Carousel

merry go round

Each time the carousel would come around my mom would hold up McKenna and wave her little hand to Anna. Anna had a huge smile on her face – pure delight!

As Anna moved out of sight we would look at each other and laugh. The things we do for our kids and grandchildren.

Thank you mom for ALWAYS being there for me and for my kids. We are so blessed by you!

Milkshakes in Heaven today in your honor!! Happy Birthday!

The Love Rocks Story

love rocks info

Today I spent some time updating the Love Rocks page.  I encourage anyone who is sharing Love Rocks to use this as a guide while sharing. This information can also be found here.

The Love Rock Story

Sometimes life brings circumstances that are completely out of your control. In those times, it’s important to remember the beauty in life, love​,​ and know​ing​ that God can​ — and will​ — bring a peace that surpasses all understand​ing​.

Love Rocks was inspired by two girls who ​lived with immense ​Love and ​Joy​. In their honor, we have chosen to s​hare that ​Love and ​Joy ​with anyone ​willing to receive it. Thank you for ​celebrating with us!

I have had a beautiful life filled with lots of laughter, smiles, lots of love, beautiful children, a wonderful, dedicated and loving husband, solid friendships and a community that loves and supports their neighbors unconditionally.

On Oct. 20, 2013, the unthinkable happened to my family. My daughters, Anna (6) and Abigail (11) were hit by car in front of our house. Both girls went to Heaven that night without warning.

Tom and I have had to navigate grief that we wouldn’t wish upon anyone. Our house is now empty – no laughter, no dance parties, no morning cuddles, no fighting about homework or bonding over our favorite meal. Empty.

We decided shortly after the girls went to Heaven that we were not going to allow the tragedy of one night to define our girls’ lives here on earth and the life they were now living in Heaven. Their legacy would not be this tragedy but rather the love and joy that they poured out to everyone who knew them and hopefully everyone who would hear their story.

We did not have choice on whether they went to Heaven on October 20th. We do, however, have a choice on how we live our lives honoring our Creator and honoring the lives of our sweet girls.

We choose Love and Joy!

Anna’s and Abigail’s lives were full of so much love and so much joy. They had a way of lighting up a room with their presence and putting smiles on the faces of those they came in contact with. They loved each other dearly and they were definitely sisters – maybe not by blood, but by the way they knew exactly how to push each others’ buttons. Anna adored her sister and wanted to be around her all the time. Abigail loved her little sister and was annoyed by the fact that Anna wanted to be around her all the time. True sisters!

Anna loved horses, Abigail loved theater. Both girls loved to dance, climb, be with their friends and loved family time. They would prefer a game as a family over a movie any night – LIFE, UNO and Jungle Speed being their all time favorites.

They were beautiful beyond words, both on the outside and more importantly on the inside. They had giving hearts and loved to find ways in which they could help those in need. They were insightful, kind, nurturing and loving to all who had the honor of being in their presence, especially their friends.

In April of 2014, 6 months after the girls went to Heaven, Tom and I felt nudged to share a project that we as a family did for our wedding in June of 2011. The girls, Tom’s mom and I spent time cutting out fabric hearts from our favorite fabrics and then Mod Podging them to river rocks. We made one for each of our guests to take home and another one that would be written on by our guests for us to keep. These little rocks have held a lot of meaning in our house since our wedding day and are placed in various rooms so that we can enjoy them no matter where we are.

That little nudge to share took on a life of it’s own. On April 20th, I launched the Facebook Page, Love Rocks. I shared a bit of our story and our hope for spreading Love and Joy through these simple rocks and included a tutorial for how to make them. Before pushing publish button, I had to come to terms with the fact that nothing may happen with this little idea of ours. I took a deep breath, said a prayer, and sent our idea out into the world.

What has happened over the past 5 months has been miraculous. Love Rocks have been shared in our little town, our state of Oregon, in neighboring states and in every other state in the U.S. Love Rocks have been shared in Africa, Asia, South America, Europe and Australia. I’m still waiting for a picture to be posted in Antarctica.

There are photos of Love Rocks in parks, on beaches, on The Great Wall of China, in front of the Eiffel Tower, on doorsteps, in hospitals, at weddings and at funerals, in a secured NASA facility and at Anna’s and Abigail’s tree.

There have been so many stories of how these little rocks with fabric hearts have found their rightful owner just when they needed it most. They have warmed hearts and brought so much Love and Joy to this world — so much more than we could have ever imagined when we felt nudged to share.

