Thursday, October 24, 2013

1 Year....and a Day

How can one year be gone already?

I ask that.

Time marches on.

Like a million leaves falling...

My memories mimic the season.

My feelings too.

Sadness, constant sadness.





Tears...oh so many tears.




I cannot bear to visit her grave.  She should not be there, she should be with me...with us.

I accidently write her name.

I accidently call her in from play....still.

I dream of her and awake with tears and crying sighs.

I feel the emptiness she left behind.  Oh how I feel it.

I receive gifts in her honor, I feel mocked and wish for her.  I don't want things, I want her.

I have little shrines to help us remember what I can never forget.

She's gone and so is a part of me.

I feel bad this seems so dark, so bleak.  But this grief is so great, so heavy.  I miss her so much, there aren't enough words to describe how much.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

I'm Out of the Box

And maybe a little crazy.....

Here's proof-

I like to think of myself as a food explorer- and since I ditched the box (boxed food)  I make
strange strangely delicious food.  Here's my latest adventure of "out of the box" cooking.
What you need-
2 avocados
1-2 c. yogurt
1/4 to 1/3 cup honey
Blend together in a blender until creamy
 1 large bowl of fruit.
  1tsp. fruit fresh to prevent browning of your fruit.
Add to your favorite mix of fruit and stir until well blended.
(mine is whatever I have on hand to throw in there)
This closely imitates the boxed pudding idea, except it's way healthier.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Lily Lake Camp Trip 2013

 On our way- taking a break at a rest stop.  Emmaus and Lucy.

Vaughn walking Teddy, not sure which one looks happier.

 Jachin actually smiled for Mommy
 Great Grandma Braisted and Gracey.
 I really don't know what they are looking at.
 Silas is quite the charmer.  He had just told Great Grandma " I love you, you beautiful woman!"

 At the Discovery Center
 Jonathan's mom's work purchased this stone in memory of Karagen, it is in the garden at the Discovery Center.
 Big chair at the discovery Center.  I need one of these.
 Silas had a butterfly walking all over him.
 Visiting with Janet Dixon- Gracey was trying out all the chairs.

Singing wit the children at camp with streamers.  Silas was supposed to up there too, but he decided he needed sleep.
SADLY I didn't get any photos of Grammy!  Or Pop time I guess.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

For you Karagen

And for me.....

    Finding words to express how we feel after losing Karagen is difficult.  Describing emotions even more so.  We love Karagen yet "I love you" doesn't say enough.  We miss her yet "I miss her" can never describe the feelings that well up when we mention her name....or a memory floats through our minds.....there are no words and there is no comfort close enough to ease the ache.  It simply is impossible.
   Sometimes I ask myself when will I get over this?  Then I realize, I will never get over losing her....I will never get over loving her.  I will live the rest of my life with an ache where there was once the glow of love.  Her unique presence filling my heart with its life and warmth.
    Then to realize that there is few pieces left of the woman I used to be and the life that I used to live.  There is only what remains and that is forever altered.  I have to get to know myself again, re-learn how to live, excepting this "new" me.  Fragile yet strong.  Emotions unpredictable.  Either gushing tears or silently angry or somewhere in between.
    There are no words terrible and awful enough for death.  If there were I'd say them.  I'd rend my clothes and sit in sack cloth and ashes and still would feel no better.  There is no "feeling better".

   Yes it's hard to describe.

Here is a poem we read in our Bereaved Parents Group.  Of all the poems we read this touched me the most.

Jessie's  Karagen's Piece
The world's a jigsaw, once I thought,
With each of us a piece to fit,
A predetermined Grand Design
And each of us a part of it.
I thought that God must surely have
A blueprint of His final goal,
And all who come into this life
Are meant to play some fated role.
But when my little Jessie Karagen died,
It seemed to me but sheer caprice
Where fits a child in God's design
Who never lived to add her piece?
How often I walk alone
To still the anguish in my heart,
To ask why God would make a plan
In which my child had no part.
One day upon a village square,
I happened by a tiny shop.
What random step had led me there?
What in the window made me stop?
It was a quilt, a crazy quilt,
Each brightly colored patch,
A joyful work of art
From scraps you'd think would never match.
I looked upon the quilt with awe
To think a thing so oddly fine
Was stitched from fragments never made
To fit anyone's design.
I wondered then if God might wish
That in this way His world be built,
Each life a motley-colored scrap
And He the weaver of the quilt.
If such be true, I realize,
My child's life, though short it be,
Is yet a joyful, shining patch
In God's eternal tapestry.
I looked upon the quilt and saw
A patch that seemed sheer caprice,
So whimsical it made me smile.
I knew it was my Jessie's Karagen's piece.
by Robert Brault

I love you Karagen.  Our family is not complete without you.
Forever.  I love you.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

11 Years!

We've been married 11 years, where does the time go?  Saturday, June 22, 2013
We had a wonderful date, we went to Texas Road House where we enjoyed rolls, salad, steak (Jonathan) chicken tenders (me) baked sweet potatoes, coffee and water.  We then went to Slaughter Beach in Delaware, where we walked and walked.
 The beautiful moon!


