2

Focus on LIFE

So maybe I’m repeating myself.
But when your husband brings you flowers on a cold wintery day…(he is THE BEST!)

IMG_1190.JPG
And a friend stops by to give you a hug and make sure you are ok…
And you had just minutes before been sitting,watching a “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” music clip and tears were stealing down your face as you felt the loss this world has portioned out into your plate.

Well, I just had to share a tiny bit of heart here. Because right now I feel like I’m eating a big bite of unsalted undercooked Lima beans.
Gritty. Tough. Just yuck.
It’s rather awful because I have so much good going for me-gifted from my Father.
I seem to forget that big fat steaming fresh doughnut waiting at my elbow with the equally tantalizing coffee.
The cold Limas consume me.

I forget the joy and blessings life has served me when I get so focused on the loss.

You have a loss too. I just know you do. A broken promise. A dysfunctional family. A traumatic childhood. A great heartache. A love that is so big and strong it aches for the hurt of those in your life.

For me, it’s the loss of my dreams of a perfectly healthy baby girl. Way back over three years ago. The trauma of a screaming infant. The ‘temporary’ of our lives and the expected unexpected in her life. Missing out on lots of Kobe’s baby days because our daughter needed us. Hurting when she hurt physically and grieving for the joys she could never experience in this life. Being her voice and advocate and cheerleader. Watching and holding our breath over her development and lack of coordination and strange movements. When we just wanted to enjoy her and have a happy carefree life. The last years have taken more out of me then I understand. I feel robbed. Cheated. And underneath that I feel selfish for feeling robbed when it was my daughter that had to suffer. But she was part of us. What hurt her hurt us, and I’m back to the age old wondering of what God is actually working to accomplish here in this mess that is called grief and disappointment.

But I cringe at my own words. Because while they are true on one awful level, they are also totally counteracted on the next. And the pain becomes tremendous gain. I have been given a priceless gift to be the Mommy of an angel daughter. Our little girl made me look at life through a totally different window. She brought so much beauty through the pain. So much peace through the tears. So much love to our Kobe. So much Kierra to our lives. So much courage in a messed up world. I am more certain of guardian angels that stand beside our children then I ever was in my life. I ache for her and her amazing beauty. Her radiant smile.

I sat and held Kobe as he tried to open his tired sleepy naptime eyes and I knew without a shadow what I needed to do.

Focus on the gain
Instead of the pain.

I have so very very many blessings. A wonderful husband. A darling three year old. Friends. And all the things that make me comfy in life. I choose to thank God for that.
Joy is a choice.
I choose it for my heart….and pray that it reaches my eyes.
So my friend….

IMG_1415.PNG

Life is all about perspective. Focus. What we choose to dwell on until it becomes our identity. While I never want to lose that ‘Kierra part of me’, I also need to let go of the hurt and let the beauty we were so extremely blessed with for three and a half years fill my days and change my perspective.

IMG_1416.JPG
Like the song writer I sing in my soul…
“And I said to myself ,’what a wonderful world’!”

IMG_1414.PNG

2

A Solo Date

I am sitting by myself in Barnes n Nobles for the first time in years, or maybe in all of my history :)
I brought this…

IMG_1303.JPG
And bought this…

IMG_1306.JPG
And looked at this…

IMG_1307-0.JPG

Something to eat
(Chocolate)

Something to talk to
(Sometimes my journal is my best therapist :))

Something to do
(Create cards from Michaels clearance rack :))

Something to hope for
(A gorgeous cookbook and a positive note from wheelchairs)

I helped Steve do a lawn job this morning and now I’m having some “quiet, do something relaxing, ” time while he mows another lawn.

Kobe is coming in to town later today with friends. Bless their kind hearts for watching him this chilly morning!

Sometimes when life hands you uncontrollable (or common everyday the same) events, the best thing to do is take some time out and rest awhile in your own space. Maybe that is a coffee shop, a book store, (ME!) a garden, a long hot bath, or an art museum.

Take a bit of time to be kind to yourself. Sit and honestly ask yourself how you are doing. You can even have a conversation with yourself in your journal. Just like you would for a friend.
What would you tell your friend if they were having a rough day?

