2

Lovely Ladies and A Fairy Garden

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I was surrounded by these lovely ladies on Kierra’s birthday. We had a sweet time together. Brenda brought a huge bouquet of flowers over in the morning for us since she couldn’t be there for the tea party.

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She is in our ‘small group’ at church and has a wonderful green thumb. Aren’t these yellow wild flowers just beautifully vibrant! She started them from Kierra’s seeds at the funeral.

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They look very much like that first lone wild flower I saw at the hospital the day Kierra entered our world, 4 years ago. Steve and I planted our flower she gifted us with at Kierra’s grave.

We ladies sat around Sadie’s wonderful dining room table and ate yummy sweet watermelon, fresh cucumbers with cream cheese and pepper jelly, and tiny cakes. We drank iced lattes and cried and talked and laughed.

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The little ones had a  party in the living room , while Alisha and Katrina watched that they didn’t spill and ran outside with them when they were finished.

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I had been dreading this first birthday without Kierra so much. It helped to have kind friends that cared about my heart and my loneliness and loved me through it. All through the joy of celebrating her happiness and freedom in heaven was the sad heaviness of the trauma she had to go through here on earth. That hurt more than anything. There is that hopeless feeling that a parent lives with when they watch their children suffer. Life is just so cruel at times. Even if God is always good, life itself is just SO. NOT. FAIR. to those we love.

I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that the greatest birthday gift we could have given Kierra this year, was Heaven. Once again, life doesn’t make sense. How can something that makes her so supremely, perfectly happy make us so incredible lonely and sad?

Highs and lows.

Mountains and valleys.

We cannot experience either of them fully without being willing to plunge into the other at sometime.

Christene and her sisters gave me the sweetest little pair of white dancing shoes for Kierra. They wanted to remind me that she is truly happy and dancing in heaven! Tears! I missed getting a photo of the shoes, but they truly ARE just darling!!! It blessed me so much.

I had come across these wonderful little fairy gardens on Pintrest one day awhile ago. Since our life has consisted of lots of moving, I thought it would be the PERFECT little bit of a Kierra memory. A garden so tiny, we could carry it with us over the years, and so lovely it would be like a dream come true to imagine strolling through it.The other ladies had other obligations, but Sadie and I went on a shopping spree to a nearby green house.

We had so much fun picking out adorable little chairs, and darling plants. Sadie had a big wooden bowl that we spray painted and filled with moist top soil.

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Isn’t this itty bitty plant just exquisite!!!!

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Kobe picked out a frog to add to it.

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He had the time of his life arranging and rearranging.

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We built a little patio with small rocks for the table and chairs.

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Of course there had to be a pool. Kierra would have LOVED that! Water always relaxed her.

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We’ve added a bit more since this photo. It looks even better now :) but this at least gives you a picture of what it looks like. Just so sweet. Talk about more healing to my heart!

Sadie so kindly cooked supper for us that night and Steve came over after work to eat. It was wonderful food and we had a great time!

Afterward, Steve, Kobe, and I stooped at Kierra’s grave on the way home. We got this little girl to leave there as a reminder of  how supremely happy she is.

Kobe totally fell in love with her. He called her ‘Kierra’ and couldn’t stop hugging and kissing her.

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He wanted to hold her hand and sing songs to her.

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We sang happy Birthday to Kierra. I think it helped Kobe feel better…and maybe me too :)

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We couldn’t leave the little girl there since she wasn’t heavy enough to stand safely if a stray dog or big gust of wind came along, so we brought her home until we figure out a solution.

A few days later, a pink poppy bloomed from the wildflower seeds. Isn’t that just so sweet! I didn’t know there were pink poppies…maybe God  had a special selection of pink poppies planned for that seed package we got for Kierra’s little sachets.

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He truly WILL make ALL things beautiful…in His time!

I am hanging onto hope.

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6

Kierra’s First Birthday in Heaven

Or maybe I should just simply say her FOURTH birthday. Some folks may think I’m in denial. Maybe I am. Because I still made a party and pretty little pink cupcakes and tissue paper pom poms. It was too sad not to. What little four year old doesn’t just count the days to her long awaited birthday?

I mean, it only comes once a year! That is FOREVER between birthdays! It’s sooo long, you may as well forget about it, because it will NEVER come again!

Those were my thoughts when I was a kid:)

The whole week last week was rather emotional for me. I went into this slightly denial mode where, like a child, I quit thinking about THE BIRTHDAY. I was tired of being sad all the time when I thought about it. So I just tried not to think about it. Isn’t that weird? It kinda worked for awhile. I stayed really busy and focused on THINGS. But I knew I would have to face it. I wanted to face it. I just didn’t feel like living in the past all week long.

