I created this blog when my sweet little girl, Kristen, was diagnosed with cancer, for the third time. After fighting for almost 3 years Kristen was called home to that same God who gave her life. I've contemplated on many occasions rather I should quit this blog or not. Each time I am inspired that I should not. One of my favorite quotes comes from Neal A. Maxwell- "Those who "plow in hope" not only understand the law of the harvest but they also understand what growing seasons are all about. True, those with genuine hope may see their proximate circumstances shaken like a kaleidoscope at times, yet with the "Eye of faith" they still see divine design." Kristen blessed lives and continues to do so. Her light continues to shine. As for me, I continue to "plow in hope" knowing well that Kristen is mine for eternity. Families can be together forever! This I know. Our family continues to live and to love and this is our story...

Monday, February 28, 2011

some sad and a little glad

I knew when I asked for names of someone who might benefit from a gift from
“Kristen’s Light,” that I would be introduced to some sad stories. I was right.
I have received a couple more requests and with those request comes
heavy and sad hearts.

I was so sad to hear that Nikita’s waiting family heard only a few weeks ago
 that the little boy they were so anxious to bring home from an orphanage 
 had been diagnosed with leukemia.
Then this past Friday, they heard that he had passed away.
They are heartbroken.
They have a picture of him wearing pajamas with a blue elephant on the front.
They have asked if could possibly make a pillowcase with an elephant.
I hope to find the perfect fabric.

Another waiting family who were planning on bringing 2 children home
from an orphanage has just learned that the sweet little girl they
were bringing home has passed away.
She died last week as she underwent surgery to repair her heart.
They were also planning to bring home a little boy and have just found out
 that he is no longer available. I am not sure what I am going to do for this family
 but I am sure I can come up with something.
 Please pray for both of these families.

and now for the glad...

My doorbell rang yesterday afternoon and I found my cute little niece
standing there with 2 boxes from Build-a-Bear.
She excitedly exclaimed that she had made these bears and wanted me
to include them with the bears that we will be delivering to
the hospital on Kristen’s birthday.
How sweet is that.

There is so much sadness in the world.
So many sick children and many more children living out their lives
in an orphanage, never knowing the love of a family.
So what do we do?
Retreat and isolate ourselves so we don't have to hear about these children?
We seek out people and resources who will listen.
We search for meaningful things that give purpose to life.
We stand together and lift each other in
and love.

Friday, February 25, 2011

my first request

I received my first e-mail requesting a gift for a sick little boy.
He is a 4th grader named Mason.
Mason was diagnosed with a brain tumor in April of last year.
Mason loves
the color green, Star Wars,
bakugan, bionicles, collecting rocks, key chains and tigers, and
saving animals from animal shelters.
I couldn't find fabric with star wars or bionicles, however, I did find this cute robot
print and of course bright green for the back.
I also made pillowcases for Mason and his brother as well
as a cupcake one for his little sister.

This is the note that will be included with the gifts...

Kristen’s Light

Kristen was a shining star in the lives of many.
She taught us how to live, love and laugh.
Kristen reminded us of what was meaningful
and worthwhile in life.
Because of her the sun shines brighter,
the flowers are more beautiful and
the songs of the birds are heard more often.
Kristen fought leukemia with grace and dignity.
As we now know,
she was fighting a battle she could not win.

It is our desire to keep
Kristen’s light burning brightly.
Please accept this small gift as it was made with love and care
In memory of
“Our Angel”

The Family of Kristen Kirton

Thursday, February 24, 2011

First Bone Marrow Birthday and "Kristen's Light"

 big brown bear...courtesy of the bone marrow team
new bone marrow...courtesy of her big brother

Today is Kristen's bone marrow birthday.
One year ago today her brother, Rick, donated his
bone marrow. I remember the day like it was yesterday and yet
somehow it feels like it was forever ago.
All of my children gathered in her hospital room and watched as
the lady in the white coat came in with a cooler.
Inside the cooler was Rick's bone marrow that had been collected
earlier that morning. Her doctors and nurses gathered in her room,
they brought gifts and we all sang to her.
It took about 2 hours and the new marrow was circulating in her
blood stream. We were all hoping this would be the miracle we
had been praying for. After all, when she had relapsed in November,
we were told this was her only chance for survival.
How blessed we were that her brother had her golden ticket...
the matching bone marrow.
How blessed Kristen was as she seemed to sail through the transplant.
She earned the name
as her doctors and nurses were all amazed at how well she did.

Although things didn't turn out how we hoped they would,
we can honestly say that prayers were answered,
that miracles happened daily,
and that our sweet Kristen had minimal pain and minimal side effects.
I can also say that because of Kristen, at least one little girl who also
has Down syndrome and who also had a transplant last year,
is thriving today as lessons were learned and protocols changed.
That's my Kristen as her light continues to shine.

 "Kristen's Light"
 It wouldn't be a Birthday without gifts. now would it?
I have already shared most of the projects that I have been working on as
I have a desire to keep Kristen's light burning bright.
Most of the items that I have been working on I have donated to the
local children's hospital.
Now I would like to share with the amazing friends I have met here.
I am asking for your help in finding recipients for my gifts.
My gifts are small, but they are made with love and care and the thought of Kristen
 is ever present as I work on my projects.

