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...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

last weeks projects

50 angels complete!
(all except for filling them with candy)
These are sold at the Festival of Trees during the first week in December.
Thousands of these in many different patterns are made and sold.
All the money raised will go to the children's hospital that cared for Kristen.
I also have to register my trees by October 1st.
This year I will be decorating 2 trees,
one for Kristen and one for a fellow angel named Jessenia.
Hopefully in a few days I can give you a sneak peek at the trees.

Isabel has been waiting a long time for her Barney pillowcase.
I searched and searched for the fabric. I finally found the fabric on eBay.
I had enough to also make an activity bag.

This Cinderella blanket is on it's way to Gabby.
She is 6 years old and was recently diagnosed with leukemia.
She also has Down syndrome.
I think she will love it.
Ryan made this blanket, I know, he's awesome.

I  found something for Kristen.
I guess it's really for me.
 I know Kristen would have LOVED it. 
She loved snow globes.
When I saw this one, I knew I had to have it.
It fits perfectly on her table.

This is where my day starts and ends.
It doesn't matter what I do, or how busy I become,
there is always a loneliness, a sadness, an emptiness 
that is always present.
This is where I come to feel peace.
It's hard to explain.
Her things are all here, her drawers are filled with perfectly folded clothing,
her robe, her coat and her dresses hang in the closet.
I LOVE her room.
I guess it all has to do with missing her so much.
I often think of how cancer brought an end to Kristen's life,
But I am reminded that Kristen brought completion to her own life.
She lived her life to the fullest. She did what she was sent here to do.
She left many gifts that will endure forever.
Her light continues to shine and she will NEVER be forgotten.

One of her favorite characters speaks volumes.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kali's blessing day

Today was Kali's blessing day.
I'll have to admit that it was difficult to sit in church surrounded
by my children, my grandchildren, my mom and other family
members and know that someone was missing. It was all I could do to
not weep openly. I have learned over the past many months that joy
 and sadness can exist at the same time. It was a joyful day to
celebrate the birth of a new grand daughter.
Kali was given the same middle name as Kristen.
I can hardly wait to share Kristen's life with Kali.
I know Kali will be so proud to share Kristen's name.

It took all day and into the night
but I finally got a picture of Kali 
and she is even smiling.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Party at Grandma's

I've got this,
I can tend 6 children at the same time.
However, I will need
coloring books, crayons,
lots of fries and chicken nuggets
and Milo and Otis.

Now it's time to clean, again.

Friday, September 23, 2011

save the date

 for Childhood Cancer Awareness

Monday, September 26th
Chili's will donate 100% 
of their net profits to
St. Jude Children's Hospital

The very next day
Tuesday, September 27th
Cold Stone is having an Ice Cream Social

World's Largest Ice Cream Social
Cold Stone Creamery
get a FREE 3oz 
Sprinkle With Wishes creation 
in exchange for purchasing a 
$1 Make-a-Wish paper star 
that gets posted on the store wall.
100% of all donations made 
at Cold Stone
during September will go 
directly to the 
Make-a-Wish Foundation

I've got our 
Monday and Tuesday planned,
what can we do Wednesday?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

some cuteness

Before I even looked at the calendar, I  knew what I would find.
I knew it was both Charlie and Heidi's Birthday.
Happy Birthday Charlie and Heidi
You are both Awesome! and I hope you both had a great day.
Besides being marked with a star for their birthday's it was also
marked with a little flower.
Next to the flower it said "14 Months"
I don't even know why I mark my calendar,
 I already know exactly how long it's been. 
14 months is a very long time. 
I couldn't stop thinking about that Tuesday morning 14 months ago.
I pulled out a box of Kristen's pictures. I sat on the floor and I cried
and I laughed. She was such a little cutie pie. 
She always made us smile.

I scanned a few more pictures and I just had to share them.
I'm pretty sure she'll make you smile too.

46 mommas

What: 46 mommas will shave their heads

When: Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Where: Union Station , Washington DC

Time: 5-9pm

Why:     "Your child has cancer."
Each weekday in the United States, 46 mothers hear these words. These 46 Mommas, represent those families. Each of them have heard those words. They are joining together, from all parts of the country, from all walks of life, to raise awareness and funds for Childhood Cancer Research. They have partnered with St Baldrick's to raise $1 Million.

