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...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

the faces of childhood cancer

Thank you to all the families who allowed me use pictures of their
precious children.  As I watch this video tears come to my eyes
as each and every one of these children has touched my life.
Their stories, their courage and their resilience can help us all to realize
what is important in life. 
Some of us have learned that life can be short, very short.
We have learned that  life can be turned upside down in
a matter of moments.
We have witnessed many miracles before our very eyes.
Our children have taught us how to live 
and in some cases how to die.
These children have done both with grace and dignity.
They are our heroes.

This video isn't very clear here on my blog,
if you want to see it more clearly it is also 
on youtube at

Saturday, August 27, 2011


 Every morning when I wake up I go right into Kristen's room, 
I turn off her night light and turn on her lamp,
because that is what she did every single day.
Each day I go to the cemetery.
Each night I sit in her room, I read and I admire all of the things that meant
so much to her. I then turn off the lamp and turn on the night light.
Lately the sadness seems almost unbearable. It's a sadness that interrupts 
me several times during the day, it interrupts my sleep, my every thought.
Most days I feel like I am carrying my broken heart in my hands.

A sweet lady who lost her son in a sledding accident explained her pain...

The wonder of this pain is unlike anything
that I have ever felt before.
I stand in awe of it and know that death
is great and grand
to have such homage paid to it.
It is of God, or it could not strike
so deeply and completely.
It is as near Gethsemane
as man can dare approach
and even then he needs the presence of angels
to bear him up and numb the agony;
the smother, and strangle,
and the cry of it.
The wonder of this pain
is unlike anything 
that I have felt before.

It has been 404 days since Kristen went to heaven.
I know heaven is a lot more heavenly because of  her presence.
I also know she truly is an angel watching over all of us.
Her influence continues to surround us.
Even knowing what I know, I am still amazed at the amount of
sorrow that can be carried while walking on two feet.
I often think of two women in my neighborhood, they both  lost a daughter.
One was many years ago, I'm guessing it was 1969, and the other lost her daughter
in 1986. Even before Kristen passed away I noticed that these 2 women 
had a sadness about them. They continued to live their lives, yet you 
could see it in their faces. They were broken and sad. To this day I
still see it, only now I understand it.
I have finally admitted that I'm not ok.
I am sad. I am lonely. I miss Kristen with my whole heart.
I am trying to learn to live with my grief, I really am.
Some days are just harder than others.
I want to feel joy again, I want to love life, but for now 
I am just enduring it and that's ok.

I'll end with some pictures of my girl because
seeing her sweet face always brightens my day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

more traditions

Grandpa Kirton has always planted a garden. It is just one of those things that you count on; fresh peas, corn, cucumbers, tomatoes. potatoes, cantaloupe and even watermelon. Somehow they all just taste better knowing  they came from grandpa's garden. He usually always has a bumper crop. Every year near the end of August we all meet at grandpa's house and help with the corn. It takes an army of us, but after an hour or so we are done. Several rows of corn has been picked, husked, washed, cooked, cut and put into bags. Everyone takes several bags of fresh corn home for their freezer. It really is delicious and so much better than the canned stuff.
It seems that everywhere I go I  have my camera in hand. My family is probably getting tired of having their picture taken. I just smile and think to myself, "Someday you'll all be happy for these pictures."
Today I am happy for family, traditions and  memories.
And guess what else...
Our children know how to work and how to help each other, and that says a lot.

Monday, August 22, 2011

some baby cuteness

Kali is nearing 6 weeks old and I just barely finished her blanket.
I chose Disney Princess fabric because that's what Kristen would
have chosen. Kristen was always wanting to buy gifts for her
nieces and nephews. Usually the gift included something to do with Disney.

Something else I haven't been able to do is to get a picture of Kali awake.
So sleeping girl it is.