Horse Shoe crabs were everywhere.  May and June is their spawning season.  Jonathan kept rescuing the stranded ones by flipping them back over after the waves flipped them on their backs.  Their eyes are on the top of their heads-the small brown round things.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother Day 2013

I want to remember this day, this moment.


I wanted to remember Karagen on this day, we took some solar lights to her grave and took our family picture there.
Gracey climbed up for some snuggles while I was napping.
Jonathan wrote me this wonderful letter below, I think I'm going to frame it.

There are few words to describe the complexity of my feelings today.  I miss Karagen more than I can ever describe, yet am surrounded by so many blessings too numerous to count.  I am so thankful for the 5 beautiful children I still have to hug, kiss and love, they make my world go round.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Spinach Pita Bread

Spinach Pitas/Snack Cakes

1 1/2 tsp. yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 TBS sugar
2 1/2 cup wheat flour (I use spelt)
2 cups ground spinach ( I shred mine with some extra water in the food processor or blender) Measure spinach after grinding.
1 tsp. salt
1 TBS oil (olive preferably)
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups white flour (I use a mixture of spelt or whole grain)

Mix first 3 ingredients in a large bowl then add flour, stir.  Let sit for at least 1/2 hour or up to 8 hours.
Add salt and oil, mix.  Then stir in the rest of the flour.  If making into pitas you will need to knead in the rest of the flour.  Cover and let rise 2 to 3 hours.  Shape into balls, roll into circles then cook on hot griddle (between 350/400) for a minute on each side.  If you want a softer pita, cook less, dryer, cook more.

For the Snack Cake variation simply add more water until you get a consistency slightly thicker than pancake mix. You can cut the rising time to 1/2 hour after the second addition of flour.  Scoop them onto a greased hot griddle in the desired size and spread them a little with a spoon.  Cook like a pancake.

This recipe also works well without the spinach.

Serve the snack cakes with peanut butter and yogurt mixed together, or homemade berry sauce, apple sauce or syrup-use your imagination.  They are handy dandy and my kids love them!

I will post pictures today after mine are cooked.

They get eaten almost before they even hit the plate.  These were made with my donut maker.
On the griddle.  These are the snack cake version, they are softer and more moist.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Back To Eden Gardening...A Family Affair

We are switching our gardening techniques this year.  We don't have a lot of time to spend weeding and what we looked in to gardening info and a local organic farmer told Jonathan about Back to Eden gardening.  No tilling, you start by laying down newspaper 6-7 papers thick, cover that with wood mulch 6-7 inches thick, aged manure and then plant.  Every garden needs 3 things, food, oxygen and water.  If you are into gardening I highly recommend watching the video on the Back to Eden web site.  I will be chronicling our journey and our results.  We should have started our garden in the fall and let it sit all winter, but alas we just came across this gardening method. We are very hopeful!
 Putting down the paper.
 Capturing the renegade
 Silas on top of the mulch pile
 Mmhhhmm I can help too (Jachin)
 Emmaus the rooster.
 Handsome Hubby.
 Hard working Buddy-Vaughn
Another rooster, he was born to be one :) (Silas)
Tuesday, April 9. 2013

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Here I am Again.....

Here I am again.

I'm at that place, that same place I keep coming to.

I feel so lost.

There is numbness.... it's cracking, it's breaking, it's giving way.

Here is pain which words cannot express.

I'm here tonight, down on my knees, on the floor.

I'm scrubbing the floor, washing it literally with my tears.

That pain won't go away because she won't....can't.... come back.

It hits me.....this is the bottom.....this is down.....this is what there is.

This is what is left....

the emptiness she leaves behind.

Jesus met me here, down on my knees.

Not in prayer, far away from prayer.

Not anywhere, just here.

He met me here, right here on the floor.

He washed my heart with my tears.

He met me here. 

He met me at the bottom.