You can visit their site here
Way to go Mommas! 

All I need to do is figure out how I can join them next year!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

heaven on earth

I would like to introduce you to a 
sweet child named Heaven
Isn't she Heavenly.
This sweet little girl sits in an orphanage. She is a number to the outside world.
 No snuggles and kisses at night. No tender moments...
Until Now

I recently received an e-mail from someone I have never met.
. It would seem that this family has found
and fallen in love with Heaven.
  It would also seem that my sweet Kristen
had something to do with this family finding Heaven.
Here is the e-mail...
You will never know how special you and Kristen are to me. I followed your journey, laughed and cried so many times. Most importantly, I learned. I learned that Down Syndrome has many blessings with it. I knew things were not always easy, but they were always worth it. She was your ROCK star. Mine too. You taught me that Down Syndrome is nothing to be scared of. I was ignorant. Your daughters showed me how proud they were of Kristen, through your writing and pictures. You showed me that I could do it. Kristen showed me that every minute is worth truly living and worth living with joy. So now my family is taking a leap of faith and traveling to Bulgaria to bring this little treasure home. The moment I saw her I knew she was my child. Because of you, my heart was open to accept it. Thank you.

If you are anything like me, you will probably need to run and get a tissue about now.
Kristen's life had touched so many.
Her light is shining like never before.
I often go to Reese's Rainbow  to look at the children
who are waiting. I usually have to stop looking because I am brought to
tears. My heart aches for them.
I know I can't go and rescue one.
But there are things I can do.
I do it every day.
I pray for them.
I pray that they will be comforted.
I pray that they can feel peace and love.
I pray that their family will find them.
It's working.

Meet Maribel
She was born in August of 2007
She is described as a kind girl, calm and affectionate with others.
 She knows her name and is able to distinguish between others.
 She loves to play with toys.
 She eats and sleeps well.
 And look at the giant bow on her head! That means she is an orphanage favorite.
She is waiting for her family to find her.
Are you her mama?
She already has over $1200.00 in her adoption fund!

I am her Christmas Warrior!
which means she has a  focused voice of advocacy 
this Christmas. 
I will be spotlighting her and sponsoring
a fundraiser among other things.

Please say a prayer for the children

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

raising more hope

Something else I'm learning

If I remain true to my deepest self 
and to my heart,(even though it is broken)
my heart will be full
and Kristen's light will continue to shine.
And somewhere in there, if even for a moment,
I will feel peace and joy.

While sitting under a memorial tree for her son, 
Alice Wisler wrote the following thoughts on what grief has been for her.

Grief is laughing with your children and wishing for the absent one 

to make the circle complete.

Grief is crying in your car at stoplights.

Some days grief makes you brutally honest; other days, grief muzzles you.

Grief reconstructs your heart.

Grief is sadness, hope, smiles and tears – rolled tightly like a snowball.

Grief makes you search past the stars and the moon for Heaven.

Grief strips you of everything you were pretending to be.

Grief gives you new priorities.

Grief opens hidden treasures from deep within your soul.

Grief allows you to empathize more deeply with others who ache.

Grief makes you unapologetically bold.

Grief is a daily companion, best dealt with 

by admitting you do walk with it, even after all these years.

Grief is the price of love; grief is a gift.

I think she summed it up quite well.
Keeping Kristen's light alive has helped me the most.
Following are a few of the projects that I've been working on this past week.

Anna is a precious little girl from Tennessee who is battling AML.
She is scheduled to undergo a bone marrow transplant in the next few days.
I received a request to make a parent bag for her mother. 
I also made a pillowcase for Anna.

Kamie and I are both on a committee for the
"Festival of Trees."
We have a lot of responsibilities that we are anxious to fulfill.
Kamie has volunteered to make 30 of these angels, and I 
volunteered to make 20.
These are filled with candy and sold in the "Small Fry" shop.
Yesterday, Kamie yelled from the dining room,
"I'm kicking your trash! I have all my heads done."
Today I will attempt to catch up with her.

We also have the responsibility to make or collect several items to be 
sold in the gift shop.
I made a few Christmas stockings and some
crayon roll ups. 
I am currently looking for some more ideas.

This is my stack of un-sewn pillowcases. Most of these are for 
special little friends. I was able to get a couple sent out last week.
My goal this week is to get these all sewn and in the mail.