“I believe in you.”
“You are loved.”
“It’s OK to hurt.”
“Here. Cry for awhile.”(as you hand her a box of tissue)
“Gods not going to let you go. “
“He won’t love you more or less by your honesty.”
“You are doing a good job in life.”

How about telling yourself the same things?
If you are anything like me, you are your own best critic. (Yep, I’m sure someone else has the original to that quote :) ) but honestly. We are so harsh with ourselves at times. We forget that by being honest with ourselves we can be honest with others. That taking time to understand why we are hurting is more valuable then beating ourselves up because we snapped at our children (again!) for some minor bit of childishness.

Often the “straw that broke the camels back” is actually not the problem. It’s something else that carries much more weight at the root of the load we are carrying. While we can give our burdens to Jesus, and rest on Him, we are still faced with all the elements that make up life. Family. Work. Decisions. Friendships. Grocery shopping. The list goes on. It gets much more complex. Sickness. Wandering souls. Disappointments. Death.

We are so good at holding on to pieces of hurt and pain and fear. Until we break. Thankfully, that’s what our Saviour specializes in. Broken lives and hearts and people.

Today I am taking some time to sit and think about my own life. To do something I love. To get to know myself a bit better. To bring the broken to God. To have my hope renewed through Him.

Because. HE is understanding Loving Hope.
And He makes me new.
Ready to face life a bit more steadily…
Take some time off for yourself, my friend. It is one of the kindest things to can do to yourself and those you love.

2

Glory In the Hurt

234

The leaf is dressed in glory.

As it dies.

I wonder if It likes the different ‘Me.’

If leaves could think.

I do believe they would agree,

the dying to their former color

041

brings out the golden glory.

248

And beautifies the dying.

200

It is nearly 9 months since our daughter took her first steps in heaven. Since I have begun getting to know what life is like without her. Since I have been introduced to a different ‘Me.’

073#2

The following song has spoken to me so very often. Sometimes its a bit hard to put words to my deep feelings but following the lyrics below is a bit of my own struggle to accept and embrace this new life that is ‘Me.’

“The Hurt & The Healer”

Why?
The question that is never far away
The healing doesn’t come from being explained
Jesus please don’t let this go in vain
You’re all I have
All that remains

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

Breathe
Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

It’s the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all our scars are understood
When mercy takes it’s rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of the weakness we must bow
And hear You say “It’s over now”

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take this heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into your arms open wide
When The hurt and the healer collide

[x2:]
Jesus come and break my fear
Wake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Wake my heart and take my tears
And find Your glory even here

Thanks to Jessie for adding these lyrics.
Thanks to Mike Benkert, Jim Mahan for correcting these lyrics.

I don’t know this new me yet.

She surprises me

confuses me

amazes me

angers me

hurts me.

She IS me.

And I don’t know what to do with her.

I can’t get away from her.

Just as I think she has morphed into a tidy bit of womanly,

she throws out a new curve and leaves me

dazed

lonely

confused

scared.

I can’t out think her

out sleep her

out smart her

or out last her.

So I must embrace her.

And learn to know her.

I must be gentle

and real

(not live in a dream of who I think she should be)

and honest.

Forgive her

(that’s myself I’m talking about)

Accept her.

Even if I do not understand her.

( my poor husband :)

Because God has brought her on a journey.

He has plans for her that I can only trace the very fringes of.

So I will lay out the pieces of yesterday

on my own familiar kitchen table

and give them to her Creator.

(He is a Master Chef at creating beauty and completion from messes)

The new and the old and the not understood all laid out before God.

Her loving heavenly Father who knows more about her then she can imagine.Who understands the deepest part of her that is beyond her reach to know.

Someday, she will see clearly.

“I shall know and understand fully and clearly even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God].”

1 Corinthians 13:12 Amplified Bible

Did you get that? It doesn’t say we will BE UNDERSTOOD then. It says we ARE UNDERSTOOD now. I think that means In our present moment. With our present mess of ourselves.

Rest assured today, Dear Soul!

God understands you. You may lay it all out to Him. He won’t be surprised or confused or shocked at you. He knows you already.

He understands.

He is longing to help you.

To simply love you.

To give you rest and peace in Him.

The joy of His presence.

