Meet Our Contributors

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses

Meet Our Contributors

Alyssa Annunziato recently received her master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Vanguard University. After her yearlong battle with cancer and a diagnosis of myasthenia gravis, Alyssa hopes to encourage and inspire others by sharing her story. She is also in the process of becoming a licensed therapist.

Craig S. Baker is a freelance writer and journalist. He received his B.A. degree in Creative Writing with Honors from the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he lives with his wife and three dogs. Craig also maintains the blog “Starting From Scratch,” which offers writing advice from industry professionals at

Judy Mae Benson received her BSN degree from the University of Phoenix in 2008 and her CNOR in 1992. She lives in Eastern Washington State with her significant other Terry and daughter Melissa. She is an operating room ANM and enjoys hiking, vintage Barbie dolls, Mariners baseball and cruising the world.

Christine Bielecki has been a registered nurse in hospice care for over fourteen years. Her interaction with the patients and their loved ones is an inspiration to her. Nursing is her vocation rather than a career. She is the proud grandmother of eight beautiful children. She plans to write a hospice book.

A writer, teacher, and editor, Bruce Black graduated from Columbia University and earned his MFA degree in writing from Vermont College (now Vermont College of Fine Arts). He is the author of Writing Yoga (Rodmell Press), and his stories have appeared in Cricket and Cobblestone magazines and other publications.

Barbara Brady lives in Topeka, KS with her husband of sixty years. Barbara has previously been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She finds pleasure in family, friends, reading and writing.

Cassandra Brent is the pseudonym for an author, poet, playwright, and screenwriter with ten letters after her name. She’s a Literary Midwife with more than two decades of teaching classes on everything from Creative Writing in an Upward Bound Program to Dramatic Technique for Fiction Writers. Her favorite color is periwinkle.

Nancy Brooks received her Nursing Diploma from Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo Ohio and Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nursing from Eastern Michigan University magna cum laude. She enjoys time with her family and advocates for autistic families. She’s been a NICU RN for over twenty-five years in Michigan and Ohio.

Jackie Brumley received her BSN degree with Honors in 2008, MSN with Honors in 2013, and is the Unit Manager at the VA Hospital Cancer Care Center. Jackie enjoys quilting, being outdoors, reading and traveling with her husband and two sons. With a passion for writing, this is the first story she has submitted for publication.

Annettee Budzban is a Christian author, inspirational speaker, life coach and nurse living in the Chicagoland area. Her column “Christian Inspirations” is featured weekly in the Daily Herald, Lake County, IL. Her writings appear other places such as Guideposts books and magazines. E-mail her at [email protected].

Jill Burns lives in the mountains of West Virginia with her wonderful family. She’s a retired piano teacher and performer. Jill enjoys writing, music, gardening, nature, and spending time with her grandchildren.

Elizabeth Carroll has worked as a registered nurse for over twenty-five years. She has enjoyed the fine art of giving great care combined with a life of praying for her patients. She has held the hands of one dying and has spoken words of hope to the one held captive in a coma. E-mail her at [email protected].

Mary Carroll-Hackett holds an MFA from Bennington College. She is the author of The Real Politics of Lipstick, Animal Soul, If We Could Know Our Bones, and The Night I Heard Everything. She teaches at Longwood University in Virginia. She is working on a memoir.

Penelope Childers is a published author and enjoys writing inspirational true stories. She and her husband enjoy traveling and live in Central California. E-mail her at [email protected].

Michelle Civalier received her B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering from Arizona State University in 2005. She has authored several other short works, including two in Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms. Her long-term goal is to find time to write something longer than 1,200 words. E-mail her at [email protected].

Mary Clary is a retired cardiology research nurse. She is currently a Volunteer RN in the hospital setting. Mary is now able to give back by fulfilling her need to take care of people.

Amanda Conley received her Bachelor of Nursing degree from LaSalle University and currently is enrolled in their nurse anesthesia program. She dedicates her story to her loving husband Kevin and beautiful eight-month-old daughter, Stella Marie. She also thanks her family for their love and support.

Lorri Danzig holds a master’s degree in Jewish Studies. She teaches nondenominational programs for elders that approach aging as a journey of deepening wisdom and expanded possibilities. Her essays and poetry are published in journals and anthologies. Contact her at or e-mail [email protected].

