for me.

I’ll do it for you, guys.  I’ll drink that beer for you today, and I’ll sit on that beach for you, and I’ll check out the girls for you and, just briefly, I’ll think of you.  I won’t let your memory spoil the trip but you’ll be on that sunny beach with me today.

I will not mourn your deaths this Memorial Day, my friends.  Rather, I’ll celebrate the life you gave me.

This Bud’s for you, brother!

-Author Unknown-


Thought For The Day 05/29/11


Letting My Light Shine In My Neighborhood!

(A Sequel To The “This Little Light Of Mine” Blog 04/10/11)


I just realized that I don’t know more than a 1/2 dozen of my neighbors. We nod and wave to each other as we pass in our cars and when I walk the dogs we’ll occasionally stop and engage in a fairly generic, 2 or 3 minutes long chat. But except for the people on each side of my house and directly across the street, I can’t tell you a single name of a single neighbor on my street.


I have lived in this community for over 8 years. In fact, when I built my house here, “Sun Colony” had just been bought by a new developer out of foreclosure and our house was only the 6th one constructed. I chose this location for its small, intimate feel and it’s location just west of the Intra-Coastal Waterway, and at the north end of “The Grand Strand”.  I also knew the price would be very competitive if we got in on the ground floor, so to speak. And I was right.  Now our community boasts several hundred homes and even with the many “For Sale” signs gracing lawns here, more homes are being built every day.


 I should have been more alert and watched for the arrival of moving trucks at the completion of a home’s construction. I should have knocked on doors, said hello, introduced myself and asked their name. I didn’t. Shame on me for that. But perhaps there is something I can try. I’m thinking about printing up a flyer and putting it in the mail box of perhaps a 10 to 20 of the houses closest to me. I am going to ask if there would be any interest in having a block party/BBQ this summer. ( Not a huge affair…..just good, simple food and perhaps some music.) I will include my name, address and phone number and ask for their information back.(I may even ask them to forward the invitation to even more neighbors…..kind of a “pay it forward” gesture.) If the response seems positive, I’m thinking we’ll have a wonderful time. If not, at least I hope to have the start of an address book of my neighbors. I figure it’s a win-win scenario for me either way.


This is another of my “let’s try something different and innovative” missions. (You probably remember my “what it would be like to spend a day trying to live my life as a shining beacon of Faith” day….otherwise known as the “This Little Light Of Mine” experiment…. from my blog 04/10/11.) That last one was a success and I was able to tell you all about it within a few days. This experiment is one where I probably won’t know the answer as to whether or not it is a success for at least 4 to 6 weeks, but I promise I will let you know how things progress once I find out myself. Sooooooo, keep your fingers crossed, think good thoughts and ask our Heavenly Father for His help and spiritual support as I undertake this new mission of faith as I travel along “MandysPath”!

Nothing makes you more tolerant of a neighbor’s noisy party than being there.

Franklin P. Jones

Thought For The Day 05/28/11


Remembering Helen!


I have wrestled with a decision that has been 36 years in the making. It has been a painful decision and one that I did not arrive at easily. However it is something I should have done many, many years ago. Why I didn’t I can’t say but I can’t continue any longer hating a man who, in one senseless act of violence, snatched from me the sense of safety and security every 19-year-old college student is entitled to feel.


36 years ago I experienced the heartbreak of losing a good friend  in an act of violence on my college campus. Helen and I were both 19-year-old nursing students at Wagner College and we also shared a love of art and the theater. Helen was my partner in both our art history class and in a practicum where we were learning oil painting techniques. We were planning to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan….a date that never happened. Helen was a talented artist….I was not. Helen was a diligent student and I preferred doing just enough work to get by with OK grades. But despite our differences, we were both passionate about becoming nurses.


Helen worked part-time in our college library and a man, Gerald Melton, who worked there full-time, asked her out. After two dates, Helen decided that she no longer wanted to see him. Although I did not know it at the time, he began to stalk her. I did know that she made it a point never to walk to the student union building or to any of her classes alone, and we often walked together to the classes we shared or to the dining room.  However, Thursday night, 11/7/74, Dan had asked me out to dinner off campus and after dinner we went to his house. The 11 o’clock news broadcast shattered my world with the story of a murder in front of my dorm and I screamed when I heard the victim’s name…..Helen Surgan.


I held so much hate in my heart for the man who stole the innocence from so many that day, 36 years ago and every time I passed the spot where she died, I felt a little bit more of me die. Back then there were no grief counselors brought in to help us cope with what happened. I was alone with an indescribable pain…a pain that lasted several years. And while the pain eventually eased, the anger at Gerald Melton continued to plague me. And while I didn’t think about him every day, every day that I did think about him hurt so much.


