The thing is …


It’s tough love time. 

You have to make your life work for you. Things aren’t just going to fall in line and you *have* to accept what happens. You are in charge of your life. YOU. Not your husband, your kids, your parents, but YOU. 

Is life hard right now? Why? Figure it out and change it!

Yeah, I know it’s not that simple. It never is. But I also know it won’t change unless YOU change it.

Also … be realistic. You are one person and nobody (but yourself) expects perfection. You go be you. Be a badass. But be realistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure because that’s being a jackass instead of a badass. 

Also, and I’m guilty of this sometimes, keep in mind that people have their own sob stories and have very little time & energy to rescue you from yours. Then you just become somebody who needs rescuing and, I don’t know about you, but damsel in distress doesn’t suit me. I can take care of myself, thankyouverymuch. (I want love, caring, & hugs, but not pity!)

I would have loved, loved, loved to be a stay at home mom for a portion of my kids’ childhoods but that wasn’t the hand I was dealt. So I chose to be realistic, accept it, and guess what? They are thriving anyway. They go to, gasp, public school and they are smart, funny, well-behaved, good-hearted boys. It was okay. It was better than okay because they get life lessons in school that I wouldn’t be able to give them sheltered at home. Kids are resilient. They don’t break easily. Give yourself a break.

Life is hard, dude. I totally get it. But be you, be realistic, and just do it. Conquer the shit out of it. None of us are getting out of here alive and I want to always look back and know I made good, strong, thoughtful & decisive decisions with the time I had in this one life I’ve been given. 

Love hard, play hard, work hard. 

I’m proud of how hard I work and the ethic that drives me to succeed. I’m proud of these two amazing boys of mine that, honestly, only need steering & a little guidance and they do pretty well. I’m proud of the strong, capable woman I am. 

Stop being such a woe-is-me and be an of-course-I-can kind of gal, okay? Nobody will love you less, but they may admire you more. 


Momma Stef

Literary comparison: a sad story

Once upon a time there were two people who fell in love. They met, they kissed, and they knew the other was “the one.” Bride & groom walked down the aisle, had babies, and their life rolled on with good times, and a few bad times … but then more bad times. And more after that. Pain, hurt, and resentment grew. Then came separation and, 2 years later, divorce. 16 years, beginning to end; 15 years married and two wonderful children to show for it. 

The bride … she often misses the good. She misses her best friend. She misses the man who made her laugh. The man who held her perfectly when she needed to be held, and often held her when she didn’t know she needed it. She misses his silliness, his kisses, and their shared history. She misses the man she still sees in pictures holding their babies. She misses that man with an ache that rattles her soul and makes her shake with pain, sadness & regret. 

But then there’s the bad. The yin to the yang. The flip side.

You know the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde story? Dr. Jekyll was good, kind, benevolent. Mr. Hyde … well, he wasn’t. Mr. Hyde prioritized his hobbies & friends over his family. He willfully chose to live separately, and to live with minimal responsibility. Mr. Hyde shrugged off financial concerns, to be handled solely by his wife; he saw the burden this caused, the pain & stress, and increased it rather than trying to ease her burden. He ignored repeated pleas for engagement, involvement, for partnering. Mr. Hyde stayed up until all hours, raged with drunken belligerence, and terrified his kids & wife. Mr. Hyde was not a family man. 

Nobody would ever guess that the public Dr. Jekyll was so often controlled by the narcissistic Mr. Hyde. Preening & posturing for his audience, selfishly focused on his appeal to others rather than any recognition of his loving needs at home. 

Poor Dr. Jekyll, he missed out on so much; Mr. Hyde guaranteed that. 

A sad story, isn’t it? The bride is sad, disappointed, angry & resentful … but she still often misses her Dr. Jekyll. The man he was before he allowed Mr. Hyde to guide his life. 

Lesson learned, time to move on. A new chapter is dawning for Mrs. Jekyll, a blushing bride no more. 