Oh yes, how could I not share the honey story.
It is always GREAT fun to watch Richard go out to the beehive
and retrieve some honey.
He doesn't have a bee suit so he bundles up the best he can.
He asked me for a sweatshirt with a hood. I found him one, he put some
netting over his face and continues on his way. 
What I hadn't noticed was a rather large hole 
in the sleeve of the sweatshirt. 
Yup, the bees found the hole and he did get stung
and I got in trouble.
Now my dilemma is this...
I have never liked honey. never.
Now, for the past few days I open the fridge and see this honeycomb full of honey.
I began to crave it. So now every time I open the fridge, there is the
honey comb. I can't resist it. I take a spoon and break off a piece.
I chew on the honey comb until the honey is all gone and then I spit out
the wax. So is honey bad for you?
Like if I have 2 or 3 tablespoons every day
what is going to happen?
Maybe I should hide it in the back of the fridge.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hope Rising

This past weekend I was reminded of a few things.
Just as individuals can overcome hardships and challenges,
nations can too. 
I have learned that it is often in the soil of difficulty 
that the fruit of resilience and progress grows.
The sacrifices of that Tuesday morning 10 years ago 
will always remain in our hearts.
It seems to me that Americans, for the most part,
have risen above the loss and grief of that dreadful day.
It seems that many are living lives of deeper understanding
and their lives have more purpose.
It would seem that when faced with adversity,
if we come together as friends, communities and nations,
we can strengthen our resolve, and as we rally around a common cause
miraculous things happen.

Every year since 9/11 the city of Sandy has hosted 
"The Healing Field"
Over 3000 flags are displayed. 
Attached to each flag is a name of a person whose life was tragically taken.
This year a new monument was also dedicated.
The monument is titled 
 "Hope Rising." 
The monument consists of a  9ft-tall bronze statue that depicts the 
three firemen who raised the American flag at Ground Zero, 
after the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.

Across the street from the Healing Field is Kristen's cemetery.
There was also a display of over 40 flags.
 These flags represent the service members from
Utah who have died in the war against terrorism since 9/11.

Today and always
I am Proud to be an

Friday, September 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Cody

My oldest grandchild turns 8 today.
I remember the day he was born almost like it was yesterday,
yet it seems like he has always been with us.
He is an awesome little boy.
He says he wants to be a comedian when he grows up because he likes to
 make people laugh. He always has a joke or a story to tell, 
and believe me we all laugh.

Kristen and Ryan with Cody on the day he was born

I love to see pictures of Kristen when she wasn't sick.
She always had her purse around her shoulder and she
was always wearing several bracelets and rings.
She was very excited to be an Aunt.
She dearly loved all of her neices and nephews.

Happy Birthday Cody
You have a gift...
you make people smile.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

the last hoorah of summer

The crisp morning air, the loud chirping of crickets 
and sleeping with windows wide open can only mean one thing...
summer is making an escape.
In a effort to hold on a little longer, we continue to have one more fresh ear of corn,
one more dutch oven meal and at least one more game of badminton.
The only good thing about summer coming to an end is that
fall is right around the corner. I love fall. It has become my favorite time of year.
The shorter days, the cool air, the colors, the apples and the pumpkins
all seem to warm my heart.
The year is already two thirds over. In January, I made rather a hefty list
of things I wanted to accomplish this year. All were in honor of Kristen.
I have just revisited the list and I am able to check several items off
the list. Some I need to spend a little more time on, which I plan to
do in the next few weeks.
With summer coming to a close and fall peeking around the corner,
I guess it's fair to say the word... CHRISTMAS!
I LOVE Christmas. 
This year I have the opportunity to serve on a committee for
I am way excited. I have a lot to do, which is just what I need.
Besides being on a committee, I have signed up to decorate and
donate 2 Christmas trees to the festival.
One in memory of Kristen and the other in memory of a
sweet friend named Jessenia, who also passed away after fighting leukemia.
I am working on several other projects to donate which will help me to pass
off several items on my resolution list.

I continue to be amazed at the influence Kristen's life and her death
has had on so many people. 
She continues to inspire and lift many.
Her light continues to shine.

"Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the 
candle will not be shortened.
 Happiness never decreases by being shared."

Happy end of summer.
(actually you have 15 days left, so go out and have some fun.)