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Spotlight: Marjorie Nurse Smith, '60

A Devout Blogger

Courtesy Marjorie Nurse Smith


By Liz Doup

In the office of her Honolulu home, retired librarian Margie Smith peruses the photos she snaps daily for pleasure, picks one that inspires, then sits at her computer and writes. "It's just my nature,'' she says. "If you have a beautiful photo, you want to share it. If you have a thought, you want to share that, too."

Her blog—at—ponders simple pleasures (a savory meal, observing a hermit crab) and spiritual topics (forgiveness, the joy of a silent retreat). Entries usually open with the cheery salutation "Good Morning, God!" Their common theme is gratitude—an attitude that might seem hard-won.

Thirty years ago she and her husband Christopher "Kit" Smith, MA '59, lost their middle daughter, Patty, to a rare form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Patty, only 18, had completed two quarters at Stanford before she died in 1981, some 15 months after her diagnosis.

"You become so much more aware that life is a finite endeavor," Smith says. "Having lost something of great significance, you cherish everything all the more. You're grateful for what you have." In 1993, she and her husband published a book compiling Patty's journal entries, sketches, poems and letters to her best friend. They titled it Mango Days: A Teenager Facing Eternity Reflects on the Beauty of Life.

Smith sends blog links to friends and her daughters, Suzanne Smith, '82, and Sandra Bramhill, '86, and gets occasional comments from appreciative readers she's never met. "If anybody gets hope from what I write, that would be lovely," Smith says. But she would continue her daily devotions regardless of readership, as she has for nearly two years. "It's a way to connect with God and with yourself and with everybody else around you. It's a conversation, and I honestly feel that God puts his two cents in."

Smith is a founding board member of Advocates for Africa's Children, which helps the caregivers of orphans in AIDS-plagued Swaziland. She worked for 20 years at the University of Hawaii library and recently retired after nearly 15 years as a part-time library consultant at a retirement residence, where she purchased books, solved computer problems and taught seniors to navigate the Internet.

"The fact that I've had a joyful life is testimony to the difference faith can make," she says. "If you move toward the light instead of darkness, you'll find there's an awful lot of light."

Liz Doup is a writer based in Weaverville, N.C.

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