Thursday, March 8, 2012


The past four-plus years around the Damm house have been capricious:
Healthy mom and dad and two children.
Onset of odd symptoms.
Month of medical mystery.
Risky biopsy.
Devastating cancer diagnosis.
More chemo.
Glimpses of hope.
Tumor growth.
Loss of mobility.
Countless doctor and ER visits.
Growing into a new routine of a healthy mom and two children.

The constants that have seen us through such tumultuous times:


After Katie was born, Steve and I took a huge leap of faith. I quit my full-time job as an editor at The Dallas Morning News. I left my dream job.

I learned to read when I was 4, reading the Dallas Morning News with my dad. When I was 8, I decided I would be a writer. When I was 21, I wrote a list of career goals that was tacked to the fridge for years. At the top of the 10-year plan: Editor at a major metropolitan daily.

Though I quit, I never really left. I started freelancing almost right away, often for various departments at the Morning News.

In the past six years, I've written and edited for just about every DMN department. I have been fortunate to be able to work from home. That huge leap of faith in 2005 allowed me to care for Steve while he was ill, no matter where he was. It has allowed me to care for Cooper and Katie during Steve's illness and after his death.

I've also worked for other clients, sometimes balancing eight or 10 deadlines a week for seven or eight different bosses.

In the past six months, I've added nighttime copy-editing shifts. Still from home, but from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. three nights a week. It's work I enjoy, but it's an exhausting schedule, affording not enough sleep for this single working mom of two active children.

My goal for 2012: To find work that better fits for our family and that allows me more sleep.

In a couple of weeks, I will have reached that goal. I am happy to report that I will be writing and editing for Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of my longtime freelance clients. My boss will be a longtime colleague and friend.

At the same time, I'll be able to keep the weekly family column I write for Briefing and a couple of other small weekly projects for the Morning News.

It's change that we need and change that I'm looking forward to.

This job was nowhere on my list of goals, written way back in 1993. Then again, in 1993 none of us knew what 2012 would bring.

As I wrote in my Briefing column last week: There's no step-by-step script for life. There are many opportunities for improv.

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