And the hope of truly knowing and finding His fullness filling our being in heaven some glorious day!

just give it to Him.

2

The Blessedness of Bandaids

So as strange as it sounds, once upon a time, I was angry at a box of Bandaids.

A few years ago, My friend had sent me a wonderful care package, complete with food, fun, miniature animals…and a box of Bandaids for boo boos. They were cute and colorful and fun, if Bandaids can be fun.

It was one of the those boxes I looked at briefly then threw under the sink in my catch it all basket that got organized once a year and nearly never used.

And I thought to myself….’I never need to use Bandaids.’
And that made me sad.

I didn’t want to look at those Bandaids. Not because of the pain and boo boo it would cover, but because of the strange absence of boo boos.

You see, Kierra couldn’t walk, let alone roll over. She couldn’t pull things down on top of her (except for the mosquito netting that she managed to tangle in). She couldn’t pinch her fingers in the cupboard door or pull the cat’s tail or get a splinter from the wooden swing set.

Her socks stayed clean. Too clean. And there were not strays (except by my own making). Some days I would make excuses to get her a fresh shirt (and some days she would drool faster then I could think). Her shoes never wore out or had scuffed toes. Because she didn’t wear them. Her jacket was never torn from a hide out in the Rose garden. Even her mittens stayed way too clean and lasted for years.

While I didn’t want her to hurt or be in trouble or pain, I wanted the glorious normal of a messy life.

I wanted something other then boring sterile hospital Bandaids and gauze pads over lab draws for her.

I wanted dirty socks and holes in pants. Tonight, after we got home from an evening with friends, I was changing Kobe . His shoes were damp. His feet wreaked of sweat. And I delightfully changed them.

I will perhaps go down in record as the first person that delights in sweaty feet and holey jeans and dirty jackets. In missing socks and a child that screams bloody murder when I extract the tiniest splinter under the very first layer of his skin. And apply a gloriously cute puppy dog bandaid.

I love the dirt under his finger nails and the toe nails that are always stubbed short. The teeth that need brushing and the drinks that are handed into two tiny grasping hands. The very fact that he still wants me to give him bites of food doesn’t even bother me that much. Because I get to feed a child who TAKES BITES OF FOOD and CHEWS and SWALLOWS!!

Some times in the middle of the day, when he takes a tumble and is howling in my arms, I automatically check for broken limbs or bad ouchies and automatically think about dropping everything and heading for the hospital.

Then I remind myself. This is not Kierra. This is not an emergency. It never is with Kobe. And in the back of my mind, in some crazy way, I miss the adrenaline rush of totally focusing on a run to the hospital…(with a non life threatening emergency of course!)

So here’s my challenge to you this week when the dirty laundry piles high and the socks are all searching for soul mates.

Thank God. Thank Him for the miracle of a mess!!
It is a blessing.

IMG_0891.JPG

IMG_0883.JPG

8

Settling West

I know. This is way overdue. I have written this post countless times in my head and every time it says something different. I have so many thoughts and feelings and little moments of Aw. that I’m not sure where to begin.

Let me introduce you to our new surroundings a bit first. We arrived here in Fairfield, MT at our house on a Tuesday night. Traveling had gone excellent with clear skies and no flat tires. There was a cold nip in the air that night. Of course we had forgotten to keep proper jackets/coats out when we packed , but then again, no one expected it to snow, even in Montana, the beginning of September! We shivered in the sharp night air as we unloaded just a few things, digging for our air mattress.

My good friend Meghan had been over earlier in the day to freshen the house up. Her kids made this sweet sign for us. They even included Kierra in our family picture. I LOVE it! I still haven’t taken it down, because almost every day, Kobe happily goes up to it and points at each person and tells me who it is. Daddy, Mamma, Kobe and KIERRA! And hearing him say her name is so good, I just stand real quiet and watch him in his delighted glory.

155

We crashed out on the bedroom floor that first night and tried to get some sleep for the big unloading day on Wednesday. Steve’s family lives about 2 hours from here, so they came over to help us out.

142

Kobe was very happy to have some little cousins to play with! We got the trailer all unloaded into the house by lunch time, even with the unusual skiff of snow that welcomed us :) After that it was sorting and organizing and putting things away.