  We received a cd from Steven Curtis Chapman while Karagen was sick.  I have never listened to it, it was still wrapped in plastic, just waiting.  After putting the kids to bed, I found that cd, and put it in.  The whole cd is basically a grief journey- Beauty Will Rise.  He made it after his daughter died suddenly in a tragic car accident.  I just read his wife's book Choosing to See which they also sent to me.  MaryBeth wrote the book after their daughter passed away.  I never had a chance to read it or listen to the cd but they have been a tremendous help to me.  Tonight as I was listening to this cd, song after song expressed my feelings and my thoughts.  It was....I can't find the exact words.  It was amazing, it was necessary, it was beneficial, it was a God Thing, it was for me.
     We are facing our first Easter without her.  It has been so hard.  No pretty dress or shoes to buy, even though they all called her name.  There is no Karagen to fill her place in our hearts.  This time last year (not date wise, but holiday wise) I was in the hospital with her, she had emergency surgery on Good Friday and we were reeling from the news she had aggressive, extensive brain cancer and she might not live.  On Easter morning she and I were in the hospital, she could hardly move, was doped up on morphine, and looked so tiny and pail.  We were there together, she was there.  I sat beside her hospital bed watching her while she slept.  I paced to the window, wondering what the future held, dreading what it promised.  I felt trapped, as so often I do now.  Trapped in the moment, in the uncertainty.

Every single time, at some point, in some way.....

He always came.


Because He LIVES.....

I can face tomorrow.

Because He LIVES.

Click here to listen to the song that touched me so deeply-Jesus Will Meet You There

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Just a Drawer

         I was just trying to organize the "hair drawer" which is always a mess, especially so since GraceyAnna get's into it.  That's all I intended to do, organize a drawer.  As I pulled scrunchies out, and hair ties, and head bands, memory after memory came.
 I found the phone she loved to play games on and pretend with, the one Gina her friend from Community Bible Church in New York gave her..
 I found the head band she wore in the hospital when Aunt Kelly, Uncle Andrew and cousins Austin and Aubrey came to visit, all the way from Indiana.
I found the flowered head band that her and Gracey both wore, the one she wore after we shaved her hair.
Here were the rose hair ties she wished to wear when her hair grew back.
Here are the bracelets Karagen and Emmaus would fight over and I'd always admonish them to share.

Here is the curling iron I used to curl her bangs with.

Here is the hair tie she begged to wear the last time she went to church with hair. 
Here is the drawer we used to organize together.
Here is the mommy, with tears in her eyes and the familiar lump in her throat.  Accosted by memories that hurt to think about but I never want to forget. 
Missing her again.
I miss brushing her thick, dark hair.  Feeling her thick, ultra smooth tresses glide through my fingers.
I miss curling her bangs, braiding it, putting bows in it, inspecting it.
I miss seeing her smile when she liked "her do" it was all the thanks I ever needed.
I miss hearing the girls giggle at night and argue over bracelets.
I miss having that little girl at my side, going on little errands to put things away, keeping me straight, smiling at me.
Stupid drawer, I should have known why I procrastinated.
Treasured drawer, who knew you had so many precious memories hiding among the mess.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


    I have lived thirty onederful (wonderful, get it?) 31 years.  My birthday was March 7.  Jonathan and I went on a mini honeymoon, haha.  It was so nice, we left home on Thursday March 7th and drove up to the Binghamton New York area for our church's district Ministerial Retreat.  We met some family and some friends (though both couples feel like family) at Olive Garden, which if we ever meet like that again we will go somewhere else as some of our party had a difficult time finding food that interested them :)  We had a tasty dinner then we went to a hotel for one night, just the two of us.  The next day we had breakfast with Jonathan's mom and Grandma, then we met with more friends (including my 86 year old friend, who is so special!) went to Barne's and Nobles and sipped coffee and split an apple cheesecake slice, then we were able to go to the theater and watched the new Oz movie (in recliners no less), then headed to our retreat.  We came home late Saturday.  All in all it was a wonderful time!

Here are a few birthday pictures:

                                           Jonathan and Emmaus made me a carrot cake.    
Jeremy and Lorikate 
Scott and Abby
Jonathan and I  (I was getting a little warm)


The Birthday Girl.  I am laughing in the picture below because Gracey was trying to get in the picture, you can just barely see her head.
I was so amazed and IMPRESSED by this beautiful quilt a special someone made and gave me for my birthday.  Jonathan said I'd better not say who so they won't get a bunch of requests :)