Oh, I finally got an awake picture!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

the grand and the simple

 Kristen continues to be in my every thought.
That might seem strange, but for those who have lost a child,
you know exactly what I'm talking about.
 The other day I was making cupcakes.
They were chocolate, which was Kristen's favorite.
As I started to frost them, I took a look at the plain and simple
cupcake sitting on the counter.
I stopped for a minute and picked up the plain cupcake.
It was one of those moments when I didn't know if I was going to cry or laugh.
Kristen LOVED plain chocolate cupcakes.
No frosting, just plain.
Kristen didn't eat candy or other treats, but a plain chocolate cupcake
she would never pass up.
I thought of Kristen and how she is so simple yet so grand.
I thought of the lives she continues to touch.
I have a friend who just last week was having a hard time.
She must have read my post about butterflies as this cute lantern
covered in butterflies turned up at Kristen's grave.
She told me of the difficult time she was having and that 
Kristen always made her feel
better. She decided to pay  Kristen a visit at the cemetery
 and tell her of her troubles.
She told me that she was crying her heart out and asking Kristen what she
should do. She then had an impression that she should look around,
that her family is all around her. She thought that was 
strange and she looked around and of course no one was there.
She again had the feeling to look around.
She stood up and began to walk around the cemetery.
She soon came to a headstone that had her families name on it.
She then broke down and realized that her family is all around her.
He grandparents who have passed away are with her and cheering her on.
She also knew that Kristen was very close and watching over her.
She said that it took spending some time at Kristen's grave for her to realize 
that even if she doesn't have  the support of some of her family here, 
she always has the support of her family
members that have passed on before her.
Her heart was touched.
To some it may be just a simple cupcake or a simple butterfly,
but to others it might just be something grand.
It might touch our hearts in a way that can change our lives.
A very wise lady once said,

"The trick is to enjoy life.
Don't wish away your days,
waiting for better ones ahead.
The grand and the simple.
They are equally wonderful."
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Next time you are feeling down,
take time to notice the simple things like a plain cupcake or a butterfly.
Think of Kristen and the simple yet grand life that she lived,
and then go out and make something grand out of something simple.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

the really BIG family vacation

It happens only once a year,
kind of like Christmas, it comes rather you are ready or not.
When you marry into, or are born into the Kirton family,
it is expected of you to attend the annual
 Half Moon Lake Vacation.
This year I counted 76 people.
There were a few missing due to being 9 months pregnant,
(good thing Kylie stayed home as her baby was born early Saturday morning)
and some were absent due to deployment. How awesome is that? We have 2
from our family fighting for the freedoms we all enjoy.
We missed you, Dave and Bradey.
Other than that just about everyone was there.
It all started with these 2...

We estimated  that this trip has been taking place for 46-48 years.
For me, I am going on my 32nd year of being a Kirton.
That means  I have attended this vacation for 32 years in a row.
I haven't missed a year. Believe me, there were times I wished I could have missed,
like the time I had a 7 week old baby, or when I was 8 months prego,
or the many times that Kristen was sick, or how about last year when Kristen had
passed away just 2 weeks prior.
But all of those times I went anyway.  I was glad I did.
Half Moon Lake has become a sacred place.
A place of renewal.
The place never changes.
People change,circumstances change and I have found that you can't
always rely on people, but this place...
It doesn't change and you can always count on it.

Beautiful Peaceful  Serene Tranquil

We all feel it and at times in our lives we long for it.
So each year, we all return.
It is one of those "suck the marrow out of life" weeks.
We fill the week with boating, fishing, swimming, water skiing, wake boarding,
tubing, four wheeling, snorkeling, walking, hiking, kayaking, campfires, smores, 
and one of my favorites... stargazing.
Almost every night we sit on the beach and watch the sky.
We are not allowed to leave until everyone has seen their own falling star.

This year we had an Indian theme party,
we broke a pinata to celebrate a birthday,
and we played "Minute to Win It."

It was a grand and simple week.
I think that is what makes this week so special,
It is both grand and simple at the same time.







Kristen was and continues to be in my every thought.

She loved this place.

Kristen's last trip to the lake in 2009
We love and miss you more than words could ever say.