Our house was built quite long ago, but is newly remodeled.  It’s a two bedroom, one bath, with a full basement that could be converted into a bedroom with some love and time. So give us a bit more time…then stop over for the night when you come west :)

Our front door.

151

This is from the street. We are right across from a commercial building. It’s actually a fairly quiet street during the day. Much, much quieter then Pennsylvannia  when it comes to lots of traffic :)

152

These huge grain bins are just down the street from us. Fairfield  is surrounded by ranches. It’s very open country in this part of Montana so there are lots of huge grain fields. That means there is lots of wind as well! Here in town, we are much more sheltered then out on the ranches. That part is nice, but we don’t have the lovely views of the mountains from our house.

153

This is our kitchen/dining room. These photos were taken over a week ago, so we have done more settling in :) Like buying a stove :)

Montana Move 063 Montana Move 066 Montana Move 068 Montana Move 070

Our living room…still a bit unsettled here,

149

and some lovely outdoor scenery for you :)

Montana Move 040

One day soon after we moved, we were taking a little lunch break out at the old picnic table when a lady from church stopped by with a whole load of free puppies! They were looking for new homes. I am AWFUL when it comes to strays , puppies or kittens. Just ask my poor husband . We gladly took one. I even wanted two ;)…you know, so one won’t get too lonely.

Meet Griffin.

Montana Move 049 Montana Move 010

My biggest grievance is that he howls. What could I expect from a beagle mix????? At least my son has a puppy! He is thrilled with him :)

We have been staying super busy. Setting up house is LOTS of work! Trips to town, changing addresses and phones and becoming residence. Setting up with a new bank, and a new internet company and starting a business. The things to do and see after are quite endless. Steve is working part time with construction right now. He wants to do snow shoveling, lawn care, window cleaning, landscaping, etc. We worked on a few jobs the last two weeks. We trimmed a ton of dead branches and shrubbery out of one back yard and transformed another neglected garden. It was HARD work, but so rewarding to see the wonderful difference!

Before… there was no dirt visible. This was part way into our clean up :)

10551418_786542611402856_2657717772247695608_o

and after..

.1559416_786542758069508_472669662315247091_o

I still can’t believe this is me in Montana going to work with my husband and taking Kobe with us.

1939470_787461064644344_2597719738141277282_o

Where are the days of sitting in the hospital for a week, holding Kierra, talking with Doctors, chatting with nurses, meeting new people, and missing my little and big guys?

1044545_10200184205633294_742752727_n

 While I am so very thankful that Kierra is healed, today  i just wanted to go back. Maybe it was the cold and snow and overcast forenoon.

I got out my big photo book of Kierra  while Kobe  slept, and paged through it slowly. I lived in those pages all over. I remembered buying my little red tea tin at Ross one day on a hospital break when I was aching for soothing herbal comfort. It said the famous , “keep calm and carry on” in white lettering. I loved that tea tin. No matter how scary or hectic life got…i wanted to remember to Stay Calm and Carry On.  With God’s help that’s what i’m still doing. Carrying on. My tin is in my new kitchen, reminding me of my brave little girl who carried on when things got really tough in her little life.

We’ve been so busy unpacking and organizing and working, canning apple filling, and celebrating a WONDERFUL adoption (Meghan and Kenton adopted 4 wonderful kids last week!), spending time in Idaho with family, and buying a couch and oven and curtains for our windows. i think of Kierra countless times, but the sadness  doesn’t often hit me until it’s dark outside and the lights are low and I am tired.

 Today was just hard, though. I felt so much better after I took time to sit down and think about all the good times,all the smells and snuggles and things I miss about my little girl.I wanted to brush out her lovely hair and try one more time to create a braid from their impossible sleekness. I wanted to hear her telling stories at night in her bed. I wanted to draw up her 12 medications. I want to change her feeding pump bag and rip open  new oxygen tubing. Sound weird? Well, this is REALLY weird then!

I want to sit in a hospital room. I want to watch numbers on machines and listen to Enya on You Tube and hear nurses walking down the hallway. I want to see silly simple things like the oxygen and suction mounted on the wall. I want to drink bad coffee and nearly gag. I want to stay awake all night in a hospital that never sleeps. Then i want to walk out of those doors, so excited about going home and being a family again. Amazing. How you miss even hard things when they were such a huge part of your life.

