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Susie Rinehart Blog

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College Reunion Anxiety & What I Learned by Going

June 13, 2018

Why was I so nervous? I hadn’t been a terrible person or horrible student in college. But I couldn’t shake the worry about returning to my small college in New England for our twenty-fifth-year reunion. Maybe the doubt came from shouldering all the insecurities of my twenty-year old self PLUS the new ones of my middle-aged self. Did I belong? Had I achieved enough? Will I look wrinkly and tired? Maybe it was because twenty-five… Read more

Susie Rinehart

The Loneliness of the Injured Distance Runner

June 5, 2018

“You’re breaking my heart! Can’t you run on another street? I’m injured!” That’s what I want to shout to the runners who innocently stride by our house. Instead I wave half-heartedly. Like anyone who has been injured or who has had to redefine themselves after they could no longer do a sport they loved, I feel a mix of envy and sadness when they run past me. I too want to be training for something… Read more

Susie Rinehart

Super Simple Tips for Positive Change

April 28, 2018

We’ve spent hours making piles of clothes, books, and things in the house. The piles represent the stuff we want to toss, give away, or keep. Spring is the season of decluttering. While I don’t love the mess, I love the feeling when it’s done; I feel more relaxed, clear, and joyful when there is less stuff to cloud my view. A friend of mine is also doing a detox to clean out winter’s heavy wine… Read more

Susie Rinehart


March 15, 2018

We sat side by side on our couch, enthusiastically cheering for opposite teams during the gold medal Women’s hockey game. I was screaming at the Canadian women, “Set up and SCORE!” My husband, Kurt, was chanting “USA! USA!” I am competitive. I am also Canadian, born and raised in Toronto. My husband is American, born and raised in Des Moines. Neither of us likes to lose. But for some reason, his rooting for a different… Read more

Susie Rinehart

The Solution is Not Self-Help

February 19, 2018

I should have sent this post out before Valentine’s Day. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. I should be more focused. What’s wrong with me? Earlier, I passed a neighbor in the grocery store and she looked at me strangely. I immediately went to the first seven things I must have done wrong. Am I wearing pants? Did I not respond to an email? Was I supposed to pick up her daughter? Did I forget her birthday? Is… Read more

Susie Rinehart

I follow Ben Franklin’s morning routine. Here’s why.

January 22, 2018

When I think about the future, it’s tempting to think we’re going to hell in a handbasket. But I’d be wrong. There are innumerable ways to make the world better. One is to start the day with a morning routine that asks a powerful question. Humans have always felt that the good days are behind them and the times they are living in must be the worst. Ask the mothers of the middle ages when… Read more

Susie Rinehart

Murder, Mystery, & Magic

January 8, 2018

I am a big fan of mystery and magic. I want our children to grow up unafraid of the unknown, even relishing it. When my daughter asked me to write a murder mystery birthday party for 12 of her closest friends, I responded too quickly, “Of course!” Here is a brave over perfect opportunity! I’ve never written a murder mystery. I’ve never been to a murder mystery party. And the last time I watched “Murder… Read more

Susie Rinehart

One Realistic Goal for 2018

December 22, 2017

I’m going to spend the year with Mary Oliver’s poetry. What can her words teach me about how to live? They remind me to slow down and look. Notice the hawk, but also the cold stones, and winter’s weeds. I believe attention is a form of prayer. So does Mary Oliver: It doesn’t have to be the blue iris, it could be weeds in a vacant lot; just pay attention, then patch a few words… Read more

Susie Rinehart

Why Guadalupe Reigns in my World

December 12, 2017

Today is Hazel’s birthday. It is December 12th, the day Mexicans show their devotion to the Virgin Mary, known to them as La Virgen de Guadalupe. Pilgrimages, parades, and dazzling fireworks are broadcast live throughout the country. Up until this moment, I was too chicken to say that I pray to Guadalupe because it sounds like I am saying I pray to guacamole. I also thought my intellectual friends would smile politely, but never speak… Read more

Susie Rinehart
Dance with me

Stressed about the Holidays? Just Beat It.

December 4, 2017

Today I danced behind a tiny nun and a married couple in their eighties, wearing matching tank tops. Real people, not costumes. How did I get here? The other day I confessed to my friend Lisa that I wanted to beat holiday stress, and my tension around budget meetings with my husband, plus upcoming doctor appointments. She suggested I dance. I have always loved dancing. When I was in my twenties and thirties and someone… Read more

Susie Rinehart

Do What Matters

November 21, 2017

I am home after two weeks traveling in Guatemala. A year ago, when I was recovering from multiple skull surgeries, I swore that one day I would return to the land of chocolate, coffee, and cardamom, and bring people I love there with me. My doctor told me that it wasn’t a priority. But I knew that it was. I want to do what matters with people who matter to me. I spent one week… Read more

Susie Rinehart
How to be a kid again

How To Be a Kid Again

October 31, 2017

Recently, some of my friends with older children were lamenting that the days of trick-or-treating are over for them. But why? Does it have to end when you turn a certain age? My friend Deb doesn’t think so. Last year, she put on a wolf mask and a fake fur coat and went out on Halloween. “When you’re 5’2,” she told me, “you can trick-or-treat forever.” I love Halloween. But my appreciation for it really… Read more

Susie Rinehart

What Does it Mean to be Brave Over Perfect?