Doug Dascenzo received his Bachelor of Science degree in Professional Nursing from Wayne State University–Detroit in 1984. In 2000, he completed his MSN degree in Nursing Administration at Madonna University, Livonia, MI. Doug is currently attending the University of Pittsburgh where he is pursuing his DNP in Executive Leadership.

Flora Dash was raised in Eugene, OR and now resides in New York City. She enjoys spending time with her many pets, which include hamsters, parakeets, and dogs. She received her master’s degree in Forest Ecology, and will soon spend three months in Poland’s Białowieza Forest researching avian species.

Jill Davis lives with her husband Gary in Florida. She enjoys scrapbooking when she isn’t writing.

Jo Davis has works published in many magazines and newspapers. At present she is in the process of illustrating the first book in her inspirational children’s series, The Treekin Legacy Collection. Jo enjoys gardening, traveling, working on her farm with her horses, and camping.

Dr. Bob Dent earned his Doctorate in Nursing Practice from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. He has been a nurse and healthcare executive for more than twenty-five years. Bob is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Midland Memorial Hospital in Midland, TX. Bob values his family, faith and lifelong learning.

Brenda Dickie received her Registered Practical Nurse degree with Honours in 2003 at the age of forty-five. She is married with two adult sons. She works in palliative care full time in a hospital. She enjoys photography and nature.

Cassidy Doolittle graduated with her BSN degree and went on to attend writing school at the Institute of Children’s Literature. She lives in Fort Worth, TX and stays home to freelance write and wrangle her two little boys. She loves strong coffee and funny friends.

Glenna Eady and her husband Alan live simply and close to the land in Paradise, CA. She works on a Cardiac Neuro unit at Feather River Hospital and is amazed that they graciously welcomed her back into acute care after a twenty-seven-year absence. God gives her strength and love for the work.

Alice Facente has been an RN for over thirty-five years, earning an MSN degree from University of Hartford in 2001. She has worked in patient education, home care, as a clinical instructor for the UCONN School of Nursing, and currently as the community education nurse at Backus Hospital in Connecticut.

Trish Featherstone is a long-divorced mother of two grown daughters. Her nursing career spans forty-two years in Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and California. A long-time activist for animal rights, she currently lives in British Columbia with her rescue dog and one-eyed cat. “Nocturnal Poet” is her first publishing attempt.

Malinda Dunlap Fillingim lives in Leland, NC, and teaches ESL in a local community college.

Carole Fowkes is a registered nurse and began her career in Elyria, OH. She is also the author of a mystery novella and is currently working on a cozy mysteries series. She is married and lives with her husband in Dallas, TX.

Mary Gagnon received her ADN from Mott Community College, Flint, MI, in 1990 and her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Chamberlain College of Nursing in 2011. She is a critical care nurse at the University of Michigan Hospital and has been for the last twenty-five years. She is married, has two dogs and loves to fish.

Carol Gaido-Schmidt received her BSN from Penn State University in 1995, and her MBA from Penn State Erie, The Behrend College in 2002. She currently works in school health and is finishing the manuscript for her first novel.

Marcia Gaye wrote and directed her first stage play at age nine. Her poetry, essays and short stories have been published in various anthologies, winning multiple awards. She continues to work on a memoir and a historical western novel. Marcia is the mother of two grown children and wife to a very supportive husband.

Robyn Gerland is the author of All These Long Years Later, a book of short stories that may be found in both the Vancouver Island and Vancouver Library systems. She is the past editor of The Kitchener/ Waterloo glossy, Hysteria, and has been a contributor and columnist for several newspapers and magazines.

Ivani Greppi is a registered nurse and Legal Nurse Consultant. She’s been married to Maciel for thirty-six years. They have two adult children, Andre and Carla, and one grandson Andre Jr. Ivani currently resides in Florida, and is writing a fiction Christian novel based on spiritual warfare and the dangers of occult practices.

Catherine Hannah Grey is a pseudonym for the writer of this story. She looks forward to the day when she can use her birth name freely because people are unafraid of her condition. Retired from human services, she now writes, volunteers, and advocates for people with DID. Catherine loves walking and cat time.