My first project is an activity bag. I have donated 48 of these to the hospital so far. 
 I just love making them and buying activities to put in them.
The bags can be made gender specific and also age specific.

 My new favorite project is a book bag.
I was thinking of calling these "mama bags"
 as I plan to stock them with magazines, a journal and maybe
some slippers or socks.
I was especially thinking of a mom who spends
 many weeks in the hospital with their child.

Next are the blankets. I LOVE to make blankets! 
I can make these cute fleece ones, receiving blankets for babies, or even a tied quilt.

and of course there are the pillowcases!  My favorite part of making
pillowcases is shopping for the fabric. I have made many children's one as well as ones
that will be enjoyed by the residence of local care centers.
So there you have it.
If you know someone who would benefit from one of my projects,
a sick child, a tired mom, it could even be a welcome home gift for
one of our many friends from Reece's Rainbow then please e-mail me
 and I will get busy and get it sent out.
It is so amazing how a simple pillowcase
can bring such joy to a sick child
or to a tired mom.

Happy Bone Marrow Birthday Kristen!
We LOVE you!

Monday, February 21, 2011

helping to make the world a better place.

Sarah the celebrity is at it again!
She is becoming the most popular girl in Cleveland.
This article appeared in the paper today.
The paper got it right...
She is amazing and inspiring.

I feel blessed to have Kristen included in this article.
I know this story has been told before, however it is well worth retelling.

Last year Sarah learned how to sew. Her mother, Joyce,
decided to start her off on a simple project and
Sarah chose to make a present for Kristen. Sarah seized the opportunity to send
Kristen a gift of comfort in the hospital; 2 hand made pillowcases.
Sarah's gift was just one instance of a larger community effort called
The idea is to make and donate pillowcases, tangible gifts of comfort,
encouragement or inspiration  to others in need.
I just checked the website and over 250,000 pillowcases have been made to date.

Following are pictures of Sarah choosing fabric and then sewing the pillowcases.
Followed by more pictures of Kristen receiving the gift in the hospital.

I realize the article about Sarah isn't about the pillowcases.
It is about so much more.
Joyce and Sarah are bringing much needed awareness to the world.
They are proving that having a child with
Down syndrome makes for a
grand and glorious life.

indeed it does.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


1. unable to find way: unable to find the way to a place
2. mislaid: unable to be found temporarily
3. gone: no longer in existence or use

The second one sounds good, unable to be found temporarily.
Not sure where to go from here with  Kristen's blog.
I started it to keep family and friends up to date on Kristen's treatment
as she battled leukemia.
It has been a haven. a safe place for me to come and share my thoughts.
It has been a journal, and how thankful I am that I have the past 29 months
here with pictures and words.
I have received more support than I could ever have imagined.
I had made new friends, friends who have carried me when I didn't think
I could possibly move another step. Your words of encouragement have
meant so much. Thank you to those who continue to check on me as
this has definitely been the hardest year of my life. People say that things
will get better in time, in my case, at least for now, things have gotten harder.
Learning to live without Kristen has proven to be very difficult.

I've spent the past few days switching out her table and her tree from
Valentines Day to St. Patricks Day because I really don't know what
else to do.

Hopefully this whole lost thing will prove to be temporary.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2 announcements

Nope...I'm not pregnant.

But Lisa is...

Lisa is married to my oldest son, Rick.
They already have 1 boy and 1 girl and now we are adding another


The girls in my family are definitely winning.
This will make 5 granddaughters and 2 grandsons.
Since I have 4 girls and 2 boys
I think it's fair to say that the girls are kicking the boys.
Go Girls!
This baby girl will make her appearance close to the
1 year anniversary of Kristen's passing.
 This will bring some excitement to July and
something to look forward to.

The next announcement...

This is my daughter, Kim and her husband Dave,
on their wedding day this past July.

Before they even have a chance to celebrate their one year anniversary,
Dave will be well on his way to Iraq.
He is being deployed June 1st, At this point it looks like
it will probably be for 12 months.
Dave is excited as he has been training for almost 4 years.
Kim is excited for him, but at the same time a little nervous,
ok, a lot nervous.
Kim will graduate with her Associates in Science at the end
of April and has already applied to a few colleges
closer to my home, which means she will be moving back home
while Dave is gone. I'm excited about that.

Something I have had to learn to live with the past almost 7 months
is the fact that life does go on.
Life continues and is constantly changing.
As I continue to weather the storm that has nearly engulfed me,
one thing I am certain of is that the sun will shine again.
How grateful I am for my family who continues to surround me
and bring me joy.
On many days I feel lost.
I can't really find my place just yet.
Don't know if I ever will.
One thing I continue to do every single day is to
get myself out of bed and look for the good that
surrounds me. Look for the light, the light that continues
to shine from my sweet little angel.
Just think, she is probably already orientating this new little
grandchild of ours about our family.
Hopefully she is telling her all the good things.

