3

God’s Got This

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It’s all part of the Journey. Life can be so difficult to understand. Circumstances so unchangeable. Emotions so beautifully tangled. But when we hold onto the fact that God is working for our GOOD, then we have hope, and often hope is the best thing to hang onto in this life.

We packed our car, shut up our house, and picked up our road map several weeks ago. We headed out for the sunny south. Destination. Florida.

This morning, we woke up in Montana.

What a journey it has been! Giving up our dream to live in Florida, for our dream of coming back home and living in Montana. We loved being in Florida, but something didn’t seem quite right. When my friend, Priscilla, got married in Trout Creek, MT, it seemed like God was choreographing everything together to allow us to return west and nudge us in a different direction.

We drove from Florida to Montana in around 40 long hours of cross country highways and interstates. The closer we got to Montana the more excited we got. We were coming home. Believe me when I say I was THANKFUL for that feeling! Soon after Kierra died, the last place I felt like going to was Montana. It felt like we had been wrung out and hung up and forsaken by that land. That is a prime example of how emotions work. Because Montana was actually wonderful to us. People cared about us. Doctors did their BEST to help us. We had wonderful , kind, friends. We had family close by. I think part of my heart died along with my dreams for my daughter in Montana a few years ago. It hurt too much to go back and face that dream again.

I could write a long epistle about coming here, and how things fell out of and into place for us. How discouraged we were at times,like yesterday, our last day here, with no house nailed down for us to move into. Like questioning if this is even where God WANTS us. Like wondering if He even CARES what we do or where we live. I mean, we hadn’t had a burning bush or  voice from heaven blossoming in our faces. It seemed the right thing to do right now in life, but could we trust ourselves? And most importantly,could we trust God?

To make a long story short, we got a text from a friend who had contacted a friend who might have a house available for rent. Since we aren’t financially set to cash off a place, :)  we were looking for a rental at least until we can get settled if not longer.

Then things started happening. I couldn’t believe it. At 6:00 PM, a few hours after I wanted to cry in discouragement, we had a cute, affordable,newly remodeled house that had our name on the rental agreement.The funny thing is, we didn’t even sign the agreement yet.It’s a Rancher’s word for it and our own honest word that closes the deal until we come out and sign ‘ some kind of papers that he’ll write up’.:) He of course wants us in it a year, which is OK with us since it is very reasonable and the best thing we have found yet :) It’s a small two bedroom house just a block or two down the street in Fairfield where we lived a bit over 2 years ago.

Maybe that’s what you call God coming through in the 11th hour. I like to think of it as God coming through on time. Although it looked pretty sparse and discouraging yesterday afternoon, I had these moments of feeling like the great wheels of God’s workings were turning and He was going to come through with SOMETHING.

I wouldn’t even care if He had written “I told you so.” all over the sky :)

So here”s a big Thanks to our Father who cares about us, and a BIG THANKS to our family and  friends. Each of you who prayed for us, or gave us a meal, or  a bed, or encouragement, or laughter, or kindness, or assured us that God would work things out….THANK YOU!!!! Did you know you were the breath of God in our lives?

Today we head out on a new adventure with this rig.

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Steve’s uncle and family are moving from MT to IN this weekend. (another God plan the way this works). Since we didn’t want to drive our car all the way back to PA and all the way out here again, it made sense that we haul a load of their stuff back and leave our car parked here. The best thing is that since it is outrageously expensive to move west with a UHaul. (over twice as much as moving east) this is an answer to another unprayed prayer! :) Isn’t it amazing how God looks out for us! Johns and us are renting this truck and trailer from kind folks out here, and loading it with John’s stuff to haul to IN. Then we unload, and head the rest of the way to PA. You can guess the rest :) I think it will PLENTY big enough for our things. Steve even claims he could fit the van into the back of it yet too. LOL!! (the van is for sale, actually, if anyone is interested:) We hope to be back home by Monday sometime, so I’m not sure how long it will take to pack and say Goodbye to the East. I dread that part :( But I guess it is also part of the journey. I’m going to miss you guys in PA so much!

Prayers for safety and Praise for a God who ALWAYS comes through!

 

1

Embracing Life

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So here we are. The third day Of another adventure or crazy crossroads or whatever you call it. Back to driving around the streets and roads of a strange town. Navigating through strange grocery stores and watching out for old folks crossing streets. Snapping pictures of houses for sale on my iPad out the car window. logging info and numbers and options.

Hanging out at hotspots for WIFI. Scouring craigslist and papers and online sights for a job that catches our eye, or that we would actually qualify for. Wondering if we are totally loco and if we are using the brains God gave us properly.

We can’t forget that we felt like God really, really wanted us to check Florida out. That we felt it was time to move out of Lancaster. That He has all the power and holds all the pieces to the puzzle in His hand. That He will delegate them out in His time and His way.

Montana still holds a big piece of our hearts and minds. It’s where our hearts can return to and immediately feel a connection, and that Home feeling. Whether it’s wise to move back is still a question in our minds. Whether God wants us to is also a question.

The fear of making a wrong choice can easily cloud my enthusiasm. Why am I so afraid we will get it wrong? After all, we serve a loving Father who has promised to guide us with His eye! Why do I fear the unknown when He has never let us down in the past?

No matter where we live, what we do, or who we come in contact with, our God is never going to let go. I need to firmly remind myself of that!

So I am writing to remind myself of my commitment to my Father
To BELIEVE!
Believe God will work out our future.
Our today.
Our tomorrow.
That He knows our yesterday.

That He knows that we are only humans, doing our best to follow our all-knowing Father.
That we can only do the best that we can do.
That when we do make a decision, we can rest in knowing He will work it out for our good.
That He will bring us to a place of knowing and peace.