Maybe That’s what happens when part of you dies.

Maybe I should be a nurse :)

On a different note, one of these days, I am going to write about some things  that are no fun when they happen to Kobe but i love them anyway because it means he is OK. and HEALTHY and ALIVE….so stay tuned :)

So long, my friends!

 

0

This is an article I wrote for a magazine recently. I thought I would share it on my blog as well.

jan-july 2014 1816
I am writing from the valley today. It’s a place each of us will walk though in life, sooner or later. The degrees of darkness in the valley will be different for each of us, but we will all face a valley. I am hoping to send a message out from humans groping through this valley to other humans who are traveling through sunshine.

As you read, my friend, remember that everyone’s valley is different. Whether it is a valley of death, financial set backs, loss of home, best friend moving away, or any traumatic, stressful, life altering experience, it is a valley. These words are not written to place people in boxes. They are not written to excuse those who are in the valley. They are written so you can get a glimpse of how it looks and feels from the darkness and loneliness of the valley.
One of the first things I would like to shout from those in the valley is that we are very fragile. Physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Physically, this makes us very tired. The smallest things like grocery shopping can leave us exhausted. Being in even a small crowd  of people seems to amplify into grandstands of humanity. We do not always sleep deeply or well. The tired, exhausted feeling still clings to us when we open our eyes in the morning. We are weak. We need to sit down and rest more often then usual.
jan-july 2014 1539
What you can do:
Go slowly. If we need to have some quiet time by ourselves , do not think we don’t like you! We only need to organize and rest our overtired mind and body. It would be very helpful if you would clean up our house or mow our lawn or even take care of the children while we rest.
Mentally, are brains move extra slow. We say things we don’t mean and mean things we don’t say. We get facts confused. We may forget to tell you an important tidbit of information. We may make statements that mean one thing to us, and something totally different to you. We may forget to return your phone call or text message or tell you thank you for a kindness. We may even keep your best set of dishes for weeks and simply forget to return them. You see, our brains are super full right now. It’s like this gigantic life issue is taking up all the predominant thoughts and space. Some items and people and events get lost in the current swirling around the great vortex of our life. They may resurface later, weeks down the road, or they may get lost in the tide. It is not even a matter of which ones have more value then others. It is just that the stuff that makes up thinking and remembering gets cumbersome at times.
jan-july 2014 1639

What you can do:

First of all, please do not be offended or take things personally when we forget to clarify ourselves. We do not mean to hurt you. Your acts of kindness, no matter how small are like a salve to our thirsty hearts. The kindness rubs in quickly, because our hearts are parched for kindness and gentleness. It is gone from view in no time, but it has made a tremendous difference on out lives! Every layer of salve you put on, no matter if we remember to thank you or not, is a layer of healing for our wounds. The end results at beautiful.
jan-july 2014 1582
Be patient with us and do not judge us harshly if we do not always have the best judgment. Give us time to think through new ideas. We are usually not good at snap decisions. Keep it simple. Whether it’s bringing a meal in or planning a small gathering or setting up a schedule to help us out, please keep it simple. If we are bombarded with too many options, we get totally overwhelmed. Often we may not even care about the details of how or when or where.

Emotions are our trickiest companions. This is where things can change really fast. We may tell one friend that we are having a good day. Four hours later, everything has changed. We are struggling with questions and bombarded with fears and ready to melt into a puddle of despair. This does not mean we were not honest with our first friend. It just means that our emotions are swinging all over. We do not mean to be lying. It’s like being on a  teeter totter. You may catch us, up, down or fairly level all in one day.
jan-july 2014 1633
What you can do…
Once again, do not take it personally. If your friend can’t talk about an issue right now, that’s ok. Give them the freedom to have some space. Perhaps you considered yourself a close friend, and suddenly feel very distant. More then anything else, this may be because you are at two very different places in life right now. Let the ones in the darkness know it’s OK to be where they are. Once again, it is likely not you. It is the enormity and overwhelming situation that makes both of you not know how to deal with the other person. Give each other grace and time. Always, always give grace and unconditionally love.
jan-july 2014 1608
I read an article recently by Susan Silk and Barry Goldman on how to help those who are hurting. I give them all the credit for this idea I am about to present . I feel it is very accurate and helpful.
Imagine a circle with a bull’s eye, surrounded by a circle around it, and a circle around that circle and a circle around that one and on and on as many as it takes. The bulls eye is the person most affected by trauma in life right now. Maybe it’s cancer, or death of a loved one, or a broken heart. That person in the center is hurting badly right now. The circle surrounding this person is labeled spouse, or children. The next circle is labeled close family. The next circle is close friends. The next one just friends. The last circle is associates.

