School Girl charm

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Year of Monday Posts

I woke up this morning - Tuesday - and realized I had forgotten to do a post yesterday.  For the past year, I've written a post pretty much every Monday.  They began on the Caring Bridge site where at first I posted them at 10:20 in the morning to be exactly another week since Karinne was born.  And I have continued the Monday posts here on the blog.  I think I've only missed once or twice in the past year.  

I thought early yesterday morning about posting, but decided I would put it off until later in the day.  And then I forgot.  And I felt a little bit guilty this morning when I realized it.  But really, it was fitting for what I wanted to share in this post.  Today - this week - I'm giving myself permission to no longer write a post every Monday.  I've decided that it's time to give myself a little slack - and to allow myself to not feel badly about it.  I have shared Karinne's story over the past year in my Monday posts, but it is time to move forward - at least a little bit.  I've been realizing this past month - as I have grieved so deeply once again for the loss of Karinne - that I have to allow my heart to begin to let go - at least a little bit.  And that is SO HARD for me to do.  But I know now that it is time - for my husband, for my kids, for this Little One in my tummy, for myself, and even for Karinne. 

And so - I'm letting you all know that my posts will probably be less frequent and won't always show up on Mondays.  I will still continue to post and I will never stop wanting to share Karinne's story and help others to remember her.  I will certainly never stop missing her and really, I would never want to.  But it is time to give myself permission to miss a few Mondays.

I wanted to share also today about sweet Amazing Abigail who I posted about last week.  Sadly - she passed into the arms of Jesus on last Tuesday evening.  But her family was truly BLESSED to have nearly 8 1/2 days with her.  What a miracle!!  Please continue to lift her family up in your prayers as they begin this "afterwards" part of the journey.  You can visit their site and see more sweet photos of Abigail at  

And I wanted to request prayers as we go to our first checkup today with our "new" doctor.  I don't know if I have mentioned it on here, but my doctor who was with us through our pregnancy with Karinne and with Little One up til now is moving away.  =(  =(  =(  Well, we have known for the last few months that this would be happening.  And today will be my first appointment with Dr. Doug.  The good news is that we have already met him and had him for a doctor.  But the kind-of difficult part is that it was because he was the doctor who performed the c section for Karinne.  We really do like him and feel comfortable with him.  But it will be so strange and deja vu-ish to return there now with our Little One.  Please pray that the appointment will go well and that it won't be too emotional to return there with this baby.

And finally, I read the following story on another mom's site today and just wanted to share it because of how the illustration touched my heart:

 The Brave Little Soul

Not long ago in heaven there was a little soul who took wonder in observing the world. He especially enjoyed the love he saw there and often expressed this joy with God. One day however, the little soul was sad, for on this day he saw suffering in the world. He approached God and sadly asked, "Why do bad things happen, why is there suffering in the world?"

God paused for a moment and replied, "Little soul, do not be sad, for the suffering you see, unlocks the love in people's hearts."

The little soul was confused. "What do you mean?, he asked.

God replied, "Have you not noticed the goodness and love that is the offspring of that suffering? Look at how people come together, drop their differences, and show their love and compassion for those who suffer. All their other motivations disappear and they become motivated by love alone." The little soul began to understand and listened attentively as God continued, "The suffering soul unlocks the love in people's hearts much like the sun and rain unlock the flower within the seed. I created everyone with endless love in their hearts, but unfortunately most people keep it locked up and hardly share it with anyone. They are afraid to let their love shine free, because they are afraid of being hurt. But a suffering soul unlocks that love. I tell you this, it is the greatest miracle of all. Many souls have bravely chosen to go into the world and suffer, to unlock this love, to create this miracle, for the good of all humanity."

Just then the little soul got a wonderful idea and could not hardly contain himself. With his wings fluttering, and bounding up and down, the little soul excitedly replied, "I am brave; let me go! I would like to go into this world and suffer so that I can unlock the goodness and love in people's hearts! I want to create that miracle!"

God smiled and said, "You are a brave soul I know, and thus I will grant your request. But even though you are very brave, you will not be able to do this alone. I have known since the beginning of time that you would ask for this and so I have carefully selected many souls to care for you on your journey. Those souls will help you create your miracle; however they will also share in your suffering. Two of these souls are most special and will care for you, help you and suffer along with you, far beyond others. They have already chosen a name for you."

