Thoughts On Life

Mid March Madness

I was organizing and sorting  my life memories recently. You know how you come across an old photo or scrap of paper and it takes you back to an exact time and place. To an exact aroma or noise.

I’m glad we have memories. Because some of our memories, buried in the years of brain software, are just too funny not to pull up occasionally and laugh over. 

I just found one of those memories again and it was such a typical experience of my life.  I was sick with a head cold and larengitist one day, so I stayed home from school to rest and heal. I knew we had a test coming up the next day, and I really wanted to study for that test, so I called my teacher to ask him to send my text book home with my sibling.

My whole phone call turned into a disaster. With my croaky voice, there was no way he could know who I was. When he answered the phone, I said, ” Hello, this is Anita.”

“No, this is Bill. ” he replied. 

“This is Anita.” I repeated more firmly.

“No. This is Bill.” He repeated just as firmly.

I tried one more time. “THIS is Anita.”

“NO, this is Bill.” Came the steady reply.

Let’s just say I was too embarrassed by then to try to explain anymore of my predicament. I simply said “Bye.” And hung up the phone. No worries, his name wasn’t actually Bill 😉 

{I learned a lesson in phone etiquette and how to introduce yourself properly on the first sentence of speaking with someone.} 

I’m still laughing over it.

I suppose phones and me have had our battles, however, because several years later, I totally misunderstood a conversation. 

My Dad had advertised a ‘pickup head’ for the front of a combine (or was it a chopper). One of these heads that hungerly gobbles the field’s harvest of crops and feeds it back into the equipment. When a guy called to ask about the pickup head, I immediately envisioned a pickup truck in my mind. I promised to pass the message along to my Dad. That evening, I casually mentioned to him that a guy called about the ‘ truck front’ he had advertised. He looked at me like I was just a touch crazy. “I didn’t advertise a truck front! ” he said. “But I did advertise a pickup head.” 

It was my turn to feel truly a bit crazy. I don’t think I will ever totally live that one down. Hehehe.

I was a bit of a dreamer with my head in the clouds or my nose in a book. That brought me more then my fair share of embarrassing moments. When I was 8 years old, I forgot my new glasses in the morning and had to go a whole day at school without them. I thought I would die of embarrassment 🙂 

At about the same time in life, we were at a large family reunion with lots of grownup cousins that I barely knew. I stepped on my cousins flip flop and made her fall in front if a whole circle of guys. She fell not  once. But twice. And of course there was a comfortable chuckle. To us, it was the most embarrassing experience EVER! Our little girl minds thought we were marked forever. For months, and likely years 🙂 we would include ‘Remember?” In the notes we wrote each other. It was like we had this life altering experience that would forever scar our reputation.  I still smile over our little girl minds:) eventually we resorted to a “!” as a reminder of our survival story. And when we got old enough to face the ‘ big drastic things’ we totally dropped even “!”

When I was a teenager I went to church one Sunday morning with two different shoes on and didn’t realize it until I was walking down the isle. Yep. Embarrassing. 

I was one of those wordy people and would explain myself into an embarrassing  tangle of synonyms. Like the cat is a male or a he or a tom. When I could have simply said, “This is Sylvan.”

I loved horses, as many young girls do, and was rather bug eyed over anything western. When I eventually grew up enough to move west and teach school, I was thrilled to borrow a horse to ride. Turns out that READING about horses and actually RIDING them is a very different story. I sat in the Lane one day, on this stubborn horse that REFUSED to take a step. It was cold and windy and yep, embarrassing. Because my then, future husband,  drove by and there I sat. A sitting duck. On a horse. I don’t think he realized my predicament and before I could decide if I actually wanted to wave him down ( I didn’t know him well yet 🙂 he was gone with a wave. To this day, I’m not sure how I got that horse to move on home. It was a not so glamorous moment of my life. 