Because I remembered those last long days of waiting for her. Of meeting her for the first time and looking into her face and just being amazed beyond words that God gave us such a perfect baby.

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Immediately on the heals of that first perfect hour, came the trauma of life. So much trauma. I grieve for my innocence. I grieve for her innocence. For her tears and cries I did not understand. For the fight it took her to get through life. And the bitter is mixed with the sweet.

My three year old niece had a dream last week. She doesn’t usually tell her mommy about her dreams, but this one she just couldn’t keep quiet about.

She heard someone at the back door. It was KIERRA. She had come to play! She had a pink dress with a white flower in her hair. When Evy went to get a doll for Kierra to play with, Kierra RAN and beat her. She got to the doll first. Evy tried to hold Kierra, (just like she used to cuddle her) but she couldn’t because she was too big. She didn’t have any tubing on hand or nose or cheek. 

I think God gave her that special little dream! I just love to think of them playing together …even if its in a dream :) The next day, He sent the most beautiful rainbow in the evening sky that stayed for a very long time. I remembered, 4 years ago, standing under a rainbow in Montana dreaming of my unborn child. Longing to meet her and hold her. Wondering what she would be like and feeling like God had big plans for her. I remember my dad calling her ‘the resurrection baby’ when she was a new born. She would be laying down, when she would suddenly pop her head straight up and stared around. We had never seen a more alert, strong new born! Seriously.

I stood below the rainbow, hardly comprehending that she was a dream once again. As a wise person said…We are in the dream! They are FULLY ALIVE!!

Then her birthday dawned and I remembered weeping by her crib in the middle of the night on her first birthday.

Because she deserved so much more then I could give her that day. Because my heart was so sad for what she was missing here. Because I was a bit angry that my own dreams were broken.

On her second birthday,

I took  her swimming,

and enjoyed the happy moments in her day,

and  watched her sunbathe.

On her third birthday in the hospital.

The wonderful HUGE box of gifts from friends,

the party out on the terrace

and her strawberry birthday cake,

and silly hats.

I wanted to do something positive to celebrate that she was truly free and SO HAPPY on her FOURTH birthday. I wanted to throw a party. But it had to be small, because I was quite a mess and I was not into being the center of attention.

So I bought a strawberry cake mix and started mixing.

My friend, Sadie, helped me throw a party.

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We arranged with The Clinic For Special Children to bring a small refreshment table into the their office for a few hours in the forenoon. It felt right to serve them refreshments on her birthday as a thank you. I think God used them to give her another (almost) two years of life for us to cherish. I also wanted the patients and parents to know they are not alone. That God has a plan for their lives.

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Aw! I LOVE this place and the hard working, caring folks in it!

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It was hard, being there without Kierra, but everyone was so friendly, and it was so wonderful to see their familiar faces. I even saw some pink in honor of Kierra! I wish she could have come twirling into the room to show us all how well she is.

We left the table there for a few hours while we went back to Sadie’s house and had our own little Tea party/cry fest/laughter. (more coming on that another day :)

I was just overwhelmed and totally blessed by all the folks who cared about her Birthday! Cards in the mail, a meal brought in for us with a ‘remembering Kierra candle’ a package from the west, beautiful bouquets, tex messages, gift cards and cash to buy something special for her grave, tex messages and I’m praying for you and care. We felt very well loved. Thank you. Each of you.

I think she felt really loved on in Heaven too!

 

 

 

2

Kobe Thoughts

We have been slowly working through the process of this thing called life. Perhaps that is why I have been rather silent the last while.

I don’t feel like I have many inspirations or  burning urges that will burst if I don’t capture them in script.

Now, if I would view the world from Kobe’s eyes for a few minutes, I would have plenty to say! So here’s a peek into his life..

Mommy and Daddy decided to sell Kierra’s bed. They told me another little boy that can’t sit up and run and play really needs it. They said the little boy is a little like Kierra and his daddy is going to come pick the bed up.

I thought it was exciting at first! Daddy and the man took my bed all apart and hauled it out to the man’s red van. He seemed pretty pleased with it! His little boy was sleeping in a bed they had rigged for him. That means they had propped pillows and wedges under it so he would be more comfortable. I;m sure their little boy will love it as much as Kierra did! He even has a little two year old sister. Maybe she will be able to lay in the bed with him, just like I did with Kierra!

