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, January 31, 2011

Cheerful Innocent Pure


Cheerful Innocent Pure

all words to describe a gerber daisy and 2 amazing girls
Kristen and Sarah
Joyce has some amazing words about Kristen and Sarah here
Coming tomorrow...
a fun announcement about these girls.

Friday, January 28, 2011

darn RSV

This is Ellie on Wednesday...


 This is her on Thursday...


Isn't she so cute, she even had a little smile for me. She started with a cough on Monday
and by Thursday the fever showed up which was followed by a doctors visit.
Her saturations were a little low so the docs wanted to keep her overnight.
Today the results of the swab...RSV.
Ellie was released today after a 24 hour visit to the hospital.
 Now baby Claire...


has the same cough. So hopefully I won't have a different picture to show you tomorrow.
When Katy and Ellie arrived home today Katy said that it felt so good to walk out of the
hospital and it was only a 24 hour stay.
She asked how Kristen and I did it for weeks at a time.
I'm not really sure, other than the fact that Kristen was a Rockstar.
She rarely complained...wish I could say the same for me.
Walking into the children's unit of the hospital yesterday was difficult for me
as many memories came flashing back. Katy said the same thing,
that it made her sick to even think about it.
I kept thinking to myself,
we can do this, we can do hard things.
Kristen showed us how.



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

forever young

“I’m youth, I’m joy…
So come with me, where dreams are born,
and time is never planned. Just think of happy things,
and your heart will fly on wings..."
~Peter Pan

Kristen was in a way just like Peter Pan. She really never grew up.
That little extra chromosome kept her young at heart.
At her funeral, my husband said “She was a lifelong believer in Santa.”
It didn’t matter if she was 4 or 24 she was still my little girl. Kristen progressed and learned new things every single day, but somehow she was still a little child.
Have you ever wished your children would stay little forever? That is just what
 I got with a special child such as Kristen.

Recently I read an obituary of a cute little friend who also had Down syndrome, she was 58 years old. After reading about her, even though she was 58, she too was like a child. A line from her obituary read, “She loved being with family, anything pink, movie stars, writing on yellow paper, tearing up magazines, teasing, and loved making us smile. She brought great joy to all who knew her…especially her family.”
I read her blog and have learned more about her. She was the queen of the house,
 the princess of paper and she wrote her name over and over.
 I think Kristen had a twin in this sweet lady.
Everything I read about her reminded me of Kristen.
We have often called Kristen the 'Queen of Paper' and she was
definitely the 'Queen of our house.' As far as the name writing…

Kristen too would write her name over and over.

Every time I see a child with Down syndrome I want to give them a big hug
and tell them how special they are. They have such sweet noble spirits.
It didn't matter if Kristen was 18 months old


or 7 years old

or 16 years old

or 21

or even 24...



She was and still is my child  my sweet child and her life is worth celebrating.
She brought with her
Joy
Happiness
Laughter
Perspective
Child like faith
 and Love.
Gifts this world could use a whole lot more of.

Monday, January 24, 2011

awake from a long winters nap



The sky is blue, the chickens are laying eggs again, and the
thermometer in the car read 48.
  Hope of spring is on the horizon.
Having something to look forward to is always a good thing and
 I am definitely looking forward to spring.

Saturday morning my brother had a heart attack. He is 52 which is
only 2 1/2 years older than me.
A few years ago, My sister had a heart attack at the age of 45,
she is only 11 months older than me.
My father had an abdominal aortic aneurysm at the age of 71.
My mother has had a stroke.
My grandmother (my moms mom) had a massive heart attack at the age of 61.
My uncle (my moms brother) had a massive heart attack at the age of 48.
Do you see a pattern here? I sure do.
My brother is going to be Ok, he is being released from the hospital today.
He will be put on a cardio rehab program. 
I have decided that I probably should make some changes, like soon.
Today I have spent some time on the American Heart Association's web site.
They give a list of 7 simple things that can help you live better and decrease your chance of heart disease.

1. Get Active
2. Eat Better
3. Lose Weight
4.Control your Cholesterol
5. Mange your blood pressure
6. Reduce blood sugar
7. Stop Smoking or don't start.

My cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar are all in check and I don' smoke.
However, I need to work on number 1 2 & 3.
With the spring like weather today, I headed to the park and took
a few laps on the walking trail.
I put my pedometer in my pocket and have already gone 7824 steps.
My goal is 10,000 per day, so I better get moving.
I have even been drinking water, and that is BIG for me.
I really really really like salt, but I am totally willing to at least cut back.
Spending the last 2 days in the hospital with my brother has been a
well needed wake up call for all of us.

On another quick note...
My mother found a notebook that she was writing in back in 1993.
That is when Kristen relapsed with her first leukemia.
She kept track of the daily events, doctors appointments and even Kristen's mood.
In that notebook she also found a poem. She doesn't remember writing it
but it is pretty cute so I want to share it.

She was born on a beautiful day in May
she was tiny and cute and what more can I say?
She has been a guide for all of us and in her own way,
she has shown us how to see and enjoy the sun rays.

Her body is weak but her spirit is strong,
I know if we follow her we won’t go wrong.
She taught me to love in God’s way,
oh this beautiful granddaughter born in May.

to add a little more sunshine to today I will close with a picture of our girl

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Comfort~Hope~Love

The day started early with stacks of neatly cut fabric lining the dining room table. We were all set up for our pillowcase making marathon. We were not alone as Joyce and Sarah were having a marathon of their own. We had set out to make pillowcases that would offer comfort, hope and love for cancer patients, foster children, victims of domestic violence and anyone else that might be in need of comfort. We were participating in the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge. This day was chosen as it has been 6 months since Kristen went to heaven. It turned into a wonderful day of service.  As we set out to offer comfort, hope and love to many deserving people by making these pillowcases, I feel as though I was the one receiving the comfort the hope and the love. The kitchen in Joyce's store was also dedicated to Kristen. As the missionaries offered a dedication prayer in honor of Kristen I was very touched as was everyone in my home as well as in the store in Cleveland. I was able to listen through speaker phone as the prayer was offered. Joyce said that there wasn't a dry eye in her store and there wasn't a dry eye in my home either.
Thank You so much for all those who made this day so special.
To Joyce and Sarah and to all their friends in Cleveland,
to my mom,
to my niece, Janalyn,
to Lisa, Katy and Kamie
We were able to finish 31 pillowcases at my home and
in Cleveland, they finished 52 in the store today with more coming in through the weekend.
Thank You!
Kristen taught us how to live.
Her life is a legacy of love and it continues as her light continues to shine.










Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pillowcases for Kristen



Tomorrow is the BIG day!
Joyce and Sarah are having a
One Million Pillowcase Challenge
Kickoff Party!

You can read more about their party here
They are also dedicating the kitchen in their store to Kristen.
As Joyce and Sarah are having a pillowcase marathon in their store, I will also be having one at my home.

Another big thank you to our kind hearted friends in Cleveland.
What a wonderful tribute to Kristen as tomorrow it will be six months since she passed away.
I have felt so blessed to have so many friends walk beside me these past few months. You have on many days carried me and lifted me as you have shared kind words, thoughts and prayers.
Tomorrow Kristen's light will be shining bright as we join together across the world in thought and deed.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

the wind beneath my wings

This past week I went to the funeral of a friend.  The song "The Wind Beneath my Wings" was sung at this funeral. Of course I was thinking about Kristen.
 I loved the movie "Beaches" and have always loved this song

"Did you ever know that you're my hero,
and everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
cause you are the wind beneath my wings.
...I would be nothing without you."

I truly feel this way. Kristen is my hero and I would be nothing without her.
She continues to inspire and lift me daily.
Oh how I miss her.
I am thankful for family and friends who continue to encourage me but most of all those who continue to let me mourn and miss her. I am grateful to those of you who continue to let me talk about Kristen and  to those who don't roll your eyes when I mention her name.
It strengthens me when you ask me how I am, and you mean it, you really mean it. 
Because some days I'm really not that good and it feels good to know that
someone still cares.