Maureen Hager is a writer, blogger and speaker. Her message of hope and healing out of brokenness is a testimony of the power of God’s transforming love. She is an advocate for anti-human-trafficking. Maureen and her husband live in Western North Carolina. They have two grown daughters. Learn more at

Mary Lynn Harrison has a BSN from the University of Michigan. She has worked as a nurse in Pediatric and Neonatal ICUs, in a freestanding Birth Center, as clinical faculty, and is currently a school nurse in a school that serves physically impaired students. Her latest favorite hobby is her grandchildren.

Colleen Haynes completed an MA degree at fifty-something through Royal Roads University, then retired from nursing, having worked in emergency, home care, psych/mental health, and academia. She lives in Edmonton, Canada with her husband Michael and works as a freelance writer, editor, and recipe blogger. E-mail her at [email protected].

Marijo Herndon currently lives in New York with her husband Dave and two rescue cats, Lucy and Ethel. Marijo’s stories, ranging from humor to inspiration, appear in numerous books and publications.

Jacqueline Hickey lives with her husband in beautiful Rockport, MS, where she enjoys running, writing and spending time with her family.

Sandra Hickman is a nonfiction writer, poet, and songwriter from Western Australia. She enjoys writing about her missionary work in Africa, India and China. A Bible School graduate, Sandra now serves in Church leadership. Her book, The Letter, will be published in 2015. E-mail her at [email protected].

Dr. Sharon T. Hinton, DMIN, RN-BC, MSN is a specialist for the International Parish Nurse Resource Center, Executive Director of Rural Nurse Resource, and a national speaker and seminar leader. She lives in rural Texas with a menagerie of pets including cows and wildlife. Writing is her favorite pastime!

Ms. Hopkins received her ADN and BSN from Midway College. She is also a patented inventor. She lives in Kentucky with her husband, two sons and daughter-in-law. She has practiced nursing for the past thirty-five years and enjoys writing, making crafts and attending church.

Jennie Ivey lives in Tennessee. She is the author of various works of fiction and nonfiction, including several stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul collection. Learn more at

Phyllis Jardine, a retired nurse and grandmother, writes from the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, where she lives with her husband Bud. Her inspirational essays and poems have been widely published and heard on national radio. This is Phyllis’s fourth story in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Kathleen Jones worked as a pediatric nurse before embarking on her present career as a freelance writer. She has been published in professional nursing magazines, as a contributor to the IV Drug Handbook by McGraw-Hill, and as a writer for children’s educational publishers. Currently she is writing for Tango and Tilly Press.

Mariah Julio has published stories and articles in Faith, Hope and Fiction, This I Believe, Patchwork Path: Friendship Star, Flair magazine and newspapers. She has completed writing courses offered by Western Kentucky University. A retired nurse, Mariah enjoys travel, writing, painting and futile attempts to outwit her cat.

Eva Juliuson remarried after her first husband’s death. She and Dwight have seven children along with their spouses, twelve grandchildren and a great grandchild. Eva loves teaching preschool children, writing, landscaping and the adventure of living each day with the Lord!

Molly K. is a registered nurse in the Washington, DC metro area where she lives with her husband and her dog. She is passionate about oncology and an advocate for continued research into new cancer treatments. Molly is currently studying to become a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Pallavi Kamat is a doctor by profession and a writer by passion. She has managed to take baby steps into the writing world, with whatever time she can squeeze out of her hectic schedule. She hopes her dream of writing a novel will be fulfilled in the foreseeable future.

Alioune Kotey received his associate’s degree in Nursing from Norwalk Community College and went on to complete his bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Sacred Heart University. He is married, enjoys traveling and is a published professional photographer, following in the footsteps of his father, who was an awarding-winning amateur photographer.

Delores Liesner’s motto, putting hands and feet to our faith, is revealed in the true stories in her book titled Be The Miracle! (2015 Elk Lake Publishing). She aims for her writing to benefit children. Learn more at

Emily Linegar is a student at Brandon University. She hopes to become a teacher one day, but will keep writing on the side.

Diana Lynn is a small business owner and a freelance writer in Washington State. She has been a Chicken Soup for the Soul contributor for five years. Her interests are reading, running, writing, and dancing. She dedicates this story to her mother, who was a nurse for thirty-five years.

Nancy Mapes received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington. She has two grown children and two grandchildren. Of course, she loves to spend any spare time with her grandchildren. She also loves reading. This is her first publication.

