♥  Getting better at cake baking Trying out new dinner recipes Helping the kids plan for Father’s Day  Sitting at the computer with the dogs at my feet    Spending a week kayaking and camping along an Arkansas river with my family  Knowing my stepdaughter feels comfortable confiding in me Watching Game of Thrones with our neighbors Fixing the leaky toilet with my stepson Planning a summer fix-it- list with SS Gummi bear and Sprite popcicles New scrub hat   Creating a summer mowing ad with SS   Gym time

I forget that sometimes.

Just as I am finding my way to understanding our relationship, he is doing the same.

This past winter was a rough season for him and his relationship with his mother.  She was making choices that left him feeling abandoned and unimportant in her life.

On Valentine’s Day, I found candy and a card inside my car from my stepson.  Inside the card was written a bittersweet message.

Thank you for being the mother I never had. You make this family complete. Love SS

I cried at reading it. First for feeling encouraged that I was doing right by him.  Second for how tragic it was for a 14-year-old to be writing such words when he has a mother alive and well and nearby.

I know that he has a mother.  I know that I am not her.  I know that what he truly means away from hurt and anger is to thank me for doing the things his mother can’t or won’t do for him.  I know that he considers me part of his family.  That is enough. It has to be enough for us both.

A few months later he resumed some visitation with his mother.  And the next cards from him have reflected a healthier understanding of our relationship.

Thank you for being the best stepmom I could ask for!! Love SS

We’re going to be all right.




♥  Low census call An older woman came up to me and my husband at the gym to compliment me on my beautiful shape (indicating arms and shoulders) Lunch with my stepdaughter  Helping my stepson memorize a poem in Middle English Payday Looking forward to cake baking lesson  Lazy mornings Nice Mother’s Day weekend with family  Sweet card from stepson Sweet kisses ♥  Being complimented on my pancakes   Mid-morning calls from my husband 

flowersI can’t remember what I did last Mother’s Day.

I think it was a nice day.  I probably had a lazy morning with my husband before having lunch and working out or going on a motorcycle ride. I’m sure we snuggled on the couch and watched a movie that night.

I was two months into my journey in this family as wife and stepmother. I worked full-time as a nurse.  I spent evenings and weekends with my new family.  In my (now-very-precious) alone time I was reading every article I could find about step-parenting and blended families.  The previous years as Dad’s girlfriend and then fiancée were good.  I knew my role.  Stepmother was a different beast.

When it came to Mother’s Day I was conflicted.  My state of mind swung between feeling as though I should be acknowledged for all my work, sacrifices, and contributions as a custodial stepmother and feeling as though I shouldn’t be doing those things for applause – and they were not my children.  I didn’t go to church or even to my own family’s lunch. (I took my mother out to lunch the next day.)  What if the church didn’t recognize stepmothers – only mothers?  The women in my family being celebrated would have their children with them.  I wanted to avoid being put on the spot during a time when I didn’t know where my place was.  I wasn’t sure how I would respond. I was afraid that I would cry no matter what the situation – celebrated or ignored.  Imposter or invisible.

The articles I read about stepmothers and Mother’s Day recommended that I not let myself expect anything from the kids.  I could agree with that.  They would be with their real mother. Our relationships were different.  I am not Mom.  Loyalty ties and all that.  No pressure on the kids. End of story.


I thought my husband would do something special for me.  Anything.  Just a few words would do.  I expected it.  Even though all the articles told me that I needed to tell him I wanted him to acknowledge me.  I figured my sweet man wouldn’t need to be told.

The day came and went without a peep from my man about Mother’s Day.

My stepson gave me a card he made in Spanish class before he left for the weekend.  My husband’s niece texted me “Happy Mother’s Day!” that evening. My stepdaughter gave me a satsuma tree later that week. When I first saw it in the house, I thought it was from my husband and thanked him as I happily looked it over.  He had to tell me that it was from SD and point out a sweet letter nestled in the leaves.

A week or so later I received a gift card in the mail from my mother.  I opened it at the kitchen counter, and he asked me what it was.  When I told him, he walked over to me, hugged me, and apologized for not doing anything for me. And I started to tear. I told him that it was okay.  I should have said something.

It was a funny thing.  I had focused so much on expecting acknowledgement from my husband that the tokens I did receive were nice and even touching, but they did not fulfill that desire in the slightest.  I had tried so hard to play it cool about this day that the only cues my husband had from me were those of indifference.  I can’t blame my husband for following my lead.

This year will be different.  Last weekend our neighbor said something to him about doing something for me for Mother’s Day.  He smiled sweetly at me and said “whatever she wants.” Today he asked me what I wanted to. I’ll think of something.

And tell him.







