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...

Friday, December 30, 2011

one of my favorites

One of my favorite things is a gingerbread boy with 
a missing arm or leg.
I also love a gingerbread house with little bite marks
 on the gum drops.
I found both of these today as I began to put the 
Christmas decorations away.
I had to smile as I thought of those little stinkers.
At least I know they will always look forward to 
grandma's gingerbread.

This quote reminded me of my grandchildren
and what I hope for them.
In fact, I could use this as I begin a new year.
I think we all need to 
explore, dream and discover a little more.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things 
that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. 
So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.
 Catch the trade winds in your sails. 
Explore. Dream. Discover.” 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Prayers for Sweet Ashton

Please keep Ashton and her mother, Leah, in your prayers.
This is Ashton just a short time ago

I love this picture. It reminds me so much of Kristen. 
This is exactly what she loved to do, tease.

Ashton has been admitted to the hospital.
She isn't doing so well and could use some extra prayers.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

a little more Christmas

Christmas sure came and went in a hurry.
I am thankful that we were able to carry out many
traditions that are so meaningful to our family.

I was tired of Richard getting stung every time he went out to the bee hive.
I thought it was time for a bee suit.
He looks a little scary, but I think he really likes his new outfit.

"There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus Christ.
Because He came to earth, we have a perfect example to follow. As we strive to become more like Him, we will have joy and happiness in our lives and peace each day of the year. It is His example which, if followed, stirs within us more kindness and love, more respect and concern for others.

Because He came, there is meaning to our mortal existence.

Because He came, we know how to reach out to those in trouble or distress, 
wherever they may be.

Because He came, death has lost its sting, the grave its victory. 
We will live again because He came.

Because He came and paid for our sins, we have the opportunity to gain eternal life."
~Thomas S. Monson

Monday, December 26, 2011

Hidden Angels: American families saving children with Down syndrome

This is a must see. My husband has watched this news segment at least 3 times. His heart stops every time they show the girls who have Down syndrome who are in the institution.
I keep telling him that we need to go and save Catherine!
I had the opportunity to meet Kecia  this past May. I have followed her adoption story for months. You can visit her blog here. Mia is one blessed little girl.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I wish...

that a cemetery wasn't part of our Christmas celebration.
Rich and I went early and lit the candles and turned on the tree lights.
I left a basket of bells for the kiddies.
I told them to choose a bell and jingle it, then they could either take it 
with them or hang it on Kristen's tree.
When we first arrived at the cemetery, my dad and Kristen were
 already being visited by Christmas geese.

We returned later to see the soft glow of Christmas lights and candles.

As hard as this Christmas season has been, 
I am so thankful that the promise of Christmas is everywhere.

Two thousand years ago, a new star appeared in the heavens, 
signaling a glorious birth, a new beginning, a radiant hope.
 No star ever shone so brightly.
 No birth ever changed the world so much.
 No simple gathering of parent and child was ever so glorious and so promising. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas through the years

I can hardly believe it's already Christmas.
It doesn't really feel like it. I'm not sure if it's the lack of snow
or exactly what, but things seem strange this year.
I have been really busy,  maybe that is part of it.
I finally watched It's a Wonderful Life. I was hoping that would put me in the
Christmas mood, but it didn't so much.
I started looking through Christmas photos and found several ones that are
so cute. As my children were growing up, I was always sure to get a picture
of them at Christmas. I am missing a few years, but I am hopeful I will find
the missing pictures soon.

This is from 1986, Kristen's first Christmas






I find myself missing Kristen more than I could ever imagine.
She LOVED Christmas.
Everything reminds me of her.
I am so very thankful for the gift of Kristen.
I honestly feel that she is truly a blessing and one of the greatest
gifts our family ever received.
She gave us all so much.
Because of Kristen we know that true courage and strength exist.
that their is JOY in the smallest and most simple things.
Because of her, we all try harder to be better people.
She continues to be our star, our light in the darkness,
our shining example.

To my family and friends and to those strangers who continue
to pray and support us,

"We Wish you a Merry Christmas from Heaven and Earth."

Monday, December 19, 2011

The bears are ready

 Tomorrow we will make our 4th Build a Bear drop.
The bears are being delivered to the children in the ICS unit
at Primary Children's Hospital. 
This will bring the total bears delivered in Kristen's name to just under 100.
When Kristen was a patient there she received a Build a Bear and it
completely made her day. We are hoping to return the favor by making
a few children smile.
I am so thankful to many friends and family who donated bears.
Thank you so very much!

Last week Ryan finished his Eagle project. 
He made and collected items for these 24 activity bags.
These bags were also delivered to the children in the ICS unit.

Thank you again to the many who helped with these projects.

Now I think it is time for a Christmas smile from our sweet angel.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dave is home...

and has been for a couple of weeks. 
He came came home a few days before Thanksgiving

I would have to say he is more than excited to be HOME!

Welcome Home Dave
Thank You
 for all you do for our freedom.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tis the season

Before the kiddies arrived...

After they arrived...

Yes Dave, You are one of the kids.

The tree is finally finished

It just wouldn't seem like Christmas without a
dance recital.

More to come
much more.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

"...that their light may always shine."

Worldwide Candle Lighting
Tonight at 7pm

The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting 
unites family and friends around the globe 
in lighting candles for one hour to honor 
and remember children who have died 
at any age from any cause. 
As candles are lit at 7 p.m. local time, 
creating a virtual wave of light, 
hundreds of thousands of persons 
commemorate and honor
 the memory of children 
in a way that transcends all ethnic, 
cultural, religious, and political boundaries.

Please light a candle for Kristen 
and for all our other friends who
have gone all too soon.

Friday, December 9, 2011

In memory of those who walk more closely in the hands of God

To some it might seem strange that I regularly visit cemeteries.
One in particular, I visit almost every single day.
Another, the Salt Lake City Cemetery, I visit once a year.
Today was that day.
There is an angel there, 
The Christmas Box Angel
This is place where grieving parents can go to grieve and heal.
This is my second year seeking out the angel.

Today as my son, Ryan and I, walked through the cemetery,
I saw the most unusual headstone. I could tell from a far distance 
that the statue was a small boy standing in a wheelchair. 
I practically ran to the statue. 
This is what I found...

As I stood there I could hardly move.
The saying on Matthew's headstone was also so fitting for Kristen 
and her many friends. 
It reminded me that I am so very blessed to call Kristen my daughter.
She truly inspired and continues to inspire my heart.
How blessed we are to have these special children in our lives.

The Christmas Box Angel

And now to the cemetery that I visit daily...

The cemetery where both Kristen and my dad are buried had a 
gathering the other night.
All of the children made luminaries and sky lanterns were passed out.
I made sure Kristen's tree was in place and decorated 
and that my dad had a wreath. 
We all gathered together, lit candles and sent up the sky lanterns.

I quote the headstone of a little boy named Matthew,
My Dad and Kristen,
with their legacy complete in love
have returned home again to God,
to behold His face and be wholly healed in joy
forever more.