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, December 31, 2012


I need this little reminder today 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas

Christmas was filled with family, traditions and fun.
I am happy to say that we have a home that believes, 
not only in the magic of Santa,
but also in the reality of our Savior, Jesus Christ,
for He is the true reason behind our celebration.
The Christmas spirit doesn't last for just one day, it continues each
and every day as we enjoy the spirit of  hope, love, peace and joy
all year long.

As I was shopping I saw this sign...

Of course I thought of Kristen. Oh how I miss that little girl!
Even though she isn't here, my love for her continues to grow.
She truly is my everything. She was and continues to be 
perfect in every way. She continues to be a part of every single celebration.
Every year for Christmas I give each of my children  a "Kristen Gift."
That is a gift that she would want them to have or a gift that she would 
have wanted. This year they all received this Winnie the Pooh ornament.


Christmas Eve night we met at the cemetery. I made jingle bell sticks for the 
kids and we gathered around and sang "Jingle Bells."
I'm sure both my dad and Kristen thought we were funny,
standing there in the snow singing our guts out.

 



Christmas Eve is always spent at my parents home.
We are never short on gifts or laughter.






Christmas morning all of my children gather at my home for more gifts 
and breakfast.
On Christmas day we spend time with Richard's family, darn I forgot my camera.
Even though I don't have pictures, there is quite the celebration there as well. 


Someone thought the kids all needed a sword, as long as they use them on Charlie,
I think it's a great idea.

Lets not forget this was Nora's first Christmas.
She is such a sweet little girl.

One last thing...
24 Build a Bears were delivered to Primary Children's Medical Center.
They were delivered to the children in the ICS unit,
those are the children who are fighting cancer, the ones who didn't
make it home for Christmas.
Thank you to those who helped with the bears!
The children LOVED them!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas in Heaven

                                                 
                                                      "Christmas In Heaven"

December hasn't changed
This town looks the same
They still light that tree in the city square
There's red, white, and green shining everywhere
And I wish you were here
And I wonder

Is the snow falling down on the streets of gold
Are the mansions all covered in white
Are you singing with angels "Silent Night"
I wonder what Christmas in heaven is like

There's a little manger scene
Down on Third and Main
I must have walked right by it a thousand times
But I see it now in a different light
'Cause I know you are there
And I wonder

Are you kneeling with shepherds before him now
Can you reach out and touch his face
Are you part of that glorious Holy night
I wonder what Christmas in Heaven is like

Is the snow falling down on the streets of gold?
Are the mansions all covered in white?
Are you singing with angels "Silent Night"
I wonder what Christmas in Heaven is like

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Prayer request

Millie needs your prayers.
She is a spunky little 7 year old who just relapsed.
Millie has been fighting leukemia for a long time. 
This past July she had a bone marrow transplant. 
Just a few days ago she relapsed.
She will spend Christmas in the hospital as she has already
started another round of chemo.
Please pray for Millie and her family.
You can visit her blog here.



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

peace on earth


There seems to be plenty of sadness floating around. 
It is everywhere.
This past Monday just as I was starting my shift at the Huntsman Cancer Institute 
I spotted a little girl sitting with her mother in the radiation waiting room.
 She was wearing a bright pink hat. I usually don’t see children at Huntsman 
as it is an adult cancer center. However, the children who are staying at 
Primary Children’s Medical Center come to Huntsman for radiation. 
When I saw this cute little girl waiting for her turn to go back for radiation
I almost lost it. I had to step into a private hall for a minute to catch my breath.
 At that moment I knew I wasn’t ready to start volunteering in the children’s hospital. 
Every single memory of Kristen’s treatment and hospital stays came 
crashing in on me. I soon left the radiation area and began my
routine of visiting the patients who were staying in the hospital.
I love to visit the patients and their families. I feel I can relate to
them as I kind of know what they are going through. Once I was finished
with all of the inpatient visits I headed to the outpatient clinics.
I had just finished passing out snacks and drinks to the patients 
in the infusion area when the “code blue” alarms sounded. 
Once again I found myself feeling sick. Again, I slipped into a back hall
to catch my breath. I had just barely talked with the patient and now they are 
fighting to take one more breath. I soon found myself looking out a large window.
It was cold and cloudy outside. I found myself asking “why?”
Why are these patients suffering, will this be their last Christmas?
Why did Kristen have to leave? Why wasn't she cured?
I hate cancer. 
Why did the lives of so many children end so violently last Friday?
I hate violence.
I soon went back to the volunteer office to drop off my cart and get my purse.
Just as I was leaving I was asked if I had time to take a sack of hats to 
the children’s hospital. I politely said I would be happy to go to the children’s hospital.
Again I felt that lump in my throat. How could I walk
into that hospital with all of these feeling so close to the surface?
I looked at the bags of brightly colored crochet hats and then I 
knew I could do it. I thought, “Kristen would have loved to have
one of these soft hats.” I took the long walk from one hospital to the next.
I proudly dropped off the hats while thinking of Kristen and her cute little
bald head. As I drove home I had a feeling of peace come over me. I thought
how thankful I was that I live in the world of cancer. Who would I be without it?
 I am thankful I can offer kindness and help
to those who are fighting for their lives. I returned home to find a message 
from Joyce who lives in Ohio. Joyce and her daughter, Sarah, had just delivered
225 pillowcases to the Seldman Cancer Center and they delivered the pillowcases
in memory of Kristen! Both Joyce, Sarah and I spent time this past Monday 
trying to brighten the lives of cancer patients all because of Kristen.
He light continues to shine.
She is our angel.
I am once again reminded of the true meaning of Christmas...

