Thursday, July 31, 2008



“In the midst of the sorrows is consolation, in the midst of the darkness is light, in the midst of the despair is hope, in the midst of Babylon is a glimpse of Jerusalem, and in the midst of the army of demons is the consoling angel.”

Henri Nouwen

I felt joy last night. I was swinging in PawPaw’s hammock, with some of my family gathered around me, looking at the beautiful post-sunset sky, feeling a lovely cool breeze, and I felt joy!

Psalm 30:11-12 (Amplified Bible)

You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, to the end that my tongue and my heart and everything glorious within me may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

God is so good.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

faithful one

There is one thing I can tell you for sure… if you have a crisis in your life, you want to have the One who has experienced what you are going through… the One who will absolutely be what He says He will be…

From the beginning of this sad journey, in the car racing to Houston…the following song would not leave my mind…Kathy introduced me to the group, Selah, who sings it. It has reminded me continually that I am not alone, and that the Faithful One is guiding my steps in this unknown, dark place I find myself in.


I find no hope within to call my own
For I am frail of heart, my strength is gone
But deep within my soul is rising up a song
Here in the comfort of the faithful one

I walk a narrow road through valleys deep
In search of higher ground, on mountains steep
And though with feet unsure, I still keep pressing on.
For I am guided by the faithful one.

Faithful, faithful to the end,
My true and precious friend,
You have been faithful,
Faithful, so faithful to me

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Thank you, God, for being faithful to me,


Monday, July 28, 2008

giving flowers

I have related this “Kathy” story to several friends in the past month; it makes me smile every time I think about it.

I always try to cut some fresh flowers from my mom’s garden whenever I go by her house. I love to have a tiny “MeMaw” bouquet to admire and smell beside my sink in the kitchen. It is a little thing that makes me happy.

One day, in the spring, I cut a lovely bunch of daisies, as I left Mom’s house. I popped by Kathy’s house, as I often do, on my way home; and I took the daises in with me. It was hot in the car and I didn’t want them to wilt. When I walked into the back door, Kathy was “rocking and rolling” in her usual place of activity …behind the island in the kitchen. We had barely spoken when she grabbed the daisies out of my hand. Before I knew it, she was arranging the flowers into a cute little glass jug that she pulled from I-don’t-know-where… all the time she was talking away. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the flowers weren’t for her, and I was wondering why I hadn’t thought about bringing her flowers.

I wish I had brought flowers to my sister every time I stopped by to visit with her. I would do it now if I had the chance.

“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

In my ordinary life, may I give more “flowers” to others to show my gratitude and love.


Saturday, July 26, 2008


I knew it was truly vacation yesterday when I saw Drew Beaver, at the beach, with a ring pop in his mouth! We had a wonderful time!

The sun was brilliant, the waves were huge, and the gritty lunch was delicious! Most of all, it was sweet being with some of the people I love most in the world jumping through killer waves, feeling like, “I don’t want this to ever end.”

I thought a lot about what Mrs. Ivy said on CaringBridge about how the ocean is constantly regenerating and renewing…isn’t God good to have thought about how all that would work for us?

I thought about how I needed shells for our first science lesson on observation, at school, so I collected a bunch.

I thought about how last year at the beach…we didn’t know that would be our last family gathering in which we would all be there.

I thought about how we had Kathy’s funeral on what was to be the first day of our beach trip this year.

I thought about how we just don’t have any idea how life is going to turn out. How, like yesterday at the beach, we need to savor the moments…love the people we are with…do our best toward each other…

Thank you, Lord, for days of vacation and regeneration…help us to delight in these times.


Friday, July 25, 2008


We had a great time yesterday…even though we had to drive through the back splash of the hurricane. We went to Incredible Pizza (and it really is incredible) and bought school shoes (that was an incredible experience, too…now I understand why Kathy just bought clothes and brought them home…)

We laughed a lot, ate a lot, and played a lot…just what we all needed to do. We didn’t, however, sleep a lot…these kids don’t sleep!

Today we are headed for the beach. Continue to remember us as we have another memorable day…I know I won’t be forgetting any of this any time soon!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Today I am taking four of the five Hiebert children to Deb’s house to do some things that Kathy had planned to do with them the week she got sick.

My heart is heavy, but I know a little vacation…doing something fun…may be just what we need. Our sweet Haden is going too! The little ones are so excited! They have had their suitcases packed for days, and Brooke has a schedule written out in a little notebook.