You may change the order of the circle around to fit your specific situation. Perhaps your friends are closer then family or you have no spouse or children. The most important thing is to put the ‘trauma’ in the center and go out from there with people affected the most from the situation.

Now think of giving positive thoughts and kindness to the people inside the circle from you. In other words, if a family member dumps all life’s problems on the spouse, it will most likely not help the spouse a bit. Instead, the family should use encouragement, sympathy, prayers, and strength to encourage the spouse. The friends should do the same for the family. Instead of expecting the family to hold up the friends and be strong and always positive, the friends should strengthen the family and not dump all their troubles and worries and concerns on them.

So simply put, if someone is closer related or better friends with the ‘trauma person’ then you, then by all means, do not add to their burdens with burdens of your own.

This is a beautiful picture of us bearing each other’s burdens. We look out for our brother. Our other brother looks out for us. It’s a strong chain of strength that can flow with positive thoughts and prayers and encouragement right into the heart of the trauma.
jan-july 2014 1620
The other extreme is being so careful with every word you say that you are not even real. It does folks good to know they are not alone in the darkness. That others have been there and survived. That life is not perfect or totally uncomplicated for folks around them. It’s when folks dump too much darkness into folks already walking in the valley that the valley can become even darker.

Everyone likes a good story. Some people like to tell good stories. If they hear about a traumatic event, they nearly always have a bigger one to share. This frankly, does not help. I know I have been guilty of this in the past. If you are on the outside, looking in, do not share other sad or similar stories unless they have an encouraging moral to them. It is overwhelming sometimes, to hear of other peoples trials while you are in the valley yourself. Having someone tell you a worse story then your own seems to make you feel like they are minimizing your pain. It feels like what you are going through shouldn’t be hurting so badly because someone else had it so much worse. It makes you shut down and crawl into your shell when you actually need the healing that comes from grieving your own loss or hardship.

jan-july 2014 1650
Perhaps you are looking in from the outside, longing for ways to show you care. You think of a kindness and offer it to the person in the valley.  The person in the darkness turns you down. That hurts. You wonder if they don’t like you. If you offended them. If you are not good enough for them.

All these things are most likely not true. That’s how Satan rolls. Using fragile situations to amplify misunderstandings and plant seeds of lies. Most likely, the person in the valley was too overwhelmed that day to say yes. Perhaps  they were too tired to even think about it.Perhaps they were embarrassed of how needy they are right now. Perhaps they felt like a project that everyone was trying to fix. Perhaps they simply didn’t think or were distracted by something else at the moment.

Don’t give up if this happens. You can think of other creative ways to help. When people in the valley feel like those in the sunshine are ‘fitting them into their already full schedule’ it can be very intimidating. Random acts of kindness can show that you truly love them in a more gentle way sometimes.
jan-july 2014 1601
Having been in the darkness has changed me. The knowledge that God will bring us into the light again has held me through the valley. Prayers and kindness and wonderful friends and family that surround me have given me the courage to write these words from the dark side in life. We were treated so respectfully and with so much love in our valley.  I apologize to anyone I hurt unintentionally in my own valley.  You were all so very kind to me!
jan-july 2014 1584
Now that I see glimpses of sunlight and rainbows, I wanted to share a bit with others who are basking in the full light of day. Be gentle. Give grace freely. Do not judge. It may be your turn to walk through the valley soon. Then others can extend the same grace to you that you extended to them!
jan-july 2014 1481
0

Goodbye To The East

A week ago. Only a week ago that we said Goodbye to our friends in the east, and the big farmhouses and winding roads of Lancaster County.