Please tell me you have all had those awkward moments on a stair case or isle of moving out of someone else’s way in the same direction they move, and you immediately both move the other way and it becomes an embarrassing dance. Or hugged someone and your glasses caught on theirs. Or reached out to shake hands and gotten your grasp all twisted up or your finger somehow bent at an odd uncomfortable angle. Or gotten your talk all mixed up. Or happened to be pointing the pressure washer hose at someone when it suddenly begins shooting water out with it’s fiercest blast and you hit them dead center and the total look of SHOCK that crosses their face and the total HORROR on your own. 
By now, you should know you aren’t the only one who does amazingly awkward things and finds themself in less then ideal situations. It’s not fun to be the one who is caught in so many awkward moments. And no, I didn’t mention my MOST embarrassing moment of all time. That one is truly too embarrassing.

Especially when you blush easily. 

But then again, we folks have more to laugh about and more stories to tell our  grandchildren when we are old and grey and wrinkled. 

If we can remember them, that is  🙂 

I would love to hear your funny stories! 

It’s mid March. Couldn’t we all use a good laugh or a bit of happy madness? 

Thoughts On Life

Fire Engine Red

Over the last holiday when hardware stores were running their big paint sales, we stocked up.

Since we just bought a house for the very first time and since it was a foreclosure and since it consisted of nearly every shade of brown, we were excited to make some cosmetic changes. 

I’ve painted walls and ceilings and dabbled in art work for years, and I still don’t understand the wonder and uniqueness of color and how mixing red and blue makes purple. ( I’m not going to even google that to see I’m right 🙂 

Parts of the house needed painting to pass inspection. Parts of it needed painting because it was so drab and awful it put me in a bad mood. I still have no idea how color can have that effect on me. But it does.

Just  like this floor for instance.

 This is my laundry room and even I, who loves to do laundry didn’t think it was very much fun . We  painted the floor with porch floor paint, thanks to my cousins suggestion. And the brown wall and trim tuned white. 

How about these bricks.

  
Fake bricks or rocks I should say. I’m still not sure what they are. But now they are a lovely creamy color all over and so much more restful to my eyes. The blue and rose and brown and grey made me nauseous and nervous and restless. Maybe I’m weird like that. But color seriously can wreak havoc with me. At least when it’s in my house. Or my wardrobe 🙂 no worries….I don’t mind what other people choose for their colors so much….it’s just me that’s picky about my stuff 🙂 so if you happen to love multicolored brick, by all means, enjoy it to the fullest!

When I went to paint our house, I was my own worse critic. The living room looked blue instead of grey. The green in the kitchen that was suppose to compliment the super boring oak cabinets looked incomplete. The yellow in the family room was a dream but the purple wall in our room looked  like a fluorescent candy shop. 

Then the red. Oh the red. I wanted a red and gold room for our guests with lovely white trim and ceiling. Well, my gorgeous red turned out to look like a shiny squeaky clean fire engine. And let’s not talk about the gold. How do you make gold paint except for metallic  spray paint? 

Kobe’s room got a bunch of that and it actually looks really nice and fun and playful. Great 4 yr old colors.  Just not guest room colors. 

So what to do? We had bought this paint. And it drove us crazy. Maybe this is where samples of actual paint would have been a good idea 🙂

So I stirred and stirred. White with the purple to tone it down. It’s still a rather fluorescent shade of lavender. But at least theres not a candy shop in our bedroom. 

We mixed super dark grey , from I don’t know where , with our too blue grey and I’m still convincing myself it’s grey. 

I mixed an espresso brown sample can I had gotten with the fire engine red. The espresso was for the trim around the brick. It looked awful. But I think God knew why He had me get such a dark color . It turned my red into a deeper shade of earth red and actually looked sleepable. 

In some ways my house is nothing like I envisioned. In other ways it’s better because color has a mind of it’s own. 

And I thought of life. And how I plan and hope and dream, and things don’t turn out the way I hoped. It’s frustrating and I start to panic and try to take control and change things. Until finally, nothing looks good or right any more and I wonder what went wrong. 

So while my house may not look like I envisioned it….neither does life. Very few of us (if any) are actually living our childhood dreams of endless summer and rainbows and sunshine. But we can still have beautiful lives. Beautiful hearts turned to God, washed fresh , (like a fresh coat of paint ) by His blood and grace. 