God and the brave little soul shared a smile, and then embraced. In parting, God said, "Do not forget little soul, that I will be with you always. Although you have agreed to bear the pain, you will do so through my strength. And if the time should come when you feel that you have suffered enough, just say the word, think the thought, and you will be healed.

Thus at that moment the brave little soul was born into the world, and through his suffering and God's strength he unlocked the goodness and love in people's hearts. For so many people dropped their differences and came together to show their love. Priorities became properly aligned. People gave from their hearts. Those that were always too busy, found time. Many began new spiritual journeys, some regained faith, many came back to God. Parents hugged their children tighter. Friends and family grew closer. Old friends got together and new friendships were made. distant family reunited, and every family spent more time together. Everyone prayed. Peace and love reigned. Lives were changed forever. It was good. The world was a better place. The miracle happened. God was pleased.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Amazing Abigail

Today I wanted to share with you about Amazing Abigail - a sweet baby girl born with anencephaly last Monday in the Wichita area.  The amazing thing about Abigail is - She Is ONE WEEK OLD Today!!!

Abi's parents - Melissa and Danny - have been meeting with the perinatal hospice volunteers at Choices Medical Clinic since they found out her diagnosis.  Our mutual friends, Denise and Martha, introduced me to them over email about a month and a half ago so that I could give them any insight that could be helpful.  I know that they have also visited our blog several times.  Melissa and Danny were particularly interested in my thoughts on having a c section versus a vaginal birth.  So I gave them the best and most heartfelt explanation I could explaining why I was glad we chose a c section for Karinne.

And now - after having a c section with little Abigail - she has made it a Full Amazing Week and got to come home with her parents.  And it sounds like she is doing really well.  Wow - What a Blessing for this sweet family!!  You can visit their Caring Bridge site and send them some love and prayers at the following site:  where there is even a cute little photo of Abi.

Now - as happy as I am for Melissa and Danny, I have struggled this past week with wishing we could have been blessed with more time with Karinne.  It has been so hard to keep from wondering why WE couldn't have been given such a miracle.  Oh, how I would have loved to bring Karinne home from the hospital, to feed her, to bathe her, to change her diapers for goodness sake!  It's very difficult to keep from being envious and believe me - I've asked - "why God why?"  

But I know in my heart that Karinne's life was just as it was meant to be, just as God planned for it to be, and just as was best for our family. 

I know that some of you have been praying for me because I can feel myself coming out of the painful fog of the last few weeks.  I hadn't admitted it to hardly anyone, but the experience of Karinne's 1st Birthday has been VERY HARD on me.  And I felt in many ways like it was hard on ME alone.  But I know that your prayers have brought me through.  I'm beginning to feel the weight lifting of this latest wave of grief and I can begin to see the light of new beginnings shining on the horizon.   Thank you for your prayers - and for your sweet comments - please keep them coming!  =)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Remembering Karinne For Her Birthday - Part 2

On Tuesday, May 10th - Karinne's actual 1st birthday - here is how our family spent the day:

Curt and I both took the day off of work.  I was so glad that he was able to make it work so that he could spend the day with me.  Thanks Hun!  And DaNae and Noah stayed home from school.  I decided to still take Ian to daycare during the day because it would make our plans go much easier.  I felt pretty guilty about it though. 

Anyway - the morning started off pretty rough for me.  I kept crying at the drop of a hat and couldn't seem to shake it.  A part of me just wanted to stay in bed and cry the day away.   I just kept thinking of all the events of last year and how her birth-day transpired one year ago.  And it was just SO HARD.  But I also knew I wanted to do some special things for her birthday and remember her with smiles too, not just tears.  I prayed for God's strength and peace to get through the day and I know others were praying for us too.

In honor of Karinne's birthday, we sponsored our area Christian radio station - KGCR - for the morning of May 10th.  Their songs and radio shows were an amazing source of comfort and inspiration to Curt and I in the months before and since Karinne's birth.  In return for our sponsorship, they aired a memorial dedication several times throughout the morning.  I was disappointed (and cried a lot) when I first heard the airing early in the morning because they had pronounced Karinne's name wrong.  But a dear friend later called in and asked them to fix it.  Thanks Donna!  Here is the corrected radio spot and precious dedication to Karinne:

I knew that I wanted to visit Karinne's grave around the time that she was born - 10:20 am - and be there until 10:30 - the time frame of her life outside the womb.  I cut some fresh flowers from our yard and we blew up the only balloons we could find in the house.  DaNae and I went out and replaced the flowers and attempted to tie on the balloons we had written on.  Unfortunately, the wind and the dry grass caused them to pop before we even left the cemetery.  Oh, well - at least we got a photo before they popped.  And it was therapeutic for me to be there during the time that Karinne "danced peacefully on to meet Jesus" - exactly one year ago. 

