Home » Susie Rinehart Blog

Susie Rinehart Blog

Dear Cole on your 13th birthday

August 7, 2017 Susie Rinehart

*written the day I went into 36-hours of surgery including 2 craniotomies. I came out of surgery the night of my son’s birthday. Dear Cole, When you were three years old, we went for a walk along the muddy banks of the Connecticut River in Lyme, New Hampshire. It was raining and we watched the swallows feed off the recently-hatched bugs on the surface of the water. You identified raccoon tracks in the mud and… Read more

Feeling Edgy, Full of Rage

July 24, 2017 Susie Rinehart

Recently, I woke up full of rage and I had no idea what to do with it. I angry-cleaned the coffee grounds out of the sink. (Angry-cleaning. Verb. To make loud, banging noises and grumble bad words under your breath while scrubbing or vacuuming or generally tidying up.) I yelled at our son to get out of the bathroom so I could get in. Then I sulked around my husband because he didn’t understand a… Read more

Mama and me

The mother I wanted; the mother I got

July 17, 2017 Susie Rinehart

When I was younger, I wanted a mother who was sweet and nurturing, who baked cookies, and who welcomed my friends with cheerful holiday decorations. What I got was a mother who raised us well, but without softness, and who baked so rarely that she kept a heavy chair in front of our oven door. On Halloween, she turned off the lights and left a bowl of toothbrushes on the front step. At Christmas, she… Read more

30 days of facing the unknown

30 Days of Facing the Unknown

July 10, 2017 Susie Rinehart

I post these entries as a form of thank you; your words have nourished me. May mine give you back some of that love. In my life, I choose expression over rumination and worry. These 30 days mark a significant time for which I am grateful: before and after the multiple surgeries to remove a skull-base tumor. These musings are intended to honor the end of that time and the beginning of a second phase:… Read more

Plan? What Plan?

July 1, 2017 Susie Rinehart

I have been having a tough time trusting in the unknown. A vacation broke me of that fear. This is the story of how our recent trip to Mexico had no plan. Normally, Kurt and I work full time and the only difference between summer and not summer is the kids are not awake before we go to work. This year was different. It felt important to do something together as a family to mark… Read more

What Now? How to win this thing!

January 23, 2017 Susie Rinehart

(Scroll down for great resources.) The photos of the march in New Delhi, India hit me the most. Thousands of women, inspired by the March on Washington, flooded the streets, holding signs that said, “I will go out!” They were demanding safe public spaces. They wanted to walk home without being harassed or raped. Courage is contagious. A woman using her voice to stand up for what she believes inspires countless women to use their… Read more

What Kind of Nation Are We?

January 16, 2017 Susie Rinehart

Tomorrow, in the United States, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. I want to share with you two short videos and three questions.  The two videos: Martin Luther King Jr. “To The Mountaintop” speech (final 2 min) Bobby Kennedy announcing the death of Martin Luther King Jr. (6 min-edited) The questions: Who Am I? Why Am I? How am I doing (at living my purpose)? The story: Every year on this day, we watch… Read more

Art and Science of a Nap

The Art & Science of the Nap

January 7, 2017 Susie Rinehart

A nap is a thing of beauty. World peace is within reach. All we have to do is nap. It’s the most underused, powerful tool for self-care and work productivity. There’s science behind this. My doctors told me that short naps, between ten and twenty minutes, do more for lessening anxiety and improving focus than caffeine or even adding an hour of sleep at night. Increasingly, companies are creating special napping areas to give their… Read more

Voice Lesson

Voice Lesson

December 21, 2016 Susie Rinehart

I had my first voice lesson on Friday. My teacher was trained as an opera singer, then lost her voice, and her career. “I learned a lot from my training, but I learned more from having to find my voice again,” she told me. We sat in her small office downtown. There wasn’t much in the room except for a piano and a giant jungle gym for cats. Her cat couldn’t have cared less about… Read more


How to Cure Nightmares

November 14, 2016 Susie Rinehart

At three a.m, our ten-year-old daughter Hazel came into our room. I couldn’t see her in the dark, but I could hear her short, shallow breathing and her shaking voice. “Mama, I can’t sleep. I had a really bad dream,” she said. Hazel was born with a huge imagination. It is a blessing and a curse. She can visualize forests where butterflies bind together to protect the woods. She can also picture bad men with… Read more

Terrorists or Neurosurgeons?

November 5, 2016 Susie Rinehart

“You know what I think when I see a muslim man in the airport?” my husband Kurt asked me as we waited in the security line at the Phoenix airport. “What?” I looked around nervously, wondering where this might be going. “Neurosurgeon,” Kurt said, and smiled. Kurt and I have spent the last two weeks in airports and in doctors offices across the country. When I first received my diagnosis of a skull-base tumor, I… Read more

Tumor Can’t Take My Voice

November 4, 2016 Susie Rinehart

Last week I learned I have a tumor at the base of my skull that is slowly taking over my brain stem. “First, your tongue will go numb. Then you’ll lose your voice,” said my doctor in the same matter-of-fact tone that he might have said, “First your appetizer will arrive. Then you’ll get your salad.” At 45 years old, I was, up until this moment, medically “boring.” No health or genetic history of any… Read more

Brave Over Perfect

November 3, 2016 Susie Rinehart

I come from a long line of strong women. My mother’s mother taught me how to hold a shovel, my father’s mother taught me how to hold a cigarette. People called me tough, independent, and smart. It was a great childhood, and for that I am truly grateful, but I was ultimately clueless when it came to making big decisions about relationships, love, work, and spirit. No one taught me how to be curious about… Read more

What a Bad Day Looks Like

September 15, 2016 Susie Rinehart

Tuesday at Mass General hospital in Boston was supposed to be a long day, but an easy one. All I had to do was have pictures taken of how things looked inside my skull and neck with a CT scan and an MRI, nothing I hadn’t done at least several times before. In fact, the night before when I struggled to get a good night’s sleep I thought, “It’s Ok, I can nap inside the… Read more

Your Faces

August 13, 2016 Susie Rinehart

Do you know what I thought about when I woke up in the Intensive Care Unit after 34+ hours of brain surgery? Nothing really, but it’s what I saw that astounded me. For two days and two nights in the ICU, I saw nothing but the faces of people I loved on every wall, on every surface, in each fold of fabric. I saw my mother’s face in the stream of light coming through the… Read more

In A Dark Time the Eye Begins to See

July 14, 2016 Susie Rinehart

So begins a poem by Theodore Roethke (pr. Ret-ke) that I used to teach. In a simple classroom on a farm in Vermont, we sat around a large maple table, reading the lines out loud together. We did this on the anniversary of 9-11. We pulled out the poem again when one of my students was paralyzed in a bike accident, and again when a faculty member’s brother died. It was a tradition born in… Read more