It's been awhile since I wrote a column, and one of my resolutions in the new year is to connect with our readers more, now that I have my feet under me a bit more solidly since becoming regional editor (at least I think I do!)

One way of doing that is helping people get to know me better. I am more than the person sitting behind the computer screen, reading and arranging stories for each week's editions and websites.

This year has been a hectic one for our family. I became regional editor in March, taking on the responsibility of four newspapers. As if that wasn't enough, my personal life also went through a huge shift, albeit a good one.

I became engaged in June, sold my house, moved to a new house, got married in July and became a stepmother to three wonderful boys (ages 10, 8 and 7). My daughter (age 5) and I grew from our little family of two to a family of six. It has been a wild ride, but one I wouldn't change for the world.

Each day brings a different set of challenges, and I spend a lot of time praying that I'm up to the task. I want to be the best editor I can be. I also need and want to be the best wife and mother I can be. There are days when I wonder how I will get it all done, but somehow I do. I have a wonderful support system not only at RiverTown, but at home as well. They lift me up on the days when I'm convinced I'm not doing so well at any of it.

Sometimes deadlines, school schedules, homework, late nights of editing, mentoring reporters, taking sometimes not so happy reader phone calls (some happy ones too, I like those), mountains of laundry, unexpected illnesses, to-do lists miles long and worries take their toll. But there are moments those things just melt away, and I remember that while they are important, so important, they are not the "end all, be all" of my existence, of any of ours.

One such moment came last week. We learned that a member of family, who has been fighting cancer, is at the end of the fight. She was given two to four months to live. It was like a punch in the gut. She had been doing reasonably well, but the treatments that are supposed to save her are not doing the job anymore. Talk about feeling helpless. I am the type of person who wants to fix everything, take on burdens so others don't have to. And there is nothing I can do to stop the progression of this horrible disease, to ease my family's pain, to keep her here with us.

Somehow, in the face of that, all the daily worries just fade. They're still there, still important. But in the grand scheme of things, what is the most important thing? To me, it is family.

I always think of my aunt, who has always referenced the circle of life during difficult family times. When she speaks of it, I picture everyone I love gathered at a beautifully set dinner table. The people around it the past few years have changed. Beloved members have died, while children fill empty places at the table once occupied by dear parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. The circle of life. Life is so beautiful, but oh so heartbreaking too.

There is much going on in our world today that is heartbreaking. Don't get me started. But let's try to remember what truly matters the most. That may be different for each of you. I'd love to hear from you what that is.

You can reach me at or 715-273-4334.