123

125

I knew moving was a huge amount of work and a pain in the back. This was our seventh move in seven years. I just forgot, again (when I was SURE I wouldn’t!) how NOT FUN it is.

We arrived home from Montana the previous Monday night and collapsed into our own wonderful bed. That week was full of packing, organizing, tying up loose ends and farewells. We advertised our van on Craig’s List and another online websight on Tuesday. We prayed it would sell. Sure enough, the day before we left, we sold it.

 We had quite a bit of interest in the van online. One lady especially, grabbed my attention. She was a single mom with 4 kids and in desperate need of a vehicle. I think God just held other people off until she could come see it and make us an offer, because I think she really truly needed it. The night she picked it up, her Mom told me that their church was having a time of fasting. The last day of the fast was that very weekend that our van showed up for her daughter. Isn’t that amazing? We signed the title over to her on Saturday before we moved. Don’t you just love how God works!

(I apologize for the poor photo quality coming up. I didn’t take time to really look at the pictures until tonight and realized my camera was obviously not on proper settings. The images are more important to me then quality in this case, so please be gracious:)

Linda and her girls came over to help me pack the kitchen and pantry one day.

012

Joanna and Alisha tackled the big bookshelf.

013.jpg

Kobe was very glad to have someone to play with and read to him.

015.jpg

Otherwise, he got into lots of tight spots and hollered for me to come find him. Moving and two year old emotions aren’t the greatest combination.

005

My family came on Saturday to help us load our tailor. It was an unusually muggy, humid day for September. Steve and I had to run to Leola to sign paperwork yet in the morning, so all the hard workers got a big chunk of the house hauled out before we could even help. The brave guys sweated buckets as they arranged and rearranged everything.

049

050

The children had lots of fun playing together cooling off at the pump

043

and listening to the empty house echo when they sang.

054

We got the last pieces loaded around lunch time, then relaxed while we ate subs and ice cream. After that, came the goodbyes and the waving and torrential down pour of rain that brought flashfloods but broke the heat. Jason’s truck needed a new starter put in before they could go home. Thankfully they found a store that was open and had one on a Saturday afternoon.

Joe and Mona stayed for the weekend. Since our whole house was boxed up, Merv and Linda so kindly made room for us and Joe and Mona both at their house fro the night. We all had one more good time together.

Goodbyes are never easy, but with no goodbye, there is no new beginning. Goodbye is not forever for God’s Family. I’m so glad we can be part of that everlasting family of His sons and daughters!

I really don’t have words for all the emotions of that last Sunday. While part of it was familiar and comfortable and funny, other parts seemed so final and tear jerking and sad. I sat in church, unable to sing most of the time, memories of the last 2 1/2 years overwhelming me. Wishing we could sit on the back bench with Kierra in  her chair beside us one more time. Remembering the kindness of all the folks that would help lift her chair up and down the church steps or just stop and stoop down beside her to say Goodmorning  and that they were so glad she could come today. Sitting in the nursery with her when it got too loud in the auditorium, or turning the lights off during Sunday School so they wouldn’t shine in her eyes and drive her crazy.

After church, we went out to the grave for one last Goodbye. I had stopped by myself earlier in the week and had my little heart broken cry fest. As I turned from her grave that day to leave, the sun broke out behind the overcast clouds and literally spilled all over me in warmth. I think it was straight from heaven.  I was so glad, because I felt so much more calm and hopeful since I had let out the pain and farewell to this little spot and our beautiful daughter’s life. Her memories will go with us anywhere we go. She is so safe now.

One of her little friends from Montana had asked me to buy flowers especially from her for the grave, so I found a nice bright bouquet that I thought Kierra would have enjoyed. Kobe quickly claimed possession of them.

 068

069

They looked beautiful. Vibrant and so Kierraish.

060

The happy faces of Kobe and her cousins were a tiny reflection of the joy she is exuburating right now.

065

We miss her. So very much.

059

But our goodbyes are not forever!

120

Because we have this promise.

161

(*thanks to it all began with paint  for this lovely hand painted sign. I have it hanging in my kitchen to remind me…goodbye is truly NOT forever, because the Love of my Saviour will welcome us into His everlasting joy some wonderful day!)