Jeanette Hanscome's story brings hope and encouragement to single parents and offers insights for the people in their lives. She also provides tips for how to be an excellent friend to single parents and how best to help their children. #singlemom #singleparent

Note: This is part two of a two-part post about Jeanette Hanscome. Click here to read part one about her early life, writing career, and how she lives a full life with a visual impairment.

Jeanette Hanscome was in a hotel room on vacation when she received the email from her husband. Subject line: “Moving.”

After 22 years of marriage, the two had been separated for a few months. Jeanette had been hoping they would be able to work through their issues, reconcile, and life would go back to normal. But it was not to be. Her husband was moving to a town four hours away from their home in Reno, and he wanted a divorce. She sat in that hotel room and thought, “Life is never going to be the same.”

She said to herself, “I’m going to be a single mom. I’m going to be divorced. And I can’t drive. How am I going to do this?” She saw the possibility of losing absolutely everything, including her writing career.

Jeanette had the perfect job for someone who is unable to drive due to vision limitations: freelance writing and editing from home. But now she might need to find a regular job in order to make enough money as a single mom. She had no idea what would be in store for her and her sons. How would she manage it? It didn’t take long to find out.

Continue reading “Jeanette Hanscome: A Suddenly Single Mom”


A few weeks ago I called my young friend to interview her for this post. The last question I asked her was this: “When you hear the phrase ‘living well,’ what does that mean to you? What do you think it looks like to live well?” I wasn’t sure she would be able to quickly articulate an answer that question, but after a few seconds she responded:

To live in God’s image.

Wow. What 17-year-old gives an answer like that? MaKenna Maskey does, and her answer wouldn’t surprise anyone who knows her. She has no doubt that God created her just the way she is, and He wants her to live in a way that shows others who He is.

Nearly 18 years ago, MaKenna’s aunt Jenny called to tell me she had a new niece. The next day, the phone rang again. This time the news was grim. MaKenna had turned blue, so she was being airlifted from the small hospital in Mexico, Missouri, to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis.

MaKenna’s diagnosis was Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). You can look it up here, but to put it simply, the left side of her heart was undeveloped. The right side had to do all the work, which it would only be able to do for a very limited amount of time without intervention.

This wasn’t a condition that would resolve itself on its own, so MaKenna’s parents were told they had two options. 1) Wait for a heart transplant. 2) Opt for a series of three surgeries that were still fairly new and experimental.

Continue reading “MaKenna Maskey: Living a Full Life with Half a Heart”

Some of you are currently thinking, “Who in the world is TobyMac?” Others may have reluctantly taken your children or teens to see him in concert in the past few years. And still others are currently singing “Heavenbound” or “Jesus Freak” in your head because you’ve been a fan for decades. I fall into the latter category. But more on that in a bit.

When it comes to birthday and Christmas presents, some of my favorite gifts to give and receive aren’t things but experiences. For several years my mom and I bought each other season tickets to the Muny amphitheater here in St. Louis. A few years ago, I took my sister-in-law and two oldest nieces to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. (That gift was for birthdays and Christmas, by the way. HP World doesn’t come cheap!) I could go on and on, but you’d get bored.

Last fall, when my teenage niece’s birthday gift fell through after an online ordering fiasco, I decided it was time for another experience. I asked Mackenzie* if there was a concert she wanted to go to.

Continue reading “Steal My Show: I Want to Be Like TobyMac”