When it was time to go to bed later that night, there was just this big empty hole where Kierra’s bed used to be. I missed it so much, I was almost crying. I begged and begged for it to come back!

Mommy brought my old crib mattress down and made me a cozy little bed in the corner of the room. Then the best thing happened! Daddy found a Thomas Train bed on Craig’s List that he showed me. He said he would try to get it for me. 

That made everything much better! I still missed Kierra’s big soft special bed, but thinking about Thomas made me feel happy inside!

Every day, I would ask about my Thomas bed. I thought it would never come! It made me grouchy. During the night, I would crawl off my crib mattress and wander over to mommy’s room, calling for her.

Last evening, as soon as Daddy came home from work we got ready to go look at the Thomas Bed! We drove for a long time! I was getting bored. I got so bored and tired that I fell asleep.

Mommy woke me up, and there was the Thomas bed , sitting in someone’s yard! I was SO excited I could hardly walk in a straight line! It was shiny and bright blue. We loaded it into the van, and paid the lady for it. 

Getting home and setting it up was the best part!

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Daddy had it together in no time! He even let me help!

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Mommy says I was beaming! I still am!

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I slept all night long without waking ONE time!!

My other favorite thing right now is my kittens! I named them Thomas and James, just like my favorite trains. I play with them every day and give them food. Sometimes they even drink out of my pool!

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Sometimes we sit and rest.

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Sometimes I tell them secrets.

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And sometimes, I TICKLE them!

They help me not feel quite so lonely without my sister around here.

I miss bringing her things,

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and cuddling with her,

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and pushing her chair.

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Sometimes I wrap my blanket around my shoulders and pretend I’m an angel. That makes me feel happy too! Because someday, I want to go to heaven and be with Kierra. Maybe she will take my hand and hold it tight, just like I used to do for her.

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I just can’t wait! Because sometimes, I tell mommy two things about Kierra…

“I MISS him!” 

“I want to go see Kierra!”

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Love, 

Kobe

4

Don’t Close Your Eyes

It is late.

I should be sleeping.

But Kobe begged me to leave my own comfy bed and lay beside him. His tears melted my heart and when he threw his little arm around my neck and snuggled up close, I was so glad I complied.

He lay there, with his typical Kobe squinty eyed , one eye shut one eye open, mouth curled up, lopsided with the effort, expression on his face.

“Mom, stay here.” He whispered sleepily.

Usually, it’s “Mom, don’t close your eyes.”

Maybe it’s part of being a two year old. Maybe it’s part of seeing Kierra so peacefully with her eyes closed and the subconscious realization that she never opened them again. Maybe it’s part of missing her. And wishing she were here. But he tells me often, “Mom, don’t close your eyes.”

I lay beside him in her bed. The special big girl bed she loved so much, and stared at the spaces she stared at, and wondered where her thoughts lay while she lay here. I tried to capture the good memories, and let the sadder, harder ones slip by , like a child drifting into oblivion.

And the words echoed on my heart, “Mom, don’t close your eyes.”

Losing a child has worked a stillness in my soul that I have never experienced before. I lay down, and time stands still. My mind feels like an 80 year old that wanders by itself down delightful little winding thoughts. I can lay perfectly still, remembering, in a semi conscience state, with the most peaceful aura surrounding my heart. Past interlaces with present. And present with future. Sometimes I round a bend and do a face to face with a thorn bush. It’s ugly and it’s sharp and it’s liable to do damage. Some days I am cautious and skirt carefully around it. Some days, I want to feel pain. To feel the hard razor of the dark side of life. Sometimes it’s acknowledging the pain and ugly that brings the fullness of redemptive grace. The miracle of living with Eyes Wide Open.

“Don’t close your eyes, Mom,” he said again.

I reassured him for the hundredth time. “I won’t. I’m right here.”

I want to hang into that Eyes Wide Open moment through the hard and the easy. I’m still learning. Still begging for God’s grace. Still longing for that day when I will have a brand new vision…a brand new perspective…and a brand new daughter to feast my eyes on. An eternity to live with a fully renewed vision with my Creator.

Someday, I can no longer keep that promise to Kobe, and my eyes will close , but I will have lived well if he knows, without a shadow of a doubt that His Jesus NEVER closes His eyes!

For now, I want him to see Jesus in my eyes.
When he overflows the toilet.
When he spills precious pecans all over the floor.
When he grabs my face with both his hands to kiss me.
When he has disobeyed.
When he wakes up.
And when he goes to sleep.
When we spin ‘ring a round the rosy’ in his kiddy pool.
And pretend that Sir Topham Hat is helping him play.
When he runs as fast as his little legs carry him, toward Kierra’s grave.