A former Mrs. 

5 things about me, today 


Short & to the point, my lovelies. 

1. I don’t make friends easily & I never have. That’s why I tend to hold onto and treasure the friends I do make, going back to them time and again, even after they’ve broken my heart a little. Breaking with someone completely and willfully is probably the hardest thing for me to ever do. 

2. Can I be blunt? I never cheated on my husband. In my marriage, I never had a boyfriend. I never met up with some dude for a weekend romp. To be even more explicit, there was no sex outside of my marriage. For anybody who thinks or has heard otherwise I’d advise you to open your mind to other possibilities. 

3. This year, to date, has been the worst year of my life. I’ve lost 3 people I deeply cared about, my dream of marital bliss has seen the final nail in that coffin, and my work has been pretty damn brutal this year with no relief in sight. I’m exhausted from the constant loss.

4. I have nightmares now and I never used to. Most of the time they are nightmares of betrayal; seeing people who I thought loved me yelling, screaming, and humiliating me. Hurting me until I wake with my heart racing. 

5. And yet … 

I have hope, still. 

I believe in love, still. 

I believe I have a purpose. 

I believe there will be light. 

Plus this, this is real: 

I’ll take equal parts of awe, some for me & some for him.

He’ll love me not for my svelte figure (because I don’t have anything svelte, except maybe my hair), and not for my money (duh) but maybe for the liveliness of my mind instead. (As Jane Austen says). 






I used to call her sissy. I barely remember that, and it seems so improbable now, but I did. 

This one thought keeps circling in my head: How do you mourn a sister? 

I can’t imagine it. I can’t fathom it. But I’m doing it. 

Last Sunday, June 15, my sister’s cancer journey came to an end. She was 53. 

Charlotte was about 14 when my mom married her dad, he adopted me and he became our dad. I was just a baby. I didn’t have a childhood without her in it. 

 As a teenager she had to share a room with a toddler. I’m sure that totally sucked for her, and was maybe why she moved out when she was 19. But for 5 years she was stuck with me. 

I remember her high school girlfriends all treated me like I was their little sis too. I’m even Facebook friends with one of them to this day. 

I remember when I was 6 or 7  I thought of her with such awe. She was amazing. She was beautiful. She danced, performed, with big hair and gorgeous leotards, with a dance group and I wanted to be her. My mom tried to put me in dance but I was painfully shy. I quit immediately, except in my own living room … where one time I did a flip and fractured my wrist. I didn’t have her grace.

I was the flower girl in her wedding when I was 7. She was such a grown-up to me. She was only 20, but I was still in such awe of the beautiful, dynamic creature going through this incredible ritual. That’s MY sister? 

When I was 10 years old I became an aunt to this goofball: 

And then these two:  Years ago, when I was barely done being a kid myself, I’d babysit, pick them up from school when she couldn’t, and sometimes take them to gymnastics. I loved being their young aunt.  

It was when I was a late teen and even more after I finished high school, thereabouts, when my sister and I became the adult (ish) version of being sisters. This is when her inappropriate jokes started to make sense. When I understood her “titty twister” threats. When I realized how she could say shocking things and get away with it because she did it with a laugh and a smile.  


For awhile we did a lot of things together. Her family plus me & my boyfriend (at the time) went to Disneyland together, Las Vegas for dad’s wedding (where all 7 of us shared 1 cozy room!), and to the lake or camping together. We had the best time. 


She lived her life fearlessly. She advocated for her children fiercely. In a lot of ways, she was a role model mother as much as my own mom has been. A younger, more modern mom role model (sorry mom) that I could compare my mom against – and I’d like to think I’ve healthily incorporated both of them into my mothering.

She was determined to live her life according to her desires. I really admired that in her. Whenever she wanted something she figured out how to get it. She managed, somehow,  and she gave her kids a wonderful life with myriad experiences. They always knew how much they were loved.  