All that happens to us in life is for His glory. He gives us breathe. He planned us before we were anything. He permits us to live on this earth and bring glory to His name that is so high and vast and wide beyond anything we can imagine.

Life may hurt. Suck the breathe out of us. Make us want to fight and say “NO way!!” But there’s a little secret to the pain….

“When he sees all the anguish of his soul, he shall be satisfied.”

Because though the anguish Of Jesus, God brought LIFE and LIFE and MORE LIFE! Through the parts of life that don’t go as we planned and it feels like we’ve made a total mess of everything and death stares us in the face…..

God turns it into beauty and life giving fountains pour into our life from the Giver of Life! It’s all about His glory and pouring His goodness out to others! They need to know about that LIFE too! 

I love my house. I love that the colors aren’t perfect and that I made a few smudges. It reminds me that LIFE is beautiful! Even if it’s not the shade you were expecting. 

Thoughts On Life

12 Midnight

The moon is shining tonight. 
In a clear sky.
With not even a whiff of wildfire smoke in the air.
For days, stench and smog hung over Montana as wildfires raged out of control. I went to bed last evening with the strong wind blowing rancid smoke in the cracks round the windows. 
I woke this morning to blue sky. Clear air. Rain drenched grass. Overturned lawn furniture. And Singing birds.
And I thank God. 
And I think of the firefighters who lost their lives this week. I hope they were prepared to meet their Maker. I hope they died painlessly. I hope they just sort of drifted off those wild mountains and into glorious Heaven. 
I think of their families. And how it is probably always midnight in their hearts right now and they will never forget the wildfires of 2015. 
I think of others who have faced the 12 o’clock midnight of their lives recently. And how every day for the next 100 or 100,000,000 may consist of the minutes that creep toward dawn. 
How sometimes it feels like you will grope forever in this smog of life. That just when you catch a glimpse of dawn in the horizon, the rains come again. And you bow your heart and weep. 
How you get tired of the life you are living. How you wish you could change it all and it would be high noon and you would know what carefree feels like again. And you could laugh from your depths again. 
I have found a truth. It never ever changes. It is there through smoke screens and bright sunshine. Through silence and tears. It is the strength that weaves itself into the very fibers of life. I painted it in childish script to remember. it’s simple and genuine.
    

And because of that love….I PROMISE. No matter what midnight you are facing right now. No matter of you see the clock striking midnight in your very near future…if it I’d half past 12 . Or somewhere between darkest and dawn….

The DAWN will come! 
Keep hanging on. The LIGHT will become brighter and brighter and the day spring will dawn in your heart. And you will open your eyes in the most glorious new born sunshine you have ever awaken to.
His relentless love will always always pursue and lead you!
He will create beauty in you!

  

   

Thoughts On Life

And Then It Was 2015

The New Year is technically over.
The goals made.
The holiday cheer still a lingering pleasantness.
Some tears cried.
And laughs shared.
Some good intentions broken.
Some plans penciled in the planner.

Our New Year was quiet. Relaxing. Reflective.
Oddly, though, I didn’t make any goals. Just the simple choosing of facing another year with courage. A smile. A thankful heart. And my God.

Last year, I dreaded 2014.
Something ominous seemed to hang over my head.
Something very sad DID Happen.
We lost Kierra.
But something even greater happened.
She is more alive then ever before.

And we are the ones still living the dream.

This year, a bit of the ‘dread spirit’ still hovers over me. May be I will struggle with it every New Year. Maybe I will need to make a conscience choice to choose Trust and Thankfulness.

But the joy will come. As sure as the sunrise.

We are working on a 2,000 piece puzzle right now.

It’s spread out over our little kitchen table.

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It’s a great example of life. It’s all about not seeing the big picture. Noticing shades of dark and light. Watching patterns emerge. Conversing slowly. Finding patience. Persistence.

Nothing about rushing. Or a quick fix. A snap…or a click…with results.