♥  Getting out of work early and getting margaritas with favorite co-workers Great birthday dinner with the whole family Planning my husband’s 40th surprise birthday party  Snuggling on the couch with the man  My stepson trying to scare me  Lunch with my oldest friend Walking the puppies Good run  Clean sheets Slow days at work ♥  Looking forward to a weekend getaway with the family   Pretty pic with the sis  Gym time

♥  Nice dinner out with friends Getting excited while dreaming and planning around a potential professional opportunity Chatting with my mentor Cool sunny run    A relaxing day to myself Watching a movie in bed with my hubby New stove Entering a bass fishing contest with my husband  Successful pre-interview Date night ♥  Planning family vacations Listening to wind chimes  Boat time in the rain

♥  Watching Walking Dead with friends Great dinner with in-laws at the lake Planning my husband’s 40th surprise birthday party  Trying out new-to-me recipe: beef tips with rice and gravy (The guys loved it.)    First anniversary relaxing weekend getaway with fancy dinner and massages  Lunch with my sister Getting my nails done Planning my garden  Clean sheets Outside hot tubs during a cold front ♥  Laughing with my hubby   House of Cards binge-watching   Gym time


her warm breath wakens the soul from a sleepy frost to begin anew

her warm breath wakens
the soul from a sleepy frost
to begin anew

Grow seedlings for my garden

Start my first bee colony

Surprise my stepson with a fun-filled day

Run a 5K

  • Photo taken at the National Museum of Natural History (Butterfly House) in Washington, D.C.
  • Poem first appeared here

The tragic death of a local teen was all over the news and social media. A few days later the organ recovery was scheduled.

The organ recovery team came in with their own surgeons, anesthetist, scrub, and coordinators.  They talked our scrub through setting up the back table with containers to receive the organs.  I helped her open instruments before pulling drugs for anesthesia.

I walked with the coordinator, anesthetist, and another nurse to ICU to transfer the patient to the OR.  Her parents were at her bedside giving all the last hugs and kisses and tender words.  They weren’t ready to leave her side and walked along with us to the last OR door.  I could hear her father trying to breathe and gulp back the sobs.  We paused once more for the parents, and then they stepped back and watched us push the bed down the hall and around the corner.

Preparing her for surgery was not different than any other case except for the unfamiliar faces in the room.  Monitors were attached.  Her body was prepped and draped.  A surgical time out was called. And then one of the coordinators read a prayer that thanked and honored the teen for her choice to give of herself one last time.

It was an interesting experience.  My role was to assist the recovery team with supplies, medications, and anything else that came up.

Once the clamps are applied, the heart slowly stops.  The activity on the monitor would normally call for a frenzy of action, but here the anesthesiologist simply turns off the monitor.

Each viable organ is removed, examined, and packaged by its specialty surgeon. At the end of the case, the patient is sewn up with a wide stitch.  The recovery team leaves with their precious cargo.  We pull back the drapes to see our previously pink patient now gray and blue.

The eye bank was there to collect the corneas.  The young man snipped and cut a circle around each brown iris and lifted the tissue.  He then pulled out the fluid in each eye with a syringe, packed the eye with cotton and a round form, and closed the lid.  It was during this process that she seemed finally gone.  Without her eyes, there was only a dark void in her gaze.

We cleaned and draped the body to leave on a stretcher to await transport to the morgue.

♥  Stepson calling me excitedly to tell me how his speech contest went Chili-rubbed tilapia Birthday dinner for my parents  Good coffee   Walking Dead is back Rolling my eyes with the scrub over the surgeon’s latest tantrum Weekend to myself  Painting my beehive Painting and staining in the kitchen Big hug from my littlest niece Hearing my other niece tell her daddy that she’d had the best day ever (after ending it with a big family dinner)   Good days at work  Dreaming with my hubby

My Happiness Project

1. Set a bedtime.
2. Make my bed every morning.
3. Always be reading something.
4. Move more.
5. Toss and organize.
6. Give proofs of love.
7. Leave the past.
8. Fight right.
9. Don't expect praise or appreciation.
10. Kiss more, hug more, touch more.
11. Aim higher.
12. Find some fun.
13. Ask for help.
14. Smile.
15. Realize it's possible.
16. Don't compare;be inspired.
17. Focus on what I have.
18. Beware of drift.
19. Take a chance.
20. Listen.
21. Be mindful.
22. Cultivate gratitude.
23. Spend out.
24. Do good, feel good.
25. Show up.
26. Have the courage to be imperfect.
27. Find joy in the ordinary.
28. Work smart.
29. Enjoy now.
30. Talk to strangers.
31. Go outside.
32. Start where I am.
33. Show up on time.
34. See art everyday.
35. Love with abandon.
36. Be colorful.
37. Dress the part.
38. Revel in accomplishments.
39. Learn something new.
40. Fear less.
41. Take pictures.
42. Speak with integrity.
43. Don't be critical about small things.
44. Manage my pain.
45. Surround myself with creative people.
46. Practice, practice, practice.
47. Don't force it.
48. Deal with something once.
49. Trust my instincts.
50. Avoid gossip.
51. Choose to see the best in people.
52. Take time to be silly.
53. Throw my own party.
54. Be a mentor.
55. Lean into my fears.
56. Find the others.
57. Do the unexpected.
58. Don't break the chain.
59. Do things others aren't.
60. Slow down.
61. Be cool with not being cool.
62. Be kinder than necessary and more generous than reasonable.
63. Pretend I'm good at it.
64. Keep in touch.
65. Row my own canoe.
66. Do what only you can do.
67. If it doesn't work out, find something that does.
68. Dream bigger.
69. Notice what's right.
70. Stop talking. Start doing.
71. When in doubt, choose laughter.
72. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
73. Respect everyone.
74. Be early.
75. Delete the unnecessary.

Three Simple Rules

1. If you do not GO after what you want, you will never have it.
2. If you do not ASK, the answer will always be no.
3. If you do not MOVE forward, you will always be in the same place.

All I Need

1. Someone to love.
2. Something to do.
3. Something to hope for.

U.S. States I’ve Visited

New Mexico
North Carolina

Countries I’ve Visited

Bermuda (British territory)

I write about…