Shortly after, we got ready to go shopping for new flowers and plants for Karinne's garden.  We headed to nearby Colby for lunch at a restaurant and plant buying at 2 greenhouses.  Both of which were made much easier by leaving Ian at daycare.  We spent a couple of hours shopping and deciding on flowers and plants for Karinne's garden.  Here are some of the new plants we brought home.  If I were rich - there would have been a lot more!

When we got back home - we picked up Ian and then let the kids play in the new kiddie pool we had also picked up.  It was almost 90 degrees by the way!  And then I started planning out where the new plants should go and got a few of them in the ground.  Mostly I did a lot of sitting in garden in the glider seat - thinking, reminiscing, and enjoying the shade on a hot afternoon.

My sister Valerie stopped by to drop off this lovely flower arrangement she had gotten for Karinne's birthday.  It was actually from all three of my sisters.  Thanks Krista, Valerie & Jessica for getting us such a sweet birthday gift for Karinne's garden. 

As we ate our supper, we watched the slideshow videos from Karinne's funeral.  (The ones at the top of the blog on the "home" page.)  It was sweet and special to watch them together as a family and hear the kids comment on their baby sister.  They really do miss her!  I was amazed at myself not totally breaking down in tears watching the videos.  God was certainly carrying us through this day as he had one year ago.  Aside from the tears of the early morning, an amazing peace had fallen over me throughout most of the day.  Thanks to all of you who were praying for just that.

After supper and near sunset, we went out to the cemetery to bring a piece of birthday cake and a gift to Karinne's grave.  We sang "Happy Birthday" to her once more and finished eating her birthday cake together as a family. 

DaNae and I had picked out a new pair of "Dancing Shoes" for Karinne's grave.  My mom had placed a little white pair on her grave last May and they stayed there throughout most of the year until one blew away.  So we thought it was time for a new sweet pair to take their place.  Oh, to see you dancing in heaven Karinne!!  What a beautiful thought!!

Thanks so much to all of you who remembered us on Karinne's birthday with cards, little gifts, emails, text messages, and prayers.  We really appreciate knowing that although she is no longer here with us - Karinne has not been forgotten.  And her birthday was a truly beautiful day!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Remembering Karinne For Her Birthday - Part1

On Sunday, May 8th, we had a celebration with extended family and friends in honor of Karinne's birthday.  It worked out well that the grandparents, aunts & uncles, and cousins were in town for our son Noah's and my niece Jaelle's 6th birthday party on Saturday.  Then everyone came to our house on Sunday for Karinne's.

For church, Curt, the kids, and I all wore pink for Karinne.  We also each wore a Karinne pin or necklace I had made from various special photos of her.  I had sweet little corsages made for myself and the grandmothers too.

The service included a few special moments in honor of Karinne.  It was youth sunday - where the high school youth group kids did everything for the service.  Since we are dear friends with the youth minister and since I have several of the kids in my art classes - I had requested that I would love it if there could be some special touches to the service for Karinne.  During worship, we sang "Blessed Be Your Name" which holds special meaning to our family since we sang it at both the prayer shower and the funeral last year.  Later, several of the girls sang "In Your Hands" (on the playlist) and sweet Hannah read a beautiful dedication to Karinne before they started.  It was SO lovely and special.  And of course - it all made me cry. 

We ate a yummy meal at our house after church and then hurried around to meet friends out at the cemetery at 2:00 for a balloon release.  When we pulled up to the cemetery and saw how many cars and people were gathered there - I was overcome with emotions.  It was just SO GOOD and SO OVERWHELMING to have so many there to remember Karinne with us.  My sister Jessica passed out balloons and we passed around markers to write on them.  We had filled 50 balloons and used them all - so we had right at 50 people there!!


I turned on "Blessed Be Your Name" on our van stereo and we sang along with it as we let the balloons go.  What a lovely sight!  Then we played "I Will Carry You" as we watched the balloons fly away to the north and Curt & I walked around sharing hugs with everyone and thanking them for coming. 

It was a very emotional time but a special time too.  And also a very HOT time!  Believe it our not, it was nearly 100 degrees that afternoon, so we were all plenty hot and icky by the time we left the cemetery!