I have been busy making pillowcases. I think I'm addicted. So far we have only made 11. Some are fun prints for sick children and some are pretty prints for the residence of a local assisted living center. I set a goal to make 50 this year and
I am pretty sure I will exceed that goal.
I still am overwhelmed with the kindness of Joyce and Sarah as they are
already making pillowcases in their fabric shop to donate in honor of Kristen.
I am feeling really bad that I won't be in Cleveland on Thursday.
I feel like jumping in my car and driving 1729 straight east.
I am hoping Joyce will take lots of pictures, I was even wondering if we could set up
Skype and talk to each other throughout the day.
As Joyce and Sarah are sewing pillowcases in Cleveland on Thursday, I will be sewing pillowcases at my home. One of my nieces has volunteered to bring
her sewing machine over and help.
It should be fun!   
I'll leave you with some pictures of some of the finished pillowcases...






and also a picture of Brooke just because she's so darn cute wearing my glasses.

I also take comfort in the fact that, yes, Kristen did know that she was my hero.
Every time I gave her a hug I would whisper to her,
"I love you and I am so thankful to be your mom, you're my hero."

Hug your children and tell them how much they mean to you every single day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Come...Warm your heart

It's January and it's cold outside. I've got something to warm you from the inside out.

If you can't read this then click the letter or the picture to make it bigger.



Thank You Joyce and Sarah for thinking of Kristen and I.
You have truly warmed my heart. I am so thankful for
your sweet friendship. You have made this journey bearable.
Because I can't be there, please any of you who are anywhere near  Joyce's store,
please go there on January 20th and support her efforts in remembrance of Kristen.

JEllen's House of Fabric
5259 Mayfield Road
Lyndhurst, Ohio

Monday, January 3, 2011

resolutions...

I usually have a few New Year's resolutions colorfully written in a notebook, but I usually don't share those with anyone. I wonder if it is because I hate the thoughts of failing and if no one
 knows but me then maybe it isn't a failure.

This year I have decided to share my resolutions, mainly because I don't plan on failing and because instead of resolutions I think I will call them challenges.
25 is going to be the magic number this year.
You see, Kristen would have turned 25 in May.
So here goes the list...
~I will make 25 blankets/quilts this year to be delivered to various people.
~I will make 25 times 2 to equal 50 pillowcases for the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge.
~I will make 25 aprons or other crafty items and donate them to the
gift shop at the  Festival of Trees.
~I will make, fill and deliver 25 activity bags to sick children.
~On Kristen's Birthday, May 3rd, I will deliver 25 Build-a-Bears to the cancer patients at
Primary Children's Medical Center.
~Another 25 Build-a-Bears will also be delivered at Christmas.
~Because I have fallen in love with all the children at Reece's Rainbow,
I will donate $25.00 a month to an adoption fund.
I know it is only a drop in a bucket, but I figure every little bit helps.

All these items will be donated in Kristen's name and of course
I will be posting as I finish a project.

Today I made my first ever pillowcase.


A few months ago Joyce sent me some fabric from her awesome store.
I made 24 Halloween activity bags with some of the fabric she sent and with the
rest I will be making pillowcase.
I have fallen in love with the Moda fabric that she sent, so tomorrow
I am off to find a store in the valley that also sells Moda.

Wish me luck!



Saturday, January 1, 2011

I am what I am

I recently celebrated a  birthday.
Not just any Birthday but the Big one.
That's right, I am now officially 50.
I can't believe I just typed that. It used to be when I thought of someone who was 50, I was like, wow, they're old! Now 50 doesn't seem so old.
In fact I feel the same as I did when I was 49.
Actually after reading the following, I'm feeling pretty good.

A Woman's Lifeline

Age 3: She looks at herself and sees a Queen

Age 8: She looks at herself and sees Cinderella

Age 15: She looks at herself and sees an "ugly duckling"
("Mom I can't go to school looking like this today!")

Age 20: She looks at herself and sees "too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly" but decides she's going out anyway.

Age 30: She looks at herself and sees "too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly" but decides she doesn't have time to fix it so she's going out anyway.

Age 40: She looks at herself and sees "too fat/too think, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly" but says, "At least I am clean", and goes out anyway.

Age 50: She looks at herself and sees "I am what I am"
and goes wherever she wants to go.

Age 60: she looks at herslef and reminds herself of all the people who can't even see themselves in the mirror anymore. Goes out and conquers the world.

Age 70: She looks at herslef and see wisdom, laughter,
and ability and goes out and enjoys life.

Age 80: Doesn't bother to look, just puts on a purple hat and
goes out to have fun with the worldl

Moral: Maybe we should all grab that purple hat a little earlier.


Don't be surprised to see me sporting a new purple hat soon, like really soon.