Pray that we will have a good time…that we will thoroughly enjoy each other…that we will make some good memories…and that we will celebrate life and God’s goodness.

Psalm 67:1 (Amplified Bible)

“ God be merciful and gracious to us and

bless us and cause (your) face to shine upon

us and among us…”

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

i miss you, sister

I went to large mall in Houston with my sisters and nieces last week. I ended up sitting out in the middle of the mall people watching…something I love to do.

People were caught up in their lives (aren’t we all?)…talking, laughing, yelling at their kids….holding hands, shopping, and just enjoying (or not enjoying) the moment.

The thought struck me, “How could life keep going on as usual, when my life has been changed forever?!” The truth of the matter is, though, the earth is still moving in its various patterns; there is birth and death and living continuing around me; and I still have to get up every morning, and “get it done.”

But how can my life ever be the same? I have lost one of the best friends of my life…one of the keepers of my heart…one of my sisters (sisters are supposed to have the ability to share the closest relationship on earth). I cannot tell you how much Kathy added to my life…especially to the comfort of my life. Hardly a day passed that I didn’t get a telephone call, with Kathy on the other end, greeting me with the words: “Hey, Sister.” Then she would proceed to listen to how my life was going…and Loyd’s life, and Amy’s life, and Emily’s life… I might look up during my day at work, and there she would be with my favorite coffee that she had gone by to get me…just because. If I was giving a party, she was always in the middle helping me every bit of the way. The last gift she made me was a funky flower arrangement…at a time that she really didn’t have the time or extra energy to make it…but she made it for me because she knew I would enjoy it….and I am looking at it right now, enjoying it. I’ll be moving back into my classroom in a few weeks, Kathy would have been there helping me…no matter what she had going on in her life (and believe me, she had a lot going on in her life).

What I am trying to say, is that the world around me keeps going on…as usual…but I know that my world will never be the same without my Kathy to share it with. There really is a hole in my world that will never be filled again in this life. “I miss you, Sister.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Grief…what to do with it? There is no “Grief 101”, no manual, no online degree. ? It came unwelcomed and it won’t go away. With the first nightmarish call from Houston, grief flew at me, in my face, clawing and squawking. I fought it off with all my might, but it kept at me.

I took one change of clothing to the hospital with me. As the days crawled on, I stayed. I had to buy more clothes. I told Loyd that I was staying until I saw Kathy’s eyes again. That never happened…I never saw those snapping brown eyes, heard a saucy retort, or shared a funny story. My baby sister was gone, and grief hung on my shoulder making its home in my life.

It’s odd how I can forget about it for a very short time. But then I feel its steely talons digging into me, and a cry bursts from deep within that is as primal in nature as anything I have ever experienced. It doubles me over and shakes my whole body, and I gasp for the breath I can hardly find within me.

Grief…what to do with it? Isaiah saw the coming cure for those stricken with grief and sin and pain, and his words are recorded in Chapter 53 of Isaiah:

“…a man of sorrows, …familiar with suffering.…Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows …. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. “

So, as I crumble under this load, the name I cry out over and over can only be: “Jesus.”

Monday, July 21, 2008


I love words…pudgy, fat words…skinny, reedy words…square, perfect words. Words have the power to create pictures in my head and feelings within my being. Sometimes words leave me breathless, and sometimes they seem to give me the next breath I need for the journey.

I’ve studied a lot about the different love languages that people have. Mine is definitely words of affirmation…written words of affirmation. Anyone who has ever written me encouraging and loving words, would probably find them displayed on the window ledge above my kitchen sink for a few weeks. Later, you would find them in my “happy box” (a beautiful, decorated box that Emily made for one of my birthdays). My happy box is full of wonderful, loving words. It is one of the treasures of my earthly life.

I’ve been thinking about this after these last traumatic weeks in my life. I’ve been marveling at the healing power of the words that were published on Kathy’s website. As soon as I could get an internet connection at the hospital, I knew I had to start writing about our experience. First, I set up a blog, and then I remembered CaringBridges (which some friends and family were currently using), and I knew this would have to be my vehicle for expression. Little did I know what a lifeline it would become for me, my family and a whole community of people.

All that said, I’m going to start blogging on this site. I have blogged before, and I loved it. I am hoping that this is a way I can begin to sort through my current thoughts and feelings and come to a place of healing.

I invite you to come on this journey with me. There may be days that I am unable to post, but I will try to write most days. Leave comments, or just read my thoughts. Either way, you are welcome here.