Donna Mason received her nursing degree in 1977 from Cochise College in Arizona. She still continues to practice nursing in the rural Southwest. Donna has been married for thirty-seven years, has two daughters and two grandsons. She enjoys travel, fishing, rockhounding, reading and spending time with her family.

Bette Haywood Matero is a retired childcare professional and children’s ministry director. Writing has always been her passion and after moving to Arizona with her husband, she has finally found the time to follow that passion. She is the mother of three wonderful adult children; and has one much loved granddaughter.

Kathy McGovern is a well-known speaker and writer in the Denver area, where she lives blissfully with her wonderful husband Ben Lager. She writes a weekly scripture column for parish bulletins. Subscribe by visiting

Diana M. Millikan was born in England and grew up during the Second World War, where she lost her home to bombing. She is a retired nurse and lives with her husband and pets on a small island in Puget Sound. She enjoys her grandchildren, gardening and photography.

Marya Morin is a freelance writer. Her stories have appeared in publications such as Woman’s World and Hallmark. Marya also penned a weekly humorous column for an online newsletter, and writes custom poetry on request. She lives in the country with her husband. E-mail her at [email protected].

Andy Myers is a full-time psychic medium, best-selling author, and inspirational speaker based out of Omaha, NE. He’s featured on radio stations nationwide and conducts sold-out events across the country. Andy holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and enjoys watching soccer with his wife and one-year-old daughter.

Linda Newton is an Empowerment Educator, and the author of 12 Ways to Turn Your Pain Into Praise. She speaks all over the country, and currently hosts a popular vlog with her husband, “Answers from Mom and Dad,” on YouTube at and

Phyllis Nordstrom spent most of her career working in the business and church worlds as she assisted her husband in pastoring. They are the parents of four children, and grandparents to twelve grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She is a breast cancer survivor. Writing now joins teaching, traveling, reading, and swimming as hobbies.

Judy Pencek attended the Robert Packer Hospital’s School of Nursing and has enjoyed caring for patients since graduating in 1977. She is the proud mother of three daughters and grandma to eight grandchildren. Judy has published many devotionals and is preparing to publish her first book of nursing stories.

Connie Kaseweter Pullen received her Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from the University of Portland in 2006, with a double major in Psychology and Sociology. Connie enjoys running, writing and photography. The proud mother of five children and grandmother of several grandchildren recently had four stories published in Hallmark books.

Jennifer Quasha is a freelance writer and editor who has published over forty books for adults and children. She loves writing for Chicken Soup for the Soul and has been published in over twenty Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Learn more at

Jeff Radford received his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nursing from Old Dominion University, Master’s of Business Administration degree from Baker College, and Doctor of Strategic Leadership degree from Regent University. His passion is to exhibit merciful leadership and serve others. He is dedicated to his church and family.

Amy Rivers was a SANE Director for two years. She received her master’s degree with concentrations in Psychology and Political Science in 2014. She lives with her fiancé and two children in Colorado. Amy enjoys writing, singing and political activism. She plans to continue her work in violence prevention.

Tracy Rose-Tynes, RN, received her degree from Northeastern University. Her expertise is in Adolescent Medicine. She works at a school-based health center in Cambridge, MA. Tracy is also a singer-songwriter. She performs regularly at school for her students, at the hospital for special events and at local jazz clubs.

Mark Rosolowski is a Navy veteran, and has worked as a corpsman, paramedic, and a security and safety supervisor in a hospital. Mark is married to Jeanette, who is a registered nurse. Mark would like to dedicate his story to all dialysis nurses. E-mail him at [email protected].

Ceil Ryan is a wife, nurse, mom and nana living in the Midwest. After over twenty years, she hung up her nurse’s cap to write full-time. Her passion is sharing personal stories with an emphasis on faith and encouragement. Read more from Ceil at, and follow her on

Beth Saadati is currently teaching high school writing classes, homeschooling her son and daughter, and drafting two narrative nonfiction books. In the aftermath of her beloved firstborn’s suicide, she shares a message of hope and continues to invest her heart into the lives of teens. E-mail her at [email protected].

Thom Schwarz has been a hospice and palliative care nurse for seven years. Prior to that he was the editorial director of the American Journal of Nursing. He has been writing since he could hold a pencil. He almost has it mastered.

