Pumpkins and Wheelbarrows

I used to look at the calendar every October and figure out which weekends were ours and which weekends the kids were away. I would then take the weekends we were all together and look at what was already on the calendar. There was usually one day in one of our weekends that was totally open ~ that day was our pumpkin patch day.

The day before the girls went to Heaven, Oct. 19th, pumpkin patch written in the calendar. The memories from that weekend and that day are still very vivid in my mind and I am so grateful for that.


We have not been back to the pumpkin patch since… until today.


The ache in my heart was constant while we trudged through the mud and showed little Alice what a pumpkin patch looks like. Tom and I shared stories and so many beautiful memories that were triggered while there ~ to be honest, I’m not sure if we would have ever gone back to a pumpkin patch.  Alice loved our stories and was very content and happy until we took her out of the wagon.


We promptly put her back ~  we had all day  <3





Home on Heaven Day

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Three years ago today my girls went home.

I’m sure for them there was some shock and disbelief, going to Heaven wasn’t part of our family plan ~ not yet anyways. When I close my eyes and think about where my girls are now I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of peace through my deep pain ~ my girls are in the presence of God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7

In the moment they entered Heaven I know that God opened up His loving arms and held my girls for a very long time ~ He’s still holding them (and us❤ ). They were now physically separated from Tom, myself and everyone they love and I know that they were probably worried about all of us. I know that there is protection when little ones go to Heaven, protection from seeing our suffering. Anna and Abigail  I know see the whole picture of their love and joy before them – they have a front row seat to God’s glory playing out.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

I daydream about Heaven all the time now.

In my daydreams I think about Anna, my little nurturer. Knowing her heart and her love for little ones I have no doubt that one of her responsibilities in Heaven is to hold new babies as they enter. When I close my eyes I can see her beautiful smile as she looks down at these infants, lost too soon to this world, but taken care of by my girl. That is a perfect job for Anna, her own Heavenly childcare. I also know that she has her sights on her little sister, Alice. I’m waiting for the day that Alice shares her secrets from Anna with me.

As for Abigail, well, I can say that she is probably keeping everyone smiling, performing in some way for everyone around her. Abigail also, I’m sure, is keeping her loved ones here very close. She always wanted her family to be happy and “ok.” If you personally know her and think you hear or feel her presence don’t doubt that one bit…I often hear her whispering,  “take care of my dad, Susan.”

Today, on Anna and Abby’s 3rd Heaven Day, will you close your eyes and daydream about Heaven with me and open up your heart to God’s love and joy? Choosing to trust Him with all of my heart the day my girls entered Heaven, not only has given me strength, but also has opened my eyes to a place that is so beautiful and filled with an abundance of love and joy.

This place, Heaven, is where my girls call home.

Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.   Isaiah 40:31 


I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Genesis 9:13

Thank you all so much for your love, prayers and support. Our family is so fortunate to have such an amazing community, near and far, that have chosen to join us in honoring our girls by loving others.

Love and Joy❤


1, 2, 3

Planning Anna's birthday

October 17, 2013

Anna was so proud of herself. She sat in the backseat and read aloud while we traveled to our destination. It was our “date night” and we were both very excited to be alone together ~ we had a birthday to plan and milkshakes to drink.

1, 2, 3  ~ I am happy!

She flipped the page and continued,

4, 5, 6 ~  I am happy! 

I could hear another flip of her Hello Kitty notepad that she loved to carry in her purse.

7, 8, 9 ~ I am happy! 

I remember thinking how old she was getting (almost 7), writing words all by herself and reading her poem to me.

10 ~ I am happy!

When I close my eyes I can still hear her ~ it’s as though she is sitting next to me whispering in my ear. The sound of her sweet voice saying how happy she was and is now in Heaven.

1, 2, 3 ~ I miss you Anna!


Poem by Anna Dieter-Eckerdt Ring by Lisa Leonard Designs

Happiness Journal

My artist❤

They had just met a month prior and when I asked them what they wanted to do together they said, “paint of course.”

I am so grateful for the beautiful messes they made while creating stunning works of art that now hang on our walls. Their creations are priceless and will forever bring me back to this moment in time and make me smile.

Love my artist!


Aunt Alice

alice-baby-maryI thought it would be another few months if not a year before I made the formal introduction. Alice had another plan.

This past week Alice has begun to explore a little more. Her confidence is up and her eyes are wide open to the many spaces of our home. The other day I walked out of her room for a second only to return to her little feet disappearing into Anna’s closet/apartment. This space is sacred and although it will be shared per Anna’s permission, I had not taken Alice into it yet to explore.

As I hit the threshold of the door I could see her sitting, eyes open wide, in front of Anna’s babies. I said her name, and with a huge smile as though she hit the jackpot, she turned to me.

“Alice, would you like to meet Anna’s babies?”

She gave me a huge smile.

We sat and I pulled each one out, telling her their names (all named by Anna) and little bit about their lives with their mama. Anna loved her babies so much and took such great care of each one ~ Baby Obama, Baby Stella , Baby Louie and her favorite Baby Mary. Alice held each one, taste tested their bald heads and then moved to the next.

I then lifted Baby Jesus out of the crib. This doll is special because it actually belonged to me when I was a little girl and was passed down to Anna. It was named by Anna the minute she laid eyes on him (don’t be confused by the dress).

“Alice, this is Baby Jesus, Baby Jesus, this is your Aunt Alice.”

She reached and pulled Baby Jesus onto her lap and then proceeded to talk to him ~ the sound of her excitement warmed my heart. Ever since that day Alice and Baby Jesus have been inseparable. She loves holding him, kissing him, wrestling with him and nurturing him.

In time Alice, I’m sure, will have her own set of dolls to love and nurture,  but for now it warms my heart that she is bonding with her sister’s babies.

These dolls are very lucky to have Anna for a mama and Alice for an aunt.



Her Smile

Shortly after I wrote and posted yesterday Alice woke up from a nap. I could hear her making noises and bouncing herself in her hammock ~ yes, my daughter naps in a hammock and it’s the best thing ever. As I approached her, we met eyes and she smiled.

Her smile consumed my whole heart.

Even the desperate and broken pieces.

Each day I wake up, take a deep breath and make a choice.

Each day I make a choice to keep going. Yesterday I didn’t want to make that choice, I wanted to climb into the deepest part of my suffering and submerge my head in the water.

Then Anna and Abigail’s sister pulled me ashore and smiled. They need me to take care of her with all of my heart, even the broken pieces.alice-smile

Thank you for reaching out through your comments, texts and Facebook messages ~ your kindness means the world to me.