First of all, I have to say that I am completely amazed by the number of visitors that continue to come to our CaringBridge site. I haven’t updated it in over 5 months, yet the visitor count continues to climb as each week goes by. I know the site has been helpful for me, personally; it's apparently touched others as well. The guestbook entries are beautiful reminders to me of the kindness and concern of so many people, many of whom we have never even met. The journal entries are a precious account of the days leading up to Kristen’s birth, the days of her life that we got to enjoy with her, and the days we’ve journeyed since her death. It’s an account that takes me on a roller coaster of emotions, but it is Kristen’s story.

I’ve had the site made into a special book that resides on the coffee table in our living room. And though the CaringBridge site will be deactivated soon, I do have a complete static copy of it included here on my blog, “Peace of my Heart” (click on Kristen's Story at the top of the page)

Writing has been an outlet for me, and I've written a lot over these last several months.  Much of that writing has been in a personal blog, but, like me, it is being transformed.  This blog really picks up where the CaringBridge site left off.  I have now opened the blog up to more than just me, and in sharing it, my hope and prayer is that others will find encouragement. Kristen’s story is the foundation of the project, but it also includes some bears, some resources and my own thoughts as I continue to travel down this path on which the Lord has placed me.

What would have been Kristen’s first birthday is just two weeks away, and May 7th will no doubt be a difficult day for us. We plan to spend time with family and special friends remembering Kristen and celebrating her life. Because she was with us for such a short time, we don't have years of memories.  But I have dear friends who have shared their memories with me, and that has been such a blessing.  If Kristen’s story has touched your life in some way, would you mind sharing that with me? You can e-mail me privately at or leave a comment at the end of this post. Just please don’t add it to the CaringBridge site – it’s already been copied, and the book has been printed!

And if I could make one more request:  please pray for an extra measure of grace for our family on May 7th. I truly want it to be a day of celebration, but I know it will also be a day filled with moments of sadness. There are four of us left in this house, and we are all grieving in different ways. I pray that God will help us to have patience with one another, to love and lift one another up, and to continue to grow closer to our Lord and Savior.

Thank you, dear ones.



As we headed out the door last night for the first GriefShare session at our church, I had a full box of Kleenex with me to replace the empty one in the van.  Emily took one look at that box and said, "I'm glad I'm not going to that!"

Truth is, I did need a few tissues at that session, but it was good.  I am grateful that our church (especially Pastor Jana) is eager to do whatever is needed to help.  Foundry was more than willing to invest in setting up a small group devoted to ministering to those in the midst of grief.  Our situation may have prompted the endeavor, but I know that this group will provide something that is much-needed in our community--an opportunity for healing through Christ.



Oh, what a difficult day today has been.  I woke up this morning and realized that it was the 7th.  Just one month from today, we'll be faced with what would have been Kristen's 1st birthday.  That's been on my mind for some time now, but it really jumped out at me this morning.  I just wanted to pull the covers over my head and stay in bed all day.  But the day-to-day responsibilities called loudly, so I got up, helped Grace with her math, gave spelling tests, quizzed the girls on their memory verses, read to them about Gladys Aylward, tried to pronounce the colors of the rainbow in Japanese, and decided to put off writing Haiku until tomorrow.  I managed to make it through an afternoon of work, get supper, then headed to church.

Tonight was the first Wednesday night praise and worship service I have been to since Kristen died.  She always went with us on Wednesday nights.  She had been prayed over many times at those Wednesday night services (most before she was ever born).  The last time she was with us in church was at a Wednesday night service just two days before her surgery last August.  Talk about memories.  I feel like I've been tossed about in a very rough sea.  And to have it fall on the 7th just intensified those emotions.  Hearing others pray prayers of thanksgiving for the safe delivery of grandchildren isn't easy.  Of course I'm happy for them, but it reminds me all too much of similar prayers that were prayed for us and how it can all change in an instant.

The church family that God has provided for us is amazing beyond words.  They have been there through it all and continue to be there.  I love each and every one of them and pray that one day I'll be able to share that with them without blubbering.  As it is now, my emotions get the better of me and I can barely eke out anything that's intelligible.  The tears are always just below the surface and it doesn't take much for them to come pouring out.  I don't expect to be able to ever wear anything but waterproof mascara again!

Pastor Kevin assured me that it would get easier.  He's never led me wrong, and I don't expect he will.  Deep down, I know he's right, though it sure seems to be getting harder right now. 

A New Set of Questions


I've asked a lot of questions of God over these last many months.  Most of them are "Why?" questions.  I read this just this morning in Through a Season of Grief: Devotions for Your Journey from Mourning to Joy:
At some point in time, if you are to continue toward healing, you must let go of the questions. Your questions may be answered later or they may not, but it is in the process of moving toward healing that you are most likely to get the answers you want.
It went on to say that you need to change your questions from "Why?" to "How?"  How can I use this situation to glorify God?  How can I use it to help someone else?

As Kristen's birthday approaches, I find myself really struggling with what to do that day.  Do I want to share that day with others?  Is it selfish to want to be alone that day?  Is it strange to have a party when the guest of honor can't be there?  Do we keep the day as "normal" as possible?  Do I want to go to the cemetery?  Would I rather stay here and sit by Kristen's tree?  A whole new set of questions.

Perhaps if I change those questions a bit, I will find the answers to be more clear.  How can I best celebrate Kristen's birthday?   How can I include the wishes of my family?  How do I focus on remembering the day of her birth without continuing down that road and also remembering the day of her death?

I'm still working on the answers.



Holidays have been very difficult since Kristen died. And sadly, the joyous day just past was no exception. Easter is such a meaningful and beautiful time. Even in the midst of my personal grief, it still is what it is...a joyous celebration of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! This year was understandably different...meaningful in a different way, I guess.

Holy Week at our church is a special time, one that our pastors do not ever take lightly.  Perhaps because of that very direct focus on the events of Jesus' life from Palm Sunday through Easter, my emotions were on high alert.  I felt much closer to God as I walked through Holy Week this year.  That closeness made me think even more of Kristen, which made me miss her more than ever.  Because I seemed to be falling apart at every turn of my everyday life, I leaned into my heavenly Father more.  It's an odd cycle and a crazy combination of bitter and sweet, of sorrow and joy, of tears and smiles.

It is only through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that anyone is saved.  Because of that, I know where Kristen is right now, and I know that I will one day be reunited with her.  The countless tears that have rolled down my cheeks are not tears of despair.  They reflect a longing like I have never experienced before, one that I find difficult to adequately describe.