Sisters of Mercy

The voice on the other end of a telephone always sets the tone of the conversation to be had.

Ms. Bubbico resides here in the main office, with a recent important transplant from the admissions office… Sister Janice.

Sister Janice, a Sister of Mercy, let my family feel comfortable and secure when she invited my other half, my sister Rita, to attend Lauralton Hall.

It was late in the year; it did not matter.

We had no money– she would arrange everything.

It was very dark; my father had just died a few weeks before in Nicaragua.

She showed us light.

She gave my family our first taste of Mercy Spirit.

She alone set the tone of the conversations that I’ll be having for the rest of my life.
April 2006

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Bachelorette Gift

A true blessing only gifted to some:
Wedding bells that are soon to come.
The anticipation and planning are coming to an end,
But the true beginning is just around the bend.

A dark-haired girl with flowers in her hair
Matched with a blonde boy who helped put them there.
Holding hands, wiping tears, kindly consoling all of your fears,
Growing closer through all of the years.

Two families and many friends will come together at last
To admire what we’ve seen bloom in the time that has passed.
A Valentine rose turned into a family, a life;
He has already given you gifts fit for a wife.

The strongest love is a love that grows,
From the top of your head to the tips of your toes.
Know today your friends are celebrating both of you,
As we patiently wait for you both to “I do.”

So take these next few moments to relax and feel at ease,
Know that we all love you and tonight we aim to please!
As soon as you’re done you’ll be ready to celebrate
As we start to get you ready for your next “big date”!
3.4.13

High School

High school is full of inexplicable growth, growing up before you feel ready to… before I knew what was really going on.

It’s feeling older too soon. It’s the first party you attend without parents around. It’s the first car ride with your friend at the wheel.

It is a weird time in your life… the time right before you have a firm idea of who you really are, what you are doing, or why you are doing it.

It comes before you want it, and sometimes you need it before you get it.
It’s wonderful and scary just the same.
April 2006

Choir

The voices of “Advanced Vocal Ensemble” ring through the halls, but no one knows the truth. We’re harmonizing and laughing and enjoying every second we have before the bell tolls, bringing us back to homework, tests, and projects.

First sopranos, second sopranos, first altos, second altos… it never matters what section you’re in because you’re nothing on your own. You help everyone and everyone helps you.

Teamwork and challenges mold girls into a choir that is respected and appreciated by the rest of the school and community.

Caring and laughing mold us into young women who will forever remember these days.
April 2006

The Fountain

Ten years of age and all I can fathom are toys. Boxes upon boxes upon boxes, and no toys can be found. The heat is almost too much for my little bathing suit clad body to take. Every new box holds incredible promise; navigating each sticky piece of tape without my stuffed animals, without My Pretty Pony crushes my juvenile spirit. Leaving the box-swallowed room, I enter my parched paradise.

Surveying my exotic surroundings, it begins to sink in that I am really in Nicaragua. With an increasingly familiar Latin taste, it feels more like my last home, Guatemala, than my first home, Pennsylvania. Here, my grandmother is not making fruit salad in the kitchen anymore; she is in an air-conditioned bedroom with Alzheimer’s disease, exploring the world of Spanish Wheel of Fortune re-runs. My father is making everyone happy in a clothing factory, because he is the sweet, perfect father.

Wiping sweat from my forehead, I smell food. This food it is not pleasing to my palate. The woman cooking it only knows how to cook with outside fires—not ovens. My mother gently reminds her that black beans do not have to be served with every meal. My sister, fourteen, is following me discreetly to ensure my safety in this new world.

While exploring my new abode, I discover a circular fountain at the core of a beautiful garden. The fountain is pleading with me to partake in its jubilant dance. The fountain, sadly, is empty, but I remedy its dry and hot stone interior with the promise of water from a nearby hose. The water filling the fountain becomes a whirling cure for the sultriness of the day. I check on the height of the newly created pool approximately every 20 seconds. The first time I check my knuckles are covered with cooling water. By the 15th time, it has reached my elbow and my excitement overflows.

The water that runs from the end of the green hose fills the placid stone pool. I play a game of pretend—the hose becomes a snake, its nozzle hissing and its green scales growing wet and slimy. Venom spitting, the snake is unstoppable to any common man! Secrets of the jungle are known only to me, and as I turn the nozzle, the fluid ceases.

One toe at a time, my foot sweeps the top of the water, and I sit on the edge bracing myself for the moment that is inevitable. Overwhelmed by anticipation, I fully submerge myself in the fountain. The water eases the sweltering heat, and carries with it an almost baptismal like peace.

That afternoon of fountain dipping in Nicaragua is one of my fondest and most cherished memories of childhood. For a number of reasons, life changed after that dance in the fountain. My father died without warning only three days later and we left one foreign country filled with family to relocate to the United States. Life changed completely. When I recall the sleek, slippery, formfitting water, I feel alive, comforted, and innocent.

August 2005

Hope

As we rise here together, we hold our breath.
A new Father, a new hope;
The power to change the stagnant waters and raise a new love,
A pure love,
An honest love of others.
One world, one love, one nation under God.
A hope of teaching respect of all;
Acceptance despite religion, life choices, or nature.
A hope of banishing prosecution of others, because someone simply deemed it so,
And promoting love and kindness, because that is truly is in Your image.
I have such high hopes.
I pray that the truth will ring through the heavens
Unto our ears
And into our hearts.
Please, let this be what we’ve been waiting for.
Please let this be.
3.22.13

Anxiety

When anxiety takes hold, the feelings are incommunicable;
You feel powerless in your own mind.
“All I know is I have no reason to feel this way and I have no way to stop it.”

Like when you are caught beneath a wave, you will only struggle more if you fight it.
Though you cannot breathe and your body is rolling,
Just let the waves wash over you.

How do you talk yourself out of it? How can you make the darkness ebb?
Keep repeating the things you want to believe; breathe and talk yourself through it:

“You will only be who you allow yourself to be.
Whatever is meant to happen will.
You are beautiful, honest and kind. “

Remain calm.
The more guidance you give yourself,
The more you remain in control of your life and your love.

Just remember to breathe again as soon as you catch some air.
March 4, 2013

Kind Words

My feelings feed into the conversations that I have with myself for my entire day.
If I repeat my to-do list, my faults, and my hardships, where will my heart be?

When I wash myself in the shower and negativity does not wipe away,
I have to make the decision to change the way I’m thinking.
I have to take myself to the next step– a leap of faith.

These topics often feel like they can’t be avoided, but I don’t need to dwell on them.
I create unnecessary anxiety for myself,
because I simply don’t remember to turn it off.

Perhaps it’s my inherent nervousness, but I believe it’s mostly habit.
I know that when I don’t take the time to love on myself,
There’s no one else who can help me get there.

I alone make the conscious decision to think positively.

What about you?

Do you speak to yourself with the same love that you give to others in your life,
or do you unconsciously bring yourself down?
Move up, get up, stand up to yourself. You are in control.
How to get there is simple—think about kindness and continue with positivity.

Take the time to wash away your anxieties and encourage your optimism.
Tell yourself the things you honestly deserve to hear.
March 4, 2013

Enough

familyIt’s been a year since you left me and I’m struggling to say

Exactly how much I miss you.

My heart feels weak and my stomach won’t stop turning;

I miss you this much:

Enough to keep myself together, so I can help everyone else stay together too.

Enough to try harder, to work harder;

Enough to do everything I can.

Enough to be the person you treated me like,

The person you were proud to love.
October 31, 2011