"On Christmas Day a child was born in a stable.
Though in a manger Thou draws breath,
Thou art greater than life and death.
God is not dead, nor doth he sleep,
the wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
with peace on earth, good will to men.
Because Christmas lives on,
a nation lives on, and we-each one of us-
may live on as well, in hope and peace forever!
~Newell

Kristen lives on in the hearts of many.



 Sarah packaging the pillowcases

Seldman Cancer Center where Sarah and her mom
delivered 225 pillowcases.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

gingerbread

The traditions continue.
Our annual gingerbread house making night has come and gone.
I could have brought in the garden house and sprayed down the kitchen
after we were through. Oh boy, did we ever make a huge mess,
but it was well worth it! 
I made gingerbread men with my great grandma's cookie cutter.
It has become a tradition. My mom remembers her grandmother using
this same cookie cutter every Christmas.


Before the kids arrived

After the kids had enough fun, their mothers finished up.


Nora's first gingerbread house


My house has an angel watching over it.

If I could just figure out how to keep that yummy smell of gingerbread in my house.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Santa cuteness & English Toffee

I just had to share this picture of 3 of my grandchildren.
My daughter in law, Lisa, is dressed as Santa.
They do this so the children aren't afraid of the man in the red suit.
I'm pretty sure it worked 

English toffee is one our Christmas baking traditions
We have been making toffee for years, usually several batches. 
It always amazes me that you can make the same recipe over and over
and still get a big batch of failure.
This year we have had pretty good luck. 

English Toffee

2 Cups Butter (Wal Mart butter doesn't seem to work very well)
2 Cups Sugar
2 Tablespoons Water
2 Cups chopped almonds (roasted and salted)
1-2 Cups Milk Chocolate Chips

Line a LARGE cookie sheet with foil and spread almonds evenly over foil and set aside
(save some almonds for the top)
Place butter, sugar and water in heavy pan.
 Mix together over medium high heat stirring constantly 
until mixture turns the color of a brown paper sack (about 285-290 degrees F).
Pour mixture over the almond covered foil lined cookie sheet.
Spread evenly, then pour chocolate chips on top of toffee, 
allow the chips to melt, then spread evenly with a knife.
Top with remaining almonds. 
Allow to cool for several hours, then break into pieces.



Katy tried a little different version, she used white chocolate chips
and crushed candy canes to top this toffee.
It does look like Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2012

candles for Kristen

Thank you to those who lit candles for Kristen last night.
We went to the cemetery and lit candles for her and for my dad.
I had a few pictures e-mailed to me and thought I would share those.
(I am sure there were many more but these are the ones I received)

The first two came from Heidi in Florida


Kristen's sister Kamie had this candle burning at her house

This was at my mom's house

The cemetery



I decided we needed a little cuteness so I'm adding this picture of Claire.
Kamie came by a few nights ago with 13 Build a Bears.
They are piled on the table behind Claire.
Next week we will be delivering 24 bears to the children in the cancer unit
at Primary Children's Medical Center. This will be the fourth year 
we have made the Build a Bear drop.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

get your candles ready

Please light a candle tomorrow night (Sunday)
at 7pm in remembrance of our sweet Kristen and many other
children who have passed away, that their light may always shine.

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, hundreds of thousands of persons 
commemorate and honor the memory of all children gone too soon.
Now believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe,
 the Worldwide Candle Lighting, 
creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. 
Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held and thousands 
of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as 
families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died, 
but will never be forgotten.



Friday, December 7, 2012

leaving on a jet plane

Ryan and Tod are cousins.
They are 4 months apart and have always been great friends.
They played baseball together, hunted together and grew up together.
It seems only appropriate that they would both receive their mission calls on the 
same day. In our church, missionaries are sent out all over the world.
52,000 missionaries are currently serving in 350 missions around the world. They proselytize in every country where the government and political climate allow it. 
Many missionaries grow to love the areas in which they 
serve so much that they find it harder to come home after
 their missions are over than it was for them to leave in the first place. 
They return home as informed ambassadors of the nations, 
states and cultures where they served.
Missionaries serve for 2 years.
It is a great sacrifice for the missionary as well as their families.
Once you turn your papers into church headquarters it takes a
couple of weeks for your call to arrive. 
This past Wednesday both of their calls arrived. Ryan and Tod 
played rock paper scissors to see who would read theirs first.
Ryan went first...
He has been called to the Arizona Tempe mission.
His mission covers a large area from the east to the west borders
of Arizona taking in a little of California and a section of New Mexico.
Tod has been called to the South Dakota Rapid City mission.
Tod's area includes both North and South Dakota.
Both boys will leave the last week of January.
Oh how we are going to miss these boys.