Last night, we watched the sun set at the beach. It was so glorious and it made my heart ache in all kinds of places. I wondered where we would be if our life had been written with a different story. If Kierra’s ending would have been different. If her beginning in Heaven had not come yet.

On Friday, we were at a wonderful meeting at the Clinic in Stasburg. It was a special day for families of children with Yoder Dystonia. I came away, feeling overwhelmed and encouraged and totally amazed. The science of the cells dividing. the amazing surgical injections being done with the tiny babies inside pregnant rats. The beautiful cerebellum of the brain that has a distinct leafy appearance. The fact that is even more beautiful in these kids, because it is extra tiny and totally unique. The questions that surround from the time of conception until the time of their Heavenly beginning.

They have come so far. But still have so many really important questions that need answering. The term Yoder Dystonia for these children has been changed to NCS. Which stands for Nepher Cerebellum Syndrome. There. I hope I got it right.:)

There were six Dr that shared about their findings and treatment options. It was so very educational! From the Clinic Doctors to the older gentleman with the wonderful London accent!

So far, there is still no cure for NCS. Their quest for understanding exactly what is happening should give them more specific answers as to how to treat it best. It seems like when one of the specific cells divide there is extra trauma then usual. This may cause a host of complications. WD73 is the gene that is affected in this process. Even having the cell divide a fraction of a centimeter different then ‘usual’ can cause amazing differences. And this is only 1 cell in the enormous world of your DNA. Think of paying off a loan with 3% interest over 30 years versus 3.05% interest over 30 years. Now imagine the difference it makes in a human if the cell divides even a teeny tiny fraction of a difference then usual. Over the course of time, it will make a BIG difference!

So questions that come up are things like, does the mother need an extra protein or amino acid during pregnancy? Is the baby fine until late in the pregnancy when it lacks something that would effect the way the brain develops? Are they born with this or do they develop symptoms after birth?

Research is still in progress. NCS is taking longer then nearly any other disorder they have experienced to unwrap. I see God’s awesome creation all over this amazing search to understand NCS. We are WONDERFULLY created!

And all these sweet children….well, they are the handiwork of God too! Because they cannot breathe without His touch on their lives! All the parents that were there…whether they had lost their children or not, were living examples of love. Love that reaches beyond the normal, and embraces the gift of life!

So once again, in a totally different way, I choose to reach beyond the normal of an expected life and embrace whatever God has planned for us. In Florida. Or somewhere else….You show us, God…we’ll do our best to catch on and follow!

Will you join me? Whatever you are facing…embrace it, with the arms of our Father bracing yours!

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Beauty In The Dry

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Remember me like a dry flower,
It may not have any fragrance,
But it will remind you of my existence
Forever in your life.

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They say roses fade…
I think they just deepen.
Into a stronger beauty.

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It was the delicate strength of the tiny blossoms
That brightened the room even when their season
Was gone.

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Thank you,Christene for helping me create beauty out of dry brittle flowers! A bit like my heart.
It is a gift…..
this beauty from Kierra’s life left for us…
Even after she is gone.
Peace.

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Silver Sandals

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In silver sandals she goes walking up those Golden stairs
And though we miss her so, we know she’s happy to be there!
She walks with us in memory. We see her all the time.
In silver sandals walking through our minds.

So many times we let our thoughts turn back to yesterday
To a little girl that could only watch the children as they played
She walks with us in memory. We see her all the time.
In silver sandals walking through our minds.

The grave in which she sleeps is cold but our thoughts of her are warm
And we cry as we both long to hold her in our arms
Each night in dreams we see her running to us, smiling sweet
With silver sandals on her little feet.

She asked for sandals from the time that she could talk
(I think she would have!)
And it would break our hearts when she’d ask us why she couldn’t walk
She’d say, “when I get to Heaven can I change my crutches (wheelchair) then
For a pair of silver sandals at the rainbows end?”

In silver sandals she goes walking up the golden stairs.
And though we miss her so, we know she’s happy to be there.
She walks with us in memory.
We see her all the time. In silver sandals walking through our minds.
-Dolly Parton

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I can’t wait to see you in your dancing shoes, Kierra!
Twirl and dance today!
I know you are so wonderfully happy living the dream we are all longing and waiting for!

This morning, the song Silver Sandals echoed in my mind over and over. I took her little dancing shoes from Christene outside into the morning light. It was just peaking over the old red barn across the road, and kissing everything with its gentle glow. It reminded me of Kierra. Pure and fresh. Soft and pink.

I dream of her a lot right now. Mostly I care for her in my dreams. No matter how much I wake up missing her, I know without a shadow of a doubt, that she is so much happier now. It’s very hard to get my mind around the fact that she is walking and talking. Dancing and singing. I always thought I had a big imagination, but when something so personal has changed so drastically, my mind just can’t reach it. It just shuts down for a bit. I like to surround myself with positive thoughts and images of what she may be experiencing, because although I know she is completely healed and happy, I just can’t quite imagine her running yet. Maybe someday…until then, I will stroke her little dancing shoes and believe in the dream!

I trust that God is good. That He is LOVE. Because He cannot be anything else. This life hurts. It is gut twistingly hard sometimes, but I hang onto the fact that even if God does not explain Himself and what He allows to happen, He leaves us a promise.
(Thanks to a message by Gary Inrig for inspiring me in these thoughts.)

“I will come back, and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:3

“For the revelation waits for an appointed time…
Though it linger, wait for it!
It will CERTAINLY come.
And will not delay.”
Habakkuk 2:3

Whatever you are facing today….just know that although God does not give explanations ….He gives Promises. And since He cannot lie, we can trust that He is who He says He is. He will do what He says.
And He loves us beyond all doubt.

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