The featured photo was taken of me and my daughter on the day she graduated from cosmetology school at just 18 years old.

On day 11 of the Alphabet Challenge, I celebrate my middle child, my only daughter, my favorite “K”, Kylie. Love you!

My little girl
With big blue eyes
That sparkle bright
Like summer skies.

Tiny princess,
Great big heart.
Meant for greatness
From the very start.

A scholar’s mind,
An artist’s soul,
A future within
Your own control.

You got this now
Do me proud.
Never stop living
Your life out loud!

Kylie has dreamed of a profession in cosmetology since she first picked up a brush. Immediately upon graduating high school at age 17, she began cosmetology school. She has been recognized for her achievements in make-up and hair on a national level. These are photographs of her early successes:



Follow Kylie’s career: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kylie-Rose-Smith/435685946511365


Day 2 of Steven Fox’s Alphabet Challenge brings us to “B”.

I actually had a pretty great post idea for today. It was to be poetry and a short story rolled into one entertaining piece of creative writing. My blog is, after all, dedicated to creative writing. Thirty-something posts into this project and I have never blogged anything truly personal here. That realization prompted an even better post idea. The letter “B” is far too important to me, my work, my life, not to take a break and appreciate the reason I am here…


Meet Brian, my husband, my savior, my cheerleader, my support group, my proofreader, my everything. Brian is the most generous, trustworthy, compassionate, loving man I have ever known. Our marriage is the light that shines brightest in my life. So, love of my life, this post goes out to you…

Back. There’s another “B” word. In 2012 I suffered a pretty devastating back injury. For six weeks I couldn’t sit or walk, much less drive or cook. This was during the holidays. I couldn’t prepare Thanksgiving dinner. I couldn’t go Christmas shopping. During this same period of time, Brian was working on a rush contract, in addition to his regular full time work in the aerospace industry. Even so, every single day, he came home for lunch, he helped me shower, he made me food, and he drove me to my appointments (which lasted 2-3 hours each). No matter how late that meant he had to work into the evening, he was there, holding my hand, while I was strapped to a machine I believe was intended to draw and quarter me. When he finally did get to quit working for the day, there were holiday preparations to make, groceries to procure, and a house to clean. He did it all. He complained exactly never. Post-surgery my recovery would last six months. He never wavered. He never cracked.

Brandon. When I met Brian, I already had two kids from a previous marriage, Kylie & Steven, who were 4 and 6 at the time. Life wasn’t easy back then. Actually it was downright chaotic. He came in, he created stability, he loved my children as his own, and he earned the privilege of having them call him “Dad”. He’s a truly wonderful father. He helped me raise those rambunctious pre-schoolers and they became remarkable adults. I am so fortunate to get to continue watching his parenting at work with our son, another “B”, Brandon. That boy is an incredibly intelligent, sensitive, and funny kid. He takes after his father.

Blog. Without Brian, this blog would not exist. I wouldn’t be writing, I wouldn’t be blogging, I wouldn’t be toiling and submitting. I would be an overworked analyst and I would be hating every second of it. He has worked so hard to make it possible for me to dedicate myself to the pen. He gets up every morning and gets Brandon’s breakfast, scrapes ice and snow off the car, and drives carpool. He is out there every day providing for our family. He does this without sick days or snow days. I get to stay home, blog, work on my novel, write poetry… Brian even does the grocery shopping, if doing it myself would cause a break in the creative flow. He may not author this blog, but he certainly does everything else to make it possible.

Brian, I love you. I appreciate you. I recognize all that you do and the sacrifices you make. We truly are “The Awesomes”.