Life is too short to close your eyes. Even in the pain.
I can still see Kierra’s sweet flashing smile.
Her wiggle of recognition.
Her quick brush of lips over cheek that meant a kiss.
Her very-begged -for, occasional lifting of her hand in a “Hi”
Her silky hair, all clean and combed out fresh.
Her hands clasped to her chest.
The sharp needles that pierced her tender arms.
Her drawn up legs and stiff arms that meant her belly hurt. Again.
The frustration that rose with over tired, over stressed moments.
Her bruised feet and hands from too many lab draws and IV sticks.

So many memories.
So many moments for me to grasp right now.

“Don’t close your eyes, Mom!”

Because if you do, you will miss that silent tear.
You will miss that dejected shoulder.
You will miss the anger flashing across the tiny face…because you were too busy to listen.
You will miss the amazing dawning of a new concept.
The light that follows the fear faced.
The longing in two tiny eyes.
The lashes lying, just so.
The miracle of steady breathing.
The amazement of a new morning.
The thrill of picking flowers
The little ways they say,”I love you.”

It hurts to look pain in the face. Joy and beauty are so much better companions! But, Life is meant to be faced with eyes wide open. Washed with the Grace of our Fathers love.

So peel off those clutching fingers from your face. Let go of the what ifs, and should haves, and if onlys, that distract your gaze.

Your life is this moment.
Right now.
Close this website.
Throw out your excuses.

Just don’t close your eyes.

The light of Jesus wants to shine in them…open.

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For the eyes of The Lord are on the righteous , and His ears are attentive to their cry. Psalm.

4

When I don’t Understand God

“Where does understanding dwell? It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing.” Book of Job

That’s how I’ve been feeling the last while. Like God is silent. Life is cruel. Present is suffocating. And Future uncertain. I wanted to beat something up. Take a wrecking ball to a building. As if that would make me feel better. After the clatter and crash and settling dust, what would be left? Everything would still be exactly the same. Except for a pile of ruin.

But ruin feels good sometimes. Sitting among the ashes of your dreams and longings has a drawing power. It’s just so familiar. It’s all your mind wants to turn to. It feels like home even though it wreaks of utter desolation. Sometimes, the effort it takes to get up just isn’t worth it.

Acceptance seems like betrayal. Forgiveness seems like denial. Smiles seem frivolous. And joy seems like a giant lie.
So I sit a bit longer among the ruins, sifting them through my fingers.

God’s been working on this girl’s heart. I am hopeless and helpless without Him. The moments of my life that surround this sadness in my heart will always stay with me. The pain and total NOT understanding. The NOT FAIR and the WHAT IF. It has all been woven into the essence of who I am. God knew that when He created me.

Listen to what else Job has to say about understanding, this ancient man who lost everything except His life and his wife.

“God understands the way to it
And He alone knows where it dwells.
for He views the ends of the earth
And sees everything under the heavens.

(So He’s looking at the big picture. At the details.)

When He established the force of the wind
(Maybe our trials and pain?)
And measured out the waters
When He made a decree for rain,
And a path for the thunderstorm…

He looked at wisdom
And appraised it
He confirmed it.
And tested it.

(Guess what? Unlike my mind likes to think, God isn’t up there whipping up a storm, unleashing pain and horror over His children, without a thought of where the pieces will fall. He is appraising. Confirming. Testing. He knows what He’s doing. He created us. And He honestly has the BEST for us turning in His ‘Great Brain’. He delights in us. He will never leave us broken alone. Ruined for good. Because He is stronger then our circumstances. Look at what the last verse says.)

The fear (reverence, respect) of The Lord is
WISDOM
And to shun evil is
UNDERSTANDING.”

Just like Alex Marini shared on Sunday…
To have fullness of joy is actually not complicated.
“Obey God
Abide. In. Him.”

Our God is so big. Look at another quote from Job…

“And these are but the outer fringe
Of His works.
How faint the whisper we hear of Him!
Who then can understand
the thunder of His power?”

Today, I’m choosing to trust God. He knows what He’s doing. I’m just convinced. I feel like I’m along for the ride…. I think that’s just OK:)

Right now…the ride consists of reading Kobe’s favorite book…I can handle that!