The inspiration for Love Rocks comes from Anna, Abigail, and our loving community that supported us and continues to care for us. The outpouring of Love and the immense Joy that is felt throughout the world is their legacy –one filled with hope, light and laughter.

My girls lives were and are beautiful. They have taught so many how to live a love story and I am very proud to be their mom.

Dipping Sauce

boots in leaves

As far as I can remember, Fall has always been my favorite time of year.

The air starts to chill, school starts and routines change, everything is pumpkin flavored, sweaters, scarves and boots are pulled from the depths of the closet and the leaves turn the most vibrant of colors and start to fall.

Today, after an appointment, I found myself walking down the sidewalk of a neighboring town taking in the smells of this season. For a moment, I got lost in all the things I love about Fall. I looked down at the sidewalk and noticed some yellow leaves adorning my path.

The pain I carry with me got sharper.

As with every day of this past year, I get to choose how I move through each new season absent of my girls and this season is no different.

Of course it is hard – every day is hard without them.

This year, I look at the falling leaves in a different light and the Fall air sometimes takes my breath away. As each night comes quicker than the day before, I find that I often want to be in my house, with the curtains drawn, so I don’t have to witness the transition.

The girls’ tree, which has always stood tall outside my window, is now a symbol of these changing seasons. Its leaves are changing and they will soon be on the ground.

My girls loved Fall and I have many memories and, thankfully, pictures of them enjoying the season to its fullest.

Anna would ask if it’s time to buy caramel dipping sauce to dip her apples. She would always beg to have one spoonful first without the apples and then some for dipping.

Abigail would get excited about new school supplies and would work into a good homework routine. We were really learning a lot about each other as we negotiated how that routine should look.

Anna wanting to cuddle up, with a blanket wrapped around both of us, to watch Curious George’s Christmas Show because Fall means it’s that time of year.

Abigail wondering if we would let her go to the football game with her friends. We decided to go with her to check it out first and once there, she stayed in the stands with us the whole time – I guess our company wasn’t so bad after all.

Both of the girls excited to eat my homemade chili and Tom’s homemade cornbread for dinner. Abigail would pull out all of the onions from her bowl and Anna would always need to be told no more cornbread until she ate more of her chili. I think they both enjoyed the cornbread best.

Halloween decorations would be pulled out, costumes would be planned so I could start sewing and a pumpkin patch date would be determined so that we didn’t leave it to the last-minute.

Every bit of Fall brings a smile to my face when I think about how much fun this season had in store for our family.

As I anticipate the fall of “those leaves” I know God’s grace and my memories of my girls during this beautiful time of year will help get me through the heartache. God has gotten me through 330 days without my girls and I have faith that He will continue to hold me up, give me the strength I need and show me His amazing love for how ever long I have until I’m with my girls again.

Today I chose to look through countless Fall photos and remember our love for this season.  Tonight I’m making chili and tomorrow I’m buying carmel sauce.

apples

One Minute Mama

I was running late but I knew that she was in good hands. Anna was having a sleepover with her friend and I was really anxious to pick her up. I remember feeling nervous about how I would feel when I finally arrived at the house.

I was greeted at the door and told that the girls were playing in a downstairs playroom. Again, I remember feeling really anxious about seeing her.

I stood in the doorway and watched as she sat on the floor playing by herself.

I whispered, “Anna.”

She looked up at me with her big smile and put one finger out in front of her body saying without words, “one moment mama.”

I smiled knowing she was content and then I woke up.

Anna playing

 

Happiness Journal

ridgefield_NWR_great_blue_heron_flying_over_field_07-03-07_med

Today as I drove to Anna’s school my heart was extremely heavy knowing that my visits were going to be different. Kids were going to be mixed up in different classes, the second grade teachers never had Anna in their classroom and there was no longer a cubby with her name on it.

I was almost there when I saw it take flight, a big blue heron came out of the field on my left and soared in front of my car to get to the field on my right. It was so close that I could see its eyes, its beautiful grey blue feathers and its two long gangly legs hanging, ready for the it’s landing.

I’m not sure what prompted his change of location but it was perfect timing as I was able to witness his gracefulness in the air.

For those few seconds, as I witnessed this beautiful bird in flight, my heart was happy and full of love.

As I pulled into the school I took a deep breath and knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be today.

Hugging Anna’s friends!