Monday, February 14, 2011

for the love

One of the many things Kristen taught me was to always remember what matters most.
She loved life. She loved her family.
Something I have learned since she passed away is that when you love someone,
you shouldn’t assume they know it. You should always let them know you love them.

William Shakespeare said it right,
“They do not love, that do not show their love.”

Starting today, if you love someone, don’t assume they know
 show them
tell them.

A visit to the clinic just a few days before Valentine's Day

Kristen and her brother Ricky
filling out paperwork for her upcoming bone marrow transplant.

Valentine's Day 2010
A visit from our blog friend Lily and her mom

2010 Valentine's night
surrounded by her many gifts

Today as I sit here and miss my girl on one of her favorite holidays,
I am thankful that she knew
that her family loved her,
And her family knew that she loved them.
We also know that the love continues for both her and for us.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

her tree

 Just over a year ago, a local school, JRC, donated a tree to the
Festival of Trees in Kristen's honor.
The boys in the welding class made the tree and another
class was in charge of decorations.
We were so excited as we were able to purchase the tree.
The above picture is the tree after it was delivered to our home.
Kristen LOVED it. She stood next to it on many occasions and admired it.
The name of the tree was "All that Glitters."
A name fitting for Kristen as she was definitely the glittering girl.
After Christmas we stored it in the basement. Then this past summer
we had the horrible flood and the tree was covered in mud.
 I sprayed it down and it looked pretty good.
This past Christmas I decided to re-decorate it and move it up to Kristen's room.
I decorated it with shiny glass pooh bear ornaments, beads, butterflies and birds.
darn...I can't find the picutes I took at Christmas time.
I loved the tree so much in her room that I decided to leave it there.
Every night I sit in her room and read. It is very peaceful.
The other night I decided I would take off the Christmas ornaments
and replace them with hearts.
It is really much cuter than the picture.
In a few weeks I will probably turn it into a shamrock tree.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine Box

Kristen always loved Valentine's Day.
She always insisted she have a box for her valentines.
She would leave it on the front porch and then listen for the doorbell. She would quickly run to the door and gather her valentines. Not only did she like to receive valentines, she also loved to pass them out. She would always choose her valentines early along with a bag of treats. She would carefully sign her name and stuff the envelopes with candy. She made sure everyone had a valentine.
I posted some of these pictures 2 years ago,
but I love them and wanted a post to include them all.
In 2009 Kim and Kristen set out to make the best box ever.
It took them pretty much the entire afternoon.
Afterwards she was so excited to show everyone her box.
I was saddened to think that Valentine's day was soon approaching and there was no box with her name on it. I decided I could still make her a box. I got busy and made a  pink mailbox and adorned it with stickers and her name. This morning, on my daily visit to the cemetery, I delivered her box to her grave site.
I told my grandkids to make her a valentine and drop it off.
Some might think I'm crazy, and maybe I am.
However, this is how I get by,
sometimes it's a day at a time and sometimes it's a breathe at a time.
Kristen loved holidays and I will continue to include her in our celebrations.

Friday, February 4, 2011

big as the ocean

I didn’t want to go. I couldn’t see myself at Disneyland without Kristen.
2005 was the last time our entire family was there. Kristen enjoyed it
but after a few days she was ready to go home. She and I spend most of our time
on the kiddie rides. Our favorite ride was the tea cups.
Last year when Kristen was sick, my husband asked her if
she would like to go to Disneyland.
She replied, “No I’m Ok…HOME.”

A few weeks ago when my oldest son started planning the trip,
 I was looking for an excuse to stay home. I couldn’t find one.
I decided I best stop feeling sorry for myself and give in to the fact that I was indeed going to Disneyland…without Kristen.
My youngest son left a few days earlier and rode down with my oldest son and his family.
 Rich and I left early Sunday morning by ourselves, just the 2 of us.
We don’t do things like that alone. I have 6 children. Wherever we went they
also came with us. I realized we were meeting most of them there,
but just the fact that we were alone in the car driving to Disneyland was just plain weird.
I kept checking the back seat expecting to see a bunch of kids.
 Kristen and I were inseparable. It was rare to see her without me and me without her.
Then throw in the fact that 2 of my daughters were married last year and
 that leaves me with one son left at home. Sometimes the realities of the
events of last year are just too much, and looking in the empty back seat was
 almost more than I could handle.
But… I did it. We actually had fun, as I type the word fun, I feel guilty.

The water show was fascinating. As I sat there in the dark watching
the water, the lights and  the disney characters that Kristen loved so much,
I felt that Kristen was enjoying the same show I was.

After a couple of days at Disney we headed to the beach.
I loved it there. I could have stayed at the beach for days.
I always told Kristen, “I love you big as the ocean.”
She would always reply with a smile and a big “no”
I would continue with a big, “yes I do”
And she would continue with “no”
It would soon turn into a tickling match and she would laugh
till she could hardly breathe.
As I stood there looking into the vast ocean I decided she was right,
 I didn’t love her big as the ocean
 I love her bigger than that…much bigger.

Kristen on the tea cups 2005