It’s about perspective. Hope for a beautiful finish. Faith that the pieces will all be here. And fit together.

I must admit my husband is twice as good and devoted to the whole puzzle thing as I am. I bought it. He puts it together. I love watching him work his magic on the pieces 🙂 But it DOES make me feel accomplished to know that I helped…even if he is the actual brains to the complicated:)

Kobe is all into His alphabet puzzle train right now. What could be better then waffles and Thomas pjs and puzzles and being with the ones you love on New Year’s Day? 🙂

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One of the biggest events for us in January is starting tomorrow. I plan to take CNA classes. I am so excited, and of course a good bit apprehensive.
Steve and I have had lots of discussions about this subject over the last months.
There are so many pros and cons. ‘What ifs.’ ‘Should I?’
We just couldn’t quite let it drop. It persisted in our thoughts and kept coming up in our conversations until we finally faced it square on, talked it out once again, asked The Lord for direction, and made a decision.

I would take the classes and start working (hopefully) ( if I pass:) part time. Steve and I would adjust our schedules (if/when I begin working) to cover Kobe’s care since it is very important to us that he and Steve and I are our top priorities. (in writing this I want to make it clear that this is not a reflection ,by any means, on those who put their children to the babysitter! 🙂

I don’t expect to fill the ‘Kierra hole’ in my heart by caring for others. I only hope to pass on a bit of the care that has been graciously given to us over the past years. Perhaps the knowledge and experience I gained in caring for my daughter can turn into a blessing to others as well.

So we are taking it a day at a time….a step at a time…..and praying God can use us all for His glory and to be the ‘hands and feet’ of Jesus.

So 2015…. Ready or not….here we come!

Wishing you all the grace and power of our Loving Father and God in the coming year….no matter what happens, heartbreak or amazing happiness…know that You are LOVED! And Heaven is waiting and will be so much more wonderful then anything we can hope or dream of!

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Thoughts On Life

My Christmas Prayer For You

I just wanted to share this verse with you….a few days before Christmas.
This is intended to give you HOPE. This is my prayer for you. You who are facing life and it’s uncompromising hurts and HARD things.

Listen to this….

I pray that your Hearts
Would be flooded with LIGHT
So that you can UNDERSTAND
The CONFIDENT HOPE
He has given to those He called.

I pray also that you will understand
The incredible greatness
Of God’s POWER for us,
Who BELIEVE Him!

This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead…who fills all things everywhere with Himself.

Taken from Eph. 1.

Firmly embrace this day of light! And if today you are walking in the darkness of pain….know without a shadow of a doubt…as sure as the dawning sun…THE light WILL COME!!!

Our daughter is not with us for this Christmas, but her happiness is unparalleled, I know. I just had to share this lovely gesture of kindness and care that wonderful friends gave us.

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Since we can’t visit Kierra’s grave this year, they did it for us. I cried when I got this photo texted to me. The lovely wreath matches the one that was delivered to our front door last year. The shiny pink ornaments are SO Kierra! And that darling white K. I don’t know if they have any idea the good this did to my heart.

There aren’t really words to describe how much it means when my sister stops in on a trip to PA to visit Kierra’s grave and leaves a poinsettia. When friends celebrate her life with this wonderful wreath. I ask God to bless them in a special way! A REALLY special way!!

Thoughts On Life · Uncategorized

BELIEVE and a Giveaway!

It’s cold. It’s winter.

IT’S ALMOST CHRISTMAS!

And in just a few days, it will be another thing.

our seventh wedding anniversary.

I think this is the perfect time for a little give away to my lovely friends on this blog! So here it is…

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A Christmas Light Canvas.

Read a bit farther to understand why I chose the word BELIEVE and to see how to enter the drawing to win.

I hope that this winter finds a glow in your heart. The privilege to BELIEVE. even when it’s hard.

A bit over 8 years ago, my Big Guy and I met for the very first time.

I from the East.

He from the West.