  Last night I dreamed about Helen. I don’t know why. In my dream, Helen reached out to me and said one word that I clearly recall…..Forgive. And when I woke, I remembered just that one word. I couldn’t remember her face clearly but I know it was her. And she was telling me that I did not need to continue to hold hate in my heart any longer. It was time to put my anger behind me and forgive Gerald.


Now I don’t know whatever happened to him. I know he was determined to be mentally incompetent and he was institutionalized. I do not know if he is alive. But I just need to say this out loud, to whoever will listen to me……Gerald, I forgive you. I can not continue to hate you and feel the peace I need to feel at this time in my life. It is not my place to judge you. That responsibility rests with our Heavenly Father. But I will offer a prayer that His judgement of you is merciful.


Helen, I know where you are right now and I know I will see you again, in the next life. But I want to say thank you for your visit and your intervention. I will never forget you my friend and I personally feel better knowing that you’re up there, watching over me and my family.


Wagner College, New York City, New York

Thursday, November 7,

Helen Surgan, 19, and Gerald Melton, 27, worked in the library at Wagner College.  Helen was taking nursing courses at the college while Gerald was a fulltime employee.  They went on two dates before she told him she didn’t want to see him again.  The end of the relationship may have led Gerald to attack her this evening at 5 p.m.  He accosted her on a walkway behind North Hall, a music building between the student union and Guild Hall, Helen’s dormitory.  The walkway is a well-lit, heavily traveled area of the Staten
Island campus during the dinner hour.  A school official estimated almost 900 people us the walkway during that time.  Gerald stabbed Helen several times and then fled the scene.  Other students chased him, but lost his trail in the vicinity of Targee Street.  Helen was transported to Staten Island Hospital where doctors confirmed her death.  Police spotted Gerald 90 minutes later, chased him down and arrested him.  Wagner College is affiliated with the Lutheran church.

Source: New York Times – Nursing Student Slain on Campus at
Wagner, Visitor to this website

Thought For The Day 05/27/11


My Choice Is Made ~ I’m Taking That Step

My primary role since February, 2010, has been as caretaker for my grandson, Landon. Sabrina had to return to work when he was less than 8 weeks old and since Grandma and Grandpa lived right across the street, the decision for selecting the perfect provider for Landon’s child care was an easy one.

And so we helped raise Landon. We were the ones that captured his firsts on video for his mommy and daddy to share and we were the ones who danced with him to his favorite Disney songs. Grandma carved a Mickey Mouse pumpkin for Halloween and taught him to say “Uh-oh” and to use a sippy cup….and a million other things!

Every second I shared with my little “Booboo” filled me with more joy and pure happiness than anything I had ever done before. But, as I have told you all before, we have identified some developmental delay issues that are requiring intervention and one thing we are doing is encouraging socialization with other children. Sabrina and Henry made the decision to enroll him in a structured, faith-based, day care program that operates utilizing a Montessori type of program.

Landon is thriving and blossoming, but grandma feels like she is going through heroin withdrawal. I allowed myself some rehab time and concentrated on completing some “to do” items that had been put on the back burner since 2010. But now I’m free again, at last, and the time is now….it’s time to actively pursue the things my faith is steering me towards.

I have been preparing myself for this day for several months now. My resource folder is chock full of information since I began letting “my fingers do the walking through the” internet sites. And, yesterday, I explored educational options and requirements for becoming certified in Hospice Chaplaincy, and I made my initial contacts to several Hospice Programs in Horry County.

I think I sold myself well….my years of experience in NJ as a Hospice Nurse for the Visiting Nurse Association of Middlesex County (now the Visiting Nurse Association of Central NJ) are a definite plus…but, perhaps even more significant, is the fact that I was the caretaker for both my mother and my father-in-law while they were receiving Hospice care during their terminal illnesses.

Experiencing both sides of home Hospice care gives me a unique perspective. So often we say the words, “I know” or “I understand” when, in reality, we don’t. We’ve never actually had the same experience in our personal lives. But when I say “I know”, I really do! I have walked the same walk and worn the same shoes as every family member and caretaker of someone who is in the last months of their life.