The other special thing we had planned for the day was to make garden stepping stones.  We had the kids plan theirs out while the cement set up a bit.

Unfortunately, we had a combination of things go wrong:  too much gravel in our cement mix making it difficult to push the embellishments down AND waiting too long to do it so most of the stones got too hard.  So we were only able to decorate 4 out of the 13 or so tha we had mixed up.  Oh, well - live and learn - and we'll try again another day.

At the end of the day, it was time for cake.  Oh, how I wished Karinne could have been there to blow out her candle and get all messy.  It was hard and strange to have the cake without a cute little one-year-old to enjoy it.  But it would have been even harder for me to have NOT made one for her.  At least I was happy with how cute the cake turned out.  A sweet cake for my sweet girl!

We gathered the siblings and cousins around for a photo - like we always do.  And we sang "Happy Birthday" to Karinne.  That was VERY hard for me to get through.  Then we let the kids blow out Karinne's candle.  Oh --- if only..........

It was a special day.  It was a hard day.  It was a day I wish could have been different.  But it meant a lot to me to honor her with family and friends as we did.  Thanks so much to all of you that were a special part of our celebration of Karinne's life. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Karinne

My beautiful daughter Karinne was born one year ago today.  
5-10-2010 at 10:20 in the morning

I don't know how to write this post.  So many things going through my mind.  Remembering last year - the moments leading up to Karinne's birth and everything that followed.  Too many emotions, too many thoughts, too many feelings to really share any of them with all of you.

Missing my Baby Girl like crazy!

Wanting to write something powerful and beautiful - like Karinne and her brief but mighty life.  

But there are no words.

So for now - I'll simply share a few photos of the cake I made for her birthday.  I make cakes for all of my kids' birthdays.  So it just felt right that Karinne would have a cake as well. 

 Pink & Brown - Complete with pink dancing shoes for our Little Dancing Girl

I'll share more later about our celebrations for Karinne's 1st birthday.  For now - please pray that this day will go gently on our hearts.    And that God will continue to carry our family through this difficult journey as He has for so long now.

So hard to believe it has been an entire year.  And yet, it feels like a hundred since I held my baby girl. 

Miss you SO MUCH Karinne!   

And LOVE YOU beyond words!  


Monday, May 2, 2011

Her Stone is In!!!

Today I wanted to tell everyone how very excited we are that Karinne's stone is FINALLY INSTALLED!!  And it turned out beautiful!  

We have been hoping that the stone would be installed in time for Karinne's 1st Birthday on the 10th.  So I was very happy and overcome with emotion when I got a call that the guys were out there installing it Wednesday morning.  They wanted to make sure which side of the stone we wanted the vase on.  I just happened to be on a break at school so I drove out there real quick and called Curt to meet me.  It was a cold and blustery morning, so we didn't stay long.  But it was an oddly amazing feeling to see the stone ready to go in.

Wednesday evening we went out to the cemetery as a family to see how it turned out.  And to rearrange all of the decorations.  On Monday, Ian - our 3 year old - had been playing with his Easter eggs and decided he wanted to take some of his eggs out to Karinne's grave.  How sweet!  Made me cry.  Anyway - it was too rainy on Monday - so we took some eggs with us on Wednesday.  Such a strange and sad thing to fill Easter eggs for my baby girl with rocks to keep them from blowing away instead of candy she could munch on.  But still a good feeling to have eggs out there for her.

The photos really don't show just how lovely it is.  There is so much depth and beauty to the polished areas.  And the entire stone has these amazing sparkling flecks that catch the sun.  It looks different in different light too, depending on the time of the day.

There's room left at the bottom for Little One's name to be added someday.  The footprints are from Karinne's actual footprints and are the same size as her tiny precious feet.  I love how the sun shone over the top of the stone in this photo. 

DaNae and Noah were so excited when we talked about how the stone we chose comes from the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Mt. Rushmore area.  We went there on a family vacation 2 years ago and will certainly visit there many times in the coming years for a silhouette shooting competition Curt attends every summer. 


As we got ready to leave that evening, Curt and I agreed that it was a really good feeling to have it there.  Like we hadn't quite done right by Karinne until that moment.  I figured I would break down and cry seeing it in place.  But I didn't.  I just felt pleased that it was there.  Of course, we still certainly wish there wasn't any reason for it in the first place.  But we're glad it is there in time for her birthday.