Later – after our parents split, and when I moved to Idaho to live with dad & go to college, and then met my husband and got married – my sis and I had some conflicts. I’m not going to go into that, I’d rather forget it to be honest, but I really wish that time had been different. I wish my kids had known their aunt more. I wish she had known & loved my kids. 

But I know I loved her. I loved her light, her positivity, and her bright soul. 

My sissy.

 Tell me – how do you mourn a sister? 


A Peek into our Spring

 Tying his shoes! By himself and his choice.  

My handsome, clever, amazing firstborn turned 13 recently. So much love for this kid.


  This is how we spend two nights a week and every Saturday for 7 weeks every Spring. I love watching him play. It’s tiring going to practice after work twice a week, but so worth it. 

Just a little love & positivity from me to you. Focusing on the good. 



We all have stories

You don’t get to this age (in my case, banging on 40’s door) without having stories.

Your stories shape your life, your experiences, how you react, how you cope, how you LIVE.

I have tried to live my life in a cautious manner. It’s inherent to who I am. I don’t make snap decisions, I don’t “shoot from the hip,” and I try to retain my calm even when I’m screaming, crying, gnashing my teeth inside. Unleashing the anger beast doesn’t solve anything, and often leads to more hurt; hurtful words can often cause more problems than hurtful actions.

Lord knows I’m not perfect. I haven’t always been cautious. I have reacted emotionally. I have sought immediate gratification and soothing for my pain rather than thinking it out and processing it rationally. I’ve tried to keep those experiences to a minimum, especially as I’ve gotten older. As I’ve learned what helps long-term and what simply complicates things more.

I think that is where our stories come in. They illustrate our experiences in human nature. Experiences to learn from – learn from the people, learn from the emotions that resulted from that moment, learn from how we grieved or celebrated after.

Nobody ever knows your stories but you. Maybe they can ask? If they are curious.

You’ve heard that saying, right, that for every story there is your side, their side, and somewhere in the middle is the truth? Because our stories are skewed by our experiences and our emotions. What was minor to one person may have been major to someone else.

My experiences have brought me to where I am today. My stories have shaped how I respond and react to my experiences. I’ve tried to be cautious . . . . I AM cautious. I try to hold my tongue, not lash out, to react with love and understanding more than anger, frustration and betrayal. It’s hard. It’s hard to feel misunderstood.

My stories tell me that time changes everything. How I felt 13 years ago is not how I feel today. My experiences dictate that. Every decision we make, every deep conversation we have with a friend late at night, every argument, every resentment, every pure joy moment – all of these impact our future.

I was hurt one too many times. My experiences built on each other until I had the Berlin Wall of resentment nestled in my heart. I was trying to knock it down, brick by brick, but recent experiences have told me to shore it up again. And here we go again – more pain, more hurt, more betrayal.

Lady Justice’s scale is tipped to the negative right now, and I’m treading water to stay afloat, but I know the scale will tip back before too long. The positive will outweigh the negative. There will be healing. There will be joy.

These are my stories, built on my experiences. There is value (and weight & impact) to each one of them, the good and the bad. There is growth from every experience.

These stories will be be the sum of my life, but my novel is not nearly complete.

Peace, love and understanding. It’s the way to go, and I’m trying.




Endless mourning


Horrible, awful things are happening

How are we to survive all of this?

I try hard but my spirit is dampening

I’m already mourning all I’ve missed.

My 40th year is the least of these.

My marriage dashed; dreams gone.

My sister in law taken by a disease.

My sister, same disease, can’t go on.

Full of love, memories, childhood

Blessed with warm hands and hearts

No pain, no loss; all sweet & good

Never learned how to dodge these darts

Endless days of endless sorrow

Please, let me live, survive, please

Build me up, strength I’ll borrow

There’s no net under my knees

Falling, always falling, stripped bare

Calling out, reaching, no one there.