Haley Scott DeMaria

Archive for November, 2012


Most of us who attend church services regularly know the story of the Good Samaritan. But do you know the Silent Samaritan?

I was invited to speak at the Silent Samaritan Luncheon of Thanksgiving. I am sure there are many other organizations who host this type of event (I hope), but this week on the Monday after Thanksgiving, I attended the Silent Samaritan Luncheon of Thanksgiving in Lancaster, PA.

The Samaritan Counseling Center provides counseling to those who can and cannot afford their services. They are able to offer counseling services to those who can not afford them because of these Silent Samaritans…women who silently donate to the Silent Samaritan fund.

This reminded me a bit of the Gospel reading that is often read on Ash Wednesday. Without looking it up, it refers to “not letting your right hand know what your left hand is doing.” These women donate to the Silent Samaritan fund not for thanks, not for recognition, not for publicity, but because they believe in helping other women. How awesome is that?!

I was so inspired by this luncheon – almost 300 women who were there to silently help others. And I was invited to speak to inspire them. They didn’t need to hear my story to understand the value of helping others; they already do this. And yet, many were as touched by my words as I was by their generosity.

How lucky I feel to be a part of this wonderful organization, if only for a luncheon. And how inspired I am to continue to help others as we move away from Thanksgiving and into the season of Advent.

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    …is a woman.

    You’ve heard the saying, I’m sure. But I have often thought about what my “great man” means to me. One could also say, “Behind every great woman, is a man.” Of course this would upset some women, understandably, because we don’t “need” a man to be “great,” but it applies in our house.

    However, when I think about my husband and our relationship and his role in my life, I know I could not do what I do if I did not have his support, belief and encouragement. I didn’t know this when I married him. 12 years ago today, I just married a man I loved. Today, I know I am even luckier than I felt at the altar.

    What does this mean? It means when I say, “I was invited to speak in San Francisco in November,” he asks what dates and blocks his calendar. It means when I am away, he is a full time single parent, while working and going to school full time.

    We are lucky. His company is based in NYC, so he is there every week. But he also works from home; and when I travel, he works from home to be with our kids. It means, the more I am asked to speak, the more he works from home. Not once has he asked, “Do you really need to go?” Or commented that I have been gone too often or too much. He just encourages me to go and I am grateful for the guilt-free encouragement.

    As I navigate through life, I have learned many lessons, found blessings in unfamiliar places, and built a strong family foundation that allows me to branch out and offer help to others. Behind each of the lessons, the blessings and the foundation is my husband.

    Today I celebrate a great man and a great partnership with a grateful heart for his selflessness and love.

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    A few months ago, I was invited to visit the University of Arizona to speak as part of STEP-UP, a program housed in their Life-Skills department of athletics. Over the next several weeks, I planned my visit with the point person on campus, marked my calendar and prepared for my talks as the date approached.

    As I have learned in life, sometimes things don’t always work out as planned.

    I was scheduled to speak twice at UA: on Monday night to the student-athletes, and on Tuesday morning to the coaches and athletics staff. Because of a family event on Sunday evening, my plane ticket was booked to fly to Arizona on Monday morning; because Wednesday was Halloween, I was scheduled to fly home on Tuesday after my morning talk. Which meant I would be on campus for less than 24-hours.

    Then Hurricane Sandy approached. As we watched the impending weather forecast from our home in Annapolis, my husband said, “There is no way you are getting out of here on Monday.” I changed my ticket…and a few hours later, BWI declared that they would close all day Monday. Good call. I would make it to Tucson in plenty of time for my talk, but it also meant I was leaving my husband and two sons at home alone to fend the storm.

    Thankfully, our house and our family are fine. The storm took a turn north and, as you know, devastated the New Jersey and New York coasts. I am thankful for our safety, but have said many prayers for those whose lives have been forever lost or altered.

    Although I missed the family event on Sunday evening (the kids were fine without me), my extended stay at UA was a blessing. One of the reasons I was invited to speak at the University was because of a conversation had with a football player. This player, who has not had an easy life, was asked what he needed most. His answer: “Hope.”

    I was invited to speak to give hope to the athletes: hope when life is hard, hope when life is tough, hope that life gets better, hope that life is good. As I toured the University and athletic facilities, my campus host and I happened to run into the above mentioned football player. We chatted for a bit and I was reminded that sometimes our plans are not our own. Meeting this athlete would not have happened had I not had to change my flight. What a gift it was for us to meet; what a gift it is to be able to share this hope.

    STEP-UP is a program that encourages responsibility; responsibility not only for one’s self, but as athletes, for one’s teammates as well. We must govern our own lives, but if we see someone else making a mistake, we need to “step up” and help take responsibility for our friends’, loved ones’ and teammates’ actions. It is part of being a community that cares for one another, that helps one another, that provides hope for one another.

    Returning home and watching the news of the east coast storm, it is clear we all need hope.

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