Bev Schwind graduated from Nursing in 1972 and was named Student Nurse of the Year. She and her husband Jim, of sixty-two years, have four children (three are nurses) and sixteen grandchildren. Bev writes devotionals on assignment and has authored five books. In the Senior Olympics she won National medals in softball, basketball and tennis.

Leanne Sells has been a nurse for twenty-three years, primarily in Women’s Health and Pediatrics. She is currently an L&D nurse manager and an advocate for evidence-based practice and the evolution of nursing practice with today’s technology. She is a wife, mother of three, and an avid sports fan.

Debbie Sistare has a B.S. degree in Nursing and a master’s degree in Religious Psychology. Her thirty-year nursing career included pediatric nursing, flight nursing, nursing instructor and hospital supervisor. She enjoys her large family, reading, writing, needlepoint and her three dogs.

Alisa Smith worked as an ICU nurse after graduating from Duke University and now lives in Chapel Hill, NC, surrounded by her four children and two grandchildren.

Linda Smith was an operating room registered nurse for thirty-eight years. Following a 2007 early retirement she began hosting a local television talk show, Lynchburg Live, self-published a volume of poetry and prose and is a freelance author. She is a seven-year breast cancer survivor, a wife and stepmom who speaks at breast cancer seminars.

Cheryll Snow has been a registered nurse for twenty-five years. Her patients have taught her much about life and loss. She is a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She is currently seeking representation for her inspirational fiction novel, titled Sea Horses.

Brenda Stiverson became a registered nurse in 1994, fulfilling her lifelong dream. She has three children and six grandchildren and loves her job managing an orthopedic unit in Oklahoma. Brenda enjoys reading, movies, and traveling, but her favorite pastime is spending time with her family. E-mail her at [email protected].

Sharon Stoika-Smay is married and lives with her family and two dogs in a small coal-mining town in Western Pennsylvania. She also has a home in St Petersburg, FL. She has been a nurse for nearly thirty-eight years. Her hobbies include reading, writing, calligraphy, Zentangle, and pysanky Ukrainian egg art.

Kathy Stringham has worked in a variety of nursing departments throughout her career, in addition to working as an entrepreneur for fifteen years. She is currently a hospice manager in Southeastern Michigan. She lives with her husband and has two grown children. Kathy enjoys Pilates, yoga, creative cooking, and the outdoors.

Gladys Swedak started writing seriously in 2000 with a bi-weekly contest she didn’t win. She has written and self-published two novels: The Wild Ones, about training wild horses without their knowledge, and White Medicine Woman, about a young woman adopted by a medicine woman of an Indian tribe.

Annette Tersigni, RN, is a former Hollywood actor and cover girl turned nurse, author, and inspirational speaker. She is the founder of YogaNursing®, a new movement in nursing and yoga. Annette is a successful nurse entrepreneur who has motivated thousands of people to lead healthier and more spiritual lives.

Terrie Todd has published seven previous stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, two plays with Eldridge Plays & Musicals, and writes a weekly faith and humor column for the Central Plains Herald Leader. In 2010, she served on the editorial advisory board for Chicken Soup for the Soul: O Canada. She lives in Manitoba.

Rosanne Trost is a retired registered nurse living in Houston, TX. She spent most of her career in oncology nursing. Since retirement, she has developed a passion for creative writing.

Kosuke Vasquez earned his B.A. degree in Communication from the University of Hawaii in 1983. He retired in 2008, after a thirty-seven-year career in federal government. His wife of thirty-five years, a registered nurse, passed away in 2014. He has two grown children and lives in Alexandria, VA. E-mail him at [email protected].

Helen Wilder, a former kindergarten/first grade teacher in southeastern Kentucky, is married with one daughter, a son-in-law, and a grandpuppy, Paco. She enjoys teaching young children, reading, scrapbooking, storytelling, and writing inspirational articles. She enjoys volunteering with Friends of the Library.

Kimberly Yates is a writer and online community moderator. She and her husband live in Oklahoma, where she considers herself a professional spoiler of her nieces, nephews and the crazy animals who share her home. She is working on a book of humorous essays.

Lynn Zoll has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, and is a registered nurse. Currently she is a certified School Nurse and works at West Deptford High School. In her off time she works for Mainstage Center for the Arts, a non-profit performing arts center.

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