I promise to keep you posted about my progress and if anybody reading this wants to share some “Pearls of Wisdom” with me, feel free to do so….either on Facebook or via my eMail account, at

 “This journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

Lao Tzu (father of Taoism)

Thought For The Day 05/26/11


God Doesn’t Make Mistakes!


noun \ˈgäd also ˈgȯd\

capitalized: the supreme or ultimate reality: as a: the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe b: Christian Science: the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind
: a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically: one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality
: a person or thing of supreme value
: a powerful ruler
I decided to look up the definition of God because I was wondering why it is that society continues to think we can act as a divine determiner regarding what is and isn’t best for, or socially acceptable to, mankind. Do we presume to believe ourselves wiser than God? Do we think that God is mistaken in creating the differences in mankind, indeed in all living creatures, that He has?
I believe God doesn’t make mistakes. While we may not always understand His reasoning for some of His works, I am learning that everything serves His purpose. It doesn’t matter whether you are “black or white”, “Christian or Muslim or Jew”, “Republican or Democrat”, “Gay (or Lesbian, Transgender or Bi) or Straight”, “Saint or Sinner”. EVERYTHING on Earth exists for the glory of and to serve His will!
I applaud the states that are taking a stand on discrimination based on sexual orientation and changing or amending antiquated legal statutes that would bar basic legal freedoms and protection to a person or couple simply because they are gay. Being gay is not a choice nor is it a disease. You can’t choose to be “not gay” if that is your biological programming any more than you can choose to have a different skin color or eye color.
Things are evolving in our country. Blacks (and other ethnicities) now have the same basic rights as whites, and women now have the same basic rights as men. And before long, this newest discrimination will be a thing of the past as well. I hope it is something I will be able to witness in my lifetime, but make no mistake… WILL happen. And this is as it should be. For this too, will serve God’s purpose. And hopefully, this will serve as a shining beacon to the world that, in the 21st century, Lady Liberty still proclaims to those who choose to (legally) emigrate here that basic rights and freedoms are afforded to all.  America was, is, and always will be the “Land of the Free”!
I am reminded of a colleague who reiterated “all my homosexual patients are quite sick”
– to which I finally replied “so are all my heterosexual patients.”
Ernest van den Haag
(September 15, 1914 – March 21, 2002)
A Dutch-American psychologist, sociologist, social critic, and John M. Olin Professor of Jurisprudence and Public Policy at Fordham University.

Thought For The Day 05/25/11


Taking Care Of Home

 Mother Earth is suffering from a terminal illness, and it is human kind who is responsible

 for infecting her with the virus.

We are probably the best educated generation ever and we are certainly the most informed, living in an age when breaking new is broadcasted via TV, radio and the internet 24-7. So how is it possible that this generation has been so neglectful, and even abusive of, the very place that is so fundamental to the survival of man?

Who can possibly doubt or question the issue of global warming when the evidence hits us in the face every day? Brutal winters with record-breaking snows, flooding destroying thousands of homes and catastrophic tornadoes flattening miles of cities seems to be the rule, not the exception.

What is the solution? Just as Christianity requires that we become good stewards, so does our world. And becoming a responsible caretaker of our world only requires that each of us makes one fundamental change in the way we live our lives. It doesn’t have to require great sacrifice but it does require a commitment on our part.

Pray to the Lord to help you  decide on the options that you have and things that will most benefit you, your family, your community, your country, and your world. Then think about what you would be willing to change in your life that, when continued over time, will effect a change for the betterment of all of these things. The choices are infinite. “Conserve water” or “recycle” or “drive less” or “take reusable satchels to the store” or “walk around your neighborhood and pick up trash” or “car pool to work” or “set your computer printer to do two-sided printing”! But, whatever the choice you make, be diligent. Continue this one change day after day, week after week, year after year. Just one small step begun today has the potential to change our world tomorrow!

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

~Anne Frank~



Thought For The Day 05/24/11


Jesus equipped us each with a lifetime guarantee, no matter what kind of pothole
we hit, our tires on the pathway to heaven simply can’t go flat if we simply

Brother Michael J. Cauley

A very smart friend of mine wrote the above as part of his comment to one of my blog posts and I have taken the liberty of quoting it today. I read and re-read this one sentence, over and over again, as I tried to not just memorize his words, but to permanently imprint them in my mind. This one sentence makes any other definition of the words “Faith” and “Believe” pale by comparison.

Jesus never made guarantees as He preached His Father’s message, that the road to Heaven would be smooth. We know that Jesus’ final hours as man here on Earth were anything but easy. However, before His great and selfless sacrifice, none were offered even the possibility of journeying on the road to Heaven’s Gate, never mind joining with God the Father in Heaven when their earthly lives were finished. Satan had successfully planted landmines the entire length of that road, virtually guaranteeing that none would be saved.

Then, the miracle of miracles…. a tiny baby delivered of Mary, brought into this world, pure and untainted by original sin. This tiny baby grew from boy to man, capturing the attention of the priests and elders, kings and rulers, saint and sinner. And His message and gift to man? That we are all guaranteed a place beside the Heavenly Father in the Kingdom of Heaven. He, in effect, removed the landmines planted by Satan. But the road was not made entirely smooth. An occasional pothole remained, perhaps to remind us that the journey to find Faith is never an easy one. Then again, nothing worth really having ever comes easily. But all we have to do is Believe and if we do, the reward we will receive once we reach Heaven? Priceless!