October 29, 2017

Susie: In the summer of 2016, when I received some horrible news about my health, I sent my family camping and sat on my bed for two days, spinning in thoughts of despair and sorrow. “I’m going to die and never see my children grow up. I’ll never write a book. We’ll go broke.” After 48 hours of fighting like Muhammad Ali against my diagnosis, I did something radical. I asked, “What if I accept… Read more

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Dear Little Susie

October 16, 2017

(A letter to self to burn off fear and worry) Dear Little Susie, Baby girl, you can’t live like this, full of fear and feelings of inadequacy. I get it. There are times when you don’t feel like the world is a safe place. And all you want is for everything to be alright. You just want everyone to be happy. When your father moved out and went away, you thought, if I am less… Read more

Susie Rinehart
30 days of facing the unknown

30 Days of Facing the Unknown

October 10, 2017

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

Susie Rinehart

Balance Schmalance

October 9, 2017

I was off-balance all week. I celebrated the elegant evenness of the equinox by throwing up all over a neighbor’s garden. The nausea was caused by the radiation, but the feeling of being off-balance was caused by my expectations that it was going to be different. I imagined that I would spend eight weeks in Boston receiving treatments, yes, but also going for long walks and scribbling deep thoughts in my journal. I thought maybe… Read more

Susie Rinehart

Women Working for Goodness

September 27, 2017

How would you score on the U.S. Citizenship test? Here are a few sample questions: What is the “rule of law”? If the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President? We elect a senator for how many years? What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment? Name your U.S. Representative How did you do? *(Answers at the bottom.) To become a U.S. citizen, you can miss one, but… Read more

Susie Rinehart

The Days of Awe

September 18, 2017

The Days of Awe are the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The idea is to stop, look around, and reflect. What do you want to let go of from last year? Who do you want to be in the New Year? I am not Jewish. Some of my former students call me Jew- “ish” because I like the traditions and ceremonies. As a teacher, it makes sense to me to celebrate the New… Read more

Susie Rinehart

Plan? What Plan?

September 1, 2017

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

Susie Rinehart

What do Eclipses & Back-to-School Have in Common?

September 1, 2017

I do not like transitions. I would much rather be in something tough than on my way into it. The wind up to back-to-school and the wind up to the solar eclipse made me realize that I am way more comfortable with difficult than uncertainty. Our daughter is headed to middle school. Recently, I took her school-supply shopping with her friend. When it came time to choose backpacks and binders, her friend was excited, “Ooooh!… Read more

Susie Rinehart

Love & Business: Ode to Dad

August 21, 2017

Let me tell you about my Dad. I always thought he looked like Steve Austin, “The Six-Million Dollar Man.” Remember the show? He was the handsome pilot rescued from a plane crash and re-built with a bionic eye that was like a 20:1 zoom lens, one bionic arm, and two bionic legs. I was sure that my Dad had similar powers. I had a healthy fear of him, born from his ability to spot Bigfoot… Read more

Susie Rinehart
Mama and me

The mother I wanted; the mother I got

August 17, 2017

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

Susie Rinehart

Dear Cole on your 13th birthday

August 7, 2017

*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

Susie Rinehart

Feeling Edgy, Full of Rage

June 24, 2017

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

Susie Rinehart

What Now? How to win this thing!

January 23, 2017

(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

Susie Rinehart

What Kind of Nation Are We?

January 16, 2017

What direction do we want to move in? 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 as a quick lesson to do with your family. (Once a teacher, always a teacher 🙂 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… Read more

Susie Rinehart
Art and Science of a Nap

The Art & Science of the Nap

January 7, 2017

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

Susie Rinehart
Voice Lesson

Voice Lesson

December 21, 2016

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

Susie Rinehart

How to Cure Nightmares

November 14, 2016

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

Susie Rinehart

Tumor Can’t Take My Voice

November 4, 2016

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

Susie Rinehart

What a Bad Day Looks Like

September 15, 2016

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

Susie Rinehart

Your Faces

August 13, 2016

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

Susie Rinehart

In A Dark Time the Eye Begins to See

July 14, 2016

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

Susie Rinehart

Terrorists or Neurosurgeons?

July 5, 2016

“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

Susie Rinehart

Brave Over Perfect

April 3, 2016

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

Susie Rinehart