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0

Our Ascension Day

Yesterday was Ascension Day. The day that is observed as Jesus’ return to Heaven. I can just imagine the triumphant entry He made. The grand celebration that is still in full swing.
To the friends He left behind, I’m sure this day was a bit less glorious. The Promise Jesus left with them is still for us today, though! He WILL return for His children! That day can’t come soon enough for this family!:)
Yesterday, since Steve had off work, we loaded the van with supplies, and spent the day over at Kierra’s grave, pouring the footer for her headstone.
It took us much longer then we planned, due to the misty weather that popped up in the afternoon.

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The ground was nice and moist from the recent rain. We dug and dug until the hole was 30 inches deep. Then we took a break at McDonalds and picked up concrete mix at Home Depot. It took 17 bags of 80 lb mix!! I was absolutely amazed! I had no idea that smallish headstones can require that big of a footer. Steve did an amazing job!

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We mixed and hauled and scraped and mixed. It wasn’t really suppose to rain according to Accuweather, but of course it did as soon as we began pouring and mixing concrete.
Perhaps the heavens were weeping with our hearts, remembering that only 4 months ago, we said Goodbye. It seems much longer then that! Amazingly, it felt rather good to actually be DOING something in honor of Kierra. Our little family…together in hearts if not in persons.
We waited in the van while it misted over our plastic covered slab of concrete. Kobe thought it was quite adventurous and made ramps out of the dashboard for his trucks.
After lots of edging and smoothing we called it good enough and loaded up to head home.
That was our day yesterday. Full of conversation, misty rain, cold toes, digging, mixing, dumping…and home to hot coffee and popcorn.
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Kierra’s spot is way down in the right hand corner under the spreading tree.

3

When Part Of Heaven Lives In Us

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We spent a day in Maryland recently. It’s always so good to be with family. Nothing on earth can replace family ties. It was the first we were back since the funeral. The last time we visited was over Christmas, and Kierra was not feeling well at all. I’m still so glad we went that one last time in December! She got cuddled and held and rocked alot that day!

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We almost went to the ER on the way home with her, but she seemed to rally again. After we got home, she spent alot of time in her delightful bed. She LOVED that bed, and her new bed set.Even if it was a bit big :)

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I wasn’t planning on all these pictures, but I miss her so much, I just had to post them again :) Please bear with me…

On this trip to Maryland, we had no  Kierra to take with us, and while we missed her so much, there were sweet times, and little reminders of her all around us. She was in our hearts, so she couldn’t be too far away!

Meghan (my newest niece) had grown delightfully since I saw her last. She is a darling, squishable, blondie and looked like a peach in one of Kierra’s baby dresses!

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I took some extra oxygen tubing and feeding tube extensions along for my nieces. They LOVE to play ‘Kierra’ with their dolls. They had their bed turned into a hospital in no time. They propped pillows their babies, dressed in Kierra’s outgrown clothes. Taped the extensions to their bellies, and had the time of their lives.

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They had to even give them breathing treatments :) with lots of little on lookers.

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And give them bolus feeds :)

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I even had fun. Opening the tubing, inserting the syringe, and feeding the babies :) Something about flipping that clamp open felt so good again.

I remember sharing a hospital room with a patient who was in overnight, recovering from a minor surgery. The mom told the nurse that her daughter’s oxygen was still on. Being bored and maybe a bit nosy :), I peeked over on their side since our curtains weren’t shut. The child had no oxygen tubing on whatsoever. She only had the little pulse ox. monitor with that little red light attached yet. Yep, it was my amusement for the day! But seriously, I may have been in the same shoes years ago. If you never step foot into the medical world, you have no idea what simple oxygen tubing is.

Kierra gave my nieces more then happy cousin memories. She gave them a bit of medical knowledge as well. Maybe they can use it to bless another little child some day.

When part of Heaven lives in our hearts, it changes everything.

this earth gets very lonely.

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sometimes nature is your best companion.

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but when being with people is too much to bear, their love still burns in your heart.

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Eventually, the sun bursts through, and God opens a window to heaven.

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All we can do is worship our Loving Creator.Savior. Father.

He listens to our hearts. And hears our silent prayers when words aren’t enough.

I captured Kobe in a prayer outside.

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He had just fallen and bumped his knee when I heard him whisper,all bent over, “Pray God. Make Kobe’s knee, ouchie……”(mumble incomprehensible words for this mommy) “Amen!”

and he jumped up and took off playing again.

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I’m sure God understood him. Just as He understands my mixed up words at times.

Approach His throne BOLDLY, my friends! He is No Small God! And our stresses and heartaches do not overwhelm Him.