Thought For The Day 05/23/11


A Bump In The Road Of Life

It seems as if I am still waiting. For what you wonder? I’m still waiting to experience a day where the road I travel doesn’t have any pot holes.

Every day starts out just about perfectly. Waking from a good nights sleep and feeling refreshed, I start my day with the mundane tasks of walking the dogs and getting the newspaper. Juice poured, breakfast made, the newspaper completes our “rise and shine” ritual. But what happens when, for reasons unknown, the paper isn’t in the driveway? I don’t get flustered particularly easily (OK, maybe I do but I am working on it), but the other day, when our paper was missing, I absolutely didn’t know what to do with myself.

Now Dan took this little pothole in stride….he had played golf the morning before and hadn’t read that paper yet so he simply adapted, and picked up the previous day’s edition and caught up with world events. For Dan, the pothole was maybe 6″ across…a mere bump in the road! For me, the little pothole seemed to morph into a 6′ sinkhole. I paced and my morning coffee which usually results in a feeling of pure bliss somehow transformed into pure vinegar and caused acid reflux!

Dan and I shared exactly the same day….with the same pothole….and yet his emotional coping allowed him to continue on down the road, while my coping mechanism resulted in just the opposite…..a flat tire!

I realize that none of us are in control and that the hand that guides our collective destiny is God’s, but I am someone for whom structure usually is important in my life. It is the way life makes the most sense to me. Dan, on the other hand, is a “go with the flow” kind of guy.

There is no right or wrong here…..just what does and doesn’t work for each of us. The same principle applies to our faith.

Dan, having had the structure of education by religious, now prefers to see his faith in a broader and less regimented observance. He knows he is a good person who leads a good life as a loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather. He is content, happy and at peace with God, and this works for him.

For me, growing up as a Methodist and then raising my children as Presbyterians, gave me a certain religious perspective and structure, but as an adult, my need to worship, and the way I do so, has changed. I have searched for the right church that fits my needs and haven’t found what works. I prefer the peace and introspection worship in my own home affords and so I join others in worship either on-line or on my television, cup of coffee in hand. Choosing to minister where I can guide, sustain and nurture the faith of others seems to be what I am seeking now, and I think is what will work the best for me.

Now if I can just keep those pesky potholes from giving me a flat tire………………

Thought For The Day 05/22/11


The Hero Gene!

I was looking today at the prayer requests on the “Jesus Daily” app I downloaded for my iPhone, and I realized something amazing. Nearly every prayer request asked was on behalf of another and not a request for intervention for the petitioner. Is it really true that we have learned to put the cares and concerns and welfare of others above our own needs and well-being? Am I this generous of heart as well? Do I truly temper my thoughts with the words we, us, you, they, and ours instead of I, me or my?

I know thinking about the welfare of a collective group is easiest for me in terms of my family because I would give up my life for any of them should the need arise and be thankful to my Maker that I had the opportunity to do so. But courage like this for acquaintances? Perhaps! For strangers? I am not so sure.

I know there are some people who seem to have a built-in “hero gene”. These are the people, like the Secret Service agents entrusted with protecting our Commander-in-Chief, who can step between the President and the assassin’s gun! Or the soldier standing his ground and firing his weapon at the approaching enemy, allowing his comrades in arms the opportunity of escape. These people are very special indeed, and very few and far between. But then I gave some more thought to the definition of the word hero and I realized that there are more heroes out there who never get credit for their deeds….but who are, none the less, heroes to the people they help.

The person who stands up on the crowded city bus and gives up his seat to an elderly person might not seem to be a hero but his action was selfless and certainly heroic to the person who benefitted from his action. The person who pulls his car over to the side of the road to allow an ambulance to pass safely is a hero to the person being rushed to the hospital. The person who stops their car and lets the young mother with the cart full of groceries and a little one in the child seat, cross the parking lot, is most certainly a hero to that tired young mother.

An insurance company aired a commercial the last year or so, that showed people simply doing a caring deed, the act of which was paid forward by each person helped. The deeds were not great ones, but simple, everyday, acts of kindness to another human being. And that is most definitely, the kind of hero I know I can be. I can choose to be kind, and considerate, and thoughtful and respectful to everyone. The “hero gene” kind of hero? I doubt I will know unless and until the situation arises. But I like to think that somewhere, deep inside, that “hero gene” lays hidden, only to surface when it will be needed the most!

The ordinary man is involved in action, the hero acts. An immense difference.
Henry Miller