Just in case you didn’t know, I LOVE a happy, fuzzy romantic love story. One of our first ‘run ins’ was at the bottom of a Rocky Mountain foothill under a gorgeously lovely moon that was edging the frigid clear night with it’s impossibly soft warmth…..

a perfect set up for some heart sparks to fly.

Instead, I was bleeding red all over the front of Steve’s grey jacket and was convinced that every breath would be my last. That’s what happens when the most lovely innocent toboggan ride with girlfriends ends abruptly.That’s what happens when barbed wire meets face.

Cruel cold steel wired across flesh. And scars were created. It was ugly. And scary. And not at all what I planned.

I don’t believe in omens but do I believe in God’s omnipotent plan for our lives. Sometimes, in my wandering moments, I wonder if God was trying to tell us something way back then. That He makes beauty out of bloodshed. He keeps us breathing when we have no strength left to keep going.That life doesn’t always make rational sense.

Exactly a year after that accident, my heart had come a long way. I was learning trust and love and commitment and laying down silly notions and ideas. (yeah. i’m still working on that stuff:)

One thing was bigger then ever…those lovely heart sparks were flaming higher and hotter then ever! We were getting married!

December 7, 2006

The day I thought I would die.

December 7, 2007

The day I promised my life to the best Big Guy in the world.

happy happy wedding day!!!

(i laugh to think of all the near disasters that surrounded even that day)

The ironic thing was, the year before, I had gone west to teach a tiny school and carve out time with my Heavenly Father and try to figure out some hard questions of life. I wasn’t interested in guys.

But girls will be girls.

And when that true Love steals into your heart no matter how much you try to deny it….well, lets just say I was honored and thrilled!

It’s been seven years. There’s been bloodshed in our hearts. But there’s also been warm hugs that take in all the pain. So much love that pain morphs into beauty.

So many wonderful moments and happiness.

But we still live in a fallen world. As long as we are here, we face it.

Sometimes its hard to BELIEVE.

When I want my way and I don’t want to play fair and I am sure we are heading for disaster. When I let ridiculously small unimportant everyday things turn into a monstrous block wall. When I bang my head against it and wonder why it doesn’t budge. When I misunderstand.

It’s hard to believe.

When life hands me things I never asked for and warps my confidence that God is good. All the time.

It’s hard to believe.

When I don’t know what will happen next in life and it feels like your stuck in the waiting room. And you don’t want to be there.

It’s HARD to believe.

When others hurt and you can’t take away their pain.

It’s hard to BELIEVE!

I never would have believed my life if you had laid it out orderly for me while I was packing my bags for Montana 8 years ago.

It has been so wonderfully GOOD and GRAND!

But it’s also been brutally hard.

(Don’t we all have our own hard battle to face!?)

It is my life. And I embrace it.

Because I believe!

And that’s all because of God, my loving Father, who has PROMISED

(FOREVER AND ALWAYS NO MATTER WHAT)

to keep me and never leave me.

My husband. My amazing wonderful Big Guy that has taught me to trust and love and given me a safe place for my heart to come home.

My angel cchildren in heaven

the Wee One we never met,

Kierra Raine.

who’s name is music to my ear

longing in my heart,

hope in my future.

Kobe Xander

who amazes me

challenges me

calls me Mom.

and I love like crazy.

I believe

because God has put so much love and peace and hope in the midst of the blood and tears.

I BELIEVE!

So here’s my wish for you this Christmas.

The chance to experience God.

And believe.

It’s something we must each do for ourselves.

Let me assure you. He will meet you and love you and forgive you.

He delights in you.

Just believe.

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So here’s the deal.

This is a white canvas done in Silver script and snowflakes with 50 lights. It measures 16×20 in. and has easy access to the Christmas light’s plug.

Leave your name in the comments below to enter this giveaway. The winner will be announced on Monday, December 8. 

I will contact the winner for their shipping address and you should receive it in no time at all 🙂

Thoughts On Life

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 🙂

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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.

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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 🙂

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Our living room…still a bit unsettled here,

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and some lovely outdoor scenery for you 🙂

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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.

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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 🙂

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and after..

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

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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?

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 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!